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Week of  February 11-17, 2002

1. Special Interest
2. Dance
3. Media
4. Music
5. People
6. Publishing
7. Theatre
8. Visual Arts
9. Arts Issues
10. For Fun


ARE YOU NOW OR HAVE YOU EVER BEEN... When police came into one of the largest independent bookstores in the country with a search warrant demanding to know what books a client had bought, the store said no. "Although many people aren't aware of it, in the eyes of the law buying a book is different from buying a bicycle or a pack of cigarettes. Through the years, the protections accorded materials covered by the First Amendment, such as books and newspapers, have evolved to protect the institutions that provide those materials as well. So when law enforcement officials say they just want information about the books a suspect purchased, booksellers and civil rights advocates see the demand as something that could erode book buyers' privacy and First Amendment rights." Salon 02/13/02

NEXT GENERATION LIBRARY: A new Irish library is pulling in the crowds. It was built right next to a busy shopping center, its librarian hands out carnations, and it projects a different tone than traditional temples of books. "Here are the people who have nowhere else to go, people who would go demented sitting at home, people who have a thirst for knowledge and a dearth of funds to satisfy it, people with an inquiry no bookshop could deal with and people relieved, finally, to find a space where they are no longer refugees but library users." Irish Times 02/07/02


WHAT'S WRONG WITH DANCE... The recent ballet season in New York was as excellent as you'll find anywhere. "But all of this effort only made the truth more glaring: we were wowed, but rarely moved; impressed, but almost never inspired. Where was the edge, the exhilaration, the sense of having been a part of something larger than a masterful pirouette? Has ballet been reduced to a series of sensational athletic moves, a gymnastics of turns, jumps, and splits--and are audiences content to be cheerleaders? Are we so seduced by pyrotechnics that we have forgotten that ballet might also offer something more complex and daring?" The New Republic 02/12/02

DANCING FOR THE GOLD: As part of the Olympic Arts Festival (see companion story in Visual Arts,) the Salt Lake organizers have commissioned several dance pieces to be performed during the games. The performances highlight the fine line between dance and sport - after all, what is figure skating but dancing on ice, and what is dancing but an Olympic event sans crooked judges and endless press coverage? Los Angeles Times 02/16/02


OSCAR NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED: Lord of the Rings picks up 13 nominations. A Beautiful Mind and Moulin Rouge were tied for second place with eight nominations each, including acting nominations for Moulin Rouge's Nicole Kidman and A Beautiful Mind's Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly." Los Angeles Times (AP) 02/12/02

  • OSCAR'S REAL MEANING: History shows that all five films nominated yesterday for best picture will reap market benefits. Oscar contenders, on average, earn $30 million more in box office revenue." The New York Times 02/13/02
  • OSCAR TRIVIA: Who has more Oscar nominations than any other living person? What's unusual about the 10 movies nominated for costume design and art direction? What Oscar record are Will Smith and Denzel Washington a part of? Here's a list of quirky Academy Award factoids related to this year's nominees. The Age (AFP) 02/13/02

STUDIOS TRY TO BLOCK PERSONAL PROGRAMMING: TV and movie studios have sued makers of personal digital recorders to block them from adding features. "If a ReplayTV customer can simply type The X-Files or James Bond and have every episode of The X-Files and every James Bond film recorded in perfect digital form and organized, compiled and stored on the hard drive of his or her ReplayTV 4000 device, it will cause substantial harm to the market for prerecorded DVD, videocassette and other copies of those episodes and films," the lawsuit states. Los Angeles Times 02/12/02

BETTER THAN FILM: A new generation of digital camera sensors promises to revolutionize photography. "There is no longer any need to use film." The New York Times 02/11/02

AN INDICTMENT OF IRRELEVANCE? During the fall and an audience turn to all-news channels, America's PBS television network suffered a 19 percent decline in ratings, more than twice as steep a decline as the major TV networks. "The average primetime household rating for October-December 2001 dropped from 2.1 to 1.79 percent—down 0.4 points, representing a loss of about 350,000 households." Current 01/28/02

THE LITERARY MOVIE: All of a sudden a wave of British books is being made into movies. "These films may be thematically diverse, but they occupy a similar niche and cater to a similar demographic. They're plush adult entertainments; popular yarns that trail literary prestige. Taken as a whole, this wave of Brit-lit cinema spotlights a complex waltz between the author, the book publisher and the film producer. But why is this happening now? And who is calling the tune?" The Guardian (UK) 02/15/02

L.A. PRIORITIES VS. NYC SENSIBILITIES: "Recently, New York's Museum of Modern Art, which is moving its Manhattan operations to a former factory in Queens while the museum undergoes a three-year, $650-million renovation, announced that it is moving its renowned film stills archive, which includes more than 4 million stills, many of them found nowhere else, to Hamlin, Pennsylvania." This being the type of thing that passes for great art in Los Angeles, a number of movie types have their knickers in a bunch. Los Angeles Times 02/15/02

SAG FIGHTING: The disputed election for leadership of the Screen Actors Guild has got nastier, with president Melissa Gilbert and contender Valerie Harper hurling accusations at one another. "Words such as 'slug', 'hatchet man' and accusations of hijacking the election are being hurled by supporters." San Francisco Chronicle 02/14/02

THE DOWNSIDE OF BOOK-BUYING FOR THE MOVIES: Movie producers buy the rights to books because they offer a readymade audience that is already familiar with the book. But there's also a downside: "The lure and the curse of these books lie with their readers. It's the struggle going on right now to get filmgoers interested in The Shipping News: the obvious audience, the people who have read E. Annie Proulx's novel, are the most sceptical. You can tempt them with the Newfoundland scenery and a heavyweight cast but they are wary." The Observer (UK) 02/10/02



LEAVE NO CHILD BEHIND? The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is facing a deficit, and cuts have begun to be made in the area of soloists and guest conductors. "But management also is retrenching in a core area it can ill afford to downgrade - music education. The CSO will severely cut back the in-school ensemble programs, [and] it will reduce the size of its training ensemble, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, for about two-thirds of the concerts scheduled next season... Both moves represent misguided economy. If the institution is worried whether the MTV generation will want to attend symphony concerts once they become adults, depriving them of in-school exposure to classical music is one way to insure these young people will never make the plunge." Chicago Tribune 02/17/02

HILL TO GET A FACELIFT: Towns with populations of 100,000 or so do not generally get the pleasure of regular visits from the world's greatest orchestras, soloists, and choruses. But Ann Arbor, Michigan has been upstaging America's big cities for decades, drawing the world's best touring musicians to its spectacular Hill Auditorium, renowned for both its architecture and acoustics. Now, plans have been announced for a $38.6 million renovation of Hill, and true to today's retro sensibilities, the end result will be a theater that looks much as it did at its opening in 1913. Detroit News 02/17/02

OPERA AUSTRALIA LEFT IN THE LURCH: When tenor Bryn Terfel cancelled a slew of dates for next fall, citing exhaustion and a desire to spend time with his family, he probably didn't intend to send any of the opera companies receiving the cancellations into panic mode. But Opera Australia, which was counting on Terfel to anchor a AUS$2 million production of The Mastersingers of Nuremberg, may have to cancel the whole show if Terfel's star power isn't on hand to make it profitable. Moreover, the gaping hole that would appear in the company's schedule will be hard to fill on such short notice. Sydney Morning Herald 02/17/02

CHAILLY'S REASONS: Ever since Riccardo Chailly's announcement that he would be leaving the music directorship of the Concertgebow for a less prestigious post in Leipzig, critics and musicians alike have been asking what would cause anyone to do such a thing. As it turns out, Chailly is one of those musicians for whom prestige is far less important than the passion he has for his profession. What a concept. Toronto Star 02/16/02

MENOTTI'S GIFT: "In 1936 this Italian composer wrote what has become the most-performed opera in America. He founded the renowned Spoleto music festival and moved to a stately home in Scotland in the 1970s, where his plan for an arts centre for young talent has foundered in the face of indifference." Why can't Gian Carlo Menotti get more respect? The Guardian (UK) 02/16/02

SO IS THIS MUSIC OR ART? OR BOTH? "Sound art" is still a fairly controversial and largely unknown concept, and the fact that it takes place in traditionally silent museums and galleries rather than concert halls probably isn't helping its image. But a new travelling exhibit aims to unravel some of the confusion surounding the medium, and mainstream it as well. "Visitors will witness both the work of artists who create 'instruments' they play during live performances and the work of those who build soundscapes from abstract environments." Wired 02/15/02

COPYCAT FLUTE? Did Mozart plagiarize for one of his most popular operas? There are an awful lot of similarities in characters and music in his Magic Flute to an opera called The Beneficent Dervish, which was composed before Flute and which Mozart almost certainly heard. Slate 02/13/02

ONE FROM COLUMN A... The music of choice for a new iconic Levi's commercial? A Handel Sarabande. But isn't classical music a sell for older folks? Surely not the 20-somethings Levi is playing to. "In the thick of the biggest technological, demographic and moral upheavals for two centuries, our cultural needs are changing gear. Classical no longer means what it did in the 20th century. It is not the elite preserve of the middle-aged middle classes, nor is it off limits to kids.." The Telegraph (UK) 02/13/02

A CHANGING SOUND: To the confusion of listeners, the acoustics in Philadelpia's new Kimmel Center seem to change with each concert - and not always for the better. The acoustician has a variety of explanations, and "the acoustics are especially changeable now, when every visit to the new cello-shaped concert room reveals physical changes. Construction continues, with carpenters and others working the midnight-to-8-a.m. shift." Philadelphia Inquirer 02/12/02

WHERE DID CITY OPERA'S MONEY GO? A benefit for victims of September 11 by New York City Opera sold tickets for as much as $100, and the house was nearly full. The cast and crew donated their services for the occasion. So why did only $18,500 find its way to the September 11 fund? "There has been no accounting - it's all a big mystery," a chorus member said. "We put our hearts into this. Everybody wants to know what came of it." The $18,500 would equal the sale of just 185 of the benefit's $100 tickets, although some tickets sold for $50 and $25." By contrast, the Metropolitan Opera's fundraiser donated $2.6 million to the fund. New York Post 02/10/02

UK RECORDINGS SALES UP: While global sales of recordings went down last year, in Britain they went up. "The total amount of money spent on music in the UK rose by 5.3% in the UK in 2001 to £1.2 billion, according to the British Phonographic Industry." While American recording companies blame digital piracy for their slump, the UK figures suggest that if the product is good, consumers are still buying. BBC 02/11/02


WHO'S AFRAID OF GETTING OLD? It's been 40 years since Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and Edward Albee is officially a septuagenarian, a period of life when many playwrights are content to fade into the background. Not Albee - two new plays will have their New York openings in the next month, and the general consensus is that the writer is having his most prolific and successful period at a time of life when so many others have little left to say. The New York Times 02/17/02

111-YEAR OLD NYC ARTIST DIES: "Theresa Bernstein, an influential painter and writer whose career spanned nearly 90 years, died Wednesday. She was 111. Bernstein gained recognition in the early 1900s as one of the first female realists, a school of art that depicted often gritty portrayals of people living everyday lives... Also an activist, Bernstein was a founding member of the Society of Independent Artists, a group begun in 1916 to sponsor regular exhibits of contemporary art without juries or prizes." National Post (CP) 02/15/02

SECURING LANGSTON HUGHES' LEGACY: One of Langston Hughes' goals was to establish himself as a major figure in 20th-Century literature. "There was a sense of triumph in the air as more than 500 scholars and other enthusiasts gathered at the University of Kansas to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Hughes's birth and to embrace his legacy. In speeches, films, concerts, art shows and poetry readings, they proclaimed him a visionary whose clarion voice spanned the heart of the 20th century from the Harlem Renaissance to the civil rights movement." The New York Times 02/14/02

CRITICAL DISCONNECT: Last week author Caleb Carr sent an "enraged" letter to complaining about reviews of his book. He "bitterly attacked reviewer Laura Miller and New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani, implying that they should stick to writing about 'bad women's fiction'." Not surprisingly, the comments didn't go well with readers, and now Carr has apologised. "Meanwhile, has pulled Carr's self-review of Lessons of Terror. The author had given himself the highest rating, five stars, and stated, 'Several reviews have made claims concerning my credibility that are, quite simply, libelous, and will be dealt with soon'." Baltimore Sun (AP) 02/13/02

SWEARING AT "SILLY" PRIZES: Madonna has been admonished by BBC TV Channel 4 for swearing on live television as she presented the Turner Prize. "Channel 4 said its trust in Madonna had been abused. During the ceremony Madonna claimed awards shows were 'silly'. Channel 4 had put special precautions in place because of the singer's reputation for shocking and she had been cautioned about how she should behave." BBC 02/11/02



NEXT HE'LL BE PRAISING MICROSOFT! Critic Johnathan Yardley recently touched a nerve when, in the course of writing a column on the state of bookselling, he dared to posit the heretical notion that the big chain bookstores (Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, etc.) are not only not evil, but actually superior in many ways to small independents. A firestorm of responsible opposing viewpoints has descended, and several of them got together for a little conference-call Yardley-bashing. Holt Uncensored 02/08/02

GOOD CITIZENSHIP OR SNEAKY MARKETING? The literary magazine Book has been making strides in the publishing world recently, and the glossy, high-impact look it favors has been attracting attention from some big-money types. But a controversy has arisen over Book's newest benefactor, and despite protestations of editorial independence from all sides, some observers are worried that the magazine will soon become little more than a Barnes & Noble promotional tool. Philadelphia Inquirer 02/14/02

IN PRAISE OF SMALL PRESSES: "Everyone knows book publishing is an easy thing to do, just as everyone knows he can run a baseball team or put out a newspaper. The business model for these small houses permits them to produce print runs of 3,000 or 4,000 or 5,000 copies and still have a chance for profit. Larger houses need minimums of 12,000 or 15,000 copies, virtually eliminating the likelihood that they will take a chance on the experimental. Would one of today's conglomerate publishing houses be the first to publish Joyce's Ulysses? Not likely." The New York Times 02/14/02

THE DISAPPEARING AUSTRALIAN: Only two of Australia's Top 10 best-selling books last year were Australian. "Interest in Australian writers, it seems, is waning fast, leaving our culture in danger of either being swamped by globally marketed mega-sellers, or disappearing up its own, scarcely regarded, fundament. The figures don't lie, but perhaps the root of the problem rests not in a lack of interest, nor in disregard for our own history by publishing houses. Perhaps it lies in the practical application of those two awful words: 'Australian' and 'literature'." The Age (UK) 02/12/02

CLUBBING: It's a common perception in the book industry that book clubs divert retail sales rather than add new readers. But a new industry study concludes that "the clubs serve as powerful promotional vehicles that stimulate sales through a wide variety of channels." Publishers Weekly 02/11/02

COMMISSION INCREASE: "The largest literary agencies, William Morris and International Creative Management, have both quietly raised the commissions they charge authors to 15 percent of their advance and royalties from 10 percent." The New York Times 02/10/02


TONY THINKING: There don't look to be any new shows with the blockbuster potential of The Producers waiting to open on Broadway this spring. But "this year's Tony races may well be the most competitive in years, with intense jockeying for nominations and some close races for prizes." The New York Times 02/15/02

ROUNDABOUT TO BUY PARTY PALACE: New York's Roundabout Theatre - one of the city's most successful repertory theatres, has decided to buy the old Studio 54. "The Roundabout plans to buy the legendary 1970s disco for $25 million to stage musicals. It will use $9 million expected from the city's Department of Cultural Affairs and up to $32 million raised from triple tax-exempt bonds. With more than 46,000 subscribers and more than 700,000 audience members last year, the Roundabout has been on a roll since emerging from eight years of bankruptcy in 1985." Newsday 02/13/02

A TOUGH ROOM: The first-ever Korean theatre production to travel to London's West End met with mostly dismal reviews last week. The Korea Times isn't thrilled by the reviews: "Despite the producers’ translating the lyrics to aid English-speaking audiences, most of reviews said that the production was 'incomprehensible' (The Times 02/06, Guardian 02/05) or 'unintelligible' (Daily Telegraph 02/06) with London’s Evening Standard saying the lyrics 'sink beneath criticism's reach'.’’ Particularly cutting, notes the Korea Times was the Telegraph reviewer's making "a derogatory reference to dog-eating Koreans." Korea Times 02/12/02

KENNEDY CENTER RECORD: The Kennedy Center's upcoming festival devoted to the work of Stephen Sondheim set a record for one-day ticket sales at the center yesterday. "The day's take for the center's upcoming Sondheim Celebration topped out at $639,000. That snapped the center's previous one-day, single-ticket record of $526,000, set by Beauty and the Beast in 1996. The total take for the series, including group sales and subscriptions, reached $2 million." Washington Post 02/12/02

SAG ELECTION INVESTIGATION: The U.S. Department of Labor has launched an official investigation into the Screen Actors Guild's botched elections. "At the center of the drama is Valerie Harper, who narrowly lost her bid for the office of president to Melissa Gilbert during the fall elections. At the last minute, voting rules were changed arbitrarily, and a decision to rerun the election was challenged by Gilbert's camp. 02/08/02


SMITHSONIAN LAYOFFS: The Smithsonian has laid off 45 employees because of declines in visitors and a $9 million budget shortfall. "The 45 employees all work in administrative areas for the Smithsonian's central offices. This is the second time in five months that the Smithsonian has dismissed workers in the face of declining revenues. In October and November, the institution's business office laid off 60 people who worked mainly in the Smithsonian's gift shops and theaters." Washington Post 02/14/02

JEWISH MUSEUM BOYCOTT: Some Jewish leaders are urging a boycott of New York's Jewish Museum over an exhibition that presents work related to the Holocaust. "The show includes such works as a 'Lego Concentration Camp Set'; a 'Giftgas Giftset' of poison-gas drums bearing the designer logos of Chanel, Hermes and Tiffany; a photograph of emaciated Buchenwald inmates into which the artist digitally inserted himself holding a Diet Coke; and the series of starkly handsome Mengele busts. Some critics have called the artwork "not merely tasteless but morally repugnant." Washington Post 02/14/02

ICA DEBATE GETS LOUDER: London's Institute of Contemporary Arts has come in for a great deal of criticism lately, and they're a bit fed up with everyone else thinking they could do better. One week after a London critic accused the ICA of abandoning its edgy, avant-garde past, one of its directors fires back: "At its best, the ICA hasn't simply assumed that it knows what art and culture are; it asked questions about them - and about their relationship to the wider world." The Observer (UK) 02/17/02

NOTHING SPECIAL: In the age of the blockbuster traveling exhibit, museums draw in visitors by declaring nearly every new collection of pieces as a "special" exhibition. But what's so special about them? "Today's special exhibitions are much less special than they ought to be: They often consist of nothing more than a grab bag of pieces pulled out of some other institution's permanent collection." Washington Post 02/17/02

DIVERSIFYING THE DOCENTS: American museums have long had a tradition of docents, volunteers who lead tours, answer questions, lick stamps, and generally give the place an extra shot of personality. Traditionally, these docents tend to be gentle retirees, soft-spoken and aged. But now, several museums are making a distinct effort to broaden the pool, including younger and more diverse voices in the ranks of these über-volunteers. Los Angeles Times 02/17/02

FOSTER'S BOSTON: The director of Boston's Museum of Fine Arts yesterday unveiled the design for a massive expansion, as envisioned and executed by British architect Norman Foster. First impressions have been favorable, with one local critic gushing that the "brilliant proposal... promises to produce the first great Boston public building of the 21st century." Boston Globe 02/15/02

  • DON'T BUILDINGS COST MONEY? One question that keeps dogging the Boston MFA expansion process still does not have an answer, even after lavish plans for the future of the building have been unveiled: who's paying for all this? But expected opposition to the expansion as a whole from neighborhood activists and preservationists has failed to materialize, largely because the plans do not include any addition to the size of the museum's basic "footprint." Boston Globe 02/15/02

WHEN YOU'VE DESTROYED EVERYTHING, THEN WHAT? A year ago artist Michael Landy set himself up in an old London department store and systematically destroyed all of his physical possessions. He destroyed 7,226 items, including other artists' work and his most prized belongings, and more than 45,000 people came to watch along the way. So what's he up to a year later? "Landy has made little art since Break Down. 'I didn't want to make any work. I didn't want to do anything. I didn't feel the need to." The Guardian (UK) 02/13/02

THE STRANGE CASE OF THE MISSING CHAGALL: A painting found in an undeliverable package in a post office in Topeka Kansas has been authenticated as a Chagall stolen from New York's Jewish Museum last June. Oddly, the painting had been the subject of a letter "received by the museum and postmarked in the Bronx on June 12. It was signed by an organization called the International Committee for Art and Peace that claimed to have played a role in the painting's disappearance. The letter said the work of art would not be returned until peace came to the Middle East. The F.B.I. said it had no knowledge of such an organization." The New York Times 02/15/02

HIGH COST OF ONLINE ART SALES: Sotheby's says it has lost $150 million in the past two years trying to make a go of an online business. "Now, as part of a continuing effort to slash the mounting costs and increase its range of potential customers, Sotheby's is about to begin a joint venture with the giant American web-based company eBay." The Age (Melborune) 02/13/02

A MATTER OF SUSTAINABILITY? An Australian artist's average income in 1996-97 was $15,300. A group of 18 cultural institutions yesterday called for an increase in funding for visual arts to $15 million a year. "We have come to a critical point where the sustainability of Australia's visual culture is in serious jeopardy." Sydney Morning Herald 02/13/02

WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE GUGGENHEIM: Some have gone so far as to say that director Thomas Krens 'articulated a vision of the art museum in the 21st century.' But this isn't 'a vision,' it's a ruse masquerading as a wow. The only thing Krens did was cross Museum Mile with Broadway: He created glitzy palaces and high-concept productions dependent on onetime, out-of-town visitors. Now that the museum has fired 90 people and postponed or canceled the Kasimir Malevich, Douglas Gordon, and Matthew Barney surveys (Barney's would have opened next week), the Guggenheim looks a lot less "visionary" and a lot more dubious, with each branch set up to support another branch. The business world calls this leveraging. The street calls it a shell game. I think we can call it reprehensible." Village Voice 02/12/02

RECORD WEEK AT THE AUCTIONS: Christie's Auction House has had a record sales week. "A series of 19th and 20th century sales made a total of £73.1 million, and record prices for six artists were established. BBC 02/10/02

THE ENRONIFICATION OF MUSEUMS: Raising money for art is good. But the $385 million that Smithsonian chief Lawrence Small has raised in the past two years has "come at a price. Parts of the Smithsonian have been named after Orkin, Kmart, Fuji Film and General Motors. The National Museum of American History is now the Behring Center, after a benefactor's $80 million donation. No fewer than five museum directors have chosen to leave or retire since Mr. Small took office, some in response to the secretary's unscholarly priorities." 02/08/02

  • SELLING YOUR SOUL: Friends of the Smithsonian should cheer the institution's loss of $38 million from a donor last week. "The plain fact, though, is that the deal should never have been done in the first place. Leaving aside the merits of the Spirit of America proposal, it is self-evident that this was bad curatorial policy, pure and simple. In his eagerness to raise cash for his underfunded institution, Smithsonian Secretary Lawrence M. Small made the mistake of transferring basic curatorial responsibilities to someone whose only apparent qualification for assuming them is a well-padded bank account." Washington Post 02/11/02


HOORAY FOR ELITISM! "These days, to be called elitist is to have one's character defamed, like being called racist or sexist. Unfortunately for arts organizations, fear of the label can have a worse outcome than wearing it proudly - especially when it leads to mundane programming and favors diversity over quality." Minneapolis Star Tribune 02/17/02

ROYAL OPERA HOUSE TO GO MULTIMEDIA: London's Royal Opera House is going multimedia. Under new director Tony Hall (who knows something about electronic media after his years at the BBC) the ROH will broadcast performances on large screens. A test is planned for London, and the idea will be tried elsewhere if the initial broadcasts are a success. There are also plans to offer broadcasts of live performances in cinemas and "the opportunity to have online chats with stars including Placido Domingo and Darcey Bussell." The Independent (UK) 02/13/02

INSITEFUL: "Site-specific work has developed out of a gradual loss of faith, or interest, in traditional purpose-built venues - the gilt-and-velvet theatre in which the curtain rises on a play, the gallery where flat paintings hang on white walls, or those dreary municipal 'centres' such as the Barbican, that sprang up in the Sixties and Seventies." For 10 years one of the most ambitious presenters of site-specific work in the UK is a group called Artangel. "Many such Artangel projects involve what is known as 'the community'. But we don't tick politically correct boxes, or set out to be accessible and non-elitist. It's the artist who leads, and we follow." The Telegraph (UK) 02/12/02

SHIFTING SEAT OF LEARNING: For a long time, New England has been considered home to America's most prestigious universities. "But these days, the region's dominant hold on the higher-education market is fading. The nation's population center is shifting to the South and West, where a handful of public and private colleges have emerged as real competitors in selectivity, quality, and, most of all, price." Chronicle of Higher Education 02/11/02

10. FOR FUN 

WHERE NO ONE KNOWS YOUR NAME: "So what do you do?" "I'm a conceptual artist." "How interesting. What project are you working on at the moment?" "I only have one project. I change my name by deed poll every six months." The Guardian (UK) 02/13/02

SILENCING EUROPE'S ORCHESTRAS? A proposed European Union law would limit the amount of noise in the workplace. But under the law, symphony orchestras playing all out would exceed the limits. "The Association of British Orchestras (ABO) is fighting to be exempted. The parliament wants to reduce the decibel limit of noise in the workplace to 83, the point at which workers have to wear hearing protection. A single trumpet is said to play up to 130 decibels and the ABO fears that the directive would effectively silence performances. 'It will stop us playing any loud music whatsoever, affecting almost of all of the pieces played by orchestras'." BBC 02/12/02