I use my Mac for...
Q Tell us about yourself and your career.
Heather Henderson: I’ve been an entertainer since I was seven. My father was a folk and blues musician, and he used to take me to his gigs. I joined him as a vocalist and we toured the elementary school systems and sang to the kids. I started modelling in my teens and performed on the nationwide dance show Dance Party USA. I was discovered by a manager and landed roles in Sesame Street and the Mannequin 2 and Annapolis.
In 1998 I discovered burlesque, and I perform with different troupes and produce my own shows. I also became interested in filmmaking and taught myself how to edit in i-Movie and Final Cut Pro. My short films have won awards in a few film festivals.
I also work with Penn Jillette as the lead background singer in his band, The No God Band, and produce the Ardent Atheist podcast with my partner, Emery Emery. We’re on our second year of podcasting now.
Q How do you use your Mac in these roles? HH: To record our podcasts, we use a 2.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon Mac Pro with 28GB of RAM. We use Garage Band, Saffire Mix Control [an application for controlling multichannel mixers] and for running the video side of things, ATEM Software Control with a Blackmagic video card. My laptop is used mainly for surfing the web, checking email and, when making podcasts, to read from my script and monitor the chatroom during the live show.
My iPhone goes with me everywhere. I use it for Facebook, Twitter, mapping, checking important messages and rehearsing music from my iTunes playlists for a performance.
Also, at home we use a domed i-Mac that runs on a Power-PC G4 processor to run our lighting system. It’s connected to an X-10 controller, so we can program when our lights will go on and off, and how light or dim we want them to be.
Q Your acting roles range from an appearance on Sesame Street to burlesque performances. That’s quite a difference. HH: When I was younger, my manager sent me out to audition for young roles. I auditioned for several soap operas, TV shows and plays in Philadelphia and New York. When I got older, my manager and I parted ways, but I was still performing here and there, and I also had my own band. A friend of mine asked me to sing for her while she danced in a sort of ‘variety show’. I did the performance and learned about burlesque and I became hooked. It was a place where I could perform any kind of act I wanted from the silly to the sexy, and I made a whole new group of friends. Eventually I started directing and producing my own shows, and I’ve never stopped. Q How important is new media for groups to get their message across? HH: The internet has made it possible for the average person to learn just about anything. YouTube is a wonderful tool for people to post videos about topics important to them and add a face to the information. Videos are a great medium because they show off the host’s personality and help to quickly spread valuable knowledge all over the world.
And with the podcast medium, of course, listeners can catch up on them in their own time – also aiding in passing the time while working and doing different tasks. Q Why a Mac and not a PC? HH: I was one of those PC users who thought that they would never make the change over to Mac. Boy, was I wrong! I had a boyfriend who talked me into trying one, and I never looked back. I love the look of them, the efficiency and the power they have. They’re so easy to use, and now I'm hooked.