Writing/Editing

English librettist, Il sogno d’Arianna, an original full-length opera adapted from the works of Claudio Monteverdi (read more)
Freelance editor/journalist (read more)
Writer, Editor, Webmaster at Manga Bookshelf October 2007 – Present (read more)
Associate Artistic Director at Act Too Studio June 2009 – Present (read more)
Managing Director/Media Director at FoodPlay Productions February 2003 – December 2013 (read more)




English librettist, Il sogno d’Arianna, an original full-length opera adapted from the works of Claudio Monteverdi:

In 2016, Act Too Studio Opera Workshop embarked on a special project, Il sogno d’Arianna, a full-length, original narrative adapted from the works of 17th-century composer Claudio Monteverdi, woven from excerpts from his operas, madrigals, and other works.

Drawing on the framework of Monteverdi’s “Lamento d’Arianna,” the sole surviving fragment of his opera L’Arianna, Il sogno d’Arianna begins with the tale of Ariadne, princess of Crete, and her abandonment by Athenian hero Theseus on the island of Naxos. Joined by an assembly of women hailing from Monteverdi’s many sources, including Greek myth and Torquato Tasso’s epic 16th-century poem La Gerusalemme liberata (Jerusalem Delivered), Ariadne seeks comfort and meaning in their shared stories, told through both music dance.

In addition to L’Arianna, the piece includes excerpts from Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, as well as pieces from his 8th book of madrigals and selected Scherzi Musicali (“Lamento della ninfa,” “Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda,” “Zefiro torna e di soavi accenti,” “Chiome d’oro“and many more). For this project, the Workshop created its own new editions of these works, including new English translations (by director Melinda Beasi, with assistance from student Sylvia Simmons) and arrangements adapted specifically for its teen singers.

Though this music dates back centuries, this new English libretto and its original narrative bring Monteverdi’s exquisite work to life for new audiences, and also contribute to what is now a very small number of full-length operatic works suitable for young singers.

Written for 11 singers and 2 dancers, alto, mezzo, and soprano voices.

Media

Il sogno d'Arianna: Clips from Act Too Studio on Vimeo.




Freelance editor/journalist:

Editor – Planning, project management, editing, and some rewriting on Manga: Introduction, Challenges, and Best Practices for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a book-length project funded by the Gaiman Foundation, due out 2013 from Dark Horse Comics.

Editor – Editing and English adaptation of various manga titles for the Digital Manga Guild, including Keiko Kinoshita’s A Lovely Day With Yuri Sensei and Noriko Yamauchi’s Your Gentle Hand.

Writer/Journalist – Comic Book Resources’ Comics Should Be Good, PopCultureShock, The Hooded Utilitarian, Flashlight Worthy Books, Comics Worth Reading, The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund blog , The Beat, and About.com.
Links

Recommendations

Melinda possesses an ability to manage large, team-oriented tasks on lean budgets and achieve excellent results. Her work managing an important book-length project for CBLDF exceeded our expectations and will be a major factor in our 2013 program efforts.”

— Charles Brownstein, Executive Director, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

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Writer, Editor, Webmaster at Manga Bookshelf
October 2007 – Present

Editor-in-Chief, managing a network of five bloggers, 15-20 active contributors, and occasional guests to produce a broad selection of content, including reviews, roundtables, breaking news, recommendations, essays, and other articles; content management; web design; technical maintenance & support; networking with manga publishers in North America and Japan by e-mail, phone, and at conventions; pursuing ad revenue and other funding for the site; tracking page views and visitor demographics to analyze readership and optimize content; actively engaging with and seeking feedback from readers and industry professionals via e-mail, site comments, and popular social media platforms.

Recommendations

Melinda manages the back end of my blog, MangaBlog, at Manga Bookshelf, and she also curates the entire Manga Bookshelf site, editing articles, coordinating group discussions, etc. Melinda is an excellent editor—and I say this as an editor myself. She can pull together a roundup, edit rough prose into readability, and provide a continuous stream of timely, interesting content for our readers. Melinda demonstrated her journalism skills recently at New York Comic Con, when Heidi MacDonald, one of the highest profile bloggers in the comics world (her blog was just named one of the top 25 of the year by Time) had to leave suddenly because of a family emergency. She asked Melinda to step in and handle two interviews of high-profile manga creators. As someone who does a lot of creator interviews myself, I know how hard it can be to come up with original questions. I was impressed with how quickly Melinda pulled together both interviews on short notice. Her writing is clear and concise, and I am happy to give her my highest recommendation as a writer and editor.”

— Brigid Alverson, Freelance writer, self-employed

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Media

Apple censors still targeting LGBTQ content?
This article discusses apparent inconsistencies in Apple’s handling of sexual content in the App Store. In preparation for the article, I interviewed representatives from several manga publishers (requests for comment from Apple were ignored).

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CLAMP MMF: Introduction & CLAMP Directory
This “directory” of English-translated works from the four-woman creative team CLAMP was put together for the CLAMP edition of the Manga Moveable Feast—a monthly, virtual book club held all across the manga blogosphere. In this directory, I introduced each of CLAMP’s works that have been published in English, with illustrations and links to prominent reviews.

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Twilight & the Plight of the Female Fan
A request from The Hooded Utilitarian’s Noah Berlatsky for an article on Twilight inspired this discussion of women in genre fandom and how we’re conditioned to vilify our own.

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Notable Projects

My Week in Manga
December 2012 to Present
My Week in Manga is an ongoing video podcast featuring discussion and short reviews of Japanese and Korean comics, presented in a casual, accessible style.

The NANA Project
July 2009 to October 2011
The NANA Project was a monthly (later, bi-monthly) roundtable focusing on volume-by-volume discussion of the Japanese manga NANA by creator Ai Yazawa. It ran at the popular comics blog Comics Should Be Good.

Breaking Down Banana Fish
March 2010 to May 2011
Breaking Down Banana Fish was an ambitious, 5-person roundtable discussion of the classic shoujo (girls) manga series Banana Fish by Japanese creator Akimi Yoshida.

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Managing Director/Media Director at FoodPlay Productions
February 2003 – December 2013

Note: began Managing Director position in August, 2007, added Media Director in 2011.

As Managing Director: Manage all operations of premier children’s health and nutrition theater company, including theater operations, casting, financial planning, human resources, information technology, and office operations; oversee office staff of 6-10 people, and up to four concurrent performing troupes; negotiate contracts with artistic/theatrical subcontractors; maintain effective communication between the Artistic Director and staff; collaborate in writing/editing proposals for potential sponsors and corporate partners; take a leadership role in strategic/business planning.

As Media Director: lead website redesign; create and manage online content; create videos, slideshows, e-mail blasts, print materials, and other media assets for both marketing and education purposes; develop line of digital games; speak at games conferences; collaborate on multimedia presentations; manage online store; develop social media strategies.

Previous positions: Originally hired as Office Manager in 2003. Responsibilities grew quickly, and job title changed accordingly, within the first six months. Developed and implemented radical changes in the theater operations, including methods of hiring theatrical staff and performers, structure of touring seasons and general theatrical practices, resulting in a dramatic increase in profitability and capacity for growth; developed plan for obtaining space to accommodate offices, creative workspace, performer housing, and theatrical rehearsals under a single roof, resulting in purchase of property; promoted to Director of Business Operations in June of 2006; oversaw renovation of new office facilities and the development and implementation of a new organizational structure.

Recommendations

Melinda is so multi-talented (writing, acting, singing, directing, managing… just plain creative!) that we were always trying to get her involved in every project. She is very creative, open-minded, resourceful, and willing to go the extra mile (literally through a hurricane one time). We were on the marketing team together and she was a resident expert on blogging, social media, and other creative marketing and PR methods. I’ve also had the pleasure of reading her blogs, and as a writer and blogger myself, I’m impressed by her prolific passion and eloquence.”

— Val Nelson, Manager of FoodPlay Media, FoodPlay Productions

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Media

Cookies, Candy, Fast Food, & Games
This presentation was created for and presented live at the 2011 Games for Health conference in Boston, MA. The audience was a mixed group of game developers and health advocates. I prepared for this presentation with less than two weeks notice and created the actual presentation in a day—my first time ever using any kind of slide show software. This scenario provides a good example of my ability to learn and adapt quickly to new technology, as well as my enthusiasm for jumping into a project that contains numerous unknowns and taking charge as needed. The live presentation (a first for me as well) was well-received by conference attendees and organizers.

The “What I’m Playing” slide at the end of the presentation was a conference-wide meme. I’ve left it in as a tribute to the fun, casual feel of the conference and its heartfelt dedication to gaming.

Staff Stories: Unlocking Nerd Fitness
This was a blog post written in 2012 for National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, offering up my personal experience as a long-time nerd struggling to regain physical fitness.

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Associate Artistic Director at Act Too Studio
June 2009 – Present

Serious, professional instruction in acting and vocal performance (including repertoire, technique, theory, and audition skills) for students of all ages, via private coaching sessions, group classes, and workshops. Specialization in expressive singing and music appreciation heavily utilizing Dalcroze Eurhythmics methodology.

Recommendations

Melinda is one of the most talented people I have ever had the privilege of working with. She has an uncanny ability to see what’s needed in any situation and provide it, and her warm compassionate energy brings out the best in everyone. Melinda brings the depth of her extensive experience as a performer into the teaching studio — she really thinks everything through for her students and thoroughly prepares them for their performances. A true artist with a generous soul and rock-solid vocal technique: you couldn’t ask for a better teacher.”

— James David Jacobs, Musician, Composer, Teacher, Conductor

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Media

Make Your Garden Grow
This blog post was written for students at Act Too Studio, to encourage musical immersion as a tool for serious study.

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