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BOOM: The number of opera production in North America has
doubled in the past decade, says a report by Opera America.
"The 166 professional opera companies Opera America polled
— including the Metropolitan Opera, the Canadian Opera Company
and the San Francisco Opera — have increased their domestic
productions from 31 in the 1990–91 season to 60 in the 1999–2000
BOOM: The arts are booming in Singapore, according to
a new report. "Performance arts activities jumped from
1,500 in 1989 to 3,800 in 1999. For visual arts, the number
of exhibitions went up from 212 to 406 in the same period."
Singapore News 08/27/00
ARE EVERYTHING: Wednesday, the British Museum revealed it
had been "duped" by a stonemason who had used cheaper
stone than had been agreed upon for a new $97 million portico
under construction at the British Museum. But evidently the switch
was discovered a year ago and workers were allowed to continue.
Now everyone is "aghast" at the mismatch in stone color
as the scaffolding is being removed. The
FUNDING WOES: Britain's Lottery, which is helping to fund
the new British Museum portico to the tune of £15.75 million,
said it will withhold £2 million because the right stone was
not used. London
Evening Standard 08/25/00
THE WRITE POLICY: The government of Scotland announced its
long-awaited cultural strategy. "Aimed at providing a blueprint
for the future of Scotland’s culture, key promises included
an additional £7 million for the arts over the next three years,
a feasibility study for a national theatre, support for a film
studio and an audit of the nation’s museums and galleries."
But why no mention of Scottish writers?
The Scotsman 08/21/00
BALLET TO REPLACE MUSICIANS: Musicians of the Atlanta Ballet
orchestra have been on strike for 11 months. This week, six
weeks before its season opens, the Atlanta Ballet says it will
hire musicians from the Czech Republic for an October premiere
and the annual holiday "Nutcracker."
Atlanta Journal-Constitution 08/24/00
THEATRES IN TROUBLE:
Can a whole industry declare bankruptcy? Movie theatre companies
are filing for court protection after building too many megaplexes
in recent years. "Edwards Theatres said Wednesday it filed
for Chapter 11. Carmike Cinemas did the same a few weeks ago,
and Regal Cinemas, the nation's biggest chain, gave notice it
may not be far behind. Meanwhile, United Artists is trying to
hash out a deal with its bankers and bondholders in lieu of
an outright bankruptcy filing."
FOOLING: Hollywood fully expects to be hit with writers'
and actors' strikes next summer - and predictions are they'll
be long strikes. So production is in full bore now to complete
projects before work stops. April 1 is the deadline they're
racing to make. "It's not a question of if there
are going to be strikes. It's a question of what are you going
to do about it."
ARTS TELEVISION INITIATIVE: BBC chief announces major new
initiative to revamp the public broadcaster. "BBC3 would
target younger viewers with home-grown comedy, drama and music
and BBC4 would be an "unashamedly intellectual mixture
of Radio 3 and Radio 4 on television". He said that the
800,000 visitors to the Monet exhibition at the Royal Academy
last summer and the huge popularity of Tate Modern proved that
there was a potential audience for a channel for 'arts, ideas
and in-depth discussion'."
The Telegraph (London) 08/26/00
SCHOOL TO SUE VENICE BIENNALE: China's Sichuan Academy of
Fine Art - one of China’s three major art schools - says it
intends to sue the Venice Biennale, curator Harald Szeeman,
and artist Cai Guo Qiang (who won the Biennale's 1999 International
Prize) for violation of copyright. "Behind the suit are
a group of elderly propaganda artists enraged at Cai’s appropriation
of their work" in Cai Guo Qiang's “Venice Rent Collector’s
The Art Newspaper 08/25/00
GALLERY CANCELS SHOWS: The National Gallery of Canada has
canceled two big shows planned for next year. The reason? Money.
"The deficit for the 1998-99 fiscal year was $5.4 million,
almost half of which can be attributed to a drop in funds from
Parliament. Gallery officials earlier this year had predicted
the 1999-2000 fiscal year deficit would be lower, but the figures
have yet to be made public." And to make it worse, the
current "blockbuster" impressionist show only brought
in 74 percent of expected attendance.
CENTER AWARDS are announced: dance Mikhail Baryshnikov,
tenor Plácido Domingo, actress Angela Lansbury, rock 'n' roller
Chuck Berry, and the actor/director Clint Eastwood. New
York Times 08/23/00
registration required for entry)
RICH UNCLE IN MANHATTAN: British cultural institutions are
increasingly looking to donors in the US for funding. "London’s
Royal Academy was the first to break ground in the US in 1983.
Since then they have received close to $32 million in donations.
The Tate has followed, formally opening an office in Manhattan
last September. The fact that their parent bodies are 3,000
miles away seems no impediment to raising millions of dollars
in record time."
The Art Newspaper 08/25/00
European Union adopts the use of simplified
German in business ~ New
WWII monument to be built on Lincoln Memorial grounds in Washington
DC. ~ Damien
Hirst's newest work: "Contemplating a Self Portrait (as
a Pharmacist)" ~ Professional golfer Tiger
Woods sues Alabama artist over painting from 1997 Master's tournament
movies steamroll national films at French summer box
office ~ Devoted Stephen
send in extra cash to cover download readers not abiding by honor
system ~ Boston
artists form coalition to fight development of their district
Saigon to close after ten years on Broadway
TO HIGH CULTURE: "High" culture is wildly popular
right now, and isn't that what artists have been fighting for?
"Public enthusiasm for art, music, theater, and dance is
raising some highbrow eyebrows, however. Academics, connoisseurs,
and critics maintain that as arts organizations market themselves
to draw new audiences, the quality of their offerings has been
'dumbed down'. 'Popularity is not necessarily a measure of success
in the arts." Too many institutions are compromising
their standards as they scramble to respond to 'bottom-line
pressures that reared their ugly heads in the 1990s'.''
OF THE NEW: What is it about being shocked that artists
and viewers find so...invigorating? "Notoriously, ever
since the dawn of Impressionism, modern art has delivered the
shock of the new. Whether you find it a bracing blast of novelty
or a dastardly attack on everything sacred is partly a matter
of temperament - and taste."
Telegraph (London) 08/26/00
BIRTHDAY: This week is the 100th anniversary of the birth
of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. He easily makes the Top
Ten list of philosophers, and even has a degree of name recognition
among the general public. "So where are the Nietzsche symposiums,
the exhibitions, the 900-page reassessments? Where are the T-shirts?"
Globe and Mail 08/24/00
MAKING OF MAHLER: "Is there a case to be made against
Mahler's legend, if not his music? How has his entry into Valhalla
changed the way we listen and the way composers think? With
his monumentalism, his fanaticism, his unstinting idealism,
and his unstinting egotism, he has not always been what school
counsellors call 'a good influence'. He left in his wake a series
of inimitable, much-imitated masterpieces and a great deal of
confusion about what a composer is supposed to do."
London Review of Books 08/21/00
RETIREMENT: Dancers, athletes and musicians retire. But
what about writers? "Computer keyboards are not retired.
Career best-seller records do not lead to teary stadium send-offs.
The creative force that drives writing may still burn, but the
energy to promote a book fades like the pitching arm of a middle-aged
hurler. In some ways, mulling a writerly finale seems a bit
New York Times 08/23/00
registration required for entry)
FROM RESTORATION: Scientists tell the annual meeting of
the American Chemical Society that "collectors and curators
have been unknowingly using risky techniques that cause the
polymers forming their paints to fall apart. Poor preservation
techniques, including the cleaning of paintings using harsh
chemicals, could soften and deform the paint."
BEHIND BARS: "For almost as long as there have been
prisons, prisoners have turned author for diversion, creative
expression, solace, penance, vindication, vengeance and release
(physically and metaphysically). But their works have rarely
been examined as a genre, and for what they reveal about the
literary impulse behind bars."
New York Times 08/26/00
(one-time registration required for entry)
TO LEAD: Where are all the great conductors? "Why has
the field become so mundane? Perhaps the cult of the conductor
is essentially a 19th-century phenomenon; perhaps post-war Western
society, no longer able to believe in benevolent political dictatorship,
has become wary of its musical counterpart, too."
National Post (Canada) 08/22/00
WAY: Dave Eggers' McSweeney's Books intends to cut out the
middlemen between writer and reader. It's traditional hardback
publishing, not e-books, although the writer doesn't get an
advance, he gets "whatever remains after printing costs
and incidentals, not to mention foreign sales, film sales, etc.
Eggers isn't taking a dime."
TO PIERRE BOULEZ: "To those who whine, who doubt his
importance to our times and to the future - a warning. To Boulez
we owe the most influential musical changes of our lifetime
- as a conductor, composer, educator, programme planner and
superior being, he has embraced an international state of artistic
achievement, and wrestled, built and triumphed on all our behalfs.
He has educated a whole generation of musicians - and happily,
ecstatically even, it was mine - evangelising for rhythm and
form over mere miasma of sound or texture, and has been bold
for all who would be creative, insisting on rigour in intellect,
opinion, art and its practice."
The Scotsman 08/23/00
FUTURE OF MUSIC: "Within the music industry it is widely
believed that much of the physical infrastructure of music -
compact discs, automobile cassette-tape players, shopping-mall
megastores - is rapidly being replaced by the Internet and a
new generation of devices with no moving parts. By 2003, according
to the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Investment Research Group,
listeners will rarely if ever drive to Tower Records for their
music. Instead they will tap into a vast cloud of music on the
Net. This heavenly jukebox, as it is sometimes called, will
hold the contents of every record store in the world, all of
it instantly accessible from any desktop."
The Atlantic 08/00
Guinness's all-encompassing humanity ~ The local theatre critic
who went beyond just giving bad
reviews ~ Who is the greatest
actor in the English-speaking world? ~ The power of low budget,
art house Japanese
mini-theaters ~ Beckett
on the big screen: making movies of all 19 of Beckett’s dramas
~ Rudy Giuliani and the re-implementation of New
York's cabaret law ~ The Shaw
Festival's feisty, foul-mouthed and empassioned director
WORK: "Readers and writers of the past - not just the
geniuses, either; the intelligent, alert ones who kept current
as we all like to think we do - remind us how culture and taste
change. And why. What aesthetic, social and intellectual needs
do beliefs serve in their time? Which ones serve us now, and
York Times 08/21/00 (one-time
registration required for entry)
The technology is here to allow producers to use digital actors
instead of live ones. Does that mean real actors will be out
of work? "Producers and directors who think virtual actors
will be easier to work with than their human counterparts are
also deluding themselves. The truth is that instead of one creative
temperament or sensibility to deal with, you have 50. It's simply
better and cheaper to use a real actor."
CODES FOR FAT FIDDLERS: Leonard
Slatkin spoke up about the proper attire for women violinists
in his orchestra: "I tend to favour covered arms, especially
among the violinists. You don't want to see too much flapping
about. Then there's the problem of women in trousers. If you're
slightly heavy in the rear end department, it does not look
too good. Of course, not everyone acknowledges that and no one's
going to tell them, which is why we need an across-the-board
rule." The Times (London) 08/23/00
AND DELIVER: Conductor Leonard Slatkin took his lumps
from female musicians after making sexist comments about the
proper concert attire for women.
Guardian (London) 08/25/00
remarks "prove is that in the orchestra pit, as in
every other walk of life, it is always open season on women.
Men, by contrast, tend to be mutually protective of one another.
We will know we have achieved true equality when they congregate
anxiously at social events, sucking in their stomachs and
asking: 'Does my belly look big in this?' "
The Guardian (London) 08/25/00
SPEAKS: About taxes, about his new young companion, about
his weight - "I am very chubby. I make a competition for
very young singers. If someone comes out who is chubby like
me, he must sing like a god."