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Week of  February 25-March 3, 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


LAST DAYS OF THE BAMIYAN BUDDHAS: Here's a chilling, detailed account of the Taliban's efforts last year to destroy the giant stone Bamiyan Buddhas. "The destruction required an extraordinary effort, so complex that foreign explosives experts had to be brought in and local residents were forced to dangle on ropes over a cliff face to chip out holes for explosives. According to witnesses and participants, the Taliban struggled with ropes and pulleys, rockets, iron rods, jackhammers, artillery and tanks before a series of massive explosions finally toppled the statues." Los Angeles Times 02/24/02

DOES ART STILL MATTER AFTER? "In 1937, it took a couple of days for Picasso to hear the news of Guernica; today, he would have watched it unfolding live on television. This immediacy and its accompanying glut of images and information is itself a challenge to artists. One difficulty in making art about Sept. 11 is that it is hard to create anything that rivals in magnitude the live images that so much of the world spent days obsessively watching on television. In the face of this new reality, the demand that art respond literally, directly and rapidly to crisis contains an underlying note of panic: an urge to demonstrate to a broader public, through a definitive statement on something of great social moment, that art is indeed necessary, that art can still make a difference, despite a growing fear that it is not and cannot." The New York Times 03/03/02 

LEARNING THROUGH POP CULTURE: Does "teaching" popular culture dumb down education? Maybe not. "Getting our students to 'read' popular cultural critically may well become our task as teachers in an age increasingly dominated by the mass media. If students can learn to reflect on what they view in movies or on television, the process may eventually make them better readers of literature. The many critics of popular culture, who adamantly oppose its inclusion in the college curriculum, fear that studying it inevitably involves dragging what has traditionally been regarded as high culture down to the same level. But that is not to say that no embrace is possible. By being selective and rigorously analytical, one may be able to lift popular culture up to the level of high culture, or at least pull it in that direction." Wilson Quarterly 01/02


A CONTEMPORARY TRADITION: A dance festival in Limmerick, Ireland draws dancers from all over the world, presenting a variety of traditions. One of the pressing issues is the tension between tradition and innovation -  "We need to create a contemporary culture out of tradition. What do I need from the past and the present to make my future?" Irish Times 03/02/02

EVERYONE LOVES A GOOD STORY: Story ballets once ruled the dance stage. Then came Balanchine and a long period of abstract dance. But "the rising popularity of story ballets suggests the pendulum of popular taste may be swinging back. The difference now is that we live in an age dominated by film and television. Yesterday's sets and costumes can't do the eye-seducing job they once did." Toronto Star 03/02/02 

DANCING TO THE SINGING: A number of dance companies have recently taken up operas as subjects for dance. "Given the dramatic and musical vitality of great operas and the way the performing arts can borrow from one another, it is no surprise that choreographers venture into operatic subject matter. Yet making ballets out of operas — turning dramas expressed through song into dramas based on movement — requires solving challenging theatrical problems."  The New York Times 03/03/02

RAGGED LEGACY: The Kirov Ballet is one of the world's most-stories dance companies. But "on the evidence of its recent season at the Kennedy Center, though, the company is in a state of confusion, rushing pell-mell in two different and opposite directions at once." New York Observer 02/26/02 

HERE THEY GO AGAIN IN BOSTON: "Mikko Nissinen won't arrive in town for good until April, but the Boston Ballet's incoming artistic director has let go of six of the company's 43 dancers and decided not to renew contracts for three of its four instructors. This is less turmoil than there was last year, when 15 dancers were laid off. Only a week later, Maina Gielgud, hired to take over as artistic director, resigned abruptly, complaining that cuts had been made without her involvement." Boston Globe 02/26/02


WHAT'S WRONG WITH AN ALL-ARTS CHANNEL? This weekend the BBC launches BBC4, its new arts channel. But not all arts lovers are cheering. "BBC4, for all its cultural riches, is not a creative channel in the way that BBC1 and BBC2 were at their best. Its philosophy is alien to the creative risk that produces great television. Rather, it stripmines other art forms and creates little that is new." The Guardian (UK) 03/02/02 

OUR LIVES IN MOVIES: Film biographies rule the screen these days. But "the biopic is more than a film 'based on a true story' or a movie about historical events. In a secular society, biopics can be the closest we get to lives of the saints - or the sinners. They can be cautionary tales, inspirational stories, lenses through which we view the past - cheery hagiographies or bitter denunciations." The Age (Melbourne) 03/01/02

ILLUSIONS OF QUALITY: Is Miramax "the world's most annoying" film company? "Movies are all about illusion, and the greatest illusion of them all is the illusion of quality. This is Miramax's stock-in-trade. It takes stories that seem a bit classy - Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Shakespeare in Love, Chocolat - and turns them into cultureless mush, affected little movies which are grand in their own way, and which win Oscars, but which are actually meritless escapades fine-tuned to dupe the public." The Telegraph (UK) 03/01/02

HANDS OFF OUR BUSINESS! With the US Congress threatening to write legislation requiring copy protection technology in new digital devices, tech companies pledge to come up with a standard of their own. The movie industry is worried that new devices will allow consumers to rip off their products. Wired 02/27/02

NPR SCALING BACK ON CULTURE? "National Public Radio has begun an extensive review of its musical programming, and is considering overhauling or eliminating some of its venerable jazz and classical offerings. A strategy paper written by NPR's top programming executive says some of the network's live performance and recorded music shows 'may disappear,' although officials stress that nothing is final." Washington Post 02/27/02

SYNERGY OR MONOPOLY? When Congress changed the rules of the broadcast industry back in the mid-90s, supporters claimed the new system would spur greater competition and better content for consumers. The exact opposite has been the case, as "old-fashioned, bare-knuckled competition grudgingly gives way to attempted "synergy," as companies that bring us news, information and banal sitcoms keep getting bigger and more powerful, while simultaneously trying to use their various assets to prop up and support each other." Los Angeles Times 02/27/02

AUSTRALIA LURES FILMMAKERS: Australia is proud of its movie industry and hopes to attract more Hollywood productions. So the government has introduced a bill to give movie producers shooting in Australia a 12.5 percent tax rebate, which could save producers millions of dollars. Backers of the idea claim that "when coupled with Australia's weak currency, state government incentives and cheap labour costs, Australia becomes one of the most viable places in the world to shoot a movie." The Age (Melbourne) 02/25/02 


DO-IT-YOURSELF WINNER: "A live concert performance of Berlioz's spectacular opera Les Troyens, released by the London Symphony Orchestra on its own budget label, has trumped the major labels by taking home the best classical and best opera gold." Los Angeles Times 02/28/02

LONDON'S LAST ARTS CENTER? London's Barbican Centre is 20 years old It's more appreciated now than when it opened, but "the Barbican is the last great exemplar of how not to build a concert hall. It is also the last arts centre we are likely to see. The concept of a Gesamtkunstgebau - a building for all the traditional arts - has outlived its time. It has been overtaken by a new eclecticism, by our reluctance to be nose-led by curators and our curiosity to seek culture from plural sources. The arts centre has educational overtones that offend the educated mind." The Telegraph (UK) 02/27/02

REINVENTING OPERA: How much liberty ought an opera director or producer have in setting an opera. Updating and reinterpreting are popular right now, and they can help an audience see a piece in a new way. On the other hand, some rethinking distracts from the the work itself. But how far is too far? Chicago Tribune 02/28/02

THE END OF MUSIC AS WE KNOW IT? Pop musicians are joining up to break the "tyranny" of  music industry contracts. "If this pop-star labour movement is able to overcome the anarchy and dissension of music's fractious communities, it could put an end to the music business as we know it. It is a little-understood drama that is pummelling the giant music conglomerates just as they are beginning to collapse under their own weight. The next few years could mark the end of Big Music, an institution that has promoted homogeneity and poor taste for decades." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 03/02/02

SAMPLE THIS: It wasn't that long ago that musicians were railing against rappers sampling their music to make new songs. The practice is a staple of hip hop. Then the practice became highly regulated (and lucrative). "Now more than ever, it's the sellers who are actively trying to get established and up-and-coming musicians interested in picking up a beat, a musical fragment, or a snippet of lyrics. Yet the selling price of samples has some artists saying they're not in the market to buy anymore. ''It's costing too much to get clearances, and sometimes it's easier to just do your own music'.'' Boston Globe 03/03/02

CITY OPERA AT WTC? New York City Opera is talking to other New York cultural institutions about building a major new arts center on the site of the World Trade Center. "City Opera officials caution that their planning is in its early stages and that they have not made a decision to go forward. But they have attracted interest from the Joyce Theater, the Chelsea-based home of contemporary dance, in becoming involved in the project, which in one configuration would include a 2,200- seat opera house for itself, a 900-seat dance space and possibly a museum." The New York Times 02/28/02

RATTLE IN BERLIN: Simon Rattle takes over the Berlin Philharmonic podium later this year. The Berlin Phil is possibly the world's most prestigious orchestra. But is it possible the orchestra needs Rattle more than he needs it? "Perhaps it will send a signal that the times are indeed changing and that the symphonic music business needs to get with the times in order to maintain some relevance. It signals a dramatic shift in the mythology and mystery surrounding the role of the conductor - from an unapproachable, distantly enigmatic, eccentric figure to a proactive, hands-on, engaging human being that musicians and the public can relate to!" Christian Science Monitor 03/01/02

THE ART OF A CONCERT HALL: As the new Frank Gehry-designed home for the Los Angeles Philharmonic rises, it's worth noting that when the LA Phil's current home - the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion - opened back in 1964, its acoustics were widely praised. Still, the new Disney Hall will be a landmark building for the city, one of its most distinctive structures.Financial Times 02/27/02

BROOKLYN MUSICIANS LOCKED OUT? The Brooklyn Philharmonic is on shaky financial ground since September 11. Accordingly, the orchestra replaced some planned concerts with solo piano recitals instead. The musicians union - the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) - has complained that the orchestra has "locked out" its 77 orchestra members by making the program change... Backstage 02/25/02

IN SEARCH OF WOMEN: "Even now at the start of the 21st century, decades after the dawn of the contemporary feminist movement saw a rise in women's orchestras and gender-based musicological studies and long after the inclusion of a single piece by a female composer on a concert program has ceased to be remarkable, a whole concert of music by women, performed by women, still feels unusual. It remains an exception to the classical music norm, which is a concert of music written entirely by men." The New York Times 02/26/02

COOPERATING THEIR WAY OUT OF DEBT: The St. Louis Symphony has been facing major money problems. In response, the orchestra's musicians have come forward as partners with managerment. Perhaps here is a model for other orchestras. "It was clear right away that we had to move from arguing over how to cut up the pie to how to keep the boat from sinking. We all had to start bailing. We've already decided it's not merely to show up and play the notes on the page. But what is it? We're not fund-raisers, we don't plan the musical program, but we can contribute in those areas and in many others. I wasn't trained to do anything more than play the instrument, but that's not enough anymore." The New York Times 02/25/02

GRAMMY BLUES: It's Grammy time again, but the recording industry isn't really in a celebrating mood. "Music sales are sagging, hundreds of layoffs have demoralized record company staffers and superstar artists have united for a public revolt against the industry's business practices. And, more troubling in the long run, consumers are embracing new technologies that threaten to scatter the industry's musical commodities like coins spilled on a busy street. Last year, blank CDs outsold all music albums in the U.S. for the first time, and, as the Napster saga showed, tens of millions of fans are willing to grab their music online without paying." Los Angeles Times 02/24/02 

PRODUCER AS CREATIVE ARTIST: Music recording and editing software has become so sophisticated that producers have become an indespensible part of the musical creative process. "It's sort of the same as the difference between a typewriter and a word processor. The computer-based systems allow you to do the kind of editing that you do with a word processor, but with sound." Los Angeles Times 02/24/02


ROCKWELL OUT AT NYT: "John Rockwell, editor of The New York Times' Sunday Arts & Leisure section for the past four years, steps down from the influential post today. He will move into the newly created position of senior cultural correspondent, writing cultural news stories and criticism... Under Rockwell's guidance, it has developed into perhaps the country's most prominent source of performing arts commentary, with coverage of everything from movies to the performing arts, from the mainstream to the fringe." Andante 03/01/02

GOODWIN OFF NEWSHOUR: Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin has acknowledged using other writers' work "without sufficient attribution." She's left - or been dropped from - the PBS newshour program. The University of Delaware has cancelled an invitation to speak at commencement. Isn't that enough punishment? Maybe not. Boston Globe 02/28/02


READING ALONG: American book sales were flat in 2001. "Following a year that benefited from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, sales in the children's hardcover segment fell 22.7% in 2001 to $928.6 million. Paperback sales, however, had a second consecutive solid year with sales ahead 17.9% to $887.6 million. In addition to paperback editions of Potter books, segment sales were boosted by tie-ins to the Lord of the Rings movie." Publishers Weekly 02/26/02

PRESSURE TO PLAGIARIZE: Why are respected historians plagiarizing other people's work? "There is some truth to the claim that trade publishing has become a harried, assembly-line operation with its head on the block. Only serial blockbusters can stay the ax man's hand. Thus many books have become as formulaic and shoddy as the flicks that Hollywood churns out. Publishers and writers are desperate to cash in on the latest craze, be it baseball, the founding fathers or jihad. Their livelihoods depend on it." Los Angeles Times 02/28/02

  • WHY PLAGIARISM MATTERS: Why is so much attention being paid to the plagiarism by historians Stephen Ambrose and Doris Kearns Goodwin? "No one would care about this if Goodwin and Ambrose were obscure assistant professors laboring in some academic backwater. Both, however, are best-selling authors and TV pundits, which is why this literary scandal has generated so many headlines during the past two months. The controversy has touched off a national debate about what constitutes ethical behavior among writers and researchers, especially now that the Internet has made it so easy to copy passages electronically and insert them into a text." 02/28/02
  • AN EXPLANATION (BARELY), NOT AN EXCUSE: "Books are the products of artisans and artists, and this doesn't allow for them to be mass-produced at their creation like toasters that some assembly line puts together out of these and those parts gathered from here and there. If writers do want to try to run a factory, fine: just as long as they use their own raw materials." The New York Times 02/28/02

POETRY IN THE PASSING LANE: Editorial writers like to claim, without a lot of evidence, that 'poetry is on the move.' They rejoice that Beowulf is a best seller at last. Does this mean that poetry and democracy have come face to face? That poetry is no longer stuck under the thumb of the learned or even the literate? It might. With recent developments in technology; with poems traveling around the world on the Internet without price, tariff, or tax; with cyberwatchers able to encounter a fresh poem every day of the year, selected from new books and magazines, at, poetry may be gaining lots of customers." The Atlantic 03/02

E-BOOKS - NOT QUITE AS DEAD AS WE THOUGHT: "The theme at this year's annual meeting of the Association of American Publishers seems left over from the dot-com boom: "Protecting Intellectual Property in the Digital Age." The recent shutdown of electronic imprints at Random House and AOL Time Warner Inc. makes e-books look like a dying fashion. The e-market continues to expand, nevertheless. While annual numbers for individual publishers remain small - in the tens of thousands of copies sold - Simon & Schuster, St. Martin's Press, HarperCollins and others report double-digit growth over the past year." Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (AP) 02/27/02

CENSORSHIP OR EDITING? When a prominent Oxford professor was asked to write a piece on Tony Blair by the London Review of Books, he turned in a piece praising the Prime Minister for his conduct since September 11. Did the magazine kill the piece because editors didn't like the politics? The Guardian 03/02/02  

TOUGH READ: Who knew choosing a book for all New Yorkers to read at the same time would be so tough? "It was working in Seattle, Milwaukee, and California. So why couldn't it work in New York? How anyone could ever have thought it would work in New York seems a more pertinent question now, as the plan to select a single novel to embody the spirit of the most spectacularly diverse city in America degenerates into arguments and recrimination." The Guardian (UK) 02/27/02

HIGH COST RETURNS: The Beardstown Ladies investment club claimed high returns and parlayed the club's wisdom into a publishing juggernaut, selling millions of books. "But claims of a 23.4 percent return on their investments over the 10-year period between 1984-93 turned out to be false. The club revised that number to 9.1 percent — still well below the 15 percent annual return of the overall stock market, with dividends reinvested, over the same period." Now the first reader lawsuits have been settled, and anyone who can prove they bought the books will get $25 vouchers from the publishers. Yahoo! (AP) 02/26/02

THE CURSE OF THE VANITY PRESS: Universal publishing might seem to be a good idea, but really... have you seen what people really want to have published? "All that stands between us and this nightmare vision of total authorship is the publishing industry itself, especially the major houses, trading on their power not to publish. By not publishing a lot of tat each year, these giants keep the storytelling hordes at bay." The Observer (UK) 02/24/02

BURIED IN SLUSH: "Some publishers consider reading slush a waste of resources and no longer accept it; some bribe their assistants to read it by throwing slush-and-pizza parties (presumably figuring that nothing makes cheesy fiction go down easier than a little cheese and pepperoni). My publisher welcomed all slush and handed me the reins. Thus for two years, in addition to fulfilling my normal editorial duties, I hired freelance readers, generated form rejection slips, evaluated the rare promising submission and fielded phone calls from every would-be Frank McCourt with a manuscript in his drawer and an Oprah's Book Club Pick in his dreams. I wish I could say that serving as a conduit between the publishing elite and the uncorrupted masses taught me valuable lessons in compassion and grace. Instead, it convinced me that the world is full of lunatics." Salon 02/25/02 


TRY-OUT BLACKOUT: Time was when theatre productions regularly came to Connecticut for try-outs before moving to Broadway. The Connecticut stop happens much less frequently these days, but when they do come, some producers try to discourage critics from reviewing their efforts. Do they have something to hide? Hartford Courant 02/24/02 

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE ORCHESTRA? "For decades and for economic reasons, more and more shows have played Broadway or gone a-touring with increasingly thin pit orchestras. In recent years, secondary touring editions of everything from Ragtime to Titanic have thrown a sparse handful of live musicians on top of what's known as a 'virtual orchestra,' a computerized whatzit (there's more than one brand) designed to sound like a bigger and grander and more fabulous orchestra than the one at hand." Even the experts can't always is there anything wrong with this? Chicago Tribune 03/03/02

ODE TO THE GLOBE: Shakespeare purists may scoff at the rebuilt Globe Theatre in London, but after five years, the Globe has sold more than a million tickets and filled 80 percent of its seats. And the actors? "I've played in all sorts of places, but I think this is the most exciting building to act in in the world. You feel the audience is so there. The feeling onstage is almost as if you are part of them and they are part of you. The reaction of the audience is from the gut, unconditioned by all the stuff you get at the Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theater. People react as they want to." The New York Times 03/03/02

MILLER TO GUTHRIE: Playwright Arthur Miller has decided to produce his new play Resurrection Blues, at the Guthrie Theatre in the Twin Cities this fall. "I have to decide where to do it first, away from the big time. (New York) is not an atmosphere conducive to creation. The tension is high because there's so much money resting on a poor little play." St. Paul Pioneer Press 03/01/02

NEW THEATRE IN TOWN: Four years ago two men came to Greensboro, North Carolina  with dreams of starting a new theatre. They quickly raised $5 million, bought the old Montgomery Ward department store building and transformed it into a handsome new home. "In a large metropolitan area, it would not be unusual for an arts group to raise $5 million (or a lot more) in a few years." But in medium-size Greensboro, the feat has tuned heads. Winston-Salem Journal 02/24/03 


PHILLIPS' NEW OWNERS: The No. 3 auction house has been bought, and many changes are in store. But some auction watchers are dubious: "Unless they have some new and exotic weapon, I cannot imagine how they will succeed against Sotheby's and Christie's. I can't understand how someone would put money into Phillips. They don't have the space or the broad reach to compete." The New York Times 02/28/02

WHAT'S A BIENNIAL TO DO? Art biennials are everywhere. "Just this year, one could biennial-hop through 17 cities in 15 countries." Some wonder what the point is? To promote artists? Cities? Egos? "As mega-events, however, biennials may be a troubled form. Last month, the Venice Biennale approached bureaucratic meltdown as it was announced that the entire biennial committee and chairman had resigned amid wrangling over political and artistic control. In fact, some professionals see down- scaling — call it a countermovement against globalism — and events held outside Europe or the United States as the real trend." The New York Times 03/03/02

  • ANOTHER OFFBEAT BIENNIAL: This year's Whitney Biennial is being curated by the museum's Larry Rinder. His "unabashed enthusiasm for stuff that’s way outside the fine-arts box mean that this year's Biennial promises to be one of its strangest manifestations ever, and perhaps a watershed moment in American art." So what might it look like? "There’ll probably be a lot more of what might be called youth culture or even skateboard culture. I’m really interested in that stuff.” Newsweek 03/04/02

NEW TAX FOR BRITISH MUSEUMS? British national museums face a new "capital charge" by the government on the value of their assets (excluding their collections). The rate is six percent - for the British Museum, this means a charge of £14 million a year. The museums are protesting the plan, hoping to get the idea killed before it "devastates" their finances. The Art Newspaper 02/22/02

TURNER.COM: When landscape artist JMW Turner died in 1851, a collection of tens of thousands of his paintings, sketches, and drawings was left to the United Kingdom. Since then, they have rarely been seen, and are in fact currently housed in closed vaults at the Tate Britain. Now, the Tate has announced a plan to display the works online. BBC 03/01/02

BRAND NEW RUBENS: "Sotheby's auction house said Thursday it has identified a previously unknown painting by Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens, a find it says is one of the greatest Old Masters to be offered at auction in decades... The painting, "The Massacre of the Innocents," from between 1609 and 1611, is expected to sell for anywhere from $5.7 million to $8.5 million when it is auctioned on July 11, the auction house said." Nando Times (AP) 02/28/02

WARHOL THE PACKRAT: An exhibition celebrating the legacy of Andy Warhol doesn't sound like anything new. Next to Norman Rockwell, Warhol may just be the most overexposed American artist of the last century. But at Pittsburgh's Warhol Museum, the latest tribute to Mr. Fifteen Minutes focuses not on his art, but on his obsession with collecting. Says the museum's curator, "Collecting itself was a form of artistic practice for Warhol." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 03/01/02

OBJECTING ON PRINCIPLE: A group in San Francisco has filed suit against the DeYoung Museum's plans for a new building, designed by Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron. "The lawsuit filed by People for a New de Young contends that the new museum will urbanize Golden Gate Park, hurt its historical value, increase traffic and cast shadows on a nearby children's play area. The suit alleges that the project violates the California Environmental Quality Act, the Golden Gate Park master plan and the city's general plan." San Francisco Chronicle 02/15/02

LIBESKIND TO DESIGN ROYAL ONTARIO: "A design by the Berlin-based architect Daniel Libeskind, 56, was the winner of a much-scrutinized international competition to revamp the Royal Ontario Museum, at a cost, initially, of $150-million. Museum officials hope the plan, called Renaissance ROM, will increase attendance to 1.6 million a year from 950,000." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 02/27/02

  • WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE? Well, even though the plans sound terrific, the project doesn't have a hope of being built if the federal government doesn't kick in with major support. And so far that hasn't happened. Toronto Star 02/27/02 
  • FLASH OR FUNCTION? Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum is to pick the winning design this week for a major $200 million expansion of the museum. Who will win the commission? Observers expect Daniel Libeskind's entry will be chosen because of its theatricality and big statement and potential to draw in the crowds. But some of the museum's senior staff favor another design they believe would better show the collection. Problem is, the public presentation of that entry was poorly done, and failed to fire up anyone's imagination... The Globe & Mail (Canada) 02/25/02

CANADIAN RECORD: The record price for a painting was set Monday night, when Scene in the Northwest - Portrait, an oil painting of Captain Henry LeFroy by artist Paul Kane, "was sold at auction in Toronto for $4.6-million - more than double the previous record for a Canadian painting." National Post (Canada) 02/26/02

POLITICIANS PROTEST ART SHOW: A Birmingham, England city council member has protested a show at a local gallery that "includes work from Santiago Sierra in which the artist pays a standard wage to groups of workers, including prostitutes, to perform 'repetitive and obtrusive' acts. Birmingham councillor Deidre Alden described the video as more like pornography than art and is consulting the police to find out if the exhibition can be stopped." BBC 02/25/02


EVEN TOUGHER COPYRIGHT LAWS: The World Intellectual Property Organization, an international body of government representatives that globalizes laws, has announced new guidelines to crack down on digital piracy. The WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performance and Phonograms Treaty, which go into effect over the next three months, extend copyright protection to computer programs, movies and music." Wired 02/26/02

THE ART OF GLASS AND BODIES: Surprised researchers have discovered that "the cells that make up the heart, lungs, and many other organs in the body display glasslike properties, according to a report in the October Physical Review Letters." They conjecture that "just as heat can turn an apparently solid champagne glass into liquid, cells are made more fluid - and therefore able to contract, crawl, and divide - by internal jostlings within the cell, what is called noise temperature." Harvard Focus 11/01

INTO THE SUBURBS: Artists have traditionally worked in cities. But more and more urban arts groups are realizing that a major part of their audiences come from the suburbs. And that in turn is bringing artists out to the 'burbs'. "There's a real pent-up demand for culture in the suburbs." Minneapolis Star-Tribune 03/03/02

DON'T PICK ON THE ARTS: The Atlanta City Council, facing budget shortfalls, proposed cutting funding for arts groups. But after a spirited council meeting at which arts supporters rallied to speak against the cuts, funding restored almost to 2001 levels. Atlanta Journal-Constitution 02/27/02

NEW YORK'S NEW CULTURE CZAR: New York City has a new culture czar. Cultural affairs commissioner Kate D. Levin "inherits a department many arts professionals describe as in need of serious reinvigoration. Even as Rudolph W. Giuliani poured an unprecedented amount of city money into cultural building projects and became known for his love of opera, the agency charged with promoting the interests of New York's arts institutions quietly but steadily diminished in size and influence amid years of budgetary ups and downs." The New York Times 02/26/02

MESSING WITH THE CLASSICS: Why do critics get so upset by resettings of classic works? Okay, maybe dance gets away with some updating, but play Verdi "with a line of men sitting on the loo," and throw in "midget devils and gang rape" and everyone's screaming. "What's in operation is an artistic dress-code in which we believe that old stories should be told in the old way even though the artists who are now the beloveds of cultural conservatives - Shakespeare, Mozart, Bach - told old stories in a new way." The Guardian (UK) 02/23/02 

10. FOR FUN 

A REAL LOOK AT OSCAR? "Two women's groups, the Guerilla Girls and Alice Locas, have mounted a giant billboard in the heart of Hollywood depicting an 'anatomically correct oscar' in the ungainly shape of a pudgy, middle-aged man. 'We decided it was time for a little realism in Hollywood," they said in an statement yesterday. So we redesigned the old boy so he more closely resembles the white males who take him home each year'." Sydney Morning Herald (AFP) 03/03/02