It was Amber White’s second day as a stage manager on “Hamilton,” and Lin-Manuel Miranda, the show’s creator and star, was sick.
Viewers who buy their tickets months in advance are never happy to hear about a substitution. This was Broadway’s hottest show, based on a brick of a book by historian Ron Chernow, a fresh depiction of the New Yorker who fathered the American banking system, endured a sex scandal, and died in a duel. This was the first time that Miranda or Javier Muñoz, who plays the role on Sundays, didn’t appear as the title character. The role went to Jon Rua, the understudy, making his debut as America’s ten-dollar founding father.
White and the production team called an emergency rehearsal — 30 minutes long — for which the cast came to the theater. And then the show went on: “flawlessly,” White said, thanks to Rua but also the professionalism of the rest of the cast and crew.
White, 36, is one of the crew members in the room where it happens for eight shows a week, critical to the musical’s success but largely unseen.
Stage managers, three of whom work at a time on “Hamilton,” are the guardians and protectors of the show and the cast — “a cross between a flight attendant and a mom,” White says — who tend to the mental and psychological well-being of the actors.
They are also often with the show long-term, from pre-production meetings on design and concept through to rehearsals, previews and performances, taking care of the practicalities of scheduling and organization. And, always, troubleshooting.
During a recent production of “Hamilton,” an ensemble member hurt his neck with about 35 minutes left in the show.
Coming off stage, squeezing past barrels of prop rifles and shelves of neatly stored mugs, he went to the stage managers’ office to find White. The actor said he couldn’t go back on.
Quickly, White paged one of the swings — an understudy ready to fill in for multiple roles at a moment’s notice — upstairs in his dressing room. She and the other stage managers coordinated the switch, getting the swing into costume and microphone and on stage in time for his new character’s next appearance. The hurt actor went home.
The show went on. The audience never noticed. Crisis averted.
7 Sports Astronauts Love Without Gravity (Including Football)
Astronauts onboard the International Space Station spend most of their time doing science, exercising and maintaining the station. But they still have time to shoot hoops and toss around a football.
From chess to soccer, there’s a zero-gravity spin to everything.
Baseball: America’s favorite pastime. JAXA astronaut, Satoshi Furukawa shows us how microgravity makes it possible to be a one-man team. It would be a lot harder to hit home runs if the players could jump that high to catch the ball.
Yes, it’s a sport, and one time NASA astronaut Greg Chamitoff (right) played Earth on a Velcro chess board. An elementary school chess team would pick moves that everyone could vote for online. The winning move would be Earth’s play, and then Chamitoff would respond. About every two days, a move would be made. But who won the historic Earth vs. Space match? Earth! Chamitoff resigned after Earth turned its pawn into a queen, but it was game well played.
NASA astronaut Steve Swanson put a new spin on soccer by juggling the ball upside down. However, he might not have considered himself upside down. On the space station, up and down are relative.
NASA astronauts usually sign off their videos with a zero-gravity somersault (either forwards or backwards). But astronauts are also proficient in handstands, flips and twists. The predecessor to the International Space Station, the Skylab, had the best space for the moves. The current space station is a bit tight in comparison.
Objects that aren’t heavy don’t move very well on the space station. They kind of just float. It’s like Earth, but exaggerated. For example, on Earth a beach ball wouldn’t go as far as a basketball. The same is true in space, which is why playing with a basketball in space is more fun than playing with a beach ball.
People talk about hitting golf balls off skyscrapers, but what about off the International Space Station? While golf isn’t a normal occurrence on the station, it’s been there. One golf company even sent an experiment to the station to find out how to make better golf clubs.
Zero gravity doesn’t make everything easier. Astronauts need to relearn how to throw things because their brains need to relearn how to interpret sensory information. A bowling ball on the space station no longer feels as heavy as a bowling ball on Earth. When astronauts first throw things on the space station, everything keeps going too high. That would put a wrench in your spiral for a couple of months. But once you adjust, the perfect spiral will just keep spiraling!
We’re at a critical time in the United States. From the moment the Trayvon Martin case hit social media and the news it has seemed like America’s “family values” and “nation of immigrants” facade has been crumbling steadily. From the debate surrounding immigration reform, to Black Lives Matter, women’s reproductive rights, gun control, to the Syrian Refugee crisis–America is having trouble saving face on the world stage. After the murders of newlyweds, Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, and Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, along with Mohammad Abu-Salha’s 19-year-old sister, Razan, increased attention has been paid to Islamophobia in the United States. It’s important that anyone who cares about social justice be aware of how our media teaches and reinforces Islamophobia in the States. Here are 5 ways:
1. The media uses Islamophobia to create headlines.
I firmly believe that people like Donald Trump and Ben Carson have been allowed to progress so far in the presidential because the media refuses to take their racism, xenophobia, ableism, and Islamophobia seriously. Instead, the media has created somewhat of an amusing media circus around it. It’s treated their hate speech as something shocking, titillating, sound-bite worthy. This is why Donald Trump, who has called for mosque surveillance and has said that he would like to ban all Muslim travel in the States (along with a flurry of other hateful things about just about every marginalized group) is allowed to appear on the cover of New York Magazine uncritically and host Saturday Night Live. We’ve created an environment in which Islamophobia and general hate speech is good for business and ratings.
2. The media asks Muslims to apologize for the actions of a misguided few.
Whenever a national tragedy happens, marginalized groups have a private moment amongst themselves in which they hope that the perpetrator wasn’t one of their own. When White Christian people make headlines for hateful and violent behavior, the media works double-time to explain away their actions. When a marginalized person does something, everyone who belongs to their racial or religious group is expected to pay the price. After the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, CNN anchors ambushed Yasser Louati, of the Collective Against Islamophobia in France, about the “responsibility” Muslims had to condemn the attacks. It was disgusting. When we allow for this type of “journalism” to thrive we create unsafe environments for Muslims.
3. The media encourages racism.
Islam is a religion. Technically, anyone could be Muslim–a member of any race, a person of any gender, a person from any country. And yet, Islamophobia and racism tend to go hand in hand. If most Americans were asked to think of a Muslim they would most likely picture someone brown, someone usually of South Asian descent. Often, I get the sense from Islamophobic people that they don’t actually know what Islam is and that they’re just using it as a vessel for their hatred of Brown folks. Case in point:
4. The media saturates us with an overabundance of negative imagery.
When you note the ways in which Muslims are portrayed in American media you have a pretty good case in suggesting the United States is running some sort of smear campaign. We’ve all seen it: the action movie in which the bad guy is a Brown man with an over the top “Middle Eastern” accent with plans to blow things up. It’s been happening and going completely unchecked for decades. My first time seeing Back To The Future was a only a few years ago. I was very excited to see what all the hype was about. As I sat with other New Yorkers on the Hudson pier on a beautiful summer night, I was completely horrified. My friend must’ve seen my face because she made a remark about how the film wasn’t very progressive in its portrayal of Brown people. And boy is it not:
b. Sadly, despite all of its ignorance, this isn’t even the worst of how Hollywood portrays Brown folks and how that bleeds into Islamophobia.
5. The media utilizes fear mongering.
After the attacks in Paris, images surfaced of Canadian writer, Veerender Jubbal, posing in his bathroom in a bomb vest while holding a Koran. Anyone with any amount of internet literacy would’ve known that this was fake. But, instead of doing their job (which is to investigate), media outlets ran this image in the news. Jubbal suspects that his critical take on #Gamergate is what led to his innocent mirror selfie being doctored and passed around the internet, but I do not believe that this would’ve happened had he been White and Christian. The media’s need to frighten the public and incite hysteria surrounding Islam could’ve easily ruined this individual man’s life, but it makes the lives of Muslims all over the world hard everyday. It seems the media is interested in flooding the news with increasingly terrifying images of Islam and Brown people to the point that they aren’t even checking their sources anymore before they run stories.
It’s easy to take what’s presented to us in the news as fact. Technically, the news is supposed to be an objective source of information. Unfortunately, Malcolm X was right (as he usually was), “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” It’s important to take what you hear about Brown people, Muslims, and any marginalized group with a grain of salt. Be aware of the ways in which media is being used to guide your beliefs because sometimes they are guiding you toward hate.
The Kerry-Bush election was one in which voters were faced with a choice between two men no one liked that much, a Massachusetts ice prince and a buffoon. This year is, by contrast, an embarrassment of riches — for Democrats, at least. While the GOP is flooded with politicians who appear to be running to increase their book sales, the Democratic Party offers two of the most experienced, compelling candidates in its history: Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.
Sanders represents one of the most exciting challenges to the political establishment since FDR. The Vermont senator’s New Deal for America targets widening inequality while holding the big banks that caused our current financial crisis responsible. He represents the promise of the young activists who marched on the streets in the name of the Occupy movement three years ago, those who looked to a future in which they would die in debt and decided to do something about it. If the American Dream has become rigged, Sanders is a sign that voters may be waking up.
Clinton, meanwhile, was recently endorsed by the New York Times as “one of the most broadly and deeply qualified presidential candidates in modern history.” Indeed, her résumé is impeccable: She served as both a senator for New York and then secretary of state. Prior to that, she spent eight years in the White House as perhaps the most politically engaged first lady in modern memory. She also weathered one of the most deeply invasive and painful scandals in recent history, her husband’s affair with his intern, Monica Lewinsky. Her ability to remain calm in the face of crisis—whether her husband’s infidelities or partisan opposition to her handling of Benghazi—has proven her a strong, capable leader. She would be ready on day one.
Thanks to all of you fans, we appreciate the continued enthusiasm! Keep those submissions coming along, we know there are more sheep out there to find out in the world, especially in Eastern Europe, Mexico, and S. America.
To those few of you that submitted the “one tree hill” sheep view in Auckland, we’ve already got that in our archive of posts from the early stages of the blog, so sorry we didn’t post it as we try our best to not post any repeats!
Picture info: Here is Riet, our Ouessant sheep friend at our neighborhood petting zoo. It took her over a year to warm up to us as Ouessants are naturally a very skittish breed. Here she is coming to the fence to greet us as we win her over with some fresh lettuce. This is the first time she has come all the way up to the fence! Usually she is shy and hides behind all the other goats.
North America’s most popular game species, the white-tailed deer, harbors a secret: low levels of a malaria parasite that have only now been detected thanks to advanced DNA technology. Though this particular species of parasite poses little risk to humans, researchers say the find could reshape our understanding of malaria’s origins.
There are more than 100 species of malaria parasites, distributed on every continent except Antarctica. Those that infect birds and lizards are widely distributed, even on seemingly isolated ocean islands, and certainly in the Americas. Yet scientists believed that the microorganisms that infect mammals originated in the Old World, mainly Africa and Asia.
The new findings were discovered by chance. Researchers led by Ellen Martinsen, a biologist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s genetics center in Washington, D.C., were searching for the source of malaria parasites in birds at the national zoo. Using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology, which amplifies DNA to make it easier to study, they identified a genetic signature of an unexpected malaria parasite, Plasmodium odocoilei, previously unknown in the Americas. The researchers were able to obtain a large enough sample of blood from the mosquito’s enlarged abdomen to trace its origin to white-tailed deer. “We weren’t out there, testing a hypothesis,” Martinsen says. “We serendipitously stumbled upon this weird sequence.”
I always feel like Tony is the one being attacked, you know? I mean, I haven’t watched CA:CW because it’s not out yet but from all the trailers that have been given out to us, it’s all involved Tony being targeted in some way. We had Bucky and Steve beating Tony (who’s in the Iron Man suit) with the shield and now we have Bucky aiming a gun at his face and firing it without any second thought.
I know the film is called Captain America: Civil War, not Iron Man: Civil War or the Avengers: Civil War but is all this really necessary? Not once have I seen Tony using his armor against the two soldiers and I haven’t even seen him use any extreme force against them, correct me if I’m wrong. Since it’s about Captain America, shouldn’t it be Tony who’s firing and using force to get what he wants?
I don’t know if I’m speaking gibberish and I’m sure that a lot of people will disagree with me. But now, it looks like it’s not they’re not only fighting for what’s right on their terms but it’s more like, it’s a fight to hurt and even if it means killing the other, it’s fine.
I’m not sure if Tony fights back and uses his armor in return but right now, it just looks like Tony is being constantly attacked over and over.
And it’s just…really upsetting.
Some will say ‘He’s just a fictional character, he’s not real.’ but there’s always that one character that you will defend and protect because you’ve just attached with them.
America’s future: two space capsules in assembly at Kennedy Space Center.
On left, the Structural Test Article for Boeing’s Starliner at the company’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility. Starliner is one of two commercial spacecraft contracted by NASA to bring American astronauts to the International Space Station from domestic soil.
On the right, the pressure vessel for Exploration Mission 1, the second flight of Orion. EM-1 will be the first crew capable spacecraft since 1972 to fly to the Moon, which it will do over a weeklong mission in 2018. Orion is assembled in the Operations and Checkout Building, the same facility where Apollo moonships were checked out prior to launch.
Photos taken December 2 and February 3, by myself.