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Week of September 9-15, 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


POOR COUNTRIES SHOULDN'T BE BOUND BY COPYRIGHT: A new study, released this week, says that "poor places should avoid committing themselves to rich-world systems of intellectual property rights protection unless such systems are beneficial to their needs." Rich countries would argue that that is an invitation to piracy. But the report points out that "for most of the 19th century, America provided no copyright protection for foreign authors, arguing that it needed the freedom to copy in order to educate the new nation. Similarly, parts of Europe built their industrial bases by copying the inventions of others, a model which was also followed after the second world war by both South Korea and Taiwan. Today, developing countries do not have the luxury to take their time over IPR." The Economist 09/13/02

RECORDING IS DEAD, LONG LIVE RECORDING: Terry Teachout surveys the history of recorded music and come to a conclusion about the digital revolution - traditional recording companies are doomed. "In the not-so-long run, the introduction of online delivery systems and the spread of file-sharing will certainly undermine and very likely destroy the fundamental economic basis for the recording industry, at least as we know it today. And what will replace it? I, for one, think it highly likely that more and more artists will start to make their own recordings and market them directly to the public via the web. Undoubtedly, new managerial institutions will emerge to assist those artists who prefer not to engage in the time-consuming task of self-marketing, but these institutions will be true middlemen, purveyors of a service, as opposed to record labels, which use artists to serve their interests." Commentary 09/02

COLOR OWNERS: "If color is a language, Pantone is the Oxford English Dictionary — thousands of shades, from almond blossom to walnut, that can be printed, woven, or extruded anywhere in the world. Though Pantone doesn't sell inks, dyes, or paints, it has come to hold a monopoly on color. Of course, frequencies of light, like naturally occurring sounds, are free for anyone to use. But Pantone owns their names — or, more specifically, their designated numbers and spectro-photometric descriptions." So how much are you willing to pay? Wired 09/12/02


REVIVING GRAHAM: A judge's ruling in favor of the Martha Graham Company and against Graham heir Ron Protas means the company can begin dancing again. The judge ruled that Graham created her work "for hire" and so it is owned by the company. But "retrieving the fullness of Graham’s legacy will prove an uphill task. In his time as director Ron Protas estranged many of Graham’s veteran performers, the very people who knew her works in their bones. Throughout the 1990s, as the company sank further into financial decline, it performed less and its seasons became progressively shorter." Ballet.magazine 09/02

NOTHING SIMPLE: Merce Cunningham gets ever more complex as he gets older (he's 80). He creates his dances now with a computer: "I am finding out that movement is ever more complicated. I began to see this through working with the camera, because when you look through it you don't have to think of it as a stage space - you can just move the camera to get a dancer out of sight. With the computer you are asking 'How does that movement translate to a dancer who is trained to move in another way?' " The Telegraph (UK) 09/10/02

UNION ASSESSING STRETTON: The British performers union Equity is meeting this week with dancers of the Royal Ballet in London. "The union is investigating a series of complaints about maverick Australian [artistic director Ross Stretton], who has been accused of infuriating his company by making last-minute casting changes that leave them unsure if and when they are to perform." The Independent 09/08/02

CHICAGO (DANCE) BLUES: Why don't more major dance companies visit Chicago? "Despite some innovative smaller programming and the year-round presence of two of the nation's leading dance companies, the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, this city suffers some disadvantages that rank it lower than even third when it comes to high-profile visiting dance. Ironically, that's partly because we are so big: Competition for the entertainment dollar here is fierce, starting with a world-renowned music scene and the second busiest theater industry in the land." Chicago Tribune 09/08/02


WHERE ARE THE WOMEN? A new study of 120 American broadcast television and cable networks or channels shows that "only 16% of the presidents and chief executive officers are women." At the 10 biggest entertainment conglomerates, "women comprise only 13% of directors on corporate boards and only 14% of the firms' executives." Fox Entertainment and USA Networks "don't have a single woman among their top executives in their 2001 annual reports, while Clear Channel and AMC Entertainment included no women on their boards." Backstage 09/12/02

  • ALL ABOUT THE GUYS: Ninety percent of Hollywood movies are directed by men. Does the gender imbalance dictate what movies are made? Or do the movies Hollywood dictate the gender of its directors? "I think that because most of the movies the studios want to make at the moment are aimed at a young male audience guys are having an easier time finding work and receiving the green light. They are more tapped into making pictures for that particular audience." The Scotsman 09/12/02

OVERSTATING THE YOUTH MARKET? Advertisers care so much what males 18-34 watch that they focus most of their advertising on them. But is this traditional wisdom wise strategy? "A growing number of experts are suggesting that the "get 'em while they're young" premise is an outdated assumption about both the young and the old. First, women, not men, control 85 percent of all personal and household spending, according to recent research. And the over-49 crowd in general has more disposable income than younger people." Christian Science Monitor 09/13/02

  • BECAUSE NUMBERS AREN'T JUST NUMBERS: Why do shows with decent ratings get dumped, while others that seem to struggle with viewers get to live? It's not just about numbers. Some viewers are worth more than others, and it isn't always fair. Christian Science Monitor 09/13/02

DEATH BY PATENT LAW? As video-on-demand gets ready to take off, a company that filed a patent back in 1992 angles to get a piece of all the action. Will its claim kill a new industry? "When you have a patent that purports to cover a huge industry, the stakes are too high and the companies often have to fight it to the death. They do a risk analysis, and decide the patent has to be crushed." Wired 09/11/02

WILL THE VCR SAVE FILE-TRADING? As Hollywood's Old Guard movie and music production companies try to sue file-traders out of business, the traders have settled on a 1984 ruling in the Betamax case. The US Supreme Court ruled that Sony "wasn't liable for copyright infringement because its videocassette recorders had 'substantial' legitimate uses as well as illegal ones. If the file-sharing companies win, the music and movie companies would be forced to turn their legal guns directly onto consumers who make pirate copies. That's a step the entertainment industry has been loath to take because it's expensive and might alienate customers. But if the file-sharing companies lose, some advocates say, the shrinking scope of the Betamax ruling could put a damper on new technology." Los Angeles Times 09/11/02

VENICE PICKS MAGDALENE: The Venice Film Festival closed Sunday by naming "director Peter Mullan's scathing depiction of an abusive Catholic convent, The Magdalene Sisters" as Best Picture. The film had been criticized by the Vatican" as an "angry and rancorous provocation." Toronto Star (AP) 09/09/02

THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT TORONTO: Sure, there's been some kvetching from a few critics (notably Roger Ebert) who couldn't manage to gain access to a couple of screenings, and no one would envy this particular festival its placement so close to the 9/11 anniversary, but the Toronto Film Festival may well be the closest thing we have to what a celebration of the cinema ought to be. Where Sundance and Cannes are little more than platforms for the stars, Toronto is a festival of, by, and for the people, with the general public not only invited but encouraged to mix in with the glitterati. The result is that the city spends a couple of weeks talking seriously about film, and that can't be a bad thing for the industry as a whole, no matter how many puffed-up semi-celebs get their panties in a wad. Oh, and the movies are pretty good, too. Dallas Morning News 09/15/02

TROUBLE IN BOLLYWOOD: An Indian film actress is facing contempt of court charges after she apparently enlisted the support of a right-wing political leader in her efforts to stop a film in which her character appears naked from being screened. Manisha Koirala had sued the film's distributors after discovering that nude scenes featuring her body double had been added in post-production without her permission. The court ruled partially in her favor, but judges are now furious that Koirala solicited the heavy hand of the Shiv Sena party to forcibly stop theaters from showing the film. BBC 09/13/02


SITUATION CRITICAL IN PITTSBURGH? The fiscal crisis at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra may be more dire than originally thought. The orchestra reported a $750,000 deficit for the 2001-02 season, and while that is not a high number in major orchestra circles, the PSO may not have the funds available to cover expenses this season. If that is, in fact, the case, the orchestra might file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to its managing director. However, it is worth noting that the PSO has a $93 million endowment, far higher than many other U.S. orchestras, and that its contract with its musicians is due to expire at the end of this season, a condition which nearly always inspires orchestral managers to hyperbole. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 09/12/02

HOUSTON SYMPHONY CUTS: The Houston Symphony joins an increasingly lengthy list of American orchestras struggling with deficits. This week the Houston Symphony, staring at an expected $1.6 million deficit, "suspended three money-losing concert series, reduced its staff by 15 percent and instituted pay cuts for all administrative staff." The orchestra's musicians salaries were not cut. Houston Chronicle 09/11/02

EDMONTON CUTS SEASON: Unable to raise the money it needed, the Edmonton Opera has reduced its season from four operas to three - cutting a production of Turandot. "Corporate funding for the arts is extremely difficult to secure in Edmonton, and in Canada. The areas that are getting most attention from corporations these days are health and education." Edmonton Journal 09/09/02

SAN ANTONIO MUSICIANS TAKE CUT IN PAY: The San Antonio Symphony failed to balance its budget last season, and the orchestra's ability to mount a season this year has been in doubt. But the orchestra's musicians have voted to accept a 15 percent wage cut, by shortening the orchestra's season. "The musicians will take a total economic hit of about $700,000 for the coming season. 'It takes our base salary down to $28,000. That definitely takes us back to the mid-90s — 1995 or earlier'." San Antonio Express-News 09/09/02

HIP-HOPPING TO COMMERCIAL EXCESS...(ER, SUCCESS): "On any given week, Billboard's Hot Rap Tracks chart is filled with songs that serve as lyrical consumer reports for what are, or will be, the trendiest alcohol, automobile, and fashion brands. It's an open secret in hip-hop that product placement comes in two distinct categories. There is genuine brand endorsement inspired by an affinity for a product. And then there's name-dropping with the hopes that a marketing director will come bearing free goods—or a check." Village Voice 09/10/02

OPERA AUSTRALIA NOT RENEWING A.D. CONTRACT: Opera Australia has announced it won't be renewing the contract of artistic director Simone Young. Th company said in a statement that Young's "visions for the artistic growth of the company are not sustainable by OA in its current financial position and we have reluctantly concluded that we have to seek another path." Andante 09/13/02

AH, THAT FAMOUS NEW YORK APATHY: "Why should symphonic subscribers in Chicago or Cleveland be more loyal and proud than in New York? Is it because of New York itself — its size, its diversity, its seen-it-all, heard-it-all 'sophistication'? ...In fact, the Philharmonic's audience problem is rooted in an institutional history so diffuse and haphazard that it's no wonder the orchestra and the audience have never bonded. No other American orchestra of world stature must cope with so generic an identity." The New York Times 09/15/02

THE NEXT TENOR GETS CANNED: "Tenor sensation Salvatore Licitra, who was touted as the heir to Luciano Pavarotti when he stepped in for Pavarotti at the Metropolitan Opera in May, may be emulating the legendary tenor's talent for not showing up. Licitra has been replaced in the Vienna State Opera's new production of Verdi's Simon Boccanegra, because, according to a statement from the opera, he failed to 'honor the contractual conditions agreed upon for rehearsal time.'" Andante 09/15/02

THE LAST DIEHARDS? The BBC Proms is, unquestionably, the world's most successful classical music festival, and the concerts attract dedicated fanatics of the type usually associated with the crowds gathered to see Manchester United or the Oakland Raiders. These are people who have not missed a Proms concert in decades, who line up eight hours in advance in order to secure 'their' spot inside. "Prommers guard both their territory and the purity of their musical experience. [One diehard] talks with horror of a recent concert at which the ice-cream seller came into the arena while the orchestra was still playing: she has yet to recover from this 'dreadful' experience." The Guardian (UK) 09/13/02

THE NEED TO PAY ATTENTION: How can you have a vital music culture when there aren't interesting critics to write about it? A half-dozen prominent composers talk about the crisis in classical music criticism: "The music of living composers is not even despised because to be despised you have to exist. Cultured lay people may know about both Dante and Philip Roth, Michelangelo and Jackson Pollock. But if they know about Vivaldi they don't know about his musical equivalent today. They only know about pop. Pop is the music of the world today, alas." NewMusicBox 09/02

ARE CD'S TOO EXPENSIVE? Worried about slackening sales, some music labels are lowering prices on CDs to see if consumers will buy more. "Lower prices may at least stop the bleeding. But that's tough for executives to admit. It calls into question their long-held belief that CDs are not only fairly priced, but a good value." USA Today 09/09/02

HAMPTON'S LAST RIDE: Jazz great Lionel Hampton takes a last ride in New York as he gets a New Orleans-style funeral procession through Manhattan - led by Wynton Marsallis and an all star band of colleagues. "Not surprisingly, the spectacle of these splendidly attired musicians wailing their blues-tinged dirges while slowly marching in the middle of the street - oblivious to traffic lights and even to traffic - caused a stir. New Yorkers who had been watching from curbside fell in behind the band. Television crews and newspaper photographers, who had been tipped off that a New Orleans-style parade would unfold on this morning, meanwhile crowded in front of the parade and walked backward, so as to capture the action head-on." Chicago Tribune 09/09/02


HIRST - 9/11 WAS "ART": Controversial artist Damien Hirst told the BBC yesterday that the attacks on the Pentagon and the Wolrd Trade Center were a work of art. "The thing about 9/11 is that it's kind of an artwork in its own right. It was wicked, but it was devised in this way for this kind of impact. It was devised visually." Describing the image of the hijacked planes crashing into the twin towers as "visually stunning", he added: "You've got to hand it to them on some level because they've achieved something which nobody would have ever have thought possible, especially to a country as big as America." The Guardian (UK) 09/11/02

SHAKEN, NOT STIRRED: Darcey Bussell has been a star of London's Royal Ballet for 13 years. "She received an OBE at 25; she has modelled for Vogue; appeared on French and Saunders; her statue is in Madame Tussaud's; her painting is in the National Portrait Gallery and, if you look her up on the internet, you'll find 5,880 websites matching her name." But what she'd really like to be - is a Bond girl. The Telegraph (UK) 09/10/02


ALL ABOUT THE BRAND NAME: Great painters of the Renaissance put their names on work created by members of their studios. So why can't writers so the same? Two new books carry best-selling author Tom Clancy's name, but they weren't written by him. "The name Tom Clancy generally takes up from one-third to half of the cover. But in very small letters at the bottom it says: 'Created by Tom Clancy and Steve Pieczenik, written by Jeff Rovin'." The Age (Melbourne) 09/09/02

THE GOLDEN AGE OF READING? "To everyone who remembers burying an oily adolescent schnoz in a paperback every Friday night while better-looking classmates were necking on Lovers Lane, I say: Relax. Your time has come. To that kid who boarded a school bus each day and ended up in Narnia: Strike up the band. To anyone who has ever toted a thriller to an Indians game (guilty) or who occasionally finds the company of books preferable to the company of company, I say: You are not alone... Some time between sixth grade and today, being a reader became cool." The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 09/15/02

SHE REALLY REALLY LIKED IT: Need another example of the rot infecting some literary criticism? Alex Good says Salon's new list of books to read for the fall is exhibit A. He's got special scorn for the list's editor Laura Miller, who writes in over-the-top fashion about Zadie Smith: "A new novel from her feels like an occasion to open up another chamber in your heart and another lobe in your brain to take it all in; some books are expansive, hers are expanding, but never in a dreary, good-for-you way." Good Reports 09/12/02

NEW PUSH FOR PUSHKIN: "For Westerners Pushkin has always been more historical celebrity than poet. (Astonishingly, the first full translation of his works has only recently appeared.) If the life has overshadowed the work to such an extent, it is partly because the old truism about how much is lost in translation is even truer of Russian verse, and truest of all in the supremely musical Pushkin. But it is also because Pushkin's was an almost absurdly romantic life." A new biography is published. The Telegraph (UK) 09/13/02

THE ACCIDENTAL READER: Here's an idea to recycle those books you've read and no longer need. Leave them for others. is an online book club that "combines karma and kismet and encourages people to leave their books at coffee shops, parks, airports or anyplace else. Books are registered online, which allows members to follow where the books travel and who reads them. As word spreads, membership has surged, turning the world into a sort of virtual library - with no late fees." Nando Times (AP) 09/11/02


GET ME REWRITE: Some artists, when they complete a work, set it in stone, never to be changed or revised. Then there's Tony Kushner. He's always "tinkering and tightening and tweaking and trying to get it right." Homebody/Kabul is no different. "I really thought I would churn it out and it would be perfect. I always tell myself that with every play, and of course plays are never like that, or least mine aren't. They tend to cling and cling and need more and more attention." The New York Times 09/09/02

STAR SEARCH: Hundreds of hopefuls auditioned last weekend for a chance to appear onstage in a production in London's West End. The show 125th Street recreates the amateur nights at New York's Apollo Theater, and "for one week only, each lucky amateur will get to join the professional cast and take the talent spotlight." Yahoo! (Reuters) 09/09/02

PROTEST POLITICS COME TO ZURICH: "In the Swiss version of democracy, almost every public issue is decided by referendum. Thus when Zurich's voters approved an increased subsidy for the city's main theater on June 2, its acclaimed artistic director, Christoph Marthaler, felt confident that he would weather a storm of criticism of his management. He certainly did not expect to read in a local newspaper just three months later that he had been fired by the theater's board. What happened next, though, revealed a different facet of Swiss democracy. A protest movement was born, backed not only by leading theater directors throughout the German-speaking world, but also by local admirers of Mr. Marthaler's distinct style of theater." The New York Times 09/12/02

THE ESSENTIAL LAWRENCE: DH Lawrence's reputation hasn't aged well. "Now Lawrence's poetry is admired, his novels neglected, his paintings scorned, and his plays largely unperformed. What is more, he is reviled for his priapism, his fascism and his sexism. I can't think of Lawrence as being bound by any -ism; I still think of him as a fine novelist, a brilliant poet, and one of the very best (and least celebrated) of 20th-century English playwrights." The Guardian (UK) 09/11/02

QUALITY POVERTY: Last week the LA Times ran a warm and sympathetic story about director Jon Lawrence Rivera and his Playwrights Arena theatre, which produces new plays and which is struggling to stay alive. Playwright Steven Leigh Morris praises the Times for its piece on Rivera, but wonders why a story about something in a field that almost never makes money concentrated so much on the theatre's financial fortunes. Is this an implication about quality? "How, then, do we measure accomplishment in a field that has never thrived without patronage or subsidy, or at a theater with no advertising budget?" Los Angeles Times 09/09/02


BATH TIME: The last time Michelangelo's David was cleaned was in 1873. "Next week restorers at Florence's Galleria dell'Accademia will begin wiping away 129 years of dirt and grime from the Renaissance marble statue from Monday. It is the first time the statue has been cleaned since it was moved into the gallery in 1873 to protect it from weather and pollution." CNN 09/13/02

FALLING APART: Much contemporary art is made from materials that don't last. So how to preserve them for the future? "Artists today are experimenting with materials that were never intended to be used in art making—from chocolate to excrement, foam rubber and fluorescent tubes, bodily fluids and banana peels—materials that are difficult or impossible to preserve. Such works have compelled curators and conservators to come up with new preservation strategies." ARTNews 09/02

HOW BIG IS TOO BIG? "According to C. Northcote Parkinson, the inventor of Parkinson's Law, the final and terminal decline of an institution is often signalled by a move into a gleaming, towering, purpose-built headquarters. If that is so, then the London contemporary art world is moving into a perilous phase, as more and more of its most notable movers and shakers are currently engaged in vigorous architectural expansion." The Telegraph (UK) 09/14/02

SAATCHI VS TATE: Super-collector Charles Saatchi fired a shot at the Tate Modern this week by announcing that he's opening a new gallery across the street from the Tate Modern. And he'll open next spring with artwork that was denied to the Tate. "Saatchi will curate the shows himself and the Damien Hirst exhibition will pointedly feature the pickled sharks denied to Sir Nicholas Serota, the director of the Tate, when he sought to honour the artist with a retrospective at Tate Modern." The Guardian (UK) 09/13/02

DESIGN MATTERS: Can anyone make a Mondrian? Can anyone tell a real Mondrian from a fake? "A psychologist at University College London, took studies by the giant of post impressionism, altered the balance of composition a little with a computer, and tested them on the public. 'The short answer is there is a very clear relationship between good design and the way people look at that, and the way people take in information from a painting, and whether they find it pleasing or interesting'." The Guardian (UK) 09/11/02

TOO MUCH BUILDING FOR THE SPACE: Why have proposals for replacement of the World Trade Center (by some of the world's best architects) been so uninspiring? Martin Filler writes that the reasons are obvious: "Given that the bulk of the space had been contained in the megalithic superstructures, it does not take an architecture expert to understand that if you redistribute the same quantity of volume in considerably shorter, safer buildings - deemed prudent by all concerned - then more ground will have to be covered. And because of the considerable - and to my mind justifiable - public pressure to leave the footprints of the towers vacant (a central demand of the missing victims' families and a feature of four of the six LMDC schemes), the gross overcrowding of the site is inevitable." The New Republic 09/08/02

MUSEUMS HURTING FOR MONEY: State museums in Europe and the US are being squeezed for money. "From the Louvre to Florence's Uffizi, the monumental showcases of Europe are getting battered by a huge funding crisis. Cash-strapped governments are refusing to hike grants in line with inflation, causing museums to close galleries, skimp on security staff, and put off much-needed restorations." BusinessWeek 09/16/02

HERZOG BEATS UP ON BILBAO AND MOMA: Jacques Herzog, designer of the Tate Modern - Britain's most successful new museum, blasts two of the modern artworld's star institutions. "He said that New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the world's most powerful fount of public art, was driven by a cynical and elitist strategy. And in Bilbao, the Guggenheim Museum, designed by the architecture superstar Frank Gehry, left him totally cold because it was a 'very bad example for museums in the future'." The Independent (UK) 09/10/02

TERMINALLY NICE? Have art critics become too nice? "Much art criticism is adulatory or merely descriptive. Many critics have never seen a show they weren't enthusiastic about. These days, negative criticism is branded as 'mean' or 'personal.' Future generations will peruse today's art magazines and suppose ours was an age where almost everything that was made was universally admired." Village Voice 09/10/02

CHINA'S NEW COMMERCIAL ART TRADE: In China, only the state and its wholly owned shops are allowed to deal in the trade of antiques. But a resolution passed by the recent People's Congress proposes opening up the antiques trade to private companies for the first time since 1949. The new freedom is not without its strictures. "The draft law defines categories of art that cannot be traded; mandates 'certification' by the central government of any art business, State-owned or private, and gives the State first refusal on any object." The Art Newspaper 09/06/02


ENTRY DENIED (OR UNREASONABLY DELAYED): Getting international artists into the US with proper visas has become chaotic and unpredictable. The average wait for a visa is four months, and US presenters can't count on their artists being able to show up to perform. "A combination of broad-brush regulation and bureaucratic insensitivity has caught many artists and impresarios in a net that was supposed to block out terrorists." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 09/09/02

HAND-ME-DOWN ART: There has been a rash of plagiarism this year, with several high-profile cases in books and music. "But what happens when the plagiarism is inadvertent? Maybe it's impossible to come up with anything wholly new. That's the quandary of the postmodern age: In culture, as in matters of the environment, we have to recycle. Certainly it pays to do so." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 09/10/02

MIAMI DELAY: Miami's new performing arts center, scheduled to open in the fall of 2004, might have its opening delayed by a year. The project is facing construction delays, and rather than rushing to meet the opening deadline, officials want to take their time. "We want to take time and be fully prepared for the opening. We saw what happened in Philadelphia when the Kimmel Center [for the Performing Arts] opening was rushed to completion. There were a lot of unfavorable reactions that might have been avoided.'' Miami Herald 09/07/02

BUILD IT AND WHO WILL COME? After years of dreaming, Chicago is building a new 1,500-seat theatre downtown for the city's mid-size arts groups. "The 1,500-seat underground theatre now under construction—designed by Thomas Beeby as part of Millennium Park and scheduled to open in November 2003—should fulfill many dreams. Yet, just at this moment of triumph, some insiders are starting to ask, Who exactly is going to use this theatre?" Chicago Magazine 09/09/02

COMFORT FOOD OR LACK OF IDEAS? Critics and artists seem lately to be focusing on the past. Is it a wave of nostalgia? A search for the comfortably familiar? A turn to conservatism? Some say "audiences are hungering for cultural comfort food in a post-9/11 world. But some cultural critics argue that the trend is symptomatic of a deeper problem: today's commercial artists have a shallowly cynical view of the world, which drives critics to tout the aesthetic ambitions of the past." The New York Times 09/11/02

DAMN THE TORPEDOES: It's not just the traditional centers of the American arts world which are continuing to expand despite a national economic downturn. In Kansas City, arts administrators have refused to panic, and the result is a surprisingly progressive scene. "At the moment, the big local arts groups say they are financially stable, although in some cases their endowments have been whittled by the stock market decline that begin in the spring of 2000 and has wiped out more than $7 trillion in investments." Kansas City Star 09/15/02

COMMON ART, COMMON LANGUAGE? An Italian scholar claims to have deciphered 30,000-year-old rock drawings and says that "since there are so many visual similarities among prehistoric rock art around the world, it's likely that a kind of 'primordial mother language,' existed as Homo sapiens were getting under way 'from which all the spoken languages developed'." Discovery 09/11/02

THE PRICE OF ART: Wonder what people earn? The Fort Worth Star-Telegram did a survey of local professionals, including leaders of its arts institutions. While a museum director makes $200,000 and the local opera director $100,000, a principal dancer with the Dallas Fort Worth Ballet takes home $22,000. Fort Worth Star-Telegram 09/12/02

10. FOR FUN 

TUGBOAT SYMPHONY: Sound "curator" David Toop has organized a 15-minute piece for tugboats. "On September 15, as part of the Thames festival, up to a dozen of these water workhorses, dating from as far back as 1907, take centre stage in the Siren Space concert, which precedes the fireworks finale. Up to 100,000 people are expected to gather between Waterloo and Blackfriars bridges." The Guardian (UK) 09/10/02

STAMPING OUT BAD ART: Beijing is sprucing up to get ready to host the Olympic games. To that end, city officials commissioned a study of public art in the capital, and determined that "up to 40% of sculptures in the Chinese capital are substandard." The "bad" art includes "a fat mermaid" and a "timid" tiger. The statues will be pulled down and replaced by work by "professional sculptors. Ananova 09/13/02