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Week of August 5-11, 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


LET ME ENTERTAIN YOU: "In the future, when anthropologists study the last 100 years, they may refer to it as the Entertainment Era, a time when distraction and diversion reigned supreme. Never before has Homo sapiens consumed such a vast array of cultural products or chased down vicarious experiences with such zealous abandon. The need to escape has never been so inescapable. Is this wired into our brains? Is it a consequence of cultural evolution? Is it a reaction to the demands of modern life?" Toronto Star 08/04/02

THAT WAS BEAUTIFUL: "What is beauty in art and how do we receive and comprehend it? How does it register in a culture that has grown increasingly ironic and skeptical about the images and visions it creates? We tend to believe that the things we find beautiful - a piece of music, a mountain landscape at dawn, Tiger Woods' golf swing - have an intrinsic worth, an inner, if unmeasurable, verity. We also reserve a pretty healthy measure of distance, a wary, irony-laced mistrust of things that seem too ravishing on the surface." San Francisco Chronicle 08/06/02


UNHAPPY ROYAL DANCERS: Dancers in the London's Royal Ballet are unhappy with director Ross Stretton, who just completed his first season with the company. "The performers' principal gripe concerns Stretton's casting decisions, which are said to have left dancers uncertain whether they would be performing in productions until the last minute, and the public attending performances not featuring the advertised cast." Dancers have considered taking a no-confidence vote in Stretton's regime. The Guardian (UK) 08/10/02

  • DISAPPOINTING FIRST YEAR: Ross Stretton has just finished his first year as director of London's National Ballet. How'd he do? "Yes, ballet is a hazardous job and every company gets its share of injuries, but the Royal Ballet right now seems worse than most. Possible causes are choice of repertoire, overworking dancers through casting policies, and the quality (or lack of it) in teaching – all of which must end up on the director's plate. Not a wonderful end for Ross Stretton's first year in charge." The Independent (UK) 08/05/02

DANCING WITHOUT A NET: "Nowhere in the nation is there anything like Boulder's Aerial Dance Festival. It is unique. It is cutting-edge. And during the next few days, students will converge on Boulder to study with the greats of this emerging art form... What, exactly, is aerial dance?" Think low-flying trapeze work, combined with elements of modern and classical dance. Weird? You betcha. Dangerous? Sure. But hey, it's art. Denver Post 08/07/02

SCOTTISH BALLET'S NEW COURSE: Ashley Page is about to take over as director of the troubled Scottish Ballet. The company's directors have declared the company will be remade into a modern company. Page says that will mean expanding the company. He also says that "under his directorship the ballet would be performing an 'eclectic' mix of work, which may require the addition of another 10 contemporary-skilled dancers to the company." The Herald (Glasgow) 08/04/02


OSCAR IN NEW YORK? "The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and a group of New York leaders have been talking about moving part of next year's Academy Awards show to New York City to help the city recover from the Sept. 11 terror attacks." Nando Times (AP) 08/10/02

TOP FILMS OF ALL TIME: Every ten years the British Film Institute asks leading international critics and directors to rank the best movies ever. Citizen Kane tops this year's list. "The most recently made film to reach the directors' top 10 was Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull, released in 1980." Nando Times (AP) 08/10/02

  • MOVIES - NO LONGER THE COMMON LANGUAGE: For much of the last half-century one common cultural reference point has been the movies. As much as "we loved the films, we treasured the thought that 'everyone' knew them. More or less in those decades, everyone did go to the movies. In America, in the 20s and 30s, say, 60-70% of the people went to the movies once a week. Today, it's no more than 15%." Movies aren't the cultural binder they once were. The Guardian (UK) 08/10/02

STUMBLING GIANT? Clear Channel owns some 1200 radio stations in the US in 300 markets. It controls a good chunk of the country's concert business too. But lately the company has been doing so well. "Clear Channel - well known for its hardball tactics - has been hit with numerous antitrust lawsuits, petitions to the Federal Communications Commission and pending legislation on Capitol Hill." Salon 08/07/02

  • GIANT KILLER? Clear Channel might be America's biggest radio company, but there are signs the company might be in trouble. Its stock price has dived. Congress is making noises about reining in radio ownership. "Meanwhile, plaintiffs are filing lawsuits while critics raise questions about company finances and alleged payola schemes." Wired 08/07/02

BOW TO THE MACHINE: Machinima - a contraction of machine and cinema - is the newest and cheapest thing in film-making. "The new form was made possible by computer game manufacturers, which began releasing some of their codes to enable players to customise characters and backgrounds." Sydney Morning Herald 08/08/02

KILLER-B's: What's with all the B-movie plots for this summer's biggest blockbuster movies? Crop Circles? Radioactive spiders? Aliens? "The concept of B-movies was a product of cinema’s boom time in the 1950s. Smaller non-studio producers wanted to make a fast buck by tapping into the audience’s primal fears with sensationalist (but cheap) film-making." Now they've moved into the mainstream. The Times (UK) 08/08/02 

NARROW DEFINITION OF WOMEN: "We all know that women fall madly in love even when they're not raving beauties — or sweet young things. And that these days many are staying vigorously active, leading fulfilling professional lives, and having physical adventures and sexual escapades well into their senior years. Yet head to the mall to take in the latest Hollywood studio films, and you get a much narrower vision of womanhood." Seattle Times 08/04/02

OUR DIGITAL MOVIE FUTURE: "Digital video is one of the most controversial issues in Hollywood. Film purists like critic Roger Ebert decry the muddy and streaky images that often afflict lower-end video features - while proponents like George Lucas hail high-end digital video (DV) as the wave of the future that will democratize filmmaking, allowing artistic freedom and permit even established directors to make risky films." New York Post 08/05/02

GETTING THE MESSAGE UP FRONT: Few advertisers just want to buy 30-second spots on TV shows anymore. Product placement is big business, and some of America's most successful TV shows and movies have worked products into their storylines. "If someone's drinking a can of soda, it can be Coca-Cola. But downstream in syndication, if Pepsi wants to sponsor the show, it can (digitally) become a can of Pepsi." Dallas Morning News 08/05/02


GOING FOR A YOUNGER AUDIENCE: Edinburgh Festival director Brian McMaster has observed that concerts that sell out in advance attract mostly an older audience. Why? Because many younger ticket-buyers buy tickets at the last minute. And they buy cheaper tickets. So this summer's Edinburgh Festival offers a late night series with top performers - Alfred Brendel, Andras Schiff and the Hilliard Ensemble - and all tickets are priced at £5. "What I hope they will do is come to something that they wouldn't otherwise come to, because it's so cheap. I always tell them, come and hear John Adams, or whatever - something that they'd normally stay away from. If we can widen people's tastes, that's equally important." The Telegraph (UK) 08/09/02

THE SENSATIONAL PRINCESS DI: An opera for TV about Princess Di has "perhaps unsurprisingly, already proved controversial. Earlier in the year, a headline in the Daily Mail barked: 'Sick opera to mark five years since Diana's death.' (The paper was referring to an episode in the piece where Ryan, who is obsessed with the princess, employs a prostitute to dress up as her, then strips her and performs a bizarre ritual over her naked body.) 'It would be sad if people got the impression it was a sensational piece and therefore didn't watch it'." The Guardian (UK) 08/09/02

ORCHESTRAS - TOO INGROWN TO THRIVE? The Chicago Symphony only recently admitted its first African American member. But the rest of the orchestra world is no better at diversity. But the problem isn't simply racism (or sexism). "When all is said and done, there is a problem, and it lies in the very nature of the symphonic orchestra, an organism that was formed at the onset of industrial revolution and has resolutely resisted egalitarianism, electronics and multicultural values. The symphony orchestra simply bypassed the 20th century. If it wants to survive the 21st, it will need to reform from the heart - not by admitting a token outsider or staging a free concert for the poor, but by opening itself to the spirit of the times and engaging with the things that really matter." London Evening Standard 08/06/02

BILLIONAIRE FIGHT! BILLIONAIRE FIGHT! The world's largest media company is being sued by one of the world's largest recording companies in the continuing fight to insure that record companies are paid for every tiny little snippet of music ever played, performed, or broadcast anywhere in the universe. The details honestly aren't that crucial, but it's EMI doing the suing and AOL Time Warner playing against type as the plucky underdog being sued. At issue are a couple of in-house ads running on Time Warner cable networks. BBC 08/08/02

BATTLE FOR THE SOUL OF THE MUSIC BIZ: "Record and radio insiders report that several major record companies have quietly introduced new payment schemes for the influential middlemen known as independent promoters, or indies, who peddle songs to radio. Concerned about the runaway costs of indie promotion, which by some estimates costs the music industry more than $150 million annually, label executives say they're determined to return some fiscal sanity to a process that to most outsiders does not appear sane." Salon 08/07/02

TOKYO TRIES FOR A COMEBACK: The Tokyo String Quartet has not been the same since the departure of first violinist Peter Oundjian in 1995. Internal squabbles, lukewarm reviews, and general fatigue have contributed to the quartet's difficulties in the fickle and fast-changing world of chamber music. But the Tokyo has a new first violinist who is generating buzz, in large part for his inexperience in the international arena, and rumor has it that the Tokyo may be on its way back into the upper echelons of string quartets. The Globe & Mail (Toronto) 08/07/02

LIVE ON TAPE... A "live" recording of Simon Rattle's performance last fall of Schoenberg's two-hour cantata, Gurrelieder with the Berlin Philharmonic turns out not to be so live after all. After the performance, one of the singers was removed from the recording and replaced with another in the studio. Why? It's a marketing thing, but is it honest? Is it artistically defensible? The New York Times 08/04/02

LEARNING ABOUT PUNK: "After a quarter century, and a zeitgeist shift or two, the phenomenon of punk has entered the twilight zone between popular culture and social history. The subject of documentaries on MTV and VH-1 (and at least one deluxe coffee-table book), the early punk scene has also drawn the attention of scholars trying to understand its significance as "cultural practice." But don't assume that this is some new surge of nostalgia, with footnotes as camouflage. Punk and academe have a long history together." Chronicle of Higher Education 08/02/02

WRONG ACCOUNT: "The contract filed by the record company at the time of a recording session is an important document, because it lists all the musicians on a session and serves as a record of how often a musician played, which determines his or her pension and royalty payments. But if no contract is filed, or the wrong names are used, or no names at all, musicians lose out on hundreds and thousands of dollars later. Situations like that, and the way record companies do business with artists and musicians in general, is under increasing scrutiny in today's post-Enron climate of growing public concern about accounting irregularities in big business." Detroit News 08/05/02

TRASH-TALKIN' OPERA: The must-see event at this summer's Edinburgh Fringe? Why, it's Jerry Springer: The Opera. The show's a hit, with a bright future in front of it. "I love its violent marriage of high and low culture. To hear the kind of vulgar chaos of Jerry Springer submitted to the disciplines of classical opera results in more than the sum of those two halves." The Telegraph (UK) 08/07/02


WHY I GIVE: Arts patron Alberto Vilar's fortune has dipped from $5.5 billion to $1.6 billion. But he's still giving money for the arts, and he's annoyed at reports he meddles with the productions he finances. "Let me tell you the way this works. You come to me, the head of the Met, the Kirov, and you say, we're going to do War and Peace and Joe is going to direct it and Joe is going to be the conductor and here are the singers. We have a gentleman's code; I simply say pass or fail, yes or no. If you call that meddling, I'll be happy to be called a meddler any day." Denver Post 08/04/02

CENSOR'S SENTENCE: "One of Turkey's most famous film actresses, Lale Mansur, could face a 15-year prison sentence because of her outspoken views on the country's censorship laws. Mansur, who was Istanbul State Opera's longest-serving prima ballerina before taking up acting, has already received a suspended five-year sentence under Turkey's anti-terrorism laws. She now faces new trials, along with several other artists, relating to the publication of books by banned authors." BBC 08/07/02

SCHAMA SIGNS RECORD DEAL: Simon Schama has signed a £3 million book/TV deal for a series focusing on Anglo-American relations. "The book deal from HarperCollins for the non-UK rights to Mr Schama's books is worth £2 million, thought to be the single biggest advance ever paid for history titles. The BBC, which is paying the remaining £1 million for the British rights to the books and to the two television series, said it thought Prof Schama was worth 'every penny'." The Telegraph (UK) 08/04/02

PREVIN/MUTTER: Conductor Andre Previn and violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter have married; it's Previn's fifth marriage, Mutter's second. "The couple, despite their differences in age - he is 72 and she is 39 - have become inseparable over recent months after her performance in Boston of The Previn Violin Concerto, which he composed for her." The Telegraph (UK) 08/06/02


WHAT BECOMES A BESTSELLER? "As books editor, I have pondered this question more than once. Sure, great content helps. But let's not be naive: Just as in dating, many other factors come into play. I have learned my lesson yet again: When it comes to books, the hype machine is an unreliable matchmaker, ruled as often by press and publishing self-interest as by literary ideals." Rocky Mountain News 08/04/02

BOOKS FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T READ: "They sell to people working at 30,000 offices, factories and schools, and 2 million more by mail order and the internet. They sell 14 million books a year, and each year they throw extraordinary parties with fairground rides and marching bands to celebrate their success. Peculiarly, unless The Book People send you their catalogues or visit your workplace every few weeks, you may never have heard of them." The Observer (UK) 08/04/02

RISE OF THE DEAL-MAKER: The literary agent is fast dying out. He's being replaced by the multimedia packager, the deal-maker capable of putting together a deal for TV, movies, newspapers and brand marketing. What's that doing to the author of work that doesn't fit into easily-recognizeable categories? London Evening Standard 08/05/02

THE SHAKESPEARE FRANCHISE: "The 'did-Shakespeare-really-write-Shakespeare' debate has raged for 200 years." A new Australian documentary takes up the case and concludes that Shakespeare had some help - "that Shakespeare collaborated with Marlowe to produce the works; that Marlowe provided the great themes and learning, while Shakespeare was the voice of 'the heart and soul of merry England'." The Age (Melbourne) 08/06/02

MOVING BOOKS ONLINE: Struggling used-book sellers in Australia are closing up their storefronts. But they're not going out of business - they're moving online, where the business seems brisker (and cheaper to run). "The success of online selling may soon see the second-hand book lover struggling to locate a suburban seller." Sydney Morning Herald 08/09/02

SPEAKING OF BOOKS: Writers who can talk find there's an increasingly eager audience for what they have to say (as opposed to what they write?). "The fee scale for writers in this country ranges from two thousand dollars for a well-respected poet to over a hundred thousand for a high-profile, celebrity writer." Poets & Writers 08/02

BESTSELLING WHAT? Every writer, publisher, agent - anyone, in fact, who's involved in the publication of books - pays attention to Bestseller lists. They pay attention even though everyone knows their accuracy is questionable. Some high-selling books never make it to the list, while other, lower-volume books manage to squeak on. And then there's the whole business of in-store placement and promotion... The Globe & Mail (Canada) 08/06/02

CANCON MISUSED? Indigo Books, Canada's largest bookseller, is suing to prevent Amazon from making inroads into the country, and some critics aren't happy. "Canada has rules protecting cultural industries in Canada. Those rules limit, among other things, foreign ownership of bookstores and publishers. The idea is to create a balance between nurturing indigenous cultural products and fostering competition that favours consumers. Too often, in my view, consumers are shortchanged in this equation. I'm all for government-sponsored encouragement for the writing and publishing of Canadian books. But why... are we protecting booksellers from foreign competition?" The Globe & Mail (Toronto) 08/07/02

BATTLING SUPERHEROES: Selling comic books is not like selling books. In book sales, if you order too many copies, you get to return the unsold volumes. But comic book sellers have to guess how many copies will sell, and eat the ones that don't Now a small Bay Area comic book seller is suing giant Marvel Comics (home of Spiderman) over sloppy returns policies. Sure Brian Hibbs is only out $2000, but when he certified a class action, the amount soared to millions... SFWeekly 08/08/02

A MATTER OF BIAS: Do different standards apply when reviewing books by African-Americans? Critic Wanda Coleman believes so. "Critically reviewing the creative efforts of present-day African-American writers, no matter their origin, is a minefield of a task complicated by the social residuals of slavery and the shifting currents in American publishing. Into this 21st century, African-Americans are still denied full and open participation in the larger culture. Thus, our books remain repositories for the complaints and resentments harbored against the nation we love, as well as paeans to the courage, fortitude and sacrifice of peers and forebears." LAWeekly 08/08/02


DARK ON 9/11: More than a dozen Broadway shows, including The Phantom of the Opera, Chicago, Les Miserables, Cabaret and Mamma Mia! have decided not to perform on September 11 this year. "I don't think we could face performing that day when you remember back to what occurred last year. It's just too difficult and too emotional." Nando Times (AP) 08/07/02

ART OR MONEY (CAN IT BE BOTH?): Playwrights have a pet saying that in theatre you can make a killing but you can't make a living. When the gravy train is a-chuffing, incomes can be awesomely good. David Hare, Tom Stoppard, Alan Ayckbourn - they're all loaded. But the reality for most writers is very different. Say you had two plays on in one year at two of the big subsidised theatres like the Royal Court and the Royal Exchange, you might get £20,000 in total. That's hard enough to do in one year, let alone every year." The Telegraph (UK) 08/10/02

DEATH OF TRYOUTS: New York theatre producers have been fretting since local press broke an informal agreement not to publish reviews of Broadway-bound shows opening out of town. Out-of-town runs were meant as tryouts out of the media glare so they could be tinkered with before coming to the big time. Now the "agreement" has been broken, "no more will a show be able to work out its problems away from the scrutiny of the New York press. But press coverage isn't really the problem. Tryouts don't work anymore because the shows don't really get fixed. They get edited, polished and streamlined - but not fixed." New York Post 08/09/02

UNRATED AT YOUR OWN RISK: With some of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival's shows deliberately setting out to embarrass, offend or gross out their audiences, there's a renewed call for some sort of film-style ratings system. But organizers rule it out, saying that it would be "impossible for a group of censors to see every one of the 1,500 shows or provide a consistent film-style classification." The Telegraph (UK) 08/07/02

THEATRE CREEDE: In 1967 a bunch of college students from the University of Kansas were lured to the small Colorado town of Creede (pop. 600) to start a theatre company in an old movie theatre. "What happened the next 37 years is a story sociologists and economists could study for years: How a ragtag group of young artists came into a harsh, dying town and not only found a way to mesh with its isolated community but has been twice credited - by some only begrudgingly - with saving it." Denver Post 08/06/02


IF YOU MAKE IT FREE, THEY WILL COME: Since British museums did away with admission fees last winter, average attendance is up by 2.7 million - or 62%. Free admission has particularly helped the once-ailing Victoria and Albert Museum which has seen a 157 percent increase in visitors. Some institutions, like the British Museum have failed to make up the income they have lost, and are struggling. The Guardian (UK) 08/09/02

TAKE A LONGER LOOK: New Republic art critic Jed Perl worries that people are forgetting how to look at art. "People seem to have an idea that to look at art in a sophisticated and up-to-date way means not looking at it very long or very hard. What people are no longer prepared for is seeing an experience that takes place in time. They have ceased to believe that a painting or a sculpture is a structure with meaning that unfolds as we look…. The essential aspect of all the art I admire the most, both old and new, is that it makes me want to keep looking." Spiked-online 08/07/02

HOLDING TO ACCOUNT: Greece is demanding an explanation from the British Museum for how a 2,500-year-old Greek statue was stolen from the museum last week. "Given the historic and cultural interest Greece has in all Greek antiquities, wherever they may be, we would like an explanation." The Guardian (UK) 08/06/02

WHY I LEFT THE ROYAL ONTARIO: When Lindsay Sharp became director of the Royal Ontario Museum in 1996, he brought with him the promise of a little flash and excitement. But he resigned before the end of his contract, a controversial figure who upset many of the museum's supporters. "I did what I was expected to do. But I couldn't stay there. The politics were too difficult. There was a struggle, in my view, between the forces of open-mindedness and creativity, and the other side was selfishness and conservatism of the wrong sort. I was determined that we make a fair amount of organizational change, but I didn't manage to do all of the cultural change." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 08/03/02

TOKYO'S NEW SKYLINE: "As any visitor to Japan today can testify, Tokyo in particular, has metamorphosed over the past 20 years into one of the most stunning, often bizarre, skylines in the world. Tension still exists, in the sense that its architecture is an ephemeral commodity. After early mistakes, Japan's contemporary architecture is the undisputed leader in the aesthetics of style, and an internationally touring photographic exhibition proves how far ahead of the game is the land of Zen." New Zealand Herald 08/05/02

RIGHT TO MOVE: The Dallas Museum of Art is moving a giant Claes Oldenburg/Coosje van Bruggen sculpture which has towered through the museum's largest gallery since the museum was built in 1984. The museum wants to use the space for other artwork, but the artists, who believed that the site-specific work was permanently located, are unhappy. Dallas Morning News 08/06/02

RUBENS RECOVERED: Irish police have recovered a Rubens painting 16 years after it was stolen by Dublin mobster Martin Cahill. "Cahill and his 13-strong gang made international headlines in 1986 when they snatched 18 paintings, worth a total of £24 million in a daring raid." The Guardian (UK) 08/07/02

BUILDINGS AS INSPIRATION: Does a university owe its community good architecture? MIT president Chuck Vest thinks so. The university has embarked on a major building program. ''I believe that the buildings at this extraordinary university should be as diverse, forward thinking, and audacious as the community they serve. They should stand as a metaphor for the ingenuity at work inside them.'' Boston Globe 08/11/02

BUILT-IN CONFLICT? Does architecture play a role in shaping political conflict? Israeli architects are debating the issue. "Some argue that by designing and constructing Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, the architectural profession has, perhaps unwittingly, contributed to escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Others respond that architecture is neither political nor ideological and, as such, has nothing to answer for." The New York Times 08/10/02

TAKING ON THE DOWAGER: Neil McGregor, the British Museum' new director has a big job ahead. The museum is "all but broke. With a projected budget deficit of more than £6 million it faces drastic cutbacks: 150 staff members have been told they must lose their jobs. A third of the galleries may have to be closed at any one time. How can this Bloomsbury dowager, beset by declining visitor numbers, compete with its debutante granddaughter, Tate Modern, which, on the very day that MacGregor took up his new position, was welcoming its ten-millionth visitor?" The Times 08/07/02


ART OF BUSINESS: "We like to believe that the best and most interesting artists, even popular artists, make the stories and pictures and music they do because they need to make them, not just because they think they can earn a buck." And yet, art is big business, and it is naive to believe that business doesn't dictate much of what an artist does... Public Arts (WCPN) 08/06/02 

THE NEW ART? "The terrorist attacks of 9/11 have brought upon us all a realization that conceptual art, incomprehensible 'l.a.n.g.u.a.g.e p.o.e.t.r.y', avant-garde performance art, plotless fiction, tuneless music, and inhuman postmodern architecture are not going to be able to deal with the real evil of the world. Only in the great artistic traditions of humankind will we find adequate means of expression. The new movement in the arts, as if it anticipated the need for them, has been busy recovering those traditions. Who are the new classicists?" NewKlassical 08/06/02

MAKING A SCENE: "People in the arts business are forever talking about 'scenes,' as in fashion scene, jazz scene, or gay scene. But it took a sociologist, York University's Alan Blum, to stop and meditate about what a 'scene' really is. As part of the university's five-year study of urban culture, Culture of Cities, Blum analyzed the idea of a scene in Public magazine last year. It was a revelation for me, once I learned to enjoy the rich, corrugated phrase-making of academic sociology. You know you're far down this road when locutions like 'the libidinal circuits of intoxicated sociality' begin to have the sea-green rhythm of poetry." The Globe & Mail (Toronto) 08/07/02

10. FOR FUN 

BEHEADING THE CRITIC? St. Paul Pioneer-Press theatre critic Dominic Papatola, on reviewing a play called Bring Me the Head of Dominic Papatola at the Minnesota Fringe Festival: "Reviewing this show was an unusual experience for me, and having me review it was probably an unusual experience for those in the cast. I'm accustomed to sitting quietly in my aisle seat, spewing my poison in relative anonymity. They're used to hurling invectives at critics in muttered, half-drunken tones in the corner booth at Leaning Tower of Pizza. While I guess I wouldn't have expected the talkback to take the form of a play that advocates my grisly murder, the mere fact that theater people would even try to pull a stunt like this proves that either (a) they're a lot braver than one would expect or that (b) I've somehow created the impression that I can take it as well as I can dish it out." St. Paul Pioneer-Press 08/09/02

REM VS. CHARLES: When Harvard University hired renowned architect Rem Koolhaas to design an architectural vision for its newly expanded campus, they expected to be blown away. True, it's quite a challenge to create a cohesive campus when the Charles River runs through the middle of it, but everyone agreed that the eccentric and brilliant urban planner was up to the challenge. And he was: after much thought, Koolhaas announced the centerpiece of his proposal to bring all of fair Harvard together - the river is just going to have to be moved. Boston Globe 08/08/02

COLOUR FIELD: So you think calling red, red or green green is sufficient? Thou cretin! You're probably the kind of person who'd be surprised to learn there's a whole field of study in the art of identifying colors. "It is, for me, one of the great pleasures of taking notes at warp factor 10 during fast-moving fashion shows to get down the particular shade of the bugle-beaded, dolman-sleeved, wool-crepe jumpsuit that is sashaying by. To nail the subtle differences between, say, 'tobacco' and 'snuff', or 'beige' and 'camel' is deeply satisfying." Sydney Morning Herald 08/05/02