Monday, February 25, 2013

Pink's wild 'Truth About Love' tour rocks Orlando

     ORLANDO — The ever irreverent pop star Pink brought her “The Truth About Love” tour to the Amway Center on Sunday, Feb. 24, featuring a whirlwind of aerial stunts and technical tricks from the singer.
     A show themed as a game show aimed to expose the truth about love, focusing on the bitter sweet and often dark side of the emotion. This matching with the tone of most of the Pink’s music with looks at the struggles to find love with the right person and reaching what most would consider true happiness.
     The performance included a wild opening number in which Pink often showcased a display of acrobatics. Be it high-flying maneuvers over the main stage attached to bungee cords, or other acrobatic feats inspired by the “Lyra” technique where you fly around in the air supported only by long sheets of cloth and your own body strength.
     Pink has a powerful and soulful singing style that displays her raw emotion and connects brilliantly with her fans. A strong attitude also accompanies much of her performing style, best seen in her hit song “U + Ur Hand” and “Are We All We Are.”
     “She is an amazing performer, all her music, the lyrics and everything are incredible,” said audience member Liz Baez.
     Pink’s fans couldn’t help but dance and sing along to catchy songs like “Trouble,” which displayed her fun side with a perfect blend of rock and pop music.
     “This is my husband’s personal favorite off the new record. Just kidding I don’t know if he has one,” said Pink from on stage, as she joked with her fans. She then performed the song “How Come You’re Not here,” featured on her sixth studio album “The Truth About Love.”
     During another one of her singles, “Sober,” Pink continued to raise the bar for acrobatic performance with the use of a rotating cage ball that spun around the stage.
     “I would describe her music as all over the place, and that’s why you see such a diverse crowd here, she has a very wide appeal,” said Andrea Rodriguez.
     The pace of the show took a notable slow-down pace during the somber song “Family Portrait,” as she was accompanied by a classic piano and images of from her own past and members of her family.
     Pink also mentioned that this is her first full blown American tour and how she love the chance to see the country.
     After mentioning that she visited Disney World the day before, one fan gave her a Mickey Mouse hat that the pop star briefly wore on stage, to the delight of the local Orlando audience.
     The final message of this concert was that good or bad we all want to love someone else and to be loved. And it’s not about where you end up, it’s about the journey.
     First her first encore song, “So What” Pink flew around the arena on a gravity-defying harness to perform for fans all around the arena from every conceivable angle.
     “This show was very energetic and very precise,” said Stacey Sills, one Pink fan sporting bright pink hair. “You can tell that she was singing for real, and when you combine that with the physicality of her performance it was just out of this world.”
By James Tutten
(All photos by James Tutten)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Today Show's live brodcast from largest US home

WINDERMERE A five member crew from NBC News set up for a remote broadcast to viewers around the word Friday, Feb. 22 from the "Versailles" house in Windermere, which is poised to be the largest and most expensive mansion in America.

This live shot utilized a small “sprinter” satellite truck, audio technician, camera operator and on-air talent from NBC News correspondent, Janet Shamlian. Keeping everything organized on location was Dan Shepherd, who has worked as a field producer for NBC News for over 14 years.

“A lot of it has changed but it’s still very similar,” said Shepherd. “I’ve been doing live shots like this ever since I started with NBC, but there is also a bigger reliance on producers and non-technical types to shoot footage with small cameras, what we call DJs.”

Crews like this are often sent all over the country and world to film wherever the news is happening. On this day, the Today Show was broadcasting from Miami and show producers wanted to profile stories of interest in the same region.

This is what lead them to the "Versailles" mansion in Windermere, a 90,000-square-foot home that has been been under construction for nearly nine years. Along the way it has faced foreclosure, been the subject of the movie and is still around three years from being completed with a final estimated market value of $100 million.

Members of the NBC crew along with correspondent Shamlian, spent the day before this live shot interviewing homeowners David and Jackie Siegel, touring their current mansion in Windermere and the Versailles property.

The couple spoke about being inspired to build this mansion after visiting the Palace of Versailles in France, and also reacted to the film that documented their struggle to undertake such an ambitious project amidst the economic downturn and housing market crash that began in 2008.

“They've clearly been in front of a lot of cameras, so this was not new to them,” said Shamlian, speaking on interviewing the billionaire power couple. “I found them refreshingly unguarded, conversational, friendly and it was a great shoot.”

There was word from show producers in New York that the segment may be delayed as the broadcast time of 7:45 a.m. neared, due to recent developments in the alleged murder case of London Olympian and Paralympic runner Oscar Pistorius. Shepherd kept in nearly constant contact with other producers to ensure that everything was still running as planned before the live broadcast began.

Then the moment came when Today Show host, Savannah Guthrie, segued into the story on the Versailles home, and Shamlian read through her prepared statements and the edited video report was aired to viewers around the world. One rare and unforeseen technical error did occur from the control room in New York, with a delay in the audio in Shamlian’s earpiece.

“When I started talking to Savannah the audio was delayed in my ear by about a second,” said Shamlian, as she described how distracting this issue is during a live broadcast. “Generally when that happens you pull the earpiece out so you can just talk and not have that comeback a second later.”

Also when on-air talent pulls out their earpiece it is a non-verbal signal to everyone on location and in the control room that there is a problem so they can work to fix it. Despite this distraction, Shamlian maintained her composure and performed her segment without skipping a beat.

Shamlian is a seasoned journalist who has covered many big stories while working with NBC for the past seven years, and while previously working for several years with local television news stations around the nation.  

“I do think that reporting on the local and network level has changed significantly, and there’s such a social media component now and employers are looking at that,” said Shamlian when asked what advice she would give to aspiring television journalists. “At NBC they’ve trained us all on how to use Instagram, and Twitter, and FaceBook, but I think you have to come in with those skills now.”

By James Tutten

(Published: Feb. 27, 2013 issue of "Valencia Voice" on page 1 and 3.)

(All photos by James Tutten)  

Thursday, February 14, 2013

John Bateman's dark Cardinal in 'Duchess of Malfi'

EAST CAMPUS — Notably amongst all the characters featured in Valencia’s production of “The Duchess of Malfi” is a diabolically twisted man of God named simply “the Cardinal,” played by Valencia alumni John Bateman.

“I have worked with John for years, and in all that time he never approaches a role the same way,” said John DiDonna, the play’s director. “It is wonderful to watch the succession of choices he makes - never the obvious ones - to bring a character to life.”

Choices made by Bateman’s character are far from the righteous beliefs his name and title would imply. He is a corrupt leader of the Roman Catholic church, just below the Pope in power and influence, and plots to spy against his sister the Duchess.

All this happens while he is having an ongoing affair with his married mistress Julia (Danielle Miller), who he verbally and physically abuses.

“I’ve been trying to grow a little bit more as an actor and use some of the things that I’ve learned in college,” said Bateman. “I know John [DiDonna] so I’ve worked with him before, we spent a lot of time on the table work and family dynamic, and digging into specific moments and its details, you know, the devil’s in the details.”

Figuring out the details of this devil named the Cardinal has been its own unique challenge for Bateman. Some of his inspiration was from recently watching the BBC drama “Sherlock,” so there is a fair amount of the conniving villain Moriarty in his character.

“I originally saw him as a sociopath just trying to understand others emotions and didn't get it,” said Bateman, describing the Cardinal. “I like how the one person who is a priest realizes that ‘no we’re already in hell so there is no point in any of us being nice to each other.’

“Basically, they are all barbarians.”

Bateman has been acting for around 15 years and since his sophomore year of high school, and after graduating from Valencia he went on to earn his degree in English literature and theatre performance from the University of Central Florida.

In total he has performed in well over 20 productions, including performances at the Mad Cow Theatre and other venues around Orlando. “The Duchess of Malfi” is Bateman’s sixth performance with Valencia, a location and group of actors he has grown quite fond of over the years.

Bateman is also a playwright and recently worked with others for four months on the back lot at Universal Studios on a television show called “Game On!” set to premiere in Euro Disney on Feb. 22.

He admits to being the lone artist of his family, but at the same time they are wholeheartedly in support of his career goals. They might not understand all the choices he makes, but they always come out to show support and see him perform live.

Fellow “Duchess” actor, David Payton, who portrays Daniel de Bosola, was asked about performing along side of Bateman.

“He’s a very unique guy, this is my first time working with him,” said Payton. “I think he has a bright future ahead of him and I’ve learned a lot from him while doing this show. For all the intense scenes we do together, I just feed off his energy and I love that.”

By James Tutten  

(Published: Feb. 20, 2013 issue of "Valencia Voice" on page 7.)

(All photos by James Tutten)

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