MP3s from last summer’s Nickel Creek and Glen Phillips outdoor concert in Lowell

Last summer I recorded the Nickel Creek and Glen Philips concert at the Lowell Summer Music Series. It’s a fun outdoor spot to see music. Better late than never — here are a bunch of the MP3s. They turned out pretty good considering I was sitting towards the back.

This is one of the last concerts that Nickel Creek performed. They’re focusing on other projects including Chris Thile’s band Punch Brothers and Sara and Sean Watkins’ Watkin Family Hour.

Glen Phillips will be in Boston on Thursday October 16th with Jonatha Brooke. They’ll be performing at The Wilbur Theater that started hosting music concerts not too long ago. That is definitely not a show to miss!

Glen Phillips, July 2007, Lowell Summer Music Series

Nickel Creek, July 2007, Lowell Summer Music Series

Blogging the Arts: Let Me Down Easy at The American Repertory Theatre

A couple weeks ago I participated in a panel about blogging and social media at StageSource’s annual Boston Theater Conference with Nicholas Peterson (Assistant Director of Marketing at The American Repertory Theatre) and Charlie McEnerney (Marketing Director at ArtsBoston). We spent 90 minutes conspiring with one of the most well attended break-out sessions of the conference talking about how theaters of all sizes (and budgets) can make use of the online world to reach out and engage a new audience.

I’ve teamed up with local arts non-profit The American Repertory Theatre for a series of blogger events during the upcoming 2008-2009 season at their two spots in Harvard Square. Each blogger receives a complimentary ticket for themselves and a friend. The first event for the new season takes place on September 16th for Let Me Down Easy a play in evolution, written conceived and performed by Anna Deveare Smith. (If you were a West Wing fan like me, you might recognize Anna from her role as National Security Advisor Nancy McNally on The West Wing, 2000-2004.)

About the Production:

Well known to A.R.T. audiences as the creator of Fires in the Mirror, Anna Deavere Smith is one of the most acclaimed and provocative writers and performers of our time. Her latest one-woman show, LET ME DOWN EASY a play in evolution, is a journey in search of human qualities that are too seldom in the news – compassion, generosity, and grace.

Channeling a dramatic range of interview subjects, from sports stars and philosophers to healthcare professionals and survivors of the Rwandan genocide, Anna Deavere Smith asks a question for our age: how do we pursue grace and kindness in a competitive and sometimes distressing world? Generous and powerful in its vision, LET ME DOWN EASY a play in evolution is a virtuosic exploration of the resourcefulness of the human spirit.

To jump start conversation about the production, the A.R.T. has posted an entry on their blog titled “What is Grace” — they’ll be reading and collecting (and responding to) opinions before and after the blogger night on September 16th. Might be a cool use of Seesmic to get video reactions to the question, too? I’ll post a separate blog entry here at sooz.com with my own tidbits answering the question.

As the A.R.T. staff began to discuss how the word “grace” factors into Anna’s production of LET ME DOWN EASY a play in evolution, we realized how individual concepts of grace are very different and very personal. One member of our group found himself uncomfortable with the word; others found it powerful. Some saw it spiritually, while others associated it only with the body.

How do you think about grace? Do you think of yourself as someone who experiences grace in your life? Why? How? If you work in the world of health care and healing, how do you see grace fitting in?

If you’re a Boston area blogger and you’d like to join us for Let Me Down Easy a play in evolution on September 16th, head over to the RSVP page to sign-up. Each blogger receives two tickets so feel free to invite a friend, too! As an added bonus, A.R.T. is giving away two pair of tickets to see KOOZA from Cirque de Soleil.

Here’s a YouTube video from 2005 at the TED Conference where Anna Deveare Smith portrays four people she interviewed for “On the Road: A Search for American Character.” — author Studs Terkel, convict Paulette Jenkins, a Korean shopkeeper, and a bull rider.

The Boston Globe and 140 Seconds on Twitter

WBUR (via their Twitter account) noted that Alex Beam wrote an article about Twitter in The Boston Globe. I knew it was going to be an amusing read based on the tweet:

“Boston Globe columnist slams Twitter: http://tinyurl.com/5msvs4” (@wbur)

In case you haven’t seen it yet, Twitter is a micro-sharing website where you describe in 140 characters or less what you’re up to. You can send and receive messages via SMS (text messages) on your phone, through Twitter’s website and third-party applications such as Twitterific. If you want to talk “with” someone on Twitter, you add @theirusername to the front of the message and it shows up in the person’s replies tab. This was a feature that was added several months after Twitter first launched in 2006 based upon how people ended up actually using the service. That’s been the consistent story for Twitter — it’s definitely evolved beyond “I’m making an omelet for breakfast” to now include sharing info about late breaking news, making plans with a group of cohorts, etc.

I was one of the first users of Twitter — I signed up in August or September of 2006. (Twitter briefly noted your sign-up date but didn’t keep that tidbit around for very long, for whatever reason.) I wasn’t expecting to really use it much. At the time there weren’t a lot of users and even if there were — who cares what I’m up to?

Fast forward to today and I have 1,877 followers. That’s not the 3930204932 follows (only a slight exaggeration) that people like Robert Scoble or Chris Brogan have — but it’s still a decent number of people who want to receive my brief alerts. For me, the tipping point happened at South by Southwest Interactive in 2007 when a bunch of us used Twitter to quickly make meetup plans. A few months later I was interviewed on CNN talking about using Twitter. They definitely took the “Twitter fan girl” angle on the story but it had a little more depth than Alex Beam’s article in today’s Boston Globe. Probably because CNN talked to both Twitter HQ and its users. Amazing!

I can understand Alex’s initial assessment if he was just a regular Twitter user writing about it on his personal blog. But he’s a journalist who gets paid to write about this stuff. There are a lot of people in the greater Boston area using Twitter and it would not have been that difficult to reach out to a few of us to gather more research about the article. Doing a search for “Boston” currently shows 5,357 users who have Boston noted in their name or location. (That doesn’t count people in the greater Boston area who don’t specifically note Boston as their location. I’m in Watertown, for example.) Journalists have power with their words — many people who aren’t that online savvy will read Alex’s article and dismiss checking out Twitter. I think that’s unfortunate.

If you are on Twitter and want to get alerts about local “Tweetups” — check out @BostonTweeters. You can find and follow me as @Sooz.

The Evolving Photographer And Her Quest For Photo Credits

I might not be the next Annie Leibovitz; but I’ve definitely been improving my photo skills in the past year. It’s a fun adventure (and an expensive habit buying new lenses, etc!).

I discovered that Yahoo! News is using two photos (1, 2) I took of John McCain (in 2005 when he spoke at a Harvard Bookstore event) on their presidential campaign page about him. My photos are featured with four other photos posted on Flickr of John McCain.

Above the Flickr photos there’s an Associated Press photo. You’ll know it’s an AP photo because there’s a photo credit at the bottom of it. There are no credits below my photos. The only reference to any sort of credit is “From McCain ’08 Flickr Photos” noted above the photos.

I double checked the license on these photos and they both have “all rights reserved” — but I’m willing to give Yahoo! the benefit of the doubt since I’ve changed my license a few times and it might have been a variation of a Creative Commons license when they grabbed the photos. At the very least the photos would have an attribution requirement. I looked at one of the other photos featured on the McCain page, and they have a Creative Commons license that requires attribution.

David Fischer and I had a mini-conversation about this on Twitter earlier today. David mentioned:

“@Sooz The lack of credit from Yahoo is disturbing. I’m worried about this Getty Images/Flickr thing and the bill they are pressing in congress.”

I can’t figure out why Flickr (by way of their parent company Yahoo!) would ignore creative commons licenses. What am I missing?

(If you’re wondering why in the world I took photos of John McCain — don’t worry, I’m not a McCain supporter. It was just one of many Harvard Bookstore events I’ve attended over the years.)

Free Shakespeare performance on Boston Common of “As You Like It”

Free Shakespeare, the annual summertime project hosted by the Citi Performing Arts Center is back again at the Parkman Bandstand on Boston Common, July 18 through August 3, 2008. I’ve organized a get together for the Sunday, July 27th performance of As You Like It, at 7pm. We’re meeting up at 6pm to grab a spot on the grass. If you’d like to join us, RSVP on the event page I set up at Facebook. If you’re not on Facebook, send me an email.

I missed last year but have made it to several of the Free Shakespeare events in the past. It’s always a lot of fun in that “sit on the grass with friends and a zillion strangers and watch a Shakespeare play” kind of way.

Photo by Steven2005 at Flickr. (From “As You Like it” – Act 2, Scene 1)

Update about Exploit Boston’s Concert Photos in July project

Concert photography cohorts and I plan to get out as many nights as possible in July to take photos at Boston concerts. I’ll be curating it daily throughout July via Exploit Boston. So far I’ve lined up complimentary admission every night in July for participating photographers at the following Boston, Cambridge and Allston music venues: The Middle East Upstairs, The Middle East Downstairs, Church, The Lizard Lounge and Great Scott.

If you’d like to get involved, let me know! I wrote about the photo project at sooz.com previously and you can also sign-up on the event page at Facebook. Obviously this is for people who are (most likely) not pro concert photographers. No one is getting paid for the photos outside of free admission to the club. It’s fun.

30 Nights of Boston Concert Photos in July

I thought it would be fun to try to see live music every night in July for thirty days of concert photos. But then the voice of reason reminded me that I’d probably be dead after the first week. I’ve nudged a few friends to participate and we’re looking for more conspirators. If you’d like to participate, send me your Gmail address so I can add you to the “Boston Rocks July 2008” shared calendar. I’ll be making note of the photo adventure (links to everyone’s blogs, tidbits about upcoming shows, the photos, etc.) over on Exploit Boston!.

Podcamp returns to Boston in July

Podcamp Boston

The awesomeness that is Podcamp Boston is happening July 19-20 for year number three. I’ve helped out each year running the registration+info desk with Steve Sherlock. It’s an inspiring event. This year, a small fee ($50) is being charged to help insure that everyone who signs up is committed to going.

Beyond the participant sponsorship, Podcamp Boston is also looking for companies to step up and help cover logistical costs including the venue. Christopher Penn, Podcamp co-founder and lead organizer for Podcamp Boston found a great venue at Joseph Martin Conference Center at Harvard Medical School. If you’d like to help make this event happen, please do. This is a good opportunity to be visible to hundreds of social media savvy mavens and people interested in digging in and learning more. If you have any questions about the event, email me!