Statistician Creates Algorithm That Predicts Broadway Hits

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Suspecting there’s a golden ratio that might help explain “The Phantom of the Opera,” “The Lion King” or “Wicked,” mathematician Marc Hershberg gave it a go, crunching the numbers as part of his graduate studies in the Department of Organizational Behavior at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

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How Art Could Revitalize Outdoor Advertising?

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“Besides prompting a conversation about the role of art in our daily lives and promoting the names of the five participating institutions—the Dallas Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York—the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, a trade group for out-of-home advertisers and an Art Everywhere U.S. collaborator, is hoping the project will get more people looking up and around again instead of down at their digital devices.”

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Is Graffitti Dying Out As Public Takes To Twitter?

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“Sir Stephen House, the Chief Constable of Police Scotland, suggested that disaffected members of the public are increasingly using services such as Twitter and Facebook to make angry or abusive comments instead of spray-painting buildings, leading to a decline in recorded vandalism.”

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You Dare To Arrive Late? We’re Dancing Here!

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“The curtain rose five minutes ago, the corps de ballet is building the atmosphere, the ballerina is about to enter, the audience is collecting itself in mounting excitement when — — “Excuse me, I’m so sorry.” Upheaval follows. Sometimes eight people have to rise or adjust themselves as the patrons claiming the ninth and 10th seats make their way past.”

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Big Mayan Cities Discovered In Mexico

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“Last week, the research center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts announced that an archaeological expedition led by Ivan Sprajc has uncovered the remains of two Maya cities, Lagunita and Tamchen. Slowly, the blueprint of a vast civilization is materializing. In 2013, Sprajc’s team found the only other city, Chactún, in the nearly 1,900-square-mile area.”

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Labor Issues Resolved, Minnesota Orchestra Get $13.2 Million In New Gifts

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“The donations become part of the orchestra’s continuing recovery from large annual deficits and a bitter lockout. Administration leadership is changing, and board leaders are encouraging community groups to get involved in fundraising and auxiliary programming.”

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Report: UK Theatre Audiences Believe Ticket Prices Are Reasonable

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The report authors said that while audiences were price sensitive, they were more concerned about value rather than price: “Audiences are willing to pay more for particularly excellent work, but are frustrated by unexplained extra fees or when they pay more for substandard work. They also appreciate the excellent value of the lower prices of amateur productions.”

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Is Our Fascination With Screens Killing Our Critical Thinking Skills?

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“It’s not just reading that could be suffering, but writing too. As handwriting and cursive notebooks are replaced by iPads and laptops, educational development in students who are just beginning to read and write creatively could be negatively affected.”

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Festivals Have Become Big Business

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“Festivals are one of the biggest growth stories in live entertainment of the past two decades and they are still expanding, diversifying from pop, rock and electronic dance music into poetry and theatre. “

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If There’s So Little Money In Canadian TV, Why Are Networks Spending So Much?

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“While the Canadian TV racket is crying poor and moaning about the pesky Internet ruining its sure-fire business model, there is loads of dough going around and around. Crisis, what crisis? Surely, in reality, it’s simply about adjustment and evolving.”

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Supermarket Chain Yanks Roald Dahl Book Over The Word “Slut”

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“The supermarket chain Aldi has withdrawn Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book Revolting Rhymes from its Australian stores following a complaint on its Facebook page … that the book had ‘an unacceptable word in it for kids!!! Not ok!’.”

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Bloodbath At Pennsylvania Ballet

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“With a single swing of the ax, the new leadership of Pennsylvania Ballet has cleared out the longtime artistic pillars of the company” – the ballet master and mistress, both of whom were there for nearly 40 years; the director of the company’s school; and the assistant to the artistic director. Angel Corella was named the new artistic director last month.

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Rescue Plan For Philadelphia Theatre Co.

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“Civic leaders have stepped in with a provisional plan to bring Philadelphia Theatre Company back from the brink of financial collapse, and, possibly, secure its long-term viability. … Certain key changes in leadership are required. … Funds will be doled out as certain conditions are met.”

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Philly’s Barrymore Awards Are Back – But Some Theaters Won’t Take Part

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“Having been administered by the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia since their 1995 founding, the Barrymores threatened to disappear when the alliance dissolved in 2012. … But this year [there are] nominations in 26 categories.” Yet a few local companies, including the Walnut St. Theatre, are declining to participate.

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Pennsylvania School Cancels “Spamalot” Because It Has “Homosexual Themes”

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“‘Just think, says Sir Lancelot, of his nuptials to a young man named Herbert in Monty Python’s Spamalot, In a thousand years time, this will still be controversial. The administration of the South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Junior/Senior High School seems determined to prove the gallant knight prescient.”

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Even Famous Politics Blogs Are Joining In The “Death Of Klinghoffer” Wars

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Wonkette’s first sally into battle carries the memorable headline, “Wingnuts Will Save You Poor Jews From Getting Pogromed By Metropolitan Opera”.

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Longtime Conductor Of Vermont Philharmonic Found Dead

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“The body of a missing Montpelier man, Brian Webb, who had been the longtime conductor of the Vermont Philharmonic, was discovered Wednesday morning in Lake Champlain … Webb was 65.”

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Minnesota Orchestra Receives $13.2M In Gifts

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“The Minnesota Orchestra, emerging from a financial crisis and a historic labor lockout, had good news on Wednesday when the board said it has received $13.2 million in four separate donations,” all anonymous.

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Pittsburgh Symphony Expects Another, Larger Deficit

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“The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is projecting a deficit of roughly $1.4 million at the end of its 2014 fiscal year, which concludes Sunday. … If the PSO balances its roughly $30 million budget by the end of next fiscal year, it will be eligible for $5 million from the Heinz Endowments; if it does so for three consecutive years, it will receive $12 million from the Simmons Family Foundation.”

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People Are Demonstrating Over Serrano’s “Piss Christ” Again

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“Around 50 protesters gathered [Tuesday] outside the Musée Fesch in Ajaccio, Corsica, to demand the immediate removal of the photograph from an exhibition of 120 works by the artist.” Said one spokesman, “[Corsica] is soiled by the presence of this picture. It’s an insult to every Corsican.”

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The study will describe the demographic profile, early exposure to arts education, income levels, benefits, and job satisfaction of U. S. managerial cultural workers. This national survey seeks the … [Read More...]

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Archaeologists Race To Excavate 2,600-Year-Old City Before It Becomes Copper Mine

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“At the end of the year, state-owned Chinese mining company China Metallurgical Group will take control of an ancient Buddhist city in Afghanistan, Mes Aynak. Southeast of Kabul, the ancient, abandoned city is home to sculptures, art, and jewelry dating back to the time of Alexander the Great – as well as 5.5 million tonnes of copper ore, one of the world’s largest deposits.”

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How The Onion’s Art Department Works

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“Nearly every image is original: either a graphic created in-house, a photograph taken in-house, or an image so manipulated by Photoshop as to not represent any real event that has ever happened. The tiny graphics team at The Onion pumps out about 50 original pieces of art per week.”

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France’s Culture Minister Helped Cause Cabinet’s Collapse

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Aurelie Filipetti was one of three ministers who left the government in protest over the ongoing austerity policy and repeated budget cuts. Their departure led prime minister Manuel Valls to dissolve the cabinet on Sunday.

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Meet France’s New Culture Minister

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Fleur Pellerin, who is just turning 41, is the country’s first top minister of Asian descent. “Local commentators suggest that [her previous] experiences handling the innovation and digital economy portfolio will stand the minister in good stead in her new role.”

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Did David Chase Just Tell Us That Tony Soprano Isn’t Dead?

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That’s certainly what Martha P. Nochimson and her editors at Vox think. And so an essay of nearly 5,000 words – many of them, from both Nochimson and Chase himself, erudite and insightful – get boiled down (not least by Vox itself) into a seemingly unambiguous answer to what is actually quite an ambiguous question. (What does it really mean to say, “Tony Soprano lives!”?)

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David Chase Responds: By No Means Did I Say That Tony Soprano Is Alive

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A publicist for the Sopranos showrunner said in a statement: “To simply quote David as saying, ‘Tony Soprano is not dead,’ is inaccurate. There is a much larger context for that statement and as such, it is not true.” The statement goes on to remind us what Chase has said about the subject many times, and Vox culture editor Todd VanDerWerff offers a defense of the article.

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“It’s The Wrong Thing To Ask About ‘The Sopranos’”: Matt Zoller Seitz On The Did-Or-Didn’t-Tony-Die Question

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“I won’t take anyone’s interpretation away from anybody – not because I feel that certain interpretations are more provable than others, but because if you’re trying to ‘prove’ a particular theory about the ending of a consciously ambiguous and at times tactically frustrating work of popular art, you’re watching it wrong.”

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Judge Throws Out “Deep Throat” Owner’s Copyright Suit Against “Lovelace”

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The owners of the rights to the 1972 porn film sued the Weinstein Co., producers of the 2013 biopic of Linda Lovelace, for recreating three scenes from the older film. A U.S. federal judge dismissed the complaint based on the fair use doctrine.

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This Year’s Opera Olympics

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“From over 1,000 applications, 40 singers from 17 nations, including the United States, Russia and China, made it through to the main competition, which began on August 25. Following two days of preliminary rounds, 20 singers enter the semi-finals. Ten singers will reach the final round on August 30, which is presented as a Gala Finals Concert with an orchestra conducted by Domingo.”

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