Tag Archives: Melanie

Can You Smell What Woolly Is Cookin’?

Just this past weekend we wrapped up our second run of The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, said bye to Mike and Jean-Michele, and said hello to… Paradyse?

James Long is Paredyse

We’ve started rehearsals for The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity and they are a body-slamming good time, Jabroni. (We can tell because we can hear wrestling practice from all the way on the 3rd floor administrative offices). James (pictured above) is portraying all of the Bad Guy characters in Chad Deity and is helping the other actors get acclimated to the extreme pain that comes with training for WWE-style professional wrestling. In short: the rehearsal room is full of Advil.

ON THAT NOTE: We need your help! Yes, you!

Christopher Baine, our Sound Designer, needs a plethora of voices to cheer, boo, and say OHHH SHIT! for sound cues during Chad Deity. Want to be a part of it? Come hang out at Woolly on Monday, August 13th at 1:30p. Fill out this form and let us know you’re coming!: http://bit.ly/Qb5K5L

Stay tuned for more posts as we say “Hello, Hello, Hello!” to Season 33 and, most importantly, Chad Deity.

~ Melanie Harker, Connectivity Associate


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The Apple I Is Coming to Woolly!

The best things always come out of no where.

A few weeks ago, I received a phone call from a gentleman who informed me that 1) he was extremely excited to come to our Steve Wozniak event on August 4th, and 2) that he owns an original Apple I.

Not only does he own one of these beauties, but he’d like to display his as a special addition to the Apple Orchard on Saturday August 4th. Amazing!

This remarkable and revolutionary machine is significant not only as the first ready-made personal computer, but as a herald to the dawn of a new age in which computing was made accessible to the masses.  Through the Apple I, Apple founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak transformed the personal computer from something of interest to specialists and hobbyists into a tool the common man could understand and use.

The first Apple I was introduced on April 1, 1976, by Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, and Ron Wayne:  the original founders of Apple Computers.  Wozniak designed and built the printed circuit board, in his bedroom in Los Altos, California, which would soon become the Apple I.  Jobs was so impressed by the machine that the two joined forces and founded Apple Computers, with Jobs taking on the promotion and advertising of the Apple I.  When Wozniak and Jobs demonstrated the new technology at a meeting of the Homebrew Computer Club in May 1976 in Palo Alto, few seemed to take the device seriously – except for Paul Terrell.  The owner of Byte Shop, the only chain of computer stores at the time, Terrell was so impressed by the Apple I that he promised to buy 50 full assembled versions of the machine for $500 each.  However, Terrell insisted that the circuit boards come fully assembled rather than as a part of a kit (as Wozniak had originally designed).  So Jobs and Woz pooled their resources to fund production costs, Jobs selling his VW bus for $1,500 and Wozniak his precious Hewlett-Packard 65 calculator for $250.  After filling Terrell’s order in just 30 days, the pair continued to produce the Apple I, making another 50 to sell to friends and another 100 to sell through vendors for $666.66 each…

…which is hilarious, considering it just recently went for $374,500 at a Sotheby’s auction in June. Of the 200 Apple I’s originally produced, it is believed that fewer than 50 survive, only six of which are known to be operational.

But is there really a price-tag one can put on an object which started a revolution?

It is especially cool that we’ll have this object to share with our audiences during the Woz Event at Woolly since the Apple I was, essentially, his baby. When you come to Woolly on August 4th, be sure to take a good look at what truly launched America’s desire to put a personal computer in every room.

~ Compiled by Melanie Harker, Connectivity Associate & Adelaide Waldrop, Connectivity Summer Volunteer

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It’s Apple Pickin’ Season

As I’m sure you faithful Woolly Blog followers are aware, the remount of Mike Daisey’s The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs is already underway. Tonight marks the opening of its three week run in our space. We are all excited to see how bringing this piece full circle will affect us, Woolly audiences, and Mike himself.

All that said; I’m happy to report that we have brought back the Apple Orchard for the run of the show… with one exciting addition! Check out what we have dusted off and are displaying in our lobby right now.

Apple IIe:

Released in January 1983 and originally sold for $1395, the Apple ][e was to be one of the most successful Apple computers ever (it was manufactured and sold for nearly 11 years with few changes). One of its defining characteristics was its ability to input and display lowercase letters for the first time. In 1984 the name was changed from Apple ][e to Apple //e, coinciding with the release of the Apple //c.

Apple ImageWriter II:

Released in September 1985 for $595, the Apple ImageWriter II was the first printer built exclusively for the Macintosh series. Because of the relatively small price and high printing speed, the ImageWriter series was extremely popular amongst consumer computer users. In 1990 the ImageWriter series was replaced by the ink-jet StyleWriter series.

Newton Message Pad:

Released in August 1993 for $800, the Newton Message Pad was Apple’s first completely new product in many years. It represented Apple’s entry into (and perhaps creation of) an entirely new market: Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs). The PDA market was barely present when the Newton was released, but other companies were working on similar devices.

The Newton Message Pad featured a variety of personal-organization applications, such as an address book, a calendar, and notes, along with communications capabilities such as faxing and email. It featured a trainable handwriting recognition engine, but unfortunately this engine was notoriously difficult to use. While later Newton models would show improved handwriting recognition, the Newton’s reputation for poor recognition would haunt it for years to come.

Apple Quicktake 200:

Released in February 1997 for $600, the Apple QuickTake was one of the first consumer digital cameras. The QuickTake 100 and 200 models were only compatible with Macintosh computers, while the 150 model was also compatible with Microsoft Windows. However, none of these models sold well because other companies such as Kodak, Canon and Nikon entered the market with brands that consumers associated with photography.

iMac (Rev. C):

Released in August 1998 for $1300, the iMac was Apple’s computer for the new millennium. Aimed at the low-end consumer market and designed with the internet in mind, the iMac was positioned by Apple as the most original new computer since the original Mac in 1984, and came in a stylish new case design, with translucent “Bondi Blue” plastics. It also included a newly-designed USB keyboard and mouse. By January 1999, the Rev. C iMac came in five bright new colors: Blueberry, Strawberry, Lime, Tangerine and Grape.

iBook G4:

Released in October 2003 for $1099, the iBook was much smaller than its predecessor, the PowerBook G4 and included a faster G3 processor, more RAM, VGA out, stereo speakers, and a higher resolution screen. It also was the first Mac to include a “combo” DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive in the high-end model.

iPod mini 4GB (Second Generation):

Released in February 2005 for $199, the iPod mini was built around a one inch 4 GB hard drive, and raised the bar for portability in a hard disk music player. It was small enough to wear comfortably on an arm band, but large enough to hold nearly 1,000 songs. Apple believed that its small size and consumer appeal would make up for its high price. As Apple hoped, iPod mini’s sold extremely well—the demand vastly outstripped the supply long into the summer months.

The iPod mini was available in five metallic colors: silver, gold, pink, blue and green. In order to fit everything in such a small package, Apple had to change the layout of the buttons from the existing iPod design. The result, which Apple called a “ClickWheel” allowed users to use the wheel as a touch-sensitive scroll wheel, or push on the four corners to click the buttons.


Released in May 2006 (original) for $1099, the MacBook replaced the existing 12- and 14-inch iBooks and 12-inch PowerBook model, completing the transition of Apple’s portable computers to Intel Processors. At the time it was considered one of Apple’s best computers, and around 2008 became Apple’s best selling Macintosh in history. The original MacBooks were available in black or white, and was the second (after the MacBook Pro) Mac to adopt Apple’s “MagSafe” power connector. The MacBook was Apple’s first notebook to use features now standard in its notebooks, such as the glossy display, the sunken keyboard design, and the non-mechanical magnetic latch.

iPhone 3GS:

Released in June 2009 for $199, the iPhone 3GS included both specification and feature enhancements over it’s predecessor, the wildly successful iPhone 3G. The iPhone 3GS included a higher-resolution video-capable camera, an integrated Magnetometer, and Voice Control. It shipped with iPhone OS 3.0 (which was also made available for previous iPhone and iPod Touch models), which included software enhancements, such as cut & paste, pervasive landscape keyboard, search, internet tethering, and a voice memos application. In June 2010, both models were replaced by the iPhone 4.

Stay tuned for another post coming soon about our special artifact, coming to our space on August 4th. Hint? This famed Apple product was in the news recently.

~ Melanie Harker, Connectivity Associate

{& a special shout-out to Brooke Miller, our former Press & Digital Content Manager who helped compile this original blog post!}

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A Very Electric Connectivity Round-Up

Unfortunately, electricity could not be avoided in the creation of this blog post.

People check out the post-electric scene with our installation, A Post-Electric World: Viewpoints from Visual Artists

Check out how our Nostalgia Reference Board has done over the past few weeks!

People start to break off and find their own references besides the example!

It is too easy to loop any cultural reference back to The Simpsons.

Patrons think hard about how many connections/references have been made to Pygmalion.

A patron adds her thoughts to the board!

Patrons riff off of the example… not what we expected, but still totally cool.

Total. Reference. Explosion.


~ Melanie Harker, Connectivity Associate

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Spotlight: DC Artists’ View of a Post-Electric World

As part of the connectivity programming around Mr. Burns, a post-electric play, we’re curating a small gallery exhibition which is being featured in the upper lobby catwalk (where the Season 32 artwork has hung this past year). The cool part? This is our first time doing this. We’re really excited to be displaying the work of three amazing, visionary DC artists: Gregg Deal, Dafna Steinberg, and Kelly Towles.

I found our three artists in a rather serendipitous way. When we decided we wanted to commission three local artists, I happened to open my ScoutMob daily email and discovered The Water St. Project, a ten-day art/music event… which led me to the website… which featured links to all of the great local artists participating. After some clicking around and some cold emailing, we stumbled upon Gregg, Dafna, and Kelly – three artists with a variety of aesthetic tastes and mediums. And we lived happily ever after.

We also knew that this project wasn’t just about the artists’ work mingling with the themes of the production; we wanted to engage our community experts in our panel discussion, “Speculating an Apocalypse,” as well. We assigned each artist a particular infrastructure that would be affected by an apocalyptic event (which we estimated would wipe out 90% of the Earth’s population); water, architecture, and electricity, of course. Dafna tackled water; Gregg tackled architecture; and Kelly, electricity. They each illustrated the changes that would occur over time, from ostensibly the day after the apocalyptic event, to seven years after that, to 75 years after that.

Discovering new pockets of the DC community – like this vibrant visual art micro-community –bringing them to Woolly and engaging them with the work we do is what I love so much about my job.  That is connectivity for you.

“The Day After Yesterday,” Dafna Steinberg

“7 Years,” Kelly Towles

“75 Years Later,” Gregg Deal

~Melanie Harker, Connectivity Assistant

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The Tradition of Storytelling

There is nothing worse (or more meta) then attempting to write a blog post about storytelling… and trying to avoid telling a story. Or trying not to sound trite. Or too heady. And suppressing the urge to start with “once upon a time…”

Great—now that the bad ideas are out of the way…

I got to thinking about the tradition of storytelling after reading Mr. Burns, a post-electric play once through and feeling two things:

  1. Flabbergasted. “SERIOUSLY? Of all the great stories of our lifetimes, The Simpsons will be the ones getting the human race through the apocalypse?!”
  2. Deeply assured. Even in times of peril, I feel confident that the human race will continue to tell stories in every way necessary and imaginable.

I could pretend to be a history scholar and trace back storytelling to ritual dance and cave paintings, but that would be terribly false of me. What I will say is there are many ways to tell a story (spoken or through song, illustrations, and written word) and there are many reasons we, as humans, tell stories. I know I personally tell stories to entertain; to put a smile on someone’s face. My mother, an Irish Traditional flute player, tells stories through song; carrying on the rich cultural history of a country hundreds of miles away and preserving it for the future. Others tell stories to caution, to inform, to glorify, to memorialize, to move, to energize, to ignite… I could go on.

Some of my favorite storytellers:

Frank Warren of Post Secret

Post Secret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously to Frank Warren on one side of a homemade postcard.

Rober Krulwich & Jad Abumrad, hosts of Radio Lab podcasts

Radio Lab is described as “a show about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience.”

Marie de France, a poet and troubadour popular during the 12th century, famous for The Lais of Marie de France

As you watch the journey our human society takes in Mr. Burns, a post-electric play, notice the ways in which the stories told around a campfire for comfort and hope can evolve. How do they propel us into the future? How do they hold our threads of humanity together? The simplicity of the story is sometimes what makes it the most powerful.

~Melanie Harker, Connectivity Assistant

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Connectivity Wrap Up for Civilization (all you can eat)

Have you been in our lobby recently or taken a look at our Facebook page?

If you haven’t—shame on you!

If you have, you’ll have noticed that we had a few pretty huge events happening around Civilization (all you can eat) all engaging folks in three distinct conversations with one bonus conversation:

1. What does it mean for a civilization to be “great”?

You may be familiar by now with our Civilization SMACKDOWN competition that has been going on for a while (we wrote a blog about how it was going to work a while ago). The results have been SUPER fascinating. There have been some nail biting throw-downs (Hunter-gatherers versus Twitter last week… Twitter squeaking by with the victory 51% to 49%) and some crazy upsets (Iron Age Ireland decimating Disneyland… and The Amish taking out Apple Inc. in the second round).  As our final five matches get T-ed up, I can’t help but think about the most heated arguments—mostly how The Amish continue to win matches because “they’re still around today… that’s what makes a great civilization!” Is that what makes it great? That it’s still around? But what if it has a long-lasting and incredible legacy that has elevated humanity for all time?

Unfortunately, I don’t have all of the answers. I just ask the questions. 😉

2. How far will you go to get something you want?

In the lower lobby, folks have been CRAZY to stick on a pig nose or stamp their face with a temporary tattoo to get a free snack or drink at concessions. In fact, people were so eager to do it that I upped the ante a bit by having folks do an extra performative bit to garner their free concession. Want a snack? Stick on a pig nose AND squeal as loud as you can like a pig. Want a free beer? Stamp a pig on your face (where I can see it!) get on all fours AND THEN squeal like a pig. Woolly staffers working down at concessions reported that while some folks were totally turned off by this extra step, most people did go the extra mile. It’s fascinating what people will do for something free…

…like take a sticker, filling in the appropriate adjective, and put it on an unwitting person or thing and then sending it to us…

Meta pig? I hope this guy took off his sweater later VERY confused.

Milk pig and Slut pig? What’s slutty about breasts?

BBQ pig? Good point.

3. Do we have any viable alternatives to capitalism?

All of the post-show conversations around Civilization sought to pursue a conversation about capitalism—not necessarily condemning it or critiquing the system in any way, but wondering if we, America, has any alternative modes of economy or culture to the capitalist way.

We invited slew of fascinating guests who had stakes in both spectrums of the conversation—Adrian Parsons, an active member of Occupy DC, Patty Lovera of Food and Water Watch, and William Rice of Wealth for the Common Good spoke one evening and Harold Meyerson, editor-at-large at The American Prospect  (also a regular Washington Post op-ed columnist) and Karen Dynan of the Brookings Institution spoke on another.

BONUS! What do we consume, and how do we consume it?

So if you’ve happened to be at Woolly on a Friday or Saturday night (or even just walking by) you’ve noticed that we’ve turned into a BIT of a restaurant. José Andrés’ restaurant Oyamel next door put a few tables in our upper lobby and topped off the dining experience with a special Civilization prix fixe menu—two options, one comprised of pork product and one that is primarily vegetarian. Watching patrons experience fine dining just before experiencing a show which talks about consumption gets me thinking: what do we consume? Why do we consume it? What are the rituals behind consumption in our culture? This was a super exciting experiment which will hopefully lead to more Connectivity & Food in the future! (Fingers crossed!)

Connectivity is still growing and changing as a department; we’re constantly yearning for new and innovative ways to hatch conversation in our theatre. What are some ways that you would have liked to engage with us around Civilization (all you can eat)?

~ Melanie Harker, Connectivity Assistant

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