Suffragettes pioneered techniques used by Gandhi, King

Ashland Contemporary Theatre’s recent production “Pankhurst: Freedom or Death,” directed by Peggy Rubin, is a theatrical tour de force written and performed by Jeannine Grizzard. Set in England in 1913, the play examines the history and issues involved in the women’s fight for the right to vote, finally granted in 1918. Grizzard had researched a speech by Emmeline Pankhurst (a leader in the suffrage movement). She decided to develop the material while attending a Social Artistry Workshop given by Jean Houston and Peggy Rubin. The challenge was: What project can you come up with to change the world?

EH: How did Emmeline Pankhurst make her mark on history?

JG: She created modern media coverage of activism. Technology had advanced to the point where they could take pictures of a protest and have them published in newspapers the next day. Staging events for the media to cover was her introduction to the twentieth century, which paved the way for Gandhi and Martin Luther King, making big demonstrations and relying specifically on the press. Continue reading Suffragettes pioneered techniques used by Gandhi, King

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Festivals celebrate collective film watching experience

Ashland Independent Film Festival Artistic and Executive Director Richard Herskowitz has put together a stunning festival, bringing in numerous films, filmmakers, panel discussions, interviews, live performances, gallery exhibitions and interactive events for a four-day run that concludes this evening, April 16. We visited at Bloomsbury Coffee House to discuss his vision of independent filmmaking and festivals.
RH: A film festival is inevitably a potpourri of things. It’s got to reach a lot of different tastes and audiences. I create a kind of a meta film out of a lot of different movies by creating themes and connections between them. At the same time there is scholarship and education involved.
One of the major themes of the festival this year is the importance of classic film — preservation and exhibition. Without the knowledge of classic film, emerging filmmakers lack a foundation. Being exposed to films done in the past makes you realize that there are alternative ways of doing things than films done in the present. I’ve seen filmmakers, inspired by classic films, do things in a different way. The way we do things now has evolved and will transform again in the future.
EH: What separates a good film from a great film?
RH: I don’t make those judgments. My inclination is to see films historically. Films speak to particular moments. I resist objectifying a work of art. I think works of art are historically based. I do believe there are masterpieces. Continue reading Festivals celebrate collective film watching experience

‘There are only two genres of music in the world’

Composer Joby Talbot will be performing his original score for the silent film “The Dying Swan” Saturday, April 14, at the Music Recital Hall at Southern Oregon University as part of the Ashland Independent Film Festival.
Coincidentally, the Royal Ballet’s “The Winter’s Tale” (composed by Talbot) is being shown during the London Live series at the Varsity Theatre in Ashland April 8 and 9.
Talbot’s résumé includes contemporary classical pieces and film and television scores. He composed motion picture scores for “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and for the animated film “Sing.” As an arranger, he has worked with numerous contemporary musicians, including Paul McCartney and Tom Jones.
EH: Some of your scores are enormously complicated. How do you get started?
JT: It’s like building a building. You have to have a strong structural architecture. I start with the raw building blocks of pitches and rhythm. When I’ve got the whole piece done like that, then I can stworrying about who plays what, and how they all combine. Continue reading ‘There are only two genres of music in the world’