source material

Enchanting Theatre Troupe Source Material To Preview New Work (LA)

on Wednesday, Apr. 15th

Put this one on your radar, all you broke LA art kids.

Last year I got excited about the emerging theatre company Source Material and it’s piece Into The Fog which played at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. It was a physically lyrical affair that skated the line between dance and theatre gracefully.

That troupe, led by founder Samantha Shay, will be presenting a preview of their second original piece at the Avant Los Angeles art party next week.

Details after the jump.


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‘Sensory Stories’ To Touch Down At The Museum of the Moving Image

on Thursday, Apr. 9th

Every October the Future of StoryTelling (FoST) conference gathers together an eclectic group of movers and shakers to discuss the shape of things to come, narratively speaking at least. It isn’t the easiest of events to get into, however, the event is limited to 500 attendees and by invitation only.

That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t enjoy some of what the organization has to offer. If, for instance, you happen to be in New York City between April 18th and July 26th you can make your way over to the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria where FoST has curated an exhibit that shows what happens when the latest in technology is put into the hands of innovative storytellers.

The result is called Sensory Stories.


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Digital Zen: Interactive Haikus

on Tuesday, Apr. 7th

Every year some of the most interesting interactive experiments come to us courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada, and this year is turning out to be no different.

This month the NFB is debuting a series of twelve short experiences they’ll release as part of the Interactive Haiku project. Each Haiku, which were culled from 162 proposals from around the globe, uses the language and tools of Internet connected devices to create a kind of digital poem. Not quite a game, but not a passive consumption experience either.

The added injunction from the NFB and co-producer ARTE that the experiences be just 60 seconds long means that it doesn’t take much effort to sample the growing buffet of options. As of this writing five of the twelve haikus are live.


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App-ing Our Way Towards A Future Without Pesky Checks

on Tuesday, Apr. 7th

A version of this story aired on NPR’s All Things Considered.

The other morning I asked my friend Amanda Mae Meyncke, a writer here in Los Angeles, to explain an app to me.

I used my debt card to pay for our order of coffee and toast, and then got her to pay me back with this app she uses: Venmo.

It’s what’s known as a peer-to-peer finance app, which is Silicon Valley’s way of saying that it lets people pay each other without handling cash or swiping cards. People like to use it to split bills.

To get started she opened up the app.

“There you are, Noah Nelson,” said Amanda Mae, “it says we’re friends.”

It’s not just me that’s in there. It’s all her friends who use it… and there’s this Twitter-like feed showing what people are giving each other money for.

It took me a couple of minutes for me to sign up, using Facebook, and link it to my bank account. The money showed up instantly in Venmo, but took a bit longer to get to my bank.

Amanda Mae got started using the app because of friends she’d go out to eat with, but she then started using it for more critical transactions. (more…)

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dash splat

A Day Too Early For April Fools': Amazon Dash

on Tuesday, Mar. 31st

This has to be a joke, right?

That was the first thought in my mind as I watched the sizzle reel for Amazon’s new Dash program. If you missed it: Amazon has announced a new service that will provide Amazon Prime customers with little wi-fi enabled devices that allow people to order a refill of select items with a push of a button.

That’s all the device does, with each product getting its own dedicated button. It is not, apparently, an early April Fools’ joke, although I’m holding out.

What it is, however, is a glimpse into the corporate vision for the looming Internet of Things. One where a fool and his money is easily parted at the touch of a button, or perhaps automatically thanks to smart sensors embedded in aware appliances.


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Crowdfunding’s Big Week of Changes

on Friday, Mar. 27th

Just a few quick thoughts on a Friday.

As I write this the biggest Kickstarter ever—the Pebble Time, the successor to what is now the third biggest ever—is closing in on a final total of well over $20,000,000.

With numbers like that 2015 is already feeling like its going to be the biggest year in crowdfunding yet, and not in the lame, limping way that 2014 was bigger than 2013. No, something feels like it changed at the beginning of the year. Something in the zeitgeist where people stopped worrying about crowdfunding and learned to accept its bumps and bruises.

While the cultural temperature is shifting there are also structural changes afoot. One of them will only strengthen the community building model at the heart of crowdfunding while the other big change could blow up half a decade of good will in pursuit of the almighty dollar.

Let’s start with a small change first. (more…)

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Let The Battle Begin: Twitter’s Periscope Takes On Meerkat

on Thursday, Mar. 26th

Will the news ever be the same again?

A month into the buzz cycle on the hot mobile streaming video app Meerkat a new challenger has appeared. Periscope, which was acquired by Twitter earlier this year has almost everything Meerkat is not: possessed of a beautiful UI, capable of being replayed, and on a much tighter feedback loop.

What neither of these apps are is ready for prime time, at least from a news perspective.


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Image via WEVR

WEVR Wants To Fast Track Virtual Reality Content With $1M In Grants

on Friday, Mar. 20th

It seems like it was just a two months ago that we were talking about an interesting grant program from a Venice, CA start-up designed to bring independent cinema voices into the virtual reality world.

Oh, wait. It was just two months ago. Only back then the company in question was WeMo Labs… cut to two moons later and WeMo has rebranded itself as WEVR and has now put a call out for project proposals while putting at stake (raises pinky) One Million Dollars.

This isn’t a shake-up of the previous grant offer: the deal with Seed & Spark is still in place, but the rebranding into WEVR appears to have brought a sharp new focus to the Silicon Beach company.


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polish theatre month LA

The World Wide Web of Playwrights: Polish Theatre Month in L.A.

on Friday, Mar. 20th

We focus a lot here at Turnstyle on how digital technology changes the film industry, and how virtual reality is disrupting the entertainment industry as a whole.* Every so often we like to remind ourselves that the Internet has an impact on the traditional channels of culture that go beyond what’s hot in the headlines.

A good example of that is what’s happening this weekend as part of Polish Theatre Month in L.A..

The tradition of international cultural exchange between playhouses is a long one. Translating works and bringing them out of their native countries is a vital part of the theater world. What the immediacy of the ‘net provides is the opportunity for that cultural dialog to happen in real time, and in the dramatic language of the theatre.


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Preview performance of Miwa Matreyek's THIS WORLD MADE ITSELF / 2013 (from LAX Kickstarter)

Latte Fund: Kickstarting LA’s Contemporary Performance Festival

on Wednesday, Mar. 18th

It’s been a while since we’ve done a “latte fund” round. As in, I think it’s been a year since I used that term, which is my way of saying that what I’m about to talk about is worth backing to the tune of at least the price of a latte. Which in Los Angeles is about $5 with tax and tip.

The price of an LA latte is extra apt for this campaign, which is for the Live Arts Exchange, aka LAX, an experimental performance festival which runs each year in the City of Angels. For the past two years LAX has been a co-production of Los Angeles Performance Practice and the Bootleg Theater, and it’s featured a cross section of music, theatre, animation, dance and multimedia mash-ups of these and more which become their own thing.

In short: it’s LA’s one-stop shop for uncovering what the edge of live performed art is all about these days. Last year’s festival featured some of the most challenging work I’ve seen in a long while—and yes, I mean the good kind of challenging.


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Gumroad Rentals H

Rent Video Straight From Social Media Via Gumroad

The people who brought the “Buy Now” button to Twitter are going all-in on film distribution.


Siegel's NOME meditation machine.

Hacking Consciousness: Silicon Valley’s Next Frontier

Is there something that lies beyond the quantified self movement?

Detail from the cover of Snow Crash.'

Bright, Bold Future: Magic Leap Has Hired The Godfather of The Metaverse

There’s a rapturous term thrown around by VR enthusiasts: “The Metaverse.” It is a term that comes from the seminal Neal Stephenson science fiction novel Snow Crash, where it described a kind of embodied virtual reality.


In the looming battle of AR and VR the prize is your mind.

Let’s talk about augmented reality versus virtual reality shall we?

Corey McCall with the video game controller that measures the level of excitement in the player. Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News Service

These Game Controllers Will (One Day) Read Your Mind

A version of this story airs on NPR/WBUR’s Here & Now.