Monthly Archives: May 2017

The Times and is co editor of Arts Industry magazine

There’s a contradiction about near-legendary Sheffield-based experimentalists Forced Entertainment. On the one hand, it has been at the far front end of performance and innovation, on the other it has become part of the establishment and had Arts Council England (ACE) funding for half its life. This year it is 30 years old.

It is an extraordinary accomplishment, especially so when you know that the six English and drama students who met at Exeter University in the early 80s, formed the performance company and, as soon as they had all graduated, shifted north to Sheffield, are still together, the core of the operation.

They, three women and three men, still drink together, still sit at a table thrashing out ideas and solutions late into the night, and still create sometimes stunningly new work. The difference now is that they have their own family lives apart from the group, and have their separate work projects. But they always come back to Forced Entertainment.

Although Forced Entertainment is theatre, the six prefer to consider it as performance; there are scripts, but what is most important is what happens on stage and the dialectic with the audience. The spontaneous is often what they are preparing for in the long smoke-filled hours at the Workstation, the creative industries’ business centre that has been company’s home for 20 years.

So it comes as no surprise that one of the 21 visual arts pieces to be commissioned by this year’s Folkestone Triennial, which opened on Saturday (Aug 30), is from Forced Entertainment’s artistic director (who no longer performs but directs almost all their work). Tim Etchells’ installation is in the disused and eerie Folkestone Harbour Railway Station – neon writing along the walls that reads: “Going and coming is why the place is there at all”.

And the company will be in Folkestone during the 10-week visual arts festival performing Tomorrow’s Parties, a show about the future. Forced Entertainment sees no boundary without trying to find a way of crossing it.

[pullquote]They worked out long ago what larger arts bodies are only learning now[/pullquote]

But their success is due to having realised early what much larger arts organisations are only discovering now: they work abroad as much as they do here.

Current Forecasts and the State of the Market

Mobile gaming is a competitive space, especially in China where there are over 300 app stores that sell Android apps alone. And while hits like Candy Crush or Temple Run don’t come around often, there are steps that game developers can take to stand out in the crowded market. Ethan Collins, business development manager at Beijing-based game publisher Yodo1, spoke with eMarketer’s Man-Chung Cheung about the app distribution challenge in China and how to tackle it.

eMarketer: What are some of the challenges associated with penetrating China’s mobile gaming market?

Ethan Collins: Monetization is a challenge. Because there are so many stores that sell Android apps, the marketplace is fragmented and few ad networks exist. As a result, game developers need to rely on monetization through in-app purchases and microtransactions. Top players in China will drop tens of thousands of dollars in-app without blinking an eye, so games should provide VIP services that cater to this demographic.

eMarketer: Does the fragmentation of the app marketplace make it challenging to launch new games?

Collins: Distribution is a big component of success. However, because there are so many marketplaces, game developers have to target Android app stores that have the biggest reach first, and later integrate the SDKs [software development kits] and payment keys required for other app stores. For example, we had to launch Rodeo Stampede across more than 60 Android app stores in China.

Performs moving rendition of Hallelujah for dad and Linkin Park

MERE months after her dad and Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell committed suicide and weeks after their good family friend and Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington died the same way, 12-year-old Toni Cornell has taken to the stage to perform an emotional tribute for the two talented singers — and it’ll leave you bawling.

The spitting image of her late dad, Toni proved she not only inherited Chris’ looks, she also inherited his incredible voice.

The musical guest for Friday’s Good Morning America was supposed to be Linkin Park however, in the wake of Bennington’s death, the band decided not to perform.

Instead Toni and Ryan Tedder’s band One Republic took to the stage and performed Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, leaving the entire crowd bawling.

“It’s an honour to perform this for my dad and Chester and sing for them,” Toni told the show’s host Michael Strahan.

The emotional tribute for the two late singers drew tears from hundreds in the crowd and even one of the band’s violinists, but Toni stayed strong throughout the performance as photos of her dad and Chester flashed behind them.

While the song Hallelujah is a common choice in a time of mourning, Toni’s reason for performing the popular song wasn’t a random one.

At the funeral of her father in late May, Bennington performed Hallelujah for his close friend

Chris Cornell after his suicide on May 18. Two months later, on July 22, the Linkin Park singer died the same way.


Dr Luke in comeback single

POP star Kesha has taken aim at her former producer Dr Luke in her first solo track since she unsuccessfully sued him for alleged sexual assault and harassment.

The singer has today premiered Praying — which is being released through his own label Kemosabe Records — in which she warns: “We both know all the truth I could tell,” The Sun reports.

In the accompanying video, she lies in a coffin while reading an emotional monologue recalling the pain of her alleged ordeal by begging to die.

She says: “If I am alive. Why? Why?

“If there is a God or whatever, something, somewhere, why have I been abandoned by everyone and everything I’ve ever known, I’ve ever loved? Stranded.

“What is the lesson? What is the point? God give me a sign or I’ve got to give up.

“I can’t do this anymore. Please just let me die. Being alive hurts too much.”

The heart-wrenching ballad features on her first album in five years, titled Rainbow, which will be released on August 11.

But it won’t just be her on the record, as it includes a duet with Dolly Parton on her 1980 tune Old Flames Can’t Hold A Candle To You and two collaborations with Eagles Of Death Metal.

The equally emotional lyrics to the song appear to be directed at Dr. Luke, who was behind her biggest hits including Tik Tok and We R Who We R.

Speaking at a secret event in London on Tuesday attended by The Sun’s Bizarre column, she said: “Obviously my first song is a ballad which is always risky for a pop singer. But hopefully the truth in the message will shine through.”


The Possible Impossible House

Exeunt speaks to Forced Entertainment’s Tim Etchells about making the company’s first children’s show, The Possible Impossible House, in collaboration with visual artist Vlatka Horvat.

Forced Entertainment have been making experimental performance work since 1984. But behind the forbidding impression this opening sentence creates, there’s plenty of joy, messiness and imagination that’s ready to be injected into the new territory of making work for children.

As Tim Etchells explains, “the impulse to make something for kids has been there for a long time, since different people in the company have had kids. Once the kids started to arrive you see the influence of that on the work; props or songs or story structures or images that belong in children’s stories kept creeping in.” Now, they’re letting these influences in through the front door, by collaborating with Vlatka Horvat to explore the idea of a house where “things would happen in different ways or strange things that would happen.” I wondered if it was influenced by 1927’s The Animals And Children Took To The Streets, and Etchell’s cites “a big endless list of children’s books that use the device of a familiar environment that has somehow been transformed or is transforming. There was an inkling we’d access that sort of magical territory through Vlatka Horvat’s work.” Known for her installations, here she makes surreal, melancholy collages which spring from the pages of a girl’s algebra book.

Where 1927’s impossible apartment block populated a vast stage, this piece “uses projection, but not in a spectacular full screen way. We’re making quite small projections on bits of cardboard that performers are holding, with objects that you observe or strange characters you meet. You might look over at the corner of the room and there on the cardboard appears a drawing of a mouse, or a soldier.” Etchells is intrigued by  the way that “those homemade, rather chaotic things produce something magical and you’re transported to a different place. It’s this doubleness of theatre’s ordinariness and everyday qualities, and its extraordinary capacity to summon other worlds, narratives and stories .”

Life after he cheated on her with her best friend

WHEN Shania Twain married the ex-husband of her own ex-husband’s mistress (and former friend), she had well and truly won the breakup game.

But clearly the Canadian singer wasn’t quite done and, in her first music video in 15 years, Twain has again taken aim at her ex, quite literally dropping him from her life.

The video for Shania Twain’s brand new single Life’s About To Get Good, features the singer fixing her life after her very painful and public breakup from Robert Lange, her husband of 14 years.

In the admittedly very cheesy music video, Twain holds a pamphlet that translates to “Cured Heart” with the slogan “Open at your own risk”.

When Twain decides to open it, she sees a beautiful island pool with a man telling her “Changing your life starts from within”.

Before long, the singer’s house is flooded with a bunch of workers ready to revitalise her life — and fix her broken heart.

A worker then hands her a picture of her and Lange and, after a longing stare, she flips the frame upside-down and drops her ex out of the picture.

The video also features some of Twain’s beloved outfits from her music videos for the 1997 album Come On Over, which is still one of the best-selling records of all time.

Twain shows off her flawless figure in the same black corset and black top hat she wore for her 1997 single Man, I Feel Like A Woman, over 20 years since the iconic video was released.