Category: mufnoyhd

USC to start publishing label focused on “innovative work”

first_imgUSC to start publishing label focused on “innovative work”USC Games Publishing aims to become the industry’s equivalent of the MIT PressMatthew HandrahanEditor-in-ChiefFriday 29th January 2016Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareThe University of Southern California is using its celebrated games program as a platform to launch a new publishing label, one focused on innovation and creativity rather than profits.USC Games Publishing will launch in the spring, with an initial focus on releasing the best work from its students to console, PC and mobile platforms. According to an article on Wired, the label has a longer term goal of opening up to developers outside of the school, as long as the work adheres to certain ideals”Curation is one of the most important things that players deserve these days,” said Tracy Fullerton, who has been director of USC Games since May 2014. “There’s a tremendous amount of content available for people to find, and yet it’s very difficult to find. One of the ways that … this label that we’re establishing can participate is by curating important voices, really innovative work, and putting it out there under our publishing label.”Fullerton continued: “We’re going to err on the side of the designer. Creative control would remain with the designer.”According to Richard Lemarchand, the former Naughty Dog design lead who left for USC in 2012, the program’s students create games of “shippable quality” every year. Fl0w, The Unfinished Swan and The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom are all examples of games that started out as USC projects, all of which received critical acclaim and at least solid commercial performance.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games But money won’t be the real goal, Fullerton said, comparing USC Games Publishing to the MIT Press in book publishing. “These are not books that are going to necessarily be on The New York Times best-seller list, but these are books that are important, that need to be out there in the zeitgeist. I feel like we can do something similar here with games.”We are not expecting to make a profit… We hope that what we reap from this is cultural recognition of this form.”Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Publishing & Retail newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesUSC Games launches fund to support Black and Indigenous studentsProfessor Jim Huntley talks about starting the Gerald A. Lawson Endowment Fund with help from Take-Two, and why it’s a needed step toward equityBy Brendan Sinclair 6 days agoUS State Department supports virtual exchange program to unite young developers globallyGame Exchange will support aspiring developers from ‘underserved populations’ across the US and Middle EastBy Danielle Partis 30 days agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.last_img read more

The heavy toll of making games in the San Francisco Bay Area

first_img 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replySign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now. The heavy toll of making games in the San Francisco Bay AreaMaking games is difficult anywhere in the world — developers and publishers weigh in on trying to do it in the most expensive place on EarthPiotr BajdaTuesday 30th April 2019Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareSan Francisco and its surrounding counties are home to one of the biggest clusters of video game companies in the world. Disruptive startups tend to steal most of the tech headlines, but the sheer amount of video game talent working in Silicon Valley on any given day is staggering. Electronic Arts, Sony, Ubisoft, 2K, Square Enix (through Crystal Dynamics), Activision (through Sledgehammer Games) and Capcom are among the myriad companies with a presence in the region. On top of all that, there’s an active independent scene that always seems to be at the forefront of the next great thing in indie gaming.As with many aspects of life in the San Francisco Bay Area, this proliferation of game companies appears to defy logic. Surely only someone affected by the Jobsian reality distortion field would consider it a viable business decision to start a game studio in a place as oppressively expensive as Northern California. Video games is a cutthroat business; adding to it the level of financial pressure that comes with the ruthless economics of the Bay Area sounds like a recipe for sleepless nights. “In 13 years we never laid anybody off. It was a hard place to work at, but you always had a job” Kevin BrunerAnd yet, on the surface, the local industry is thriving. So what lies beneath?What goes up…There is a grim symmetry to the story of Telltale Games. The studio was born out of major restructuring at LucasArts, which left many employees either out of work or facing the prospect of a long commute to a new office in San Francisco’s Presidio, on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge. A group of them decided to stay in Marin County instead and try their luck with a new venture. Among them was Kevin Bruner, one of Telltale’s co-founders and its CEO between 2015 and 2017. As bitter as his exit from Telltale was, Bruner was devastated to see the studio go bankrupt in October of last year.”In 13 years we never laid anybody off,” Bruner says, speaking to GamesIndustry.biz. “It was a hard place to work at, but you always had a job. We kept you employed and we never missed a payroll. I was really proud of that because behind the scenes there were lean times, where that wasn’t always the easiest thing to do.”Upwards of 250 people lost their jobs at Telltale virtually overnight, with no warning from the management. Even in a local industry as large as that of the Bay Area, that’s a troubling number of displaced professionals. The swift collapse of Telltale Games is one of the Bay Area’s most surprising closures in recent timesTo Bruner, Telltale’s workforce was more than a statistic. He was gone from Telltale for just 18 months before the collapse, but while he moved on and started a new, much smaller studio, most of the people he worked with were still there when Telltale went under.”I think they were treated very, very unfairly in a situation that was gonna be bad no matter what. But it could’ve been handled a lot more elegantly.”Bruner casts the majority of the blame on the company’s leadership. It is worth considering whether Telltale’s management would have more time to weather the storm and find that more elegant solution if the company was based somewhere cheaper. Some of the local developers I spoke to for this article referred to Telltale’s closing as a sign of a troubling change. They worry that if such a big and apparently self-sufficient developer can collapse out of the blue, their prospects might be grimmer than previously expected. “There were rumors flying around for years that that studio may get shut down because of its cost” Wright BagwellAlthough reasons matter little when hundreds of people find themselves without a job, the situation appears to have been more clear cut in the case of EA’s decision to shutter Visceral Games in November 2017. Wright Bagwell, a former employee of the studio, thinks the decision was purely about cutting exorbitant costs down. In his nearly two decades working on games in the Bay Area, Bagwell has seen it all — the highs, where new companies rise and create great products, and the lows, where the same companies collapse seemingly out of nowhere and leave many talented people out of a job. It wasn’t until recently, however, that the unique economics of the place were revealed to him entirely. One of the moments of clarity was the closure of his former workplace. Bagwell had a personal connection to Visceral; his decade-plus at the studio concluded with him leading development on Dead Space 2. As painful as seeing his friends lose their jobs was, Bagwell was struck by something else.”I was shocked; there were rumors flying around for years that that studio may get shut down because of its cost,” he says. “And you think that if anyone should have the money to support an expensive development team, it should be a company like Electronic Arts. Now that’s not to say that there weren’t other problems at the studio; it’s not like everything was perfect there.”That much is difficult to argue — Visceral never managed to turn Dead Space into a major franchise for EA, and the studio’s subsequent bets didn’t pay off either. At the end of the day, however, EA made the call on financial grounds, which shook Bagwell’s perspective. “When I heard management at EA saying that cost was a concern, I thought, ‘Wow, this is pretty crazy.'”Ex-Visceral developer Wright Bagwell was shocked when EA deemed the studio too costly to operateShow me the moneyAnother eye-opening moment came when Bagwell left Zynga in 2014, and started pitching his ideas for an ambitious new project. While talking to potential investors, he asked a question some of us may have pondered as well.”I said to some venture capitalists: ‘Don’t you think your money is better off being given to places in low-cost areas?’ They’re going to have a lot more runway and they’ll be able to take a lot more risks. They’ll have more of a buffer when they hit bumps in the road and when they make mistakes.”It turns out that venture capitalists think in different terms, and this was the response he received: “Your company is 20% to 30% more valuable if you’re in the Bay Area because you have so much more access to talent and money, which are the things that startups need. Cost isn’t really as much of a factor.”Enter Kristian Segerstrale, who, as an early investor in companies like Supercell, has plenty of experience on that side of the table. Segerstrale is the co-founder of Glu Mobile and Playfish, and his has taken him from his native Finland, through London, all the way to the Bay Area, where he now lives. I ask him whether being based in or near Silicon Valley is an important factor for investors.”Most game companies would miss out if they had no representation in the Silicon Valley whatsoever” Kristian Segerstrale”I think it is a factor,” he says. “I do think, though, that most companies that set up here will have — or certainly should have — a plan to build on the things which are uniquely different and best in the world here.”I think most game companies would miss out if they had no representation in the Silicon Valley whatsoever, purely because of the closeness to Apple and Google and everyone else. From my perspective, I would certainly expect a presence here in Silicon Valley to be a really important part of any company’s location strategy.”The Bay Area’s got talentWith funding secured, every new studio faces the next big obstacle: finding employees. The Bay Area contains the top tech professionals in the world, but securing their services is neither easy nor cheap.”We ultimately wanted to be a platform company,” Bagwell says about Outpost Games, the studio he co-founded in 2014. “We had access to engineers from Silicon Valley, who had built big, scalable backends at companies like Google and E-Trade and Zynga. That talent is easy to find in Silicon Valley, but probably difficult to find elsewhere.”Top talent in these fields also attracts a lot of attention. A hopeful studio owner must compete not only with gaming companies in the area, but also with tech giants with bottomless pockets.”If you’re trying to hire really great engineers as a startup, you simply can’t afford to pay some of the insanely high prices that [tech companies] are willing to pay them,” says Bagwell. “You have to hire people who are there because they believe in the mission, and hope that if the company does well the stock options will pay off.”Outpost Games’ ambitions to be ‘a platform company’ suited the talent pool of Silicon ValleyCompetition for technical experts is good news to those working in those fields. However, there is another subset of the workforce that is just as indispensable to game development, yet has a much harder time making a living in the Bay Area.”Artists don’t demand the same salaries that engineers do,” Bagwell says. “I think one of the reasons why it’s hard for games to take root here is because half of your team is sort of living at the poverty level — or at least it feels like they do.”Martin Middleton, a veteran of thatgamecompany and co-founder of the San Francisco-based studio Funomena, has a similar outlook.”The Bay Area has a specific problem where you need a lot of money to even live modestly, which makes it harder to take creative risks,” he says. “But more importantly, it limits who has the financial freedom to pursue games while living here. The choice to focus on games is a lot easier if you have a relatively safe tech job as a backup plan, but that’s going to exclude a lot of creative people who aren’t as tech-focused, and who could be bringing unique value to the community.”Should I stay or should I go?”The Bay Area has a specific problem where you need a lot of money to even live modestly” Martin MiddletonOne thing is clear: there are no shortcuts where staffing is concerned. Top talent demands big wages, but there are other ways to sidestep expenses; namely, the notoriously expensive Bay Area rents.”If you want to be in a prime location, you will need to spend top dollar for studio space,” says Mike Roush, CEO of Choice Provisions, the Santa Cruz-based studio of Bit.Trip series fame. “Because startups often had a great deal of VC money, they would pay exorbitant amounts in rent. Landlords knew this, so at times we would see 25% rent spikes. These operating costs ultimately put us at a disadvantage as a smaller studio.”We ended up closing our San Francisco studio because we could not maintain our burn rate. This was at the beginning of the ‘indiepocalypse’ as some say, so we had a round of layoffs. We were lucky enough to keep the Santa Cruz office with a skeleton crew.”However, out of that struggle eventually came a solution: “We have closed our doors and opted to be a work-at-home studio. Part of this was due to our employees wanting to live in cheaper areas, and in part because we can get a cheaper workforce out of state.”The employees, Roush says, have embraced the change. One of them has already moved to Seattle — and Roush suspects that more will follow — and a couple of new hires live as far away as Minnesota and Canada. Everyone can now happily channel hours that would have been spent commuting into their work. Plus, the reduction in costs have been considerable.”From when we were at our largest versus where we are now, I think our operating costs are around 20% of where we were in the past,” Roush says. “Now, keep in mind that we had 24 employees versus the ten we have now, but these are still substantial savings.”Ironically, it feels like more of a modern way to run our company, and I believe we are getting more work done faster. So far it feels like the right thing to do.”Choice Provisions cut its costs by 80% by closing its San Francisco office and switching to remote workAccording to Martin Middleton, Funomena has also opened up to new ways of conducting its business. “We have been adjusting our processes to support more remote development,” he says. “Both to give our local team members a break from commuting, and to allow us to collaborate with people from all over the world.”However, while remote development has proved helpful to some studios, most never get past the stage of discussing a move. The consensus seems to be that, for all its money-related downsides, the Bay Area is a great place to live and make games in. Kevin Bruner puts it this way: “It’s hard to get established in the Bay Area, but once you’ve got some roots you want to keep them.”Another thing that everyone I spoke to agrees on is the fantastic community aspect of making games in this part of the world. Moving from such a vibrant melting pot of tech and games could leave valuable opportunities out of reach.”We would have had a lot more time if we were not here. I’d say anywhere between 20% and 50% more time” Wright Bagwell”The Bay Area has always been the central hub for game development,” says Bagwell. “This means there are plenty of resources to draw upon. There is a sense that everyone kind of knows each other and this builds community. Making connections and knowing what is happening in the industry, naturally, will put you at an advantage.”The circle of lifeStill, most startups — in gaming or otherwise — aren’t destined to make it and change the world. Nowhere is that reality more evident than in the Bay Area.Bagwell, who spoke about Visceral’s shutdown in terms of a wake-up call, had to contend with shutting his own company at the end of 2018. I spoke to him around the time he finalised the closure of Outpost Games. What went wrong?”I think we tried to do too much,” he says. “We were building a game and we were building a platform; essentially, we were two startups, and the odds are stacked against you as a startup already. We doubled the risk and doubled the challenges.”When the studio’s first game, S.O.S., failed to gain traction and provide the revenue Outpost hoped for, things went downhill quickly. Raising money became much harder as the game’s audience declined, which caused issues meeting payroll, which ultimately resulted in layoffs.I ask Bagwell if Outpost Games might have had a better chance at success — or survival at the very least — somewhere else.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games “Being in the Bay Area had a big effect in the sense that we would have had a lot more time if we were not here,” he says. “I’d say anywhere between 20% and 50% more time, just given the fact that we could have outsourced some of our art, or we could have hired engineers in a town where they command a much smaller salary.”But there is always a flipside of setting up shop and ultimately failing in South San Francisco.”Maybe it wouldn’t have happened at all if we weren’t here.”Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Publishing & Retail newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesEA leans on Apex Legends and live services in fourth quarterQ4 and full year revenues close to flat and profits take a tumble, but publisher’s bookings still up double-digitsBy Brendan Sinclair 2 hours agoUbisoft posts record sales yet again, delays Skull & Bones yet againPublisher moves away from target of 3-4 premium AAA titles a year, wants to build free-to-play “to be trending toward AAA ambitions over the long term”By Brendan Sinclair 6 hours agoLatest comments (3)Romain FRICAUD Senior Producer – Games, Lakshya Digital Pvt. Ltd.2 years ago It almost feels from reading people’s experience, that they want to keep the Bay Area an Atlantis of game development. Almost as a persisting illusion, that you have to be in the Bay Area to make it as a developer. This Metropolis dream can’t last forever.I feel like Montreal is setting a better example of what a great HUB of game developers a city can be, without the cutthroat of living in the most expensive city in the world. 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyJamie Clarke General Manager, GamesJobsDirect.com2 years ago The wages are astronomical and the cost of living is astronomical, but it is a hugely popular place that people want to work. In the UK, we feel that London is an expensive place to live, but many of the AAA game studios have settled in the North, where the cost of living is cheaper and generally running a business is far more cost effective.The same can be said in Germany, where quite a few studios have decided to settle outside of Berlin and Munich.I can see the hub in San Fran reducing over the next few years.center_img 1Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyKim Soares CEO, Kukouri Mobile Entertainment2 years ago Finland is much cheaper than San Francisco or even lower cost game hubs of the US. And outside the capital it is even cheaper. And there’s a lot of talent and that mobile charm here.last_img read more

Corporate Support Coordinator

first_imgWork LocationOther Working hours: Position Information Position TitleCorporate Support Coordinator A complete UCM electronic application for employment, cover letterand resume required. Incomplete applications will not beconsidered.Initial review of applications will begin on 05/15/21 and continueuntil the position is filled.NOTE : A background check is required for the selected candidate ofthis position and any job offer is contingent on the results ofthis check.The University of Central Missouri is an Equal Opportunity Employerand specifically invites applications from women, minorities,veteran status and people with disabilities. Position Purpose FLSAExempt Supplemental QuestionsRequired fields are indicated with an asterisk (*). Other Special Skills, Abilities, and Knowledge Closing Date Other Education & Formal Training Bachelor’s degree in the following field(s) of study: Marketing,Communications, Business Studies or similar fields.Education may be substituted for experience or experience may besubstituted for education based on the following: AA = 2 years,BA/BS = 4 years; MA/MS = 6 years; and PhD = 8 years. Pay Rate$36,000 per year + Commission and use of KMOS vehicle Specify sensory abilities: Special Instructions to Applicants: Posting Date04/22/2021 Computer SkillsWord-Processing, Spreadsheet, Presentation, Desktop Publishing,Other – Sales, Media Database software, and social mediacapabilities preferred. Open Until FilledYes Ability to KeyboardNo keyboarding test required. KMOS -TV requires a Corporate Support Coordinator that is aprofessional and persuasive communicator who is motivated, dynamicand has a driven personality. The Corporate Support Coordinatorshould be prepared to work to achieve regular goals and targets aspart of a full life cycle sales position that closes the deal. Thisposition is responsible for the bulk of KMOS’ outside sales. Experience Other Physical & Environmental Factors Special Working Conditions:Travel required, Professional appearance Mental skills, including concentration, memory, complex decisionmaking, analytical thinking, and/or conceptual thinking.Presentation skills required.center_img Licenses, Certificates, Registrations, & State/FederalRequirements of Position:Criminal History check, Driver’s license Two (2) years of hands-on experience in sales, marketing, business,public relations corporate promotion or deadline orientedcompetitive sales or personnel acquisition functions.Experience delivering presentations to small and large groupsrequired.Experience in DFP /Google Analytics skills anadvantage/asset.Experience with selling or in public television will be anadvantage/asset. ClassificationUN01 Working TitleCorporate Support Coordinator Lifting weight Special Skills, Abilities, and Knowledge:Attention to detail, Communication skills, including oral,written, and/or nonverbal, Knowledge of a University environmentpreferred, Human Relations/Interpersonal skills, Leadership skills:organization/meeting facilitation/project leadership, Physicalabilities:mobility/strength/dexterity/balance/coordination/endurance,Management and/or administration skills, Ability to manage multipleconcurrent projects and meet deadlines, Maintainconfidentiality Department401215-KMOS-TV FTE1.0 * If selected for an interview you will be required to createand deliver a short presentation as a demonstration of yourpresentation skills. Do you understand this requirement?YesNo Bargaining UnitNo Other Special Qualifications Position Number997807 Special Qualifications: Other Special Working Conditions Irregular work hours including evenngs/weekends. Other Experience Physical & Environmental Factors: Professional hours including some evenings and weekends asnecessary. Other Licenses, Certificates, Registrations, &State/Federal Requirements * Do you understand that the university requires a backgroundcheck for this position and that any job offer made to the selectedcandidate is contingent upon the results of this check?YesNo Education & Formal TrainingBachelor’s degree (Specify field(s) of study below),Education/Experience substitution (specify) Required DocumentsRequired DocumentsCover LetterResumeOptional Documentslast_img read more

Stagecoach charity bus

first_imgStagecoach South West has unveiled a bespoke liveried bus, supporting local charity Chemo Hero on Sunday (19 November).Chemo Hero provides gift boxes to people undergoing chemotherapy at the Seamoor Unit in North Devon District Hospital. On the patient’s first treatment, their nurse gifts them the box filled with practical items and little luxuries.Helen Scholes, Marketing Manager at Stagecoach, says: “We are delighted to be supporting Lisa and Chemo Hero and hope the special bus will increase awareness of the charity and the important work it does in the North Devon community.”last_img read more

10 takeaways from Spain’s election

first_img3. Ciudadanos could be powerful losersCiudadanos leader and candidate for the general election, Albert Rivera speaks following the results of Spain’s general election in Madrid on December 20, 2015. Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty.With 94 percent of districts counted, the PP and Ciudadanos are — when added together — on 162 seats and thus not far off a majority (176 seats) in Spain’s lower house. Though on 40 seats and thus up 40 since the 2011 election, Rivera’s party has underperformed its poll standing of a few weeks ago. Still, it is Rajoy’s preferred — perhaps only possible — governing partner. In the days before the election Rivera committed to letting the largest party govern by abstaining in the congressional vote on the new government. Yet he would seek to exact a price. Following local elections in May, his party has propped up administrations in regional governments across Spain. It has typically demanded that figures associated with corruption go, that primaries be held, and that economic reforms proceed.At a national level the equivalent could be the symbolically important replacement of Rajoy for Sáenz, the abolition of the Senate (Spain’s upper house, an emblem of the cozy political “casta” and a bastion of the PP) and electoral reform to make the system less favorable to “bipartidismo”, or the two-party, PP-PSOE establishment. Whether Rivera can demand this depends on the final numbers and, specifically, whether the roughly 20 MPs from regional parties (especially those from Catalonia and the Basque Country) can be bought off and thus persuaded to let a PP-led government continue.4. Fresh elections may beckon If a deal between the PP, Ciudadanos and small, regional parties cannot be forged, three other options are arithmetically possible: a German-style grand coalition of PP and PSOE, a coalition of anti-PP parties including the PSOE, Podemos and Ciudadanos and a coalition of the left. All look unlikely. To enter a grand coalition would be suicide for the PSOE, its leader Pedro Sánchez loathes Rajoy and the whole edifice would be anathema to Spain’s broadly adversarial political culture. Meanwhile, Rivera has ruled out supporting a government involving Podemos and insisted that the largest party should govern. To support an anti-PP coalition, he would have to demonstrate to his supporters that none of the alternatives were viable and offer enormous concessions. This is hard to imagine. The only other alternative — and the most likely one — would be a deal between the PSOE, Podemos and the smaller, regional parties. This would turn on major constitutional reform possibly including a federal settlement for Spain and the resignation of Sánchez in favour of Susana Díaz, president of Andalusia and a figure more favorable to other parties. Otherwise fresh elections may beckon.5. Podemos has done wellPodemos leader and candidate for the election, Pablo Iglesias (C) raises his fist after speaking at the Goya Theatre after the results of Spain’s general election in Madrid on December 20, 2015. Photo by GERARD JULIEN/AFP/Getty.To support the party of the ponytailed Pablo Iglesias in the past months has been to ride a rollercoaster. Having peaked at around 28 percent in January and plunged to half that just a couple of months ago, Podemos soared through the final weeks of the election. Its final result, some 69 seats in the lower house, is deflated by the Spanish electoral system, which punishes parties outside the old two and those strongest in big cities. Indeed, were seats allocated proportionally, exit polls suggest that Podemos might be ahead of the PSOE. If there is one thing that leftists outside Spain can learn from Iglesias and his gang, it is that it can make sense to configure a political party as a federation of local groups rather than a single, monolithic organization. By franchising left-leaning civil society bodies in Barcelona, Valencia and Galicia (and, less formally, in Madrid), Podemos — a party founded just two years ago — has been national, insurgent and exciting while also possessing local roots.6. Spain has a new political divide: Old vs. NewSpain is now a country of four main parties. Yet their support is not evenly distributed. In small-town and rural Spain, the old PP-PSOE order lives on. Andalusia remains a Socialist (PSOE) stronghold. Castile and Leon remain a bastion of the PP. Such regions increasingly have something in common: their sturdy loyalty to old parties dogged by corruption scandals and responsibility for Spain’s economic crisis. In big cities like Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia, by contrast, the new parties — Podemos and Ciudadanos — are storming ahead. So Spain is still a country divided (as it has been for so long, and so deeply) between left and right. But it is now a country also divided between old politics and new, between big cities and small.7. The two-party structure is deadFollowing the Franco years, Spain’s democracy was designed to promote the sort of stable — comfortable, even — two-party order that had thus far eluded a country whose politics had long been defined by fragmentation and violent confrontation. This succeeded. But the side-effect of the long-years of PP-PSOE rule, in which the two parties typically took about three-quarters of votes, was to nurture croneyism, corruption and complacency. That has now been blown out of the water. “Bipartidismo,” insofar as the term describes the hegemony of PP and PSOE, is dead. Whether a new two-party order will emerge — perhaps a reformed PP against Podemos — is not yet clear. This turns on the events of the coming weeks: which parties (if any) end up in government and whether the PP, if it continues to lead, is forced to reform the electoral system. The only certainty is change. 8. A puny prime ministerIn Spain’s post-dictatorship democracy to date, no party has come first in a national election on under 34.4 percent of the vote (38.8 percent, if you only count the era, since 1982, of PP-PSOE dominance). Yet now the PP has just 28.7 percent. Which begs the question: is it right, in a country where the largest party enjoys unusually strong powers over the legislative process, that an outfit with little more than a quarter of the vote should dominate politics, over parties only slightly less popular than itself, for a full parliamentary term? Whether the election produces serious political reform depends on the constellation of parties, as discussed above, but even if not, Rajoy will be more dependent on forces outside his own than any Spanish leader in generations.9. More fragmentation in CataloniaSpain’s election is an interlude in a drama otherwise continuing of its own accord: Catalonia’s bid for independence. In September, elections in the region produced a majority (in seats, though not in votes) for secession. Yet the intervening months have seen it fragment, with the left-nationalist CUP refusing to join with other pro-independence forces in endorsing the centrist Artur Mas as president. If Mas does not do a deal soon, he may have to return to the voters. Yet the results of the general election in Catalonia are bad for him. His CiU (Convergence and Union) having recently split into devolutionists and secessionists, he led the secessionist bit — now named Democracy and Freedom (DiL) — into the vote on December 20. The result was a fall in support as both the ERC (a leftier pro-independence outfit) and Podem (the local Podemos-backed party) soared ahead, particularly in Barcelona. This both weakens Mas’ hand in negotiations with the CUP and makes the prospects for his party worse in any new elections. If there is a glimmer of light for Catalan nationalists, it is that the local success of Podemos strengthens the otherwise independence-agnostic party’s call for a referendum thus far denied by Madrid.10. The Catalans may be the keyMuch of what happens now turns on events in Catalonia. There, any anti-PP deal may be forged. There, any PP-led government may also achieve the numbers it needs. There, any new constitutional settlement might succeed or fail. There, Podemos has attained its most striking success. There, Ciudadanos has its base and is thus most sensitive. The coming weeks will bring wrangling and constitutional debate. It is inconceivable that Spain’s most heterodox, wealthy and European region will not be at the center of what comes next. Stay tuned.Jeremy Cliffe is The Economist’s Bagehot columnist. Also On POLITICO Spain heads for coalition impasse By Diego Torres MADRID — In the build-up to Sunday’s election in Spain, news reports clung to the assertions that it would be both unpredictable and an earthquake. Predictably, the result was an earthquake. As polls had long suggested it would, the governing Popular Party (PP) came first. As much rumor had predicted — including one muttered to Angela Merkel by Mariano Rajoy in Brussels earlier this week — the hard-left Podemos came almost second in vote-share, though firmly behind the center-left Socialists (PSOE) in seats. The insurgent liberal party, Ciudadanos, came in fourth after a punishing election campaign. With the final results still trickling in, here is what we know.1. Rajoy has defied political physicsSpain’s economic and political crisis peaked about halfway through Rajoy’s first term as prime minister and it seems the timing has been favorable to him. While the PP’s vote-share has fallen from 44.6 percent in 2011 to 28.7 percent, that it has remained in the lead is a tribute to slowly improving levels of economic confidence in a country where unemployment remains eye-wateringly high and the memories of “la crisis” remain fresh. The PP has clung on despite shocks that would have destroyed other European governments. If it stays in power it will do so as a minority government, lurching from vote to vote, but in the circumstances, even this is an achievement.2. Congratulations, Jorge y SorayaThat achievement is as much down to the unpopular Rajoy’s two closest lieutenants as it is to him. The first of the duo is his campaign director, Jorge Moregas. He was the man behind the PP’s concentrated attack on Ciudadanos, whose free-market outlook threatened to sap the governing party’s support in the big cities. By painting Albert Rivera, its leader, as inexperienced and scaremongering about the possibility of Podemos involvement in an anti-PP coalition government, the PP appears to have won back several crucial points in the final weeks of the campaign. This was also thanks to Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, the PP’s Number Two. The Moregas strategy was to run two presidential candidates: Rajoy would tour small-town Spain exuding old-school authority while Sáenz would concentrate on the big cities as the face of a renewed, young, liberal, modern PP willing to tackle the corruption and abuses of which it had been accused in government. She was the ultimate anti-Ciudadanos weapon and, it seems, she generally succeeded.last_img read more

YouTube And Universal Music Group To Upgrade Old Music Videos To High-Definition Standards [Watch]

first_imgIt’s been a rough two weeks for Universal Music Group following the shocking report from The New York Times last Tuesday that stated the major record label had lost thousands of master recordings of countless artists both deceased and still active (many of whom claim were never alerted) during a warehouse fire on their Hollywood backlot in 2008. On Tuesday, however, UMG along with YouTube gave music fans more optimistic news that they two will give more than 1,000 classic music videos a High-Definition makeover.Related: Energy Used To Power Digital Music Leads To Increase In Greenhouse Gas EmissionsAccording to another report shared by the NYT on Wednesday, a number of artists under UMG’s massive umbrella of content ownership including Lady Gaga, Beastie Boys, Soundgarden, The Killers, and The Spice Girls will all have their older music videos rebuffed and reformatted to meet today’s video definition standards. The full digital makeover initiative is expected to be completed by next year. Many of the older music videos currently uploaded to YouTube come with visuals and audio which were designed for older generations of television screens with single speakers.The remastered videos will maintain the same URLs, view counts, and other pre-existing statistics, and fans will notice when a certain video has been given an HD upgrade as it will include a “Remastered” label in the description.A rep from UMG also clarified that the origins of each video were considered in terms of the challenges that come with repurposing decades-old styles and formats. YouTube even contacted director Spike Jonze to make sure the Beastie Boys‘ 1994 video for “Sabotage” didn’t lose any of its “’70s cop shows”-style editing initially used by Jonze after being brought up to HD standard in an early draft.Watch the newly-remasted video for “Sabotage” below.Beastie Boys – “Sabotage” (Remastered)[Video: BeastieBoys]Other artists whose videos will receive the 2020 remaster treatment reportedly includes Boyz II Men, George Strait, Janet Jackson, Lady Antebellum, Lionel Richie, Meat Loaf, No Doubt, Gwen Stefani, Smokey Robinson, KISS, and Tom Petty.H/T The New York Times]last_img read more

Man Struck by Rescue Truck on Beach

first_imgHOLLYWOOD BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) — A sunbather has been hospitalized after he was struck by a beach fire rescue truck. Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Progress: 0%Stream Type LIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedAudio TrackCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Frankly Video Player – v7.36.0CloseWSVN-TV – last_img read more

Ready for a Disco Inferno? Disaster!, Starring Mary Testa, Begins Performances Off-Broadway

first_imgWhat happens when you marry disco and destruction? Find out in Seth Rudetsky and Jack Plotnick’s Disaster! A 1970’s Disaster Movie…Musical, which begins performances at off-Broadway’s St. Luke’s Theatre on October 14. Directed by Plotnick, Disaster! officially opens on November 4. Related Shows Disaster! View Comments In addition to Testa and Rudetsky, the cast of Disaster! also features Tom Riis Farrell, Michele Ragusa, Jennifer Simard, Sherz Aletaha, Ashanti J’Aria, Haven Burton, Charity Dawson, John Treacy Egan, Saum Eskandani, Matt Farcher, Drew Geraci, Maggie McDowell, Rob Sapp and Jonah Verdon.center_img Disaster! features costume design by Brian Hemesath, scenic and lighting design by Josh Iacovelli, sound design by Brett Rothstein and musical supervision by Steve Marzullo. Starring Tony nominee Mary Testa and Rudetsky, Disaster! is set on a summer night in Manhattan in 1979 and follows a group of NYC A-listers who party at the grand opening of a floating casino/disco—until disaster strikes. Earthquakes, tidal waves, infernos, killer bees, rats, sharks and piranhas all threaten the guests, who sing some of the biggest hits of the ‘70s, including “Hot Stuff,” “I Am Woman,” “Knock on Wood” and more. Disaster! ran in 2012 at the Triad uptown. Show Closed This production ended its run on April 11, 2014last_img read more

Governor Shumlin names winners of $2.25 million in downtown tax credits

first_imgDowntown St Albans was a major beneficiary of the tax credits. VBM file photo.Vermont Business Magazine Governor Peter Shumlin today announced the allocation of $2.25 million in state tax incentives for 21 projects, supporting over $47 million in downtown and village center construction and rehabilitation projects. Two municipalities will receive sales tax reallocation dollars. In Winooski, the award will be used in conjunction with a new mixed use development and function venue “The Strand” at the city’s Circle, and in St Albans, reallocated taxes will support public infrastructure improvements associated with the new Hampton Inn on Lake Street. SEE FULL LIST BELOW“Five years ago nobody would have considered building a new hotel downtown. In 2015 we opened a new hotel in Burlington and now we have hotel projects in the works here in St. Albans and in Winooski and Barre,” said Gov. Shumlin. “I am proud that my administration was able to play an important role in supporting downtown revitalization – fixing up old buildings, moving state offices to downtowns, and offering support for these hotels that allow visitors to stay longer, spend more money and enjoy all that Vermont’s downtowns have to offer.”The Shumlin administration’s commitment to build a better and stronger future for Vermont’s downtowns and villages is paying off, with more new and renovated buildings and businesses opening statewide,” said Lucy Leriche, Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. “These historic centers are at the heart of our culture and economy. We have seen first-hand how revitalizing downtowns positively affects communities and entire regions.”“I am so proud and thankful for the incredible state and local collaboration that helped businesses stay in downtown St. Albans and with the construction of a new state office building and parking garage.” said Mayor Liz Gamache. “Once complete, this hotel will help St. Albans take yet another big step toward unlocking our downtown’s full potential.”The downtown and village tax incentives have proven successful in helping to transform communities(link is external), supporting new housing, attracting new businesses, fostering business expansions, and creating good jobs in downtowns and villages across the state.In 2013, the Shumlin administration increased the amount of tax incentives from $1.7M to $2.2M, allowing the program to fund 10 more projects annually. In the last five years, $13M in tax credits to 171 projects leveraged $240M in total investments in historic buildings, and in the last three years, $1.2M in sales tax was reallocated to support the construction of five new downtown buildings with a total value of $80M.In 2016, tax credits will offset the costs of major investments to support projects in communities large and small; from fit-up improvements for Trout River Brewing Co. in Springfield and major renovation of a blighted block in downtown Newport for mixed commercial and residential use, to rehabilitation and code upgrades of the Waterbury Center Grange for use as a community arts center, and the expansion of the South Royalton Memorial library to make this historic building accessible to all. Other project highlights include installation of a sprinkler system to a central downtown block and the home of J & H Hardware in Bellows Falls; rehabilitation of a former convent and school in Montpelier by the Center for Arts and Learning; renovation of the upper floors of the Clement Building in downtown Rutland to provide downtown housing for students attending Castleton University; re-use of a former house in St. Johnsbury by the Fairbanks Museum for use as a café, radio station, and community room; and projects that will create safe, code compliant housing in Brattleboro, St. Albans, White River Junction and Winooski.The state designation programs(link is external) in the Agency of Commerce and Community Development(link is external) targets investments to build strong communities and promote the efficient use of land, infrastructure and resources. Almost 150 community centers are designated (downtowns(link is external) and villages(link is external)), allowing them to receive priority consideration for state grants, limited Act 250 review and access to state tax incentives.Source: Governor Shumlin 9.22.2016last_img read more

Missing hunter found safe in Norton

first_imgVermont Business Magazine At approximately 1300 hours Sunday November 20th, searchers with Border Patrol located John “Jack” Chapman walking in a very remote area of Norton, Vermont. Chapman was brought to North Country Hospital in Newport for medical care by Lyndon Rescue. On November 16th , at approximately 2200 hours, the Vermont State Police Derby barracks was notified of an overdue hunter on South Shore Road in Holland, Vermont. VSP troopers immediately began attempts to locate John “Jack” Chapman, age 72, from Brattleboro, VT. The Vermont State Police Search and Rescue, New England K9, Upper Valley Wilderness Response Team, Vermont KSAR, Rescue Inc, Vermont Fish and Wildlife game wardens and US Border Patrol began searching the area of Holland Pond the morning of November 17th.Source: Vermont State Police 11.20.2016last_img read more