Personal You: Making Your Best Dance Video.

Want to make your best video souvenir of a Nutcracker performance? Student recital? Competition? Dennis Diamond not only personifies the word videographer, he has raised videotaping to a new art form. He tells you how to make your best dance video. "I think the biggest mistake when taping a performance is to move the camera around after it has been set and focused," says Dennis Diamond, the dance profession's most famous videographer. "In the hands of an inexperienced person, or even an experienced videographer, changes in camera angles can often lose or omit important sections of the choreography." Diamond, who twenty-two years ago pioneered the now widely used method of capturing a performance, attended the High School for the Performing Arts in New York City, where he studied jazz, tap, ballet, modern dance, and choreography. He danced professionally for five years, after which he wandered into the offices of a cable TV station and heard, "Well, you look bright; how about a job?" The result was a new career, and today his company, Video D, is a unique production unit that documents performances with a dancer-cameraman-editor as its director. Here are some of Diamond's suggestions for producing a successful video. IF YOU ARE A PARENT: 1. Get permission to in writing to tape from the dance teacher, school, or theater. Include all details--date, time, place, noncommercial reason for taping (such as personal enjoyment), and give assurance that the video will not be distributed for sale or for any commercial purpose. The best time to tape is dress rehearsal when, it is hoped, the production will be a run-through with few stops. "Don't try to edit with the camera if you make a mistake or the dancers stop" says Diamond. "Don't rewind; just continue recording or you may erase what you have." 2. If there are professional dancers in the production, be sure to obtain a signed release from each of them to document their performances. Include the same details as in the permission statement from the school--date, noncommercial use, time, and place. 3. Set up a tripod at your standing height with your camera far enough away from the stage to include the proscenium sides and a little less than the top curtain (this placement is usually about midcenter in the audience or no farther away than thirty feet). Make sure that the performers can be seen full-figure. Bring batteries and tape for two to four hours. Diamond recommends the HI-8mm, VHS, or Panasonic camera; a zoom lens; a Bogan tripod or one with a leveling device; and a bubble light. 4. Focus a bit lower than the center of the dancer's body or the legs will look too short. Place your tripod center stage and remain there even for a zoom shot. Musical accompaniment is probably recorded, but if live musicians are present, it might get complicated when you ask them and the conductor for releases to record the performance. But be sure to ask, even for a rehearsal taping. Remember that you are not permitted to tape during a live performance. 5. Graphics are an added cost. These are the written names, dates, and credits that usually precede the performance. Graphics, based upon your information, can be produced for your video by a local production house. Editing is also an additional cost, particularly if you have separate zoom shots. It is another service provided by a local production house. "Another very important thing to remember," Diamond adds, "is not to be tempted to change the focus once the rehearsal has begun. Just keep the full figure of the dancer within the frame. Don't pan on people who are going offstage. I often compare using the camera to driving a car. As a beginner, you usually oversteer, until you realize that there is little to do except pay attention to what you have in front of you." IF YOU ARE A TEACHER: In order not to be swamped with individual parent videographers during a dress rehearsal or at any other time (this can become a touchy situation), permit only one professional or designated person with permission to tape the dress rehearsal or live performance. Be firm and make no exceptions. Enable the videographer to see the work at least once before taping the performance. Post a notice saying that copies of the final video will be made available on VHS at a nominal cost, usually about $25, including graphics, edits, and other visual material. An excessive price can lead to multiple copies being made from one purchased copy. In addition, state that while persons may not tape from the audience during a performance, nor from the wings, taping backstage will be permitted. By making it clear that there will be only one videographer with permission to tape gives you control over the quality of the performance, your image, and your reputation as a director and choreographer. The cost to hire a videographer is about $350. A package deal that includes editing and credits can be negotiated. If the performance includes professional dancers or musicians, include in your contract with them that a videotaping will occur at the dress rehearsal, and that the conditions are noncommercial. Point out that having a professional videographer will show them to their best advantage, that the taping will be under your direction, and that it will be sold only to persons associated with the school. If you have a soloist who doesn't want to give you permission to tape, tell him or her that it's okay--you'll put in the understudy. They usually become cooperative very quickly. This works almost every time. For a taping session of a recital or concert using music other than that in the public domain, remember to obtain copyright permission from the publisher and for choreography other than your own. An offer from a local television station to tape your production requires a contract with you. Permissions then become the station's responsibility. The best backdrop color is light blue, rather than black, and full stage lighting, not an overly bright setup, illuminates best. However, white costumes often wash out and require a lower lighting adjustment for the taping at a live performance. Inform your professional or designated videographer not to rechoreograph your work by looking for "interesting" shots. Tell him or her to focus and then not change anything after the setup has been made. Unlike photography where the photographers own their material, you own the tape exclusively. Expect that some hazards of taping during a live performance will always occur--members of the audience unexpectedly stand up and spoil a shot; a wireless phone or other signal goes off; or a youngster gives a hearty response to something seen onstage. A two-camera setup is not usually necessary for most noncommercial performances. However, if a two-camera setup is used, the cameras should be placed next to each other--one for wide shots; the other for close-ups. Different views allow for options in the editing process. Be sure to attend the editing session and approve the graphics. (Diamond suggests recording the printed program as a simple and inexpensive way to document cast credits and changes.) Diamond has invented precedures to deal with taping special aspects of dance. "When taping a tap dance performance by professionals," he says, "this form of dance cannot be captured in the same way because the emphasis is not on the full figure, but on footwork. Tap is all about detail." For tap shows he has invented mini-walls--a single television screen divided into several picture quadrants to give a live audience more accessibility to the footwork details. In addition to documenting live professional dance performances, Diamond's credits as dance-video collaborator on concert, Broadway, and theater productions include Blue Man Group, Elizabeth Streb, Jazz Tap Ensemble, Ringling Brothers/ Barnum and Bailey Circus, Alwin Nikolais, and Mikhail Baryshnikov. But no collaboration was more complicated, successful, or unique than when he abandoned his usual invisible personal presence and, with his camera and screens, appeared onstage in Bill Irwin's Broadway show, Largely New York, in 1989. There, with live taping, some clips, and using hair-raising, split-second timing, Irwin and Diamond pulled off some bizarre effects in an evening of clowning and slapstick, all based upon Irwin's subtext of intellectual curiosity. Despite Diamond's virtuosic capacity with video equipment, he is a purist because of his dance background--he doesn't tape facial close-ups, shots of someone's hand, nor does he rechoreograph a performance. PLACES TO BUY EQUIPMENT Steadi-Systems (888) 783-2349 Circuit City (800) 626-0946 Supreme Audio (603) 876-4001 Stott Equipment Sales, Inc. (416) 482-9178

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Stephanie Hannon's Quest to Elect Hillary
The audience roars its approval as she steps up to the makeshift stage in the upscale 1920s inspired bar, Monroe. The dark lighting and classic celebrity glamour of the lounge belies the primary purpose that gathered over a hundred millennials early Thursday evening. Yet Stephanie Hannon, standing in front of the crowd with a casual confidence, embraces the ambience:"This campaign has been seven days a week since Christmas," evoking groans of awe and sympathy. "But its a joy to be back in my hometown, even if is for just 24 hours."The Stanford (and Harvard Business School) alum buzzes with sincere energy as she explains that working for Hillary for America (HFA) is analogous to working at a company. Comparing to her time at Google, Stephanie discusses building products for the campaign while working with a strong thirty-nine person team of product managers, data analysts, engineers from frontend, backend, security, infrastructure and more. Like Knights at the Round Table, these individuals work tirelessly to achieve their quest to get Hillary Clinton elected as the 45th United States President.Their most recent adventure, Super Tuesday, gives us a glimpse at the day-to-day. Electing a president is hard work, and every single minute is spent trying to get people to their polls and caucuses. Knocking on doors, phone banks, and events are all invested heavily in but none of that would be possible without the technology.Stephanie faces unique challenges when developing the tools that drives this work: the campaign is heavily data-driven. The CTO mentions that many of the employees are from Optimizely and the data science team is constantly working on lists: who they are trying to activate, the persuasion target, the get out the vote target, etc., which is only one part. HFA also uses third party companies such as MassMailer to help with other aspects of the campaign like mass mailing voters. Finally, once the users are engaged, the HFA website needs to make accessing voter information or providing donations as seamless as possible. With Super Tuesday, most of the focus was on donations, and so once users are engaged, the campaign attempts to get them to donate, save their credit card information, consider making a recurring payment, and if they have done all that, then convincing them to invite all their other friends to start the process.Even despite all this great insight into the inner workings of HFA, it is clear to the gathered group that this work is just a sampling of the technology and efforts put forward.The CTO's one-year anniversary with the campaign is just around the corner (April 6th) and there are still eight more months of driving the technology efforts to go!Stephanie discusses this drive and her passionate efforts to give potential voters a glimpse of the real Hillary Clinton. Working with channels such as Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter, Stephanie describes how she just wants everyone to see what she sees in Hillary: "She is warm, she is funny, she is whip-smart, she's quick, she's.."Amazing!" A young woman calls out before cheers burst out from everyone present."Yes, she's amazing!" Drawing on her own background, Stephanie explains that as a woman in computer science, she, like many others, learned deeply the importance of finding role models. When Stephanie was deciding in March of 2015 to work for the campaign, she emphasizes that the decision relied simply on getting to know Hillary Clinton independently and evaluating her as a person.So addressing this question "Why Hillary? Why did I choose her?", Stephanie recounts"I read and read and read and read. I tried to learn about her. I didn't know she had worked on the Children's Defense Fund right out of law school. I didn't know she had made that choice. I heard her Beijing speech in 1995 'Women's Rights are Human's Rights' but I didn't know how controversial it was or how many people she had to stand up to to make that speech to a 180 countries. I didn't know about her quest to […] I'm just saying I read about her. I read and read and read and then I met her."The personal insight into her decision process connects with the crowd. Leaning in closer, they hear Stephanie's conclusion: Hillary Clinton is a role model.And that was enough for Stephanie to "give up everything and move to Brooklyn and I don't regret a single day of this amazing adventure." Her life experiences prompt Stephanie to leave her listeners with two valuable lessons that her professional choices thus far epitomize:"Pick work that you are passionate about […] and do things that scare you."A role model herself, Stephanie Hannon leads the quest to get Hillary Clinton elected as the 45th United States President and she has this writer following her journey·RELATED QUESTIONWhich software can I use to simulate stage lights?There is no simulator shown near 1.38 in the video, in fact there were no simulators featured in the whole video from what I could tell.I am assuming you are not 100% sure what a stage lighting simulator is. But here are the best and most popular ones:WYSIWYG (the Daddy, Win only) CAST SoftwareLightconverse (good realism, awful interface, Win only)LIGHTCONVERSE 3D SHOW PLATFORM main siteESP Vision (multiplatform, great realism)Welcome to ESP VisionCapture Sweden (good allrounder and multiplatform)CaptureRealizzer (new kid on the block, looking great, Win only)Realtime Lighting Visualizer - HomeMartin ShowDesigner MSD (Win only) Martin ShowDesigner - Lighthouse Holland B.V.there are others, but they are not really able to compete with the ones on this list.You will notice that Windows still gives you better performance due to more mature gaming/graphics frameworks many of these tools use and various other reasons.Controlling the lights is another subject. There are many options there and the choices would depend on many factors. Usually control systems control several elements of the show not only lights. Scale, budget, logistics will all influence the ultimate choice in control systems and design process.Some lighting console manufactures include free (and somewhat simplified) visualisers with their controllers as well. This might be something closer what you had in mind, but maybe not. ChamSys, MA Lighting and Avolites all have their own visualisers compatible with their own controllers (and are therefore more proprietary). Some are available free but ultimately not very usable unless you invest a lot of time and money into those tools.hope this helps somewhat.
Arthur Kaptainis: Osm Concert Will Leave Us Truly in the Dark
Listening to music in the dark is not unprecedented, even in public. One venerable option is to close one's eyes. Some listeners, depending on the repertoire, go further and fall asleep. Snoring between movements is discouraged by connoisseurs.Rarely, the darkness is imposed. One of the world's most famous pianists, Sviatoslav Richter (1915-1997), used to perform on a stage illuminated by a single desk lamp, pointed at the music on the piano stand, from which this Russian virtuoso dutifully read, regardless of the simplicity of the repertoire.Richter's objective was to negate the presence of the performer and concentrate the attention of the audience on the score. The eccentric stage lighting probably had the opposite effect.It is hard to predict the sensory outcome on Friday, Feb. 16, when the OSM under Kent Nagano performs its self-descriptive Concert in the Dark in the Maison symphonique. Will the darkness redouble our concentration or deprive us of the necessary stimulation of watching performers engaging with the music Will our consciousness be heightened or smotheredObviously, the orchestra is betting on a positive experience. Boosted, perhaps, by a little nostalgia from boomers who represent a considerable slice of the OSM demographic.According to the program notes — which, of course, no one will be able to read in the dark — the concert is an attempt to recover "some of our former wonderment" at music in the absence of imagery. Wonderment that perhaps reached its height in the late 1960s, when Nagano was a California teenager with no small talent for surfing.The notes allege a flower-power preference for darkness: "Aficionados of psychedelic rock 'n' roll, Bach, Strauss — and sometimes all three — discovered the joy of listening to their records of choice at high volume with the lights turned out, the absence of visual stimulus allowing for a full and luxurious immersion in the experience."Not mentioned but perhaps implied in the text is the reality that the audio quality of such immersions — with, say, a Marantz amplifier driving analogue signals from an LP on a Dual turntable though AR loudspeakers — was higher by far than the cellphone experiences that the majority of listeners are content with today.The OSM is recommending a 1960s dress code, not that it could matter much in a darkened auditorium with the orchestra playing behind a scrim. Your bell-bottoms will be noticed, for better or worse, at the post-concert 1960s funk-themed party in the Foyer Allegro.Back to the music. The longest item is the 25-minute Electric Candlelight Concerto of John Anthony Lennon, an American composer who is unrelated to the late Beatle. Steve Hill is the electric guitar soloist in this world première.We get about 16 minutes of excerpts from Strauss's Also sprach Zarathustra, whose stirring introduction was made famous by 2001: A Space Odyssey. The popular soundtrack to the Stanley Kubrick film also brought György Ligeti's Atmosphères into thousands of record collections that would otherwise be short on microtonal clusters.Other selections are on the short side. From the German modernist Karlheinz Stockhausen, we hear the three-minute Klavierstück I as performed by pianist Olga Gross. Bach's celebrated Toccata in D Minor is perhaps unfortunately shorn of its fugue. Rashaan Allwood is at the Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique.Clarinetist André Moisan riffs for five minutes or so on Frank Zappa. The OSM strings give us their pulsing version of Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze. Interesting that Lennon is the only living composer.This is not the only unusual offering by the OSM in the coming week. On Wednesday, Feb. 14 and Thursday, Feb. 15, Nagano leads Mahler's First Symphony, which is standard enough repertoire, but not often performed with the sonic and visual support of the octobass, the enormous superfiddle acquired by the OSM on Nagano's recommendation in 2016.Also on this program are Wagner's Prelude to Act 1 of Lohengrin and a new piece by Iranian-born Behzad Ranjbaran inspired by Persian culture and commissioned and performed by OSM principal double bass Ali Kian Yazdanfar.*** in which the chairman of the board assured us that he and his fellow directors were "compassionate" and "moved by the suffering" of certain musicians who served under Charles Dutoit in the years leading up to his resignation in 2002 and continue to regard the conductor as a nasty piece of work. Their testimonials were published in Le Devoir and La Presse.The statement included a reminder that the orchestra no longer has ties with Dutoit and drew attention to "the climate of respect that has prevailed" since the arrival of Kent Nagano in 2006.The history of the years 1998 to 2002 will never be told to the satisfaction of all. For every Dutoit hater at the time, there was a Dutoit admirer and probably two or three musicians who found themselves leaning one way or the other but not quite willing to pitch a tent in either camp.It is clear that Dutoit in some cases engaged in behaviour that met the threshold of workplace harassment. In 2002 — and this was truly the beginning of the end — the conductor initiated formal dismissal proceedings against two players, first violin Marc Béliveau and associate principal trumpet Russell DeVuyst, that no one believed to be based on artistic grounds.The likely grudge against Béliveau was his membership on the orchestra committee that negotiated the contract that ended the musicians' strike of 1998. This contract included a clause prohibiting travel, rehearsal and performance on the same day, a restriction Dutoit felt was inimical to touring. Whether this clause constituted a valid reason to be offended is debatable. What is not debatable is that Dutoit thought it was.Much of this was documented at the time. The point to keep in mind is that Dutoit's name has reappeared in headlines not because of the poisonous OSM rehearsal atmosphere of the late 20th and early 21st century, but because several women have alleged offstage sexual harassment ranging in intensity from unwanted attention to outright assault.With the help of an experienced city reporter, I contacted at least four female Montreal musicians and one foreign soloist whom I had reason to suspect were subjected to unwanted advances. Two did not wish to discuss the matter and the others did not respond to repeated messages.The OSM received on Dec. 22, after The Associated Press released and others. The orchestra promptly found an "external investigator" (whom the OSM declines to identify) to look into the complaint and submit recommendations to the board.There is no timeline for the release of a report. Nor is the investigator restricted to one complaint or to complaints from contracted orchestra musicians. But the focus will be on sexual harassment, not historical rehearsal dynamics."This independent external investigator is recognized for her professionalism, objectivity and experience with sexual harassment at work," Pascale Ouimet, OSM interim head of public and press relations, wrote in an email."The investigator will meet with those wishing to bring personally to her attention facts related to the sexual harassment of which they would have been direct victims whether they are part of the orchestra, external contractors or members of the administrative staff of the OSM."There things stand for now.*** have won the Opus award for concert of the year in Montreal. Curiously, the borders of the city in this instance have been expanded to embrace the Lanaudière Festival, which presented the victorious concert performance of Wagner's Parsifal last August.YNS and the OM also won in the classical-romantic category for a concert with French pianist Hélène Grimaud back in October 2016. (The awards cover 2016-17.) Nagano and the OSM won a Renaissance-baroque Opus for Bach's St. Matthew Passion as heard in December 2016.Julien Bilodeau, who gave us Another Brick in the Wall last March, was named composer of the year; this presentation of the Opéra de Montréal won the Opus for musical event of the year.There are many other winners. The Opus awards are distributed yearly by the Conseil québécois de la musique. See for a complete list.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Stage Lighting
1. Why did Anakin and Dooku duel in the dark?Anakin cut the lighting cable because it was in his way as he walked backwards. He had to step over it, and presumably felt that cutting it would clear the fighting area, removing a slightly random element. It's noteworthy that neither this scene, nor the "fighting in the dark sequence", exist in the original script and appear to have been added at the production stage.With TWO LIGHTSABERS, ANAKIN attacks. COUNT DOOKU parries andripostes. It is no contest. ANAKIN is driven back against the wall. Heloses one lightsaber. Finally COUNT DOOKU, in one flashing move, sendsAnakin's arm, cut at the elbow, flying still gripping his lightsaber.This sequence was added for a few reasons, some more obvious than others.To disguise digi-Lee.Christoper Lee was an old man by this point and largely incapable of fighting with a sword, let alone spinning and whirling. They replaced him with a "digital Lee" in longer shots (replacing his face) and used close-ups of his face to make it look like he was fighting. Having lowered lighting makes it easier to 'sell' the effect to audiences as well as making the animation cheaper and hiding the 'uncanny valley' effect when you have digital characters on film.Pablo Helman: As wonderful an actor as Christopher Lee is, when we shot this he was 79 years old and so the majority of thesemoves he couldn't really quite do. For some of the shots we had hisstunt double do the action and then on top of that we replaced thestunt double's face with Christopher Lee's face. In some other shotswe just replaced him completely.Attack of the Clones: DVD Audio CommentaryTo increase the excitement of audiencesLucas also felt that lowering the lighting would ratchet up the tension rather than just having more of the same between Dooku and Anakin. Having already seen a fight in a well-lit hangar, the obvious progression is to do something with the lighting. The darkness of the hangar versus the lightness of the sabers created what he referred to as a "tone poem" that audiences would find appealing.George Lucas: We went from having sort of "level one" of the swordfight with Obi-Wan, I then needed to progress to "level two" with Anakin because each time we have a swordfight, it's got to get more intense ... then I had Anakin cut a cable so I could do it in the dark. I wanted to go back to my old roots of a visual sequence, kind of a 'tone poem', lightsabers moving through dark and making it more of a 'visual' idea then an 'action/fighting' ideaAttack of the Clones: DVD Audio CommentaryIt's like poetry. They rhyme. Every stanza rhymes with the last oneIt's again notable that he used this same technique in Return of the Jedi in the fight sequence between Luke and Vader, moving from a well-lit stage to one largely in darkness. Audiences who'd seen the earlier films would recognise this sequence and it would generate a sense of nostalgia.------2. If neon is a very common element in the universe but rare on the earth and it exists as a colorless gas.......?Please clarify. Exactly what are you asking? Noble gases are elements that are created either by nucleosynthesis in the cores of stars or by massive stars going super-nova when their cores collapse. "... a star had sufficient mass, though, eventually enough C would accumulate so that the temperature and density reach a point where C nuclei could be fused into Neon nuclei. This carbon burning core would be surrounded by two outer shells, the innermost burning He, and the outermost burning H. This pattern of the central core collapsing and increasing temperature continues until a further round of fusion occurs and more shells form. How many shells are eventually formed is dependent on the initial mass of the collapsing nebula. This is because the main force that produces conditions suitable for fusion to happen is gravity, and the mass of the star determines the force of gravity. If enough mass accumulates in a forming core, gravity will be able to create enough force to raise the temperature and density to levels where the next series of fusion reactions can take place. Therefore, the larger the mass of the protostar, the greater its ability to form more shells during the lifetime of the star. This will also reduce the lifetime of the star since the increases in temperature also increase the fusion rates in the core and the surrounding shells, thus using up fuel even faster. Further cores/shells involve neon being converted to oxygen, oxygen fusing to silicon, and finally, silicon going to Ni (this product is radioactive and decays to form iron). Stars that reach this stage are called red supergiants. This is the limit to what a star can do (the reason why is mentioned later). In a fully developed star the shells would look like this: ..." "...In 1892 Ramsays curiosity was piqued by Lord Rayleighs observation that the density of nitrogen extracted from the air was always greater than nitrogen released from various chemical compounds. Ramsay then set about looking for an unknown gas in air of greater density, whichwhen he found ithe named argon. While investigating for the presence of argon in a uranium-bearing mineral, he instead discovered helium, which since 1868 had been known to exist, but only in the sun. This second discovery led him to suggest the existence of a new group of elements in the periodic table. He and his coworkers quickly isolated neon, krypton, and xenon from the earths atmosphere. The remarkable inertness of these elements resulted in their use for special purposes, for example, helium instead of highly flammable hydrogen for lighter-than-air craft and argon to conserve the filaments in light bulbs. Their inertness also contributed to the octet rule in the theory of chemical bonding (see Gilbert Newton Lewis). But in 1933 Linus Pauling suggested that compounds of the noble gases should be possible. Indeed, in 1962 Neil Bartlett, working at the University of British Columbia and later at Princeton, prepared the first noble gas compoundxenon hexafluoroplatinate, XePtF6. Compounds of most of the noble gases have now been found. ..."------3. Are there any planets orbiting such big stars as YV Canis Majoris, and if so how big would these planets be?Debris disks circling hypergiants can possibly spawn planets, although none have been discovered until now (debris belts, not planets). The discovery was made through NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope observations of two hypergiant stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud--the Milky Way's nearest neighboring galaxy--by a team led by Joel Kastner, a professor at Rochester Institute of Technology's Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, and their findings appeared in the February 2006 issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters. So far, searches for planets outside the solar system have been restricted to sun-like stars. All of these stars are older, dimmer and cooler objects than hypergiants, which are extraordinarily large and luminous but shorter-lived by billions of years. Kastner and his team used infrared spectra obtained by Spitzer to study a population of dying stars. They added a new direction to their project when Spitzer's infrared spectrograph revealed unexpected information. Spitzer's sensitive spectrometer, which breaks down infrared radiation into component wavelengths as a prism splits visible light into a rainbow, indicated that a third of the stars in the population thought to be in decline--including two massive and exceedingly luminous hypergiants--were actually younger stars in varying stages of development. The curious spectra of these two hypergiants (R126 and R66)--with one star being 70 times bigger than the sun--led Kastner to reexamine the stars' classifications as dying. The shape of the spectra, or the amount of light from different wavelengths, is characteristic of flattened disks of dust orbiting the stars. The two stars' similar spectra differ in detail, with one encircled by dust in crystalline form, the other by more shapeless, amorphous dust grains. This expands the range of known conditions under which complex dust grains and molecules can form and persist around stars, Kastner says. Kastner describes the complex mixture of dust detected around the stars as the tip of the iceberg, probably signaling that the disks of debris surrounding the stars are similar to the solar system's Kuiper Belt, a vast, distant collection of comet- and even Pluto-like objects. To explain the very strong infrared radiation they detected, the stars they observed would have to host especially large Kuiper belts. In his words: "If Kuiper belts are the smoking guns of planetary formation around stars, it seems that these stars, as massive as they are, may be forming planets. " Hypergiants are only a few million years old and have a relatively short lifespan as far as stars go, considering the billions of years it will take the sun to expire. These planetary systems, if they do form and exist, are short lived because these massive stars explode as supernovae. Kastner's study highlights only two of more than a dozen or so known examples of very massive stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud that are bright infrared sources. The next phase of the study will use new Spitzer spectra of the additional hypergiant stars to determine how many more are encircled by dusty disks and why only some of these disks contain crystalline dust grains. They've discovered a new class of object, and need to use Spitzer to measure the infrared spectra of a lot more of these objects to learn how unique they really are
Keep on Rockin' in the Green World
"Turn out the light, turn out the light!"WhenNelly Furtado sings these words at tonight's free Earth Hour concert atNathan Phillips Square, it will be a clarion call, imploring musiclovers across the GTA to do their bit to fight climate change. Organizershave planned a show designed to make a smaller environmental impact –using minimal lighting, encouraging the audience to lug-a-mug andbuying carbon offsets, for starters. Still these effortsrepresent just a fraction of the initiatives available to Torontoconcert organizers, says Lee Schnaiberg, an environmental consultantwho has co-ordinated greening efforts at several festivals, includingTennessee's Bonnaroo, considered one of the greenest in the world.Toronto, with its big-name concerts and thriving summer outdoor festival scene, still has a ways to go, he says. Comparedto U.S. cities of the same size, we lag behind in earth- friendly gigs,Schnaiberg says. While the holy grail – an event that leaves absolutelyno carbon footprint behind – is elusive, it's far from impossible,Schnaiberg insists. "You just have to plan it out," he says.It may seem like a small thing compared to the amount of waste that a large-scale festival can produce, but it is the first point of contact for any concertgoer. Recycled paper is obviously a place to start but there are other options. Lee Schnaiberg, an environmental consultant who works with the Green Living Show, (which takes place next month) says that last year show organizers used recycled paper tickets embedded with wildflower seeds. "The idea is that when you go home you can just soak it, plant it and then eventually have flowers growing," he says. This approach works for smaller events that don't need tickets with security features such as holograms or watermarking. Another option for a promoter is to use a company like California-based In Ticketing, which plants a tree for every ticket bought through the broker. On a technological front, just this week, Rogers announced a program with concert promoter Live Nation called the Wireless Box Office, which eliminates paper tickets and instead sends concert tickets to your cell phone via a text message with a barcode that can be scanned at the gates.TRANSPORTATION/TOURINGReverb is a Portland, Me., organization that has been working with bands to boost their green efforts. Since starting in 2004, the organization has greened 50 tours and reduced more than 28,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions. Pollution from the travel involved in a tour is one of the major contributors to concert pollution. "We like to use biodiesel fuel; typically we use B-20, although on some we're up to B-100, which is great," says Brian Allenby, Reverb's executive director. "After we've taken all the steps we can, then we start looking at carbon offsets to fill in the remaining pieces, like flights that happen on tour, because there's no real way around that in most cases."Another option with road travel is good old-fashioned carpooling. For instance, since Montreal's Osheaga Music and Arts Festival has been held right after Toronto's Virgin Festival, many artists with gigs at both festivals could have shared travel resources.Reverb also works with artists on greening their rider – the list of things they want at the venue. This goes beyond what the band is drinking and eating backstage. It's a matter of working with venues to evaluate their supplies. One perfect example is making sure the venue's cups are biodegradable or re-useable in some way. "Just think about how much beer is drunk at a concert, or at a festival," says Allenby. "We use corn cups and sugar- cane plates, so within four to six weeks they will be gone, as opposed to plastic that will take years, or in some cases, never."In terms of festival food, the key is to attempt to use local providers and organic food. The same goes for merchandise sold on-site. A little effort will help ensure T-shirts are made from organic cotton and souvenirs are sourced from environmentally conscious providers.Outside of air travel, energy is one of the largest environmental issues at a festival. Most outdoor concerts and festivals run on generators, so using B-20 (fuel made from 80 per cent diesel and 20 per cent biodiesel) or even B-100 is one of the first steps.But the cleaner-burning alternative to regular diesel isn't a perfect fuel, warns Schnaiberg.A higher concentration of biodiesel cleans out the generator when it first runs through the machinery, he explains. "If you're using B-99, for the first week or so, your generator's going to be sputtering. It's getting the gunk out, but that's not great because you have to run it for a week for it to work smoothly. So usually, you can only use B-20 on the stages."Of course, it all depends on the level of commitment. Schnaiberg says at last year's Osheaga festival, organizers brought in Hydro Quebec to dig lines to the main stages and provide to hydro-electricity.The result: "We got rid of five stage generators, which were about 150 to 200 kilowatts," he says. It also reduced the festival's carbon footprint by up to 100 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, Schnaiberg says. In terms of non-stage lighting, such as on walkways, one alternative is to use fluorescent paint. Companies such as U.S.-based Sustainable Waves and British Columbia's Carmanah offer solar-powered outbuildings and solar-powered light poles, respectively. WASTE MANAGEMENTIf you go to the Nelly Furtado show, be sure to tip a hat to the Green Angels. They're the volunteers that will be by the recycling and garbage bins politely pointing out where things have to go. Even if a facility has garbage, recycling and waste receptacles, they are only as good as the people who use them."We're expecting 5,000 to 10,000 people, so our Green Angels will be telling people which bin to use. But don't worry, they'll do it in a friendly, loving way," says Nathan Rosenberg from Virgin Mobile Canada, which is helping to put on the show. When recycling on such a huge scale, improper sorting can mean a huge mess for organizers, Schnaiberg says. "If you take some shortcuts, you'll find yourself with much larger problems. It costs to get rid of waste, so in many cases, it's in the organizers' (best interests) to reduce or finds ways to divert it from going into landfills."He proudly says that about 70 per cent of the waste at the Bonnaroo festival in Tennessee is diverted from landfills, and they sort recyclables on-site. One of the companies they use is Waste-a-way, which turns solid waste into picnic tables and parking guideposts.THE AUDIENCEDespite everything an artist does to minimize their carbon footprint for a show, the majority of the environmental impact at a concert or festival comes from the audience. Reverb estimates 80 per cent of a concert's carbon footprint comes from the fans' commute. A perfect example is Guelph's Hillside Festival, which is well known for its green practices, but considering its location, most people drive to get there. There are obvious ways to cut down on this. Crooner Jack Johnson has had a fan-carpooling initiative on his website for years and bands such as Barenaked Ladies have neutralized millions of kilometres of driving through fan carbon offset programs. As many planet-saving programs like to say, we are all in this together, and fans need to think about doing their bit, by bringing reuseable containers to a venue, or making sure that they throw that can in the right recycling bin. "Really, the fans are the biggest part, and really what we're trying to do is make them think about their impact," says Reverb's Allenby. "If we can just get them to do one thing, hopefully that will lead to another thing, and another."
How Building Regulations Enable the Disabled - Construction
Advanced societies are marked by how the disabled are integrated into mainstream life, whether in employment or accessibility to different environments. Both in the United States and the United Kingdom, government regulations from ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and the Government Office for Disabilities Issues, respectively, guide building design to easily and properly enable access to those on wheelchairs or crutches to all key areas of a living space. Disabled people are ensured access to buildings in the US through ADA (the Americans with Disabilities Act). Design requirements are specified for the construction and remodelling of structures for public accommodation, commercial areas and state and local government facilities. The Access Board develops and updates design guidelines, known as the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG), which specify facility types, set dates and additional scoping or technical needs. These requirements define the types of facilities covered, set effective dates and provide additional scoping or technical requirements for those facilities. What are scoping requirements for building construction? Scoping Requirements These requirements specify elements and spaces that are accessible on a site, which are also known as the 'scope of coverage'. Technical data is assigned to covered elements and spaces on a site, and building codes dictate the elements and spaces a site requires, generally consisting of parking, points of entry and exit and plumbing fixtures. Once the scoping requirements are determined, how are ADA guidelines applied? Application Various types of facilities are subject to ADA Standards. These can be single buildings or multi-building sites, such as airports or college campuses. Both interior and exterior spaces and elements are subject to ADA Standards. Requirements for parking apply to both garages and open lots. Both permanent facilities and temporary facilities, excluding construction-related temporary facilities, also fall under the authority of ADA Standards. Examples could be reviewing stands, stages, portable toilets and temporary classrooms. As for new construction, all areas are required to be fully accessible. To get a clearer idea, consider a retail facility. Scoping requirements for sales counters, fitting rooms and employee work areas apply. Sales Counters - Access required to at least 1 counter Fitting Rooms - Access required to at least 1 room in a cluster Toilets - Public use, common and employee toilets must comply with rules for the disabled Employee Work Areas - Partial access is required to sales counters, stock rooms, offices and loading docks With a medical facility, the scoping requirements involve: Public Use Facilities - Full access to public areas, waiting areas, corridors Exam Rooms, Offices - Full access to all exam rooms and offices. Employee work areas need not be accessible Employee Work Areas - Partial access required to reception/file areas, nurses' stations, janitors' closets Toilets - Public use, common and employee toilets must comply with rules for people with disabilities in 50% of all clusters Exemptions to ADA guidelines are as follows: Construction Sites Structural elements associated with physical construction and workers' portable toilets Examples: scaffolding, bridging, materials hoists, construction trailers Areas Raised for Security/ Safety Areas which have been raised mainly for security or life/fire safety Examples: lifeguard stands, fire towers and prison guard towers Areas Raised for Work Spaces include employee work areas that are less than 300 sqft raised to a minimum of seven inches as a condition of the space (not including raised courtroom stations) Example: Work areas with equipment/machinery operated from a platform Spaces with Limited Access Spaces which can only be accessed by ladders, catwalks, crawl spaces or narrow passageways Examples: stage lighting/equipment catwalks, platforms accessed only by ladders Spaces with Machinery Spaces used exclusively by service staff for maintenance, repair or monitoring of equipment Examples: elevator pits/penthouses, mechanical/electrical/communications equipment rooms, water or sewage treatment pump rooms, electric substations and transformer vaults Structures for Single Occupants Spaces accessed only by passageways or raised over standard curb height Examples: toll booths accessed by tunnels underneath or above curbs, booths for dedicated truck lanes Correctional and Residential Facilities Spaces of common use in correctional facilities and residences, away from accessible cells and living units Selected Sports/Recreation and Others raised spaces used only for refereeing, judging or scoring sportselevated boxing/wrestling ringsraised diving boards/platforms and water slidesprivate animal enclosures In work areas, ADA Standards are executed and require: sufficient access to approach, enter and exit work areasvisible alarm wiring where audible alarms existaccessible work areas of at least 1,000 sq.ft. These requirements are for spaces where work occurs. Places that are not used for work, such as employee restrooms, locker rooms, break rooms, cafeterias, medical exam rooms, classrooms and parking, must be accessible also. A minimum of 30 x 48" wheelchair space must be planned for work areas. Even routes to work areas require enough space to manoeuvre. This translates to accessibility for approach, entry and exit, as well as doors and gates. Design for electrical systems must provide for the later installation of both visible and audible alarms. UK Approach to Disability Design In the United Kingdom, there is much to be done to meet the needs of the disabled with regard to housing regulations. The disabled are generally accepted to be those with an injury, illness or congenital condition causing a loss or difficulty in physiological or psychological functioning. Housing which is inaccessible for the disabled have many barriers and results in the loss or limitation of a disabled person's ability to participate equally in society. It is necessary for more housing regulations to account for the needs of the disabled. According to the government's Office for Disability Issues, there are in excess of 11 million disabled persons in the UK. With the factor of an aging population thrown into the mix, the Office for National Statistics estimates that in 2021, compared to 2011, there will be 24 per cent more people aged 65 and above and 101 per cent more people aged 85 and above in England. This indicates that the number of disabled people will rise respectively. At this point, data from the English Housing Survey indicates that 21.5 million UK homes cannot be visited by the disabled, so they do not have level access, a flush threshold, the required door width and circulation space compliant with Building Regulations or a toilet at entrance level. These features are the bare minimum required for housing for the disabled, and even then, only 5 percent of homes had them. Also, approximately 300,000 disabled people are on waiting lists for housing across the UK. Since housing in the UK has had an unimpressive history with regard to standards of accessibility for the disabled, currently there is high demand for housing adaptations and for Disabled Facilities Grants, which greatly exceeds the available funding. A growing group of disabled people think that housing should be constructed to the Lifetime Homes Standard, which makes use of 16 design criteria for accessibility and adaptability. Local authorities have been increasingly adopting the standards mentioned in it, including a minimum of 10 percent of space being built according to wheelchair design standards. Since 2004, the Greater London Authority has ordered all new houses to be built to Lifetime Homes Standards with 10 per cent wheelchair design standards, which has been complied with by developers. In 2015, updated national technical housing standards were announced. For the first time, these include the implementation of three access standards in building regulations, but Wheelchair Design Guide standards are optional. Other standards are to be put into practice with the permission of the National Planning Policy Framework and Planning Guidance. Though planning and building control fall under the ambit of respective government authorities, housing for the disabled can be enhanced and improved with innovative design and sound design services, such as prefabricated construction BIM, modular construction drawings and the services of virtual design and construction. Design of houses on a more general level must include relevant building code application, whether that is in the US, Canada or the UK. While most home designers and architects in these regions will be familiar with the impact of the code, when they use external or, increasingly, offshore design partners for housing design, the importance of building code experience to meet the needs of disability aspects of the regional codes becomes critically important and an important element of the design partner selection criteria. Source:
Surefire Tips for the Perfect Entertainment for Making ...
It is essential to know how to choose one of the best service providers in this field. Firstly, you will need to check the Entertainment Booking agent. A good agent will do all the work leaving you time to focus on the other vital issues of the day. They have a wealth of experience and can offer good sound advice and many trusted options. Another thing to kept all your guests in mind be sure to consider suitable artists relevant to all your guest's music preferences as this is guaranteed to enhance the atmosphere on the day. Furthermore, be sure to find the venue and room size. Don't choose a massive six or eight-piece band if the room only caters for seventy people., "Size Matters."Also, be sure that the tone of the music is in line with the different parts of the day. Ensure that the drinks reception music is not too loud and your guests can mingle and chat. Save the up-tempo and loud music for post-dinner entertainment. Moreover, Remember that it is your "big day" to put yourself so first. Choose music that you as a couple enjoy as this will be a sure way to leave you feeling much more relaxed. Musical ability is arguably the most important factor when booking a band, and is also probably the only factor that will be recognized by your guests. Many good bands will have backgrounds in top music schools or performing with 'big name' artists. It does not guarantee quality, but it is a very safe bet. The band can cover your favourite tunes in a musical way that will make or break the performance. A good wedding band should have a broad repertoire, and be flexible with it to be able to cater to a variety of styles. Groups that can cover a bit of everything (soul, pop, rock, modern chart and even jazz/swing) will be the most flexible as they can tailor their performance to the exact specification of the client. Experience matter a lot as the ideal band will have played at many (possibly hundreds) of weddings before and will have come across most situations. The band will then be able to adapt to a last minute schedule change, and they will know when and how to change the set list to cater to the audience. Apart from this Professionalism is paramount at a wedding as this will be the biggest day of their life for most clients. It can't just be treated as "another gig" to get through. Most people who book a live band for their wedding will never have booked one before, and will probably never book one again, so the band should guide the client in all aspects of the booking including schedule, equipment, repertoire, size of the band etc. No two weddings are the same, and a good band will understand this. The most important thing is to do your research. The first place to start is the internet. An excellent professional band should invest in a good website, good demo recordings and good advertising, so they won't be challenging to find. Ask the band where they have played before and how many weddings they have performed. Speak to the band manager on the phone too, or even meet in person. This will give you a good idea about how professional they are. Also you should ask for a Whole quote from all bands and ask them to list what they included. Furthermore, they should always add a travel expenses, PA system, background music between sets and stage lighting. Always check how much live music you get for your money too.
Stage Lighting Basics for Bands
Any performance is greatly affected by how the performers are viewed. Stage lighting for bands is a tool for leaving a good, lasting impression in the hearts of the audience.Having a good stage lighting during your performance, even if it is just a gig, is very essential. It enhances the show and keeps the attention of the audience where you want it. It is also useful in distracting the audience from things you want to conceal. To do this, you could hire your own lighting designer (which is really not feasible for a small gig) or manage the stage lighting on your own. If you are planning on arranging your own stage lighting, there are some stage lighting basics you might want to know first.See how much power supply is available at the venue. You will need a chunk of it to power your sound system (PA). Make provision for additional power supply or avoid using heavy equipment for stage lighting, in case you think it might cause an overload.Check out the size of the stage on which you will be performing.Start with minimum or basic lights you will require for your performance.Riggers are used to increase stage lighting possibilities, especially if there are not enough places to hang the lighting fixtures.There are varieties of equipment used for effects, but you will get plain white lighting by using only PARs or Fresnels. Choose effects and colors according to the mood you want to create. Some options of equipment for stage lighting effects are given below.Other things that you can use for extra effects are and , depending on your taste and budget. If you want to use a for disco lights, be sure to focus a wash light on it from a proper angle.Once you have decided on the lighting design, you will need to think about the control of stage lighting. You have three options:Before deciding on your personalized lightning design, sit down with the other band members and think over the mood and atmosphere you want to create. Stage lighting for bands also depends on the kind of music and songs that will be played. Choose the lighting fixtures, stage riggers and light effects, especially colors, to create the desired effect. In case you decide to buy any stage lighting or rigging equipment for the first time, it is advisable to first hire them, to see their actual performance.
Sunbows Replacement Projector Lamps for Stage Lighting Come at Cheaper Prices Albeit with Better Qua
Hong Kong, China — Sunbows, a stage-lighting research and manufacturing firm that has got years of market presence and a disparate range of lighting products to sell, offers replacement projector lamp at OEM prices, but with far better quality. According to the manufacturers, their lean manufacturing model, careful selection of appliances and technologies and use of latest technologies help them produce top-line replacement projector lamps that are ideal for any stage or any big event."A lamp is the key component part of any stage projector. We use either DLP or LCD lamps so that the projector's work-life can be extended. A square or plastic plate can be seen on the outer part of the projector, which is usually placed at the projector's bottom. One can also find it on the top or at the sides depending on which model he has bought from us. We secure the cage in its place with the help of two screws", an insider briefly explained the build mechanism of the original projector lamps and systems that they offer.Apart from lamps manufactured in the Guangzhou factory of Sunbows, the company also sells branded projector lamps to their customers at attractive prices. Projector lamps from ACER, 3M, BARCO, BENQ, CANON, DELL, EIKI, EPSON, HITACHI, INFOCUS, JVC, MITSUBISHI and many other top brands are available through the trading website of Sunbows.ELPLP54 , an Epson EX31 projector ready lamp from Sunbows, is this month's product in focus. The manufacturers claimed that the ELPLP54 is an indigenously manufactured product that has a lamp life of 2000 hours and the lamp power is 160–200 watts. The lamp is compatible with a range of projector systems apart from Epson EX31. They said that this lamp has been manufactured in compliance with all the standard specifications."Though we are a leading stage lighting system manufacturer in Chinese domestic market, 80% of our products are exported to the Americas, Europe, Africa, and to large parts of Asia. Our replacement projector lamps are cheaper than OEM lamps, but are superior in quality", claimed the CEO and managing director of Sunbows.About the CompanySunbows Photronics (Hong Kong) Co., Ltd is a Hong Kong, China based electronics products manufacturer, supplier and exporter.To know more, visit·RELATED QUESTIONWhich software can I use to simulate stage lights?There is no simulator shown near 1.38 in the video, in fact there were no simulators featured in the whole video from what I could tell.I am assuming you are not 100% sure what a stage lighting simulator is. But here are the best and most popular ones:WYSIWYG (the Daddy, Win only) CAST SoftwareLightconverse (good realism, awful interface, Win only)LIGHTCONVERSE 3D SHOW PLATFORM main siteESP Vision (multiplatform, great realism)Welcome to ESP VisionCapture Sweden (good allrounder and multiplatform)CaptureRealizzer (new kid on the block, looking great, Win only)Realtime Lighting Visualizer - HomeMartin ShowDesigner MSD (Win only) Martin ShowDesigner - Lighthouse Holland B.V.there are others, but they are not really able to compete with the ones on this list.You will notice that Windows still gives you better performance due to more mature gaming/graphics frameworks many of these tools use and various other reasons.Controlling the lights is another subject. There are many options there and the choices would depend on many factors. Usually control systems control several elements of the show not only lights. Scale, budget, logistics will all influence the ultimate choice in control systems and design process.Some lighting console manufactures include free (and somewhat simplified) visualisers with their controllers as well. This might be something closer what you had in mind, but maybe not. ChamSys, MA Lighting and Avolites all have their own visualisers compatible with their own controllers (and are therefore more proprietary). Some are available free but ultimately not very usable unless you invest a lot of time and money into those tools.hope this helps somewhat.
Fake Violinist Opens Up About the Massive Lie That Broke Her
The audience gaped in amazement as the orchestra struck up a beautiful, mournful tune that sounded a little like the soundtrack to "Titanic". What no one realised was that these violinists, cellists and flautists were not playing a note, and the heart-swelling music that filled the room was coming from a CD. This was how Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman realised her dream of becoming a musician at the age of 20, touring the world with a fake band. At first, it was fun soaking up the adoration from the crowd, but gradually, the yawning gap between appearances and the banal reality took a terrible toll. The group sold millions of CDs, performing on National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting Service — but their performances were a scam, led by an eccentric and charismatic con artist. Jessica, now 37, first arrived in New York City from West Virginia's Appalachian Mountains in the early 2000s to take Middle Eastern studies at the prestigious Columbia University, with high hopes of making it — if not in the music world, then as a correspondent. In the meantime, she needed cash, so after donating a job and trying "all sorts of terrible jobs people do to try and make tuition", she saw a advert for violinists to perform on PBS and NPR for $150 a day, three days a week. Jessica had loved playing the violin in high school, although she knew she wasn't the best, and sent off a tape. She was called into an office and handed the job with no audition. "I was completely shocked," she told news.com.au. "I thought there had been a mistake and it wasn't until the weekend when I went on my training that I realised, actually, the microphones are off." The training took place in New Hampshire, six hours from New York. "I'd been picturing something super fancy but it wasn't like that, it was this craft fair," said Jessica, who has written a book called "Sounds Like Titanic" about the bizarre musical deception. As the orchestra began to play, the music was deafening, and she was amazed at their skill. But as she sold CDs to audience members, she finally caught on. "It took me, even with years of violin, it took me a few hours to realise I'm not hearing anything," she recalled. "They really are playing but they're being completely drowned out by this music, it's the perfect optical illusion. Your brain sees the violinist and hears the music and thinks it's the same thing, because why wouldn't it be?" Not a word was spoken about the scam, but when the student picked up a violin, she knew for sure that her real abilities would not be an issue. "I messed up completely, I couldn't find my place in the music, I really wasn't playing at all and everyone in the audience applauded. "I felt really relieved in the moment because I knew that if it was a really fancy concert I knew there had been some mistake in hiring me. This made sense and I really needed the money, and then there was also something about all those people looking at me like I was some amazing violinist." The man in charge of the operation, who she only refers to as "The Composer" since he still performs at New York's top music venues, was a rail-thin and handsome, with a wild mop of hair and a reassuring manner. He praised her performance, asking her simply to smile — and play more quietly. It felt degrading, says Jessica, but she needed the money. And as The Composer flew the several dozen orchestra members around the country to perform for thrilled audiences in America's heartland, from Oklahoma to Arkansas, she began to thrive on the attention. "I kind of over time developed this unhealthy relationship with the audience applauding me and going 'you're so talented', even though I knew it wasn't true. It's like anyone wants to hear that, especially when you're like 20, 21, a woman who's been doing s***ty jobs." She started to relate to the troupe's wacky leader more and more. "I think one thing that brings you to it is just not being that talented. So what do we do when we're not a genius? "How do you make it happen? I kind of feel like a lot of people are in similar situations you know, where you have this passion and you really, really want to do it and you'll work around the obstacles." They embarked on a three-month, 54-city "God Bless America" tour, appeared at Shanghai's biggest concert venue during a series of shows in China and performed to great acclaim on PBS television. Their lies didn't seem to matter. "At one point, a sound tech guy came running out to say, 'we're not getting anything, we're not getting anything' … and everyone on that stage knew why. "The flute player said to The Composer, 'just tell them' … and then they called a break so I don't know what happened. But obviously PBS knew, because you can't do that live without realising there's no sound, all the microphones were off. "I think probably what happened was it was all already set up and it was a really expensive production and everybody was already there and it was like, OK, just shoot it. "And then what happened is it was wildly successful and raised all this money for PBS and they were like, 'let's do it again.'" Now a creative writing professor living in Kentucky, Jessica believes the scam sums up our society today, filled with "fake news", double lives and an increasingly blurred line between reality and fiction. That fuzziness began to eat away at her without her even realising it. "I started having panic attacks. At first, it was just like stage fright but it got worse and worse and worse, to the point where I was having a lot of delusions, like the stage lighting was going to fall on top of me or I was going to throw up in front of everyone or pee my pants, just embarrassing delusions but they were very real and in my body. "I really felt like I was going throw up or pee myself or I thought my legs were going to detach … as I was putting the book together, I realised that what mental illness is losing your sense of what is real and what is fake." At the end of the God Bless America tour and four years in the job, with her hopes of a Middle East correspondent role over, Jessica left New York and went to live in her parents' basement, too afraid to even go outdoors. She began seeing a psychiatrist and getting to the heart of her issues. After six months, she took a role as a Columbia admissions secretary, allowing her to take its writing course for free and eventually become a professor. "When I came to New York, I did not think I would end up living in Kentucky as a professor, and the funny thing is, it's a total dream come true," she says. "I love my life there and really love my job … it actually ended up being much better." The city, the orchestra and the music all looked so perfect. But the flawed reality, however imperfect, may be even better.
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