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Film, Theater, and Performing Arts

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1001 Beds Cover

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1001 Beds

Performances, Essays, and Travels

Tim Miller; Edited by Glen Johnson

    For a quarter century, Tim Miller has worked at the intersection of performance, politics, and identity, using his personal experiences to create entertaining but pointed explorations of life as a gay American man—from the perils and joys of sex and relationships to the struggles of political disenfranchisement and artistic censorship. This intimate autobiographical collage of Miller's professional and personal life reveals one of the celebrated creators of a crucial contemporary art form and a tireless advocate for the American dream of political equality for all citizens.
    Here we have the most complete Miller yet—a raucous collection of his performance scripts, essays, interviews, journal entries, and photographs, as well as his most recent stage piece Us. This volume brings together the personal, communal, and national political strands that interweave through his work from its beginnings and ultimately define Miller's place as a contemporary artist, activist, and gay man.

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21st-Century Hollywood

Movies in the Era of Transformation

Wheeler Winston Dixon and Gwendolyn Audrey Foster

They are shot on high-definition digital cameras—with computer-generated effects added in postproduction—and transmitted to theaters, websites, and video-on-demand networks worldwide. They are viewed on laptop, iPod, and cell phone screens. They are movies in the 21st century—the product of digital technologies that have revolutionized media production, content distribution, and the experience of moviegoing itself.


21st-Century Hollywood introduces readers to these global transformations and describes the decisive roles that Hollywood is playing in determining the digital future for world cinema. It offers clear, concise explanations of a major paradigm shift that continues to reshape our relationship to the moving image. Filled with numerous detailed examples, the book will both educate and entertain film students and movie fans alike.

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24

By John McCullough

For eight seasons between 2001 and 2010, Fox’s 24 garnered critical accolades and became one of the most watched and discussed shows in primetime. In an innovative premise, the show’s hour-long episodes were meant to represent a real-time hour of the story, so that each twenty-four-episode season depicts a single day in the life of its characters. Influential as a popular hit, 24 was also closely linked with the “culture of fear” that dominated the post-9/11 period. In this insightful study, author John McCullough demonstrates that the series was not only unique and trendsetting, but also a complex creative response to its historical context. In three chapters, McCullough looks at 24’s form, style, and overarching themes and meanings. He argues that although the series is driven by the political and cultural shifts brought on by the War on Terror, it is routinely out of step with real history. Using Linda Williams’s distinction between the melodramatic mode and melodrama as a genre, McCullough explores 24’s use of the action-adventure and spy thriller forms with particular attention paid to the series’ hero, Jack Bauer, who is depicted as a tragic hero perpetually in search of a return to innocence. Ultimately, McCullough finds that the series’ distinction lies less in its faithful re-creation of the history of the WOT than in its evocation of the sense of crises and paranoia that defined the period. McCullough also analyzes 24 as a response to television culture in the “post-network” age, characterized by reality TV’s populist appeal and visceral content, on the one hand, and sophisticated boutique cable programming (“quality TV”), on the other. McCullough demonstrates that 24 engaged not only with the most pressing issues of world history and the geopolitics of its time, including terrrorism, neoliberalism, and the state of exception, but, on the strength of its form and style, also represents significant global trends in television culture. Fans of the show and media history scholars will appreciate this thorough study.

3-D Revolution Cover

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3-D Revolution

The History of Modern Stereoscopic Cinema

Ray Zone

In 2009, Avatar, a 3-D movie directed by James Cameron, became the most successful motion picture of all time, a technological breakthrough that has grossed more than $2.5 billion worldwide. Its seamless computer-generated imagery and live action stereo photography effectively defined the importance of 3-D to the future of cinema, as well as all other currently evolving digital displays. Though stereoscopic cinema began in the early nineteenth century and exploded in the 1950s in Hollywood, its present status as an enduring genre was confirmed by Avatar's success.

3-D Revolution: The History of Modern Stereoscopic Cinema traces the rise of modern 3-D technology from Arch Oboler's Bwana Devil (1952), which launched the 50s 3-D boom in Hollywood, to the rapidly-modernizing 3-D industry today. Ray Zone takes a comprehensive approach that not only examines the technology of the films, but also investigates the business, culture, and art of their production. Influencing new generations of filmmakers for decades, the evolution of 3-D cinema technology continues to fill our theaters with summer blockbusters and holiday megahits.

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9XM Talking

WHA Radio and the Wisconsin Idea

Randall Davidson

These words crackled in the headphones of crystal sets around the country in 1921 as the University of Wisconsin radio station 9XM began its regular schedule of voice broadcasts. Randall Davidson provides the first comprehensive history of the University of Wisconsin radio station, WHA; affiliated state-owned station, WLBL; and the post-World War II FM stations that are the backbone of the network now known as Wisconsin Public Radio. 9XM Talking describes how, with homemade equipment and ideas developed from scratch, 9XM endured many struggles and became a tangible example of "the Wisconsin Idea," bringing the educational riches of the university to all the state's residents. From the beginning, those involved with the radio station felt it should provide a service for the practical use of Wisconsin citizens.
    The book's informative chapters cover the programs that allowed the medium of radio to benefit farmers and homemakers, to bring world-class educators into isolated rural schoolrooms, and to teach people all over Wisconsin everything from literature to history to touch-typing, long before anyone came up with the term "distance learning." Davidson concludes by discussing the claim that WHA has to the title "Oldest Station in the Nation." This groundbreaking book is based on archival materials dating back to the 1900s and includes dozens of historic photos and illustrations, many of which have never been published before.

 

Winner, Book Award of Merit for best Wisconsin history book, Wisconsin Historical Society

 

 

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Abraham Polonsky

Interviews

Andrew Dickos

Abraham Polonsky (1910-1999), screenwriter and filmmaker of the mid-twentieth-century Left, recognized his writerly mission to reveal the aspirations of his characters in a material society structured to undermine their hopes. In the process, he ennobled their struggle. His auspicious beginning in Hollywood reached a zenith with his Oscar-nominated screenplay for Robert Rossen's boxing noir, Body and Soul (1947), and his inaugural film as writer and director, Force of Evil (1948), before he was blacklisted during the McCarthy witch hunt.


Polonsky envisioned cinema as a modern artist. His aesthetic appreciation for each technical component of the screen aroused him to create voiceovers of urban cadences--poetic monologues spoken by the city's everyman, embodied by the actor who played his heroes best, John Garfield. His use of David Raksin's score in Force of Evil, against the backdrop of the grandeur of New York City's landscape and the conflict between the brothers Joe and Leo Morse, elevated film noir into classical family tragedy.


Like Garfield, Polonsky faced persecution and an aborted career during the blacklist. But unlike Garfield, Polonsky survived to resume his career in Hollywood during the ferment of the late sixties. Then his vision of a changing society found allegorical expression in Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here, his impressive anti-Western showing the destruction of the Paiute rebel outsider, Willie Boy, and cementing Polonsky as a moral voice in cinema.

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Acting for America

Movie Stars of the 1980s

Edited and with an introduction by Robert Eberwein

Acting for America focuses on the way film icons have engaged in and defined some major issues of cultural and social concern to America during the 1980s. Scholars employing a variety of useful approaches explore how these movie stars' films speak to an increased audience awareness of advances in feminism, new ideas about masculinity, and the complex political atmosphere in the Age of Reagan. The essays demonstrate the range of these stars' contributions to such conversations in a variety of films, including blockbusters and major genres.

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Acting in Real Time

Paul Binnerts

Acting in Real Time by renowned Dutch director and acting teacher Paul Binnerts describes his method for Real-Time Theater, which authorizes actors to actively determine how a story is told---they are no longer mere vehicles for delivering the playwright's message or the director's interpretations of the text. This level of involvement allows actors to deepen their grasp of the material and amplify their stage presence, resulting in more engaged and nuanced performances. The method offers a postmodern challenge to Stanislavski and Brecht, whose theories of stage realism dominated the twentieth century. In providing a new way to consider the actor's presence on stage, Binnerts advocates breaking down the "fourth wall" that separates audiences and actors and has been a central tenet of acting theories associated with realism. In real-time theater, actors forgo attempts to become characters and instead understand their function to be storytellers who are fully present on stage and may engage the audience and their fellow actors directly. Paul Binnerts analyzes the ascendance of realism as the dominant theater and acting convention and how its methods can hinder the creation of a more original, imaginative theater. His description of the techniques of real-time theater is illuminated by practical examples from his long experience in the stage. The book then offers innovative exercises that provide training in the real-time technique, including physical exercises that help the actor become truly present in performance. Acting in Real Time also includes a broad overview of the history of acting and realism's relationship to the history of theater architecture, offering real-time theater as an alternative. The book will appeal to actors and acting students, directors, stage designers, costume designers, lighting designers, theater historians, and dramaturgs.

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Acting Like Men

Gender, Drama, and Nostalgia in Ancient Greece

Karen Bassi

Greek drama demands a story of origins, writes Karen Bassi in Acting Like Men. Abandoning the search for ritual and native origins of Greek drama, Bassi argues for a more secular and less formalist approach to the emergence of theater in ancient Greece. Bassi takes a broad view of Greek drama as a cultural phenomenon, and she discusses a wide variety of texts and artifacts that include epic poetry, historical narrative, philosophical treatises, visual media, and the dramatic texts themselves. In her discussion of theaterlike practices and experiences, Bassi proposes new conceptual categories for understanding Greek drama as a cultural institution, viewing theatrical performance as part of what Foucault has called a discursive formation. Bassi also provides an important new analysis of gender in Greek culture at large and in Athenian civic ideology in particular, where spectatorship at the civic theater was a distinguishing feature of citizenship, and where citizenship was denied women. Acting Like Men includes detailed discussions of message-sending as a form of scripted speech in the Iliad, of disguise and the theatrical body of Odysseus in the Odyssey, of tyranny as a theaterlike phenomenon in the narratives of Herodotus, and of Dionysus as the tyrannical and effeminate god of the theater in Euripides' Bacchae and Aristophanes' Frogs. Bassi concludes that the validity of an idealized masculine identity in Greek and Athenian culture is highly contested in the theater, where--in principle--citizens become passive spectators. Thereafter the author considers Athenian theater and Athenian democracy as mutually reinforcing mimetic regimes. Acting Like Men will interest those interested in the history of the theater, performance theory, gender and cultural studies, and feminist approaches to ancient texts. Karen Bassi is Associate Professor of Classics, University of California, Santa Cruz.

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The Actor Within

Intimate Conversations with Great Actors

Rose Eichenbaum

In Rose Eichenbaum's third work on the confluence of art making and human expression, she delves into the lives of thirty-five celebrated actors through intimate conversations and photographic portraits. With her probing questions and disarming manner, she captures the essential character of her subjects while shining a light on the art that defines them. The work provides extraordinary insights on the craft of acting with discussions of process, techniques, tools of the trade, and how to advice for aspiring actors from seasoned veterans. These stars of stage and screen, known for signature roles and critically acclaimed performances, emerge in The Actor Within with masks and wardrobe removed. Here, they speak their own lines, tell their own stories, and raise the curtain on what it means to live the actor's life--the challenge of mastering their craft, the drama of big breaks and career woes, the search for meaningful roles, and above all, having the courage to bare their souls before theater audiences or the camera. For the artists featured in this work, acting is more than a profession; it is how they make their way in the world and artfully merge their inner sense of humanness with universal truths. This collection serves as an important inspirational resource for anyone interested in making art, regardless of medium.

The Actor Within includes interviews with Karl Malden, Ruby Dee, Ed Harris, Piper Laurie, Marcia Gay Harden, William H. Macy, Ellen Burstyn, Joe Mantegna, Debra Winger, Julia Stiles, Elliott Gould, Elijah Wood, Stockard Channing, Bill Pullman, Amanda Plummer, Marlee Matlin, Charles Durning, Marsha Mason, and many others.

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