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Week of August 12-18, 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


CRITICAL SANDTRAPS: Ah, it's all so predictable, most arts criticism is. Is it true that most critical writing can be reduced to a couple handfuls of easy formulas? Critic Philip Kennicott offers the top ten most-abused traps for a critic. Washington Post 08/11/02

COME ON, WE'RE REALLY SMART: Are we dumber than ever? "It has been the refrain, for five years and more, of both serious intellectual commentators, normally from the Left, and various uneasy bedfellows from the why-oh-why brigade on the Right, all lined up in a dolorous puddle wringing damp hands at the vacuousness of cultural life in Britain today: the mindless game shows, the action flicks, the moron's music, the obsession with celebrity trivia, the sham and hype and glitter, the inability to name the prime minister before Margaret Thatcher, let alone the six wives of Henry VIII." But "we are no dumber, collectively, than we have ever been. We are, in fact, smarter. We have more access to more information than ever before, and we scream for it, and we are starting to scream, too, for quality." The Observer (UK) 08/11/02

THE "UN"-INDUSTRY: Labeling an artform such as jazz an "industry" does a disservice to the art. Industries work to become efficient, where jazz is a product of experimentation and inspiration. "A fundamental assumption of industrial culture, it seems to me, is that success is not a function of individual personalities on the front line, but of the way individuals are managed from upstairs: selected, trained, assigned to the area in which their talents are best suited, inspired by the company vision statement and provided with the proper feedback to maximize performance. Inspired musicians are not amenable to this approach." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 08/13/02

A PASSING GENERATION: Ann Landers, Pauline Kael, Mike Royko...a generation of older voices of authority are falling away. "As a group, they personified what one academic calls a media culture of 'companionship' versus the current one of confrontation. Part of the advantage these old-school communicators enjoyed in building longevity was a more stable, paternalistic, homogenous structure of media ownership. Just as the old Hollywood studios created brand identity by locking their biggest stars into exclusive multiyear contracts, so other media established continuity by cultivating what was once a relatively limited pool of recognizable names and voices." Los Angeles Times 08/12/02


FAILED PROMISE? Ross Stretton's fortunes as director of London's Royal Ballet took a quick dive in his first season. "Only last September the Australian walked into Covent Garden as the Royal Ballet’s new boss, full of plans to move the company forward. Today his own dancers are so upset with his style of management that they are threatening to strike." The Times (UK) 08/13/02

  • NATIONAL SNOBBERY? "There are two main reasons why the first year of Stretton's three-year contract has ended badly. The first reason is chauvinism. The attitude in the British ballet world is this: Australia does not tell us what to do - we tell it... Sydney Morning Herald 08/13/02

THE LATEST TRENDS IN DANCE: Toronto's Festival of Independent Dance Artists is Canada's largest international dance festival. "The first half of the festival reveals several interesting trends: There is an emphasis on beautiful dance, anchored in strong technique and form. There are also more group pieces rather than a long line of solos. The solos themselves are less introspective and self-indulgent than in previous years. Humour is making a welcome return." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 08/12/02

ENDANGERED ROCKETTES: Is Rockefeller Center getting ready to toss out its high-stepping Rockettes? "The corporate owner of the landmark concert venue wants to replace the standing roster of Rockettes with a system of open auditions. The dancers with the trademark high-leg kicks have been working without a contract since February." Nando Times (AP) 08/11/02

DANCE FESTIVAL CALLS IT QUITS: Los Angeles dance presenter Dance Kaleidoscope has folded after failing to find a new director. "In its heyday, Dance Kaleidoscope was the city's premier showcase for local dance, presenting a multi-week festival of modern, classical and world dance performances. In summer 2000, the event included five performances of nearly 30 artists or groups in four locations over three weekends." Los Angeles Times 08/17/02


TV GUIDE LOSES ITS WAY: For much of its career, TV Guide was a publishing powerhouse. In the 1970s, 40 million people read it every week. These days "circulation has plummeted to 9 million, the magazine is increasingly reporting on gossipy non-TV stories like Winona Ryder's legal troubles, and - in a clear sign of the changing zeitgeist - it's taken a backseat to new TV Guide properties that are online or delivered by cable and digital systems." San Francisco Chronicle 08/12/02

LAPD BECOMES BRAND-SENSITIVE: "The Los Angeles Police Department is seeking to censor films and television shows by threatening to sue any company that uses its name, badges or logos without getting approval for the script first. Behind the move is a desire to force the entertainment industry to abandon one of its favourite stock characters: the bad cop who either beats up suspects, takes money on the side or drinks too much." The Telegraph (UK) 08/12/02

THE GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL: What does the recent British Film Institute list of all-time great movies say? "It has surprised, even shocked, some people that there are no recent pictures on the 2002 lists but even more striking is the absence of certain big names - Lang, Buñuel, Ford, Ophüls, Powell, Reed. But the lists aren't terrible, especially considering that in the critics' section 631 films were nominated (408 receiving one vote each), while the directors named 490 films (312 receiving one vote apiece). This is an encouraging tribute to the attractive diversity of world cinema." The Observer(UK) 08/11/02

CUT-RATES = MORE WORK: Hollywood musicians were losing more and more movie-score recording to musicians in other cities who would record it cheaper. So last year the musicians cut their rates by 50 percent. They got more work. "In theory, we could have lost money. What we really did was behave in a way that made us good stakeholders in the industry. There are now many more albums out there, so we have 25% of something instead of 50% of nothing." Andante (Variety) 08/12/02

HOME CENSORS: New software allows viewers the ability to "delete offensive language, violence, or adult situations from movies that are played back on home digital equipment." But the software goes beyond simple censorship. It can also change the look of a movie. "A consumer can actually choose to tone down the violence in a movie but leave the language intact or vice versa. In other words, parents can become movie directors." 08/14/02

MOVIE STUDIO INVENTS FAKE FANS? First movie studios got caught inventing critics to promote their movies. Now the editor of a popular internet site devoted to movie reviews says a movie publicist has been inventing fake fans to post positive comments to a fan forum. He also claims that "whoever is behind the bogus postings collected the e-mail addresses of all the users of the message boards and sent ads for the film to them." Hartford Courant 08/15/02

ALIEN NATION: Some of Hollywood's best new films are being made by non-Americans. "The multinational nature of the industry's present talent pool might be a wonder to US critics; but that's just amnesia talking. Hollywood, after all, owes its very existence to the mass immigration of the early 20th century. It was only natural that this budding nation should seize on the infant medium of cinema, a potent lingua franca based around the great equalisers of melodrama and adventure, with a frequent bias toward heroic but misunderstood outsiders." The Guardian (UK) 08/15/02

WHY I DOWNLOAD: The film industry estimates that in May, 400,000-600,000 films were being downloaded by Internet users per day. Is it just rampant theft? "People who go through the trouble of downloading these movies are die-hard fans who would buy it on DVD anyway. . . . It's a way to sort through what I want to buy." San Francisco Chronicle 08/16/02


ONE MORE TIME - FROM THE TOP... Funny - they call is the "science" of acoustics. But if it was so scientific, why are there all these modern concert halls in which you can't hear? Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall (home of the Toronto Symphony) is about to reopen after an acoustical makeover that took six months. The hall is famous for its poor sound - "the sweeping changes to canopies, seating and bulkheads come with a $20-million price tag. Here's how the concert hall plans to refresh its sound..." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 08/13/02

TOO MUCH FREEDOM? "Like no other director before him, Harry Kupfer, who turns 67 next month, dominated the Berlin opera scene for decades. (Even today, there are still 30 of his stagings in the repertoires of the Komische Oper and the Staatsoper.) But Kupfer was more than just a successful opera director. The story of his rise and fall is also the story of a changing Berlin, an example of the way repressive governments can ironically infuse art with expressive possibility, and a cautionary tale of what can happen when a director overindulges in hard-won artistic freedom." Andante 08/11/02

VIDEO GAMES - THAT'S WHERE THE MONEY IS: "For years, record companies considered licensing their music to video games as a meager but steady source of cash. But as sales of video games rival Hollywood box office receipts, the music industry is taking notice. Labels now view games - with a dedicated fan base of young, affluent players - as launching pads for up-and-coming artists." Nando Times (AP) 08/13/02

THE OPERATIC MAGGIE: The new opera about Princess Di just doesn't work. But then, few operas on contemporary themes are successful. Rupert Christiansen has an idea though: "My advice to any composer who wants to tackle a subject with "contemporary relevance" would be to think big and Verdian (Rigoletto, Don Carlos). [John Adams'] Nixon in China works because the characters and situation were already larger than life, and it never tries to be ordinarily real. I have a specific suggestion to offer. A composer with Donizetti's dash and vigour should tackle my idea for a grand opera based on the fall of Margaret Thatcher." The Telegraph (UK) 08/14/02

GETTIN' REAL WITH THE ROUGH STUFF: "In both rock and country, the axiom (right or wrong) has been that the rough stuff is the source of innovation: Rawness is truth, violence is strength, stripped-down is honest. When things get too squishy, the most demanding part of the audience starts to squirm and, as legend has it, the young punks and outlaws provide a reality check. That same set of reflexive values has been superimposed on hip-hop in the past 20 years: 'Keeping it real' means keeping it on 'street' level, and the streets, don't you know, are mean and murderous." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 08/15/02

CLASSIC SUCCESS STORY: In America, classical music radio stations may be a losing proposition. But in Britain, 10-year-old Classic FM is "the biggest radio success story of the decade, and their unashamedly populist approach has seen audiences soar to 6.8 million - a 360,000 increase on last year. Audiences now outstrip Radio 1, Kiss and Virgin, and with a revenue increase of 23 per cent, they are celebrating their anniversary with a clutch of new signings." The Scotsman 08/14/02

STYLE BREAK: Orchestra musicians have dressed the way they do for centuries. But some European orchestras are wondering about making a change. "Many orchestras are concerned that tails are dated and may put off new audiences; meanwhile, some are concerned that change could alienate the longtime audiences who are accustomed to the tails-for-men-and-long-black-for-women look." Andante 08/16/02

TOO MANY OTHER THINGS... A survey of music consumers suggests that downloading music is not to blame for a recent downturn in music sales. "Increased competition for consumer entertainment dollars - from video games, cable television and home theatres - was more responsible for the slump." Sydney Morning Herald (AFP) 08/15/02


LARRY RIVERS, 78: The "irreverent proto-Pop painter and sculptor, jazz saxophonist, writer, poet, teacher and sometime actor and filmmaker" died of cancer. "He helped change the course of American art in the 1950's and 60's, but his virtues as an artist always seemed inextricably bound up with his vices, the combination producing work that could be by turns exhilarating and appalling." The New York Times 08/16/02

GO WEST: Cornel West has had a difficult year. Cancer, marital problems, and controversy at Harvard that pushed him to leave for Princeton. Through it all, West has kept his own style - He "does not do e-mail. He doesn't have a cell phone. He doesn't own a computer. What he writes, he writes longhand. He's eccentric that way or, as he puts it, 'old school' That, too, is why he wears those dark, formal three-piece suits with the vest chain dangling: They conjure the dignity, confidence and humility of the black preachers of his youth." Washington Post 08/11/02

ALBERTO IN LOVE: Alberto Vilar has given $250 million to the arts, and his passion for opera projects is high. But after a difficult surgery and a new fiancee, "he looks on the arts now with a warier eye and to his own happiness as a higher priority." Will marriage slow down his gifts to favored music projects? London Evening Standard 08/14/02

MCCARTNEY OUT: Paul McCartney has pulled out of this year's Kennedy Center Honors, citing a schedule conflict. "The withdrawal, the first in the history of the awards, is a deep disappointment to organizers, who had striven to put together a particularly impressive roster of talent for what will be the 25th anniversary of the ceremony, scheduled for Dec. 8." Washington Post 08/17/02


AROUND-THE-WORLD BOOKS: San Francisco artist Brian Singer created 1000 journals, then released them into the world with strangers where they were to be passed on from person to person until the pages of the books are filled. Their progress can be followed on the web at "The journals have crisscrossed North America and travelled to more than 30 other countries, from Guam to South Africa, from China to the Netherlands. But most unexpected has been how the journals have taken on lives of their own: "A lot of people are writing in the journals about the journals. These journals are having their own unique adventures." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 08/14/02

BAILING OUT PUBLISHERS: Canadian publishers were caught in financial trouble earlier this year when the country's largest book distributor went out of business owing a lot of money. But various levels of government have stepped in to bail out struggling publishers. "As publishing goes through changes in Canada, we want to make sure that the really good publishers, who do outstanding literature and who are professionally excellent, can survive and thrive." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 08/14/02

BRITISH LIBRARY STRIKE CANCELED: Workers at the British Library had planned to go on strike Monday, protesting the Library's pay proposal. But negotiations have moved ahead better than expected, and the union has called off the strike. "We are hopeful that the suspension of strike action will provide an opportunity for a fair pay settlement to be reached." BBC 08/14/02

QUIET TIME TO WRITE: Prison hasn't slowed down author Jeffrey Archer. This week he "signed a three-book deal with Macmillan/St. Martin's reportedly worth millions of pounds - from his jail cell, where he is doing four years for lying on the stand. His agent told the press that, because Archer has 'never been writing better,' he jokes that he's leading a campaign to keep him inside." San Francisco Chronicle 08/17/02

TO BLURB OR NOT TO BLURB: Blurbing a book is - more often than not - an act of politics. Getting the right blurber for your cover requires strategy. "Nonfeasance is the norm in blurbing. Publishers expect little. Several galleys per week arrive at my door. I always open the envelope, and I always read the editor's letter. I like the personal, the flattering, the imploring: 'In so many ways this book reminds me of yours... The New York Times 08/12/02

A BESTSELLER SECRET? They don't get much respect in the literary world, but Britain's top-selling authors - among them Barbara Cartland, Jackie Collins and Jeffrey Archer - have sold 3.5 billion books. "What is it that makes these authors - often ridiculed but obsessively read - so stupendously successful? Literary merit? Perhaps not. Some have sold their souls brilliantly to the media, while others simply had the knack or luck of perfect timing. And their rewards continue to amass." London Evening Standard (UK) 08/12/02

PEER (NET) REVIEW: Internationally, about 25,000 science, technical and medical journals are peer-reviewed, meaning they are vetted by two or three specialists, plus the journals' editors. The authors and reviewers, who work as volunteers, can be anywhere in the world, and many journals' editors work off site. With such far-flung participants, the submission and assessment process for peer-reviewed articles has traditionally involved lengthy mail delays, high postage costs and cumbersome administration. But in the past few years new software has dramatically cut don turnaround time. And it's changing the peer review process. The New York Times 08/12/02


BOX OFFICE SMASH: Hairspray, which opened on Broadway Thursday night, is already a huge success at the box office. "The musical, based on John Waters' 1988 cult movie, is blowing away the success of previous Broadway smashes by taking a whopping $15 million in advance ticket sales - more than the Mel Brooks smash The Producers. By 5 p.m. yesterday [Friday], the box office had sold $1.5 million worth of tickets for the show." New York Post 08/17/02

WHAT DO THE CRITICS KNOW? The critics all loved the London revival of Kiss Me Kate. But the show is closing long before it earns back its investment. Yet Bollywood Dreams, which opened to mixed reviews (at best) prospers across the alley. What gives? The critics are confused: "If we all hate a show it usually doesn't prosper. But it is slightly galling that here is a show which we all really loved, and that doesn't seem to have helped at all. I can't think of any way we could have done it better, so you have to ask: can a show like this make it any longer?" The Guardian (UK) 08/17/02

  • DO CRITICS STILL MATTER? "The rise of celebrity culture in the West End has had a twofold effect: a serious play starring unfamiliar actors will be ignored, while a production starring Gwyneth Paltrow will sell out before previews start, regardless of the play. People now attend the theatre to see stars. They don't seem to care, for instance, if Madonna's performance in Up for Grabs is "wooden" or "mechanical" - to quote the critics." The Guardian (UK) 08/17/02

TRAPPED BY THE LONG RUN: You'd think any actor would be happy for the security of being locked into a longterm role. But it's not for everyone. "I felt like I was locked up in prison. It was very trying to be at the whim of every audience. If the laughs were smaller at one performance than another, then I'd worry why they were smaller. I'd worry during the performance. I'd keep thinking, 'I can't seem to please these people enough.' It was very, very exhausting." Backstage 08/13/02

SHAKESPEARE TOWN: Organizers of a proposed "Shakespeare's World" theme park spent 13 years trying unsuccessfully to make the project happen in Stratford-upon Avon. So they took the £200 million project to the US. "The first 'Shakespeare's World' will be housed inside a reconstruction of parts of Tudor Stratford-upon-Avon and London in the town of Midland, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It will include Elizabethan fairs, jesters, acrobats, falconry and wrestling displays, banquets and mead-tasting events, as well as waxworks and costume exhibitions." The Observer (UK) 08/11/02

UP YEAR FOR FRINGE FESTS: The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is breaking attendance records. But so are other fringes - "this year's New York International Fringe Festival has racked up more than $150,000 in advance sales - nearly five times more than last year." New York Post 08/13/02

SOME NEW MUST-SEES? For several seasons the national touring theatre circuit has been in a slump. But things are looking up for the season about to open. "Not since the mid-'90s, when The Phantom of the Opera and Miss Saigon hit the road, has a new season for theater nationwide looked so promising." Hartford Courant 08/11/02

AUDITIONS - SPELL IT S-T-R-E-S-S: "Auditioning for a show is the most uncivilized practice for humans since the barbarous exhibition of the Roman gladiators. A more sanguine view would be to think of it as training for the Last Judgment." But everyone has their role to play in this exercise. Those sitting out in the theatre rendering judgment have their anxieties too. The New York Times 08/11/02


FLIGHT OF IMAGINATION: The new Yokohama international airport sets a new standard in airport design. "Like the Pompidou in its era it is the newest big thing, and the calling card of the next generation of architects. It is designed by a young practice which calls itself Foreign Office Architects, or FOA, of which you will hear much more." London Evening Standard 08/16/02

WORRYING ABOUT STONEHENGE: At last - a plan to fix up the area around Stonehenge. Plans for the site are bound to be controversial, but the architects have been sensitive to the site. "While keeping in line with the current vogue for high design, theirs is a plan which will work extremely well in the surrounding landscape, as it will be set into a hillside with a roof planted with native grass. The centre will include displays which tell the story of Stonehenge and its history. Visitors will still not be allowed to enter the ring of stones itself, though managed access by prior arrangement is anticipated. The destructive potential of 830,000 visitors a year is too great to allow free access to the stone ring." The Art Newspaper 08/16/02

"ART" OF ADOLF? Why are critics reviewing a show about Hitler at Williams College Museum of Art's as an aesthetic construct? Considering Hitler and his actions as a product of aesthetic choices misses the point entirely, writes Lee Rosenbaum. "Could it be that critics and curators who spend their lives looking at pictures begin to lose sight of the big picture?" 08/15/02

DRESDEN FIGHTS TO RESCUE ART: Workers struggle to save Dresden's valuable art as floodwaters threaten. "Working by the light of candles and torches, 200 museum workers, police officers and soldiers carried some 4,000 paintings to the upper floors of the 19th-century palace as the Elbe rose by the hour. Six paintings too large to move were attached by ropes to pipes in the ceiling in the hope that the floodwater would not reach them. The flooding has proved particularly traumatic for Dresden, an eastern city that since the reunification of Germany in 1991 has been working to rebuild itself around its historic cultural image." The New York Times 08/16/02

ENOUGH ALREADY: Isn't it about time that conceptual art was allowed to die? "Consider this: cubism lasted about 20 years because it had a lot of conventions to break down; pop and op art lasted about 10 years (change was becoming more acceptable). At that rate conceptual art should have lasted no longer than five years. The only kind reason that I can think of why conceptual art has lasted so long is that because it possesses virtually no permanent form and thus very little content." The Age (Melbourne) 08/17/02

CONTROLLING THE MESSAGE: Organizers of Documenta have stopped outside guides from taking visitors through the exhibition. Only "official" guides, trained by Documenta are allowed to give tours, and critics charge that officials are trying to control interpretation of the art. “To what extent are those responsible trying to put a stop to any critical reception? To what extent do the organizers really want to offer visitors an official view of young contemporary art?" Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 08/16/02

THE MOMA CHALLENGE: Neal Benezra becomes director of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art at a challenging time. He "will have to figure out how to continue growing an institution that, at least on paper, seems to have peaked. Museum attendance hit a high in 1990, when 732,000 people visited, and has been trailing off since then, reaching 640,000 last year. Membership has slipped also, down to 40,000 from 43,000 last year." Los Angeles Times 08/14/02

LIVERPOOL'S DISAPPEARING SKYSCRAPERS: "Four years ago there were about 70 tower blocks in Liverpool; it is predicted that in the next couple of years there will be as few as 10. They don't, in a sense, really need to be saved - they are not architectural classics." But the office space is no longer needed, and their teardown is seen as civic improvement. In the meantime artists are having fun with the derelict tall buildings. The Observer (UK) 08/11/02


CALL-BLOCKING: A proposed law to prohibit cell phones in New York theatres stands a good chance of passing, with city councilors looking likely to pass the law. But cell phone companies are upset. "Members of the cell-phone industry who oppose the bill out of commercial interests and principle expressed incredulity that the bill has been met with this much fanfare." Wired 08/17/02

SERIAL WINNER: The success of an arts company is not so much dependent on ticket sales as it is on subscription sales. Single ticket buyers do not a successful company make. The father of the subscription package evangelizes: "There is no arts boom, only a subscription boom. Remember, you're not selling Tupperware. We are colourful, we are glamorous, we are the performing arts! Describe your play on the cover, offer discounts, use such enticements that you can already hear somebody crying, `Martha, where's my chequebook?'" Toronto Star 08/17/02

GOING FOR THE ARTS: The Los Angeles School District was going to build a new downtown high school. But, with the encouragement of billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad, the district has decided to spend $20 million more and build a school of the arts. "We believe that the arts are a powerful tool for learning. We are proud to play a role in establishing a school of excellence in a community that has endured so many broken promises." Los Angeles Daily News 08/15/02

UNARTABLE? There is a problem with art about 9/11. "Played to audiences who know what you're going to say next - and are unable to react naturally if you say anything different - art about that calendar-stopping catastrophe will always struggle to do the two things that are the justification of creative imagination: to expose and to provoke. If there's a definite problem with art about the event, there may also now be a potential difficulty with art after the event." The Guardian (UK) 08/16/02

CONTEXT OF COMPLAINT (AND PRAISE): Being a critic is much more than reciting a list of observations. "Criticism, in our world, ought to have one purpose: to serve as a catalyst for democratic dialogue. It should not be a mere catalog of opinions. It might express dissatisfaction with the general state of intellectual affairs, or it might gather forces behind an idea or aesthetic mood. But it should always evaluate. That makes politics an essential component. In some fashion, every work of art is an expression of a political stand in society." Chronicle of Higher Education 08/09/02

PINNING DOWN THE BEAUTY THING: There is beauty in science, certainly. But "is there a science of beauty? Are there equations behind the most beautiful works of art? The consensus has been that this is a hopeless quest... The Age (Melbourne) 08/15/02

CLONING NEW YORK: Over the past several years New York City has been putting together "an immensely detailed, three-dimensional, interactive, constantly updated map of New York City. The digital NYCMap captures the five boroughs down to the square foot, incorporating everything from skyscraper viewing platforms and building floorplans to subway and sewer tubes and ancient faults in the schist below." How much of the city's DNA could be collected? Could you even clone it and rebuild elsewhere if some catastrophe were to occur? Village Voice 08/13/02

THE ZEN OF BEING WRONG: Critical writing is not an absolute, suggests Terry Teachout. And critics ought to have enough confidence to change their minds and admit it. "I don't mean to say that critics should be wishy-washy, but we should also remember that strong emotions sometimes masquerade as their opposite. I also think the world of art would be a better place if we critics made a point of eating crow from time to time." OpinionJournal 08/14/02

THE WAR ON CONSUMERS? The giant recording and movie industries seem to believe that one of America's biggest priorities ought to be protecting their hold on their respective industries. So what if protecting the status quo may not be in the public's best interests? "We have the "War on Drugs" and the "War on AIDS" and the "War on Terror" - does this mean we'll see the "War on File Sharing" as the next great American undertaking with the same effect as these other "Wars" over the years?" The Register 08/12/02

10. FOR FUN 

THROWING YOURSELF INTO YOUR WORK: "Just before he died, the man who made the Frisbee soar and who was called the father of disc golf said he wanted his ashes to be mixed into new copies of the famous plastic flying disc. And his family hopes these limited-edition Frisbees could be sold to help fund a museum in his honor." San Francisco Chronicle 08/14/02

DUPING THE ART PUBLIC: "Last week, art students from Leeds Metropolitan University dumped some cardboard boxes on the floor of the Tate Modern. Within moments, a crowd had gathered to admire the new exhibit before security guards cleared them away. The Evening Standard decided to test the credulity of the public once again by exhibiting a mundane object - and seeing how long it took visitors to treat it with the reverence of a tank of Damien Hirst's pickled sharks." London Evening Standard 08/13/02

REBRANDING POLAND: Poland is trying to spruce up its image. So it's doing what any good corporation does these days - attack it as a marketing challenge. It hired the country's largest ad agency to come up with a new logo. "The year-long effort has produced a playful new emblem, unveiled in Warsaw at the end of July, which its creators hope will vanquish age-old stereotypes and effectively relaunch Poland's image." The Poland account execs reprotedly even consulted a Buddhist monk for help in defining the country's new-look logo. Financial Times 08/13/02