Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild

The Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild is a multi-discipline, minority directed, center for arts and learning that employs the visual and performing arts to foster a sense of accomplishment and hope in the urban community.  Pittsboro is not exactly an urban community, but the needs of youth and the role of the performing arts to develop and nurture an authentic, powerful voice is every bit as important in North Carolina as it is in downtown Pittsburgh.  And I do hope that if the Guild fancies a visit to North Carolina, or if there is a new Guild that forms closer to Pittsboro, I hope there might be an opportunity to share the dream and to give these young performers some studio experience, too.

I am ABBA and so can you!

Amy sent me a link to this latest ABBA shrine, a 70,000 sq ft museum, stage and recording studio ready to inform and entertain ABBA’s greatest fans. Not that the band didn’t do a great job releasing the definitive concert/tour DVD in 2004. Platinum-level tickets cost only €190 (and given the ABBA style, I cannot imagine settling for less).  I look forward to seeing what it costs to step into the recording studio and cut one’s own track with the most fabulous four, and I am delighted that ABBA are willing to open their music up this this form of enjoyment.  Mamma Mia!

And yes, I hope that those who want to see ABBA in this context will also want to see other favorite musicians making music and having fun in other studio contexts.

Starting a carbon neutral conversation

Yesterday I was thrilled to discover that Manifold Recording was the #1 Google result for the search term “carbon neutral recording studio“. I know that such a goal (achieving carbon neutrality, not the Google ranking) is a challenging one, and thus it makes sense to test the assumptions, even this early in its construction.

This morning I heard Alice Lloyd, Executive Director of North Carolina Interfaith Power & Light speak out against Duke Power’s plan to expand the Cliffside power plant with an additional 800MW of coal-fired capacity. As reported by the News and Observer (and contradictory to statements made in their “clean coal” coalition statements), the only way to bring this plant on line is to bend already broken rules related to mercury pollution, and to continue to ignore the enormous impact of adding more CO2 to the atmosphere, further exacerbating global warming. The statistics are alarming:

Continue reading “Starting a carbon neutral conversation”

Nutcracker Nation

‘Tis the season, and like so many cities in America, the Nutcracker is playing to full houses here in Raleigh. I used to hate it when my parents would take me to the ballet, usually because my mother or somebody she knew was playing in the symphony and she was unwilling to leave me at home to watch something better on TV. But over the years my appreciation for music developed, and though my 10 year old self would never ever have believed it, I now enjoy listening to classical music and I find the ballet to be one of the most stimulating musical experiences to be found anywhere. What happened?

Continue reading “Nutcracker Nation”

What is music worth?

I’m very behind on my blog postings, so don’t worry—you’re not reading my postings out of order. In October of this year, Radiohead put their album In Rainbows up for sale at whatever price you’re willing to pay. There was quite a flurry in the blogosphere, particularly from techcrunch.com, which argued that the pricing trend of commercial music is headed inevitably to absolute zero.

I had two thoughts about this. Continue reading “What is music worth?”

Gary Powell on collaboration

Gary Powell hits the nail on this head with his post Sharing your creative process.  How many times have we been told, or sold, on the idea that creativity comes only from within?  Or that creativity is like some kind of artistic virginity, something that can never be restored to its purest and most wonderful state if co-mingled with the works of others.  I don’t defend those who try to create by committee.  And if a movie gives title credit to “Head of Story”, I’d rather know in advance so I can avoid it.  But in my experience, knowing how people work helps me work better with them, and helps them work better with me.

A particularly excellent example of this is the collaboration story of Elephant’s Dream.  In the DVD extras, the artists and producers talk about what it was like when the project began: everybody trying to do everything so as not to show any particular weaknesses.  But as things cracked under enormous time and creative pressure, the collaborators became more honest with each other, and suddenly they all discovered how to best fit together.  The courage to share helps create new levels of creativity and productivity.

I honor those who are willing to give a little (at some personal cost) to gain a lot more, for all of us.