May 31, 2006

Southern Hospitality and a Special Meow

Good bye to Aurora Picture Show! We had a wonderful volunteer thank you party this evening and I felt like I was part of a family. Amazing how fast I made friends in Houston. It feels more painful leaving these relationships than it did leaving San Francisco. That Southern hospitality?

Rocky, one of the three cats that roam our office, said a special good bye to me today. He jumped on my desk and started licking my arms. Then he got down in my lap and made cat cookies on my leg. The most amazing thing is that he must have known it was my last day. Rocky is cool and hip - never gives anyone this much love. I felt very special.


Here is a photo of Andrea the Founder of Aurora and her husband Carlos. My mom took the shot.

May 29, 2006

Juicing-Up is for Wimps

When I see photos of Barry Bonds I don’t get psyched, I get disgusted. It seems that only in San Francisco can fans, who are considered to be amongst the savviest “business” and “cultural” people in the world, cheer for a man who is clearly juiced up.

What a wimp. What a liar. Anyone who needs to pump up their muscles by injecting Human Growth Hormone, better known as steroids, into themselves is really a shadow of a person.

Winners get strong the natural way. Losers need to cheat.

May 28, 2006

Good Night and Good Luck San Francisco

I've spent the last week back in San Francisco and I feel like this is the end of my connection to the place.

Every day has been filled with visiting friends. We've been able to stay up to date on our comings and goings because of email. Each meeting feels like we're picking up on having seen each other just yesterday.

But the place, I'm pretty much done with it. Yes, it is beautiful and this weekend the weather has been amazing, yet I don't feel like I'm part of it any more. Now I'm here as a visitor, a tourist. I am staying on Union Square and living the hustle and bustle of people, cars, noise, sounds, smells, and the cable car chattering.

I don't have the desire to go to any old favorite haunting grounds or hiking special trails in the hills. Today I went to Macy's, got some sinful cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory, walked through North Beach and Chinatown and now I'm in a cafe across from the cable car museum. Yes, I am here as a tourist.

Tony Bennett's Heart on Union Square, a project that I coordinated, has lines of people waiting to get their picture taken next to it. I watch and the history of that Heart doesn't even really come to mind. It is just another object four tourists. Tony left his heart but I have taken mine to Houston and now London.

May 20, 2006

Everybody's Art Car Parade

Are we in Ithaca, Berkeley or Houston? Everybody's Art Car Parade, presented by The Orange Show, is a Houston tradition. It brings out the weirdest in everyone and is a great place for exhibitionists and voyeurs. Over 250 vehicles. Heck, even Frida Kahlo and Kinky were there! FYI - it was at least 85 degress in the shade. Photos were taken last weekend by Stephen.

The Final Final

Teaching at University of Houston Downtown changed my life. Being a Professor was the realization of one of my dreams, inspiring me to continue teaching, at least in some capacity, in London.

The joy of sharing something I love, arts management, is so rewarding when the students are engaged and inspired by what you present. When they presented their final projects I actually had butterflies in my stomach - like it was my final exam. A semester’s worth of work was synthesized and applied. It was a joy to experience!

My UHD students were mostly folks who were returning to school after many years in the professional sector. Their common goal - to change their lives. The life experiences they brought to the classroom were always interesting and sometimes surprising. A very creative lot. Many were artists themselves and entrepreneurs as well.

Dr. Thomas Lyttle fueled my enthusiasm as my champion and cheerleader for the class. He couldn't believe that I had so much energy. My goal was to establish at least an Arts Administration minor at UHD. I think they are now going in that direction! It would set the university apart and is very much a needed course of study in this creative city.

Thank you to Sara Kellner at DiverseWorks for recommending me for this position. She is a tremendous leader and mentor.

Course curriculum on my website.

May 19, 2006

Stress: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

A chronicle of the evolution of my response to stress.

It started when I was about 10 years old with an itchy nose and sneezing. I would rub that poor nose until it was raw if I was in a stressful situation. If I was around one particular relative - only my mom knows who, since she pointed it out - I would sneeze like crazy.

In college it became a rash on my face, which then moved to my neck - less obvious. From there it became jaw clenching and teeth grinding. Result: terrible TMJ and surgery. But stress hadn't concurred me yet. Next it became vertigo. I felt like I was on a swaying ship. Got really bad a few days before my first marriage - a little hint of things to come?

Tests and more tests and it became clear - the vertigo was in my mind. Oh yes, that powerful noodle inside my noggin. It works over time. Migraines - every six months like clockwork. Then about four years ago it evolved into headaches that lasted 3-5 days. Excruciating pain and nothing could make it stop. Again, Doctors sending me off for various tests and prescribing medications that didn't work.

This year I decided enough is enough - no more tests and medications. If I am going to concur the stress and chronic pain I will have to change my behavior. The headaches stopped this month as I willed the pain away each time it crept up. I'm now six weeks headache free - two weeks past my normal monthly episode.

But a new beast is battling the stress inside me - my stomach. For the past week I've been doubled over in pain. I try to be Zenned out but clearly it isn't working. Stephen will be the first to admit that I am certainly much better than when he first met me four years ago. But I still have this extreme reaction to stress. Or maybe I'm not reacting and holding it all in which is eating me up inside.

In last week's New York Times Magazine there was an interesting article that has me hopeful about living without pain. My Pain, My Brain By MELANIE THERNSTROM, Published: May 14, 2006. The author, who lives with chronic pain, explores and experiences research that pushes the pain threshold and asks if perhaps we each can control our response.

It is important for me to reduce my stress because as I get older I can see how it eats away at my health. In Thernstrom's article she talks about how researchers have discovered that your brain actually shrinks when you are in pain - and the shrinking lasts. Not only is it hard to think when you are in pain - you actually are decreasing your mental capacity - permanently.

Moving house twice in one year - first across the country and then across the pond - is very stressful. Even if it is fun, exciting and filled with adventure I am clearly not as relaxed about it as I would like to think. But I'm warming up to the British life. Stephen and I went out for pints of Guiness this evening - practicing for our life in London. If only I enjoyed beer ;-)

Illustration by Marcos Chin from the NYT article.

May 18, 2006

The BIG One Year Anniversary Announcement

Okay, I know you've be waiting on pins and needles since the start of May when I hinted that there is a big one year anniversary announcement on my blog. Well here it is... wait for it, wait for it.

London Calling!
Stephen and I are moving to London for two years. How cool is that? People say they are jealous but let me tell you, I'm jealous of me. Very exciting.

Now this leaves a lot of questions about what I will be doing there. Be prepared for many musings on this topic.

Also note that the description of my blog has changed. Change is good.

Dynamic Strategy Planner

I'm always being asked about my husband's job and title. Feeling like a brainless wife I can never explain or even recall the details. Stephen says I should just say he is a consultant but that always results in more questions. I fumble. I usually end the conversation by saying, "he thinks he's James Bond." Being Scottish this fits the illusion and it distracts the person.

My friend Anna has guided me to the most wonderful website Bullshitjob Generator.

About the site: Have a new hire? Can't think of an exciting title? Have a friend or relative you want to hire but they have no skills? Generate their title right here!

There are three columns of job title components and the database randomly chooses a combination for you. I have oodles of friends who actually fit many of these titles. Mostly they work in management consulting, marketing and brand management.

Stephen is a Productivity Coach and heck if I know what that means. Here are some new ideas for his title...
  • Dynamic Strategy Planner
  • Direct Assurance Administrator
  • International Accountability Developer
  • Future Usability Engineer
  • Direct Applications Facilitator

Please share your favorites!

May 11, 2006

TiVo Your Life

I use to have to be right all the time. Okay, maybe I still do but I’ve learned to bite my tongue. At first it was literally biting that wiggling story-teller but now its more a proverbial tongue-biting. Regardless, it is still a bit painful and always self-imposed.

Recently I was told that I am so calm and that nothing phases me. Stephen’s reading this and getting a good chuckle and certainly raising an eyebrow. “Amy, calm, cool, unphased, and collected?” That’s not the inner Amy he knows at home. Few people get to see the real me.

My Internal tinkering and processing, which seem to often make my face appear blank, is somehow interpreted as peacefulness. That’s the true sign of successfully living the double life. But there are moments when the gotta-be-right Amy steps out and as soon as it happens I wish I could TiVo my life and zip over the unwanted scenes.

One of those moments happened the other night. As soon as the words slipped out both Stephen and I looked at my mouth and wondered if perhaps it has become possessed. Unfortunately I can’t reveal the situation. Just imagine the worst, most inappropriate and most mis-interpretable statement you can make in front of the absolutely wrong people and that’s what I did.

Stephen and I did manage to re-wind and re-play it later with lots of good giggles.

Note: I just found a blog listing of the same title at High Verbosity.

May 7, 2006

Madonna Website

Checkout Madonna's cool website. I haven't seen anything like it with the use of flash.

This image is from Unfortunately her official website is all flash so you can't download any of the funky cool stuff.

Okay, I was once told that I look like Madonna. Maybe in this photo of her...

Realization at 37

Money is good. Having money is very good. Making money is great.

That's my new realization and life philosophy. Took 37 years to get here but I'm starting to figure it all out. You don't need to suffer, under-sell, under-value yourself to get approval. Making money is not shameful. In fact, I don't think it is even that hard to do.

Stay tuned for my big announcement in May...

May 6, 2006

Cesspools, Septic Tanks and Palmetto Bugs – Oh My!

The ABC News headline reads: Man, Son, Neighbor Swallowed by Long Island Cesspool.

Sounds like something out of the Middle ages but its true. Last month a cesspool in Huntington, NY - Long Island or as we say lawngeyeland - opened up in a man’s yard as he stepped out during a rainstorm to get his Sunday newspaper. His son and neighbor tried to help him escape but they too were sucked into the crevice. Firefighters finally extracted all three. The poor fellows were covered with raw sewage when they emerged.

Who the heck thought of creating cesspools in Long Island? Can you think of anything grosser (except Palmetto bugs which is another story)? Okay, septic tanks make the list.

My folks have a septic tank in their yard in Connecticut. Every couple of years my dad has to get a contractor out to pump the tank. They know where to dig up the yard to access the top because the grass is always greener over the septic tank. I recall my dad advising us not to use the toilet too much during rainstorms because the tank could flood. Who the heck invited septic tanks?

In case you are wondering how these things work...

From the Emil Norsic and Son website.

NOTE: This page is intended to be a resource for helping you to understand and maintain your septic system so that it will function at optimum efficiency and with a minimum of service.
The systems we address here are of the type commonly in use on Long Island , NY

A septic tank is a chamber through which all waste water from the home passes. The tank collects the water and allows the heavier solids to sink to the bottom forming a "sludge". Lighter solids such as soap, grease and oil rises to the top and forms "scum". Natural bacterial action works on the solids, helping to break them down.

The tank's design keeps the solids from flowing out with the residual liquid, called "greywater", into the cesspool drainage area where it leeches into the soil.

Cesspools (or leaching pools) are pits into which concrete, brick or cement block walls have been placed. Wastewater flows into the cesspool and drains or "percolates" into the soil through perforated walls.

Cesspools which serve only as "overflow" pits from septic tanks are much more efficient than the older systems because they receive much less solid material. However, where there is no septic tank to hold the solids, the cesspool will require much more maintenance. Over time, when the drainage area around the leaching pool becomes saturated, additional pools may have to be dug to handle the volume.

If your septic system was installed prior to 1975, it is likely that the cesspool(s) are constructed of cement blocks and / or brick. This type of construction is problematic as cesspool walls can weaken over time, leading to possible collapse.
To avoid problems you should:

Know the location of your cesspool(s) and limit foot traffic in these areas. Children and pets should be discouraged from playing above or around the cesspool.

Close these areas to all vehicular traffic. Do not park heavy equipment, boats etc. in these locations.

Note any changes in the ground above or near the cesspool. A sudden change in grade (settling), unusual puddling or wetness, odors or sinkholes are all symptomatic of a collapse or other problems. Take all necessary precautions to keep people away from the area and call reputable cesspool service company immediately. At Norsic, we give such calls top priority.

Consider replacing older systems with modern components that are less suseptible to problems and far more safe. If you are planning a project involving excavation on your property, try to replace the cesspool at the same time. It can save significant time and money.

Block Cesspool Collapses
If you have property in eastern Long Island that was developed prior to 1980, there is a good possibility that your underground septic system componants (cesspool and/or septic tank) may be deteriorating and subject to collapse.

Reflecting on this blog posting I seem to have a growing attraction repulsion fascination happening with “stuff” that should remain in the ground – or at least out of sight. Is this what it means to grow-up? Seeing the ugly under buggy of the beautiful clean fa├žade?

May 3, 2006

Fearlessness of Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central's Colbert Report is fearless. To get up in front of the press, politicians and Mr. and Mrs. President and have the guts to do this is commendable. Reading the speech allows you to appreciate the political spin doctor double-talk that he has mastered. I'm sure if you only had the audio/video version you would glaze over as when any politician speaks.
Bravo Stephen for taking your character beyond the boob tube.

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006
From: Democracy Now Website

Stephen Colbert's Blistering Performance Mocking Bush and the Press Goes Ignored by the Media


AMY GOODMAN: Today, we'll give you a chance to hear comedian Stephen Colbert and to watch him in his own words. This is what he said at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.

STEPHEN COLBERT: Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. Before I begin, I've been asked to make an announcement. Whoever parked 14 black bulletproof SUVs out front, could you please move them? They are blocking in 14 other black bulletproof SUVs, and they need to get out.
Wow! Wow, what an honor! The White House Correspondents' dinner. To actually -- to sit here at the same table with my hero, George W. Bush, to be this close to the man. I feel like I'm dreaming. Somebody pinch me. You know what? I'm a pretty sound sleeper; that may not be enough. Somebody shoot me in the face. Is he really not here tonight? Damn it! The one guy who could have helped.

By the way, before I get started, if anybody needs anything else at their tables, just speak slowly and clearly into your table numbers. Someone from the NSA will be right over with a cocktail.

Mark Smith, ladies and gentlemen of the press corps, Madame First Lady, Mr. President, my name is Stephen Colbert, and tonight it is my privilege to celebrate this president, ‘cause we're not so different, he and I. We both get it. Guys like us, we're not some brainiacs on the nerd patrol. We're not members of the factinista. We go straight from the gut. Right, sir?

That's where the truth lies, right down here in the gut. Do you know you have more nerve endings in your gut than you have in your head? You can look it up. Now, I know some of you are going to say, "I did look it up, and that's not true." That's 'cause you looked it up in a book. Next time, look it up in your gut. I did. My gut tells me that's how our nervous system works.
Every night on my show, The Colbert Report, I speak straight from the gut, okay? I give people the truth, unfiltered by rational argument. I call it the "No Fact Zone." FOX News, I hold a copyright on that term.

I'm a simple man with a simple mind. I hold a simple set of beliefs that I live by. Number one, I believe in America. I believe it exists. My gut tells me I live there. I feel that it extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and I strongly believe it has 50 states, and I cannot wait to see how the Washington Post spins that one tomorrow.

I believe in democracy. I believe democracy is our greatest export. At least until China figures out a way to stamp it out of plastic for three cents a unit. As a matter of fact, Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong, welcome. Your great country makes our Happy Meals possible. I said it's a celebration.

I believe the government that governs best is the government that governs least. And by these standards, we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq.

I believe in pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps. I believe it is possible. I saw this guy do it once in Cirque du Soleil. It was magical!

And though I am a committed Christian, I believe that everyone has the right to their own religion, be you Hindu, Jewish or Muslim. I believe there are infinite paths to accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior.

Ladies and gentlemen, I believe it's yogurt. But I refuse to believe it's not butter.

Most of all, I believe in this president. Now, I know there are some polls out there saying that this man has a 32% approval rating. But guys like us, we don't pay attention to the polls. We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in "reality." And reality has a well-known liberal bias. So, Mr. President, please, please, pay no attention to the people that say the glass is half full. 32% means the glass -- important to set up your jokes properly, sir. Sir, pay no attention to the people who say the glass is half empty, because 32% means it's 2/3 empty. There's still some liquid in that glass is my point, but I wouldn't drink it. The last third is usually backwash. Okay.

Look, folks, my point is that I don't believe this is a low point in this presidency. I believe it is just a lull before a comeback. I mean, it's like the movie Rocky. Alright? The President, in this case, is Rocky Balboa, and Apollo Creed is everything else in the world. It's the tenth round. He's bloodied. His corner man, Mick, who in this case, I guess, would be the Vice President, he's yelling, "Cut me, Dick, cut me!" And every time he falls, everyone says, "Stay down, Rocky! Stay down!" But does he stay down? No. Like Rocky, he gets back up, and in the end he -- actually loses in the first movie. Okay, doesn't matter. Doesn’t matter.

The point is it is the heart-warming story of a man who was repeatedly punched in the face, so don't pay attention to the approval ratings that say that 68% of Americans disapprove of the job this man is doing. I ask you this, does that not also logically mean that 68% approve of the job he's not doing? Think about it. I haven't.

I stand by this man. I stand by this man, because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things, things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound with the most powerfully staged photo-ops in the world.

Now, there may be an energy crisis. Well, this president has a very forward-thinking energy policy. Why do you think he's down on the ranch cutting that brush all the time? He's trying to create an alternative energy source. By 2008, we will have a mesquite-powered car.
And I just like the guy. He's a good Joe, obviously loves his wife, calls her his better half. And polls show America agrees. She's a true lady and a wonderful woman. But I just have one beef, ma'am. I'm sorry, but this reading initiative. I'm sorry, I've never been a fan of books. I don't trust them. They're all fact, no heart. I mean, they're elitist, telling us what is or isn't true or what did or didn't happen. Who's Britannica to tell me the Panama Canal was built in 1914? If I want to say it was built in 1941, that's my right as an American! I'm with the President. Let history decide what did or did not happen.

The greatest thing about this man is he's steady. You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday. Events can change; this man's beliefs never will.

And as excited as I am to be here with the President, I am appalled to be surrounded by the liberal media that is destroying America, with the exception of FOX News. FOX News gives you both sides of every story: the President's side, and the Vice President's side.

But the rest of you, what are you thinking? Reporting on NSA wiretapping or secret prisons in Eastern Europe? Those things are secret for a very important reason: they're super-depressing. And if that's your goal, well, misery accomplished.

Over the last five years you people were so good, over tax cuts, WMD intelligence, the effect of global warming. We Americans didn't want to know, and you had the courtesy not to try to find out. Those were good times, as far as we knew.

But, listen, let's review the rules. Here's how it works. The President makes decisions. He's the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put 'em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration? You know, fiction!

Because, really, what incentive do these people have to answer your questions, after all? I mean, nothing satisfies you. Everybody asks for personnel changes. So, the White House has personnel changes. And then you write, "Oh, they're just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic." First of all, that is a terrible metaphor. This administration is not sinking. This administration is soaring! If anything, they are rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg!

Now, it's not all bad guys out there. There are some of the heroes out there tonight: Christopher Buckley, Jeff Sacks, Ken Burns, Bob Schieffer. I’ve interviewed all of them. By the way, Mr. President, thank you for agreeing to be on my show. I appreciate it. I was just as shocked as everyone here is, I promise you. How's Tuesday for you? I've got Frank Rich, but we can just bump him. And I mean bump him. I know a guy. Say the word.

See who we've got here tonight. We’ve got General Moseley, Air Force Chief of Staff. We’ve got General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They still support Rumsfeld. Right, you guys aren't retired yet, right? Right, they still support Rumsfeld. Look, by the way, I've got a theory about how to handle these retired generals causing all this trouble: Don't let them retire! Come on, we've got a stop-loss program; let's use it on these guys. I've seen Zinni in that crowd on Wolf Blitzer. If you're strong enough to go on one of those pundit shows, you’re strong enough to stand on a bank of computers and order men into battle. Come on!

Jesse Jackson is here, the Reverend. Haven't heard from the Reverend in just a little while. I had him on the show. It was a very interesting interview, very challenging interview. You can ask him anything, but he's going to say what he wants at the pace that he wants. It's like boxing a glacier. Enjoy that metaphor, by the way, because your grandchildren will have no idea what a glacier is.

Justice Scalia is here. Justice Scalia, may I be the first to say, “Welcome, sir!” You look fantastic! How are you? Just talking some Sicilian with my paisan.

John McCain is here. John McCain, what a maverick! Somebody find out what fork he used on his salad, because I guarantee you it wasn't a salad fork. This guy could have used a spoon! There's no predicting him. By the way, Senator McCain, it's so wonderful to see you coming back into the Republican fold. I’ve actually got a summer house in South Carolina. Look me up when you go to speak at Bob Jones University. So glad you've seen the light, sir.

Mayor Nagin! Mayor Nagin is here from New Orleans, the chocolate city! Yeah, give it up. Mayor Nagin, I'd like to welcome you to Washington, D.C., the chocolate city with a marshmallow center and a graham cracker crust of corruption. It's a Mallomar, I guess, is what I'm describing, is a Mallomar. It’s a seasonal cookie.

Joe Wilson is here. Joe Wilson, right down here in front, the most famous husband since Desi Arnaz. And, of course, he brought along his lovely wife Valerie Plame. Oh, my god! Oh, what have I said? Ay, gee monetti! I am sorry, Mr. President, I meant to say he brought along his lovely wife “Joe Wilson's wife.” Patrick Fitzgerald is not here tonight, right? Okay, dodged a bullet.

And, of course, we can't forget the man of the hour, new press secretary, Tony Snow. Secret Service name: "Snow Job." Toughest job. What a hero! Took the second toughest job in government, next to, of course, the ambassador to Iraq. Got some big shoes to fill, Tony. Big shoes to fill. Scott McClellan could say nothing like nobody else. McClellan, of course, eager to retire, really felt like he needed to spend more time with Andrew Card's children.

Now, Mr. President, I wish you hadn't made the decision so quickly, sir. I was vying for the job myself. I think I would have made a fabulous press secretary. I have nothing but contempt for these people.

AMY GOODMAN: Stephen Colbert addressing the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner. He was speaking right next to President Bush, who was sitting at his side.

SF International Arts Festival Funded by City of San Francisco

Congratulations to the San Francisco International Arts Festival!


It was announced last week that Dance Mission Theater’s application, in conjunction with the San Francisco International Arts Festival and 27 other local arts organization, to stage an international festival in 2007 has been chosen by the City to receive at least $100,000 in support to go towards the successful implementation of the event. The funding was awarded by a panel of experts who voted in favour of the Dance Mission plan over proposals submitted by three other groups of organizations.

The 2007 Festival, with a theme of "The Truth in Knowing/Now, A conversation across the African Diaspora" will run from May 16 – June 3 and include productions, exhibits and films staged by the following Bay Area based presenting partners: ABADA-Capoeira SF, the African American Art & Culture Complex, AfroSolo Theatre Company, Alliance Francais, the Arab Cultural & Community Center, ArtworkSF, Brasarte, Brava! for Women in the Arts, Carnaval San Francisco, the Cultural Heritage Choir, Cultural Odyssey, Dimensions Dance Theater, Earplay, Flag of Freedom Production, Friends of Negro Spirituals, the Hip-Hop Theater Festival, the Israel Center San Francisco, the Magic Theatre, the Museum of the African Diaspora, the National Queer Arts Festival, Robert Moses' Kin, the San Francisco Black Film Festival, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Tabernacle Development Corporation, Thalia Productions, Zaccho Dance Theater and Zawaya.

The Festival’s multiple presenting partners will continue to be in fundraising mode throughout the year and the full line-up for SFIAF 2007 will be announced in late November 2006.

By coincidence, the news was announced just as the Festival’s artistic director, Rhodessa Jones was heading to Paris to attend the Danse l’Afrique Danse Festival, where she expects to complete the performing arts line-up for SFIAF 2007. She said upon hearing the news, “We are very pleased that the City of San Francisco is recognizing our work in this way. It helps us to have the City’s official blessing as we continue to raise funds to support our vision for SFIAF 2007. It proves San Francisco can be a visionary place.”

Krissy Keefer, the founding artistic director of Dance Mission Theater said one of her main interests in working on an international arts festival was, “To keep the channels of communication open between artists in the US and countries at a time when it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so. San Francisco’s message has to be heard nationally and internationally and this is a good way of getting that to happen.”

SFIAF’s board president, Thelma Fuqua, said of the award, “We feel very honored by the panel’s decision and we would like to thank all of the presenting partners that we are working with on next year’s festival, they’re support has been invaluable. We would also like to extend our gratitude to the organizations that have been involved with the Festival over the last four years. They have all made important contributions to the creation of this event. A lot of people have worked very hard to turn the idea of a San Francisco International Arts Festival into a reality.”

At City Hall, Supervisor Tom Ammiano, who has long been a proponent of a city-wide international arts festival said, “Dance Mission Theater and the Festival organizers have worked very hard over the past few years to make this project a success. I think the panel made the right decision. Congratulations to Dance Mission on winning the contract, I wish them the best of luck.”

Funding for the 2007 Festival will become available after July 1, 2006. The Festival is currently accepting proposals for SFIAF 2008. For more information members of the public should call 415-399-9554.

Tickets are already on sale for this year's festival May 18 - 22, 2006.

May 2, 2006

To PhD or Not to PhD That is the Question

As I explore and evaluate the next steps in my career the possibility of pursuing a PhD in Arts Administration with a focus on leadership development has become a route of interest. But what exactly can I do with a PhD of this nature?

In my google search "Careers with PhDs" I found this interesting article on (which I normally can't stand because they polute your screen with pop-ups). It does have some interesting insights.

Doctoral Education Mismatch?

According to a recently released survey, sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts, there is a mismatch between the goals of doctoral education, the expectations of doctoral students, and the reality of the job market.The training that most doctoral students receive and what they want and need to prepare themselves for the jobs they’ll eventually take. Regardless, nearly all were satisfied with their decision to attend graduate school.

The survey was conducted in the summer of 1999 and included more than 4,000 graduate students at 27 universities. Questions surveyed graduate student preparation, expectations, and career aspirations.

What careers do graduate students want?

  • 48% University professor
  • 15% Research in private sector
  • 13% Work independently (consultant, writer, etc.)
  • 12% Research in nonprofit or government
  • 10% Research in a university
  • 6% Manager in private sector
  • 6% Start own business
  • 5% Manager in nonprofit or government
  • 5% Non-college teaching
  • 3% college administrator

Are students prepared for academia?
Although 2/3 of students reported the desire to work in an academic setting, most felt unprepared to take on the responsibilities of the typical academic or faculty position. For example, 1/3 were unclear about customary practices regarding determining and ordering the authorship of papers, the appropriate use of research funds, when and how to publish papers, and refereeing academic papers fairly. Two-thirds reported feeling unclear about how to avoid conflicts of interest.

With regard to teaching, less than 1/3 of respondents felt that their graduate program prepared them to teach lecture courses, create an inclusive classroom climate, advise students, develop a teaching philosophy, and incorporate technology into the classroom.

How about nonacademic careers?
Another major finding was that students are less able to learn about nonacademic careers and often are not encouraged to do so. Academic is often presented as the only option. Alternatively, some educators argue that career placement is not the responsibility of faculty or a PhD program.

Grad School is Mysterious
Perhaps one of the most surprising findings was that most students viewed graduate school as a bit mysterious. All respondents were in at least their third year of graduate school but less than one half reported that the criteria for earning their degree were very clear to them. Students often don't realize their responsibility to take control over their education and careers. The moral: ask questions, clarify answers, and in short, demand clear expectations.

May 1, 2006

Bathroom No Longer Sacred

Stephen just found a very much alive and active GIANT cockroach in the shower this morning. It must have come through the drain. That beast worked its way up three floors to our bathroom. Sorry Mr. Exterminator, you must be high on your own fumes but this gruesome beast did not fly in accidentally through an open window. He is invading our very clean and safe bathroom.

Naked, Stephen had to chase this thing around the bathroom while I freaked out. It ended up under the toilet and he finally got it in but said it was "hard". Was the bug hard or was it hard to catch? It was the size of his hand. He got it in the toilet and flushed. I flushed it again.

How in the world will I ever take a shower again in this house? How can I sit comfortably on the toilet without the fear of being watched from below. I am sick, absolutely sick of these things. My feat are itching as they touch the carpet.

This one must have been inhaling the exterminator's fumes and growing with the chemical infusion.