“I don’t mean to sound cynical, but when I look at the films nominated for Best Picture, I can’t help but feel disappointed that such a glittery, bloated event, which costs roughly $38 million to produce, doesn’t have more substance to justify its self-congratulatory pride.”
“Happy Birthday” generates an estimated $2 million each year in licensing fees for Warner/Chappell, largely from television and movie producers, and it’s not currently set to lose copyright protection until 2030. Avoiding these fees is why restaurant chains like Red Robin and Joe’s Crab Shack serenade customers with their own unique birthday songs.
“Stories of vandalism, destruction, forgery, and theft fascinate us because they are such tidy allegories of our relationship to art, a relationship that, at least since the time of the Armory Show, has consisted of a bizarre admixture of suspicion, discomfort, and occult reverence. Today, these attitudes are neatly characterized by the large fortunes that art sometimes commands.”
“The sleepwalker, now knee-deep in snow, has turned into an attraction akin to a meteorite that lands in a farmer’s field. People are coming from all over to see it. It has been clothed, posed with, and photographed almost constantly. Oddly, given the reaction of some at Wellesley, the general feeling generated by the work (at least while I was present) seems to be one of bemused endearment rather than trepidation.”
“The Minnesota Orchestra board meets Friday to consider the fates of former Music Director Osmo Vänskä and President and CEO Michael Henson. Hanging in the balance is the return of Vänskä, who resigned in October during the historic, 16-month labor lockout, as well as the question of the board’s confidence in Henson.”
The playwright and screenwriter (Reckless, Prelude to a Kiss, Longtime Companion, Marry Me a Little, The Light in the Piazza) talks about drinking with his mother, running out of money and work even after he became famous, overcoming addiction, and what Philip Seymour Hoffman literally chased him down to say.
“Threats of a strike at Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera, which would have prevented Thursday’s opening night performance of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut and damaged the company’s account books, were averted at the last minute.” The theater’s finances are so bad that Rome’s Mayor has been saying that a strike could force the company to close its doors.
“Victims of state persecution, ambassadors for day-glo knitwear and wank fodder for beardy liberals the world over, the members of Pussy Riot have been filling both prison cells and column inches since 2012. In the process, they’ve also become one of the most famous bands on the planet. But let me ask you this – have you ever actually heard any of their music?”
“Last year, when I first heard about One Billion Rising, the day of action Ensler had declared to ‘break the silence’ about violence against women, I did not immediately think (as 999,999,999 other women evidently did), ‘Oh hooray, the famous vagina lady is doing something about violence!’ Instead I thought, ‘They’re going to tell us to dance, aren’t they.’”
McNally’s 1988 play Andre’s Mother is a cry of rage and pain by a man who just buried his lover at his lover’s ever-disapproving mother. His new Broadway outing, Mothers and Sons, “dramatize[s] the head-spinning changes in gay America since that earlier play, affecting not only same-sex couples but also people like [that still-disapproving mother].”