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  • THE EARLY NEW YORKER MAGAZINE: A precarious enterprise to be sure. "From the start, it lost two thousand dollars a week. It took three years and the outpouring of seven hundred thousand unrequited dollars to turn the red ink into black. Today, we are told, it may be bought by almost anybody with ten million dollars to spare." The Idler 12/18/00
  • THE TASTEMAKERS: What do corporations look to when deciding what art they want to buy to display in their buildings? "All the companies have pressing practical concerns: that the sculpture should not obstruct their buildings and brand names, that is should not impinge on parking space, and that it should be resilient enough to withstand the iconoclastic attentions of the local residents." New Statesman 12/20/00
  • POINTING FINGERS: Why are so many people in the museum world hurling insults at Guggenheim Director Thomas Krens, who has overseen some of the museum’s most successful shows to date, as well as its opening of Bilbao and planned projects all over the world? "To hear some people tell it, the museum world hasn't seen anything like this since Napoleon ransacked Europe to fill the galleries of the Louvre." Forbes 01/08/01
  • BOOKS ON DEMAND: "For several years, publishers have watched the gradual improvement of technology known as print- on-demand, and it is finally starting to change their business. Xerox, IBM and others now sell machines that in a matter of minutes can churn out single, bound copies of paperback or even hardcover books." The New York Times 12/18/00 (one-time registration required for entry)


  • THE PROBLEM WITH BALLET: Readers respond to stories about excluding a 4th grader from the San Francisco Ballet School because of her looks. "Unfortunately, it's partly due to this knee-jerk reification of elitism for its own sake that ballet has become an airless theater, a music-box model that the rich come to thoughtlessly admire." San Francisco Chronicle 12/19/00
  • York City Ballet's Jenifer Ringer seemed to be caught on a frigid downward draft, endangering a once promising career. But she managed to pull out of her dive to become one of the company's promising new pricipals. The New York Times 12/24/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • HISTORY OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN DANCE: "The origins of much American entertainment - jazz, blues and rock-and-roll, social dancing from the Twist to the Hustle to college-fraternity stepping, as well as hip-hop culture, just to give a few examples -- go back to the African slave trade. Those whose lives were uprooted and stamped with foreign ways in turn left an indelible mark on the art of their adoptive land." Washington Post 12/24/00



  • BUMPY ROAD TO DIGITAL: Clearly the movie industry is going digital. "Eliminating film prints in favor of digital distribution by satellite could eventually save Hollywood-now staggering under the weight of sky-high production and marketing budgets-hundreds of millions of dollars a year in lab and shipping costs. But it could cost well over a billion dollars to convert just half of the 37,000 screens in the US and Canada. Distributors and exhibitors, who haggle over everything from rental fees to trailer placement, aren't exactly fighting for the check." 12/20/00
  • THE NEW MOVIES? Considering that both 'The Phantom Menace' and the latest PlayStation games were created on computers, it's only a matter of time before one looks exactly like the other. They both use the same special effects, they're saved on the same digital disc. Soon, you'll play "Toy Story" as easily as you watch it, creating, perhaps, an entire new form of entertainment. Video games will become interactive movies." Orange County Register 12/24/00
  • LIMITING THE LITTLE GUYS: Earlier this year America's FCC decided to start awarding so-called micro-radio licenses to low-wattage stations. So far the FCC has 1,200 applications and plans to award licenses as early as in the next few days. But now President Clinton says he'll sign a bill limiting the number of such licenses, to the relief of large commercial stations. Micro-broadcasters are furious. Wired 12/20/00
    • DUMPING THE LITTLE GUYS: "Since passage of the Telecommunications Art of 1996, which eased restrictions on station ownership, thousands of small outlets and minority broadcasters have been bought out by media giants. Many are managed and programmed by national chains, who tend to program their stations in similar fashions across the country." A bill passed this week in Congress further hurts the cause of the little guys. Miami Herald 12/22/00
  • MOVIE THEATRE COLLUSION? Are Canada's two largest movie theatre chains "using their market power to ensure that independent theatres don't get a chance to screen the latest Hollywood blockbusters?" The Canadian government wants to know, and they've launched an investigation. Ottawa Citizen 12/20/00

PLUS: Golden Globe nominations are announced ~ Some big-name artists considering setting up in cyberspace find their names already online. 



  • CARNEGIE HALL CHIEF QUITS: Carnegie Hall's top administrator, buffeted by the recent resignations of four senior staff and the general unhappiness of the Hall's workers, suddenly resigned Tuesday. He'll move to a similar position with the Berlin Philharmonic in his native Germany. Nando Times (AP) 12/19/00
    • BERLIN'S COUP: Franz Xaver Ohnesorg was controversial as the head of Carnegie Hall. But news he's going to run the Berlin Philharmonic is being greeted by the Germans as a coup. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 12/21/00
  • A BRANDING THING: The Australian Art Orchestra has made a deal with the Sydney Opera House. "The partnership means that, over the next three years, the Sydney Opera House will produce a series of events and opportunities for the Art Orchestra. The Australian Art Orchestra will retain its name, but will be known as `The Sydney Opera House presents the Australian Art Orchestra'." The Age (Melbourne) 12/20/00
  • DON'T FORGET THE LITTLE GUYS: Just when it looked like had settled its legal woes with recording companies, independent labels have taken the company to court. "Although has entered into settlement agreements with the five major record labels, they have chosen to ignore their infringing actions with respect to independent labels." Wired 12/20/00
  • COME CLOSER, MY PRETTY... The BBC's Tony Hall is about to become the new head of London's Royal Opera House. But "with three changes of ROH director in as many years, Hall will need to be motivated by something more than his love of opera if he is to take on what some see as the art world's poisoned chalice. What can he be thinking of?" The Guardian (London) 12/22/00
  • AN OPERA BUFFA? The life of one of Italy's most controversial politicians is being made into an opera. The rise and precipitous fall of former Italian Prime Minister Bettino Craxi, who died in exile in Tunisia almost a year ago, has provided the inspiration for B.C, an 'opera oratorio in three short acts'. The Guardian (London) 12/24/00
  • BACKING OUT ON BACH: Deutsche Grammophon take the prize for chutzpah after finking out on John Eliot Gardiner in the middle of his massive cantata cycle - the Bach Pilgrimage, as it was called. The plan was that DGG would record them all and release one a week. But last July the record company decided it was all a tad pricey and pulled out, leaving the already cash-strapped Gardiner and his merry band of musicians scrambling for funds." National Post (Canada) 12/20/00
  • WIGGING OUT: For all its musical riches, London's concert venues are decidedly second rate acoustically. Except for one place - Wigmore Hall. It's hard to describe what the Wigmore means to those of us who play there. It has partly to do with the acoustics — which are perfect, as good as you'll find anywhere — and partly to do with the intimacy. When you're on stage, the audience feels incredibly close." The New York Times 12/24/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • I WANNA HOLD YOUR HAND: Thirty years after they disbanded, the Beatles are hot again. "Their greatest hits album, "1", has now topped the charts in 30 countries around the world. Just five weeks after being released, the album of their 27 chart toppers has sold 12 million copies." The Globe & Mail (Reuters)(Canada) 12/20/00
  • UNIVERSAL MUSIC? "The celestial jukebox, according to its legions of proponents, will be a vast digital cloud of music that contains every song ever recorded. Rather than having to lug around compact disks and cassettes to stick in stereos or car players, people will be able to log onto the celestial jukebox from computers, televisions, stereos, automobiles, cell phones and even household appliances." Trouble is, it'll never work. 12/18/00

Plus: Classical music composers convene for a nine-concert festival in New York ~  Chinese composer Chen Yi wins the $225,000 Charles Ives Living prize  ~ The English National Opera's version of Verdi's "Reqiuem" includes a naked pregnant woman ~ Canadian government imposes a tax on recordable CDs and cassettes to "reimburse performers whose works are copied in homes for private use" ~ US Congress votes money for new jazz museum in Harlem.



  • GREAT DANE DIES: Danish pianist/clown Victor Borge died in his sleep this weekend. He was 91. The Age (Melbourne) 12/25/00
    • PHONETICALLY FUNNY: "Mr. Borge always preferred to write his own material. Many of his best lines began as ad-libs that he then worked into his act." The New York Times 12/24/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • THE CULT OF BRUCE LEE: Twenty-seven years after his sudden death at the age of 32, Bruce Lee continues to attract a cult following. If you think this has only to do with his film career, look again. There are a shocking 55 websites dedicated to his martial art stylings, and the seven books of his writings that have been published posthumously have sold over 500,000 copies. Boston Globe, 12/19/2000
  • "OW YA DOIN? An analysis of Queen Elizabeth's accent and speech patterns between the 1950s and now indicates a change. "While Her Majesty is not about to refer to 'My ‘usband and I', she now speaks in a way 'more typically associated with speakers who are younger and lower in the social hierarchy', the Australian analysts write in Nature." The Times (London) 12/21/00


  • BOOKS ON DEMAND: "For several years, publishers have watched the gradual improvement of technology known as print- on-demand, and it is finally starting to change their business. Xerox, I.B.M. and others now sell machines that in a matter of minutes can churn out single, bound copies of paperback or even hardcover books." The New York Times 12/18/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • UNIVERSAL MUSIC? "The celestial jukebox, according to its legions of proponents, will be a vast digital cloud of music that contains every song ever recorded. Rather than having to lug around compact disks and cassettes to stick in stereos or car players, people will be able to log onto the celestial jukebox from computers, televisions, stereos, automobiles, cell phones and even household appliances." Trouble is, it'll never work. 12/18/00
  • $10,000 BOBBITT PRIZE FOR POETRY AWARDED: Why is a prize necessary? "Artists generally, and poets especially, are like secret agents behind enemy lines sending signals back to headquarters, and they never know if anything's getting through. Their mission isn't completed until they know that it has struck home in a way that moves people. This ratifies it." New York Times 12/20/00 (one-time registration required for access)
  • THE YEAR IN PUBLISHING: The top-10 events and topics that got a lot of ink this year in the book world. 12/20/0
  • THE DOORSTOP DICTIONARY LIVES: With dictionaries, thesauri, almanacs, atlases all available online, is the market for traditional paper copies of these reference works dead? Not at all. "There is still a market for print reference books. Believe it or not, not everyone has a computer, and not everyone has their computer turned on all the time." Publishers Weekly 12/19/00
  • REWRITING CHAPTERS: Struggling Canadian book super-seller Chapters reorganizes to fend off a takeover. "Under the restructuring, Chapters Inc. will buy back its online and wholesale operations. Once completed, the company will leave the wholesale business and reduce its online operations in order to focus on its retail business." Publishers Weekly 12/19/00



  • WHO'S MAKING MONEY ON BROADWAY THIS YEAR? Strangely enough, the straight plays (though they have to have celebs in them). Last year it was thought the straights were doomed. Now several are making money, while the expensive musicals are having a hard time making the rent. New York Post 12/20/00
  • WHAT WILL MUSICAL THEATRE LOOK LIKE? "We've come to the end of the road for one style of musical, the giant pseudo-Romantic pop-rock sludge pile. I never liked these things; now nobody likes them. As far as I'm concerned, Cats (closed) and Miss Saigon (expiring next month) have been flops all along—the public simply didn't take my reviews to heart until now." But what comes next? Village Voice 12/20/00
  • THEATRE TREATY: Delegates from 90 countries expect to agree on an international treaty to protect actors' rights. "The treaty, which aims to protect performers against the unauthorized use of their work, is being negotiated under the auspices of WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization, the United Nations body that oversees copyright and trademark protection." Montreal Gazette 12/18/00
  • CULTIVATING THE NEXT GENERATION, NO DOUBT: A mother calls up a radio program in Sydney to complain about having to pay $27 for a ticket for her in-arms baby when she went to "Annie." The producer responds: "We are not a charity. The company could have $45 or $50 for the baby." And the radio station's switchboard lights up and patrons call the theatre to cancel their tickets. Sydney Morning Herald 12/18/00
  • BAH HUMBUG: There's no escaping Scrooge and "A Christmas Carol" this time of year. "Some 20 feature films and at least 17 television movies notwithstanding, 'A Christmas Carol' has really been a theater phenomenon from the beginning, despite difficulties like transforming a door knocker into Jacob Marley's face onstage." The New York Times 12/24/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • ARCHER HEADS FOR AN EARLY SHOWER: Jeffrey Archer's play in London has been a big bomb - so much so that it's closing early. But Lord Archer, whose legal woes didn't slow down his work on the production, has been the subject of some creatively vicious reviews: "This leaden and incompetent play leaves you little option but to find its hero innocent and to find everything else (dialogue, legal acumen, structure, and so on) as culpable as all hell ... The author's self-belief is breathtaking and farcical." The Independent (London) 12/20/00
  • THE AGE OF THE DIRECTOR: The last 40 years have seen a rise in the stature of the stage director. "Today's director is most often a catalyst, visibly channeling theatrical elements and placing a recognizable stamp on the practice." And he's sometimes placed alongside or above the contributions of the playwright and actors. Backstage 12/22/00

Plus: Yale Repertory Theatre is expected to announce that Oskar Eustis, is its new artistic director ~ Anticipating an actors' and screenwriters' strike, Hollywood studios are signing virtually unknown actors to lucrative deals. 



  • DARING ART THEFT: Robbers have stolen three of Sweden's most prized paintings - by Rembrandt and Renoir. "An armed gang entered the museum on Stockholm’s waterfront just before it closed on Friday. One of them, brandishing a submachine-gun in the museum lobby, threatened staff and visitors, while another two, also armed, ran upstairs and snatched the small paintings, valued by police at about £25 million." Scotland on Sunday 12/24/00
  • MISSING ART LIST: Right after World War II a list of claims for missing works of art by Old Masters and pioneers of modernism such as Degas, Renoir, Tintoretto and Tiepolo was made. But the list was "hidden away in government archives for half a century, frustrating efforts by a dying generation of Holocaust survivors and the art world to track down thousands of paintings and sculptures." Chicago Tribune 12/17/00
    • MOST-WANTED LIST: In an important step in the repatriation of artwork stolen during World War II, the US Justice Department has released a list of 2,000 artworks seized by the Nazis.  CNN 12/21/00
  • DIGGING UP HISTORY: Digging the new Athens subway proved an opportunity to unearth fascinating layers of history. Now that the subway has opened, some of the finds are now on display, including relics from "a mass grave from the time of the Peloponnesian war, presumed to be full of victims of the plague which struck the Athenians in 430BC, when people crowded into the city from the countryside for protection." Financial Times 12/18/00
  • RETURNING ART: "The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, was signed by President George Bush in November 1990 after years of discussion among scientists, museum curators and Indian groups. It seeks to reconcile two profoundly different value systems, one based on the primacy of reason and science and the other revolving around spiritual and religious values. In the decade since the law was passed, it has had a profound effect on museums and the philosophy on which they are based." The New York Times 12/24/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • 16 WAYS TO CATCH A THIEF: A report prepared by the UK’s Illicit Trade Advisory Panel has recommended 16 measures to crack down on the rampant international smuggling of cultural art and antiquities. (Britain currently accounts for 30% of the global market in stolen artifacts.) Foremost among the recommendations is that Britain accede to the Unesco convention already signed by 91 other countries banning the international trade in stolen art and antiquities. Financial Times 12/18/00
  • GIFTS FROM THE UNDERGROUND: It’s the rare transportation project that stirs as much controversy as Athens’ new subway. Building was stalled for 35 years due to fears of harming the monuments above ground and the artifacts below. Now more than 10,000 objects have been uncovered during the dig and are on permanent display. "The shotgun marriage between archaeologists and builders has produced a wonderful new vision of how ancient Athenians lived and died." New York Times 12/19/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • SHADY DEALS: "Martin Fabiani, a Paris dealer who was arrested and fined by the Allies after the Second World War for dealing in 'enemy property' and art plundered by the Nazis, supplied Canada's National Gallery with several notable paintings, among them works by Pierre Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne and Edgar Degas. Dealers, such as Mr. Fabiani, took advantage of cut-rate prices on art looted from Jews in Nazi-occupied countries. During the chaos that ensued when France was occupied by the Nazis, dealers like Mr. Fabiani were able to sidestep legal formalities in order to make quick sales." National Post (Canada) 12/21/00
  • WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CULTURE? Prague was named this year's European City of Culture. But with so many state collections in the city closed or in flux, one has to ask how seriously the city is taking the designation. The Art Newspaper 12/21/00.

Plus: American museums agree to list all works of art that may have been stolen by the Nazis in World War II ~ Leading Polish actor is arrested for slashing pictures in a gallery. The exhibition was called "The Nazis" and depicted actors from movies in Nazi uniforms ~ Prada has chosen top architecture firms to design its new stores ~ US Capitol commission chooses new sites for monuments, considered "a blueprint for Washington's third century ~ Melbourne's new museum wins out despite critics ~ Korean tax on art and antiques is vetoed ~ Houston's Museum of Fine Arts is undergoing an ambitious expansion ~ Boston's Museum of Fine Arts launches its Online Collections Database yesterday with nearly 15,000 objects from its collection on its Web site ~  Havana Bienal opens with a glittering array of artworld celebs ~  US Customs Service sets up special art theft unit ~ South Korea's monumental plans to mark the millennium are scaled down.



  • WHAT'S WRONG WITH BERLIN? As the intrigue of Berlin's cultural life winds on, several prominent artists who have approached to work in the city have declined. Why? "Berliners should be asking themselves what is wrong with their city." Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 12/18/00
  • PROFITING BY IDEAS: As centers of research, universities have a wealth of knowledge to profit from. "But successfully exploiting them is another matter. With some notable exceptions, the businesses set up by universities to commercialise their intellectual property have lost millions in recent years." Sydney Morning Herald 12/18/00
  • CULTURAL BILL OF RIGHTS: Cultural observers are wondering how the arts will fare in a Dubya administration. Bill Ivey, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, unveiled a working paper for a "Cultural Bill of Rights", a moral manifesto intended "to deepen our national conversation about the value of art and cultural heritage to our democracy." Washington Post, 12/19/2000
    • REASON FOR OPTIMISM: Ivey said Americans have reason to believe the Bush administration will be supportive of the arts. "He cited increased spending on the arts under the Bush's governorship in Texas as a cause for optimism [and] noted the increase in the NEA budget to $105 million for this year, the first since 1992, came as a result of a bipartisan effort in Congress." New Jersey Online (AP) 12/18/00
  • CULTURE BEFORE FOOD: For the first time, Norwegians now spend more of their incomes on culture than on food and alcohol-free drinks. In 1999 the average Norwegian family used 12.3 per cent of the family budget on culture and leisure activities. Norwegians still use the largest part of their budget on housing (culture is third). Norway Post 12/21/00
  • I-OWN-YOUR-NAME.COM: A number of authors are fighting to get the rights to their own domain names. "We hope to establish the precedent that in cyberspace, as in traditional venues of trade, authors' names belong to them, not to the first outfit that registers a famous name as a domain name." Philadelphia Inquirer (AP) 12/18/00
  • THE CRITIC CRITICIZED: When you're a critic everyone loves to criticize you. One critic looks over the criticism that came his way this year. "The eminent critic and playwright Robert Brustein took me to task for reporting that his fashionably coifed crony David Mamet was in a 'slump' because he had written an awful novel that couldn't find a US publisher. (Good thing I didn't know about the 'poetry' and the vanity CD.)" Boston Globe 12/21/00
  • PROFITING BY IDEAS: As centers of research, universities have a wealth of knowledge to profit from. "But successfully exploiting them is another matter. With some notable exceptions, the businesses set up by universities to commercialise their intellectual property have lost millions in recent years." Sydney Morning Herald 12/18/00


Plus: Rockefeller Center is being sold for $1.85 billion private investors ~ NMiami approves funding for a new $255 million performing arts center first proposed 21 years ago. 



  • ANTI-TECH MONKS: A group of Greek monks released a CD last summer and it quickly caused a sensation in Greece, going platinum. Now they've made a video warning about the dancers of technology. "The video features a gold-garbed man who represents an evil computer user, armed with personal data. The bearded monks belt out the lyrics to 'Tsipaki', or 'Little Computer Chip': 'I'm a chip, so small, that will lead you to slavery'." San Francisco Examiner (AP) 12/22/00
  • KISSED TO DEATH: Oscar Wilde's headstone in Paris is being destroyed - by kisses. “Marker-pen graffiti can be cleaned off and anything that is scratched into the tomb can be rubbed down with sandpaper, but lipstick contains animal fats which sink in to the stone and also leave horrible marks." Daily Mail & Guardian (South Africa) 12/18/00
  • POOR SUBSTITUTES: A couple of embarrassing art switcheroos have recently been pulled off. "First, a $7 million Monet went missing from the National Museum in Poznan, Poland, and a badly painted copy on cardboard was left in its stead. Then, monks at St Josaphat's Monastery in Lattingtown, Long Island, found themselves short of two rare 16th- and 17th-century English tapestry chairs - the earlier of which Henry VIII once reputedly sat on. New Statesman 12/20/00
  • DEATH BY DICTIONARY: The long-awaited new edition of the New Grove music dictionary - the definitive music reference work, has mistakenly killed off Gilles Tremblay, one of Canada's most well-known composers. "Naturally, these mistakes do happen, but that's a particularly bad one. We really do try not to kill people off if at all possible." CBC 12/21/00