Do you need an avatar

If you spend any amount of time online, you’ve probably needed to post a head shot or other image of yourself. If you’re lazy, you leave the photo area blank or go with a random photo you have lying around. But some folks are adopting avatars, those tiny cartoon-y images which are becoming increasingly common.

During the election, Obamicons (avatars in the style of the iconic Shepard Fairy Obama poster) were flooding the Web thanks to a free program offered on Paste Magazine’s website. Now, during the “Mad Men” frenzy, images like the one here are cropping up, courtesy of the “MadMenYourself” campaign on the show’s site.

So, why would you want one of these avatars? I’ve been talking to lots of folks who use them, and here’s what I’ve learned: {Read the rest at Yahoo!}


Transforming Art Into a More Lucrative Career Choice

Aiming to end the notion that “starving” and “artist” are necessarily linked, some artists have begun to figure out ways to make art and money at the same time.


A New Generation, Poised to Reinvent


A Peek at the Future of Work

A conversation with the author and consultant, Patricia Martin, about a new set of values that is shaping the workplace.

A Creative Spin on the Fund-Raising E-Mail

An enterprising photographer uses a fund-raising e-mail message as an opportunity to build awareness and get clients for her photo sessions.

If You Have Seven Minutes, Watch This! (And if you don’t have seven minutes, why not?)

Dan Milstein and Bonnie Duncan, a married couple, can’t help being creative. Dan is an actor/director/theater company founder/computer programmer. Bonnie is a dancer/puppeteer/costume designer/trapeze artist/arts educator. But those labels are too limiting because every time I hear from them they are cultivating new slashes. Most recently, they have become indie YouTube filmmakers. Their debut short is Killing Time, soon to become a cult classic, I’m sure. They’ve got two more in production and I’ll post those as soon as they’re ready.

Here’s the film. Following it are excerpts from my email Q&A with the filmmakers. Wait to read it until you’ve seen the film as it kind of gives away the plot. I apologize for the funky spacing below..some kind of Blogger glitch I can’t seem to fix.
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The Confidence to Reveal Your Ideas

New freelance writers always worry whether someone will steal their ideas.
Whenever the question of how to protect against idea theft comes up in a class or a workshop, I always say some variation of this:

So what if someone steals your idea. If you couldn’t execute it better than anyone else, someone else should write it. And if you are really the best person to write it, you’ll still be able to write it. That’s why I loved this description (from The New York Times, Tuesday, April 3) of surgeon/author Atul Gawande’s sharing a bunch of his ideas for future writings with a reporter:

Pulling out his Blackberry, he said, “It seems like there’s a story in every nook and cranny of medicine,” and scrolling down a list of 106 ideas he’d saved, he picked a few. “Itching,” he said. “Nobody really understands what it is. Chernobyl. Twenty years on, what really happened there? Why weren’t there as many cancer case as once predicted? And here’s a good one: why, if we have so many health-policy experts in this country, do we have such bad health policy?”

Btw, I tried to interview Gawande for my book. He politely declined, saying that his slashes were just keeping him too busy.


Where inspiration comes from

This weekend the beau and I saw Dai, the latest theatrical/political project from Culture Project (producers of The Exonerated). If The Exonerated was more documentary theater, Dai was more theater with a weighty message. It was enthralling, enraging, and entertaining — and its biggest achievement was that it was balanced, an adjective seldom found lurking around the subject of the Middle East these days. Iris Bahr is the one-woman creative powerhouse behind the whole affair; she wrote it, and plays about 10 different roles in the course of the 80 minutes show.

I’m obsessed with people who find/create modes of expression for multiple talents. But Bahr is off the charts. She is an exceptional storyteller, a political voice, a natural performer, a well-timed comic, and most of all, an astute observer of human character. She has a book coming out any minute (March 6), Dork Whore: My Travels Through Asia as a Twenty-Year-Old-Pseudo-Virgin, which I can’t wait to read. Who says subtitles are useless?

After the show over a late dinner during which we analyzed every nuance of the show, I felt overcome by the urge to write something for the theater. I studied theater as an undergraduate and over the years had the occasional idea that seemed like a potential play.

Inspiration has never turned into a script (yet!), but the urge always returns whenever I see something really smart and moving in the theater. Reading a lot of books certainly helped me to write one. So it looks like I’ll be getting to the theater more.


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