Careers column reporter for online Wall Street Journal asks, Should Over-50 Job Hunters Join Facebook? Friday, May 29 2009 

Read the whole story > here < and join in the conversation with your comment at the http://online.WSJ.com site, or leave a comment here for your colleagues.

online_mom-300x199I wonder how many people reading this of any age have a Facebook page that they use for professional networking (including job hunting.)  I have an account, but I have not completed any of the information yet.

man_mobile_phoneI plan on doing it soon, and to get the most out of it, I need to tie it in to the other accounts I have, i.e., Twitter, LinkedIn, and these two blogs. So far the blogs, Twitter, and LinkedIn keep me pretty busy.

Share your questions, successful practices, comments, etc., here!

Images from nielsen.com via the Web

Spotlight On Bill Chott, The Improv Trick studio Sunday, Mar 29 2009 

Bill Chott

Bill Chott

I took an improvision workshop last year lead by Bill Chott (pr. “kott”) at his studio called The Improv Trick. It was an entirely comfortable experience for this utterly novice and inexperienced improv performer, and an interesting thing I learned from Bill about the history of modern improv is that Gaslight Square in St. Louis is considered to be its birthplace.

If you’re even slightly interested in the idea of improv, here are a few things about Bill Chott that might encourage you to take a workshop or classes from THE MASTER, who has studios in both St. Louis and Los Angeles. His Web site is linked here and called > the improv trick < and describes Bill this way,

“Bill Chott is one of the few nationally known stars to permanently reside in St. Louis while still remaining successfully busy in Hollywood. His recent credits include a staring role in the Top Ten Farrelly Bros. film “The Ringer,” Disney’s “Wizards of Waverly Place,” all while voicing cartoons on Saturday Night Live.”

Alan Rickman

Alan Rickman

This is a very short and modest list of what Bill’s done. Here’s a link to his full list of credits on > IMDB <.  A few highlights:  Bill was in an episode of Monk in 2008. He also played an alien in a move with > Alan Rickman <, who is tied for first place on my list of movie idol crushes with George Clooney. [Alan and I go way back (Alan is not aware of this.)] Bill Chott starred with him in “Galaxy Quest,” a spoof on StarTrek (and here I put my hand over my geek heart.)

lace-edge-heart1Since you asked, Alan’s short-list of roles includes Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies; Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd; Hans Gruber, terrorist, in Die Hard; Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves;  and Jamie in Truly Madly Deeply, where he won my heart.

But, I digress.

I just got a call today from The Improv Trick that beginner classes are starting again at the St. Louis studio, with sessions on Tuesday evenings and Saturday afternoons (same beginner class, both days/times.) I’m pre-paid for the classes, so I should get my behinder in gear and get over there to the studio on Cherokee Street next Saturday to dig into this again. If I can’t learn from Bill, then I’m hopeless, and I know I can at least improve!

Anybody else UP for this next week? 

Classes are held at The Improv Trick, 2715 Cherokee Street, St. Louis, Missouri, 63118. Call for more information at (314) 922-1998, or e-mail him at info@theimprovtrick.com.

If you want to see Bill in action, he is now appearing in

Comedy on Parade 
Mondays 8:00 pm 
at the Atomic Cowboy
4140 Manchester, St. Louis, Missouri

I’m still surprised that I attended the original workshop. Why did I do that?

bambi-tin-toyCouple of reasons: Curiosity, first of all. I knew absolutely NOTHING about improv, so curiosity was an initial driver. Secondly, I thought because I am often able to make people laugh that I might be naturally good at it, yet, at the same time, I am known to suffer from stage fright (deer in the headlights syndrome, see Video Resume post on this blog), and I thought maybe some improv skills would help with that. I like to face my demons and conquer them.

taming_of_the_shrew_logoThe improv workshop was a personal eye-opener: It seemed like everything that one needs to do to be “good” at improv goes against my every natural instinct. As an example, I tend to be a “debater,” and one of the rules with improve is that you accept what your scene partner says as true and build on that. Say what?!?

Another example of where I sucked at this is that, although a fluid writer, I have an extremely strong tendency with my verbal/spoken responses to “pause and check” before I speak (and then an occasionally unfortunate tendency to respond with a debate vs. accepting what someone says as true), but with improv you respond in the moment without that “pause and check” evaluation.

I had no idea what an improv workshop would be about when I went that first night, got to the studio and couldn’t actually believe I had gone as far as showing up, and I left realizing that I was naturally terrible at it. I had no choice but to sign up for beginner classes before I left that night.

So don’t hesitate to investigate this top-notch performance training resource we have right here in St. Louis. You could not possibly be worse at it than I am, Bill will make sure you’re comfortable, you may discover you have a gift for it, you will definitely learn something, and the workshop I attended had all ages and all levels of skill, including some local St. Louis theater “stars,” so it may be a great networking venue for you!

 

Image of Bill Chott from his IMDB.com, copyright unknown
Image of Alan Rickman from Variety.com and taken in 2007 at the Sweeney Todd premiere; taken by Dimitrios Kambouris | wireimage
Image of lace border Valentine heart clip art from clipartandcrafts.com
Image of Bambi jumping tin toy from www.tinmantintoys.com, only $5.99 US, and you should definitely check out this Web site for other cool tin toys. I’m headed back after I publish this post!
Imagine of Taming of the Shrew logo from theaterweb.com

 

 

Anyone attend, or planning to attend, any St. Louis Fashion Week events? Wednesday, Mar 25 2009 

logostlfwspring09a1

 

If you are involved in this event, I’d love it if you post something to let the readers here know what you saw, whom you saw, and what you did, etc. (Woman of discression that I am, you know your secret is safe with me!)

  • Could be some fantastic networking opportunities there.

 

Here’s a link to everything you need to know: > St. Louis Fashion Week <

Save the Date: Wednesday, April 1, 2009, 5:30-7:30 pm Sunday, Mar 15 2009 

 istock_000004854511xsmall_happy-people1

St. Louis-based writer Diana Losciale and a few of her colleagues are hosting a casual networking night for the St. Louis creative community on Wednesday evening, April 1 at One Campbell Plaza, a St. Louis Landmark.

 

About the Event

** This is a free event.  **
 
TIME: 5:30 to 7:30 pm, Wednesday evening, April 1, 2009
PLACE: One Campbell Plaza on The Hill, Suite 2B – St. Louis, MO 63139
(directions will be attached to the formal Invitation–coming soon)
BRING:  Business cards to share
RECEIVE:  Light refreshments (drinks, appetizers and Red Velvet cupcakes)
WHO: Writers, graphic artists, journalists, editors and other communication specialists 
WHAT: A gathering, meet-and-greet, catching up, saying hello, making connections
WHY: Because  we need to connect with one another in terms of projects, opportunities, what’s what, openings, and networking (old word, new meaning). And because LinkedIn and emails are not enough. This is about face time.
 
Let me know if you any questions, and I’ll put you in touch with the answers. Diana says to spread the word: forward this, and post it anywhere you like to get attention. Thanks! 
 

Editor’s note: Diana, you had me at the Red Velvet cupcakes … .   istock_000005154086xsmall_red-velvet5

About The Venue

Inside the Plaza

Inside the Plaza

I ran over to One Campbell Plaza today to take photos to include with this post to help orient anyone not familiar with the venue. The name sounds new, but the building has an incredible local history that I will share with here. I was completely fascinated by the massive, red-brick building and courtyard. It’s at 59th and Arsenal and sits on its own piece of elevated ground—kind of “a hill on The Hill.”  

The Missouri Institute for Mental Health Web site (www.mimh.edu) says this about the origins and history of the buildings at Campbell Plaza: “It all began with Kemper College, the Protestant-Episcopal counterpart of St. Louis University. Situated at Kingshighway and Arsenal, its 129 acre tract extended along Arsenal to Hampton. When Kemper went bankrupt in 1847, they sold their property …  Thus, the college’s buildings were converted to Poor House #1. Poor House #2 was later erected at 5900 Arsenal. Today, it is called the Campbell Plaza Building … .” 

Wow:  There really were such things as “Poor Houses.”

For a bit more detail, here is another > LINK < with historic photos by the current owners and reators.

One Campbell Plaza is a renovated historic structure that has had the TLC of Duffy Nuerenberger Realty. They have been behind a lot of historic renovations and historically appropriate in-fill properties throughout the City of St. Louis. I took some photos over there today to help orient everyone to the general location, parking, etc., but here is a > LINK < to a brief virtual tour of the property that is worth your time. Click that link, and then click on Tour on the Web page that comes up. So, come and network and see this building and courtyard.

Here are my photos from today, plus one from Nuerenberger Duffy’s Web site, above, an overview that’s better than anything I took.

From Arsenal & 57th, the Plaza is south

From Arsenal & 59th, the Plaza is south

Back of Plaza, from Arsenal & 59th Streets

Back of Plaza, from Arsenal & 59th Streets

Inside the Plaza, plenty of parking

Inside the Plaza, plenty of parking

Charmingly renovated.

Charmingly renovated.

St. Louis Design Connections goes international! Wednesday, Mar 4 2009 

This is what is tres cool about blogging: In just four days, we’ve had visitors from the following countries, including three in Europe.

United States (US) 85  | Sweden (SE) 1  |  Bulgaria (BG) 1 | Italy (IT) 1

ClustrMap for Wednesday, March 4, 2009

ClustrMap for Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My “Burgarian connection” is Stela, a former co-worker at Lawrence Group, who went back to her homeland last year, but still keeps in touch. She may have forwarded the link to the Web site & blog onto friends in other countries. Networking at its finest.

You can follow the visitors on a daily basis by going to the sidebar here, to the ClustrMap, click on that, and then check out the dots on the map.

The default navigation/display is “map with larger clusters”. Under the map in that view is info on number of total visitors and number of visitors on the previous day.

Total visitors (since the site went live last Saturday, February 28, 2009) = 88. This count doesn’t include my own visits; it also doesn’t include repeat visits from readers. It counts the number of visits from unique, individual URLs.

Number of visitors yesterday (Tuesday, March 3, 2009) = 24.

There is a “navigation” line above the map, and if you choose “map with smaller clusters” you can really see what’s happening. Scroll down on that same page and there is a list of countries and visitors/country in a list that also is updated on an approximately daily basis.

This ClustrMap is a free widget for blogs. I love checking it every day!

Welcome! Saturday, Feb 28 2009 

The St. Louis design community is large enough to be interesting, yet small enough that I’ve run into a lot of the same colleagues at different job throughout my career. People come, and people go, no matter how great the company, or how hot the economy.

Life is change.

istock_000000291004xsmall  Sometimes things look better from a different perspective.

Right now, obviously, the economy is causing unwelcome changes in employment circumstances for many in the St. Louis design community, and I have set up this Web site as a resource particularly for those who are “between gigs.”

It’s open to anyone in the St. Louis design community as a way to reconnect with colleagues and swap personal stories, but especially to offer support to those between jobs, share job searching and networking tips and opportunities, share job leads and report successes.

This blog is not the place to be ugly, angry, rant, etc. I won’t approve any posts for public viewing that are not respectful of the purpose here, or that violate the rules.

Rules:

No bashing current or past employers. This includes sarcastic or bitter posts.

No rumor mongering (exchange rumors by private e-mail, please.)

No bashing St. Louis.

No snark, please—it’s just not helpful. Snark is a form of sarcasm. If you’re not sure what snark is here is a link to a great conversation on it.

Otherwise, blog away, and tell your friends.

I’ve set up an AddThis social networking button in the sidebar, as well as FeedBlitz as a subscription service, if you want to receive updates when new information is posted.

Welcome!

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