Murder Ballad: Backstage at the Studio Theater

Studio Theater
Studio Theater

How do you build buzz around a new play? If you’re the Studio Theater, you invite InstagramDC to a behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming production of Murder Ballad. Studio Theater has been on 14th Street since 1980, in a large building (much expanded) that at one time was a hot dog stand warehouse. Murder Ballad is a rock musical about a love triangle that’s presented cabaret-style in a set that looks like a dive bar.

I was lucky enough to be a part of this exclusive tour. It was a small group (less than a dozen) of social photogs. We met in the lobby of the theater and then were taken on a rapid-fire tour of all four of Studio’s stages, through backstage spaces where they stored costumes and made sets and even up the perilous gantries above the stage. We were encouraged to take and share photos during tour using the hashtag #murderballad on Instagram and Twitter to help get the word out about the play.

Here are some highlights from the tour:

Behind the scenes at @studiotheatre The view from the stage #murderballad #IGDC
If you work at the Studio Theater, you see this stage every day. But for everyone else, standing on a stage is a very unique experience.
scenery construction shop
This is where they make the sets and is one of those rooms that they had a hard time getting us out of. Old tools, wood, sawdust, beautiful light – everyone found stuff to photograph.
in the rafters at Studio Theater
Watch your step! And your head! This is the gantry – about twenty feet above the stage.
looking down from the gantry
Looking down from the gantry at one of Studio Theater’s stages.
Jarrett celebrates surviving the gantry #IGDC #murderballad
Jarrett (IG: brilliantartistry) celebrates surviving the gantry.
A selfie moment #murderballad #IGDC
Photographers love mirrors.
silhouette at the Studio Theater
Studio has a lot of great windows facing 14th Street.

After the tour (we could’ve spent hours backstage, especially if they let us get into the costumes), they led us upstairs to the best part of all – the bar/set for Murder Ballad!

It looks just like a dive bar but is actually part of the play. There we were plied with drinks and bacon-wrapped figs while cast members sang a couple songs from the play. There were also giveaways and special surprises for this VIP event.

Murder Ballad set/bar at Studio Theater
The set/bar for Murder Ballad. I used Snapseed to give this photo a faded look.

Photographers love unique spaces that aren’t open to the public. At the Studio, everything was new and interesting to us – even collections of old props. So if you have something new to promote, consider inviting your fans behind the velvet curtain. Give them access to your hidden spaces. Share with them something special and they’ll do the marketing for you.

Surrendering to Serendipity: My Year in Photography

I like wandering the city taking photos. I’m a chronicler, a recorder, pursuing the things I am interested in – city life, the arts, travel and strong horizontal lines.

And in 2012, I got to do so much of what I love – taking boozy Instagram shots of art gallery shows, capturing photos of bike culture and recording life in this city, from protests to performance art.

Here are my favorites from 2012.

iPhone Impressionism

It was the year of iPhone impressionism, where I used Instagram, Flickr, Slow Shutter and other apps to capture the city around me. When I take photos, I’m not looking for realism – I’m looking for symmetry and beauty in the urban environment. I’m showing an idealized Washington, a place of warm tones, strong lines and order.

Taxis on 17th St

there is a light that never goes out

F St from above

Late in the year came the controversy over Instagram’s odious Terms of Service. That inspired me to check out the newly updated Flickr mobile app, which has great filters like Narwhal (seen below) and doesn’t shrink your pictures down to tiny squares.

performance art at the Hillyer

My New Year’s Resolution is to use Flickr more and Instagram less.

Continue reading “Surrendering to Serendipity: My Year in Photography”

Snapseed is Free!

snapseed interface
Snapseed interface on iPad

Snapseed is a dream of an app on the iPad – and now it’s free!

Snapseed is like Instagram’s bigger and more powerful brother. In addition to scores of faux film filters and frames, Snapseed can perform the kind of adjustments that you’d need Adobe Lightroom for. Crop, white balance, saturation, contrast, color correction, center focus, selective adjustment – it does much of what the Adobe product does but with a radically simpler interface. And a much smaller pricetag.

I like Drama. It’s one of the unique filters in Snapseed. It creates highly stylized images by pumping up the contrast and saturation. Grunge is another one, adding a beat-up texture to your image, as if it had been stored in a drawer for decades.

Over the summer, I did a photo shoot in Georgetown, using just an iPhone to capture the images and then Snapseed to edit them. My model was Lauren, a friend of mine. We started at the graceful Q Street Bridge over Rock Creek and then explored Georgetown side streets.

After the shoot, I edited from the comfort of my couch, using Snapseed. I cropped, fiddled with levels, tried and untried autocorrect, experimented with different filters, applied selective focus and, in less than an hour, I created some photos I was really happy with.

Here are some examples of the fun you can have with Snapseed.

P St
example of grunge filter
Lauren on the stairs
cropping, temperature and color adjustments in Snapseed
Lauren with her Holga
cropping and subtle color, temperature adjustments

Check out the whole set and get Snapseed today.