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PEOPLE - April 2000

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Sunday April 30

  • STARS OF BASEL (AND LONDON): Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron are architecture stars of the moment with this month's opening of London's new Tate Modern. "All famous architects have mighty egos, and Herzog is unusual only in the openness with which he displays his. If he weren't brilliant he would be insufferable, but it isn't unduly flattering to say that he is brilliant. His immodesty is also redeemed by a talent for collaboration with others, most notably his childhood friend and business partner de Meuron. Both are turning 50 this year. They are young - in the slow-moving world of architecture - to have got to their present status." London Evening Standard 04/29/00

  • FOLLOW-UP: Michael Ondaatje had a respectable literary career before "The English Patient" and the movie of it made him truly famous. The author, who lives in Toronto, has been described as "the Greta Garbo of Canadian letters." With all the distraction of Hollywood, it's probably not surprising that his follow-up book took seven years to produce. The Telegraph (London) 04/30/00

  • DANCE ON: Trisha Brown's dance company celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. At the age of 63, Brown's still pushing. "I'm hell bent right now. The learning curve is stretched so tight it's twanging. I'm discovering, questioning, looking for solutions. I want to get out as much work as possible. It's not surprising," she says. "After all, I've been a wife, a mother, a dancer, a choreographer, a citizen in a radically changing world. I'm in my seventh decade. Over time one gets rewritten by experience - by loss, by death, by accidents. All these things have made me think a lot about emotion, about the shape of emotion." New York Times 04/30/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • RETURNING HOME: Helgi Tomasson returns to New York City Ballet as a choreographer. At 57, he "remains trim though his hair has gone from black to white and thinned somewhat. He has now been running San Francisco Ballet for the same number of years he danced with City Ballet. 'It was not a terribly smooth transition,' he says, in his understated way, of his arrival there; his restrained approach and attention to the refinements of classical technique represented a big change from the flashy showmanship of the previous director, Michael Smuin." New York Times 04/30/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • JECKIE JOUSTING: Composer Frank Wildhorn is the first American musical-theater composer in 22 years to have three shows running simultaneously on Broadway. He's been called the American Andrew Lloyd Webber, but while his loyal fans are fanatical in their love of his work, the critics haven't been kind. "Six million people have seen my stuff. I make no apologies for what I write. I just want to appeal to my generation. Look, if you're 45 or 50 years old, that means in the early '70s you were listening to the Stones or John Denver or Jim Croce. If nothing else, I represent the era I grew up in. I still write for pop artists all the time. I feel it's important to speak to audiences in a vocabulary that's comfortable to their ear." Orange County Register 04/30/00

Friday April 28

  • SPECIAL STUDIES? Chinese film actress Gong Li wants to enroll at Beijing University as a social studies researcher. But the university's website "has been flooded with hate mail, saying that should the star of such critically-acclaimed movies as 'Farewell My Concubine' and 'Raise The Red Lantern' be accepted, it would be because of her fame and good looks. Others wrote in to say the university should 'hang its head in shame' if her application was successful. The Straits Times (Singapore) 04/28/00

  • REMEMBERING MERRICK: Producer David Merrick, who died this week, was a producer to be reckoned with.  "Merrick is the Bermuda Triangle in a Brooks Brothers suit. He lures writers and playwrights in like naval air squadrons, never to be seen or heard from again," said the writer and comic Stan Freberg, a survivor of a Merrick flirtation with one of his plays. Washington Post 04/28/00

Thursday April 27

  • ONE STEP BACK: Australian arts groups are losing one of their richest, most generous patrons. Richard Pratt is stepping down from his various roles as arts supporter, as part of a general withdrawal from public life. The Age (Melbourne) 04/27/00

  • STALKING STUFF 'ER: Germaine Greer was captured by a teenage girl stalker and held captive in the writer's house until friends arrived and freed her. Daily Telegraph (London) 04/27/00

Wednesday April 26

  • THEM THAT PRONOUNCES ON ART... Poor Rudy. The New York mayor's wife is starring in a racy play that flies contrary to hizzoner's conservative tastes. "Now he’s trapped in a perfumed nightmare, his own wife soon performing orgasmic moans off-Broadway and his rival for the U.S. Senate making tsk-tsk noises at him every time he turns around." New York Observer 04/26/00

Tuesday April 25

  • SENSATIONALIZED: Conservative New York mayor Rudy Giuliani has a reputation for a conservative's sensibility when it comes to art. Not so his wife, actress Donna Hanover, who is about to star in "The Vagina Monologues,” a play that uses "humor and drama to explore such subjects as sexual fantasies, orgasms, pelvic exams and rape." MSNBC 04/24/00

  • "WE'VE LOST OUR GREATEST POET:" Canada's Al Purdy dies. "If there's a heaven and a hell, Al has a foot in both camps as he argues first with God and then with the Devil. I think I know who's winning the argument or, if not winning, at least breaking even in eternity. Toronto Globe and Mail 04/25/00

  • THE TAXMAN COMETH: Italian tax officials are after Luciano Pavarotti again.  Three months after the 64-year-old singer - reportedly worth £300m - agreed to pay £1.6 million in back taxes in 36 monthly installments, the Italians want another £3million in taxes they say the tenor avoided paying by claiming Monaco as his permanent residence. BBC 04/25/00 

  • DAILY RITUAL: There is no other 20th-century painter quite like Balthus. At the age of 92 he still paints, still in his own way, as always, resolutely ignoring the art-isms of his time - "I was never interested in other modern painters because I had my painting, which preoccupied my mind more than anything else." Financial Times 04/25/00

  • LAUGHING FOR ART: Martin Mull's first and abiding love is painting. It's the TV and movie work that pays for the canvases and paint. Los Angeles Times 04/25/00

Monday April 24

  • LUGGAGE LIABILITY: A couple is suing Northwest Airlines for $100,000 after their dead son's artwork was damaged on a flight. The airline says its liability is limited and if the parents had wanted to ensure the art was safe they should have insured it. Grand Rapids Press 04/22/00

Sunday April 23

  • STANDING UP TO BE COUNTED: Salman Rushie's surprise visit home to India last week was an enormous moment foe the author. But it was also an important moment for India. "By granting a visa to Mr. Salman Rushdie to visit India and according him a warm welcome, the government has proved that it is prepared to stand up and be counted in defence of democratic values and the individual's right to express himself." London Telegraph 04/23/00

  • PART OF THE CULTURE: August Wilson on his personal odyssey through African American history in his plays: "Before I am anything, a man or a playwright, I am an African-American. The tributary streams of culture, history and experience have provided me with the materials out of which I make my art. As an African-American playwright, I have many forebears who have pioneered and hacked out of the underbrush an aesthetic that embraced and elevated the cultural values of black Americans to a level equal to those of their European counterparts." New York Times 04/23/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • UNREPENTANT: David Irving got slapped down pretty good by the British court in his libel suit last week. But, "if anyone thinks the utterly condemnatory court decision gave Irving any kind of serious second thoughts regarding his beliefs, or that he stuck by his original vow to respect the court's decision, they can just forget about it." On TV interviews he was "unrepentant, chilling, and scary. The worst was the way he kept repeating in an insinuating manner that if he were Jewish, he would be asking himself exactly what his people had been doing for thousands of years to make everyone hate them so much." Jerusalem Post 04/23/00

Friday April 21

  • WHEN A CAR IS NOT A CAR: One of Leonardo Da Vinci's famous inventions was said to be the "automotive car." Turns out that's not what it is at all, says a scholar. Wired 04/21/00

Thursday April 20

  • BETTER LATE THAN NEVER: “When the memorial to Fanny Burney is unveiled in Westminster Abbey in June 2002, she will join Jane Austen, George Eliot and the Brontë sisters as the only women to be commemorated in Poets' Corner.”  Why has Burney - popular 18th-century novelist, diarist, wicked satirist, and playwright (one of her recently discovered plays is receiving its first-ever full-scale production at the Old Vic) been all but forgotten and woefully under-read? The Guardian 04/20/00

  • I'M A GENIUS - WHO NEEDS HELP? David Eggers book “Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” has all the buzz and has climbed to No. 5 on the NYT Bestseller list. He's sold the paperback rights for $1.4 million, and foreign publishers in 10 countries have coughed up an estimated $500,000. So what does he need with agents? He'll represent himself - and he turns down a seven-movie Hollywood deal. Variety 04/20/00

  • THE BILLIONAIRE MUSICIAN: Paul Allen is worth about $46 billion, they say. But what he really likes to do is play guitar. So he started a band. And that band has released its first recording. "It just started off as a bunch of guys getting together to jam and took off from there. "Paul has a very nice little studio, we had enough material, so we decided, let's make an album." BBC 04/18/00

  • GHOULY GOREY DIES: Edward Gorey, whose comically macabre stories, illustrations and theater set designs were once described as ``poisonous and poetic,'' has died. He was 75. Chicago Tribune 04/17/00

  • JUBILANT RETURN: After a decade in exile, Salman Rushdie returns to India. New York Times 04/17/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • ANTI-BAN: Salman Rushdie goes to India to call for lifting the ban on his book "Satanic Verses." Hundreds demonstrate against the author in Kashmir. The Age (Melbourne) 04/17/00

  • A REASON TO DIE: The New England Journal of Medicine is reporting that new research shows that playwright Eugene O'Neill "died from complications of a rare neurological disease that consumed the last 12 years of his life yet left his brilliance intact - and not, as has often been speculated, from a combination of Parkinson's disease and chronic alcoholism." Boston Globe 04/14/00

  • RISK-FREE SHILL: Marlon Brando is the latest American actor to succumb to wooing by Italian advertisers. There’s a “Hollywood ant-trail to Italy to appear in adverts that earn fistfuls of dollars but safeguard thespian reputations by remaining unseen in America.” The Guardian 04/12/00 

  • BUT WE CAN'T ENJOY OUR DESSERT: Salman Rushdie's going out on the town again. Everyone enjoys a good celebrity sighting, but some aren't glad to see him. "I was so pissed to be in the restaurant with him. I’m going to be mad, and dead." The agent added that everyone at her table agreed. "We can’t enjoy our meal. We don’t want to die because of his fatwa. It’s so passive-aggressive toward people in Manhattan," the agent continued. "We have enough trouble here." New York Observer 04/17/00

  • LOCAL CHIC: Director Peter Sellars has made a career of playing against type, of appreciating the value of being outrageous. Now he's directing Adelaide's 2002 Festival, and he's imagined the most radical idea the festival has seen. Australian festivals have traditionally showcased work from Europe and North America, but Sellars is hoping to reverse that trend by curating the festival without any imports - just Australian art from Australian artists. Sydney Morning Herald 04/12/00

  • IRVING LOSES: British historian David Irving loses his long-running and controversial libel case over his views on the Holocaust and Nazi Germany. CBC 04/11/00 

  • WHAT IF IT REALLY IS ONLY 15 MINUTES? Richard Smith was one of the inventors of pop art in the 50s. In the 60s he caused a stir in London art circles with his huge, advert-inspired canvases. In the 70s he was selling paintings as fast as he could make them. Then he simply disappeared. What happened? And what does his story tell us about the nature of fame in art? The Guardian 04/11/00

  • A TURN FOR THE FIGURATIVE? "Alex Colville has been frequently described by his fans as Canada's 'national artist.' He is commercially successful, selling his realist paintings in the six figures. He is highly popular with the public, although he is often denigrated by the abstract-loving art establishment. Finally, at age 79, he is getting his first solo show at the National Gallery of Canada." Ottawa Citizen 04/10/00

  • OVERNIGHT SENSATION: Only 24, Zadie Smith has become the first literary sensation of the new millennium. She is "currently enjoying the kind of success that most novelists can barely dream of. As well as widespread publicity for the book, which has already been sold in eight countries, she was asked to write a short story for The New Yorker's millennial fiction issue, and this month will travel to New York to take part in a literary festival organized by the magazine and to promote the American publication of White Teeth." Daily Mail and Telegraph (South Africa) 04/07/00

  • SO YOU WANT TO BE IN PICTURES? After hiding from the world for all these years, now Salman Rushdie wants to burst into the limelight as an actor. He plays himself in an upcoming made-for-television movie, and hopes “it's just the first of many dramatic performances he'll be tackling.” CBC 04/06/00

  • DOT COM LURES ANOTHER: Lawrence Wilker, who presided over a period of enormous growth as president of the Kennedy Center, has resigned. The center was $7 million in debt when he began the job in 1991. He succeeded in eliminating the red ink and more than doubling its annual fund-raising from $14 million his first year to $32.8 million in 1999. Washington Post 04/07/00

  • PRESIDENT of Washington's Kennedy Center stepping down to join internet firm. New York Times 04/07/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • A LEGEND’S LETTERS: Laurence Olivier’s entire archive of personal papers, including copious letters from stage and screen stars, has been purchased by the British Library. BBC 04/05/00

  • AIN'T IT SWEET: As Steve Wynn was wrapping up details on the sale of his casino/hotel empire, he had a flurry of meetings to negotiate a sweet deal on what would happen to the multi-million-dollar art collection. New York Observer 04/04/00 

  • WINE WITH PEANUTS: Sonoma County votes to change the name of its airport to the Charles M. Schultz Airport, in honor of the late cartoonist. CBC 04/04/00

  • CAPOBIANCO RETIRES: For 17 years, Tito Capobianco has ruled the Pittsburgh Opera with persistence and an iron hand. Now he's retiring. "I don't believe in democracy in the arts. You don't use four persons to do the same painting." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 04/02/00