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Week of November 11-17, 2002

1. Special Interest
2. Dance
3. Media
4. Music
5. People
6. Publishing
7. Theatre
8. Visual Arts
9. Arts Issues
10. For Fun


DO THE ARTS IGNORE THE POOR? For all the lip service paid by arts organizations to the concepts of education and diverse audience access, most orchestras, galleries, and theatres are still shockingly devoid of low-income patrons. The causes are myriad, from societal pressures to overbearing formality to high ticket prices, but solutions seem to be nearly nonexistant. The Star Tribune (Minneapolis) 11/17/02

CELEBRATING STUPID: When did the world become so dumb? "We go to concerts to hear singers who lip-sync. We watch movies with actors who can't act. We watch 'reality' TV shows that have nothing to do with reality. We read books by people who can't write..." But maybe it's ever been thus. Maybe it's just the aggressiveness of the marketing? Rocky Mountain News 11/10/02


IS THE LARGE-SCALE BALLET PASSE? In Boston, where the Boston Ballet recently underwent a very public overhaul, everything has changed, and nothing has changed. The big ballet company is still struggling to sell tickets, despite an undeniable uptick in artistic quality. Meanwhile, the city's smaller, more daring dance companies are thriving, mirroring a trend in countless cities around the U.S. But does the success of the little guys necessarily mean failure for large-scale classical ballet? Boston Globe 11/17/02

NY CITY BALLET WILL PLAY DC AGAIN AFTER CONTRACT IMPASS: It's been a few years since New York City Ballet performed at Washington's Kennedy Center (1987). The reason was, oddly enough, musicians. NYCB's contract with its musicians stipulated no other orchestra could perform with the company, even on the road. The Kennedy Center's contract with its orchestra said no other orchestra could perform with a dance company at the Center. Now NYCB's new musicians' contract provides an unusual compromise that will once again see the New Yorkers in DC. Washington Post 11/14/02

THE ROYAL BALLET'S NEXT BIG STAR: "Alina Cojocaru’s life has been remarkable. From Bucharest to Kiev, where she trained at the state ballet school; then seesawing between Kiev and London until finally, in 1999, arriving in the corps de ballet at Covent Garden. Her rise has been meteoric. The frightening thing about Cojocaru is how fast she’s matured as a dancer, and the worrying thing is that at this level of intensity she will burn herself out before she’s thirty. We’ve seen it happen before." The Telegraph (UK) 11/15/02

SALT LAKE DANCE COMPANY CUTS SEASON: Ballet West dancers have had their contracts reduced by one week, from 38 weeks to 37 weeks, in a cost-cutting move. "The one-week layoff is being blamed on decreased donations, losses on investments and declining receipts from Salt Lake County's Zoo, Arts and Parks (ZAP) tax." Salt Lake Tribune 11/11/02


WHY THE NEW MOVIE DOWNLOAD SERVICE IS BUILT TO FAIL: A consortium of Hollywood movie studios introduces a new venture to make movies downloadable over the internet. "Movielink's initial library contains about 175 movies—new and old, from Jimmy Neutron to Last Tango in Paris. They range in price from $1.99 to $4.99 for a 24-hour rental. It's a cool service, attractively priced. It's also going to be a flop on the order of The Adventures of Pluto Nash." And of course, flop is exactly what it's designed to do. Slate 11/11/02

SPIDERMAN CREATOR SUES PRODUCERS: The movie SpiderMan has already grossed $400 million at the box office. But Stan Lee, the character's creator, says he hasn't earned a cent from the movie, despite signing a deal with Marvel Comics that should pay him 10 percent of any profits. "Marvel has reported millions of dollars in earnings from the film but has told Lee the company has seen no 'profits' as defined by their contract. So he's suing - for $10 million. Hartford Courant (AP) 11/14/02

AUSSIE TV WRITERS UNDERPAID: Australian TV producers have been warned that if pay for writers doesn't go up, the quality of writing will decline. "Compared with their counterparts in Britain and the United States, where good writing was rewarded, Australians had to write three times as much to earn an equivalent salary. Most Australian writers earn about $15,000 for an hour of television drama, and nothing from a repeated episode. By contrast, British writers received at least $56,000 for an hour of drama, with the same amount paid each time the episode was shown again. American writers typically earned a base salary of more than $178,000 a week. (all amounts in Australian $) The Age (Melbourne) 11/14/02

SYNERGY OR ILLEGAL CROSS-PROMOTION? Hilary Duff has recorded a pop song which is, by all accounts, embarrassingly bad. It has received no airplay on any U.S. radio station (save one in Albuquerque) since being released in September, with the exception of the Radio Disney network, where it is played more often than Britney Spears or Avril Lavigne. Hilary Duff is the star of Lizzie McGuire on the Disney Channel cable network. The song was issued by Buena Vista Records, a Disney company. Some would say such an arrangement is a clear violation of FCC regulations. Disney says they're just playing the music the kids are asking for. Chicago Tribune 11/13/02

EMINEM, MOVIE STAR: Helped by generally positive reviews, Eminem's movie made 8 Mile won the weekend's US box office derby, taking in an impressive $54.5 million, an average of $22,050 per theater nationwide. The weekend take beat all studio estimates. Los Angeles Times 11/11/02

THE BBC'S CONFUSED ARTS POLICY? Last week, the BBC announced the death of one of its most revered institutions: Omnibus will end in January, after 35 years. In its place will come a new strand of one-hour documentaries, tentatively entitled Imagine." The news has been greeted with outrage, further confirmation, say critics, that the BBC is abandoning serious arts programming. Nonsense, says the BBC - we're more committed to the arts than ever. "At the very least, the BBC's attitude to arts broadcasting is confused." The Independent (UK) 11/12/02

HOLLYWOOD DOWNLOADING SUIT RAISES QUESTIONS: American entertainment corporations are taking an Australian file-downloading company to court. But the suit against KaZaA poses numerous questions. "First, does the writ of a US court run in cyberspace - or New South Wales, the Netherlands, Vanuatu, Denmark or Estonia, all of which are points on KaZaA's web. As a business model, KaZaA makes Cook Islands tax havens look amateurish. Second, is the maker of an item responsible for how it is used?" The Age (Melbourne) 11/15/02

HOW CANADA IS STEALING HOLLYWOOD: From 1999 to 2002, money spent on making films in Canada has doubled, as production crews look to save money by exploiting the weak Canadian dollar. By a remarkable coincidence, the number of U.S. cities that give a darn about the Northern migration of moviemaking has also recently doubled, from one (Los Angeles) to two (L.A. and New York.) What made the Big Apple sit up and notice? Well, you don't really expect New Yorkers to sit still while a TV movie about the life of former mayor Rudy Giuliani is filmed in Toronto, do you? Boston Globe 11/16/02

RADIO CONSOLIDATION LOOMING: The UK's commercial radio landscape is about to radically change after the government changes the rules on station ownership. New rules reduce to two, the minimum number of companies that can control radio stations in any one area of the country. The new rules set the stage for large-scale consolidation of ownership, as has happened in the US. BBC 11/14/02

THE NEW TECHNO-TAINMENT: It's not like entertainment has ever been shy of technology. But in Los Angeles, "the commingling of geeks and moguls is producing results far beyond the marriage of computers with traditional television and film production, economists and executives here say. It is creating fresh types of entertainment and novel approaches to developing, distributing and promoting it." The New York Times 11/14/02

HOW HOLLYWOOD THREATENED TO DESTROY THE EMMYS: When Hollywood's Academy of Television Arts & Sciences came close to making a $10 million deal with HBO to televise the Emmys, America's other major networks got upset. "Sources say CBS Television President Leslie Moonves delineated all sorts of punitive actions the networks could take if the academy went with HBO, from discouraging employees from joining the group to scheduling a big-budget special the night of the Emmys to siphon away potential viewers. They said that this will destroy the academy." Los Angeles Times 11/15/02


CD GOUGING COMES BACK TO BITE THE INDUSTRY: "If the public's enthusiastic embrace of downloading, on-line file-sharing services and 'rip-and-burn' CD-R (recordable) technology can be considered a species of consumer revolt — and the widespread lack of sympathy for the industry's recent fiscal nose-dive suggests it very much can — the seeds of revolution were sown when the major record companies elected to roll out CDs at roughly twice the price of records and tapes during the mid-1980s." Toronto Star 11/16/02

BUY YOUR OWN SYMPHONY! Commissioning a piece of music isn't nearly as hard or expensive as you might think. In fact, you don't even have to know anything at all about music! Just open that checkbook, and tell the composer to write you something purty, preferably in a major key... The Telegraph (UK) 11/16/02

MUSIC LICENSE REQUIREMENT UNFAIR SAYS UNION: The British Musicians Union is protesting government plans to impose a requirement on pubs and bars to get a license if they present live music. "Many venues may be forced to abandon live music to avoid the trouble and expense of getting a licence, the Musicians' Union said." BBC 11/12/02

CLEAR CHANNEL TO RENOVATE OPERA HOUSE: Clear Channel Communications, America's largest owner of television and radio stations and also the nation's leading producer of live entertainment, will be picking up the tab for a $31 million redevelopment project on Boston's decaying Opera House. The city has cleared away all the hurdles, and groundbreaking was this week. The building has been closed since 1991, and the city hopes it will be ready for reopening by 2004. Boston Globe 11/13/02

AUSTRALIA CONSIDERS BANNING MUSIC SALES TO MINORS: Australia is considering new censorship rules that would ban the sale of certain cds with sexual or violent content to minors. "It's just simply applying community standards that apply already to film, television, videos and video games." BBC 11/12/02

VENICE OPERA HOUSE'S REOPENING DATE ANNOUNCED: Venice's famed La Fenice Opera House will reopen December 14, 2003, says the city's mayor. The theatre burned down during renovations in 1996, and repairs have been clowed by scandal and corruption. Andante (AP) 11/12/02

THE SOUND OF BRANDING IN THE AIR: Today's musicians are hopelessly caught up in corporate branding. "It seems any musician worth his leather trousers has to have his own clothing range, scent and jewellery design business to be taken seriously. Number One albums, fast cars and unsuitable sleeping partners used to be the status symbols of the rock star. Now it is the number of brand extensions your business portfolio boasts." The Scotsman 11/11/02

SINGLE-MINDED: The British Singles chart is 50 years old. "There is a long and glorious tradition of complaining about the singles chart, the gist of which usually boils down to that quintessential British gripe: it isn’t as good as it used to be. But what exactly does that mean? That music enjoyed by middle-aged media commentators struggles to compete against the S Club franchise and the Pop Idol cyborgs, for example? That the singles chart is nothing more than a marketing scam aimed at exploiting pre-teen consumers? The Scotsman 11/10/02

WHY BRIT MUSIC HAS TROUBLE CROSSING THE POND: "It has become something of a tradition for any successful British band to try their luck across the Atlantic, only to return after a year with their tails between their legs as the American audience refuses to acknowledge their genius." So what is the secret for success? The English bands that make it in the US seem no better than the ones that don't... The Independent (UK) 11/08/02

EMI SIGNS DOWNLOADING DEALS: Music giant EMI makes an agreement with nine digital distribution companies to provide its music for downloading over the internet. The agreements will allow users to download tracks permanently and then burn a limited number of personal copies." The Guardian (UK) 11/14/02

CHINA'S PIANO STARS: Twenty-year-old Chinese pianists Lang Lang and Li Yundi are China's hottest names in classical music. They've made international careers, and are helping to redefine the outside world's sense of Chinese high culture. "Beyond two very different images, however, both boys bare the same cross on their backs: Re-branding China as a factory of musicians who do not just play fast and furious, but also with integrity and insight." The Straits-Times (Singapore) 11/15/02

WE ARE THE WORLD: We call it, for want of a better term, World Music, and it is rapidly invading and subverting every other genre. The tenth London Jazz Festival, which opens this weekend, is approximately two-thirds World. World Music represents a process that is as old as music itself - a meeting of two sonorities that yields new harmonic energy. It's the way music has always grown, and there are signs that World may be leading white men's music, both commercial and classical, out of protracted impotence." La Scena Musicale 11/14/02


ANDRE WATTS STABLE AFTER EMERGENCY SURGERY: Pianist Andre Watts never made it to the stage Thursday night. Watts was preparing to perform with the Pacific Symphony in Orange County, California, when he collapsed backstage and was rushed to the hospital for emergency brain surgery. The procedure went well, but Watts is expected to be out of commission for up to two months. Los Angeles Times 11/16/02

POET BANNED FROM HARVARD: Irish-born poet Tom Paulin was supposed to give an address at Harvard University last week, but his appearance was cancelled at the last minute when university officials bowed to the wishes of students and professors protesting Paulin's inflammatory statements on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Among other published comments, Paulin has told an Egyptian newspaper that he equates American Jewish settlers in the Occupied Territories with Nazis, and wishes them dead. The Guardian (UK) 11/14/02

ART LEDGERS: Accountant Tom Lowenstein has provided his services to Australian artists for 30 years. If they couldn't pay cash, they paid in art. A voracious collector, he amassed an important collection of contemporary Australian art. "We started out with the generation of artists who, 25 or 30 years ago, could not sell their works but who have now reached the top. We kept buying widely because we built a relationship with each new group." The Age (Melbourne) 11/11/02

FRIDA-TREK: Frida, the movie about painter Frida Kahlo "has triggered a new wave of Fridamania, prompting thousands of people to come to Mexico to see where this country's most famous female icon lived until her death nearly 50 years ago. Kahlo's face stares out from calendars, posters, dinner plates - just about anything with a price tag, including underwear." Washington Post 11/11/02

WEIGHING IN ON L'AFFAIRE TROUPE: When it was recently revealed that Quincy Troupe had lied on his resume about a college degree, he lost his post as California's poet laureate. Soon others were demanding he be fired from his teaching post at the University of California, San Diego. Critics at the Union-Tribune banded together for an extraordinary joint defense of his work and plac in the community. Now readers respond to l"Affaire Troupe. San Diego Union-Tribune 11/10/02

CHURCH FIRES MOTHER: Sixteen-year-old Charlotte Church has fired her mother as her manager. "In doing so, experts argue, the multi-millionnaire opera singer is ridding herself of a relationship which was never going to work. The singer’s bust-up is said to have followed a series of family rows over her boyfriend Steven Johnson, a part-time student and DJ. She refers to Johnson as her 'bit of rough'." The Scotsman 11/13/02

FATHER OF DECONSTRUCTION SPEAKS OUT: Jacques Derrida is "the father of Deconstructionism," and "one of the reigning figures of intellectual life of the last quarter-century." A new documentary looks at his work and gives him an opportunity to answer misconceptions of his work. And they are? "That I'm a skeptical nihilist who doesn't believe in anything, who thinks nothing has meaning, and text has no meaning. That's stupid and utterly wrong, and only people who haven't read me say this. It's a misreading of my work that began 35 years ago, and it's difficult to destroy." LAWeekly 11/13/02


THE PASSING OF THE SOUTHERN NOVEL: Literature of the American South has a long and distinctive history. But as the South has changed, "Southern" writing has slipped away too. "As it was in the beginning, Southern literature nowadays is American literature. And, on occasion, vice versa. Something is gained by the passing of a Southern literature: Most books by and about Southerners are no longer treated as curiosities. They are judged as American works. And something is lost." Washington Post 11/11/02

AUTHORS UNHAPPY WITH PUBLISHERS: A survey of authors published by major publishers in the US gives more emphatic voice to the oft-heard complaints that publishers aren't marketing or, "to a lesser degree, editing that their books" very well. "One of the unusual conclusions that emerged from the study was that authors felt publishers should be releasing fewer books" in order to give more attention to the books they do put out. Publishers Weekly 11/11/02

NEWTON BOOK STOLEN: Thieves have stolen one of the most influential books ever produced - Sir Isaac Newton's Principis or Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica. The book was published in 1687 and was on display at a St. Petersburg library. In the book, "Newton formulated his three laws of motion and his law of gravity." Only about 250 copies were ever produced. BBC 11/12/02

HARTFORD NEWSPAPER RETRACTS STORY: Last week the Hartford Courant reported that the FBI was "bugging" local libraries in an effort to find out what library patrons were looking at. Later in the week the paper took back the story after both the FBI and the library denied the story. "The red flags were up, but somehow no one in the newsroom followed them." Hartford Courant 11/10/02

POMO SUPERSTARS: "If postmodernism were a rock concert, then Camille Paglia, Susan Sontag, George Steiner and Jean Baudrillard would be the headline acts. The fact they are going to show up together at Toronto's York University this weekend was enough to sell every ticket to the event several months ago. Perhaps there will even be scalpers. And what was that event, by the way? A conference on literacy in the digital age." The Globe & Mail (Toronto) 11/13/02

WHITBREAD SHORTLISTS NAMED: Shortlists for this year's Whitbread Prize are announced. Michael Frayn and William Trevor both made the Novel list, while cultural critic Norman Lebrecht made the Fist-Novel list. "The Whitbread prize, now in its 31st year, is open to authors from the UK and Ireland and divided into five categories: novel, first novel, biography, poetry and children's book." The Guardian (UK) 11/14/02

COSTCO PRESS: Costco is already one of the US's largest retailers of wine, books and music. And the store already sells its own brands of many foodstuffs and drygoods. Now it's getting into publishing, producing its own books. To start - a cookbook, and "many of the 300 recipes come from sponsors, who paid for their names to appear next to concoctions like Kellogg's Cheese and Mushroom Waffle Wedges and Snapple Marinated Chicken Wings. Companies like Sunbeam also bought space in the title. On the publishing front, the book mixes an unusual number of models, including inserts, trade publishing and magalogs. It's a shrewd and likely controversial idea, not only because it involves payola, but because it's so self-reliant." Publishers Weekly 11/13/02

CANADA'S NEW POET LAUREATE: George Bowering has been appointed Canada's new poet laureate. He's "a West Coast writer with an irreverent muse, an obsession with baseball and a distaste, his friends say, for all things pompous." He's also "a two-time winner of Governor-General's awards with about 50 books to his name. Among his tasks, he may write poems for use on state occasions and sponsor poetry readings, but he is not required to do so. He will have an office on Parliament Hill - although he is not required to live in Ottawa - and will be paid a yearly taxable stipend of $12,000." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 11/12/02

THE ETERNAL PLAGIARISM DEBATE: Plagiarism is simply not as big a problem as everyone makes it out to be, says Philip Marchand. The simple fact is that writers, artists, and performers have always borrowed ideas from each other, and indeed, there's nothing wrong with such imitation if the end product reflects an original creation. So long as the borrowing doesn't involve direct and obvious appropriation, why should anyone get angry about it? Toronto Star 11/16/02

CUBA RELEASES HEMINGWAY DOCUMENTS: Cuba has made thousands of Ernest Hemingway documents available to scholars. "President Fidel Castro and an American group led by U.S. Rep. James McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat, signed an agreement Monday to collaborate on the restoration and preservation of 2,000 letters, 3,000 personal photographs and some draft fragments of novels and stories that were kept in the humid basement of Finca de Vigia, the villa outside Havana where Hemingway lived from 1939-1960." Nando Times (AP) 11/11/02

A BOOKSTORE THAT DOESN'T KNOW BOOKS: A Giller Prize judge walks into a big bookstore in Toronto the day after Canada's biggest literary award is given and finds the clerks know nothing about it. "I tried to think of clever things to say about a Canadian bookstore that doesn't know books, about a bookstore that doesn't pay attention to what's happening in the literary world, about a bookstore that doesn't support the writers who create its profits. The further down the street I got, the more I found myself sounding like Marx. Karl, not Groucho." Toronto Star 11/12/02


THE ALLEY'S AMBITIOUS NEW CENTER: Houston's Alley Theatre is 55 years old. Earlier this month the Alley opened a new Center for Theater Production earlier this month. "Capacious, well appointed and unusually situated, it is designed to help propel the 55-year-old Alley to the top rank of American regional theaters. The 75,000-square-foot center sits aerielike in five floors on top of a 13-story parking garage behind the Alley." The New York Times 11/13/02

BROADWAY PRODUCERS CONSIDERING USING "VIRTUAL" MUSIC: Broadway producers are anticipating difficult negotiations with the musicians union next spring when current contracts expire. Producers are anxious to do away with rules that require minimum numbers of musicians for each show regardless of how many are actually required. Expecting a work stoppage, producers are exploring using recorded "virtual" music to accompany their shows. The New York Times 11/12/02

BITING THE HAND THAT FEEDS (AND OFTEN BITES BACK): Playwright Jon Robin Baitz will likely have his heart in his throat during the premiere of his new one-act play this weekend at a fundraiser for a New York theater. Baitz's play mercilessly skewers Shubert Organization chairman Gerald Schoenfeld for his various sins against serious theatre. The charges (that Schoenfeld presents crowd-pleasing dreck by Lloyd Webber and Mackintosh to the exclusion of serious work) are not new, but Schoenfeld is not known for his ability to take a joke, and he will be present at the performance. A New York critic who is also a character in the play thinks Schoenfeld should lighten up. New York Post 11/13/02

NO BUSINESS LIKE... Musical theatre is the most expensive theatre to produce. In difficult economic times, musical theatre is a riskier proposition, and many companies across America are hurting. "Musical companies will hurt the worst in a bad economy because of ticket prices. They have to charge, even in regional theatres, $65 to $100 a ticket, and those numbers are a luxury for people. To survive, these musical companies are going to have to learn how to be nimble." Backstage 11/14/02

MONEY CHANGES EVERYTHING: Last year the British government announced plans to give £25m "to 190 theatre venues and companies over the next two years; the first £12m was distributed earlier this year. 'This marks the start of a new chapter for the theatre,' trumpeted the Arts Council - and, after six months of sampling their newfound sufficiency, theatre's rank and file are inclined, with qualifications, to agree." The Guardian (UK) 11/13/02

WAITING FOR MAXWELL: Mitchell Maxwell is as New York as a producer can get - brash, self-centered, and confrontational. He may be a genius, or he may be a con man, and the Denver theatre community is waiting nervously to find out which it is, as Maxwell prepares to take over the city's Civic Theatre, saying, "I'm going to bring shows to Denver, and they are going to be better and more interesting than much of the work that has been brought to Denver in the past. No disrespect to Denver. It's just a fact." Denver Post 11/17/02

WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW: Mel Brooks made the film version of The Producers in 1968 for less than $1 million, about a tenth of what it cost to mount the show for the stage many years later. When he first tried to sell the idea, he was writing about what he knew - how to make money by producing flops on Broadway... St. Paul Pioneer Press 11/10/02


SHOULD WE PITY THE AUCTION HOUSES? From a PR standpoint, it hasn't been a good couple of years for the big New York auction houses. Sotheby's chairman Alfred Taubman was convicted in a massive price-fixing scandal, and art sales have been sluggish ever since 9/11, although there have been a few good auctions lately. So why does the New York art world seem to be somewhat lacking in schadenfreude over all the chicanery? "People seem to feel that what the feds picked up on—that Sotheby's and Christie's agreed to charge buyers the same premium—was a fairly penny-ante crime. Also, the last year in New York seems to have brought endless reminders that everyone—superwealthy collectors and auction house potentates included—may actually be human, too." Slate 11/13/02

SOTHEBY'S LOSS: Sotheby's reports a loss of $48.2 million. "Total revenues for the nine months ending in September were $220.8 million, down from $225.2 million for the same period in 2001." The firm is still trying to dig out after fallout from price-fixing scandals of the 1990s. The Art Newspaper 11/15/02

SCIENTISTS PROTEST SERRA ART: A proposed sculpture by Richard Serra at CalTech has the typicially apolitical brainiacs-in-residence in a fighting mood. The sculpture is "an 80-ton, zig-zagging wall of steel that would bisect the lawn like a parade barrier. After students and faculty got a look at the proposed work, they drew battle lines, signed petitions, even constructed a comical effigy of the proposed piece, which mysteriously appeared on the lawn last month where the real thing is slated to sit." Los Angeles Times 11/15/02

BEGINNING OF THE END? If you needed proof that the center of the New York contemporary art world has moved out of SoHo, here it is - the Chelsea Art Museum has opened. "If the evolution of SoHo is any indication, the progression goes something like this: First come the artists, then the galleries, then the museums and finally, the Gap. They leave in much the same order, mainly because the place isn't cool any more." New York Post 11/14/02

CONTEMPORARY RECORDS: Records for contemporary art sales fell in New York this week, as "a painting by David Hockney sold for £1.8m at a Christie's auction where record prices were also set for works by Roy Lichtenstein and Barnett Newman." The Guardian (UK) 11/15/02

NAZI-LOOTED ART SEIZED IN VIENNA: For the first time, Austrian authorities, acting under a court order, have seized a painting thought to have been stolen by occupying Nazi forces during World War II. The seizure was sought by a Vienna-based Jewish advocacy group, and hailed by art experts worldwide as a crucial step in the movement to repatriate the thousands of artworks looted by the Nazis. The New York Times 11/16/02

ARCHITECTURE FOR THE FUN OF IT: "Why do Europeans care so much more than Americans about architecture? Why do Italian students major in architecture the way Americans major in English, for the pure pleasure and education of it, with no intention of becoming professionals? Maybe the reason is that Europeans more often live in cities and towns and less often in suburbs. In a town, architecture creates the world you live in. It shapes the streets and squares; it creates the monuments and special places. Architecture tells Europeans where they've come from in history." Boston Globe 11/17/02

NET IMPRESSIONS ON ART: In India there is an emergence of a culture built around the internet. Nancy Adajania writes that while this is a democratising force, bringing art to millions more people, it may well desensitize viewers to art, making it little more than entertainment... ArtIndia 11/02

PRESERVING A BARNES TRADITION: Many of the Barnes Collection's supporters favor moving the art into a new building in Philadelphia. But what would become of the Barnes' unique classes in art appreciation? Barnes purists can't imagine a change in venue... The New York Times 11/12/02

BRITART OUT OF STEAM? Is a backlash developing against the celebrated Brit artists who have been so popular in recent years? The high concept/low taste projects preferred by the Turner Prize crowd is provoking more and more disdain. "It was first cool and no one wanted to disagree because they didn't want to be old fashioned or not trendy. But I think there is a growing backlash and people are starting to see they don't have to put up with it." National Post (Canada) 11/11/02

MARBLES TO STAY IN LONDON: Greece's foreign minister came to London hoping to make a deal to get the Parthenon Marbles back. Instead, he was fed tea and sent home with "a headstone stolen from Thebes museum that had somehow turned up in London. The choice of gift from Britain could not have been more symbolic." He was told that the Marbles are part of "a select group of key objects which are indispensable to the museum's core function to tell the story of human civilisation, the sculptures cannot be lent to any museum, in Greece or elsewhere." The Guardian (UK) 11/13/02

SO WHAT ARE STUCKISTS, ANYWAY? Stuckists are relentless in their opposition to the conceptual art that is prevalent in today's BritArt. Stuckist co-founder Charles Thomson says it's a fight for the very definition of art. "I thought conceptual art was based on parody and irony. We have never opposed people doing installations and videos etc. What we oppose is the mistaken significance given to the unremarkable. It isn't actually worth dignifying with the title of art in the first place." 11/02

IN SEARCH OF TURNER: The Tate is searching for about 400 paintings by Turner. "Quite a few of these lost paintings have doubtless been burnt or otherwise destroyed over the years. A fair proportion of 2,000-plus watercolours the painter executed - known by title and in many cases from engravings - have blipped off the screen of scholarship. Most are watercolours, some have not been seen for 200 years - since in fact Turner finished them. Others changed hands at auctions in the mid-20th century - but after that, nothing." The Telegraph (UK) 11/11/02


BOSTON TOPS IN ARTS: A new study reports that Boston has more arts groups per capita than any other major US city. "The local cultural sector burgeoned by 73 percent between 1992 and 1999. Metropolitan Boston cultural organizations attracted $457 million in 1999, as compared with Chicago's $426 million and San Francisco's $436 million that year." But, the report warns, Boston is lagging in public funding for the arts. Boston Globe 11/14/02

U.S. ARTIST VISA WOES CONTINUE: New American immigration procedures have caused cancellations of dozens of artists scheduled to perform in the US. The INS is refusing more artist visas, and delays in processing are mounting. "We were averaging under 90 days, but the time it takes to do these security checks in the process of adjudication has (increased). Right now, we're averaging between 90 and 120 days." San Diego Union-Tribune 11/13/02

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ARTS: The arts are portrayed as an economic and cultural good for neighborhoods. But a new New York study that "looked at the potential of arts and culture to stimulate economic growth" concludes that artists moving into a neighborhood can "drive up rents and force out long-term residential and commercial tenants. The paradox is that arts groups drive up the rents and then cannot afford to remain in the neighborhoods whose rejuvenation they spurred in the first place. "You have this Darwinian progression: artists move into a neighborhood, prices tend to go up, and the artists have to move out. You're seeing it cloud cultural development." The New York Times 11/11/02

WHERE ARE ALL THE PEOPLE? "Wondering where all the people are is a frequent preoccupation of Canadian artistic endeavour. The thought often crosses the minds of art-gallery owners, dance impresarios, symphony conductors and writers on book tours." David Macfarland suggests that it isn't the quality of work that keeps people away but perhaps: "We just aren't packed with as many subcultures, and this may be the primary difference between a respectable audience for something as seemingly esoteric and demanding as a Charpentier opera and a sold-out run." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 11/11/02

THE POLITICS OF ART (OR IS IT THE OTHER WAY AROUND?): Should art and politics be tangled together? "Anyone who believes that the loftiness of art is above politics, war and religious differences doesn't understand that artists live in the real world and don't hide behind their creativity. On the contrary, their high profile often makes them subject to increased scrutiny." Rocky Mountain News 11/10/02

ANGRY IRISH ARTISTS PICKET AWARDS CEREMONY: Artists in Belfast are angry about cuts of 20 percent in the city's arts budget. So they picketed the council's high-profile Arts Awards Thursday night to "highlight what they felt was official hypocrisy in celebrating their achievements while cutting their budgets. A letter signed by 250, a who's who of the Northern Irish scene, hammered home the message, and 14 of the nominees boycotted the gala." The Guardian (UK) 11/15/02

HOW TO LIVEN UP YOUR TEXTBOOK: "Looking for fresh ways to engage overloaded students, a growing number of professors at big universities and small colleges are supplementing traditionally sober textbooks with a curious genre: the textbook-novel. Written specifically with the college classroom in mind, these works are often by professors who have created characters ranging from a free trade-spouting angel to a short, bald professor (take a bow, Milton Friedman) who likes to solve mysteries. And while pedagogical novels are not new, their growing popularity is." The New York Times 11/16/02

10. FOR FUN 

LAWYER TO WYMAN - WE OWN YOUR NAME: Atlanta Journal-Constitution pop music critic Bill Wyman gets a letter from a fancy New York lawyer telling him to "cease and desist" using his name in print. He "magnanimously allowed that I could continue to use my own name if I could prove that I had come by it legally, and if I added a disclaimer to everything I wrote in the future, 'clearly indicating that [you are] not the same Bill Wyman who was a member of the Rolling Stones'." Atlanta Journal-Constitution 11/14/02

MUSIC IS THE BEST ANESTHESIA, APPARENTLY: When pianist and composer Terese Kaptur needed surgery recently, she decided to forego the hospital's offer of general anesthesia. In place of the knockout drops, Kaptur substituted a mild local anesthetic combined with the music of a Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra violist who stood at her bedside playing long, steady tones. (No viola jokes, please.) The doctors performing the procedure were stunned, but reported that Ms. Kaptur was completely calm despite the intense pain such a procedure should cause. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 11/14/02