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Week of March 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


THE DIFFICULTY OF RANDOM TRAGEDY (FOR ART): How to make art out of tragedy? Much classic tragedy seems predetermined. But "what kind of art can come from what appears to be blind chance? 'It's much easier to write about tragic flaws - the idea that what makes you great also brings you down. And much harder to write about the opposite idea, which has marked the culture of the late 20th and early 21st Centuries: The universe is a random series of events we can't possibly understand, much less transform into art." Chicago Tribune 03/17/02


TOUGH TIMES FOR TEXAS BALLET: The Fort Worth Dallas Ballet is in trouble - dancers have been laid off, the season has been cut, and it's not at all clear who will be the company's next artistic director. Remaining dancers have staged a benefit to try to keep the company going. Fort Worth Star-Telegram 03/14/02

ALL DANCE IS NOT (RE)CREATED EQUAL: "Awork created yesterday is put onstage differently from one reconstructed from pictures and written material. How a ballet is staged may affect what you actually see. A repertory staple, performed continually, carries its own authority; a reconstruction may not deliver total authenticity but still satisfy as an approximation of a lost work." The New York Times 03/17/02

MILWAUKEE BALLET SHAKEUP: In a major restructuring, "Milwaukee Ballet announced Tuesday that executive director Christine Harris and artistic director Simon Dow will not renew their contracts with the company. Harris and Dow are viewed as instrumental in turning the once-struggling ballet company around. Harris joined the company in 1997 and was key in eliminating the Ballet's heavy debt burden and getting the company back on sound financial footing. Ticket sales continue to increase each year and subscriptions are up 13 percent over the year before." Milwuakee Business Journal 03/13/02

SHOWTIME FOR SHOES: Few things are as personal (or essential) to a dancer as her shoes. "Ballet shoes are as individual as false teeth. Even the humblest student is offered half sizes and four width fittings (XXX, XX, X and the super-elegant "USA narrow"). Professional dancers are pickier still and their shoes will be made to their individual specifications. Tiny, all-important differences in the height of the vamp, the length and thickness of sole and insole, the width and hardness of the block are all docketed on a little pink slip." The Telegraph (UK) 03/14/02

DANCING TO THE MUSIC: There are choreographers who don't care much about music in their work. Then there's Mark Morris. Morris' work is so wrapped up in music that at times it seems that he cares more about sound than movement. Then again, the movement is so intensely musical...(BTW, is Morris phasing himself out of dancing?) The New Yorker 03/11/02


SCREEN SMOKES: A report details tobacco companies' attempts to promote their products in movies. "In the 1970s and '80s - Phillip Morris alone is credited with 191 placements in films including Grease, Die Hard, Field of Dreams and The Muppet Movie." From a Phillip Morris marketing plan: "It is reasonable to assume that films and personalities have more influence on consumers than a static poster. ... If branded cigarette advertising is to take full advantage of these images, it has to do more than simply achieve package recognition - it has to feed off and exploit the image source." Hartford Courant 03/15/02

THE OSCAR'S NICE, BUT... So there are three African-Americans nominated for Oscars this year. A breakthrough, right? Not at all. "There are a lot of people, mostly outside of Hollywood, making a big deal out of whether this year's Oscar race is truly a turning point for blacks or just a blip on the fluke meter. Do nominations mean long-term gains for black artists, or come the Monday after the Sunday of the awards show, will talented brothers and sisters with Yale acting school degrees still be lining up for bit parts in keepers like How High? Sure, some actors got a nod, but where are the nominations for black directors, sound recorders and craft servicemen?" Los Angeles Times 03/17/02

  • TOKEN EFFORT OR A TURNING TIDE? Long criticized for its lack of minority hiring, Hollywood is holding auditions. "While hoping for the break all actors long for, the performers at the minority showcases have become part of a larger game this springórecruits in the primary networks' first major quest for minority talent, timed to coincide with the frenzied casting season for series prototypes, or pilots. The showcases were born out of a controversy, making them significant not only to the minority actors who took the stage, but to the entire television industry. Some industry executives maintain that while they would like more minorities on comedies and dramas, the talent pool is not large enough." Los Angeles Times 03/17/02

GENERALIST IN A WORLD OF SPECIALISTS: Canada's CBC is a major cultural force in the country. But its audiences haven't grown for years. Why? Maybe because the broadcaster has to be a little bit of everything, while cable has fractured audiences with numerous specialty channels. "Our experience at the CBC has confirmed that, given the opportunity, large numbers of Canadians will turn to high-quality, original Canadian programming. Our experience also shows that Canadians will not accept cheap alternatives simply because they are Canadian." Toronto Star 03/15/02

WHAT'S AN OSCAR WORTH? Well, it's priceless, of course, a big boost to a career. But everyone appearing on the Oscar TV broadcast - presenters and performers alike - will go home with a goody bag worth £14,000 of presents and vouchers. "The bag will contain a £1,000 watch, and a £280 handbag from American designer CJ & Me." BBC 03/15/02 

"TERRIFIC!" SENSATIONAL!" "I LOVED IT!": Last year Sony made up a critic and newspaper to blurb glowing reviews of its movies. Now the company is paying the state of Connecticut "$326,000 for using fake reviews attributed to a local newspaper in promoting its films. Sony also has agreed to stop fabricating movie reviews, and to stop using ads in which Sony employees pose as moviegoers praising films they have just seen." Nando Times (AP) 03/12/02

RADIO JUST ISN'T FOR MUSIC FANS: Blame it on a vast corporate conspiracy, a bad local program director, or anything you want, but radio's small playlists and near-total unwillingness to play anything not backed up with reams of audience research and paid for by the big labels is unlikely to change anytime soon. So why do stations do it this way? Well, because most listeners seem to want nothing more than their favorite songs repeated over and over, and have no taste for experimentation. And the folks who run the stations admit that, if you're a true music fan, you're pretty much out of luck. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 03/13/02

PAID TO SMOKE: "Tobacco companies, hoping that smoking scenes in Hollywood movies would increase sales, worked diligently through the 1980's and early 90's to get as much screen time for their brands as possible, a British medical report says, and at least one company went so far as to provide free cigarettes to actors and directors who might therefore be more inclined to light up when the cameras rolled." The New York Times 03/12/02

  • PAID NOT TO RUN ADS? Hollywood trade publications have refused to run ads for a group mounting a campaign against the portrayal of smoking in the movies. "At a time when smoking is banned in most public places, tobacco use is everywhere in movies. You can find stars smoking in three of the five films nominated for best picture." Toronto Star 03/12/02

A RECORD CURL: The hottest movie in Canada this week? It's Men with Brooms, a film about curling. "Launched on 207 screens across the country, with a promotion budget in excess of $1-million, the Robert Lantos-produced film placed third nationally and topped Johnny Mnemonic (1995), the previous English-language Canadian winner for opening-weekend grosses." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 03/12/02


THE INHERENT DRAMA OF MUSIC (HELPED A BIT): Chamber music has generally been delivered in plain wrappers - small groups of musicians dressed in black performing on a stage. After decades of conventional performances, the Emerson String Quartet, arguably the finest quartet currently performing, "has begun confronting the idea that a concert is inherently a theatrical experience" and has begun performing Shostakovich as part of a visual/dramatic performance. Los Angeles Times 03/17/02

PARALLEL UNIVERSE? The president of the Recording Industry Association of America speaks at the opening of this year's SXSW conference in Austin. She "alternately sounded like the captain of the Titanic asking, 'Iceberg? What iceberg?' and George Orwell's double-speaking Big Brother stubbornly insisting, 'Black is white.' She maintained that RIAA surveys prove that consumers do not object to the average CD price pushing the $20 mark, and that federal anti-trust laws are actually bad for consumers, since they are slowing the record companies down from banding together to institute technical 'improvements' that will stop us from making duplicate copies of our own CDs. By far Rosen's most absurd contention was that record companies create artists, not the other way around." Chicago Sun-Times 03/15/02

  • CD's HELD HOSTAGE: The Recording Industry is lobbying Congress for mandatory anti-piracy technology for recordings. "It would be outrageous that you canít combat technology with technology," Rosen said. "Let the music industry deal with its consumers because itís in our interest to make products that people will buy." But "the deployment of copy-protected CDs threatens to unilaterally eliminate Americansí fair use right to non-commercial audio home recording. The fact that these copy-protected CDs will not play on many legacy players already in the home and on CD players today on the retail shelf, combined with the lack of adequate labeling, will inevitably lead to confused, frustrated and no doubt angry consumers." Wired 03/15/02
  • PRIVATE DEAL: "The record companies and Hollywood are scheming to drastically erode your freedom to use legally purchased CDs and videos, and they are doing it behind your back. The only parties represented in the debate are media and technology companies, lawyers and politicians. Consumers aren't invited." Wall Street Journal 03/15/02

BUILDING A BETTER COMPOSER: The hardest part about being a composer may be that no one ever tells you how to do it. You write works for dozens of instruments that you don't really know how to play, and hope that everything works out. But a new seminar in Minneapolis aims to change the sharp learning curve many composers face. "The musical boot camp, unique in the United States, entailed more than the usual orchestral run-throughs. It involved seminars about copyrighting, licensing and public speaking; sessions about how to write grant applications and deal with unions and contracts, and workshops on how to write better for particular instruments." Minneapolis Star Tribune 03/14/02

DESPERATELY SEEKING AN IDENTITY: Almost since its inception, New York's City Opera has been the bastard stepchild of the Gotham opera scene. Overshadowed by the Met, ignored or reviled by its Lincoln Center masters, and confined to a ballet theater specifically designed to muffle sound, the company recently saw its fortunes turn with a massive gift towards the purchase or building of a new home. But even with the cash infusion, City Opera constantly runs the risk of seeming directionless, and must always struggle to be noticed in a city overflowing with culture. New York Observer 03/18/02

WHEN CONTROVERSY DOESN'T SELL: A controversial English National Opera production of Verdi's Masked Ball that featured "male rape, transvestites, dwarves, Elvis impersonators and a row of chorus singers using the toilet without washing their hands" got lots of attention in the press last month. But it was something of a flop with audiences. The production sold few tickets. The Guardian (UK) 03/09/02

THE MISSING PAVAROTTI: The Metropolitan Opera has announced next year's season, and "for the first time since the 1969-70 season, the Italian tenor is absent from the roster of singers scheduled to appear at the United States' biggest opera company." Yahoo! (AP) 03/11/02

BUYING BEETHOVEN'S NINTH: The Royal Philharmonic Society is selling 250 manuscript scores collected over 250 years. The collection includes the manuscript of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, and the British Museum wants to buy it. Unable to come up with the money itself, the library is mounting a public fundraising campaign. "The library needs to raise £200,000 more to meet the £1 million asking figure for the Royal Philharmonic Society's collection." BBC 03/14/02 

WHEN MODERN MUSIC WORKS: Michael Tilson Thomas is highly regarded as a champion of contemporary music. But there are genres of music he doesn't perform. "If a music director doesn't feel the spirit, why should he be compelled, out of a sense of obligation, to yield to pressure - especially if he can offer an alternate and more persuasive aesthetic? That Thomas has been permitted to flourish in his own manner and to fashion the San Francisco Symphony into a partner in his ventures has made audiences feel like collaborators, too, even when the score on the conductor's desk requires a kind of unlearning on the part of the listener." San Francisco Chronicle 03/10/02

WORDS ABOUT MUSIC: Monster, a new Scottish Opera about Mary Shelley and Frankenstein by Sally Beamish and Janice Galloway has revived a longstanding debate about the relationship between words and music in opera. "The libretto is elegant, the music full of beauty and invention. Why, then, does the combination not quite catch fire?" The Observer (UK) 03/10/02 

BROKEN RECORD: There is no good news for the recording industry. Sales are down, sound file piracy is rampant, a judge threatens to overthrow the Napster decision, and even the artists are rebelling against longstanding recording company deals. San Francisco Chronicle 03/10/02


108 YEARS OF MUSIC (OR WAS IT 109?): Leo Ornstein was one of the most innovative American composers of the 1920s - if you'd asked most music critics of the time, they probably would have pegged him as America's brightest music prospect. But by the 1930s he had disappeared from the music scene. Doesn't mean he died though. In fact, he didn't die until a few weeks ago, at the age of 108 or 109 (the year is in dispute). The Economist) 03/14/02

A LAVISH CAREER: At 79, director Franco Zeffirelli "is the same age as Verdi at the premiere of Falstaff, his comic farewell to the stage. The two have been in touch a great deal of late." For decades, Zeffirelli's lavish productions have been a Metropolitan Opera staple. Usually a hit with audiences, the productions haven't been kindly treated by critics for some time. A revival of Zeffirelli's Falstaff, which was his Met debut in 1964, is an opportunity to reflect on what initially attracted the opera world to him. The New York Times 03/17/02

RIOPELLE DIES: "Jean-Paul Riopelle, a great but impulsive artist who even when famous would burn his paintings to heat his apartment, died on Wednesday at his home on the Ile-aux-Grues in the St. Lawrence River. He was 78." The Globe & Mail (Toronto) 03/14/02

ACCIDENTAL TOURIST: Monologuist Spalding Gray is supposed to be on tour now reprising his Swimming to Cambodia piece. But he's been having trouble concentrating after a nasty car accident in Ireland. "It took an hour for the stupid ambulance to arrive. I ended up in one of those horrible Irish country hospitals and they wanted to leave me there in traction for six weeks." Chicago Tribune 03/12/02

QUILTING TO THE MUSIC: What do musicians do in the intermissions at the opera? At Chicago Lyric Opera, they make quilts. "The old-fashioned communal handiwork has been warmly embraced by the 31 women in the 75-member orchestra. Twenty-two of them have painstakingly pieced together 24 individual squares and nearly everyone else has sidled up to the frame to do a little needlework." Chicago Tribune 03/12/02


E-VICTORY: An appeals judge has ruled against Random House in a suit the publisher brought against an e-book publisher. RosettaBooks has been publishing e-versions of books Random House had published as far back as the 1960s. Rosetta says the original publishing contracts only covered print versions and Random House didn't own electronic rights. The US Appeals Court agrees. Random House vows to continue the case. Wired 03/13/02

CUTTING BACK BOOKS: In a cost-cutting move, the Philadelphia Inquirer has cut its weekly books section from four pages to one. "Sources close to the Inquirer say the book review section was gutted in response to corporate parent Knight Ridder's demand that the paper immediately reduce annual newsprint costs by $500,000. Reportedly, the Inquirer responded with a counter-offer to reduce newsprint costs by $350,000, which Knight Ridder agreed to." Philadelphia Weekly 03/13/02

THE LATE MR SALINGER: The much anticipated publication of a "new" novella by JD Salinger has been postponed indefinitely. "The novella, Hapworth 16, 1924, was due to be published in November and would have been the first publication from Salinger in 40 years. The small Virginia publisher that Salinger had chosen to release the novella, Orchises Press, say that the book will eventually appear. But there is no new date for publication. The story originally appeared in magazine form in the New Yorker in 1965 and in the 1990s there were plans for a proper publication. An unkind early review in the New York Times is seen as a possible reason for the delay." The Guardian (UK) 03/13/02

COPY-BUSTER: Student plagiarism has been a thriving industry since the internet made it possible to digitally crib ready-made essays. But new software is becoming an effective cop. "After highlighting instances of replication, or obvious paraphrasing (according to Turnitin, some 30% of submitted papers are 'less than original'), the computer running the software returns the annotated document to the teacher who originally submitted itóleaving him with the final decision on what is and is not permissible." The Economist 03/14/02 

BIG BAD TORONTO: Every country seems to have one - that city where power and prestige live and where its inhabitants are envied and disliked by the rest of the country. Toronto is Canada's. "The myths about Toronto publishing and Toronto writers make me laugh. We have all had massive six-figure advances, we all drive Porsches, we all write silly, superficial, gossipy literature, we all actually have no talent, we only get the massive advances because we live in Toronto." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 03/16/02


SEARCH FOR STRUCTURE: Playwright Tony Kushner is "one of the very few dramatists now writing whose works are contributions to literature as well as to theater. (Stoppard is only a pretender to that crown.)" He has "substance, eloquence, intelligence, and emotional power." Still, after seeing Kushner's latest play Homebody/Kabul twice, critic Robert Brustein wonders if Kushner has the sense of formal structure to carry off a project like this. The New Republic 03/11/02

DENVER CENTER CUTS BACK NEW PLAYS: The Denver Center Theatre Company says it will close its literary office and stop development of new works because of endowment losses in the stock market. "On a regular basis we get 1,000 plays a year, and we have to pay people to read them. It is something we strongly believe in, but if it comes to cutting that or the work we do for our audiences, we will always go with our audience." Newsday (AP) 03/09/02

PRICKLY EXPERIMENTAL: At 27, the Wooster Group is one of America's oldest experimental theatre companies. How to stay experimental for so long? It's not easy. "Originally, the way people joined the group was when someone committed in such a way that it seemed inevitable. The truth is that we haven't really had anyone who's asked to join in 15 to 20 years. You have to ask to join." Woe to the critic who tries to probe too deep: "You come from a place that's so alien to us, it's almost like talking to someone from another planet. You don't have the wildest idea about what we're doing. And yet, it's because you don't have the wildest idea, that you're able to articulate it so well." The Telegraph (UK) 0316/02

A HISTORY REPEATING: The Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's The Crucible has people commenting "that the play is 'timely'. What do they mean exactly? That it's timeless. Currently the play resonates in two directions: on the one hand, the theocratic government under which the Puritan inhabitants of Salem lived had a sexual morality as rigid, and a punishment as cruel, as those of the Taliban; and on the other hand, the notion of a society in which all dissent is construed as opposition is not remote." The Guardian (UK) 03/16/02

AND THEY ALL LIVED HAPPILY EVER... All those stories and plays that end with loose ends unwrapped - it's difficult not to wonder what happens to the characters after the story has ended. Brian Friel has written a play to answer some of those questions. "A character from one Chekhov play meets a character from another, a real Moscow in the 1920s where the three sisters' brother Andrey meets Uncle Vanya's niece Sonya. The result, a short play lasting an hour and five minutes, is called Afterplay." Financial Times 03/15/02

DEMOCRACY ONSTAGE: A theatre company in Bonn wants to use the former East German parliament building for a performance of a work that would put 600 of the city's residents in a reenactment of a parliamentary session. But the current president of Germany's parliament has protested the plan, saying that the performance would "compromise the dignity and respect of the German parliament." Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 03/12/02


ATTACKING FRENCH MUSEUMS: France's largest museums are in disarray after a damning government audit of their operations. The museums have been attacked for "poor visitor figures, understaffing and underfunding." Museum administrators have fought back, and government policy towards museums is under attack. The Art Newspaper 03/09/02

IS ART SCIENCE, IS SCIENCE ART? Much attention is currently being paid to the relationship between art and science. But "this obsession for showing that art - particularly the visual arts - is similar to science in content and the creative processes is bemusing. I detect in it an element of social snobbery - artists are envious of scientists and scientists want to be thought of as artists." The Observer (UK) 03/10/02 

CREATIVITY - SO GOOD IT HURTS: Performance art has a long tradition in 20th-century art. "Much 20th-century avant-garde art was fuelled and punctuated by a series of theatrical happenings and events. The Dadaists, Futurists and Surrealists were all fond of these manifestations." Performance art of the 1960s and 70s led to many artists trying to shock audiences by hurting themselves. Why would anyone want to hurt themselves in the name of "creativity"? The Telegraph (UK) 03/17/02

LESS THAN THE FUSS: Mirroring Evil: Nazi Imagery/Recent Art, which opens Sunday at New York's Jewish Museum, has provoked much controversy before it even opens. But as often happens with notorious shows, the art turns out to be lower wattage than the controversy. This show "is dominated by the sort of dry, cool, Conceptual art that a vocal part of the contemporary art world invariably congratulates itself for finding endlessly fascinating. But it is art that leaves much of the public feeling confused, excluded and finally bored, if not pained and offended, which is of course the point." The New York Times 03/15/02

  • CONFRONTING THE MONSTERS: Why make art out of the symbols and images of monsters? The question arises out of the opening at the Jewish Museum of the show Mirroring Evil: Nazi Imagery/Recent Art, the "notorious exhibition opening today at the Jewish Museum, explores the use of National Socialist imagery by 13 contemporary artists, all in their 30's and 40's." Difficult as the art is, "proximity to the perpetrators," Mr. Kleeblatt, the son of refugees from Hitler's Germany, said recently, "makes you rethink who you are." The New York Times 03/17/02

DECODING MONA: A German art historian believes he has solved the mystery of the Mona Lisa. "Until now, the most popular theory had been that the enigmatic beauty was a young Florentine woman named Monna Lisa, who married the well-known figure Francesco del Giocondo in 1495 and came to be known as La Giaconda." Instead, she was really "the Duchess of Forli and Imola, who had been born the illegitimate Caterina Sforza." Edmonton Journal 03/15/02

SFMOMA GETS ITS MAN: "After a seven-month search, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has named Neal Benezra as its director. Mr. Benezra, who has been the deputy director and curator of modern and contemporary art at the Art Institute of Chicago, succeeds David A. Ross, who left the museum abruptly after a whirlwind three years in which he spent $140 million building the museum's collection of contemporary art." The New York Times 03/14/02

CONTRAVENING PARTS: The British government has 10 days to decide whether a controversial exhibition of "175 body parts and 25 full corpses to go on display at the Atlantis Gallery on March 23 contravene the Anatomy Act created after the 19th century Burke and Hare bodysnatching scandal. But anatomist Gunther von Hagens said last night that a government legal challenge would not stop his Body Worlds exhibition opening in London next week. He called on British art-lovers to donate their bodies to future exhibits of corpses posed to look as if they are engaged in 'interesting' activities such as chess." The Guardian (UK) 03/12/02

A CLOUDY VISION: "In the realm of outlandish architectural fantasies, a building made out of mist surely has to rank near the top. But this bizarre-sounding concept, dubbed the Blur Building, is no fantasy at all. It's under construction in Switzerland, and is one of five architectural projects featured in Architecture + Water, a new exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Art's Heinz Architectural Center." The Christian Science Monitor 03/14/02

LOOKING FOR SMUGGLERS AMONG THE POSH SET: The European Fine Art Fair, held annually in the Netherlands, is the largest of its kind in the world, and collectors, connoisseurs, and casual art fans gather in Maastricht each year to browse and buy. But this year, the fair had some unexpected visitors - camera-wielding Italian cops, to be precise - who are trying to determine if some of the art on display was illegally exported from Italy. The New York Times 03/13/02

HARVARD GETS RELIGION: "Curators of Islamic art collections around the country are reporting an increase in attendance in their galleries, a growth they can only attribute to the current political situation. Harvard is now in a far better position to present Islamic culture than it had been, thanks to a major gift of 120 works just donated to the university's Arthur M. Sackler Museum by Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood." Boston Globe 03/13/02

REMEMBERING THE WTC: Two twin towers of light were activated in Lower Manhattan as a memorial to the World Trade Center Monday. "Relatives of some of the thousands killed stood and watched as 12-year-old Valerie Webb activated 88 powerful searchlights arranged to simulate the twin towers. Her father, Port Authority police officer Nathaniel Webb, still hasn't been found in the ruins nearby." Yahoo! (AP) 03/11/02

  • DESIGNERS BEHIND THE LIGHT MEMORIAL: "We set out to 'repair' and 'rebuild' the skylineóbut not in a way that would attempt to undo or disguise the damage. Those buildings are gone now, and they will never be rebuilt. Instead we would create a link between ourselves and what was lost. In so doing, we believed, we could also repair, in part, our city's identity and ourselves." Slate 03/11/02

A GAMBLE THAT DIDN'T PAY OFF: A Texan art collector thought he was buying an original Van Dyck portrait that had been identified as a Van Dyck copy worth £275,000. But it turns out that the painting was indeed a copy and the £1.5 million the collector paid was too much. He sued the London dealer who had advised him, but the court has ruled against him. The Guardian (UK) 03/11/02



BRAIN SCANNER: Scientists are studying the differences between the brains of an artist and a scientist to see if characteristic differences can be found. This week an artist and a scientist had CT scans of their brains done in a London hospital. "Another scientist dismissed the experiment as trivialising, and insisted scientists and artists were so different it would make more sense to compare rugby and billiards on the basis that both were played with a ball." The Guardian (UK) 03/13/02

ARTS DEAL COLLAPSES: A few weeks ago it looked like Toronto's arts institutions were going to get a big windfall from Canada's federal government in the form of $200 million in funding. But the deal seems to have collapsed. "Things were clear. We were just trying to dot the i's and cross the t's. The last thing we were trying to iron out was the high-profile announcement we were planning." Instead, says Ontario's culture minister, the feds have folded. "We had a deal, but now it appears they're doing a pirouette. They've made more sudden moves than Baryshnikov." Toronto Star 03/15/02

CHALMERS AWARDS SCRAPPED: A somewhat public dispute between the Ontario Arts Council and philanthropist Joan Chalmers has resulted in the outright cancellation of Canada's prestigious Chalmers Awards, to the dismay of many in the arts world. In place of the awards, the council will hand out fellowships and grants, but these will come with neither the prestige nor the publicity that the awards carried. The Globe & Mail (Toronto) 03/14/02

IN LETTERS: John Brotman, director of the Ontario Arts Council, writes to protest the conclusions of a study and a report on that study in Canada's National Post, that said public money invested in the arts failed to make promised economic returns to their communities: "A few years back, the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) found that arts organizations in Ontario returned 20 per cent more in provincial taxes than they received in provincial government funding. Statistics Canada data estimates that the economic impact of Ontario's arts and culture sector is $19.1 billion or on a per capita basis that is more than $1,700 in economic return for every Ontario resident."

PENNSYLVANIA CUTS ARTS GRANTS: The state of Pennsylvania - facing a $600 million budget shortfall - has reduced its already-awarded grants to arts organizations by 22 percent. "The news has sent many arts managers - especially those at smaller organizations that depend heavily on state money - scrambling to make cuts or find alternative funding." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 03/11/02

WHAT RIGHT COPYRIGHT? A case recently accepted by the US Supreme Court challenges current copyright laws. "Many policymakers (and even some intellectual policy mavens) view IP rights as a one-way street - they assume that the more IP rights we grant, and the broader and more durable we make those rights, the more society will benefit through increased production of books, music, movies, etc. The matter isn't even remotely that simple." Here's what's at stake legally. FindLaw 03/05/02

BACK TO CULTURE: Attendance for New York arts groups after September 11 might have been down for a short time, but people have returned to cultural pursuits. "Outside the Museum of Modern Art lines are extending down the block on many days, and attendance at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is heavier on weekends than it was last year at this time. The New York City Ballet is within a percentage point of pre-September attendance projections for its "Nutcracker" and winter repertory performances. And for the week ended Sunday, Broadway set box office records for this time of year with revenues up 18 percent and attendance up 6 percent over the same week last year." The New York Times 03/12/02 

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FRENCH AND ENGLISH: Are there differences in the ways English and French Canadians consume culture? A new study says yes: "If you are an English-speaker, you are more likely than your French-speaking fellow Canadians to read books, go to the theatre or to Broadway-style shows. If you are francophone, you probably are a more assiduous patron of the symphony, opera and festivals. Also, you watch more television, especially local programs." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 03/11/02

NOW THAT IT'S OVER... Director Peter Sellars said yesterday that he had been forced out as director of the recently concluded Adelaide Festival. "Obviously it is embarrassing when you bring one of the biggest international fish you have ever had in your fish tank and treat them the way I was treated. I just hope you never ever treat anyone this way again, it's not a good idea, it's bad for international relations and it's a little bit stupid." The Age (Melbourne) 03/13/02

10. FOR FUN 

SPEEDING TO THE BEAT: An Israeli researcher says drivers who listen to fast music in their cars may have "more than twice as many accidents as those listening to slower tracks." The study demonstrated that while listening to fast music "drivers took more risks, such as jumping red lights, and had more accidents. When listening to up-tempo pieces, they were twice as likely to jump a red light as those who were not listening to music. And drivers had more than twice as many accidents when they were listening to fast tempos as when they listened to slow or medium-paced numbers." New Scientist 03/130/02

FIREBALL: Edinburgh artist Marc Marnie fell behind on his taxes. So the sheriff came and seized a collection of his photographs for payment. But they were irreparably damaged after they were stored in a damp basement, so now Marnie plans to "create a 30ft wall of fire out of the photographs" and film the event. "Iím trying to find a positive way of finishing the exhibition, of getting closure so I can move on to other things." The Scotsman 03/13/02

WIRED ARTIST: A Canadian artist has had microchips embedded in her hands so she can explore relationships between technology and identity. "I am expecting the merger between human and machines to proceed whether we want it to or not. If I adopt it and make it my own, I will have a better understanding of this type of technology and the potential threats and benefits it represents." Wired 03/11/02