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Week of March 18-24, 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


WHAT ARE THE ARTS WORTH? "Liberal-minded arts lovers have been wringing their hands and flinty-eyed fiscal conservatives warming their souls over a new study that suggests the economic impact of cultural facilities and sports stadiums is exaggerated... But reading the whole study reveals that things are, of course, a bit more complicated... Rather than dampening cultural activists, [the] report should really serve as a renewed call to artists to justify their existence on more lofty grounds than those that economists can provide." The Globe & Mail (Toronto) 03/21/02


THE ROYAL'S INJURY LIST: Dancers of London's Royal Ballet are getting injured. Is it coincidence or is there something wrong? "There has been some speculation that dancers are being forced to pay a high price for suddenly learning a large range of ballets imported by Ross Stretton - six months into the job, Stretton is already facing criticism of his taste, let alone his personnel management." The Telegraph (UK) 03/22/02

ANYWHERE YOU WANT TO FLY: The Australian Ballet is celebrating its 40th anniversary. To celebrate, Qantas, the national airline, has agreed to fly the company anywhere it performs in Australia. The company has planned more than 200 performances around Australia. The Age (Melbourne) 03/22/02

DANCING ON AIR: "A growing group of choreographers in the Bay Area are liberating dance from the ground. In recent years, these artists have been dancing on window ledges, rooftops, clock towers, grain elevators and mountain peaks, not to mention suspending themselves over stages. They have achieved these dramatic feats by exploiting rock-climbing gear, by creating new hanging devices to dance on and by pioneering new ways of moving." San Jose Mercury News 03/17/02


SEX AND VIOLENCE DOWN: A new study says that sex and violence on TV has declined between 1998 and 2000. "There is evidence that television has started to clean up its act," says the study. "As for movies, the study found, the amount of sex and violence in the most popular theatrical releases during the same time periods remained unchanged." Nando Times (AP) 03/21/02

  • THINGS YOU CAN'T SAY ON THE RADIO (UNLESS YOU WANT TO): "Accusing broadcasters of trolling 'the depths of decadence,' Federal Communications Commissioner Michael Copps challenged radio and television executives in early February to better police themselves regarding indecency and vulgarity on the airwaves and create a voluntary code of conduct, all by Easter Sunday. Normally, broadcasters abhor dead air. But with a week to go before Copps' suggested deadline, their silence has been deafening." Los Angeles Times 03/22/02

DIRTY TRICKS: This has been the ugliest Oscar campaign ever. "That new breed of film executive, the 'Oscar consultant', has introduced the sort of dirty tricks and whispering campaigns once restricted to the sleazy world of politics. This is nothing to do with art; this is business. The Oscar consultant is more than a spinner, he is a strategist who works out how to maximise the chances of a film and direct a campaign of flattery, propaganda and vilification to that end." The Times (UK) 03/21/02

FORCED TO PROTECT? US Senator Fritz Hollings has introduced his long-anticipated (dreaded?) bill to mandate copy protection on new digital media players. "The bill, called the Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act, prohibits the sale or distribution of nearly any kind of electronic device - unless that device includes copy-protection standards to be set by the federal government. Translation: Future MP3 players, PCs and handheld computers will no longer let you make all the copies you want." Wired 03/21/02

RATINGS THAT DON'T MEAN ANYTHING: Australian TV networks scrutinize every bit of minutiae of the ratings reports trying to find even the slightest advantage over rivals. But statistically... well, if you apply a standard statistical margin of error, the ratings are useless.  "Applying the error margin to the last full week of ratings available for Sydney (week 10), every show in the top 10 could be potentially moved to a different position, although they couldn't be simply jumbled at will. Unless the two networks are split by at least 5 per cent, which they almost never are, the figures are statistically irrelevant. They're just shadow boxing." Sydney Morning Herald 03/21/02

ELDER-HOSTILE: Older British TV viewers believe they're ignored by programmers. "Around 70% of those questioned thought that the views of the over-65s were ignored by programme-makers. The figure was even higher for the over-75s, while half of those over 55s thought their age group was not portrayed realistically in news and factual programmes." BBC 03/18/02 

MUCKING UP VENICE: Five months before it starts, the Venice Film Festival is in disarray. "By tradition the Venice Biennale is an extravaganza where up-and-coming artists carve international reputations, but the Italian prime minister hoped this one would also give his government an opportunity to showcase administrative skills and political savvy. Instead the government finds itself accused of incompetence, hypocrisy and a heavy-handed attempt to promote a rightwing agenda." The Guardian (UK) 03/18/02

TRYING TO TAKE DOWN PUBLIC BROADCASTING: Is Canada's CBC-TV "irrelevant, unwatched and unloved? Do Canadians really not watch CBC-TV? Would they not miss it if it were sold? Is it a bureaucratic fat cat unanswerable to anybody?" That's what Canada's largest commercial media conglomerate believes. And - here's a surprise - the company believes CBC ought to be privatized and relieved of its public funding. But their case looks to be based on a series of unsupported myths. Toronto Star 03/17/02  

ENTERTAINMENT BOOM: "Revenues in India's entertainment industry rose 30% in 2001, seven times faster than the economy as a whole, and are expected to double over the next five years." BBC 03/18/02


GET READY FOR MAHLER, SOTTO VOCE: "A directive being debated in the European Parliament and getting a lot of support around Europe would reduce noise in the workplace, concert halls and opera houses included... The bill calls for a workplace decibel limit of 85 without earplugs, 87 with them. Some members of the parliament, Helle Thorning-Schmidt of Denmark among them, think the directive doesn't go far enough. He is looking for an amendment to lower the level to 83. European musicians are not happy. They say that noise in a factory and the noise of a Bruckner finale are not the same thing... One toot on a trumpet can reach 130 decibels instantaneously." The New York Times 03/24/02

A PRECEDENT-SETTING AGREEMENT? "The agreement that ended the strike at the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra on Thursday is part of a national trend that music-lovers hope will help end the slow diminuendo of Canadian orchestras. Across the country, directors are inviting musicians into the boardroom, finally giving them a chance to wave the baton on the future of their ensemble." (CP) 03/21/02

SO WHY ARE THEY PAID SO WELL? When the Vienna Philharmonic visited New York recently, the musicians performed an entire concert without the aid (some would say hindrance) of a conductor. The success of the effort, and countless other similar examples, beg the question of what exactly it is that a conductor adds to a performance that the musicians could not, given the right circumstances, accomplish on their own. And how did the one person on stage not making a sound somehow become the focus of our attention? The New York Times 03/24/02

BOOING FROM THE WINGS: Valery Gergiev is one of those omnipresent conductors who seems always to be in demand and on top of the charts. But the usual backstage grumblings that plague many conductors have hit a fever pitch with Gergiev. Musicians hate him for his indecisive baton, critics complain that he knows too small a slice of the repertory, and administrators despise his chronic lateness and frequent cancellations. So why is he still so famous? The truth may be that competence often has little to do with conducting success, but it is equally true that musical insiders are often disdainful of artists who are popular with the public. The New York Times 03/24/02

ALL-CLASSICAL IN ARGENTINA: While more US radio stations drop classical music in favor of more profitable formats, in Argentina, pop music fans are protesting the government national radio network's decision to drop rock music in favor of classical. "Founded in the 1940s, during Juan Perón's first term in office, the government-run network has frequently been used as a propaganda tool. During the 1990s, the Nacional stations reduced classical music to a minimum in keeping with then-president Carlos Menem's populist policies." Andante 03/21/02

EMI LAYS OFF 1800: Recording company EMI is laying off 1800 employees, about 19 percent of its total workers. The struggling music label has been losing money and shedding projects. "EMI has 70 labels and 1,500 artists, including The Beatles, Paul McCartney, Lenny Kravitz, Janet Jackson, Garth Brooks and Pink Floyd." Nando Times (AP) 03/20/02

PIANO COMPETITION "IN THE OLD WAY": The new Rachmaninoff International Piano Competition begins in Los Angeles. Though scaled down from ambitious plans announced two years ago, organizers are bringing competitors from around the world, as well as the Moscow Radio Symphony to accompany performers. And the head of the festival assures fair judging: He "thinks the world of piano competitions is due for an ethical overhaul, comparing the scene with ice skating events at this year's Winter Olympic Games. There are numerous examples of judging controversies in piano competition, including a scene in the 1980 Chopin Competition in Warsaw, Poland, when pianist Martha Argerich stormed off the jury to protest the early elimination of young pianist Ivo Pogorelich." Los Angeles Times 03/20/02

THE WOEFUL STATE OF MOVIE MUSIC: This year's Oscar-nominated film scores are an uninspired lot. "The Academy's choices of warhorse composers over fresh and innovative ones reflect the general deflation affecting the movie score. It's not just that interesting scores aren't receiving the acclaim they deserve—they're simply not being written much anymore. When a director looks for a composer these days, it's usually to write incidental music to be played between the pre-released pop hits that form the real soundtrack of the film." Slate 03/20/02

LEAVING TOWN: Musicians of the Phoenix Symphony are leaving the orchestra or auditioning elsewhere after a contract signed last month reduced the orchestra's pay because of financial difficulties. "After the salary reductions, musicians who last season made a base salary of $33,300 (more for principal musicians) will earn $30,030 this season and still less next year, the first full season under the new contract." The salary ranks the PSO last among the top 40 professional American orchestras. Arizona Republic 03/18/02

DIFFICULT RELATIONSHIP: "For many years, radio has been, and to a degree remains an important ally for contemporary art music. And while an important conduit for the dissemination of music, it has been problematic at best. The musical arts are among the most conservative, or at least the audience is. The art world embraces the contemporary. Modern art museums are a source of civic pride, galleries specialize not only in modern art, but even in specific styles, genres, and niches. On the other hand, modern music remains esoteric and for the most part, underground, tucked away so as not to upset or annoy anyone within earshot. As a result, it is virtually unheard on television and only begrudgingly allotted a few moments on the radio airwaves, often when few listeners are likely to tune in." NewMusicBox 03/02

TECH IS NOTHING NEW... Let's not get all carried away thinking that the digital revolution will be the end of music as we know it. Of course music is changing because of technology - it always has - from the invention of the piano to the phonograph... Still...the availability of free music is a compelling change. New York Times Magazine 03/17/02 

FAILURE TO STUDY: Why have scholars and universities been so slow to study rock/pop music in the way they've examined jazz and classical music? "It seems like it's only with a great deal of age that anything gets picked up on. Rock 'n' roll, or as I call it, modern music, reflects all sorts of sophisticated cross-cultural reference points, all of which lends itself to serious artistic consideration. But very few people will tangle with that world. I think it's a mixture of ignorance and fear." Los Angeles Times 03/18/02

THE OLD SIDE OF NEW: Contemporary music seems to be performed more and more. But why does so much of it not sound "modern"? Such pieces may be pleasant to hear, but they "don't advance our art; they don't bring it closer to the world outside. They feel, as I've said, like the classical music of the past, and for that reason they don't thrive, or at least their thriving might not do us much good, unless they prepare the way for some new style that feels less like classical music, and more like life." NewMusicBox 03/02


BARENBOIM'S PEACE CALL: Conductor Daniel Barenboim, who last month wanted to perform a peace concert in a Palestinian town, and last year surprised his audience in Israel by performing Wagner, has published a call for Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to resign. "Sharon promised his voters peace and security, but delivered the opposite, and Arafat must go, he said, because many Palestinians were upset about a lack of democracy and widespread corruption in their own leadership ranks."  Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 03/21/02

OUT OF THE FAMILY: Laughlin Phillips has stepped down as chairman of Washington DC's Phillips Collection. He's held the position since 1972, and is the last of the Phillips family to have direct control over the museum. "Phillips made sweeping changes to the institution. Like many similar art museums across the country, the Phillips went from being the expression of a founder's vision to being a major public amenity with a broader, if less personal, mandate and character." Washington Post 03/19/02

TIMID AIRLINE BANS RUSHDIE: Air Canada has banned author Salman Rushdie from its planes because of the extra security he travels with. "The company said in an internal e-mail the checks would cause too much disruption and inconvenience to other passengers and Mr Rushdie should not be allowed to book flights with the airline." BBC 03/19/02

WRITER OF SLIGHT: Thomas Kinkade sells schlocky landscape paintings, "sold in thousands of mall-based franchise galleries nationwide," and earning "$130 million in sales last year." "According to Media Arts Group, the publicly traded company that sells Kinkade reproductions and other manifestations of 'the Thomas Kinkade lifestyle brand,' including furniture and other examples of what the company's chairman memorably called 'art-based products,' his work hangs in one out of every 20 American homes." Now Kinkade's "written" a novel, a "shamelessly money-grubbing little bait-and-switch" aesthetically in line with the rest of the Kinkade empire. Salon 03/17/02

  • PAINTER OF LIFESTYLE: Kinkade has his name on a housing development north of San Francisco that promises the idyllic kind of life depicted in his paintings.  "What is surprising, though, is just how far short of the mark it falls. I arrived at Kinkade's Village expecting to be appalled by a horror show of treacly Cotswold kitsch; I was even more horrified by its absence." Salon 03/17/02 


THREE CRITICAL FLAVORS: Literary criticism is an attractive profession - the traits to be a good one are a fuzzy alchemy of skills that are difficult to quantify. Why do Germany's literary critics currently seem to come in one of three flavors - charlatans, fools or groupies. None is particularly enlightening. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 03/21/02

WAITING FOR DIVERSITY: "Maybe the most important thing that ever happened in this country for Hispanics wanting to read relevant books was the 2000 census. It said, hey, publishers, there are 35.3 million Latinos out there. So book publishers started to awaken from the somnolence that often embraces them when it comes to the new and started to take notice. Awakened might be too strong a word, but things are slowly changing for Hispanic writers and their audience." The New York Times 03/21/02

PROMISE NO PRICE-FIXING: Last summer, the European Commission began investigating several German publishers and book traders, among them the Bertelsmann subsidiary Random House, of price fixing. Now the Commission says if the publishers promise to stop price fixing, they won't be fined. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 03/18/02

AUTHORS HATE TO BE USED: In the past year online booksellers have been selling used books right next to their new copies. Within days of a new book being sold online, used copies also start turning up. Authors and publishers - who don't reap any money from such sales - are feeling abused. Wired 03/19/02

$$$ AS ATTENTION-GETTER: Canada is justifiably proud of its literary tradition, and has the big-money prizes to prove it. Buckets of 'em, in fact, which begs the question: what good does it do the literary world in general, and struggling but talented young writers in particular, when these large cash awards consistently go to writers who don't need the money? The truth may be that the only reason the prize money is as big as it is is to get the media to pay attention. Toronto Star 03/23/02

DOMAIN GRAB THAT DOESN'T RHYME: The UK's Poetry Society has been running a successful website. But the organization forgot to renew the registration of its domain name, and "last Thursday, visitors to the society's website found not poetry but a directory of online service providers offering everything from Viagra pills to hair-loss treatments." Now the organization "faces a potentially expensive legal fight to get the name back." BBC 03/21/02 


RSC SLAPS 'MODERN' GAG ORDERS ON STAFF: Times are not good at the Royal Shakespeare Company. A slew of controversies has erupted in the last year, most of them focused around artistic director Adrian Noble. Now, the RSC seems to have imposed a gag order on its staff, to the outrage of many. "A spokeswoman described the introduction of a confidentiality clause in the contracts of all permanent and contract employees... as 'simply a matter of modernising our antiquated contracts into line with all other commercial organisations.'" The Guardian (UK) 03/22/02

  • JUST WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON IN THERE? "Writing about the Royal Shakespeare Company is like trying to make a nice, clear shape out of a vast pool of mercury. Where is the company going? What strange new initiative will its embattled director, Adrian Noble, dream up next? Aren’t artistic standards seriously slipping? Yet every time I have girded my pen for the attack, the RSC has foiled me with a production I’ve found genuinely exciting." The Times of London 03/22/02

OKAY, BUT NO MORE PINBALL WIZARD, GOT IT? The intersection of rock music with the stage musical has never been a clean one, and no one has ever been quite sure what to make of it. From Stephen Schwarz's Godspell to Elton John's Aida, the music of youthful rebellion has often stumbled when combined with the ultimate cornball theatre form. But increasingly, it looks as if the crossover is here to stay, and the question becomes not 'will it work,' but 'how can we make it work?' Boston Globe 03/24/02

ONE-TRACK MINDS: Few American theatres would attempt even once what Chicago's Eclipse Theatre does every year. Eclipse performs the works of a single playwright exclusively for an entire season, with the intention of gaining deeper understanding through immersion. But this is no "greatest hits" troupe: the playwrights, and the plays themselves, tend toward the lesser-known, and audiences seem to be up to the challenge. Chicago Sun-Times 03/22/02

WHERE ARE THE WOMEN? A new report by the New York State Council on the Arts chronicles the limited role of women in the theatre. "Progress with regard to women’s participation in the theatre has been both inconsistent and slow. Latest figures indicate that advancement has stalled or even deteriorated. 23% of the productions were directed by women and 20% had a woman on the writing team. Women get paid on average only between 70-74 percent of what men earn. New York State Council on the Arts 03/02


BRITISH MUSEUM CLOSURES: The British Museum has closed a number of its galleries in a cost-cutting move. "The museum recently projected a budget deficit of $7 million for 2004-2005, its largest ever, unless it cuts expenses by 15 percent. As a result, it imposed a hiring freeze and suspended plans to build a study center. It also cut the opening hours of 23 of its 94 permanent exhibition galleries to as little as 3 hours a day." Nando Times (AP) 03/21/02

OLDEST PHOTO SOLD: The earliest known photographic image was sold for $443,000 at a French auction this week. "The 1825 print by French inventor Joseph Nicephore Niepce, which shows a man leading a horse, was bought by the Musees de France, which runs the country's museums, for France's National Library, officials at Sotheby's said." Nando Times (AP) 03/21/02

CHANGING FORTUNES: The Maastricht Art Fair is billed as the world's leading art and antiques gathering. This year a report on the world's art sales was released in conjunction with the fair. "From 1998 to 2001, the average price of a work of fine art sold at auction in the EU declined 39% to $7,662. The average price of a painting sold in the United Kingdom advanced 54% to $24,968; in the United States, the average price advanced 75% to $79,003. The EU as a whole has lost 7.2% global share of market since 1998. The Continental EU has lost 9%. The US, the principal competitor of the EU, increased its market share by 7%." New York Observer 03/20/02

A NEW GENERATION OF PUBLIC ART: Funded by proceeds from a large $6 billion construction project, "Melbourne is about to be decorated by the largest public art program since the cavalcade of bronze statues that was funded by the 1850s gold rush." But many in the city have ambivalent feelings about what kind of art might be chosen. The Age (Melbourne) 03/21/02

ABANDONING MUSEUM ISLAND: The Berlin government - trying to deal with a budget crisis - has announced it will no longer fund restoration of the five museums collectively known as "Museum Island." That leaves the federal government as the sole funder. "The Museum Island was added to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's list of world cultural heritage sites in 1999." Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 03/19/02

NAZI LOOT TO STAY IN PRAGUE: "In a disheartening setback for a Chicago-area man who has claimed a multimillion-dollar art collection looted by the Nazis, the Czech government has declared the most valuable of the paintings "national treasures," thereby blocking their return. The move by the Czech Culture Ministry reflects the erratic record of the government when dealing with restitution claims from Holocaust survivors and their heirs. Though the Czech Republic has passed liberal laws guaranteeing the return of looted works 'free of charge,' it has invoked a variety of arcane legal codes to prevent the most valuable works from leaving the country." Chicago Tribune 03/22/02

BYGONES IN SYDNEY: The architect behind the revolutionary Sydney Opera House has never seen his creation in person. Back in 1966, with the hall only partially completed and facing stiff criticism for huge cost overruns, Joern Utzon walked off the project and vowed never to return. Decades later, he's back on the job, agreeing to oversee the AUS$24 milion opera house's renovation. BBC 03/20/02

FRESCO FRACAS: "The official unveiling Monday of Giotto's restored frescoes in Padua's Scrovegni Chapel, commissioned 700 years ago for a banker's private place of worship, included VIP guests, fanfare and entertainment. It also revived criticism that restorations -- especially those that aren't crucial -- can harm the original art." National Post (AP) 03/20/02

TAXING ART: The US Congress' repeal of the estate tax last year appears as though it will have an impact on sales of inherited art. Owners of inherited art will have to keep track of values and pay new taxes on capital gains. The Art Newspaper 03/15/02

NEW DIRECTOR FOR NATIONAL GALLERY: Charles Saumarez Smith, currently director of the National Portrait Gallery, is expected to be named the next director of London's National Gallery. "He has pushed the frontiers of what was seen as possible in a gallery of portraits, including a conceptual piece by Marc Quinn, unveiled last year, which contains real DNA." The Guardian (UK) 03/18/02

FITTING RIGHT IN: "The Oklahoma City Museum of Art, which officially opened Saturday, has its aspirations, but they are as much civic as architectural. The $22.5 million building plugs a gaping hole in a 1930s municipal square in the heart of downtown, using the same limestone and massing as its neighbors while also preserving the shell of an art moderne movie theater. Such quietly dignified ensembles, once common in American cities, are becoming extinct." Dallas Morning News 03/18/02

OUT OF THE GALLERIES: "The echoey white cubes of contemporary galleries still display art, but is that the best place for it to be seen? Of all the places where today’s artists experiment, they are perhaps least comfortable with domestic space." A new project in Scotland has artists making work for people's houses. The Scotsman 03/18/02

AUCTION FALL-OFF: So in the year after the auction house scandals, how did their business fare? "For what it's worth - which is not a great deal - Christie's won the annual turnover contest for the second year running, outselling Sotheby's by $1.8 billion to $1.6 billion. But Christie's turnover was down by 23 per cent, the biggest drop since the dark days of the art market collapse in 1991. At Sotheby's, the decline in turnover was 16 per cent, with American sales dropping by 22 per cent to $809 million and European auctions suffering an eight per cent decline to $723 million." The Telegraph (UK) 03/18/02

THE NEXT BIG THING? He's famous for championing art of the fillet 'o shark, elephant dung and unmade bed variety. But we haven't heard from collector/dealer Charles Saatchi for awhile. So what's his latest predilection? Landscapes. Landscapes? You bet, but as you might expect, not the traditional variety... The Telegraph (UK) 03/18/02

WHAT'S THE POINT? Architect Renzo Piano's proposed 1000-foot tall London Bridge Tower would be England's tallest building. "But the big question is not whether or not the building is good architecture, or even to do with its prodigious height, but rather what real purpose does it serve? It may be a catwalk model of a building, lithe and eye-catching, but is it little more than a naked machine for making money beneath its sleek and glassy dress? Or will it make a real contribution to the culture and economy of the capital?" The Guardian (UK) 03/18/02


ADELAIDE'S BIG SUCCESS: The Adelaide Festival might have dragged itself through the headlines, firing director Peter Sellars, and appearing to not know which end was up. But the festival sold 180,000 tickets, a 60 percent increase over the last festival.  Fringe artists earned $3.85 million at the box office, compared to $2.08 million in 2000. Sydney Morning Herald 03/22/02

  • ADELAIDE POST-MORTEM: So was this year's Adelaide Festival as bad as fired-director Peter Sellars' detractors maintain? Did Adelaide's city newspaper poison Sellars' agenda with its early criticism? Or was the festival so good that it will make the next edition difficult to pull off? Lots of questions, but then, aren't there always? The Age (Melbourne) 03/22/02

FIGHTING CRIME WITH ART: The British government says it will use more arts and culture programs to try to turn young people off crime. "The arts and sport can encourage young offenders to make choices, decisions and personal statements, to have enthusiasm, to take risks and take responsibility." BBC 03/22/02

WELCOME TO THE VERIZON/ENRON/WELLS FARGO SMITHSONIAN! Smithsonian chief Lawrence Small testified at a congressional hearing yesterday on funding possibilities for the national museum's latest modernization campaign. But the mood turned ugly when a New York congressman accused small of selling the nation's cultural heritage to the highest bidder, and decried the growing trend of selling naming rights. "Frankly, just speaking as an individual citizen, I deeply resent it. You didn't start this but you seem to me to be the biggest cheerleader. What we are experiencing is crass commercialization," Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) said. Washington Post 03/21/02

BERLIN'S BUDGET AX: Berlin's new city council made about $2 billion worth of spending cuts, in an effort to work its way out of a financial crisis. The city's arts and culture programs will take big hits. "The council said there would be no more free theatre and that it would contribute nothing more to investment by the heritage foundation that runs many museums and galleries. About 15,000 jobs are expected to go in the city, where 17% are unemployed." The Guardian (UK) 03/20/02

ITALY'S CRISIS OF LEADERSHIP: Italy's big cultural institutions are in political turmoil. Critics charge that the "centre-right Government of Silvio Berlusconi, which took office nine months ago, seems unable to find the right people to run Italy’s art centres, cultural institutes overseas, or even — and most damagingly — the Venice Film Festival in September." The Times (UK) 03/20/01

THE AMOUNT'S FINE - JUST HOW TO SPEND IT? After months of wrangling, the province of Ontario and the Canadian government are anxious to make a deal on a $200 million investment in the arts. Problem is, the two governments can't agree on how the money should be split up. And arts groups are getting impatient. Toronto Star 03/19/02

  • THE AGITATOR: Ontario Premier Mike Harris has never been a subtle politician, and his all-too-public battles with the national government in Ottawa are legendary. So when Harris announced that he was unilaterally implementing over $90 million of funding for provincial arts groups without waiting for matching funds from the capitol, a firestorm of criticism ensued. From artists to MPs, it seems no one is happy, and nearly everyone is blaming Mike Harris. The Globe & Mail (Toronto) 03/20/02

TAKING THE FIGHT OUTSIDE: Two prominent members of the Orange County Performing Arts Center board have resigned from the organization. Four other top board members are part of a lawsuit against the pair, charging them with securities fraud in their business. "The lawsuit seeks damages of more than $50 million for the plaintiffs' losses on the stock market." In leaving the board, the pair said that sitting on a board with people who accuse them of fraud "was just something we could not stomach." "The resignation of the Broadcom founders - billionaire philanthropists and leaders in the high-tech-driven 'new economy' - represents a blow to a board that has been assiduously courting the next generation of business leaders and arts patrons." Orange County Register 03/17/02

10. FOR FUN 

GUERRILLA CINEMA: At the appointed hour, a car pulls up, the driver gets out, sets up his equipment, and "guerrilla drive-in" is up and running. In Los Angeles, a filmmaker projects his movies on the sides of buildings, broadcasting the sound on a local pirate radio frequency. "The director began projecting a two-hour cut of his three-hour movie onto the sides of buildings from Santa Monica to the Valley last summer. Sometimes he gets the owner's permission; sometimes he doesn't, a dicey prospect given tonight's locale: behind the parking lot of the LAPD's Hollywood station." LA Weekly 03/14/02