Before the Black Crowes can play in Busch Stadium, before Muse performs in Manchester Arena, before Radiohead strikes a chord in the Riverbend Music Center, they all make their way through small venues. To help celebrate the role these places play in the lives of performers, 18 small venues around the U.K. will participate in Independent Venue Week, Jan. 28 – Feb. 2.
“Independent venues sit at the heart of their local community, providing a vital lifeline to upcoming artists early in their careers whilst bringing together those fans who are passionate about live music,” the organization’s website said. “With more and more small to medium sized venues continuing to close around the country, Independent Venue Week supports those venues that play such a significant role to musicians and fans alike. We want to celebrate the venues, and the people that run them, that have played host to some of the biggest names in music when they were no better known than the bands that are playing there now.”
Radiohead’s Colin Greenwood is the initiative’s official ambassador.
“I’m proud to be involved in the celebration and promotion of local gigs, which gave us some of the best times in our musical life—The Joiners, King Tuts, Jericho Oxford—just to name three brilliant venues that are still putting on top shows today,” he said. “They’re all crucial for the musical development of the U.K., because they provide local artists with places to hone their show skills and a window to other musical worlds when a tour hits town.”
Visit the Independent Venue Week website for more information and to buy tickets. And if you’re not in the U.K., consider seeing a show at a small venue. You may just see the next superstar starting out.
The Performing Arts Managers Conference (PAMC) is quickly approaching, and this year it takes place in Kansas City, Mo. You may not know this—and I didn’t until yesterday—that Kansas City is home to a flourishing playwright scene.
“Much of the activity is coming from small theater companies—the Fishtank Performance Studio, the Living Room and the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre—but the annual KC Fringe Festival has also become an incubator for playwrights,” Robert Trussell wrote for The Kansas City Star. “In addition, new theater groups have popped up, including Play On Productions and Melting Pot KC, with the goal of staging original work by Kansas City writers.”
This is not the first time Kansas City has experienced a creative surge.
“There is a precedent for such an explosion of creativity here: the jazz era,” Trussell wrote. “In the 1920s and ’30s, musicians from across the country gathered here. They formed bands or joined orchestras. Some of them thought they were just passing through but stayed. They knew each other. They played together and listened to one another’s music. And they absorbed musical ideas in a melting pot of styles. Now we’re seeing something like that in the theater community.”
I like that line: “They played together and listened to one another’s music.” That’s similar to a conference. You attend so that you can listen, learn, and interact with one another. For PAMC, it’s not just another conference, it’s a community.
My day begins with four cups of black tea. A co-worker will stop for Starbucks. Another will down an energy drink. We’re all trying to wake up and get our bodies going for the workday, and caffeine is the easiest and quickest way to do that.
Caffeine consumption, though, may have another good benefit: enhancing memory. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University discovered that long-term memory is positively effected by caffeine, and that it can enhance certain memories for up to 24 hours after it’s ingested.
“We’ve always known that caffeine has cognitive enhancing effects, but its particular effects on strengthening memories and making them resistant to forgetting has never been examined in detail in humans,” said Michael Yassa, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University. “We report for the first time a specific effect of caffeine on reducing forgetting over 24 hours.”
Participants, in a double-blind trial, who did not regularly eat or drink caffeinated products were given either a placebo or a 200-milligram of caffeine tablet after viewing a series of images. Saliva samples were taken before and one, three, and 24 hours afterwards to check for caffeine levels. Tests were conducted the next day on both groups to gauge their ability to recognize the images from the previous day. Participants in the caffeine group were more able to identify the images and similar images as compared to the placebo group. It is this ability to recognize the difference between two similar but not identical items, the researchers said, that shows a deeper level of memory retention.
“If we used a standard recognition memory task without these tricky similar items, we would have found no effect of caffeine,” Yassa said. “However, using these items requires the brain to make a more difficult discrimination—what we call pattern separation, which seems to be the process that is enhanced by caffeine in our case.”
The study is different from previous experiments.
“Almost all prior studies administered caffeine before the study session, so if there is an enhancement, it’s not clear if it’s due to caffeine’s effects on attention, vigilance, focus or other factors,” Yassa said. “By administering caffeine after the experiment, we rule out all of these effects and make sure that if there is an enhancement, it’s due to memory and nothing else.
“The next step for us is to figure out the brain mechanisms underlying this enhancement,” Yassa continued. “We can use brain-imaging techniques to address these questions. We also know that caffeine is associated with healthy longevity and may have some protective effects from cognitive decline like Alzheimer’s disease. These are certainly important questions for the future.”
There was a lot of industry news this past week you may have missed. Here are some headlines that caught our eyes.
How iBeacons Could Change the World Forever
—The Washington Post
“An iBeacon could identify that a fan is within feet of the turnstiles, and a related app will open on a user’s phone. A prompt could then ask if the fan would like to view his or her ticket for the day’s game.”
Samsung Named the Official Patron of The PGA of America
“As part of the agreement, Samsung and the PGA will be working together to develop multi-screen, second-screen and interactive experiences to create the next generation fan experience.”
It’s A Winter World Cup! FIFA Exec Rules Out Summer Tournament In Qatar 2022
—The Huffington Post UK
“The dates for the World Cup (in Qatar) will not be June-July. To be honest, I think it will be held between 15 November and 15 January at the latest.”
Rule #1 of the Customer Service Experience, and of Business Success
“The customer is at the center of the customer’s universe.”
When It’s OK To Love Someone at the Office
—The Wall Street Journal
“…leaders of all types of companies need to recognize that the emotional cultures of their workplaces are as important as the “cognitive” concepts they place front and center – like innovation or results.”
(Image: Jonathan Newton /The Washington Post)
The Amsterdam ArenA has its eyes set on the sun. Workers will begin installing 4,200 solar panels on its rooftop, which will generate approximately 930,000 kWh of electricity.
“At an earlier stage, the Amsterdam ArenA had already decided in favor of sustainable district heating and cooling,” said Henk Markerink, CEO of the Amsterdam ArenA. “Recently, a contract was signed for Dutch wind power, linked to the Oudendijk wind farm through Nuon. The installation of the solar panels is an important and logical next step towards the realization of a net climate neutral stadium by 2015.”
Covering 7,000 square meters (75,347 square feet), the panels will be placed on the non-moving parts of the stadium’s roof along the entire circumference above the rain gutter. It’s expected that the panels will prevent the emission of 430 tons of CO2.
The installation places the stadium among the top three “solar stadiums,” along with the Stade de Suisse in Bern and the Bentegodi Stadium in Verona.