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Even with exams looming, student playwrights, directors and actors are still managing to find time and energy to prepare their work for “One-Act Plays in the Park,” a seven-play festival at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in the Forest Theatre.This event will be presented by the Department of Dramatic Art Undergraduate Productions and Lab! Theatre. It is free and open to the public.Zac Moon, literary manager of the DDA, said plans for the event did not evolve until halfway into the semester. The timing of the event, near exam time, has brought out student dedication, he said.Once chosen for the festival, playwrights were left to fill the shoes of director or to appoint a director that would then cast actors. Moon said playwrights could have as much say in the production of their play as they wanted.With graduation around the corner for playwright Lee Storrow, he said he hasn’t been involved with casting or attending rehearsals. Saturday’s rendition of his “Party of Six” will be a surprise for him, but he is not nervous.“I gave them a really solid script, and I’m excited to see what they’re going to do with it,” he said. “It may be different than what I had imagined it, but that goes along with the artistic process.”Pressed for time with upcoming exams, playwright Marionne Gapuz bravely stepped into the dual role of writer and director and was able to see her production from beginning to end.“I’m glad that I’m able to see it through the whole process, but at the same time a director is able to bring a vision to your piece that you’d never seen before,” she said.Other playwrights, like Colin Keil, relied on classroom relationships to aid him in choosing a director for his play. Director Jacob Williams first met Keil through a creative writing class.Williams said it is their similar styles of humor that makes them a good duo.“As a playwright, I’m honored to be in this,” Keil said. “A lot of the creativity comes from the ground-level, from the characters who interpret things their own way.”Student-actress Erika Edwards walked out of her audition with not one but three roles for Saturday. “It was a really nice surprise just because I was expecting as a freshman to have a smaller role in one of the plays,” she said. “It’s an interesting balance of characters.”Moon said one-act festivals like this are a great way to get people together who have similar interests.“Doing a one-act festival is a nice way of showcasing a lot of artists to show there is a community of playwrights trying to get exposure,” Moon said. Contact the Arts Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emily Strader is the student employment coordinator at University Career Services and also counsels students pursuing careers in the arts. In light of the upcoming graduation in May, we asked her questions about what recently graduated artists should do to get started in the arts world.
Daily Tar Heel: For graduating seniors, how can you get involved in art right out of college?
Strader: Most of them are going to pretty much have a destination city in mind, go to that city and find work that pays the bills and that has an arts community. That city depends on their field of interest within the arts.
For a new graduate, they need to pick a destination city that has the reputation as being an arts city. It can be New York or Chicago, but it can also be Mexico City or Santa Fe.
DTH: What part-time options are there for people working another job?
Strader: It’s anything from a temporary or seasonal job, and some of the best casting takes place in the restaurants of New York City. Also, students can find ways to promote and sell their art on the side if it is visual art.
Otherwise, it’s any kind of part-time job that will make ends meet. There are any number of organizations that look for graphic designers or painters; it’s just a matter of doing your homework to seek them out. Most entry-level jobs will be behind-the-scenes, but through those jobs you can network in that art community.
DTH: What are some places or jobs people don’t think about but are still arts related?
Strader: People don’t think of art as being across so many industries – it is thought of as museum and galleries.
People can work in corporate positions, in hospitals, in public relations, in arts centers, in arts education, in venue management. Technology is really impacting the arts industry through gaming and software development.
Art is a very broad, wide area of opportunity, and it’s more than just our perception. We think it’s just a certain way, but it’s really so much more than that. Many arts students have interests beyond the gallery, museum or painting. Many have interests in wedding planning, the tourism industry, design and fabric, textiles and multimedia.
DTH: For visual arts, how can you get your work out there?
Strader: Find local venues along Franklin Street that will let you post your artwork. Always have a business card with your work. Students should also tap into public art submissions. There are also local organizations of Chapel Hill. Every artist needs to learn about writing because artists feel effects of grant writing that gets their work out in a space.
DTH: For performance arts, what are some alternative ways to get involved in performances?
Strader: There are tons of non-profit, little theaters that people just love to participate in. If a student wants to build his or her resume around performance, participating in outdoor drama for the summer or the peak season would be one big, good resume builder.
Find those small theater companies that want performers. In big cities, you have to find ways into the theaters with call backs and auditions, perhaps by working behind-the-scenes at first. The best way to get into the arts is to go to the place.
DTH: For music, how can you find gigs or more steady performance opportunities?
Strader: Find management, people who find music to market and promote. Through self-promotion, find places that would regularly let you come in and let you perform.
A lot of that is done by advertising on a Web site and using social media to help spread the word. The real promotion comes in going to gigs for business that need groups and bands.
Contact the Arts Editor at email@example.com.
In 1983 actor Ray Dooley played protagonist Jack Worthing in a production of “The Importance of Being Earnest.”
Famous trumpeter Terence Blanchard will bring his soulful sound to Memorial Hall at 8 p.m. tonight for an evening of jazz.Blanchard, a native of New Orleans, recorded his latest album at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, honoring the city after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.David Houston, the museum’s curator and director, said Blanchard brought back the soul of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina with his music.“Terence gave it more soul, gave it more feeling,” Houston said. “He started thinking more of his legacy as a New Orleans tradition rather than a national reputation.”Blanchard has also won several Grammys and worked on soundtracks for films including Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X,” “Summer of Sam” and “Do the Right Thing.Houston said that he is a long-time fan of Miles Davis and that after Davis’ death, Blanchard took up some of the same approaches to music, moving the jazz genre forward.“What I really appreciate about Terence is that he is an innovator and does not feel bound by the traditions of New Orleans music,” Houston said. “He has developed his own style, with a multilayer twist. Perhaps more than anyone, Terence is pushing new boundaries with his music. He is a real innovator.”In addition to his performance at Memorial Hall today, Blanchard will also speak to members of the UNC Jazz Band in conjunction with the 33rd annual Carolina Jazz Festival.Junior music major and jazz band member Ryan Raven said Blanchard’s visit will be both exciting and scary.“It’s a bit intimidating to have someone who’s done as much as he has come listen and provide comments on the jazz band,” he said. “I do look forward to meeting him and hearing what he has to say.”Britton Upchurch, a senior music major who is also part of the UNC Jazz Band, said Blanchard is at “the top of the game” and he is thankful for Blanchard’s visit to their rehearsal.“Terence is right in line with the other incredible acts that Memorial Hall books these days,” he said. “I’m more excited by the fact that someone of his stature is not out of the ordinary. “Upchurch added that Blanchard has recently become the artistic director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in New Orleans and that he understands the importance of giving back to young people.Both Raven and Upchurch said they look forward to Blanchard’s performance tonight.Harry Kaplowitz, marketing manager for Carolina Performing Arts, said it is not out of the ordinary for Memorial Hall to host Grammy winners — something that speaks to the strength of this season’s lineup.“It’s nice to have someone of that caliber performing in Chapel Hill to enrich the community,” he said.Contact the Arts Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UNC’s undergraduate theater will explore race, religion and ideology in its latest production, “The Sunset Limited.”The play, written by Cormac McCarthy, examines the opposing ideologies of two men: Black, a black ex-convict, ex-addict and reborn Christian; and White, a white professor and atheist. Black and White’s performances take place in a one-room set.The show is presented by UNC’s Department of Dramatic Art Undergraduate Productions and the LAB! Theatre. It opens at 8:15 p.m. tonight at the Kenan Theatre and runs through Tuesday.While controversial issues including race, suicide, the nature and existence of God and the value of religion, are overtones of the performance, the show’s director, Jeb Brinkley, said the audience can relate to both Black and White by recognizing “the flaws in both of their ways of thinking.”Brinkley makes his directorial debut with this production, along with a cast and crew that is composed mainly of first-timers.“Theater is a collaborative art form, and the challenge as a director is to make sure that every part of the experience fits with everything else,” he said. “You have to entrust others to help execute this concept, and a large part of making that work is simply being able to communicate your ideas.”Andrew Slater, a producing director for LAB! Theatre, said the group focuses on creating an artistic season by choosing material that is both engaging for college generations and relevant to our campus and community.“We find artistic value in both historical classics and recently published work, appreciating the theatrical arts as a forum that is simultaneously timeless and one that constantly evolves to fit the current time,” he said. “‘The Sunset Limited’ is a unique hybrid of that ideology, as it is a fairly recent play that tackles age-old issues.”The play was first performed in 2006.Though McCarthy subtitled the play “A Novel in Dramatic Form,” it is still meant for the stage, Brinkley said.“It simply means the text is as important to the story as the staging and technical elements,” he said.Brinkley also said the play’s ideas provide grounds for the audience to challenge its way of thinking.“Our director, Jeb Brinkley, puts it in a good way: ‘As an audience member, you have to consider each of the characters’ subjective opinions fairly and then objectively come to face your own,’” said Shannon Blakey, the show’s stage manager.Contact the Arts Editor at email@example.com.
When deciding whether to enter their work in an exhibit, student artists must consider more than just the outcome. They must consider the time it takes to make the art, the exposure and any possible incentives.UNC has several groups that give students a chance to display their art — if a student’s hectic lifestyle doesn’t get in the way first.Senior art major Katie Frohbose was required to participate in a exhibit for her study abroad program but has not submitted otherwise because of the energy required.
For graduate student Ashley Benners, most mornings begin around 8 a.m. with a pouncing, white, three-legged kitten on her head.She feeds her kitten and then proceeds to fall back asleep only to rise a few hours later to begin her day.With looming schoolwork, stress and jobs, some students make time in their schedule for the companionship afforded through owning a pet.According to the 2009-10 National Pet Owners Survey, 62 percent of U.S. households own a pet, which is equivalent to 71.4 million homes. But owning a pet while being a full-time student can be difficult.Benners adopted her kitten, Aerie, by chance last year when her roommate’s friend realized her apartment complex did not allow pets.“Aerie came to me when I was having a rough semester,” she said. “Having her around gave me something positive to focus on and was very therapeutic.”The kitten’s inverted hind leg did not deter Benners from adopting her. “If anything, I felt more compelled to take her because I feared that no one else would want to pay for an expensive surgery, especially college-aged students,” she said.Coming home at the end of the day to her awaiting kitten is the highlight of her day, Benners said.Likewise, sophomore Hannah Ward owns a cairn terrier named Thomas. She said Thomas teaches her responsibility. “I think it’s advantageous for later on in life,” she said. “Having a pet on your own, caring for it completely, you’re responsible for someone else, even though it’s not a human.”Ward got Thomas in 2007 but had to leave him in her hometown of Sparta because of the Department of Housing and Residential Education’s policy regarding pets.Akansha Kanodia, a resident adviser of Craige Residence Hall, said the policy prohibits students from having any pets in the dorms besides fish. While she has yet to encounter a resident with a pet, a resident’s mom once brought a dog during her visit.Junior Tarik Yassien manages to make time for his German shepherd-husky mix, Cheza, while also balancing academics and two part-time jobs.“I’ve wanted a dog since I was five or six, but my parents didn’t think it was a good idea,” he said. “But as soon as I got the chance when I moved into a house, I went for it.”Even as an adult, his parents still had their doubts about whether he would be able to care for an animal as part of his busy lifestyle. But Yassien said having a dog has brought him and his roommates together, everyone contributing and taking care of her.Aside from learning responsibility, students also gain unconditional love through their pet.“At the end of the day, even if you screw up, your dog still loves you,” Ward said.Contact the Features Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hidden in a nook of rustic brick buildings on West Franklin Street with a lingering scent of baked sweets, Bliss Boutique Bakery offers a modern frosting touch.While cupcakes are the signature of Bliss, the store will expand the business by launching new product campaigns this fall.“The concept of Bliss is more than just cupcakes. Although, the cupcake represents a large part of what we are about,” said Dennis Steigerwalt, the store’s strategy adviser and business partner. “Bliss is about many things: most importantly, the feeling our customers get from our brand.”But owner Mike Taylor said cupcakes are still the heart of the store. A regular gourmet cupcake costs $2.50.“I think there is just so much possibility with the cupcake concept, especially from a decorative and flavor standpoint,” he said.A few years after Taylor helped Steigerwalt set up CoCo’s Cupcake Cafe in Pittsburgh, Pa., the two wanted to expand the business model.Chapel Hill was decided upon for the location.“I know how much people in the South appreciate a good sweet, so I thought a place like this would be perfect for Chapel Hill,” Taylor said.The store opened on Jan. 31, 2008, only few days shy of competitor Sugarland’s one-year anniversary, which left many unaware of its existence.“The timing with the opening indicates we didn’t have the chance to capture people’s attention before leaving for the summer and whatnot, so we’re excited for things to start happening in the fall — for exposure, for the word to get out,” Taylor said.But Katrina Ryan, co-owner of Sugarland, is not taking a bite out of the cupcake concept.“You never like to hear about a competitor, but having seen how our business has gone, I couldn’t imagine how they could make a living selling nothing but cupcakes,” she said.“If you’re going to do something very ‘high concepty’ and only do one thing, I think you need a million people around so on any given day you’ve got enough customers who want the only thing that you’re offering.”Aside from cupcakes, Bliss now is diversifying to offer personalized tarts, brownies and cookies. The new campaign will advertise these products with new flavors, Taylor said.“The new offerings we’re making available this fall will continue to expand on our focus of making a premium product, just like our cupcakes Chapel Hill has come to love,” Steigerwalt said.Taylor said despite location and timing issues, business is thriving. “Cupcakes are timeless,” Steigerwalt said. “My involvement revolves around the simple philosophy of spreading bliss — the name is no accident — to the community around us.”Contact the Features Editor at email@example.com.