The Art Of Editing Is My Livelihood

Kevin Reiner edit

The weight of my work is in creating videos in Advertising and Marketing – commercials, corporate videos, capital campaign videos etc. The wonderful thing about Clark Creative is that we also get involved with many local arts and nonprofit organizations, including The Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, The BLUEBARN Theater, KANEKO, Omaha Performing Arts, and Opera Omaha.  Because of this, I always feel that my work is going for worthwhile causes.

In 2005, artist Jun Kaneko approached Fred Clark, the owner of Clark Creative Group, and me to seek our help in creating video animations for his upcoming opera production of Madama Butterfly done in collaboration with Opera Omaha. It seemed like a fun project, one that landed outside our usual territories.  Jun was very organized and specific about his needs, so the job was more about bringing his visions to fruition than creating something from scratch. The experience turned out to be a great success. When Kaneko was asked to design the production of Fidelio for Opera Philadelphia in 2008 and a production of The Magic Flute for the San Francisco Opera in 2012, he graciously brought Clark Creative Group along for the ride.

My whole role in all 3 opera productions was to provide background animations that were projected during the performances. Each opera production seemed to get a little more complex, culminating with The Magic Flute which contained a total of 9 screens using over 11 hours of animation for each performance.  For The Magic Flute, I animated in video what Jun does with the art. Using a program called Adobe: After Effects, I recreated the drip art and lines that Jun had created and animated them according to his storyboard.

The equally difficult challenge came in delivering the files. During the live performance, all of the animations must be cue-able to the score; the tempo can change drastically from night-to-night.  This entailed a ton of planning and cooperation between the opera technical staff and myself.  I ended up learning how to follow an opera score and timing my animations to that score, making sure that my animations were able to be looped and allow for correct cueing.  Difficult enough for one screen, but we were working on up to 5 screens at one time.  All of those screens had to stay in sync.  It was a challenge to say the least.  I leaned on my editing partner Mark Grossardt and after many long nights, we delivered The Magic Flute animations to the San Francisco Opera. One of my proudest moments was when the crew in San Francisco asked if I could bring two or three of my crew members out there.  Little did they know it was only two of us working on the entire production.

 

About KevinKevin Reiner

Kevin Reiner grew up in a tight-knit family in Omaha, NE. After graduating from Omaha Creighton Prep, Kevin went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

In 2000, he was hired by Clark Creative Group as their video editor. With the use of books, online user groups, and trial-and-error, Kevin taught himself the art of editing.  Kevin’s loves in his life include all types of music (indie, pop, punk, folk, alt, alt-county, classical, ska etc.), film (Coen brothers being the favorite), and food (cooking and eating).  Kevin states the most important aspect in his life to be family, his wonderful wife, Kim, and their two kids, Henry and Charlotte.  “They keep me going.”

Kevin’s work can be seen in April 2015 when Opera Omaha presents the Jun Kaneko production of Fidelio.   www.operaomaha.org/operas/fidelio

 

Torch Singing Is My Livelihood

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Torch Singing 101, Zen’s Lounge, Lincoln, NE

About 15 years ago while living in Chicago I came across an online article about fantasy occupations. In the men’s category on the top of the list were Airline Pilot and Professional Baseball Player. On the women’s list, the top fantasy occupation was Lounge Singer. I thought to myself, that’s what I do! There is a need here I could fulfill as I was already teaching jazz voice at the college level. I needed to design a simplified course to help adults (including men) fulfill their lounge singer/jazz singer fantasies with a top level band in hip music room (about that time, “The Fabulous Baker Boys” movie was out and I recall Michelle Pfeiffer’s character in a red sequin dress, stretched across a grand piano singing a torch song which may have inspired this too).

I moved to Lincoln three years ago and thought to recreate a similar course I’d created in Chicago (which was a huge success by the way). After convincing several new friends here to be the first students, I taught the first class out of my home and we had the first show at Zen’s Lounge on 11th St. with Tom Larson, piano and Hans Sturm, double bass, accompanying them up . It has just taken off, attracting both men and women. Last fall I was even invited to give Garrison Keillor on his show, A Prairie Home Companion, a Torch Singing “lesson” at the Lied Center. It was quite spontaneous and tongue-in-cheek. We had a blast!

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Torch Singing 101, Zen’s Lounge, Lincoln, NE

The class is called Torch Singer 101 and its designed for the novice but anyone can take it. It’s taught out of my home in Lincoln’s Country Club District. Class is limited to 8 adults and meets once a week for 2 hours. Classes run 6 weeks, culminating in a free public performance at a local venue. We focus on songs from the “Great American Song Book” and jazz standards. We have fun with vocal improvisation to get singers loosened up and to get inside the harmony of a song. We discuss lyric interpretation, stage presence, stage fright and microphone technique along with vocal range and melody transposition. Singers perform one group song and 2 solo selections backed by professional rhythm section in front of friends, family and new fans!

Students get to explore singing beyond the written page with vocal improvisation in class and the thrill of doing it on stage.

Students get to explore singing beyond the written page with vocal improvisation in class and the thrill of doing it on stage. They solo with uniquely crafted arrangements with professional jazz musicians who, in addition to backing them up, follow and support them in the event a section is forgotten or beats are “dropped” in the heat of the moment. Singers experience a live, supportive and enthusiastic audience cheering them on, there’s nothing quite like it! In fact, classes usually include students who want to do it a second or third time.

For me, I learn new musical ideas from my students (who often don’t know the cliches yet) and I get to be the nervous mom in the front row, watching my students take risks, get over stage fright and entertain an audience with wit and poise. I get to know so many cool people in Lincoln as well.

Next Torch Singer 101 show:
Zen’s Lounge, 122 N. 11th St., Lincoln Tuesday, October 14, 7:30PM (402-475-2929).
No cover charge (donations for the band appreciated).

www.zenslounge.com
www.torchsinger101.com
www.jackieallen.com

About Jackie 

jackie allen

Photo by Matt Elwood

Jackie Allen, vocalist, songwriter, educator and recording artist, has toured the US, Europe, Morocco, Brazil, China and Taiwan. Last spring, 2014 she released her 10th album, My Favorite Color (Avant Bass). Her group includes guitar, piano, acoustic bass and percussion. “Allen’s greatest strength is her sheer musicality and the way in which she both frames and interprets her song.” (Los Angeles Times)  “Utterly distinctive and even innovative…a masterpiece. “(Billboard Magazine) “This is four-hundred-dollar-a-bottle jazz” (Rolling Stone) Musically sophisticated and artistically daring…” (Chicago Tribune).

Allen teaches voice and songwriting at Doane College (Crete) and has taught at UNL, Ball State University (IN), and Roosevelt University (IL). Allen was featured with the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic’s Ella Fitzgerald Celebration (Auditorium Theater). She has served on the Board and Jazz Committee for the Recording Academy (Grammy Awards).  She’s married to bassist Hans Sturm with their son Wolfgang.

Writing is my Livelihood

leo 3

My interest in wordplay began in childhood. Growing up in North Omaha I found myself attracted to the wonder of certain words, usually multi-syllabic tongue twisters I heard television talking-heads wittily brandish. I also fell under the near fatal spell of alliteration.

I believe my real fascination with language stemmed from seeing my late father working his crossword puzzles, reading the newspaper and occasionally immersing himself in a book. Then there was the colorful vernacular he used around the house and that my extended family, who lived in South Omaha, used. Sprinkled in with the cuss words were  idiomatic descriptives favored by my father’s white-collar clan, whose expressions were just different enough from those of my mother’s blue-collar bunch, to stand them apart. Further seasoning this verbal stew were stray Polish words from my father’s side and occasional Italian words from my mother’s side. It was a multicultural linguistics education. As our all-white inner-city neighborhood became mixed, African-Americans introduced me to another rich vein of language flavored by their Southern roots and urban Northern street culture.

“….the simple joy of playing with words is the main

appeal to me.”

Even with all those influences I do not believe I would have been drawn to writing were it not for the Marvel comic books and high school English lit books I inherited from my older brothers. These stimulating hand-me-downs were enhanced by the periodicals that came into our home, particularly Sports Illustrated. By the time my brother Dan started writing his own personal sports column, just for the sheer pleasure of it. I, too, discovered writing could be fun. Later I found out what hard work it is. As teachers encouraged my efforts, I stretched myself. In high school I was recruited to write for the school paper and that led me to study journalism in college.

Even now, as a journalist and author, the simple joy of playing with words is the main appeal to me. Follow my work telling the stories of people, their passions and magnificent obsessions at leoadambiga.wordpress.com or http://www.facebook.com/LeoAdamBiga.

About Adam

Leo Adam Biga is a working journalist who contributes articles to newspapers and magazines. He is also the author of Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film, a collectionleo of the writer’s extensive journalism about the Oscar-winning filmmaker. Additionally, Biga is the coeditor if Memories of the Jewish Midwest: Mom and Pop Grocery Stores and the author of two e-books for the Omaha Public Schools.

The University of Nebraska at Omaha graduate worked in public relations (Joslyn Art Museum) before becoming a freelance writer. His published stories for dailies, weeklies, monthlies and quarterlies number well over a thousand. As a generalist he writes about a broad range of subjects, though most of his work is arts and culture-based.

He is finishing the biography of a retired Catholic priest who served marginalized populations around the world and he has plans for more nonfiction books. A new edition of his Payne book is in-progress.

Sample his eclectic work at leoadambiga.wordpress.com or http://www.facebook.com/LeoAdamBiga.

NOTE: His partner, artist Pamela Jo Berry, is a past Livelihood subject. Read more about Pamela Jo Berry here: http://bit.ly/YAt45c.

Fiction is my Livelihood

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As a farm boy, I was a spectacular failure. I wandered off from my chores, lost in imagination, mumbling to myself as I walked in circles. Today such a child would be drugged and counseled. My parents, however, let me roam; one of the paths I trod through a patch of weeds is still weedless to this day – nothing ever grew to cover my steps. Today, I pace as I write fiction, with my laptop propped on a fat dictionary atop the kitchen counter. I mutter aloud, considering the rhythms of words, performing lines of dialogue. I do have a writing desk in a writing room but I do no writing there. I need to be up and about fussing with things, my stories coming together on the sly. For me, I guess, writing must always involve wandering away from chores, and it must never become the chore itself.

Whether you’re a writer or not, you’re developing your own art of moving from point to point.

A teacher once accused me of wanting to avoid “the dog work” of writing fiction. She said I didn’t put enough effort in moving the characters from point A to point B – she said I just wanted to jump from one vivid detail to the next. She was right, and she meant to scold, but I found myself inclined to rebel. Why must a character be moved from point A to point B? Why must there even be a point A and a point B at all? Of course I eventually came to understand that plot and technique didn’t have to muddle the art of the thing. But I remain baffled by those writers who consider fiction an obligation. (A novelist I once knew even likened writing to “factory work.”) And I’ve always found it curious that one is said to “indulge” the imagination, as if the imagination was too pleasurable to politely allow. Imagination and creativity guide your every move — you’re not just relying on your intellect and your sentiment to navigate your days; you’re inventing your own character as you go along, devising a kind of mythology based on all the aspects of your own spirit, and sense, and gesture, your daily tasks, your loves, your frustrations. Whether you’re a writer or not, you’re developing your own art of moving from point to point.

Please join us for (downtown) omaha lit fest on Sept 12-13 for literary readings, panel discussions, and an opening night party. “Like” us on Facebook (Omaha Lit Fest) or visit www.omahalitfest.com.

About Timothy

Timothy Schaffert is the author of five novels, most recently The Swan Gondola, set Timothy Schaffert 1_by Michael Lionstaramong the humbug artists and theatrical types of turn-of-the-century Omaha. His work has been a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, an Oprah.com Book of the Week, and recognized in the O. Henry Prize Stories and Best American Short Stories anthologies. Novelist Kurt Andersen called Schaffert a “master of Great Plains gothic” on his public radio program Studio 360; on the NPR program On Point, Paul Ingram said “[Schaffert] is an Omaha writer the way Faulkner is a Mississippi writer – he has a deep historical connection to the area, and you learn so much.” Schaffert grew up on a farm in Nebraska; he lives in Omaha and is a professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is founder/director of (downtown) omaha lit fest, to be held Sept 12-13, 2014 at W. Dale Clark Library. www.omahalitfest.com

Theatre Is My Livelihood

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Recommended Reading For Girls – Two Dogs Photos

I sometimes have trouble throwing things away.  I still have this ratty (but exceedingly comfortable) t-shirt that I picked up in high school.  The lettering on the front reads, “If you love me, tell me a story.”  I like the simplicity of it.  It sounds like the truth.

While I identify professionally as a playwright, I have tumbled through a few art forms on my way here.  I was deeply serious about music (but not so deeply talented).   Music is a beautiful foundation for any rigorous discipline.  There are no shortcuts. It requires daily commitment and offers opportunities to be part of something greater than oneself.  Music teaches listening.  It is excellent training for writing.

I studied creative nonfiction in undergraduate school, which was excellent training for arts administration.  I studied that at an art school– while learning about voice.  In visual art, it is easy to see the individual.  Even when the still life is the same for everyone, the interpretation and line is unique to each artist.

It is a story and a present; it is an expression of love.

Working in arts administration has taught me to appreciate the entire collective.  Making arts accessible to everyone is a group project.   I am proud to live in a state that supports the arts and am exceedingly grateful for the Nebraska Arts Council and Nebraska Cultural Endowment.  The cultural landscape of a state requires a chorus of unique voices working together.

I love that theatre makes use of all these skills.  I can have music, language, and art together.  I can keep everything and get a little bit extra.  There is a generosity in our theatre community that continues to astound me.  When we make a new play, directors, actors, designers and writers collaborate.  Ultimately, the play is a series of gifts, much like our cultural endowment.  The playwright gives the play to a director, the director gives it to the actors and designers, everyone works together to give the play to an audience.  It is a story and a present; it is an expression of love.  For me, it is an art form that wears well.

About Ellen

Ellen Struve is an Omaha-based, Omaha-raised playwright.  Her TAG and OEA award-winning play, Recommended Reading for Girls, was part of Omaha Community Playhouse’s 2012-13 season.  She is a Great Plains Theatre Conference StageWriteEllenStruve Headshot(11) (2) and Mainstage playwright.  She is a WhyArts? Resident Artist and Literary Manager at Shelterbelt Theatre.  Her plays have been produced in five states.  She is a Nebraska Arts Council Individual Artist Fellow.  She has degrees from University of Iowa and School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  This fall she will be working with Great Plains Theatre Conference and Omaha Community Playhouse to develop a new work.

To read more about Ellen’s projects:

http://www.omahaplayhouse.com/education-and-programming/view/21over1415/

http://www.shelterbelt.org/