I’ve Moved to Blogspot

Posted July 10, 2008 by Beth Evans
Categories: Uncategorized

Due to technical difficulties, I’ve changed my blog to Beijing Duck. It’s a terrible pun of a title, but accurately describes this point in my life.

Beijing Duck is more personal than this one. The reason for this is not because I’m extremely self-centered but because I know:

1. Some people will like reading about my experiences.
2. You can’t read my perspectives on living and working in the Chinese contemporary art world anywhere else, and uniqueness is my number one news value in deciding what to blog about.

I’ve already begun posting, so check it out.

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How do you say “Google” in Mandarin?

Posted June 10, 2008 by Beth Evans
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , ,

I’m near the end of a month-long process to begin working in Beijing, which includes everything from applying for an employment visa to finding an apartment. This is a brief post meant to provide a tad bit of help to other native English speakers moving to Chinese-speaking countries.

I’d heard of Google Translate, but didn’t start using it until a couple of weeks ago. It’s amazing. I use it all the time both to translate e-mails from my boss and to translate entire Web sites. You can choose between Simplified and Traditional Chinese when translating from English. Google Translate includes 22 languages, and a “detect language” option. You might miss main points in lengthy e-mails, either composing or reading, but it’s great for quick messages and the site translate feature.

Nciku is my favorite online dictionary. You can draw characters into a form on the home page, translate them, and hear them pronounced. If you create a personal account, Nciku automatically saves all the characters you look up into a vocabulary list. I’m currently trying to figure out if I can use Nciku on my phone, which would save me a lot of money in buying an electronic dictionary with character drawing capability.

Soufun has the best rental listings I’ve found so far. I’ve only used it to look for apartments, but you can also look for office space. You can search by district, neighborhood, price range, number of bedrooms, and other criteria. As far as I can tell, it’s only for Beijing. You need Chinese language skills to use it; Google Translate is pretty effective, but doesn’t translate all the characters.

A word of warning about Firefox: I recently downloaded it and it works fine for just about everything but composing e-mails in Chinese. It enters characters out of order. I don’t know if this is also specific to Gmail or my computer, but Safari is flawless at composing e-mails in Chinese. I haven’t checked other browsers.

I hope somebody finds this useful. I’m pretty much a novice at this, so I welcome other suggestions or corrections.

Why I’m Addicted to America’s Next Top Model

Posted June 10, 2008 by Beth Evans
Categories: Uncategorized

Contestants of America's Next Top Model Cycle 10I recently finished “Made to Stick” by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, a book with the tagline, “Why some ideas survive and others die.” The main point of this book is that sticky ideas contain a combination of qualities summarized in the acronym SUCCESs: simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, and stories. Normally I leave blogging about pop culture to my peers. However, America’s Next Top Model (ANTM), and I assume other regions’ top model competitions, is one of the few ideas that seems to incorporate all of the SUCCESsful qualities. This is how this show hooked me not only into watching the most recent season, but reruns, whenever I have the time. And I’m not the only one: ANTM had the CW‘s highest average audience of 2006-2007 television season.

Simple: The show’s core idea is obvious and can be expressed within a sentence fragment: A modeling competition documented in a reality television show. It also contains a consistent format characteristic of other documented competitions that makes it easy to follow.

Unexpected: I think ANTM does this best out of all of the SUCCESs qualities. My favorite unexpected moment, which you can watch here is the show host and head judge Tyra Branks’ line in Cycle 5 during an elimination, “…tonight, both of you must pack your bags – because we’re all going to London!” Within the span of that line, fans go from thinking the judges will eliminate one woman, as usual; then two, unprecedented at the time; then none, also unprecedented. Confetti and London flags flood the set; traditionally dressed guards march into the room; all the model-wannabes cry with relief.

Concrete: ANTM’s personalization of modeling through documenting individual women is public relations for the modeling industry. It gives us people behind the photographs. Some of the show’s language is purposefully vague, for example, “Nigel Barker, noted fashion photographer,” and “Elite Model Management, one of the top modeling agencies in the world.” However, aspects of the show are very concrete, for example, how one of the consistent prizes is “a cover and six-page spread in Seventeen Magazine.” This show also contains easy references, also an aspect of simple, such as “Top Model Prep School” as Cycle 10’s casting setting.

Credible: I’ll summarize this section in two words: Tyra Banks. The first cycle of this show relied on Tyra Banks’ heavy involvement for success. Tyra’s connections legitimize not only the entire show, but decisions for locations, photographers, and other professionals the contestants meet, for example, “[This photographer] has even shot Tyra.”

Emotion: Isn’t this what reality television is all about? In addition to the inherent emotional difficulties of roughly a dozen young female competitors sharing a house on camera, Tyra Banks encourages emotion by asking the contestants probing questions during casting and in sessions similar to therapy, both individually and in groups. Most documented emotion includes crying, screaming with joy, and the women yelling at each other. One the most dramatic emotional moments is a huge fight in Cycle 10 between Whitney and Dominique, which culminates with Dominique calling Whitney a racist.

Stories: Each cycle is a story in itself, of all the contestants. Additionally, I’m pretty sure that Tyra chooses at least a couple contestants with compelling life stories for every cycle. Some of these include Fatima from Cycle 10, a refugee who experienced female circumcision in her home country; Shandi of Cycle 2, the cinderella story if you will; and Amanda of Cycle 3, who is legally blind and will be completely blind by her thirtieth birthday.

So what does all of this have to do with public relations? ANTM maintains excellent public relations and marketing partnerships. Tyra Banks’ weekly reminder of the grand prizes serves as an approximately one-minute commercial for the partners. The show regularly incorporates the partners into challenges and photo shoots: contestants must put Covergirl‘s newest line of makeup on each other, then the winner gets to shoot a spread for Seventeen Magazine. Elite Model Management supervises the go-see challenge. ANTM and its partners share target audiences.

Dance Legend Celebrates 50th Anniversary in Seattle

Posted June 5, 2008 by Beth Evans
Categories: Uncategorized

Dance Legend Celebrates 50th Anniversary in Seattle

The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will perform with local dancers on its 50th anniversary at The Paramount Theatre in Seattle.

Black American song and dance had no place in New York’s performance halls in 1957. On March 30, 1958, Ailey changed more than the relationship of race to dance when his company premiered at The 92nd Street Y in Manhattan: he changed world history. Sunday, March 30, 2008, Seattle Theatre Group presents The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 50th anniversary performance at 2 p.m. at The Paramount Theatre.

Who: The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s full company, Washington state dancers of diverse backgrounds aged 15-22

What: The 50th Anniversary performance of The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, cultural ambassador to the world
Repertoire:
“Memoria”
“Night Creature”
“Reflections in D”
“Revelations”

When: Sunday, March 30 at 2 p.m.

Where: The Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine Street, Seattle, WA 98101

Cost: Click here for ticket information

The performance of “Memoria” will feature local youth dancers who have been learning the choreography for two weeks. AAADT has only performed “Memoria” in Seattle; New York City; Washington, D.C.; Berkeley; Paris; and Johannesburg. Alvin Ailey originally choreographed it as a joint effort of AAADT and its junior company, Ailey II.

About Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater:
Let by Artistic Director, Judith Jamison, AAADT has performed for approximately 21 million people on six continents. They continue their role as the American cultural ambassador to the world by sharing the uniqueness of black American culture and shaping the history of modern dance.

About Seattle Theatre Group:
Seattle Theatre Group is the non-profit arts organization that programs the historic Paramount and Moore Theatres in downtown Seattle. STG’s mission is to make diverse dance, music, film, theatre and arts education an integral part of our rich cultural identity while keeping Seattle’s historic Paramount and Moore Theatres alive and vibrant.

MULTIMEDIA ELEMENTS
QUOTES

ATTRIBUTED TO ALVIN AILEY, FOUNDER OF ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER

On “Memoria”:
“It’s interesting how my personal relationships affect my creativity. It seems as though nearly all of my dances have some basis in an event or a feeling I’ve had that I can usually trace…Nobody has ever asked me what Memoria is about. People everywhere understand it. Making the dance was a very deep and wrenching experience for me.”

ATTRIBUTED TO JUDITH JAMISON, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER

“Alvin Ailey wanted to celebrate what he couldn’t see celebrated: that the image of African Americans, the beauty of it, the enormous talent that was out there was not being seen. He wanted to celebrate our experience, but he also wanted you to know that’s a universal experience, and he did.”

ATTRIBUTED TO JOSH LABELLE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SEATTLE THEATRE GROUP

“Seattle Theatre Group is honored to host the 50th anniversary performance of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. It’s pretty fitting that the United States’ cultural ambassador to the world is celebrating such a historical moment at The Paramount Theatre, one of the premiere arts venues in the country.”

About Seattle Theatre Group (STG): Seattle Theatre Group is the non-profit arts organization that programs the historic Paramount and Moore Theatres in downtown Seattle. STG’s mission is to make diverse dance, music, film, theatre and arts education an integral part of our rich cultural identity while keeping Seattle’s historic Paramount and Moore Theatres alive and vibrant.

RELATED LINKS

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s 50th Anniversary home page – with video

Great Performances: Free To Dance – Biographies – Alvin Ailey

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater – exploredance.com

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (American dance company) — Britannica Online Encyclopedia

DANCE REVIEW; A Tribute Worthy of Three Closing Numbers – New York Times – Dec. 13, 2002

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater – Dance – Review – New York Times – Dec. 21, 2007

Citi Sponsors Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Return to Asia

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

An Evening with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater – NYTimes Movie Review

Cal Performances | Dance | Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Alvin Ailey

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater New York, Manhattan/Hell’s Kitchen | Yelp

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Thurs-Sun, February 7-10, 2008, Citi Wang Theatre, Boston – Celebrity Series of Boston

YouTube – More Than Dance : Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater – Asia Brief

Encyclopedia Smithsonian: Body and Soul: The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Mondavi Center > Events > Alvin Ailey® American Dance Theater

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater – Los Angeles Times Review March 13, 2008

Great Performances . Dance in America: Beyond the Steps: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater | PBS

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre – cultureventure.net

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at The Paramount Theatre in March 2008

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Great Performances: Free To Dance – Biographies – Alvin Ailey

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater – exploredance.com

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (American dance company) — Britannica Online Encyclopedia

DANCE REVIEW; A Tribute Worthy of Three Closing Numbers – New York Times – Dec. 13, 2002

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater – Dance – Review – New York Times – Dec. 21, 2007

Citi Sponsors Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Return to Asia

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

An Evening with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater – NYTimes Movie Review

Cal Performances | Dance | Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Alvin Ailey

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater New York, Manhattan/Hell’s Kitchen | Yelp

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Thurs-Sun, February 7-10, 2008, Citi Wang Theatre, Boston – Celebrity Series of Boston

YouTube – More Than Dance : Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater – Asia Brief

Encyclopedia Smithsonian: Body and Soul: The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Mondavi Center > Events > Alvin Ailey® American Dance Theater

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater – Los Angeles Times Review March 13, 2008

Great Performances . Dance in America: Beyond the Steps: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater | PBS

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre – cultureventure.net

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at The Paramount Theatre in March 2008

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

CONTACT INFORMATION

* I created this writing sample for my Advanced Public Relations Writing class. The information is not meant to represent the organization described. It is for academic purposes only.

Arts and PR Job Search Tips From a PR Ninja

Posted June 5, 2008 by Beth Evans
Categories: Uncategorized

A defining aspect of my personality that I learned about at the inaugural Oregon LeaderShape is that I tend to be too thorough. My professor Tiffany Derville wrote a post on Idealist‘s recruitment that ended with “Graduating seniors, which resources are you using to find jobs?”. I wrote what soon became a four-paragraph comment. I remember her words of wisdom from the beginning of the term: If you want to write a comment that’s more than a couple of paragraphs, then you might as well write your own blog post. So that’s what I’m doing now. And now that I have a job, I can reveal my job-hunting secrets.

As an Idealist user, I got the email about Idealist’s recruitment drive, and was planning on forwarding it to my non-profit contacts. I went on Idealist nearly every day while looking for a job, and I highly recommend it to friends looking for internships and jobs in the non-profit field. I’ve never held an internship or job that I found on an online job board, though; I get the sense that many people apply for these postings. I got a good lead for an Americorps position I found on Idealist, though.

Other online job resources for arts and communications:
Online Public Relations, Council of Public Relations Firms, PROpenMic, New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Job Classifieds [not just New York], Opportunity Knocks, Playbill, ArtsLynx, Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia

Online and in-person (as in you should go to their meetings and conferences, too):
Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), American Marketing Association (AMA), International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP), Southern Arts Federation, service organizations such as Americorps

Facebook groups I’m in with public relations job listings:
PR Job Watch, The PR and Communications Network, The Official Facebook Public Relations Group, Graduate Job Watch, Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), PR Jobs, PRSSA, CPRS – The Canadian Public Relations Society

Some other tips:
It’s all about networking, and you probably aren’t doing enough. I know I’m not. At the 2008 Portland Communicators Conference, Joel Stein brought up that an employer will always pick an applicant who knows a current employee over someone with a stronger application who doesn’t. When it came down to it, I got my job because my randomly assigned roommate has a friend who works at Beijing’s largest art gallery. However, he had to know that I wanted to work in the arts in Beijing, and my resume had to be good.

Also, if you’re a graduating PRSSA member, pay the $60 to join PRSA and receive access to the membership directory. One afternoon a few weeks ago, I mined the directory with my friend Anna Osgoodby. That night, after just one email, she secured her top choice of summer internship – her first internship.

Lastly, try not to let the stress get to you. It’s easy for graduating seniors to base all of their self worth on their perceived job search successes; I know that my classmates positively peer pressure each other. I suggest whining to friends and family who don’t share your career goals.

Any other suggestions? I’d love to hear them.

Old School Performing Arts Marketing That Works

Posted June 4, 2008 by Beth Evans
Categories: Uncategorized

This post is on Eugene Symphony‘s Marketing Director Raychel Kolen’s excellent workshop at Nonprofit Nirvana 2008 on the symphony’s successful marketing campaigns. An aspect of her presentation that shocked me is that Eugene Symphony has successfully kept the subscription model, which I’ve learned in my arts administration classes is dead. I’ll try to highlight the aspects of Eugene Symphony’s massive campaign that I haven’t heard used by other organizations. One of the important aspects of its marketing is outsourcing to TRG Resource Group, especially for database management.

Raychel emphasized that when branding, an organization should ask, “Who are we?” and “Who do we want to be?” Eugene Symphony likes to create the appearance of success, such as by pricing the seats so that the concert hall looks sold out even if it isn’t. The rows fill from front-to-back, and patrons can’t see the empty seats in front of them. This helps with development goals by showing sponsors they get the most bang for their bucks.

The symphony organizes its patron database by Recency, Frequency, and Monetary (RFM), with the patrons with the highest RFM at the top. Long-term subscribers receive recognition, but nowhere near as much marketing as non-subscribers with the highest RFM. Eugene Symphony occasionally partners with other local arts organizations and use their RFM interchangeably with partners. All the Hult Center for the Performing Arts resident companies, including Eugene Symphony, already have access to each others’ databases.

Lastly, Eugene Symphony switched from starting its subscription campaign in July to the February before.

These are some of the strategies that over a three-season period, increased revenue by 79 percent, subscriptions by 65 percent, and corporate giving by 53 percent.  

Resources for Nonprofits’ Web Sites

Posted June 4, 2008 by Beth Evans
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

This post is my summary of TACS’ Ash Shepherd’s stellar presentation titled “Beyond the Online Brochure: Tips, Tricks & Best Practices for Using Your Website & E-marketing,” which I saw at the Nonprofit Nirvana 2008 conference presented by the Greater Oregon PRSA Chapter and the Willamette Valley AMA Chapter in Eugene, Ore., on May 15. TACS is a Portland nonprofit with a mission to help other nonprofits through technology consulting. I’m going to highlight the Web site aspect only, as it relates closer to public relations.

He argues that most nonprofits shouldn’t need to pay more than six to twenty dollars a month for Web hosting. Some good resources for Web hosting are DreamHost, Siteground and ICDSoft. You can read about DreamHost Nonprofit Hosting here.

He also suggests that nonprofits, especially small ones, use content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress to build and maintain their Web sites. These greatly improve efficiency because they don’t require HTML or other Web design knowledge. CMS are slightly harder to use than Microsoft Word. CMS options Ash suggested are Joomla, Drupal, and Plone, which are free; Expression Engine, which uses a subscription model; and Synergy Platform, which you need to purchase.

Note the difference between a CMS and Web host: CMS is the software you use to build and maintain your site, whereas your Web host enables others to see it. You can compare your Web host to your cell phone provider, for example, AT&T; and your software like your specific cell phone, for example, BlackBerry Curve.

You should also build Web statistics into your site because measurement is what public relations and marketing is all about, right? Through my Bateman Case Study Competition team’s use of Google Analytics, we could pinpoint the exact cities users accessed our site from, how long they spent, which pages they visited, and so on. Other Web statistics sources that Ash recommended were WebTrends, Woopra and Going Up.

All 501(c)(3) nonprofits can accept donations through their Web sites. The presentation audience seemed to prefer using Network for Good, a third-party site where about three-fourths of donors opt to pay transaction fees. Ash also recommends Oregon Involved and GuideStar.

The extra up-front work to start an effective Web site is worth it. “Having an effective website today requires a steady, ongoing commitment,” wrote Russ Jackman with Internet Advisor. “The cost to move beyond the ‘online brochure’ that is commonplace…is not as big a leap as it was even two years ago.”

For more Web resources, check out Fundraising123.