Top Classical Violinists

Today, there are many artists worldwide, and it may not be easy to differentiate them since the industry is wide, and it is still growing bigger and better each day. Even though that is true, it is quite different when it comes to violinists because you can easily know the top classical violinists who possess creative skills. Such people have achieved recognition over the years since they possess something special that sets them apart from others. Here is a list of the top classical violinists.

Pablo de Sarasate

As a nineteenth century violinist, his talent stood out from the crowd from 1844 to 1908. He became famous due to his creative compositions and got the privilege to tour various parts of the world, including South Africa, America, and the Far East. Father George Rutler loved his performance and creativity, and he remains one of the best violinists of his time.

Itzhak Perlman

No doubt that Itzhak Perlman is also another classical violinist of his time. He almost attained a super-star status due to his creativity and outstanding composition and performance. He is one of the most sought violinists each year and one of the favorite artists of the New York pastor. Perlman has previously interacted with top performers and highly recognized artists around the world. He also received various awards due to his top and excellent performance and creativity. Perlman continues to delight his listeners with his outstanding uniqueness.

Friedrich Kreisler

Fritz was his common name, a violinist and composer who became famous through his amazing performance from 1875 to 1962. His distinctive, passionate, and melodic work caused him to maintain a high standing in the industry. He featured in the Time magazine cover on the 2nd of February 1995, and people like Father George Rutler still celebrate his classical recording and creative compositions. Many people love his vivid expression in the music, melodic prowess, and excellence in the industry.

Jascha Heifetz

This famous musician is one of the most sought after violists with a high ranking in the industry. He became a household name between 1901 and 1974. Heifetz started his career at the young age of five and spent 65 years entertaining and touching people’s lives with his magnificent performance. At age 16, he made an incredible performance that made him start climbing up the ladder in his career. In the recent PBS installment, Heifetz was identified as a top performer, leaving behind a great recording that most musicians emulate.

Niccolo Paganini

Niccolo Paganini came to the limelight from 1782 to 1840. He is an Italian and among the top violinists of his time. He composed outstanding classical music and performed excellently before he got addicted to gambling and alcohol. However, he remains one of the top celebrated violinists. Paganini became so famous, and his 24 caprices for Solo Violin remains one of the favorites to his listeners and other artists.

Hilary Hahn

Hillary Hahn is a young American musician who started her career at the age of 16 in 1979. Her classical music and Jennifer Higdon’s concert earned her the Pulitzer Prize. Hahn also received international awards for her performance.

A Sci-Fi Rags To Riches Story That Must Be On Your Reading List

The Commander: Guardian of Utopia by Kevin Groh is the rags to riches story of an ordinary teenager. The story begins in Utopia Beta, a planet ravaged by the aftermath of overpopulation and war. The societal division is brutal, and the poor people live in the slums, struggling to find resources. Whereas on the other side of the planet, the riches find their fare by controlling the power through an overtly powerful army.

It is a struggle as old as the ages, and we see it come together in a fascinating Interplanetary coalition. The home base of Utopia Beta is attacked and the small ragtag group of recruits have stayed behind, refusing to accept defeat. They believe that fighting to the end is the only way.  They take command of their situation and risk their lives to fight for their planet.

Order on Amazon

The book starts with the protagonist in a military facility, awaiting a bleak future of prosthetic modifications to make him into a soldier. It slowly shows us the underdog’s fight through many adventures, ending in a very satisfying conclusion. For me, this is the highlight of the book. The writer has taken every opportunity to surprise and amaze us. Yet, every plot point in the book has been neatly tied up into a satisfying conclusion. It an incredibly enriching experience.

There is a lot of action in the book, and I am struggling to find a moment when the pace of the story is “slow”. It might come as a surprise for some readers to see that the story moves through a brisk pace with little breathers in the middle, but I love the action and the story has a little bit of bite and punch. The Commander by Kevin Groh delivers the futuristic world conflicts and difficulties really well. It is utterly extraordinary yet entirely plausible.

From the start, The Commander has the building elements of a remarkable sci-fi book. There is an endearing group of misfits who struggle together and strive together to find their place in this brutal and exciting world. They are trained to become soldiers, and nothing comes easy, so it does not feel like the characters are fluffed up. The fact that the story is wrapped in a otherworldly setting is only the cherry on top. There are also many planets and interplanetary relationships to explore in future books, which is why I will be looking forward to the next installments with a lot of excitement. The mean instructors, challenging lessons, and daunting adventures make this book touch the heartstring of every reader who wants to achieve the impossible. Order your copy of The Commander on Amazon now.

23rd Annual SCAD Savannah Film Festival Brings Stars and Students Together

This year, the SCAD Savannah Film Festival and its official media partner, Entertainment Weekly, have teamed up to create the first virtual film festival at any university in the U.S.

The 2020 honorees are Billy Crystal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen, Millie Bobby Brown, Ethan Hawke, Delroy Lindo, Rachel Brosnahan, Glen Keane, Jennifer Hudson, Tessa Thompson, Steven Yeun, and Samuel L. Jackson, among others. All honorees engage with SCAD students via virtual masterclasses and creative talks, in addition to a series of signature and gala screenings and industry panels. The virtual festival took place during the week of Oct. 24-31.

As media partner, Entertainment Weekly curated, moderated, and hosted panels all week long, including Entertainment Weekly’s Breaking Big Panel and Awards and Entertainment Weekly’s Women Who Kick Ass Panel.

Billy Crystal, legendary comedian and actor and winner of the Tony Award and Emmy Award, was honored for a lifetime of unforgettable comedy, including classics like Analyze This, When Harry Met Sally, and City Slickers. Crystal is a nine-time Oscar host, a former Saturday Night Live cast member, and is currently working on a musical adaptation for Broadway of Mr. Saturday Night, his enduring 1992 comedy about the life of a comic.

Samuel L. Jackson, the iconic star of films like Revenge of the Sith, Snakes on a Plain, Pulp Fiction, Black Snake Moan, and more than 100 other films, was honored by SCAD and held forth in a masterclass on acting and performance with SCAD performing arts students.

The four-time Oscar-nominated Ethan Hawke, star of Hamlet, Training Day, Boyhood, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight, currently stars in Showtime’s The Good Lord Bird.

Jennifer Hudson, winner of a Grammy and an Academy Award for role as Effie in Dreamgirls, stars in the forthcoming biopic Respect, where she portrays music legend Aretha Franklin.

Tessa Thompson, one of the memorable stars of Westworld, stars in Sylvie’s Love, a film she produced alongside Nnamdi Asomugha, her co-star.

Clare Dunne, Ciara Bravo, Elle Lorraine, Joshua Caleb Johnson, Talia Ryder, and Jo Ellen Pellman are each recipients of the SCAD Savannah Film Festival’s Breaking Big Awards. All six actors convened on Saturday, Oct. 31, on the final day of the festival, for a panel on getting started in the industry.

Festival honoree and Emmy winner Yahya Abdul-Mateen, who took home the award for his role in HBO’s Watchmen, in which he played Doctor Manhattan, can be seen in upcoming films like Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7.

Emmy and Golden Globe winner Rachel Brosnahan, who has won critical acclaim for her turn as Midge Maisel in Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, currently stars in Amazon Studio’s I’m Your Woman.

Sharing the Spotlight Award with Brosnahan is Delroy Lindo, the frequent Spike Lee collaborator and star of Crooklyn, Malcolm X, and Da 5 Bloods.

SCAD students were especially excited to hear from Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown, who stars as Enola Holmes in the titular film, which she also produced.

“The film industry is in the midst of a global resurgence, and SCAD leads that  historic transformation,” said SCAD President and Founder Paula Wallace. “Audiences want and need new stories, and that’s precisely what you’ll see at the 2020 SCAD Savannah Film Festival. Production across the state is up and running, and so is our historic, beloved SCAD Savannah Film Festival—where the world’s best students engage the industry’s top talent and everyone enjoys the stories our world needs more than ever.”

“Look at this list of screenings and premieres!” Wallace said. “These are the movies and shows the world’s been waiting for, like Good Lord Bird, MLK/FBI, and I’m Your Woman. The voices and characters on display at the SCAD Savannah Film Festival will change the world. SCAD screens the stories that matter to our students and to viewers around the globe. And this year, everybody’s got the best seat in the house!”

2020 SCAD Savannah Film Festival: Signature Screenings

The Signature Series features special screenings and premieres, including intimate and interactive virtual talks with directors, writers, actors, and producers. Select signature screenings included:

  • Be Water
  • Black Bear
  • Farewell Amor
  • Herself
  • Stardust

2020 SCAD Savannah Film Festival: Gala Screenings

This year’s big award contenders and studio films being screened at the festival, followed by interactive Q&As with filmmakers, included:

  • The Father
  • Francesco
  • I Carry You With Me
  • I’m Your Woman
  • Minari
  • Nine Days
  • One Night in Miami
  • Sound of Metal
  • Sylvie’s Love
  • Uncle Frank

2020 SCAD Savannah Film Festival: Docs to Watch:

Selected documentary films, followed by a roundtable with all documentary directors (hosted by The Hollywood Reporter), included:

  • Boys State
  • Crip Camp
  • Dick Johnson Is Dead
  • The Dissident
  • The Human Factor
  • MLK/FBI
  • Time
  • The Truffle Hunters
  • The Way I See It
  • Welcome to Chechnya

The Value of a SCAD Fashion Degree

How Tuition Fuels Talent and Technology

As we enter the decade of the 2020s, prospective college students and their families want to understand the value proposition offered by a university degree. How does tuition (and related costs of an undergraduate degree) translate to a rewarding profession, especially in a competitive creative industry like fashion? We recently sat down with SCAD educators to discuss the content and purpose of the SCAD School of Fashion and how that benefits aspiring designers, marketers, entrepreneurs, and other fashion professions.

Q: Why should students and their families choose SCAD for fashion?

SCAD: Smaller programs offer fewer options. For example, SCAD is home to the largest digital Jacquard loom at any studio program in the world. The loom is housed in Pepe Hall at SCAD Savannah, home of the fibers department.It is a tremendously expensive piece of equipment that allows students hands-on experience in the advanced techniques of surface design, creating textiles for furniture, seat coverings, window treatments, and clothes. A smaller program simply wouldn’t be able to provide this resource.

Q: What degree programs are available in the fashion school?

Student tuition at SCAD funds the most comprehensive School of Fashion in the U.S., with more students, more professors, and more fashion-related degree programs than other universities, including undergraduate and graduate programs in:

As with the fibers example, tuition and funding generated by a larger enrollment in the SCAD School of Fashion afford greater opportunities and academic learning resources for students who benefit from the first business of beauty and fragrance degree program in the U.S., the first M.F.A. in accessory design in the world, and the largest fibers and jewelry programs in the U.S.

Q: Do large programs mean large classes?

SCAD: Absolutely not! The average class size at SCAD is only 16 students, and we offer no classes with more than 30 students — in any department. Each class meets twice a week for 2.5 hours every day and 10 weeks in all: 50 hours of intense, focused, sustained instruction. At most large universities, graduate students, who don’t yet have their graduate degrees, teach first- and second-year students, but at SCAD, students benefit from full professors in every class, each holding an academic credential and significant industry experience. With small classes and expert faculty, students receive individualized attention.

Q: In some universities, students don’t get into actual fashion design classes until their junior or senior year. How soon do SCAD students get into these classes?

SCAD: SCAD students can be in their introductory fashion courses as early as their first year. All SCAD students start with SCAD Core, a general education curriculum that includes 2-D and 3-D design, color theory, art history, writing, and more.

Q: Earlier you mentioned the digital Jacquard loom. What other technology is funded by tuition dollars?

SCAD: SCAD digital learning resources gives students the opportunity to pursue CFDA+, Adobe and Rhino certifications — only available at elite universities. In the fibers department, students utilize Jukie Sewing machines, CompuDobby looms, Gerber plotters, Mutoh ValueJet 1938TX printers, Roland UV flatbed printers, Wacom drawing tablets, and more. Many students in the SCAD School of Fashion take advantage of tech at the Gulfstream Center for Design, with a five-axis computer numeric control router, rapid prototype machines, 3-D printers, and laser cutters.

Q: How do SCAD jewelry students utilize technology?

A: The jewelry students study in a 13×800-square-foot studio that enables students to fabricate, cast, finish, enamel, laser weld, anodize, electroplate, electroform, smith silver, and set stones. Tools include: a ROD Induction Heating Solution for casting, LaserStar Compact and LaserStar workstations for laser welding, a Stratasys Dimension SST 1200 printer for ABS plastic, a microscope system, two Roland JWX-10 milling machines, four advanced SensAble pens for digital sculpting, and two Solidscape T66 wax printers, as well as 3-D printers and large-format photo printers.

Q: Let’s talk about accessory design.

SCAD: Every degree program models and parallels what’s happening in the professions right now, which is why SCAD students who want to make handbags, shoes, belts, and other accessories are using the newest tech. Students learn computer-aided design but don’t stop with sketches. They learn to turn technical drawings into physical prototypes. Through faculty relationships, students have also partnered with production facilities in Europe and Asia to build prototypes. In accessory design, students have secured internships and jobs at Alexander Wang, Coach, Derek Lam, Kate Spade, Proenza Schouler, Reebok, The Row, Vince Camuto and more.

Q: Fashion marketing and management pairs design thinking with entrepreneurial thinking, yes?

SCAD: That’s right. These students cultivate a design sensibility while learning the language of business. They learn to do it all, from supply chain management and trend forecasting to consumer research and product promotion.

Q: The degree in business of beauty and fragrance is the newest addition to the SCAD School of Fashion.

SCAD: This program emerged out of conversations between SCAD and industry partners at the highest levels of the fragrance market. CEOs and leaders said, “We need talent. Can you help?” This program is our answer, where we instill students with knowledge of cosmetics, fragrance, aesthetics, and adornment — and to learn how to marry the sensibility of a designer or brand with the perfect olfactory experience.

Learn more about SCAD here: https://www.scad.edu/academics/programs

Best Astrology Books To Read

What are the best astrology books to read? There are so many choices to choose from today. If someone decides to research the Internet for the greatest read, that person will have endless amounts of choices. Alex Djerassi enjoys reading books. People are interested in looking in fortunetelling because it can give them an answer since the prediction is used to say that what happens to someone; is contained by destiny. Many people like to predict events that can change their outcome for the better. Prophecy can be exciting to learn too many people because there are many varieties of topics to get involved. It helps to get anyone interested in these manuscripts based on the topic to use. Hundreds of them are written about various topics. When looking for the best books to read, whatever suits your interest is worth it.

Harness the Stars to Discover Your Soul’s True Goal by Louise Edington tells about a recent psychological method to remake the choices of your life while advertising upbeat development through illegal abilities and tactics. When someone reads this book, they can share the knowledge that will open their imagination. The reader can understand the houses, planets, signs, and much more than giving them secrets to their life ambition to open their ability. The reader can soon learn how fortunetelling is used to find value through wisdom. Anyone who reads this book can always guess what happens previously. One would think that is how it works, as the reader will enjoy finding out to decide how fortunetelling can be useful as an everyday device to find meaning in their lives. This book will guide new learners to astrology. The author gives the reader how to lead a content life.

Astrology for Yourself is a book by Douglas Bloch and Demetra George. This story gives the reader an introduction to fortunetelling and identifying your birth chart. This is a good read for anyone who wants to take a more thoughtful method about your birth map the best way possible. The Law of Attraction (Lawyers In Love, # 1) by N. M. Silber is a fun read. It tells a story about a public guardian who is bold to his assistant district attorney with plenty of arrogance about him. They both discover that the journey to real love is not always charming, but it’s unique by crazy people in various situations that only readers will often laugh around. People say that situations like this book are more fact than fiction. The Home Court Advantage (Lawyers In Love, # 2) by N. M. Silber is a read of two people, Gabrielle and Braden, who have fallen in love. They have a good future together, but they need to survive bizarre people they meet in person. The people they meet are naked drivers who drive drunk, people who drop napkins, and UFO supporters. People will love reading this book because it deals if the verdict will give those two people a happy ending. Alex Djerassi recommends reading to anyone.

With Lost Horizon Festival, Ollie Rankin Offers Us A Portal Into The Future of Live Events

Caption: Legendary DJ duo Coldcut perform as CG avatars on the virtual Freedom Stage at Lost Horizon

As the saying goes, where there’s a will, there’s a way. The Lost Horizon Festival that took place on July  3rd and 4th of this year is proof that humans have a way of coming up with inventive solutions that make the world a better place and solve any problems we face. This event was the world’s 1st multi-day, multi-stage, entirely virtual music and art festival. 

VR Pioneer Ollie Rankin worked with the crew that organized the anti-establishment Shangri-La portion of Glastonbury for the last decade and the team at Sansar Studios. The virtual Shangri-La off-shoot was much more than just a festival. It was a celebration of modern ideals, art, and a radical mindset. It was a festival that stimulated the senses, motivated people in politics and play, expanded thoughts, and opened hearts. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic sent us into lockdown for our own health and safety, sadly this meant we also had to give up many things, such as the chance for coming together in the same physical space. This means that gathering in large groups is practically impossible. But, thanks to brilliant minds such as Ollie Rankin, the virtual space has now become a platform where we can inspire, educate, and connect.

A Bit About Ollie Rankin

Ollie Rankin is a New Zealand born virtual reality storyteller and visual effects supervisor. He has a background in programming, specifically in the field of artificial intelligence. This skill led him to work at Weta Digital in 1999, as one of the first users of Massive, building virtual orc and elf brains. He went on to choreograph battle sequences for the Lord of Rings Trilogy. His skills in the emerging field of crowd and battle simulation were sought after by studios in Japan, the UK, Canada, and California. 

In a career that spans 20 years, Rankin has worked on dozens of films and television productions. He has also been involved in several startups in the fields of virtual and mixed reality. In addition to creating original interactive VR films through his own company, Pansensory Interactive, Rankin has also made contributions to volumetric capture technology and the application of VR to education and mental health therapy. 

Lost Horizon Festival 

Ollie and his colleagues at VRJAM have been working on solutions for live VR events for three years. In the space of just ten weeks, he oversaw the building of four virtual stages and two other virtual worlds. The team recorded and processed over 75 DJs (including Carl Cox, Fatboy Slim, Sasha, Pete Tong, Seth Troxler) and bands (including Alabama 3, Nova Twins, Voodoo Black, My Bad Sister) as well as dozens of other performers and hundreds of artworks (including from Shepard Fairey and Mark Tichenor) to create an event like none ever before.

The Lost Horizon Festival was a universally accessible and radically inclusive free event. The event had an activist message of social, racial, and climate justice, and raised money for Amnesty International and The Big Issue (a UK newspaper by and for the homeless). Using CG, gaming and VFX techniques, Ollie and his team gave people the experience of a large-scale immersive social event, complete with all the random interactions and life-changing conversations you might expect, without exposing anyone to the risk of COVID-19.

The Lost Horizon Festival introduced its audience to the new frontier for live events. The experience was beyond thrilling and scary and amazing all at the same time. People who attended the festival got the chance to meet up with friends and create new ones, as well as customizing or creating their own avatar. The audience got to pull animated dance moves that they could never pull off in real life. You could hear conversations, marvel at the beautiful crowd, and move between stages, just like you would in a real live in-person festival. 

Lost Horizon gave people a chance to experience the power of virtual reality and game engines to connect people, in complete safety.  With hundreds attending in VR, thousands on the PC and smartphone apps, and nearly 4.5 million streams across various platforms, the event was a resounding success! We can look forward to many such events going forward from Ollie Rankin and his team.

These Thrillers Will Keep You Hooked ‘Til The Very Last Page

Is this his vile attempt to stop her from finding her brother and shutting down her access to the vault? Aaaah! Are these clues leading her straight to her…death?

Nothing screams entertainment like a thriller that keeps you at the edge of your seat until you flip the last page. We picked three books that will keep you spellbound this spring.  

DOUBLE BLIND: The Icelandic Manuscript Murders  

Buckle up as Sara Winokur takes you on a wild ride with DOUBLE BLIND: The Icelandic Manuscript Murders. This crime thriller explores Iceland’s cultural landscape, taking you through rural farmsteads and icy fjords to the sophisticated world of DNA forensics.  

A young boy goes missing in North Iceland. Twenty years later, his twin sister Brynja, a forensic geneticist, finds a mysterious poem on her desk. The poem brings her hope that her lost brother might be alive, but as Brynja starts unraveling clues, more poems appear. These poems carry grave consequences for those who receive them: the guard of the medieval manuscript of Icelandic sagas who likely holds the answer to her pressing question, the prime minister’s secretary, and the neighborhood pastor.  

Is this the poet’s vile attempt to stop her from finding her brother, or shut down her access to the vault? Are these clues leading her straight to her death? Aaaah! 

The story rides on the motive behind the poet’s attempt to reach Brynja. Whether he aims to stop her from finding her brother, block her access to the DNA database, or worse, kill her, you will have to find out! 

The Org  

Set in the near future, Scott Brody’s The Org speaks of the effects of the global climate crisis; it faces dire adversities like degrading weather conditions, food scarcity, and heightened panic. 

The EcoParty’s leader, Lee Beloit, uses his charismatic skills to remake his organization after the mysterious murder of one of his followers. He revamps his small cult to create a national movement with a manifesto to fight climate change. Although polling numbers look promising and the movement is gathering positive traction, he and his followers are facing the fight of their lives. When President Leo Pine sends people to battle Org members in the streets, Beloit fights back, pushing his people to the breaking point. As he prepares to declare the Democratic Party nomination for President, journalist Walt Jones gears up to reveal Beloit as the protector of a killer. This book is a journey through a series of precarious events that unfold in the years leading up the campaign.  

If you are someone who enjoys action-packed mysteries in a political backdrop, you’ll love The OrgLearn more about the author and the inspiration behind his book. 

A Wistful Tale of Gods, Men and Monsters 

When a professional fighter turned master chef cooks up a horror story, you don’t want to miss any of the delicious details. Author David Ruggerio’s A Wistful Tale of Gods, Men and Monsters is set in real towns and recognizable places, making the book even spookier to read. 

As autumn arrives, the sleepy village of Brunswick, NY comes alive with holiday hayrides through scenic apple orchards, ghostly corn mazes, and loaded pumpkin patches. One snowy Halloween, a young lad named William Willowsby is faced with fighting evil forces that were guarded against by generations of villagers before him. Not too far from the town, the abandoned Forest Park Cemetery is home to all sorts of vile things just waiting for their chance to poison the world to which they once belonged. With their help, the evil taskmaster, a rare homunculus, weaves a wicked web to snare the youth of the hamlet, and only Will can stop them. 

If this hasn’t spooked you enough, then an eerie schoolhouse, a deserted morgue, and a member from William’s own family are bound to leave you sleepless for days. To know more about David and what he believes is the perfect recipe for a good horror novel, click here. 

Work by Paul Alan Smith Shows How to Make Social Impact

By many counts, social concerns are becoming more and more prominent in modern society, with the advent of the internet and social media bringing these concerns to the forefront of the public eye. In light of this, many people are now seeking ways in which they can have a greater impact on the issues they care about. To help us better understand how one can integrate their existing work with a drive to better their community, we looked to the life of Paul Alan Smith, an entertainment professional with a penchant for encouraging social and political change.

Personal history

Before diving into his work, let’s first look to the background of Paul Alan Smith, as this can help give an indication as to why he has been so committed to activism over the years. Though born in Los Angeles, he grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during the politically turbulent ‘60s and ‘70s. His experience witnessing activism firsthand throughout his youth helped to inform his views later in life, creating a firm resolve to work towards social and political change wherever possible. This resolve has been further supported by both his travels and education in entertainment. His formal education saw him studying Theatre at both UCLA and NYU, though his love for the craft goes as far back as early childhood when he first fell in love with the musical Hair. His travels in life have seen him visit places across the globe to gain a firmer understanding of different cultures and their approaches to life. These journeys included time in India, Europe, Africa, Israel, and Palestine. Many of these locations have been repeat destinations for the entertainment professional, serving as places to be visited when he needed to reset and gain added insight into his own life.

Integrating work and activism

For many people, one of the challenges of engaging in activism is the context of their work situation and how it precludes them from living their life fully in accordance with their own values. In this area, efforts by the agent/manager can be quite informative. Though the field of entertainment can be quite competitive, with many people keeping the whole of their focus on ways in which they can get ahead, Smith was still able to create work environments that would help further his social and political values. An example of this is his efforts to institute recycling efforts in past workplaces. Even in ‘80s, when recycling was not always a commonplace practice, he was able to convince employers that it would be worthwhile from both an environmental and monetary standpoint — more recycling meant less trash and less money spent on waste disposal. Later in his career, when he started working to incentivize alternative transportation options, he was again able to institute policies that were not only beneficial to the environment but worked within existing fiscal constraints for the company and employees alike. These types of considerations have helped contribute sizably to the success of his efforts.

Encouraging gatherings

Another way to help move culture in a positive direction is through the spread of ideas. This is one of the reasons social media has helped push many political issues into the public consciousness. Never before has the spread of ideas been so easy, with more information on a given subject always just a click away when browsing the internet. However, though these technologies make the spread of information easier, they are still somewhat lacking when compared with in-person communication, which can often help a person think about an issue in a way that online communication cannot. Cognizant of this dynamic, the entertainment professional has made in-person gatherings another means by which he has helped spread social and political ideas. This work has included organizing events he has called Speaker Soirées. At these gatherings, members of the entertainment community could gather to eat, drink, and listen to orators who had interesting ideas about the world around them. Past speakers included Gore Vidal, Condoleezza Rice, Budd Schulberg, and Congresswoman Barbara Lee. In addition, leaders of organizations concerned with political and social activism would also come to speak on pressing issues at the forefront of their work.

Gaining control

While the above examples show how you can incorporate activism into your existing work, it is true that a certain amount of control over your own destiny helps to make these efforts easier to complete. An example of this from the agent/manager’s life has included his ascension through the ranks of the companies at which he has worked. Once it was clear that he could deliver results to his clients and employers, he was in a better position to negotiate the terms of his employment. These negotiations often involved acknowledgment of his ability to run his office in a manner he deemed to be socially conscious. 

Of course, even the most favorably negotiated employment situation still can leave room to be desired. That is one of the reasons that the entertainment professional ultimately decided to go into business for himself. He is now opening his own firm, alongside business partner Lee Rosenbaum, known as New Deal Mfg. Co. The firm will serve as both a management company and agency to his dedicated group of film and television directors. The unusual move to create a company that handles two different aspects of representation is just one more way that he is bucking trends to create a work environment that he feels makes the most sense. 

With the modern era affording unrivaled access to new ideas, social and political activism is seeing a newfound degree of interest. This type of activism, however, is not always easy to incorporate into one’s life, especially while working in a restrictive employment situation. The above examples of the ways in which Paul Alan Smith has engaged in activism while navigating various working environments should be instructive for those seeking to accomplish something similar. Those interested would do well to follow the entertainment professional’s career for continued examples of how to live according to one’s beliefs in today’s working world.

How to Create a Welcoming Party Atmosphere

You’re excited to share the warmth of your home by hosting a party for your friends and loved ones. Just remember, the event doesn’t have to be complicated to make your guests comfortable. Here are a few party prep ideas that keep the focus on quality time together.

Create Flow and Seating

Stand at the door where people will enter and look at your house from the guests’ perspective.

Aim to create areas that flow, where it’s easy to move from one space to the next and areas to gather, including seating for those who may need a rest. Keep in mind that guests have different personalities, so some may love to stand in the middle of it all while some prefer a more intimate conversation while seated in a side room.

When creating flow, ask yourself: Is there a place to hang raincoats in case of unexpected rain? Is there any furniture you can move out of the entryway, kitchen, or other places where people might naturally gather to talk? Could I easily move through this area if three or four people were standing around? When creating seating, consider arranging chairs along a wall in small u-shaped groupings. Consider pushing back large items, like couches, to allow for more room.

Add Fresh Flowers

Brighten up any season by adding a few simple vases of flowers or greenery to the tables at your party. Start by checking your yard or asking friendly neighbors if you can have a few sprigs of what is blooming close to home. In the winter, evergreen stems offer color and scent as interest.

Cut the stems longer than you think you need, this will give you more choices when arranging them into vases. Consider using empty bottles as vases and varying the heights of the flowers.

Worried about provoking sneezes? Here is a list of the best and worst flowers for allergy sufferers.  

Image via Flickr by SupportPDX

Be Sensory Aware

Before you reach for your favorite scented candle or spray, be aware that some guests may be allergic. Your home doesn’t need a heavy scent to be welcoming. The healthiest way to handle any stale or musty smells is with a pre-party home air quality inspection from Martin Enterprises Heating and Air Conditioning. Not only do your guests deserve clean air, so does your family.

Music and sound are party features that can overwhelm some guests. Consider if there’s a side room with seating for people to take a breather. This space is best with a rug or carpet to absorb sound. 

Ceiling fans with light kits can mimic a strobe light when on. People with epilepsy may need to avoid these. Consider keeping fans on a moderate speed to lessen the effect. 

Your guests have come to spend time with you. So, whatever you do to prepare, be sure to leave time to prepare mentally to welcome your loved ones. Take three slow, deep breaths before opening the door. Smile and enjoy the memories.