Thursday, December 30, 2010

Your "textbook" for the term

Instead of using parts of many different books this semester, I have decided to put together a sampling of foundational articles in the field and deliver those through a service called University Readers, which handles copyright issues and payment to the authors.

Here is the information from University Readers about getting your course pack:

"Dear students,

Your custom course materials for CMDC 375 published by University Readers are now available online at I have carefully selected the readings included in this course pack to provide you with a more relevant, custom learning experience. Please purchase this course pack to stay on top of your readings. Doing so will help you be successful in this class. The course pack price is $88.99, and includes materials that we will use in class daily, so you should purchase your own copy. Also, please keep in mind that our institution adheres to copyright law, so any copyrighted material should not be copied or duplicated in any manner. To purchase the course pack, please follow the instructions below:

To purchase the course pack, please follow the instructions below:

Step 1: Log on to
Step 2: Create an account or log in if you have an existing account to purchase.
Step 3: Easy-to-follow instructions will guide you through the rest of the ordering process. Payment can be made by all major credit cards or with an electronic check.
Step 4: After purchasing, you can access your partial digital pack (free 20% PDF) by logging into your account and clicking "My Digital Materials" to get started on your readings right away.

Orders are typically processed within 24 hours and the shipping time will depend on the selected shipping method and day it is shipped (orders are not shipped on Sundays or holidays). If you experience any difficulties, please email: or call 800.200.3908 ext. 503."

Update: The Marshall McLuhan-Quentin Fiore reading

A strange thing happened this time with the sampling taken from the small Marshall McLuhan-Quentin Fiore book "The Medium is the Massage." Typically, the publisher's costs for rights to republish this selection via University Readers is quite small, but this time, for reasons that are not clear to me, the publisher decided to raise that bill to more than $13 per student. I found that to be quite disagreeable, particularly since each of you could buy a brand new copy of the book at the link above for less than $8. So I had that McLuhan-Fiore selection removed from your University Readers collection at the last minute, and we will adjust accordingly.

Here is a PDF of the reading
(password protected and for educational purposes only)

And, as a bonus feature, here is an imported album, in mp3 format of McLuhan's wild audio mixing of his ideas (password protected and for educational purposes only; compressed in ZIP format).

"Futura" field trip on March 2; buy your ticket now

Our class will be attending the 7:30 p.m. March 2 performance of "Futura" at Portland Center Stage.

A student ticket is $25 ($18 for the ticket, $2 facility fee, $5 handling fee), and it is your responsibility to order one. To receive the student rate, you will need to show your student ID at Will Call on March 2. The box office is aware of our field trip, and Portland Center Stage will be hosting our group and offering a discussion panel with the creative staff for us after the show. So we will be shifting our time commitment to the class by roughly one hour on that night, from about 7 to 10 p.m.

The link to buy a ticket is here: Get your Futura ticket right away. Seating is general admission, so you just need to reserve a spot. Because this is a new show by Portland's largest professional theater company, it is likely this performance will fill up quickly. Several of the earlier shows during the run already are sold out. But there still are plenty of tickets available right now. Consider this a class material that you need to purchase at the start of the semester. Not being able to get a ticket later will not result in an "excused absence" for missing the performance and discussion panel. Parking, by the way, will cost about $5 extra. I will try to coordinate carpooling later.

Here is a synopsis of this world premiere show: "At the 2009 JAW reading, Futura’s warnings about the extinction of print media (and its costs) seemed timely. Now, they seem downright spooky. What will it feel like by the time the show premieres in February? Jordan Harrison’s last trip to PCS launched a gender-bending, Drammy-Award winning hit with Act a Lady. This time he returns with a different axe to grind: the future of the words you are reading right now. And Futura? Well, it’s a font; it’s a love story; but ultimately… it’s one rogue professor’s quest to avenge her missing husband – and the lost art of ink on paper."

Here is the playwright's bio: "Jordan Harrison grew up in Seattle and currently lives in Brooklyn. He is a 2009 Guggenheim Fellow and a 2009-2010 Hodder Fellow at Princeton University. Jordan’s plays include Doris to Darlene (Playwrights Horizons), Act a Lady (Portland Center Stage, 2006 Humana Festival), Finn in the Underworld (Berkeley Rep), Amazons and Their Men (Off Broadway at Clubbed Thumb), Kid-Simple (2004 Humana Festival, American Theater Company, SPF), and The Museum Play. He has received commissions from Arden Theatre, Ars Nova, Berkeley Rep/Actors Theatre of Louisville, Cypress Films, the Guthrie Theater/Children’s Theatre Company, Playwrights Horizons, and South Coast Rep. Jordan is the recipient of a 2008 Kesselring Fellowship, a Theater Masters’ Innovative Playwright Award, the Heideman Award, Jerome and McKnight Fellowships from The Playwrights’ Center, and a NEA/TCG Playwright-in-Residence Grant with The Empty Space Theatre. A graduate of the Brown University MFA Creative Writing program, he is a resident playwright at New Dramatists."

This is mature professional theater, with the equivalent of R-rated language and situations. If you want to read the script in advance before decided to participate or not, you can access a draft version here (password protected, for classroom use only).

More information, such as a map to the theater, will be posted as we get closer to the performance date.

My Blackberry isn't working

From the BBC ... TechSpeak in a fruit stand, still makes sense