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Archive for the ‘Personal Performance’ Category

15 Performance Review Tips to Boost Productivity in Your Team – Bytestart

Posted: November 11, 2019 at 7:43 pm


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Regularly reviewing employee performance is vital for businesses, as it provides both employer and employee with important information about the employees progress, needs and skills.

It can also help improve employee productivity but only if its done in the right way.

Reviewing employee performance effectively often presents a significant challenge to smaller businesses, and can be met with resistance from employees and management.

But if done right, performance reviews can build employees confidence, allow them to learn from their mistakes and help them reach their full potential.

A performance review, or appraisal, is the process of evaluating an employees performance against the organisations goals and objectives. The aims of performance reviews are to:

Along with carefully vetting candidates before employing them, effectively reviewing performance is one of the best ways organisations can ensure their team is as strong as it can be.

Traditionally, performance reviews are carried out annually. However, research suggests that the yearly performance review is an outdated method of evaluating employee performance that can actually harm productivity and decrease employee engagement.

So what sort of methods can businesses adopt instead? Here are 15 performance review tips that should help boost productivity in your team.

Before starting a performance review, you need to know what you want to achieve through it;

If you know what your aims are, it will be much easier to develop a performance review system that will help you achieve them.

Before reviewing an employee, make sure you have defined their role clearly. This should include a comprehensive description of the roles duties, goals (long, and short-term) and key objectives.

Set goals that are clear, realistic and specific , with a clear timeframe. You should also have a solid metric in place for how progress towards these goals will be measured.

Once youve defined an employees role and objectives, you should give the employee an opportunity to offer feedback on them.

As the person doing the role, they are best placed to offer insight into what goals and skills are necessary to be successful in it.

Asking for their opinion from the start will also help to establish trust between you and your employees, and may make them more open to the review process.

Once you have a performance review plan in place, share it with your employees so that they know what to expect.

Make sure they know:

Performance reviews should be done regularly in order to be effective. A study by Gallup found that employees who received regular strengths feedback had turnover rates that were 14.9% lower than those who didnt.

Arrange regular performance review meetings with all employees. These could be quarterly, or even monthly the more frequent the better. Keeping meetings fairly informal will also help to get employees onside.

Focusing on the positives rather than the negatives is much more likely to encourage improved performance.

Start by praising the employee on their achievements. If there are areas that need improvement, offer constructive criticism and identify ways they can overcome their challenges.

Effective performance review should be a process of coaching and progression, rather than punishment for poor performance.

Establishing trust between management and employees is vital to an effective performance review.

The performance review process will, of course, involve management giving feedback to employees but this should go both ways.

Give employees the opportunity to offer honest, constructive feedback on management. This will help employees feel valued, and encourage them to buy into the performance review process.

Goals dont have to be permanently fixed. Assess employee goals and objectives on a regular basis, and review the changing needs of the organisation and its roles.

If adjustments need to be made, discuss them with the employee in question and come up with a new goal together.

The feedback you give employees should include clear, actionable steps the employee can take in order to improve their performance and meet their goals.

Come up with a performance plan together to help the employee visualise what theyre aiming for, and what they need to do to achieve it.

For long-term goals, break the plan down into smaller, short-term steps the employee can take to make them more manageable.

If your employees have specific targets to work towards, use analytics and metrics to measure their progress towards them.

Monitor these regularly and keep your employees updated.

This is one of the most important parts of successful performance review.

A study found that 69% of workers said they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognised. In fact, recognition is the number one thing employees say their manager could give them to inspire them to produce better work.

You should recognise and reward employees achievements and accomplishments, regularly and publicly. This will help keep employees motivated, happy and engaged, and encourage them to work harder.

Employees should feel like theyre able to talk to management when theyre struggling or have issues.

Encourage your employees to tell their manager when have any concerns or problems. If employees feel able to communicate openly, theyll be more likely to seek help when theyre finding things difficult, and thus more likely to overcome their challenges.

A workplace with shared values, expectations and beliefs will be more cohesive and harmonious, which is likely to increase employee engagement.

Try to foster this shared culture in your organisation. Management should lead by example, encouraging colleagues to exemplify the organisations values in the workplace.

Giving criticism can be difficult, and should be done sensitively.

When reviewing an employees performance, be sure to focus on behaviour rather than personal characteristics.

For example, pointing out that an employee has made the same mistake several times is giving feedback on behaviour. Saying that the employee is careless is commenting on a personal characteristic.

The latter is likely to be viewed as an attack, and the employee may get defensive rather than taking on board constructive criticism.

Ask employees to give each other positive feedback.

Receiving good feedback from multiple sources will make employees feel recognised, and being asked to give feedback will make them feel as if their opinion is valued.

This will help to improve employee engagement, and in turn boost productivity.

ByteStart is packed with help and tips on all aspects of hiring, managing and getting the best out of your people. Check out some of our most popular guides;

Image: DepositPhotos.com

Bytestart Limitedinfo@ByteStart.co.uk

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November 11th, 2019 at 7:43 pm

What You Need To Know To Rise To The Greatness You Were Destined For – Forbes

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Part of the series Accessing the Most Powerful Version of You

Reaching your highest potential and experiencing the fulfillment, success and reward you deserve

Every once in a long while, we meet a person who, in their open sharing of their story, they help us shift our perspective of life in general and of our own specific journey. And doing so allows us to see whats possible for us in the future, in a brand new and enlivening way.

I met such an individual recently, and her personal story is riveting. What she faced and overcame as a very young child is inconceivable to many of us, and the work she does now to help others overcome their challenges and achieve the greatness theyre destined for is deeply inspiring and motivating.

Dr. Grace Lee is a career mentor and educator, speaker, and neuroscience expert helping career-driven professionals joyfully earn more, be more, and experience greatnessan ultimate level of success and reward in their work and life.Given her personal experience where she found that her academic and educational training werent nearly sufficient to help her overcome her challenges let alone achieve the greatness she was destined for, Lee is on a mission to redefine modern education, teaching men and women how to unlock true vocational confidence and master their professional destinies. Lees upcoming book, Million Dollar Story, due out December 2019, explores how to pivot from the worst moments of life to profit and win with purpose.

Lee shares crucial lessons shes learned in overcoming extreme adversity in childhood, and in her work helping others achieve high levels of success and personal fulfillment:

Kathy Caprino: Grace, can you share a bit about your childhood story and the extreme adversity you overcame?

Grace Lee: Sure. Mine is what I call a David and Goliath story. My earliest childhood years were in Hong Kong, and as a young child, my mom was my best friend. My father was absent much of the time and I didnt have a relationship with him. But my mother loved me deeply and accepted me, and taught me so many principles about life. When I was almost nine, my family was involved in a terrible car accidenta head-on collision and my mom, who was driving, didnt survive.

I sustained terrible injuries. The collision dislocated and fractured two vertebrae in my neck, and broke both my wrists.I was so close to not being able to walk again, move my arms or breathe on my own. The following year on my 10th birthday, my father remarried and started a new family.He told me he was no longer able to care for me, asked me to leave and arrange to have someone else care for me. I had lost everything that was important or meaningful to me and now didnt even have a place to call home.It destroyed my self image and my confidence since I believed that this was happening because I was unlovable and worthless. Many cold nights I roamed the streets looking for shelter or some place of escape and often I thought if I committed suicide no one would know or care.

I started working in the family-owned restaurant when I was 11 as a waitress and cashier.Although I wasnt paid a salary to work there, I enjoyed being in the company of my customers and collecting tips from the table as my earnings for the day.One day, an older couple came for dinner and noticed that I needed a place to stay. After they settled their bill, they invited me to follow them home and stay with them for as long as I needed.This wonderful couple saved my life and gave me a second chance.

(For Graces full story, listen in to our Finding Brave podcast interview.)

Caprino: Youve said that you have a skill for helping career-driven women master their professional destiny.What in your past work and life experiences has contributed to your ability to help others experience forward thinking that propels them to greatness?

Grace Lee: As I mention above, I spent most of my childhood as an orphan with no support, no place to call home. It wasnt until I finally let go of my previous self-image as someone totally unworthy of love that I was intellectually capable of thinking about the future. And I wouldnt have been able to do that if it werent for the amazing couple who adopted me. Two years later, I learned to begin to trust their love and the care they offered, and developed a deep burning desire for a better future. One where I would have my own home, be independent, and give back to these wonderful people who gave me a second chance.

The only way I knew how to achieve that vision was act in accordance with what Ive been told: go to school, get good grades, then get a safe and secure job.I didnt have any financial support, so I had to get resourceful to find a way to fund myself to my dreams. You know how they say that usually when people are in a do or die situation, they tend to succeed? That was my own experience.When youve escaped the worst pain and trauma in your life, you dont want to go back. I had to learn to survive first, and then I learned to thrive. Sustained thriving requires forward thinking. And as I got older, I added more and more experiences to my years which gave me better frameworks upon which I planned for my future.

Caprino: What have you found to be the reasons why sometimes even the most ambitious person doesn't step up into their greatness?

Lee: The most ambitious people are often laser focused on what they are determined to achieve. It could be more money or recognition or power, for example, which may be their secret desires. They have clear goals and work very hard to accomplish them. Its great to have ambition, but its even more important to focus on how to become a new and different person who will be able to sustain a level of high performance.

Greatness is a choice. We rise to greatness when we choose to react to the worst moments of our life with gratitude, love, and perseverance. And sometimes an abundance of ambition can be a distraction from what what we know deep down to be important.

Caprino: What is your best advice for those who are struggling to go from good to great in their career?

Lee: If you are in a situation where things are good in your career, then chances are that you are in a place of abundance. And you had to hustle and grind to get here. In this place if you feel that things arent great, they could be better, or youre still unfulfilled, then recognize and consider that there is a space on the other side of abundance where fulfillment and purpose can be actualized.

If human psychology has taught me anything, its that true fulfillment comes when we are constantly growing and contributing. Its not met simply in abundance. Seek out the places in your career and your life where you can create the space for growth and contribution. Youll know youre on the right track to the great career that you seek if the good-to-great transformation feels like an organic, cumulative process.

Caprino: In your experience, what impact does higher education have on a person's ability to build a great career?

Lee: First of all, I want to say with conviction that higher education is not necessary to build a great career. Why?Because a persons ability to build a great career isnt developed in school. It is developed through a process of taking massive action through fear, just-in-time learning, and expert guidance.

Higher education provides a safer environment (compared to the world of work) to experiment with action. And academia develops our skills for learning new things if we thrive in that structure of teaching.Unfortunately, the education system is not designed to help students build careers (heres my personal take on 7 crucial lessons academic education didnt teach me). Its optimized for granting certificates as proof of acquired knowledgeand membership to an alma mater.

Knowledge and membership dont directly lead to a great career no matter how prestigious. Also, the myth of job security is perpetuated by the education system: go to school, get good grades, and get a safe and secure job. That paradigm is all about acquiring knowledge to pursue job security (ultimately financial security), which will elude you because it doesnt exist in todays marketplace realities.

Instead, whats more empowering and sustainable is to aim for what I call vocational confidence. By vocation I mean work that is your true calling as it is connected to your mission, your natural talents, and your ability to make a contribution to the world for a handsome profit.Once you do, it will necessarily mean you have the ability to create your most meaningful work; work that is aligned with your mission and purpose. I cant think of a greater career than that. Because a vocation is a great career.

Caprino: You must hear a lot of objections in response to your message about getting paid your worth from people who believe that focusing on doing what you love instead of getting paid well helps them to achieve career fulfillment. How can someone reconcile the perceived tension between great pay and meaningful work?

Lee:Yes, this is a sensitive subject for a lot of people. Partly because the subject of money itself can be a sensitive topic, but also because most people have the perception that high pay and fulfillment are mutually exclusive.

In other words, the common belief is that you can either love what you do or get highly paid, but not both. But pay is fair exchange, and that only makes sense when you look at the facts of how money flows.Unfortunately, you can have employers who discriminate, clients who negotiate unreasonably to cut your prices, etc., but its not the norm.

Setting those aside, the money you earn is directly correlated to the value you add to the marketplace youre in. Its the exact same whether youre working for someone or in business for yourself. The marketplace is paying. The question is, What is it willing to pay? The answer is, It is only willing to pay for value.And the more value there is, the more it will pay. This is good news since our emotions about the work were doing dont factor in at all.

Knowing this is freeing because it means that we can get highly paid for doing work we love so long as it adds value to that marketplace.

Caprino: Youve said, All the problems we face in our careers are simply unasked questions. Can you share some questions we should be asking?

Lee: Ill share two of my personal favorites that solve specific problems.

Problem: Im not making enough money in my career.

Ask yourself:

1) What skills do I need to refine as a clear leader in my industry to help me overcome the obvious obstacles that are restricting my growth and profitability?

Problem: I cant keep up with all the expectations that are placed on me but I dont want to give up or let people down.

Ask yourself:

1) What could I delegate or stop doing that would free my time to do what I need to do for profits?

2) What are the most frequent reasons my calendar gets hijacked, and what guardrails do I need to build to keep these intruders from sabotaging my day?

Caprino: What are the steps to take to turn knowledge into action and produce the result of a truly great career?

Lee: First, chunk it down.Confusion and overwhelm are going to be features of the journey, so break it down into smaller chunks that you know you can handle all in a days work.Make it real by scheduling it. When you focus on these each day, its no longer insurmountable.

Create the space in your life to produce the result you desire. The space includes your physical, mental, social, family, and financial space.Make it a game that you must win, and strategize the steps to get you to your goal.

This changes your state from one of fear to power. Most importantly, learn to enjoy the entire journey rather than just looking forward to the outcome.

For more information, visit http://www.careerrevisionist.com.

To build a more rewarding, impactful career of purpose, visit Kathy Caprinos Career Breakthrough Coaching programs, and tune into her podcast Finding Brave.

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What You Need To Know To Rise To The Greatness You Were Destined For - Forbes

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November 11th, 2019 at 7:43 pm

Will Tom Hanks Be Everything We Desperately Need Him to Be in the New Mr. Rogers Movie? – Showbiz Cheat Sheet

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If youre from a certain generation, Mr. Rogers is probably very important to youor perhaps he was when you were a child. Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks is taking a stab at portraying the late childrens television host in the new film A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. And in the current state of the world and all its chaos, we just really need this movie to come through for us, emotionally. Hanks is known as Americas Dad, so were crossing our fingers that he can pull it off. Hanks costar in the film, Matthew Rhys, weighed in on the Youve Got Mails actor approach to embodying Fred Rogers with Entertainment Weekly.

The 2018 documentary on Fred Rogers, Wont You Be My Neighbor?, was touching and educational. But our current onscreen-Mr. Rogers needs are far more pressing: can Hanks hold our tiny fragile hears in his hands for two hours, the way Mr. Rogers did in his puppet-filled neighborhood?

The voice of Woody in Toy Story is surely a well of acting talent. But donning a cardigan and adopting a few of Rogers mannerisms are one thing. Can Hanksor anyone, for that matterlive up to the man, the legend, the embodiment of all that is kind and pure and good in the world, Mr. Rogers? Will Hanks live up to our unrealistically high, nostalgia-driven expectations?

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood director Marielle Heller toldEntertainment Weeklythat she wouldnt initially have associated Hanks demeanor with that of Rogers.

Hes got a loud voice, Heller says of the Sleepless in Seattle star. He walks into a room and you know that hes there! He shakes everyones hand, hes really funny, theres never an awkward moment. This was not the case for the former PBS host.

Fred sat in silence and stillness in a way I dont think Tom naturally does, she said. While Hanks naturally makes everyone comfortable and makes everyone feel great Fred disarmed people by asking a question and then sitting and staring at you until you answered.

The Can You Ever Forgive Me? filmmaker explained her biggest directing challenge was getting Hanks to become less Tom Hanks. Heller wanted to let discomfort and painful things sit.

Matthew Rhys, the actor known for his work on FXs The Americans and the 2017 film The Post, plays Lloyd Vogel in the Heller film. The character of Vogel is a journalist who is interviewing the TV icon for a magazine story. The movie traces the story of the two mens burgeoning friendship, giving it less of a tradition biopic feel. Rhys told Entertainment Weekly all about his co-stars performance on set.

Wales-born actor Rhys said he was initially drawn to A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood out of an interest in Mister Rogers, EW reported.

But it was when Rhys first saw Tom Hanks in character on set that he really felt the films power. He said that observing Hanks in action was a master class in acting.

I just had this moment, Rhys said. By this point, Id watched an enormous amount of Fred Rogers. [Hanks] was just doing this little bit of a walk. Aside from the gait, Rhys explained, there was something he did with his hands. And then I just went, Oh my God!'

Rhys even uses Rogers advice in his personal life.

Fred has always said, Relay frustration to [your children] by remembering that you were a child once, and see the world through their eyes,' the Welsh actor recalled. Rhys has internalized this ideology, acting on it with his own three-year-old son.

Fred Rogers legendary PBS show premiered in 1968 and ran for 31 seasons. Considering the man positively affected so many childrens lives, we will be waiting with bated breath to see if this 2019 film lives up to Rogers enduring legacy.

Sonys trailer description calls the movie a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood comes out in theaters Nov. 22. In the meantime, well be dreaming of seeing a movie that makes our day a special day, by just being itself.

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Will Tom Hanks Be Everything We Desperately Need Him to Be in the New Mr. Rogers Movie? - Showbiz Cheat Sheet

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November 11th, 2019 at 7:43 pm

Multi-WAN routers: A comprehensive guide to five of the best – TechGenix

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Multi-WAN routers, as the name suggests, are routers that come with two or more WAN Internet ports so you can connect to multiple Internet ISPs. These routers are also called dual-WAN routers, especially when they have only two ports. Why should you go for these routers? Lets take a deeper dive.

There are a few important benefits that these routers offer over traditional ones.

Multi-WAN routers are highly useful for those who need the Internet at all times and when even a few minutes of nonavailability can impact them in a big way. With multi-WAN routers, you dont have to rely on a single Internet ISP only and this is a big advantage when you live in an area with a patchy Internet connection. These routers allow you to have an Internet connection from two different ISPs, so even if one fails, you still have access to the other.

You can even configure the first connection as the primary and the other as a backup connection so that the backup will switch over when the main Internet connection fails.

These routers also help with Internet load balancing so you can enjoy a reliable Internet service at all times. When you use many applications such as web browsers, VPNs, streaming services, and emails, you tend to use high amounts of bandwidth and the entire load is passed to a single ISP in a traditional router setup. But with multi-WAN routers, this load is spread across two or more ISPs, so the overall Internet speed tends to be faster.

Lets understand this with a small example. Lets say you have an Internet connection that gives 2.5 Mbit/second. Now, if you add another service that also offers 2.5 Mbit/second, youll have a total bandwidth of 5 Mbit/second and the load will also get split between the two ISPs. The same works in session balancing too, as the sessions are spread across many ISPs.

Such balancing ensures that you have access to high-speed Internet at all times, regardless of the load and size of applications that use it.

Many dual-WAN routers come with L2TP VPN to help employees to securely connect to your network. Also, it allows you to encrypt traffic over public networks, thereby reducing the possibility of hacking or unauthorized reading of transmitted content.

Some routers come with additional features that enhance their usability and performance. A few have a built-in DNS proxy, so users dont have to define their own DNS providers while others have content-based and geo-based blocking services.

Overall, multi-WAN routers increase security, reliability, speed, and load balancing and through it all improves the performance of your router and gives you continuous access to the Internet at all times.

Now that you know what are multi-WAN routers, lets take a look at some of the best ones, in no particular order.

Here are some of the best routers available today.

Cisco Systems Gigabit dual VPN 14 port router is ideal for those who need a combination of performance and flexibility. It is also backed by the experience of Cisco Systems, one of the pioneers in this area.

Cisco

Some of the important features of this router are:

This router makes it easy to connect with many Internet service providers to give you automatic failover and enhanced performance. It also gives you the option to independently manage your links and increase your bandwidth at any time.

Peplink

The salient features of Peplink balance 20 dual-WAN router are:

This router is designed to provide high-speed connections on both WAN and LAN ports. Besides, it comes loaded with many high-security VPN capabilities that are sure to come in handy for organizations of all sizes.

TP-Link

The features of this router are:

Linksys packs a ton of features into this router along with load balancing and failover to provide a highly reliable Internet connection for personal and organizational use. Its VPN capabilities make it easy for employees to connect to your network from any remote location.

Linksys

Here are some of the top features of Linksys business dual-WAN Gigabit VPN router.

This is a simple and low-cost router that works well for homes and small businesses that need an uninterrupted Internet connection. Though it provides fewer connection points when compared to other routers, it makes up with a host of features aimed to provide high levels of usability and extensibility.

Ubiquiti

The important features of this router are:

While this is not a comprehensive list of all dual-WAN routers, we hope it introduces you to some of the popular ones and their features.

Dual-WAN or multi-WAN routers give you reliable Internet at all times coupled with load balancing and security. They are most essential for those who are likely to get impacted even with short Internet outages and for those who want to combine the bandwidth of two or more providers.

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November 11th, 2019 at 7:43 pm

Stratbeans Introduces Chatbot-Based Learning To Revolutionize Employee Performance With Virtual Personal Assistant – IndianWeb2.com

Posted: November 9, 2019 at 10:50 am


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Stratbeans, a leading Learning Management Solutions provider introduces Chatbot-based learning leveraging the power of AI to help upskill employees in the corporate world. High attrition industries such as Healthcare, IT, Telecom, Finance, E-commerce, and Retail are some of the early adopters of new-age technology. The solution will help enterprises to reduce resource costs, improve employee learning curve and drive productivity.

Employee training plays an integral role in driving the growth of an organization. However, with the limited time and availability of the L&D team, it could become a daunting task for some businesses. With the introduction of Chatbots-based learning, Stratbeans empowers employees with a knowledgeable and personalised assistant at no further resource cost. With its expertise, Stratbeans will make a huge difference by allowing employees to connect with all the information sources and pool data in such a way that critical tasks can be performed with the help of chatbots.

Prasoon Nigam, CTO & Co-founder, Stratbeans stated, Chatbot has become the new UI for modern interaction, as people are getting comfortable with numerous chatbots and voicebots like Alexa. Chatbot can cover various L&D scenarios much better than traditional ways. It is being used for providing personalized microlearning, to giving out interactive assessments, to providing the right set of information to an employee as he performs a task. These are initial days, but we are certain to see more prolific chatbot scenarios in the near future. In fact, we are working on some advanced chatbot offerings to solve complex challenges in eLearning

Commenting on the development, Pradeip Agarwal, VP Marketing & Co-founder, Stratbeans, stated, Poor communication within organizations is a major cause of losses in productivity and performance. Chatbot-based learning will open up a world of better communication, possessing the capability to deliver personalized and utility-based content, bots help in the segregation of information and, consequently, cater to the needs of the employees.

According to a recent Forrester survey, about 85 percent of customer interactions within an enterprise will be with software robots in five years time and 87 percent of CEOs are looking to expand their AI workforce using AI bots.

Chatbots are a great way to reinforce training in the workplace. Besides being more engaging than emails, workbooks, and other traditional reinforcement tools, Chatbots offer the following key benefits:

Established in 2008 by Sameer Nigam, Prasoon Nigam, and Pradeip Agarwal, Stratbeans has achieved milestone success working with large organisations like TATA, Genpact, EXL, Aviva, HDFC, ASPEN Pharma, among others. With companies increasingly investing in upskilling their employees, Stratbeans is helping corporations ensure their workforce stays relevant.

The companys mission is to empower its clients through advanced digital learning and performance support solutions for enhanced employee performance and customer engagement.

About Stratbeans:

Stratbeans provides technology platforms for driving customer success through Digital Transformation. Founded by Sameer Nigam, Prasoon Nigam & Pradeip Agarwal, Stratbeans provides enterprises with a 360-degree approach in Digital Transformation where it enables individuals and their teams to learn together to perform better for business growth and profitability.

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November 9th, 2019 at 10:50 am

I will hold it in honour of Keith Flint until the end of my life: Inside the auction of The Prodigy frontmans personal items – NME Live

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NME spoke to emotional fans who were desperate to get their hands on a piece of music history

The personal belongings ofThe ProdigysKeith Flint, who was found dead at his Essex home in March this year at the age of 49, went under the hammer at an auction in Cambridge yesterday (November 7).

Read more:Keith Flint, 1969-2019: the twisted face of rave, the beating heart of The Prodigy

Fetching a total of347,750 across 171 lots,items up for sale included several of Flints gold discs, his NME Awards, a lavish custom-made bed, a two-handed sword, his record collection, motorcycle leathers and various pieces of jewellery.

Advertised asThe Keith Flint Collectionby auction house Cheffins, other items listed included a collection of baseball caps, various pieces of furniture, art pieces and an archive of recordings and artwork from Flints solo projects, after he worked under the Flint and Clever Brains Fryin moniker.

Some shots of Keith Flint that were up for auction. (Credit: NME)

NME were invited along to the auction to see the event unfold and speak to some of the fans.

When asked what particular items they were interested in, fan Tameem Antonades said it was all about Flints jewellery.I like the rings and the chains, he said. Similarly, Mark Cutter, who was sporting a similar hairstyle to the one Keith Flint had in the Firestarter video, expressed a desire to own one of the late frontmans rings, but added Im just hoping I can afford it.

Id like the belts, the denims, said Darren Starling of Haverhill ahead of the auction. Ive been online trying to get one of the discs. Ive been outbid already but well see how we go on the night.

After we tried and failed miserably to engage a person dressed in a giant fox head in a conversation, a super fan from Portsmouth picked up the slack.

Keith Flint, man! He was like my idol growing up, Mike Stephens told NME. Back in the early 90s, during the prime of my teenage years, when I was trying to find out what I was and wasnt into, The Prodigy Experience came out on XL Recordings and that was it, it ticked all my boxes.

He was a couple of years older than me and if ever you wanted an older brother which I didnt have that would be the older brother figure.

Going on to list some of the items he was hoping to land, Stephens said: A couple of the presentation discs in particular would certainly mean a lot to me. It would be cool to have one of those, but to be fair I would be cool to go with anything.

In one of his many outfits, Lord Granger of the Prodigy Warriors was at the auction house all day celebrating the life of Keith Flint and taking pictures with fans. (Credit: NME)

Due to start at 6pm, the auction was forced to start 20 minutes late after Cheffins website crashed due to the high number of online bidders vying to get a place in line to bid on Flints belongings.

The first lot up for grabs was a collection of Music For the Jilted Generation picture discs that sold for 5,000. Following that, a piece of art by Doug Murphy (AKA PlasticGod) depicting The Prodigy frontman as a Lego figure went for 1,600.

The most expensive items on the night were three MTV Music Awards, that went for 16,000. The lot comprised of the 1997 MTV Networks Europe Viewers Choice Award given to The Prodigy for Breathe, another 1997Viewers Choice Award, also for Breathe, and the 1997/1998 Best Dance Video Award for The Prodigys Smack My Bitch Up.

Other big sellers includedtwo Experience presentation discs (13,000), a collection of The Fat Of the Land presentation discs (8,000) and a John Parkin signed canvas (4,400).

Elsewhere, a collection of printed Keith Flint memorabilia, comprising of several framed items, including an NME cover from May 6, 1995, sold for 2,200.

Two NME Awards given to Flint, one for Best Dance Act for The Prodigy in 1997, the other for Best Video for Firestarter, sold for 8,000.

Keith Flints NME Awards. (Credit: NME)

Kenny Barnes, from Romford in Essex, secured the winning bid on some of Flints horse riding equipment, mostly comprised of boots and clothing. Barnes, a keen rider himself, is also a snowboarding fan, which is where he met The Prodigy frontman on occasion.

The Prodigy used to practice at Brentwood dry slope and we met them over there a couple of times, he recalled. All of them were brilliant, and Keith was just well, Keith.

He just seemed so nice and so genuine and he always had time for his fans.

Some in attendance expressed a genuine concern for the way certain bidders were sitting and leaning on items, a sentiment shared byauctioneer Martin Millard who made it a point to ask if people would kindly respect the items on display.

Commenting on the auction and its sensitive nature, Matt Wilkinson, a fan who purchased a couple of items on the night, admitted that being at the auction was a bit weird but that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Its a warehouse full of somebodys stuff, he said. Youre able to touch garments that somebody wore. Theres jeans on a bench, there are people sat on his couch, and part of me feels uncomfortable with that but another part of me feels like this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and once its gone its gone.

Ive never been to an auction before, this is my first, he continued. Im definitely here because its Keiths stuff and I wanted to feel like I had a part of that history as a keepsake.

One of the biggest pick ups (literally) of The Keith Flint Collection was a large welded aluminium and steel model ant. When The Prodigy performed at the Milton Keynes Bowl in 2010, artist Obediar Madziva was commissioned to produce three large ant sculptures, based on the The Prodigys logo, for the stage. Each band member received one as a gift after the event.

Selling for 8,000, the buyer, who asked to remain anonymous, attended the auction specifically for the giant ant as she had been looking for something similar for her garden.

One of The Prodigys giant ants from their 2010 Milton Keynes Bowl performance sold for 8,000. (Credit: NME)

Ive been wanting something for the garden for a few years now and so Ive been looking at garden structures but could never decide on anything, she told NME.

She continued: Ive been a Prodigy fan since the early 90s, been to a lot of their gigs and when the auction came up I wanted to come and get something so when I saw that it just felt like the right thing to get.

While fans travelled far and wide from all over the UK, there were some who came even further.

Demonstrating just how far the love for Flint and The Prodigy goes, Andre Legenhausen flew from Germany especially for the auction but its not the first time hes travelled for the band.

I have been to many Prodigy concerts in Great Britain and Europe. I also flew over for Keiths funeral earlier this year, Legenhausen told NME. Ive been listening to their music for the past 20 years. Their music has always been a part of my life, through the good times and the bad.

Winning a bid on one of Flints leather motorcycle uniforms,Legenhausen said he was happy he managed to get his hands on something to remember the late frontman by. I know that its in good hands and I will hold it in honour of Keith until the end of my life.

Keith Flints Steve Liddard custom built oak and steel bed. (Credit: NME)

The final item up for sale on the night was a Steve Liddard custom built oak and steel bed. A unique item that Cheffins auctioneer Martin Millar said would appeal to a limited market, the bed is supported at each corner by entwined thorns and accessed via steps supported on the back of a crouching, winged mythical beast. According to Cheffins, it is understood that Flint worked closely with Steve Liddard on the design of the bed.

Expected to attract a large figure, the bed ended up selling for 8,500. It was sold to a local hotel owner, who wasnt a follower of Flint or The Prodigy, but was impressed with the craftsmanship of the bed.

Its very nicely made, he told NME, before comparing its stature to that of the Great Bed of Ware. This can now be the Great Bed of Cambridge.

Adding that he got the bed at a bargain price, he said he would have bid higher had it been required.

A painted wooden head study of Keith Flint at last nights auction. (Credit: NME)

Talking to NME after the auction ended, auctioneer Martin Millard said he was very pleased with how things went. Were delighted. I dont think it could have gone any better. I think it surpassed all expectations yet we had no real sense of how it was going to do.

Speaking on the huge number of people who chose to bid in person at Cheffins auction house in Cambridge as opposed to online, Millard added: It was an event, it wasnt just a disposal of assets. It was a chance to see all of Keiths personal possessions, to sit amongst them, to watch them be sold. It was a one-off. It was really great to see the number of people who came out and who had been queuing all day to be a part of history.

All 171 lots ofThe Keith Flint Collectionsold for a grand total of347,750, which will be passed on toKeith Flints estate. To see the full list of everything that went under the hammer and exactly how much it sold for, you can visit theCheffins website.

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I will hold it in honour of Keith Flint until the end of my life: Inside the auction of The Prodigy frontmans personal items - NME Live

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November 9th, 2019 at 10:50 am

Jim Scott on the "Rocking Chair," TTB and Neal Casal – jambands.com

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Jim Scott began his career in record production nearly 40 years ago; starting as a go-fer, and steadily climbing each rung of the ladder, eventually becoming a Grammy-winning engineer in 1995 for Tom Pettys Wildflowers. His vast experience working with some of the industrys heavyweights- from the Rolling Stones and Red Hot Chili Peppers to Sting and Santana- eventually motivated Scott to open his own PLYRZ recording studio, away from the crowded concrete of Los Angeles, in the quieter, mountainside city of Santa Clarita, California. There, as a producer, Scott has worked on several Grammy-winning efforts, including the debut album for Tedeschi Trucks Band, as well as acclaimed releases by Wilco and Robert Randolph. The seven-time Grammy winner also had a longtime professional and personal connection with the late Neal Casal. This past summer, Casal and his band, Circles Around the Sun, were recording at PLYRZ, working on their third LP. In late August, Casal committed suicide. Just a few weeks following the tragic event, Scott spoke from his studio about Casal, his creative relationships with artists, and getting the best performances on the record.

Tell me about yourrelationship with Neal Casal.

I love Neal Casal.Id known him for a really, really long time. I met him in the early 90s; maybe 91 or92. I did some of his very first demoswith him. Those demos led to him gettinga publishing deal and then a record deal.Then, I made his first record, and made his third record, parts of otherrecords, and I was with him a couple of days before he died, at the studiomaking whats going to be his last record with Circles Around the Sun.

It must have been ashock.

Its shocking and its crushing and its sad. Its bewildering. I feel guilty of not seeing something in Nealthat I couldve talked to him about.Every picture of us together hes smiling, and laughing, and playingguitar. Through the years it all justseemed so good. He was a travelingman. He got in a lot of amazing bands,did a lot of hard work, wrote a lot of amazing songs. He became everybodys go-to guy; everybodysright-hand man. It seemed like thingswere golden. Im really depressed andsad about him giving up the fight.

As a producer do youwelcome a personal relationship with an artist, guard against it, or do youjust act according to whatever develops naturally?

Theres certainly no plan for that. Artists are traveling people. Most of the time artists come in and youspend an intense amount of time working on something that is very personal tothem. And, you get in and do a lot ofwork, and spend way more time with them in a short period of time than you dowith your family and your other close friends.Its intense: you have to have eye contact; tell the truth. Its pretty real. Some of those relationships becomefriendships. Some stay professional witha certain dose of friendship involved.Thats if you are lucky enough to have them come back again and againand do more work. Theres not a bowling leaguewhere we can all get together and hang out.(Once) they finish the record they start their (tour) cycle.

Is it safe to sayyour relationship with Neal was an exception?

Neal was an exception.Neal was a friend. He stayed atmy house. I lent him my car for awhile. I hired him to play on dozens ofrecords. He was definitely in my lifemore than just a guy who played guitar and sang.

When you are working,is the closeness an asset or do you have to detach from that?

Closeness is more about trust. When people reach out to me wanting to worktogether, or send me songs, or even in a conversation before I hear the music,they may have 15 or so songs to ultimately choose the nine or ten to make analbum. The quickest way for me to get tothe bottom of the whole dance is to carefully listen to those songs, makenotes, and get ideas. And when I getthem I on the phone I say, Ill go first.Here are the songs I want to work on because I think these are thebest. I give them my A-list. Take it for whats its worth.

Typically, howaccepting is the artist when you give them that initial feedback?

Most of the time they take it really well. But, also, they want to ask about a song thatwasnt picked. Thats when you have tostart having conversations. You cantfake it. You have to something(thoughtful) to say about something that is important to them, and to me,too. You have to get right in there withthe truth. I do try to give affirmationof the good part without criticizing the bad part too much. Not everything everyone sings and plays isgood. You have to be encouraging whileyou are delivering the bad.

You talk about nineor ten songs being an album. That seemsto recall the era of vinyl LPs, rather than the CD or download era when thereis the potential for much more.

For those artists fortunate enough to make vinyl, its afantastic medium that can only take about ten songs, depending, obviously, onthe length of each song. So, four orfive a side. Anything more than that andyou risk sacrificing quality for length; or you sacrifice the money it costs toput out a double-disc- with three songs per side, and really wide grooves, andit sounds amazing. I know on the lastTedeschi Trucks Band album (Signs),we had three sides of music and a fourth side with a fantastic etching- apicture- you can look at, which is cool.

The effect of analbum being , basically, ten songs still means something to you, then?

Albums are still important to me and I feel like ten songsis an album. You can sequence like analbum: theres a rise and a fall. Youstart with one and end with one.Somewhere in the middle you build it up, then let it back down, thenbuild it up again. Theres still thatflow.

Does the destinationmatter to you- whether its for vinyl, CD, digital?

Not at all. Iconcentrate on making things sound like a record, as fast as I possiblycan. The record will reveal itselfpretty quickly if you allow it. Itshard enough getting things to sound generally good if not great. I dont have the knowledge to do something(differently) if an artist says its only for an iTunes release or something.

Lately, I see a lotof reissues on digital making an effort to revert back to the mix and/ormastering of the original vinyl release.It seems like the medium is looking backwards instead of forward.

Before we had CDs, mastering an album was a really bigdeal. See, the digital medium will takejust about anything you throw at it.Thats sort of the good news and really bad news. With vinyl, theres a limitation. So, the mastering engineers who cut vinyl-these guys were geniuses. They reallylistened. They really did amazing things.

How do you know whenyouve got a done take?

Its just my experience for all the years of doing it. I have a better handle on why someone wouldwant to listen to this song right now. Iwork until Im satisfied. I go throughall the stuff that listeners dont care about but as a record producer, arecord maker, an engineer, I am responsible for. It should sound good. It should be right. I have to believe that when I think itsright, everyone will think its right. Ifeel I try to act boldly; record boldly.Ive always loved loud things popping out. Its exciting to have loud tom-toms everyonce in a while. Just listen to an EltonJohn record. The Beatles records areawesome; stuff comes in so loud. No onewould ever remix Beatles records to make them calmer.

Saying it should beright, you are talking about the feel of the performance rather than whetheror not its perfect in a technical sense, yes?

Around here, its 100% performance-based. I dont spend any time looking at music on ascreen. I spend all my timelistening. For me, its by the seat ofmy pants. If it isnt in my groove, itsnot going to be in anybodys groove. Mygroove might be wider than others who are more precise. Music shouldnt be precise. Its emotional. Things dont have to be perfect. They just have to groove. I call it the rocking chair. If I can get in the rocking chair and staythere for the whole song- that is a take.

What about when youare working with a large ensemble like the 12-piece Tedeschi Trucks Band?

Tedeschi Trucks Band is a leviathan; a giant. Theyre so much fun, and not even hard torecord because they are so good. Thehard part is resisting taking the first take or two and saying that it cant bebetter. You have to dig a littledeeper. Honestly, with them, itsgetting better and better. I wish therewas a way for them to play all their new songs out on the road before we go into record them, but you cant do that these days because everyone has a cellphone. The record would (end up) outthere online the live versions- before you recorded the album.

You talked aboutworking with Neal and Circles Around the Sun- another band known for stronglive performances. I would imagine youprefer recording live in the studio if you can.

Mike Campbell (TomPetty) once said to me, Ive never heard five guys playing good soundbad. I think about that all thetime. It shouldnt be thatmysterious. It shouldnt be that hard. If people have to struggle to get through afour-minute song, they are not ready to record it.

Because a performanceis subjective- whether or not it was a great take- I can imagine you hearingsomething and thinking it can be better, and an artist hearing the same takeand thinking its the one. Orvice-versa. Who wins that debate?

I never win. Its notmy job to be that guy. Im not amusician. I have one mans humbleopinion. Their fans love them; theydont love me. I always defer to theartist. Its never going to say vocalsby Jim Scott anywhere on the record.

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November 9th, 2019 at 10:50 am

Mitski and the Art of Vulnerability – Harvard Political Review

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Japanese-American singer-songwriter Mitski plowed her way through an hourlong Capitol Hill Block Party set with none of the frantic hype or endless appeals to the audience that characterize most festival acts. Her oeuvre is difficult to describe: at once a restrained, controlled masterclass in storytelling and a howling maelstrom of emotion, she moves from indie rock about the Asian-American diaspora experience (Your Best American Girl) to dance-pop about loneliness (Nobody, her biggest hit to date). A quick scan of critical pieces about her reveals the tendency on the part of her audience to read her work as autobiographical and project their private griefs onto it. She told Pitchfork: I was always bothered when people say, I cry to your music, it sounds like a diary, it sounds so personal. Yes, it is personal. But thats so gendered. Theres no feeling of, Oh, maybe shes a songwriter and she wrote this as a piece of art.

Her set played with the tension between performance and emotion and between audience projection and artists privacy. Unlike the other artists I saw at the Block Party, Mitski got on stage half an hour before her set, checking her equipment and putting tape on the ground. She joked with technicians and band members but is a consummate professional. Although her setup is not part of her set, it establishes for the audience that her performance is her job: not an organic outflow of emotion but a calculated and choreographed ritual. Mitski stands on stage in a uniform: white shirt, black pants or shorts, and kneepads the last of which hammer home the athletic nature of her work and the toll performing takes on her body.

Mitski dances through her entire set. Her motions are at times balletic, at times mime-like, telegraphing the artifice of the familiar movements of club dancing and yoga and all the other ways in which womens bodies are presented to and consumed by the public. During Liquid Smooth she positions herself like a butterfly pinned. Wailing and haunting, it is the most explicit song in her repertoire and yet the farthest possible thing from slow R&B song or a club banger I am an organism / Im chemical, thats all that is all, she sings, and feel my skin is plump and full of life, Im in my prime.As she gyrated and sang, I watched the security guard in the front turn away from the stage and fix his eyes on the ground. I felt the same discomfort, an awareness of a hungry voyeurism that thoughtlessly and endlessly consumes. Shes aware of the jarring effect of the obvious calculation of her movements juxtaposed against the normal laissez-faire throwing-around of the body that characterizes festival audiences and artists alike. Halfway through her set, she stops churning out the music to acknowledge the crowd and notes their confusion. This is it! she says. If you dont know me, this is what the whole set is like.

Other than that as well as the flippant Im Mitski. Bye. that closes out the set she doesnt acknowledge the audience. Mitski doesnt crowdsurf or jump into the pit. She looks not at, but through the crowd. A man beside me keeps reaching out to her, shouting her name; she doesnt reach back. All this negation of the parasocial relationship of the audiences desire to connect with her creates something else entirely new. The audiences relationship with her pain, her deliberate constructed onstage vulnerability, her moment with herself, feels intimate because it is their own mirror image. The stillness of the water, if you will, is not breached; you are free to project yourself entirely onto the artistic experience she has created.

Other critics have commented that Mitskis most dedicated fans are by and large young Asian-American women and gay men. I, a young Asian-American woman, staked out a front-row spot to the left of another Asian woman who made room for me as the moment the previous act finished up. To my right a young man texted his boyfriend, trying to find him in the crowd. Further back, the latecomers begin to look more and more like the majority-white demographic of the festival at large; they also look more and more confused by whats going on onstage. Mitskis appeal to young Asian women seems obvious, as she has acknowledged the influence of Asian-American identity on her music. Most notably, Your Best American Girl is an ode to an American boy whose mother wouldnt approve / of how my mother raised me / but I do, I finally do. Mitski disapproves of the public reaction to it, which focused on the songs uniqueness in the overwhelmingly white world of indie rock. On Facebook, she wrote: I wasnt trying to send a message. I was in love. The assumption that her lyrics are entirely personal and the assumption that they are inherently political, although seemingly opposite, both represent a refusal to think of the marginalized artists as capable of producing on multiple levels, a refusal to treat their work as worth inquiring into.

Indeed, its common to hear from her fans that Mitskis appeal is not in her explicit political statements, but something more abstract: she just gets it. She pins down a kaleidoscope of very specific experiences. If you need to be mean, be mean to me / I can take it and put it inside of me is perhaps a familiar feeling to many, but silent suffering holds a specific meaning for Asian women, who are too used to being its vessels. The cultural expectation that Asian women are willing to undergo duress in order to preserve social harmony or personal relationships is insidious. Mitski captures our perverse pride in our ability to suffer. In Brand New she sings, If I gave up on being pretty, I wouldnt know how to be alive / I should move to a brand new city, and teach myself how to die might sound dramatic to the casual listener, but for her young female Asian fans the line might capture exactly the experience of wasting your teen years trying to look beautiful the way the white majority wants you to. I spent all my teen-age years being obsessed with beauty, and Im very resentful about it, she told Jillian Mapes. Its a timely message in an age where influencers act like the bare requisite of beauty is ten steps of skincare routine at night and an hour of hair and makeup in the morning.

Her most recent album, Be The Cowboy, is an ode to the mythical American cowboy ethos of freedom, of doing what you want. Implicitly, it claims that ethos for people who have never had it before. For me, Why Didnt You Stop Me (I know that I ended it, but / why didnt you chase after me / You know me better than I do so / why didnt you stop me) is her most cowboy-ish song on the album: for once, the onus of vulnerability, owning up to mistakes and loss, sacrificing your pride to save a relationship is not on her.

Remember My Name captures a complicated relationship between public performance and private, intimate self: cause I need somebody to remember my name / after all that I can do for them is done. As an artist, she is expected to strip herself bare for public enjoyment. I gave too much of myself tonight, she sings, and then turns around to ask for more: Can you come to where Im staying and / make some extra love / that I can save for tomorrows show. The truth about the cowboy ethos is that it means being allowed to be selfish, to demand love, to stop giving yourself. As Zoe Hu put it for BuzzFeed News, Mitskis music is imbued with a self-centeredness that, for any oft-effaced Asian listener, can border on the revolutionary. Its a far cry from Puberty 2s evocation of trapped desire: I wanna see the whole world / I dont know how Im gonna pay rent / I wanna see the whole world / would you kill me, Jerusalem? she howls on My Bodys Made of Crushed Little Stars.

I came alone to her set, so did half the other people in the front row. We shared an experience so personal that none of us wanted to invite anyone else in our lives to it, and we get the sense that Mitski has too. Ive tried sharing and Ive tried caring and Ive tried putting out / but the boys, boys, boys keep coming back for more, more, more, she sings in Townie. Watching her up onstage, I wished I could be what she was: closed off, fully in control of what she gives out and what her viewers take from her. Asian women in America are expected to be obedient, passive, vulnerable, giving, endlessly grateful for scraps; female artists are expected to be open, authentic, raw, personal. Mitski refuses.

Image Credit: Unsplash/BrunoCervera

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Mitski and the Art of Vulnerability - Harvard Political Review

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November 9th, 2019 at 10:50 am

If you take photos or videos at the TOOL show in Detroit, you could be ejected – WXYZ

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DETROIT (WXYZ) Hit rock band TOOL is playing at Little Caesars Arena on Saturday, and if you're going to the show, make sure you keep your phone in your pocket.

In the concert listing, 313 Presents said that no cameras, or audio/video recorders (INCLUDING cell phone photo or video) will be permitted inside Little Caesars Arena.

In all caps and bold, 313 Presents said, "ANY CAMERA OR CELL PHONE TAKEN OUT FOR PHOTOGRAPHS OR VIDEO INSIDE OF THE ARENA BOWL WILL BE SUBJECT TO PATRON EJECTION."

In a post on Reddit with a screenshot of a reminder for the band's show in Cleveland, it said, "We respectfully request that you please watch and listen to the show, not your phone. You will be ejected from the show without the opportunity to return and without a refund if you violate this simple request and elect to take photos during the performance. In the event of a personal emergency, phone use may occur on the concourse away from the performance area."

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If you take photos or videos at the TOOL show in Detroit, you could be ejected - WXYZ

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November 9th, 2019 at 10:50 am

Day of the Dead takes on political issues – Daily Aztec

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Da de Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a Mexican tradition that spans from Nov. 1 to 2 every year. It is a time to remember loved ones who have passed away.

People dont celebrate their loved ones by being sad, but rather it is a moment of remembrance and honorance of their loved ones legacies.

The Department of Chicano and Chicana Studies at San Diego State commemorates the Day of the Dead with their annual altar at the Chicano and Chicana Collection in the Love Library.

In the Love Library, students, professors and community members created and decorated this altar.

On Nov. 1, the room was filled with not only students and faculty, but also alumni, family members and Chicano/a activists who came to honor those whose photos were put up the altar.

Every year the department creates a theme, and this year the altar is dedicated to the activist leaders, faculty and students who have helped form the Department of Chicano and Chicana Studies over the last 50 years.

The altar also pays tribute to the Central Americans and Mexicans who lost their lives migrating to the U.S.

Professor Norma Iglesias-Prieto and her students assembled the altar to honor the dead and to make a political statement. They named the commemoration, Those Who Have Came Before: Stolen and Offered Lives.

Something that is affecting our community today are the kids who have been separated from their families, who are in cages and that some have died in the hands of immigration authorities, Iglesias-Prieto said. So we dont want to lose this opportunity to remember those children who have died and are linked to our hearts.

The altar was made for the community to learn more about more than just the cultural side of this tradition. The Department of Chicano and Chicana Studies wants those who attend the commemoration and visit the altar to learn about those who have lost their lives fighting for Chicano/a community.

It is more than just a tradition, it is about the people we are honoring, Iglesias-Prieto said. We want people to remember their legacy and to know that the lifestyle we have today is thanks to those who fight for us before.

The altar has been Iglesias-Prietos tradition for the last 15 years, and this is the first year it has been held in the Love Library, making it the biggest it has ever been to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Department of Chicano and Chicana Studies at SDSU.

Iglesias-Prieto said it took her, her students and 30 volunteers over 1,000 hours to make this altar possible.

Grandmothers and mothers of the students and department faculty formed part of the volunteers who helped create the items on the ofrenda (altar), making it more than just a school project, but giving it a family feel as well.

Every item on the ofrenda was handmade and has been in the making since May 2019.

Each of the altars seven colorful steps have traditional foods, marigolds, candles and several other items to offer to those who have been put on the ofrenda.

The altar has the photos of 27 Chicano activists, leaders and educators. The Chicano department also wanted to commemorate the lives of five children who have died in the hands of immigration authorities.

Chicano and Chicana studies senior Mnica Van Deerlin Murillois, one of the students who worked on this project for the last seven months, said it was more than just an experience of cultural and indigenous significance. She said it was to bring awareness to the several children who have died caged up in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers.

We know there has been a lot of children that have died in ICE detention centers and border captivity, so this is why we also included photos of children that have been killed in hands of ICE and immigration law enforcement as well, Murillo said.

Chicano and Chicana studies senior Ana Miguel is one of eight students who worked countless hours on campus and in Iglesias-Prietos garage to make the altar. She said it is important to know there is a political meaning to this altar and hopes that the audience leaves with more awareness of what is happening in the Chicano/a community today.

I feel like a lot of people are coming in just thinking it is pretty, but it is more than that, Miguel said. There is a history behind Da de los Muertos and its not just full of color. It is where we connect with our ancestors, it is where they come back to us and we are also recognizing the Chicano activists for the work that they did.

Musicians received visitors.

The community was received with live music by La Rondalla Amerindia de Aztln, a band formed by former professors and alumni of SDSU, a music performance by department Professor Coral Mcfarland Thuet, speeches from professors of the department and traditional Pan de Muerto, Bread of the Dead, with coffee.

The altar includes handmade biography books to explain who is on the ofrenda, and will be open to the public until Nov. 15.

The Day of the Dead is a personal but also a community celebration, so the other goal of our celebration is to help form a community, Iglesias-Prieto said. We need to be together, especially in difficult times.

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Day of the Dead takes on political issues - Daily Aztec

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November 9th, 2019 at 10:50 am


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