Few lyricists are more creative than New Yorker Mark Campbell. Three of his latest commissions have been showcased this spring on Virginia stages. He neither owns nor drives a car, but his imagination travels at supersonic speed.
In March, Signature Theatre of Arlington produced “And the Curtain Rises.” Music for the comedy about the near-demise of America’s first musical was composed by Joseph Thalken, recipient of Signature’s third Musical Theatre Composer Grant; the book was by Michael Slade and the lyrics by the prolific Campbell.
The world premiere of “The Inspector,” a comic opera commissioned by Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, occurred the final week of April. This madcap show built upon greed, graft and mistaken identity was Campbell’s fourth collaboration with composer John Musto. Their first joint venture was the opera “Volpone,” also a Wolf Trap commission. The recording was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2010.
Their second opera, “Later the Same Evening,” was inspired by Edward Hopper paintings in Washington’s National Gallery of Art. It premiered at the University of Maryland and will be performed this coming summer by Glimmerglass Opera.
Their third opera, “Bastianello,” was based on folk tales. It celebrated the 20th anniversary of the New York Festival of Song where Musto’s concert songs receive frequent performances and was followed by a Wolf Trap Opera Company production in 2010.
“The Inspector” is the team’s re-imagination of “The Government Inspector” by Nicolai Gogol, a play that delighted Tsar Nicholas I for its satirical look at human greed and political corruption. The new setting is a small Sicilian town populated by scheming politicians who await a bureaucratic inspector dispatched by Mussolini. The Campbell-Musto version is not an adaption of the play, but sails off merrily to suit the unspoken requirement that all opera must be built around dire life and death circumstances. Musto, who leans toward Italian music, did not want to write a Russian opera, so Campbell began scouting about for a time of large bureaucratic rule and rising power. Having spent a month in Sicily, he concluded that the Mussolini regime, the period between 1925 and 1930, was the most amusing setting.
To launch the 15th Virginia Arts Festival on the 150th anniversary of the firing on Fort Sumter, the VAF committee recruited Campbell and Broadway composer Ricky Ian Gordon to create an appropriate musical to premiere at Norfolk’s Harrison Opera House.
Campbell is renowned for his wit, but he took development of the story and lyrics for “Rappahannock County” very seriously, frequently journeying by train to Richmond to study pertinent official documents, letters and newspapers.
He separated the script into five sections to focus on key elements in each of the five years that marked the Civil War. The 30 characters are played by five performers: two Caucasian men and one woman, and an African-American man and woman. As he developed the plot, he jotted ideas for songs on note cards. Of the thirty songs he sent Gordon to score, they selected twenty.
Campbell focused on records about the effect of the war on the people and the reasons citizens put forth for going to war and retaining slavery. The more he read, the more he realized that all of the arguments and discussions that have reemerged since President Obama was elected parallel many prevalent at that time. The lyrics of the opening number giving the religious justification for slavery come directly from a sermon he found in the Virginia Library archives.
In “Sanctified by God,” a minister cites scripture as proof that slavery is sacrosanct and for the common good. A woman in his congregation concurs, believing it to be “A Noble Institution” in which “our Negroes are a happy lot,” and a gentleman declares that the issue is not slavery but “States Rights.”
At the outset of the war, there were no decent maps for Confederate field officers. “Making Maps,” sung by Jedediah Hotchkiss, Robert E. Lee’s chief cartographer for the Army of Northern Virginia, expresses concern that his maps will destroy the world he and his fellow Virginians know.
“‘re aware the final goal…
Is not to orient a man, but parcel to a plan
For spoiling valleys, for torching forests,
For bloodying rivers, for rupturing ridges,
Fields, farms, paths, groves, all lost,
Leveled into an ashen heap…”
As the scenes progress from heralding a “Quick War” to the realization that the South is fighting a “Lost Cause,” Campbell’s songs convey the growing despair among Virginians. His final song, “April Will Return Again,” renews hope to all who have suffered…while acknowledging that a gentle April may be years away.…
Few lyricists are more creative than New Yorker Mark Campbell. Three of his latest commissions have been showcased this spring on Virginia stages. He neither owns nor drives a car, but his imagination travels at supersonic speed.
Today, it is possible for animation artists to pickup the skills of their trade without going to a special school to study animation. There are numerous great books that teach animation techniques such as Richard William’s The Animator’s Survival Kit. By following the instructions in these books, you can conceivably teach yourself the nuts and bolts of animated film making. Taking the home instruction idea even one step further, some books are now equipped with CDs and DVDs.
The best talents in animation know that there is always more to learn. In a healthy career, we don’t reach a point when we throw our books or our tools away. We need them too much. Our journeys are over when we stop, not when we think we’ve learned all there is to know.
So, if books play such an important part in our learning and development, why the need to enroll in an animation school? Why should one put in the time and expense required to get a degree in animation from one of the fine schools? It would be hard to imagine a filed where a college degree means less than it does in the animation industry. When it comes to finding a job, talent, enthusiasm and relationship all take precedence over where you got your degree.
Why Go To School?
Yet, before all the school recruiters faint in shock, I’d like to make the case for going to school. While it’s true that there are many great books teaching the art of animation, a book cannot critique your work. It is the trained eye that can help advance your skill by leaps and bounds. With the structure provided by teachers, assignments and grades, the availability of equipment, and the inspiration supplied by peers, one has the best shot at learning the animation arts.
Learning the animation arts is a discipline. It’s not always fun. In school (or on the job), we’re not always drawing what we’re comfortable drawing. We are pushed to go beyond what we could or would be doing if left to our own devices.
Perhaps, most importantly, animation schools employ teachers that are working in their field. While this does not automatically make them great teachers, it does help students have the opportunity to make those first vital connections they’ll need if they’re to break into the industry.…
You probably have a pretty complicated life. Between work and family commitments it can be hard to pursue other activities that are important to you. Nothing is more important to you than your safety and the safety of your loved ones. Since this is something that is so important you need to find a martial arts course that allows you to learn self defense without having to drive back and forth to classes.
Learn Martial Arts at Home
Some people might think that you have to attend regular classes with a black belt instructor to learn how to really fight. That is simply not true. Realistic self defense is all about learning simple, easy to execute techniques that injure your attacker and get you, or your loved ones, out of harm’s way. You don’t have to do any back-flips or scream like an extra in a bad kung-fu movie, you need common sense, yet brutal self defense tactics that can be learned quickly.
Karate Class Alternatives
Instead of heading down to the local strip mall and plopping down a bunch of cash for ineffective lessons, consider an alternative way – learning martial arts at home. There are online self defense lessons that allow you to learn the brutal techniques that will stop your opponent cold in his tracks. You don’t want anything fancy, just the stuff that works. That is exactly what the high quality online self defense classes teach. No frills, no jumps and no blood curdling screams. Just high impact, effective techniques that can help you take out a potentially dangerous attacker.
The Choice is All Yours
If you want to pay a lot of money and spend years earning different degrees of colored belts, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. But if you want the realistic, cutting edge training that allows you to unleash devastatingly powerful self defense techniques, you may want to consider a course that allows you to learn martial arts at home.…
Go to School
If at all possible, get some formal education through college. Many community colleges offer graphic design classes at a reasonable price. Taking classes will give you practice designing and teach you designing principals and theories. It will also give you the opportunity to meet and work with other students with goals similar to yours. Also, after you graduate, simply having the degree will help you get chosen for a job in your field.
Do Online Tutorials
There are thousands of tutorials available for free online. Completing these will help you learn how to use common designing software.
Books are also a valuable resource in learning how to design. It is best to check out most of your books from the library so you don’t have to buy them. You should read books about the software your are going to be using, graphic design history, art history, color theory, business, and human relations.
Practice Your Skills
You might not have a job yet, but you can still act like you do. In your free time, give yourself mock projects to complete. This will give you practice doing these things, and when you do get a job, you will already have some experience.
Start Your Own Blog
Keep track of what you learn, and share it with others at the same time. If you forget something and would like to review it again, just return to your blog and it will be right there for you. It also gives you something to show off to your friends and potential clients.
Do Freelance Work
If possible, try to get some freelance jobs online. Even if they don’t pay much, they will give you practice and experience. If it is okay with your clients that your freelancing for, you might also be able to use some of this work in your portfolio.
Keep Your Work
Keep all of the work you do. You never know what you will want to use later. You can put your best work in a portfolio. You can also email samples of some of your best work to clients for review. Even if something isn’t your best work, you may want to refer to it later for ideas or to make improvements on it. If you keep even the work you don’t like, such as your very first attempts at a web page, you can refer back to it and see how much you’ve improved.
Look at Other People’s Work
Pay attention to web pages, package designs, and promotional materials created by someone else. Follow design trends. Think about what works and what doesn’t.
Learn Business Skills
Learning some business skills is necessary if you want to have your own business or do freelance work.
Positive thought can improve your design. If you don’t think that you are any good, or that you can’t improve, you won’t be able to do a good job.…
Mixed Martial Arts training is tough. There is no doubt about it and one of the hardest things to do is build genuine strength. But having a lot of strength will allow you to explode on your opponent, will increase your punching power, will make you better in the clinch and on the ground.
One thing that I want to point out here. We are not talking about doing traditional bodybuilding. We are looking for STRENGTH here not size. Just because you are big does not mean that you are necessarily strong. Remember that the key is strength not size. We are not looking to become the next Arnold Swarchenegger. We are looking to become the next Anderson Silva.
So where do we start? Well, the first and most obvious place is with your core. Your core is your abs, back muscles and all the surrounding muscles. These are the muscles that you use to generate torque on your punches, use your hips to escape… well, pretty much you use them for everything. That’s why they are vital.
One thing to look out for when doing weight training is that, unless you are doing so for weight class reasons, you really don’t need to get big. Large muscles use more oxygen and will cause you to tire out in a fight faster. Ever notice how quickly heavyweights gas out compared to the lighter weight classes. This is because their large muscles are demanding tons of oxygen to fuel them. We want to stay away from that. Remember, strength is key but not size.…
Do you long to play your favorite songs on a guitar? Yes? Well, there’s not reason why you can’t. It is possible to pick up the guitar and learn to play, regardless of your age. Use the following advice and get started today.
Learn all the basics. When you were young, you learned to walk well before you learned to run. You might want to play a beloved song to start with, but you need a foundation first. Also, determine where your fingers should reside on the guitar. Practice chords and scales. You need to own these prior to taking the next step with anything else.
Discover ways to keep yourself motivated. Make a long-term dream for yourself, but also keep short-term goals in mind. Practice with a friend if you can. When you have stuck to your daily practice schedule for one week, give yourself a reward. Keep in mind that real skill takes real practice.
A simple tip: purchase a guitar if you’ve made the decision to learn the instrument. It will be hard to practice if you do not. Also, you have to keep the guitar in tune. Otherwise, you won’t hear the right note coming out of the right string.
Make sure to learn music notation as well as guitar tabs. Learning about music theory can assist you with understanding the how the chords and scales work. Learn the note name of each individual string, as well as the note for each fret along the strings. This will improve your riffs and melodies.
Make sure you enjoy your guitar practice. This is something you desire to do, not something you need to do. Don’t turn it into a stressful activity that you dread. If you do so, you can frustrate or bore yourself enough to give up on the practice. You should play and practice on pieces you wish to play.
As you begin to learn to play your guitar, be sure to learn the names and positions of all of its parts. You’ll need this knowledge to speak the language. It’ll help you learn as many course books expect that you’ve got those basics down. When you do this you’ll be a musician that’s intelligent and good at what they do.
You must understand the parts of the guitar before you plan on playing it well. This will help as you begin to play, as you will need to know the instrument well as you begin to learn chords, scales and the names of the strings.
You may get sore fingertips before they develop calluses. Use an electric guitar to combat this. Newbies find steel-string acoustic models to cause the most pain. It might feel good to soak your fingers in alcohol, but avoid hazardous substances like turpentine.
People young and old alike can learn to play a guitar. It’s an excellent instrument to learn regardless of your age or skill level. Plus, there are lots of styles of music it can play, from folk music to rock and roll. Use these suggestions to begin exploring a whole new side of musical enjoyment.…
Everybody learns differently, some can read a book to understand something, others need to hear about it to understand and some people need to do it or feel it to understand. If you can figure out how you learn things then you can speed up your learning of the Martial Arts.
The first way is visual, this means you like to learn things through watching something. For example pictures, diagrams or you might like to read books or watch videos. Basically anything that involves you using your eyes to absorb the information is visual learning.
Next is auditory learning, this will be when you like to listen to lectures or audiotapes. You might like to hear discussions or debates. If you follow verbal instructions well then your auditory learning is good.
Kinesthetic learning is through learning with movement and direct physical touch. You like to feel what you are doing by moving, touching, experiencing. This is a very hands on approach, full of action.
As you learn something you will use all three of these methods, however one will be more dominant than the others. For most people the visual method is the best, but its worth taking the time to have a little think and figure out which way you learn best.
When you know how you learn, you can structure your training to suit, for example, if you want to learn a new kick you can watch videos of it or get someone to show it to you a few times. If you are a kinesthetic learner you can get someone to physically put you into the correct positions for the kick. On the other hand you may need someone to give you lots of verbal instructions.
If you are in a Martial Arts class your instructor should use all three ways to teach a technique. If you do not quite get the technique make sure they visually show it to you or explain it in words to you or physically get you to try it several times with their help.…
Out in the street, we can see many kinds of signs and signage. Some are plainly written on a board while there are also those with elaborate backgrounds and colors designs. Others are large, sitting neatly on billboards while others are small. Some signs are modernly made complete with lighting and special effects while there are also those which are traditionally and perhaps manually written.
Back in time when technology is not yet so advanced as it is now, signs were mainly made by application of paint on wood or metal as was done by a certain signwriter in the early years of 1950s when he fashioned billboards, store displays and other old advertising materials. These days, the job of a signwriter has been entirely assisted by CAD, or Computer Aided Design. It is a software application that makes it easier for the sign artist to put on blends of color to be used on vehicle doors, glass displays and billboards. This program is especially useful for large and commercialized signs. Right now, there are still signwriters who do traditional signwriting utilizing their talents in painting and manually writing the signs.
In high school there are elective courses offered in various schools which might help an individual to decide on which course to take up in college. If you are interested on embarking a career in signwriting, start by signing up for mix shops and art classes offered in high school. In college, the aspirant sign writer may take up courses in advertising and marketing where he or she can put into use the skills gained from the elective courses.
However, prior to enrolling for college courses related to signwriting, it would be a smart idea to search and inquire from schools whose main focus is about sign making and signwriting. Otherwise, you may also choose to register from a liberal arts school. There are particular academies offering certification programs and workshops solely for artists aspiring for a career in creative advertising. Aside from the actual college courses, you may also broaden your craft by participating in other educational programs for visual arts and communication, business and engineering as a signwriter may also find professional space in other areas.
As mentioned, CAD applications are popularly in demand these days so a modern signwriter should also know sophisticated methods and not only traditional means of creating signs. To learn how to use CAD properly, there are specialized CAD courses available for anyone with interest for it.
Nothing beats actual education. Meaning you get to learn and become familiar with the real world of signwriting by applying for apprentice positions where you not only get to learn the tools and skills first hand but you also earn money from it. Jobs may include stocking supplies at a hardware or arts supplies store or even assistants to professional sign artists.
Upon learning and gathering necessary skills, purchase a special software for sign writing if you can afford it. Free out some space at home where you can start your own sign making company or you may apply for paid positions in big companies.…
The guitar holds interest for people from all walks of life. If you want to learn guitar or wish to become a more talented player, this is the place for you.
Take formal lessons if you can. Though many people have taught themselves guitar, just as you can, you might want someone objective to watch you play. A good teacher can critique your style, but can also give you suggestions to make yourself better. This will also give you the opportunity to ask questions.
Stay motivated. Set short-term goals and long-term dreams for learning to play the guitar. It can also be helpful to practice with a fellow guitar player. If you’ve practiced every day for a week, reward yourself. Keep in mind that things worth doing will never be that easy.
Although this may be obvious to you, be sure you purchase a guitar if you’re wishing to play one well. Without a guitar, regular practice is difficult at best. Make sure the guitar is tuned to avoid hearing wrong sounds that are actually right.
You need to learn about musical notation, as well as guitar tabs. Musical theory can help you understand each scale and how different chords work. Learn each string’s note name and fret note. This is very helpful when you learn new melodies.
Remember that practicing guitar should always be fun. You should be learning to play because you’re passionate about it. Don’t make it into a something ugly and stressful. When you have that attitude, you may develop such a strong dislike to it that you may think about quitting. Continue practicing with music you like.
Get yourself a metronome. One of the biggest hurdles for a new guitar player to get over is keeping time. Metronomes are great for keeping you on track. By practicing regularly, you will have no trouble keeping time without a metronome.
Learn tunes in different keys. This helps you get used to certain chords. You will better understand music as well. The more you know, the better musician you’ll be.
Buy a metronome to improve your sound. You can improve your ability to keep a rhythm and keep your timing on target with a metronome. This prevents struggling with proper pacing since you can begin it slowly and hasten it as you get better. You will probably find that using a metronome is very beneficial to you honing your skills.
Try some useful exercises for strengthening fingers. Some chords require fancy handwork, and that is possible only when you can control the strings with your fingers. Be sure to practice some exercises and techniques that help make your hands stronger to improve your playing ability.
Master moving from one specific chord to another with ease. Dedicate a part of your practice time each day to this alone. Having the ability to transition from chord to chord skillfully is a good way to keep your sound tight.
As you can see, many things go into playing the guitar. There is much that you have to learn. The tips from above can help you become a better player and improve your skill at playing. So take what you have learned here, and start playing as soon as possible.…
It was inevitable, I hoped anyway, that a world class, bona fide professional boxer would enter the world of MMA. The two sports are competitors in a way, for audiences anyway. There should always be room for both, but I know that I personally used to watch boxing religiously until MMA came along. But there’s always that nagging question for a fan: who would win in a real fight, a boxer or a mixed martial artist? MMA has had Tae Kwon Do experts, kickboxers, even professional boxers. But a top name boxer? Not yet. Could a top ranked boxer knock the lights out of an MMA fighter before you can say ‘takedown’? Well, in the words of Chael Sonnen, “we are all gonna find out.”
I just found out when I was watching UFC 117 that Randy Couture is slated to fight against the one and only boxing legend James Toney. This is what Dana White and all other MMA fans have been waiting for. Not only is one of the best of the boxing world taking on the challenge, but he is taking on Hall of Famer, one of the best in the sport of MMA, none other than Randy Couture.
Talk about a legitimate matchup. Couture has fought, and beat, the best light heavyweights and heavyweights in the MMA world. He has been tested. He has lost battles, and he has won battles. He has been tested. Dana White could have thrown Toney in against a contender or a gatekeeper to the division, but he threw him in with the best.
This will go back to what Randy Couture called the first generation of mixed martial artists. Back when the goal was to find out which style of fighting was dominant against all the others. Was it wrestling? Kickboxing? Strongman? Judo? Boxing? The legitimate boxing representatives did not participate, the sport wasn’t even mainstream, for crying out loud it was outlawed in the U.S. for years. The one lesson that seemed to be learned from that generation was taught by MMA Hall of Famer Royce Gracie: everybody needed to learn Jiu Jitsu! Since then MMA fighters have learned that they need to learn many styles of fighting to be competitive: wrestling, boxing, Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai, etc. What Randy calls the new, or third generation of MMA fighters, came up learning all of them at once as a cohesive whole, they came up as true mixed martial artists.
So now the big test comes. Back to the first generation of MMA. Will the elite professional boxer prove that boxing skill and power can overcome the new style of fighting in mixed martial arts? Or will Toney be defenseless against Randy’s takedowns and rendered helpless on the ground? I wish I knew the answer now, but “we are all gonna find out” when Couture and Toney meet at UFC 118, Edgar vs Penn II.…