ARTS BEAT NEWSLETTER - August 14 - 20

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2002

Nov 19-24
Nov 11-18
Nov 4-10

Oct 28-Nov 3
Oct 21-27
Oct 15-20
Oct 7-14

Sept 30-Oct 6
Sept 23-29
Sept 16-22
Sept 9-15
Sept 3-8

Aug 26-Sept 2
Aug 19-25
Aug 12-18
Aug 5-11

July 29-Aug 4
July 22-28
July 15-21
July 8-14
July 1-7

June 24-30
June 17-23
June 10-16
June 3-9

May 27-June 2
May 20-26
May 13-19
May 6-12

April 29-May 5
April 22-28
April 15-21
April 8-14
April 1-7

March 25-31
March 18-24
March 11-17
March 4-10

Feb 25-Mar 3
Feb 18-24
Feb 11-17

Feb 4-10

Jan 28-Feb 3
Jan 21-27
Jan 14-20
Jan 7-13

2001 archives
2000 archives

News Service Home`Services
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TOP ARTS NEWS

  • LIEBERMAN VS THE ARTS: "None of us wants to resort to regulation. But if the entertainment industry continues to move in this direction, and continues to market death and degradation to our children, and continues to pay no heed to the real bloodshed staining our communities, then the government will act." The government will act: To many people, even those who agree that the contemporary entertainment world is objectionably coarse and crude, those words are almost as menacing as the tip of a bayonet in the small of the back. Chicago Tribune 08/18/00

    • THE WHO'S TO BLAME GAME: Joe Lieberman gave his speech to the Democratic Party convention Wednesday and didn't slam Hollywood. But he sent pal William Bennett to speak on a panel in his place across town. Bennett decried the "morass of sex and vulgarity promoted by Hollywood" and "reiterated that the entertainment industry is responsible for 'the degradation of our culture' and that movies, TV and music have led to 'a debasement of the moral environment'." Variety 08/17/00

    • WAR'S A WAR... They don't have Communists, and the drug war has gotten old. What's the next "great" issue? "With three major combatants in the nation's culture wars closely tied to the race, the assault on sex, violence, and sensationalism in the entertainment industry is now very much a bipartisan venture. 'These censorship crusades are quite cyclical. There may be some differences ideologically in terms of what Lynne Cheney would want to censor and what Al and Tipper Gore want to censor. But I'm not aware of any significant differences'.'' Boston Globe 08/20/00

  • POETIC INJUSTICE: Chinese poet Bei Ling, a U.S. resident since 1988 and editor of the literary magazine “Tendency,” has been arrested by the Chinese government in Hong Kong. The Communist Party has recently stepped up its effort to crack down on dissident publications, and Lei is likely to be charged with “subverting state power,” which carries a severe sentence. China Times (AFP) 08/16/00

  • FORBIDDEN HONOR: Chinese director Wang Shuo’s film “Baba,” which has been banned in China since it was made four years ago, has won the top prize at Switzerland’s Locarno Film Festival. Billed as a “surprise entry,” the film was unveiled at the last minute to avoid attracting unwanted attention from Chinese authorities. "No custom and passport officers will ever let the director of a banned film leave China if they know the banned film is going to play in the foreign country where the director is heading," BBC 08/13/00 

    • A BITTERSWEET WIN: Wang Shuo told a huge audience in Locarno that he’s thrilled his film was honored with the award, but regrets it will never be screened in his homeland. China Times (AFP) 08/14/00

  • MOMA MATTERS: Artists Robert Rauschenberg and Art Spiegelman, filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese and performers Laurie Anderson and David Byrne have spoken out in support of striking employees at the Museum of Modern Art. The first strike in 27 years by museum employees - including archivists, conservators, curators, librarians and other professionals is now in its seventh month. New Jersey Online (AP) 08/16/00

  • BBC TO CREATE ARTS CHANNEL: "BBC Knowledge, one of the broadcaster's digital channels, will announce an autumn schedule dominated by televised theatre performances, arthouse films, music and literature. The move is seen, and feared, by critics as the beginning of the ghettoisation of arts programmes." The Independent (London) 08/18/00

  • REPLACING TOBACCO DOLLARS: Tobacco companies have been major funders of Canadian arts. But new regulations curtail tobacco sponsorships. A survey of 152 arts groups finds that "more than half of the groups now receiving tobacco money will be forced to reduce the size and scope of their productions. It also found that arts groups will seek new sources of revenue rather than ask existing sponsors for more money." CBC 08/15/00

  • THE ART OF EXPANSION: On the heels of the Guggenheim’s smash success in Bilbao, cities all over the world are clamoring for a Guggenheim of their own. “No less than six cities in Italy have applied to build Guggenheim museums. There are bids in from South Africa and Australia too, but the next is almost certain to go to a city in Latin America.” Not to mention an $800 million Soho museum targeted to open in 2006. London Times 08/15/00

PLUS:  JK Rowling is Britain's highest paid woman last year, earning her £:20.5 million from Harry Potter books ~ New record set for the highest price paid for a contemporary Australian painting ~ Tokyo has a lavish, ambitious new arts center ~ The National Gallery of Australia admits the presence of bugs that cause Legionaire's disease ~ Founding director Robert Brustein will leave and stay at the American Repertory Theatre ~ John Crosby steps down as head of Santa Fe Opera after 44 years  

 

TOP ARTS FEATURES

  • IN SEARCH OF BOHEMIA: "It has become fashionable these days to emphasize, even to celebrate, the assimilation of bohemian ideals to capitalist realities. The 'bourgeois bohemian' is becoming a stock figure in social criticism, or what passes for it. Trendy boutiques and lame attempts at politically correct purchasing have become the stuff of neo-conservative satire. The implicit message of such gloating is always the same: bohemia has disappeared into up-market fashion. And one would be hard pressed to deny that this new pop-sociological cliche has a basis in reality." The New Republic 08/14/00

  • CULTURE WARS, ROUND II: "Around the country, think tanks, foundations, academics and researchers are drawing up a wide range of empirical evidence designed to defend and define the civic role of culture in America. And by culture they don't just mean art in a museum or music in an orchestra hall. Culture, they say, includes everything from fine art to movies and pop music, parks, historic monuments and architecture - the essential fabric of our lives. And, they say, government needs to pay fresh attention. Witness the birth of the cultural policy movement." Los Angeles Times 08/18/00

    • MEDIA MEANING: " 'The work we have been doing on media and screen dependency has suggested that people have been desensitised. In order to get a better reaction artists have had to go to further extremes. It is about finding a new kick and a new thrill. Very often, these shock tactics are a substitute for real creativity.' So is there no other purpose behind this ceaseless search for more raw and brutal forms of diversion?" The Observer (London) 08/20/00

  • REINVENTING THE MUSICAL: What does it mean to call something "musical theatre" these days? The genre has fragmented in so many directions it's difficult to tell. "Depending on one's own tastes and vantage point, the rampant diversification of what used to be a fairly predicable entertainment category either signals the pending doom of musical theater, or its financial and aesthetic salvation." Seattle Times 08/20/00

  • DIGITAL DISPOSITION: New sleek movie versions of Shakespeare leave out something important: words.  "This begins to give some idea of what is lost when Shakespeare's words take a back seat to the ambitions of directors and critics who are more concerned with their own agendas than with Shakespeare's poetic art." The Atlantic 08/18/00

  • EDINBURGH - DOES SIZE MATTER? "We are repeatedly told that it is the biggest in the world, the largest arts festival of any kind, an artistically overstuffed August when, for three weeks, Edinburgh becomes the mother of all festivals - Official, Fringe, Film, Book, TV and now Club. But for too long, the Fringe has been inordinately concerned with size. Like an adolescent boy - and, for that matter, most males - it is obsessed with being the largest. But who's counting? And does it matter?" New Statesman 08/14/00

  • REDEVELOPING THROUGH ART: North Adams, Massachusetts is a small town far away from major population, and who would think a contemporary art center would make it? But "by most measures, MASS MoCA's inaugural year was a smashing success. More than 100,000 people visited its galleries. Another 25,000 turned out for performances, movies, or community dances and parties in the sprawling 27-building complex that once housed the Sprague Electric Factory. High-tech start-ups that set up shop on the site grew so quickly and spawned enough like-minded local enterprise that The Wall Street Journal last fall touted North Adams - a town that didn't have touch-tone telephone service until 1990 - as a silicon village.'' Boston Globe 08/20/00

  • BLAND SELLS: Why do singers rarely enunciate their words? "Here's my theory: Superficiality sells. Witness Charlotte Church and Andrea Bocelli, who sing in their respective native languages but with a single vocal emotion - girlish innocence in the former, Byronic longing in the latter. Forget shifting moods; Bocelli's linguistic commitment is so absent he sometimes seems to be singing phonetically. I'm seeing the phenomenon everywhere. Commercial classical radio plays only the smoothest performances of the smoothest pieces; opera singers are all but banned. In the composing world, the backlash to modernism seems to be music that sounds nice and means little." Philadelphia Inquirer 08/15/00

  • CRITICAL DISCOMFIT: Movie critic Stanley Kauffmann finds his opinion has changed after 40 years. "The plain, discomfiting fact is that every one of us who has watched plays and films or read books or listened to music or looked at painting and architecture is, in some measure, self-deceived. Filed away in the recesses of our minds are thousands of opinions that we have accumulated through our lives, and they make us think that we know what we think on all those subjects. We do not. All we know is what we once thought, and any earlier view of a work, if tested, might be hugely different from what we would think now." The New Republic 08/10/00

  • THE BATTLE FOR SHOSTAKOVICH: Shostakovich is considered one of the giants of 20th Century music. But "the story of his life has been turned into a battlefield. Of course, everything and everyone is pulled into the line of fire. They shout obscenities on the Internet, publish articles and write books and plays about Shostakovich; someone even went to the trouble of composing an opera about him."  New York Times 08/20/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

PLUS: Britain's national museums: art prisons for the empire's former colonies ~ Politics & archaeological treasures atop Mt. Gerizim in Israel's West Bank ~ The art of roadkill ~ Britart/"Sensation" photographer Richard Billingham gains fame through the mundane ~ The Globe Theatre's young, otherworldly, director Mark Rylance ~ The golden years: choreographers Katherine Dunham, 91, Merce Cunningham, 81, and Paul Taylor, 70, still going strong

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

  •  HOME AWAY FROM... "There was a time when hotels did all they could to persuade us we hadn't left home. Now they do all they can to show us how different they are from home and, paradoxically, the effect is to go on making everywhere look the same." The Observer (London) 08/20/00

  • GETTING OVER IT: "It's fascinating the effect a bad review has on you and those around you. Friends and family tend to flap around saying: 'It's only one person's opinion, what does it matter?' But that's rubbish. If you get a really good review somewhere, people don't say: 'Hey, don't bother getting excited, that's only one person's opinion.' People tell you to be thick-skinned, to rise above it, but I don't think you can. Bad reviews hurt like hell and that's all there is to it. Now I know why so many actors say they never read them at all." The Observer (London) 08/20/00

  • SIB ART: "While rock has long had a tradition of sibling acts, the film and art worlds, though previously featuring plenty of brothers and sisters working in different areas of the same art form, seem to have only recently hit upon the idea of consolidating the family business. But does working with your brother or sister have any effect on the artistic end product? Is sibling art or music somehow different from other collaborative efforts and, if so, is it rooted in a genetically shared talent or simply the circumstances of upbringing? Sunday Times 08/20/00

JUST FOR FUN

  • STRAY CATS STRUT: A former clown in the Bolshoi Circus and founder of the only "cat theater in the world" has taken his group of feisty felines on a world tour - their repertoire includes the "Nutcracker", "Swan Lake" and "Cats From Outer Space". While his cats are capable of executing "pawstands" and walking tightropes, the director attests that his performers do have wills of their own. "It is impossible to train cats in the true sense. I play with cats, and they play with me." Daily Yomiuri 08/17/00

  • ROLLER-PARIS: "Twice a week, thousands (as many as 28,000) of in-line skate aficionados take over central Paris, turning the traffic-clogged streets of the French capital into a derby of flailing limbs and technicolour Lycra. Held every Friday night and Sunday afternoon, the inline skating "parades" are a magnet for locals and tourists seeking exercise, fun and even a whiff of danger. Each week, police approve a new 30-kilometre route and keep traffic at bay during the allotted three hours. National Post (Canada) 08/18/00

 

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