Category Archives: Marketing

Fait Accompli & Other Tales

Fate – otherwise referred to as destiny, fortune, chance, luck, doom, future, coincidence – is a tricky thing. If you believe in it, do you leave your life up to the fates and live life without care? Or do you make a desperate attempt to change what you think is coming? How do you make sense of this path that may already be chosen for you?

I believe that everything happens for a reason, but is that the same thing as fate? Is it fate that I lose my wallet and someone recovers it on my birthday? Or is that just stupid luck? Was it my fate to write this blog post? Hmm…

This time of year we are all filled with gratitude and thanking our lucky stars. Here are a couple of feel-good stories that might make you a believer:

  • On September 11, 2001, people working in the Pentagon watched televised coverage of the Twin Towers. After watching for some time, a naval officer Frank Thorp IV ordered his team to get back to work: “I came to realize, ‘Hey, we’ve got this big project due.’ So I said, ‘Hey, everybody, let’s get back to work.” But then he suddenly changed his mind. “For the first time in my life, I said, ‘But first, let’s all go get a cup of coffee together.’ To this day, I have no idea why I did that. All of us got up, walked out of the Pentagon or walked out of the office, walked down the hallway, and the plane hit about a tractor-trailer’s length away from my office.” You can read the whole story here.
  • Identical twins Adriana Scott and Tamara Rabi were separated at birth in Mexico. At 20 years old, they met by chance through a mutual date in college. They had been living just 25 miles apart in New York for most of their life, and had no idea. Get the details of their story here.
  • Mr Play-It-Safe was afraid to fly. Packed his suitcase and kissed his kids goodbye-eye. He waited his whole damn life to take that flight, and as the plane crashed down, he thought, “Well isn’t this nice.” And isn’t it ironic…*

Or is it just FATE? I guess we can’t avoid it.  

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(left to right) Scott Montgomery, Jessica Frances Dukes, Maribeth Monroe, Travis Turner (photo by Michael Brosilow)

56% of Team Woolly does not believe in fate. What about you? Share your stories with us! Tweet @woollymammothtc using the hashtag #EverybodyDies!

* This is not a true story. Thank you, Alanis Morissette, for your brilliant lyrics.

~ Noel Edwards, Marketing and Communications Assistant

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Social Media Fundraising: Can We Do it Again?

If you readers are dedicated Woolly fans you might remember just over a year ago our former Director of Marketing & Communications Alli Houseworth made a bet with our former Director of Development Tim Plant, which turned into a highly successful fundraising campaign that raised money for the theatre using ONLY social media. In case you’re pressed for time (but really you should read the whole blog post) I’ll summarize the results of the campaign:

In addition to raising all this money without merely doing more than posting on social media we acquired 66 new Facebook fans and 66 new Twitter followers (slightly higher than average), the link was re-tweeted 135 times on Twitter and the Facebook post was re-posted on others’ walls 172 times.

Pretty cool stuff right? Well once wasn’t simply enough for us mammoths. When we learned about today’s Give to the Max Day, we knew we had to be a part of it. In case you haven’t seen the ads on the Metro or the “Twibbons” on Twitter, here’s a little info about today’s fundraising campaign:

Give to the Max Day is a day for Washingtonians to come together to raise as much money as possible for area nonprofits in 24 hours, starting at midnight on November 9 through midnight on November 10. Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington is trying to break the national record for the best online giving metropolitan region event, showcasing the Greater Washington region’s strong community. By using this platform of online giving, Give to the Max Day also aims to “provide funding for nonprofits during tough economic times, and help them engage with millennial and other digital savvy donors.” There are also additional monetary prizes for the nonprofit that raises the most money, has the most individual donors, and other criteria.

If you love Woolly and support our work of producing innovative and provocative new plays, our Connectivity efforts including the “total audience experience,” our Pay-What-You-Can performances, our blogging and social media efforts (shameless self-promotion), etc. etc. I hope you’ll join the efforts today and make a donation to us here. If you donate to us today, you’ll be entered to win 4 tickets to Spoiler Alert: Everybody Dies, the hilarious performance by Chicago’s The Second City running at Woolly December 6- Jan 8!

Donations start at just $10! Remember, it’s not the size of the gift that matters, it’s your Klout score. Just kidding…but really…

~ Brooke Miller, Press and Digital Content Manager

PS- Today is my birthday so like, for my present you should donate to Woolly 🙂

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RAPTURE DAY (Take 4)

Remember good old (no pun intended) Harold Camping? He told us the world was going to end on May 21st, with all the “good souls” raptured up to heaven while the rest of us encountered plagues, earthquakes, etc. etc. Well after May 21st came and went with no apparent changes, Camping told the media that May 21st was a “spiritual judgment” and the actual Rapture would now occur on October 21st. A “snooze button apocalypse” if you will—thanks Alexandra Petri. (PS- check out the shoutout to the Boise playbill in the article hooray!)

Well today is October 21st—I’ve been searching for weeks to see if there would be as much hype this time around: trending Twitter topics, post-Rapture looting Facebook pages, Non-Rapture parties, pet rescue services, hey even Woolly joined in and had a Non-Rapture discount on our Season subscriptions!

I’ve been following this story today and tweeting out some funny things I read, here is a sampling:

  • Many ultra-religious people don’t believe Camping because they say the Bible says the date of the Rapture is unknown.
  • With this website  people can fill out a Power of Attorney form for $100 to decide who to leave their possessions to in the case that they’re Raptured.
  • In September 2011 Harold Camping was awarded an Ig Nobel Prize (parody of the real Nobel Prize) for “teaching the world to be careful when making mathematical assumptions and calculations.”
  • Apparently today is when the October LSAT scores come out today, hence why some say the Rapture is coming.

@TheLocalGinger: Not wanting to brag but i’ve survived about 5 raptures now. #rapture

@TheatreRo46: Cannot decide what to wear for the #Rapture this time. Know I have to leave it behind; but, I do want to look my best when He gets here.

@RaptureHelpDesk: You are allowed two carry-ons for the #RAPTURE today, small animals are counted as one…

We even had some casualties in our own theatre today…(see end of album).

In addition, because we want everyone to see A Bright New Boise before the world ends, we want everyone to stampede to Woolly tonight: ALL REMAINING SEATS FOR TONIGHT’S PERFORMANCE ARE BEING SOLD AT THE PRICE OF A STAMPEDE SEAT- $15!! Yes, that’s right you heard me correctly. Use code 1428 in person, over the phone (202-393-3939), or online at www.woollymammoth.net.

Until next time…(maybe)

~Brooke Miller, Press and Digital Content Manager

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Retail Fairytales

Welcome to the world of retail: where the customers are relentless, the hours are few and far between, your manager is from hell, and you have to work on the weekend. Today we’ve got some Woolly retail fairytales for you:

  • A Brooks Brothers’ Bark: “I worked with a 50 year old guy who would start barking whenever a hot girl walked in.”
  • Cinderelly, Cinderelly: “When I worked at Le Gourmet Chef, I had to mop the floors at closing every night. I felt like Cinderella. My fairy godmother never came to rescue me.”
  • Caught Red-Handed (almost): “I used to work at a small boutique chain that was slow in foot traffic. There were days where less than ten people would walk in (one of my jobs was to actually keep an hourly tally of who came in), so I would get very bored. When there wasn’t any re-organizing or cleaning to do, I would try on clothes. Now, this was started by my boss and fellow employees who would ask me to model new clothes for them. However, it probably isn’t the best idea when you are running the store solo. There was a bell on our door so I could hear when someone came in, but there were a few times where I had to rush to get some clothing on before a customer (or my boss) saw me trying on merchandise. Luckily I came out of the dressing room fully clothed!”
  • Sir, are you alright?: “I work at a Coach Outlet, which has a history with the five finger discount. Recently, an awkward man came in to shop for his wife, which is a totally normal occurrence. He denied any help looking for an item and browsed on his own. He stood by one area for a while interested in one type of purse. I noticed him struggling for about 20 minutes hunched over in a very odd position. I notified my supervisor, who went over to ask him if he needed help. He had said he was fine, but he looked like he was in pain. It was soon obvious that he was trying to hide something. My supervisor asked him several questions and finally confronted him. He had been trying to stuff a very large purse up his shirt. In order to do this, he had to take a lot of stuffing out, which was noticed after he left. He denied trying to steal, and finally gave up, leaving empty handed. You don’t think anyone’s gonna notice a pregnant man walking out of the store??”
  • Can’t get enough of the golf game: “I worked at a golf store where one old guy would come in every Sunday to just sit and chat to me and my friend that worked there. He would talk for hours and not buy anything. Two years later, I stop by the store and he’s working there…guess he wanted to start being paid for coming in every week!”
  • The Customer is Always Right: “I worked at a women’s boutique where several men who would come in shopping for their significant other, or just to browse. An elderly gentleman came in once and gave me the best advice I’ve ever gotten while working retail. He told me ‘If you only do one thing in life, you need to go to Times Square for New Years Eve.’ I thought it was funny at the time and I did take it to heart, but now I feel like he might have been trying to tell me to get out of retail. I have yet to fulfill this goal.”

Care to see what working in a Hobby Lobby is really like? Check out the pros and cons of Hobby Lobby life so generously given to me by our Woolly Literary Assistant Cameron Huppertz. The cons of “slave labor” definitely outweigh the pros of Christian themes, but there are some voices in the reviews worth checking out that are similar to Will, Leroy, Alex, Anna, and Pauline.

Those of us who have worked in retail know it’s an endless monotonous mountain of folding t-shirts, labeling, and register counts. But there are some who find reward in retail. In A Bright New Boise, Leroy even goes so far to make his work day exciting by deliberately making customers uncomfortable with FUCK tee shirts.

Got any retail horror stories? We’d love to hear them! Share on our blog, or tweet it at us with the hashtag #RetailFairytale.

You can also follow this week’s conversation on Twitter: Awkward workplace conversations. Have you been involved in any? What was it about? Where do you draw the line? Be sure to use the hashtag #WoollyBoise!

~ Noel Edwards, Marketing and Communications Assistant

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Apocalyptic Art Through the Ages

Creating art about the end of the world doesn’t seem the most cheerful or popular subject, however, this past weekend, I was reminded it’s a theme that is often used for artistic inspiration. As much as I’d like to compose a multi-page paper on the topic and do my BA in Art History and Dr. Ayer proud, I’ll keep myself in check and limit this to a very brief overview.

This past Saturday, a friend and I visited the Maryland Renaissance Festival, as part of an annual ladies’ outing (yes, we dress up, it’s more fun that way. You should check out my ridiculously awesome hat in Woolly’s Facebook album.) One of the first booths you encounter through the gate, to your right, is Pyrated Prynts, a fine purveyor of Renaissance reproductions. I’m always drawn to the store, particularly the Albrecht Dűrer prints. He was a German engraver, painter, and printmaker who lived from 1471 to 1528 and is considered one of the primary artists of the Northern Renaissance. While Dűrer’s artwork addressed both secular and sacred topics, he did a series of 16 woodcuts with the Apocalypse as the subject, one of the most recognizable being The Revelation of St John: The Four Riders of the Apocalypse.

The print depicts, from foreground to background, Death, Famine, War, and Conquest. John’s writing in the Bible describes the riders on varying-colored horses but as the piece is in black and white, Dűrer relies upon symbolism and personal characteristics to identify the riders. Death and his horse are emaciated and he carries a trident, which has now been replaced by the more commonly used scythe.  Famine carries scales that would be used to weigh bread during times of need. War carries a sword and wears armor while Conquest holds a bow with arrow drawn. I really enjoy this print, not so much for the subject matter but for the incredible amount of detail, the impact of the black ink and white spaces, and how dynamic the characters are. I think the Beast eating the clergyman in the lower left-hand corner is a nice touch, commenting on the equality of the end times affecting both the weak and the powerful.

The following day, Sunday, we hit up the Smithsonian American Art Museum and browsed several exhibits. On the first floor, they have a great permanent display of American Folk Art. These were folks that, unlike Albrecht Dűrer, did not study under great artistic masters and have workshops or studios devoted to their livelihood of creating pieces. These were people who often created art with found materials in their spare time, drawing from their personal experiences and basing them on subjects that meant a great deal to them. There are several pieces that have religious themes, particularly about the Apocalypse, Revelations, and the Tribulation. The work And the Moon Became As Blood by the Reverend Howard Finster is particularly striking.

Painted in 1976, Finster illustrated passages from Revelations, incorporating the text into the painting. Although, if you were unable to read, you could gather very quickly that the work was primarily about blood and that the end of days would involve a large quantity of it. The cartoonish quality of the art and the addition of color makes the painting less intimidating than Durer’s print. For people who are unfamiliar with the Bible, this might be more approachable and render an audience more open to Reverend Finster’s message of redemption through Christ.

It’s very easy to type “apocalypse” into Google and plethora of images are the result. As I was doing research for this post, art from the video game Fallout 3 would come up and I was reminded of the controversy about the promotion of its release in Washington, DC. Bethesda Softworks, the company who wrote the third installment of the Fallout series, bought out the Metro Center station for a month around the release date of October 28, 2008. There were floor clings, banners, and, probably most attention grabbing, illuminated dioramas containing screen captures  from the game, which happens to take place in a post-apocalyptic, nuclear-ravaged Washington, DC.

The reaction to the ads was mixed which reflects my own personal feelings to the ads. On one hand I really like the muted color palette, the creativity of distressing items with which many of us are familiar, and the social commentary that nothing is sacred, buildings are not indestructible, even landmarks. On the other hand, it’s disconcerting to see the city I live and work in destroyed. In today’s security climate, is a genuine possibility we all live with every day and we’re reminded by the suspicious packages, the bomb threats, the white powder, jersey barriers, bollards, checkpoints, and law enforcement with tactical shotguns, to name a few.

In reminding us of our mortality, these images from a video game are really no different than the enamel painting on fiberboard of a Southern preacher or the meticulous woodcut print of a Renaissance-period German. Whether or not the agent or agents of the end of civilization are four horsemen and rivers of blood or a nuclear explosion, the apocalypse has been and will continue to be a subject that compels people to express themselves through many artistic media.

~ Kate Ahern Loveric, Graphic Design & Web Manager

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Neighborhood Spotlight: Southwest Waterfront

Ok, so full disclosure here: Prior to my fabulous tenure here at Woolly, I was a Fellow in the Media Relations department at Arena Stage. I started last August, just about a week or two after the Arena staff moved into the new Mead Center for American Theater. The building was gorgeous, we were gearing up for exciting homecoming and opening gala festivities, and I got lost…A LOT. I actually remember my first week of work there was a Washingtonian photographer doing a photo shoot, and I was supposed to show him up to the costume shop and then down to the costume storage area. I had absolutely no idea where I was going, and hence was pretty embarrassed (I saw the same photographer again later in the season and he remembered the incident…sigh).

But anyway, my first day of work at Arena was also my first day ever going to Southwest DC. (And I was no newcomer to the city, having spent four years at GWU). I quickly realized that the Waterfront neighborhood of Southwest was this sort of wasteland—it took me forever to get there on the metro, and lunch options in the area? Forget it. For the entire time I worked there it was the Safeway at the metro stop, the Subway across the street…and that’s it. (Let alone it took 30 minutes to get a sandwich at either location, but that’s neither here nor there). While I’m a fan of Cantina Marina, that was virtually the only place around to grab a bite or a drink after work with coworkers, and it was only open in the warmer months of the year.

As my fellowship continued, we learned from staff members (and a huge feature in The Washington Post) about the plans for development in the neighborhood and some of the challenges faced, such as preserving Arena’s amazing views of the city, and making sure that any development in the area wouldn’t tamper with that. And progress has definitely been made: a new restaurant Station 4 has opened, The Washington Kastles tennis team opened a new stadium there, and community events are starting to be planned, such as this SW ArtsFest planned for fall 2011. But there definitely is still a long way to go. The redevelopment plan is called “The Wharf,” a $1.5 billion project to redevelop the Southwest Waterfront neighborhood over the next 10-15 years. This SW blog has a great overview of these plans, which include residential units, hotels, office space, retail stores, museums, farmers markets, and more.

Since I no longer work at Arena and am not personally witnessing many of these changes anymore, I decided to ask former Woolly Intern (and current Concessionaire) Paul Kappel what he thinks about living in the Waterfront neighborhood of Southwest:

Redevelopment can take many forms, but for my neighborhood, the little quadrant of Southwest DC, it has had both profoundly positive and negative consequences. Southwest has been my home for just over a year now, and over these months I have seen a number of important changes stemming from a recent redevelopment project along 4th Street SW, the Wharf development on the waterfront, and Arena Stage’s new center. For the most part, the changes along 4th Street have been the most profound, with the recent opening of the delicious Station 4 restaurant and bar, and what is arguably the nicest Safeway in the city. This single block on 4th Street, which was until recently non-existent, is quickly becoming a new center of activity for our neighborhood.

But where was the old center of the neighborhood?

That question is from what I can tell, a difficult one to answer for any resident of Southwest, as the entirety of what can been seen now: the neighborhood’s soaring concrete apartment towers and the Soviet-Russia-esque L’Enfant plaza complex are the product of a failed redevelopment from the 1950s. Somewhere around that time, Congress decided that a then-thriving Waterfront community was blighted and in stark contrast to the gleaming marble just a few blocks north on the National Mall. In an effort to “cure” the city of this supposed cancer, new plans were drawn up by modernist architect I.M. Pei, and nearly every building and street was erased from the map forever and replaced with a utopian vision for the future.

From the mid-1800s through the turn of the century, this community offered work and shelter for freed slaves as well as for European immigrants. For decades, African Americans, Italian immigrants, Eastern European Jews, and others worked side by side in this working class neighborhood, rich in cultural traditions. Pictured here: Shulman’s Market located at N & Union Streets, a grocery store operated by a Jewish Lithuanian family. (For more info click here).

In a sense, this is exactly what the residents of Clybourne Park fear, when the prospect of new development moves into the neighborhood.

Today, the result of that redevelopment left Southwest split in half by I-395 with a federal center to the north, and our small neighborhood to the south, largely severed from the rest of the city. What is exciting, however is that recent redevelopment of the misaligned former redevelopment has been done more carefully and with a care for maintaining the neighborhood’s many charms, like the Maine Avenue Fish Market (a holdover from before the 50s). This current smart redevelopment plan and the projects that have already been completed are encouraging and certainly leading a sort of Southwest renaissance. This time, we’re not erasing history, but embracing it for the better.

Some of the project renderings for “The Wharf,” courtesy of: http://www.swdcwaterfront.com/

~ Brooke Miller, Press and Digital Content Manager and Paul Kappel, Southwest Resident & Woolly Concessionaire

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The Cost of Preserving History

Beneath all of the changes happening in the District and discussion of gentrification, there is also a concern to preserve the history of a neighborhood before renovations begin. There are so many zoning regulations and codes pertaining to historical preservation that it is almost impossible not to break one of these laws if you decide to renovate. There are design guidelines  for every part of your house including the porch, windows, doors, landscaping, and even energy conservation.

Once you start renovation, it’s hard to stop. The need for pretty windows, floors, and more becomes necessary, maybe even excessive. If there is enough money to historically preserve, it is suggested, in order to prevent historical disaster. How far will you go in preserving the history of your home?

My brother and his girlfriend recently moved into a late eighteenth century house. Rent prices were increasing in their apartment complex in Centreville, so they decided to look for a cheaper, happier place closer to my parents. It took some searching, but they found something more affordable, that also needed a lot of work. It’s cozy and adorable, but it’s also a hassle. The style of the house perfectly fits them, but it lacks a dishwasher, air conditioning, and a modern washer/dryer. Their roof is falling apart and looks like it’s been through four fires. What happens when you lose amenities that you’re so used to living with? Is style more important than efficiency or updated technology?

In the second act of Clybourne Park, an argument unfolds over preserving the neighborhood and the house that is being renovated. Personal connections to the house are introduced and arguments rise over what is good for the neighborhood.  I wonder what kind of conversations would arise if my brother and his girlfriend decided to put a koi pond in their back yard or install a tin roof?

My brother, a Civil War buff, has a painting of soldiers that hangs in their living room. I noticed it one day and wondered about the stories that live in their wooden floors and the closet beneath the stairs. What was once stashed beneath the floorboards? What general walked up the steps? It’s extraordinary when you think about all of the history that one home holds. It is understood why some want to preserve that, because if you build over it, what becomes of those cracks in the windows and the creaks in the floor? That history disappears.

If you have a development that is recognized for its historical architecture and up goes a modern six-story building, the identity of the neighborhood changes. The more modern buildings stick out like a sore thumb and the historic buildings don’t look so romantic anymore. There’s a cost to preserving history, but I think we learn from Clybourne Park that it’s worth it.

~ Noel Edwards, Marketing and Communications Assistant

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