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DANCE COMPANY: Cleveland San Jose Ballet company dancers
vote to form a new company and relocate to San Jose. The Cleveland
San Jose company was shut down last week after failing to raise
enough money to continue. The new company will be called Ballet
San Jose of Silcon Valley and open its new season October 12.
San Francisco Examiner 09/16/00
COLLECTION ON VERGE OF CLOSING: Pennsylvania's Barnes Collection,
which has one of the best Impressionist collections in the US,
has blown through its $10 million endowment and has about six
months left before it is completely out of money and has to
close. "The Barnes cashed in the last of its endowment
a year ago after running up a $5.3 million cash deficit in the
last three years, tax filings show."
Philadelphia Inquirer 09/10/00
FOR HELP: The Barnes Collection is in trouble again.
The museum has 2000 works of art valued at $6 billion. But
it's broke, and museum officials have declared an emergency.
"People don't believe it when I say we don't have any
more money. They ask about the [$10 million] endowment and
I have to tell them it's gone." The
New York Times 09/17/00
registration required for entry)
releases violence-in-entertainment report blasting the entertainment
industry. US Senate holds hearings on violence in entertainment.
For complete coverage, visit our new Culture
Wars/US Election page.
BETTER RATINGS: Eight prominent Hollywood directors advocate
scrapping the current movie ratings system, saying that it is
unworkable. In its place, they propose a ratings system that
would apply to all popular culture.
MEN ONLY: Why are only 12 percent of the architects in the
UK women? And why are there only about 100 architects from black
and ethnic minority backgrounds in a profession of 27,000? That
is an appalling statistic. Where, for example, are all the second-generation
children of the Ugandan Asians who are making such strides in
other professions such as the law, accountancy or medicine?"
The Telegraph (London) 09/16/00
BASE GRANT FOR ARTS: Edinburgh's summer Festival draws the
best artists from around the world. Makes one critic wonder
about the state of Scottish arts: "The arts have been ill-served
down the years by successive governments. Over the last decade,
leaving aside additional funding for the National Companies,
we have seen a base grant to the arts in Scotland rise... a
niggardly 1.1% a year, not only way below inflation, but less
than any comparable public sector area."
The Scotsman 09/15/00
CALL: London’s Millennium Dome received a last-minute reprieve
from demolition plans Wednesday, after its financial backers
cited “grave financial consequences” if it were to close early.
Independent (London) 09/14/00
LIST: Harry Potter, Maya Angelou's "I Know Why the
Caged Bird Sings", J.D. Salinger's "The Catcher in
the Rye", John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men"
and Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"
were among the most-singled-out books adults wanted removed
from American library shelves in the 1990s says the American
Ottawa Citizen (AP) 09/13/00
DONS: Attorney General Janet Reno said Tuesday that organized
crime's intellectual property infringement should be prosecuted
as vigorously as other serious crimes like drug trafficking
and money laundering. Recent busts (like last week’s in New
York in which 35,000 counterfeit CDs were seized) have shown
organized crime’s turn from drugs to software for profits. Wired
BEST FRIEND: High-tech investor Alberto Vilar - a friend
of Placido Domingo - has given $24 million to the Los Angeles
Opera, the Mariinsky Opera and Ballet of St. Petersburg, Russia
to fund permanent traveling productions. Nando
Times (AP) 0/12/00
ANGEL: Vilar's L.A. Opera donation breaks down into
two parts - $6 million will go for new productions over
three years, starting in 2001. One million dollars a year
over the next four years will support and expand the company's
training and coaching program for young singers. These donations
come on the heels of a separate Vilar pledge to L.A. Opera
of $2 million, announced by its new artistic director Placido
Domingo on Monday.
Los Angeles Times 09/13/00
PLACIDO PLAN: Domingo announced plans to transform the
Los Angeles Opera with a series of initiatives, including
an ongoing relationship with the Kirov. "In addition,
Domingo promises to make good on his previously expressed
intentions to tap the Hollywood talent pool and reach out
to the Latino community, as well as to expand the company's
training program for young artists."
Los Angeles Times 09/12/00
TIMES FOR SMITHSONIAN: The Smithsonian is setting attendance
fundraising records. "Overall attendance at the Washington
and New York facilities for the first eight months of this year
totaled 26.1 million, compared with 23.5 million for the same
period in 1999." The Smithsonian raised $200 million last
year and its endowment is close to a record $755 million and
has grown by $100 million a year over the last two years.
Washington Post 0912/00
Scala fans hold a candlelight vigil to protest the opera house’s
recent decision to replace its popular standing-room section with
seats ~ "Cats"
closes on Broadway after nearly 18 years and a record 7,485 performances
Orchestra hires its first-ever black woman player ~ Hong
Kong Philharmonic appoints its first-ever local born music director
is "in serious danger of being relegated to the second division
of arts and culture because of lack of funding"
catalog, the bible of recordings releases, ceases quarterly
publication to go annual with ongoing web updates ~ US
Government comes out against legality of Napster ~ Boston
Ballet names Maina Gielgud as the company's new artistic artistic
director ~ Houston
Symphony names Hans Graf to succeed Christophe Eschenbach as
music director ~ Chicago
Symphony musicians sign a new contract, making them the highest-paid
orchestra musicians in the US.
THE MUSEUM EXPERIENCE: "Museum retailing, an emblem
and essence of the thriving American art museum of the 1990s,
is going through turbulent times, rocked by competition in the
marketplace and from cyberspace, and changing consumer shopping
Boston Globe 09/15/00
So we're back to being offended about violence in entertainment
again. But what a a paper issue. "Some of the current sanctimony
is sincere. But come on: since the 1960s, if not earlier, the
cultural contradictions of capitalism have been the cultural
contradictions of capitalism. Our ferociously efficient free-market
system, the one bubbling along so nicely just now that Al Gore
will be elected president, requires revenue maximization, which
means every prospective buyer of every legal, medically safe
product must be targeted.
EYE FOR CLUTTER: Francis Bacon's studio will be reconstructed
exactly the way he left it and moved to Dublin to be put on
display. "The curators will re-create the studio down to
the precise positions where Bacon left an old newspaper or dropped
a gob of paint. Most of the walls are original, with some inscrutable
handwritten notes Bacon sent to himself as reminders of how
to organise his compositions."
Sunday Times (London) 09/17/00
YOU'RE GOING TO COMPOSE AND OPERA... Composer John Williams
was startled to read in the press earlier this week that he
is going to write an opera for Placido Domingo and the Los Angeles
Opera. Williams concedes he's talked with Domingo about a project
but that nothing has been agreed upon. "Better minds than
mine have tried opera and not been successful - it is an art
that has had difficulty renewing itself, especially in this
Boston Globe 09/15/00
MEANING OF ART: What is it about Tracey Emin, anyway? What
makes what she does "art"? "If she decides that
a tent with the names of 102 people she’s slept with is art,
that’s her prerogative. That unmade bed, for instance, 'illustrates
the themes of loss, sickness, fertility, copulation, conception
and death'." The
REBORN: According to one critic, visiting Rome is no longer
the frustrating endeavor it has long been for art lovers who
encountered museums covered in scaffolding and prize treasures
locked away out of view. “Jubilee Year has galvanised the owners
of churches, galleries and temples into cleaning their finest
possessions and placing them on view. Rome has refurbished more
than 700 monuments, works of arts and sites. The results are
DEATH OF COPYRIGHT? "Copyright, a lot of people are
saying, is obsolete. It's a concept outmoded by technology.
And good riddance to it, say those who work in advertising or
Web site design. The fat cats in New York who sell 'content'
are gouging us already with their ridiculous fixed prices. Everyone
knows a CD costs something like 35 cents to produce; why does
it retail for $23.99?"
Globe and Mail (Toronto) 09/14/00
STAR ORCHESTRA ADMINISTRATOR: The New York Philharmonic
lost out on its bid to hire Riccardo Muti as its next music
director. But Zarin Mehta, the orchestra's new top executive
has some important orchestra-building of his own he'd like to
The New York Times 09/17/00
registration required for entry)
NEED OF A “RADICAL RETHINK”: Ever since moving into its
new home in Covent Garden last winter, the Royal Opera has been
plagued by financial and management crises. “Almost everything
that has gone wrong at the Dome was dry-run at the ROH. The
long-running crisis is neither a matter of money (the usual
excuse) nor of human frailty, but of a deep-seated structural
fault that can only be remedied by a radical rethink.” The
Telegraph (London) 09/13/00
REAL IRELAND: For much of the 20th Century Irish writers
fastened on to the idea that the "true" Ireland was
to be found in the countryside. But that idea is a cliche, and
a stale one even if it once was true. Now the idea has been
updated, and the new theatre is reflecting the changes.
The Sunday Times (London) 09/17/00
THE LEADER: What's wrong with Australian museums? Leadership.
"Appointing people because they interview well, are good
publicists, claim to (or do) know the rich and famous, know
more than anybody else about art (or science or history) is
of little use, if not dangerous. People follow leaders because
they want to, because they not only believe in the vision but
can see a place for themselves in the sun, because they receive
Sydney Morning Herald 09/15/00
TO THE BAND: When you marry an orchestra musician, you're
marrying the whole orchestra. An orchestra wife writes about
how she spent the summer.
The Guardian (09/15/00
museums consider getting into the higher-education business
movie theatres are installing technology to help blind and deaf
people enjoy movies ~ Royal
Academy is banking on a Big Bang followup to controversial "Sensation"
show ~ Archeologist
posits that the first musical instrument wasn't a flute, but a blade
being hit by another piece of flint ~ Overbuilding
of movie theatres has resulted in some theatre chains going
out of business
MORE HIGH AND LOW? "There is a rooted assumption that
popular culture is easy, especially popular music. But millions
who try and fail to create it find out the hard way that it
is just that - hard. And that's why the Spice Girls - so denigrated
by the toffee-nosed culture snobs - have managed to notch up
a remarkable 500 million sales worldwide, whereas a posh, pampered
'hard-to-work-out-what-they're-saying' writer like Henry James
has yet to make any mark on the pop charts."
The Guardian 09/15/00
MEANING ART? Divisions between high and low culture
(or "art-" and "popular-" culture) are
increasingly irrelevant. "How are we to judge what
more powerfully influences us and, hence, what is stronger
or better? See Schoenberg's 'Moses and Aaron', 'Madam Butterfly',
'Phantom of the Opera' or Elvis Presley at Las Vegas, and
how do we set about judging differences? The cultural diktat
of our day still tells us that Schoenberg is superior to
Presley; many people go along with that. But is this any
more than obedience to hierarchies laid down before popular
culture gave itself a true chance to be compared?
The Guardian (London) 09/12/00
THEATRE DYING? "What we are seeing these days is, more
precisely, the theatrical version of the hostile takeover. 'Englut
and devour' - the name that Mel Brooks once invented for a Hollywood
studio - is becoming the motto of the American stage. The triumph
of American commercialism is hardly a novelty of the millennium.
What is different today is the lack of any indignation about
it. It seems almost quixotic these days to criticize the relationship
between art and commerce, and a little nostalgic even to try
to evoke any interest in the question." The
New Republic 09/08/00
SOMETHING TO THE IMAGINATION: Often arts education gives
too much information at the expense of too little imagination.
But "imagination is the fuel of art, the engine of growth
and the frank pleasure of life. No less a brainiac than Einstein
insisted that imagination is more important than knowledge,
yet most folks - education bureaucrats or not - seem to
shudder at the thought. In our modern Information Age, imagination
regularly withers from neglect."
Los Angeles Times 09/15/00
SHOCKS ANYMORE? For some time now, the definition of modern
art was to shock us in some way, take us aback a little. "Lately,
newness—changeable by nature—has transformed itself into something
harder to see, especially at first sight. Now, when people aren't
hit with a shock of the new, they think they haven't been hit
at all. When they don't find the Next Big Thing, or find it
fast enough—and this may be a contemporary definition of
complacency—they blame art."
Village Voice 09/13/00
HOLMES, KILLER? Did Sir Arthur Conan Doyle conspire to deny
Fletcher Robinson recognition for devising the plot and supplying
much of the local detail for "Hound of the Baskervilles,"
one of Sherlock Holmes' greatest adventures? A new book makes
the charge and also "claims to have found circumstantial
evidence that Conan Doyle may have murdered his former friend
when he became worried that the deception might be exposed."
Sunday Times (London) 09/10/00
AGENTS AS CRITICS: Why did British Customs agents seize
the Beatles' gold records when the discs were being shipped
to the UK back in 1967? And why does Customs still have them?
"On 10 March 1967, a Customs officer, B Lampert, wrote
to a manager, saying: 'If it is considered that sale of these
plaques will not embarrass the department, then sale would have
to be of a specific nature with advertisements in the 'music
papers'. I have no idea of the price we could expect to realise
but I understand the Beatles are on their 'way out' (result
of quick market research on teenage neighbours!)'." The
Independent (London) 09/14/00
- A USE FOR THE ACCORDION: A new British study finds that
the kind of music played in stores greatly influences what consumers
buy. "When French music was played, French wine outsold
German varieties by five bottles to one. When German music was
played, it outsold French by two bottles to one."
The Age (Melbourne) 09/15/00
SANDS: Tibetan monks spent days making a sand painting at
a Connecticut hospital in an attempt to aid the forces of healing
there. But a couple of kids, mistaking the painting for a sandbox,
destroyed it a couple of minutes. "The monks said it was
good for them if the children were happy playing in the sand.
They plan to start the project again."
NO! A pair of Finnish scholars have scored success with
a weekly worldwide radio newscast broadcast in Latin. "Based
on the 15 to 20 letters the program receives every week from
listeners, the producers say Nuntii Latini listeners also include
Latin scholars and students around the world as well as the
residents of various monasteries, who almost all, naturally,
keenly scrutinize the show's word usage and grammar." The
Globe and Mail (Toronto) 09/12/00
MITCHELL, ART QUEEN: By the time it closes this week, singer/artist
Joni Mitchell's first-ever painting retrospective will have
drawn some 80,000 visitors to a small gallery in Saskatoon,
Canada. This "in a city of 210,000 people."
The Globe and Mail (Toronto) 09/14/00