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PEOPLE - May 2000

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Tuesday May 30

  • AN ACTOR'S ROOTS: It's so whorish, isn't it, all these Hollywood actors skittering over to London to get a little legitimate stage credit under their belts? Not that that's what Donald Sutherland's doing, mind you. Sutherland "learned his craft in Britain. He arrived in 1952, aged 18, to study at the London Academy of Dramatic Art before going on to do a seven-year apprenticeship on almost every stage in the country. Afterwards, to hone his vocal technique, he added another year in Scotland at the Perth Repertory Theatre." Now he's back, starring at the Savoy. The Guardian 05/30/00

  • NEVER THE TWAIN SHALL MEET: Sam Clemens (Mark Twain) spent some time in Carson City Nevada developing his writing. And the city wants to advertise the fact in its tourist promotions. Trouble is, Clemens' estate still holds control of the famous name and the Mark Twain Foundation Trust has warned the city to stop or its lawyers will come a' callin'. Washington Post 05/30/00

  • THE "REAL" SYLVIA PLATH: "At long last, Sylvia Plath's uncensored journals are published. "Almost from the day she died, readers and scholars, faced with the huge, faceless enigma of her suicide, have been perplexed and thwarted by Plath's mental condition. The unabridged journals and other new information, some of it reported here for the first time, lend credence to a little-noticed theory that Sylvia Plath suffered not just from some form of mental illness (probably manic depression) but also from severe PMS." Salon 05/30/00

Sunday May 27

  • DRIVEN TO ACT: John Gielgud's career stretched out over three-quarters of a century. Why so many movies in his last decades? "It seems that he was also driven towards film by the increasing difficulty of remembering lines. It further transpires that much weight must be given to the financial pressure of Gielgud's extravagant domestic establishment in Buckinghamshire, which made him chary of refusing any part - even to the extent of making two films with Michael Winner and the ghastly Caligula (1980). The Telegraph (London) 05/28/00

  • THEATRE MAN: Boston's new theatre impresario dynamo has big plans for the city. In just a few short months he's already made a mark. "We're seeing the emergence of a diverse not-for-profit theater community - though I wish to God we could figure out what to call it. In Chicago, it's the off-Loop community. In New York, it's off-Broadway. We don't have a name for it, but it's very positive.'' Boston Globe 05/28/00

Friday May 26

  • REMEMBERING RAMPAL: No other flutist did as much for the instrument as Jean-Pierre Rampal, who died earlier this week. Boston Globe 05/25/00

  • BY THE SKIN OF HIS BOOK: A Canadian author has found a bizarre way to put his all into his latest book. Portions of Kenneth J. Harvey's flesh, containing his DNA, will be embedded in small, pink swatches of paper stitched on to the cover of an abridged edition of his 11th book, "Skin Hound (There Are No Words)", a book whose protagonist is a serial-killing English professor with a penchant for cutting away his victim's skin. National Post (Canada) 05/25/00

Thursday May 25

  • SHE’S A DIVA: Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu - who first made her name at Covent Garden in 1994 in La Traviata - has been winning over opera fans ever since. “At a time when opera houses are in thrall to cost-cutting initiatives, she offers a glimpse of a previous era when passion and glamour were written into a diva's job description.” The Telegraph 05/25/00

Tuesday May 23

  • SIR JOHN GIELGUD, who has died aged 96, "was challenged only by Laurence Oliver for the title of greatest English actor of the 20th century." The Telegraph (London) 05/23/00

Monday May 22

  • NO TRAMPS ALLOWED: Newly-disclosed documents show that London-born film star Charlie Chaplin was actively discouraged from returning from America to make a film about Britain's war effort. British officials believed he was an eccentric who was likely to embarrass the Government. The Telegraph (London) 05/21/00

  • GOLD MEDAL PERFORMANCE: Toronto-born architect Frank Gehry has won the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture, "awarded on behalf of the Queen by the Royal Institute of British Architecture, and still, despite the big bucks attached to newer international prizes, the most prestigious of its kind." The Guardian 05/22/00

  • JOHN GIELGUD dies at the age of 96. Dallas Morning News (AP) 05/22/00

Sunday May 21

  • JEAN-PIERRE RAMPAL, one of the century's most popular flutists, has died in Paris at the age of 78. Dallas Morning News (AP) 05/21/00

  • SEVENTY AND SAD: Stephen Sondheim is 70 this year and sounding a bit glum. His most recent project failed to get out of workshop and onto Broadway. But "his works constitute a show business force of nature, unmatched and unapproached in their ardor, stylistic variety, intelligence, complexity, thematic depth, wit and stirring expansiveness." San Francisco Chronicle 05/21/00

  • SURVIVOR: Much has happened to Susan Sontag in the past few years - getting caught in a war, getting hit by a car, being diagnosed with cancer - yet Sontag's new book is remarkably untouched by her personal life, which she talks about in this interview. The Observer (London) 05/21/00

  • SHAWN FANNING: Never heard of him? Six months ago the 19-year-old invented Napster, the digital music download software that has turned the music recording world upside down. Now he finds himself at the middle of the music upheaval and he's being sued by his favorite band. The Observer 05/21/00

  • ARCHETYPAL AMERICAN: Aaron Copland would have been 100 years old this year. "Listeners who think of Copland's style as bland or ingratiating are relying on the faulty filtering of memory, compounded by an awareness of the composer's famously warm and congenial personal demeanor." San Francisco Chronicle 05/21/00

Thursday May 18

  • FACT IS TRUER THAN FICTION? Martin Amis, now 50, wants to be remembered primarily for his fiction. The possibility that a factual book, albeit a sublime essay giving shape and meaning to his chaotic life, could eclipse his reputation as a novelist is too dangerous to contemplate. National Post 05/18/00

  • ON MAKING A NAME: "When the bounding, affable Welsh baritone Bryn Terfel made his local debut in 1996, he seemed almost certain bait for the sharks--a great singer and a great entertainer just a little too eager to soak up audience adulation, too ready to overdramatize. Certainly it has worked--his popularity continues to soar. He is one of the biggest tickets in big-ticket opera." Los Angeles Times 05/18/00

  • THE MAN WHO BOUGHT HISTORY: Andrew Carnegie wanted to preserve his legacy, so he bought it - in the form of setting up some 1,600 public libraries all over America. Scholars meet to talk about how to preserve the Carnegie llegacy. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 05/18/00

  • FAREWELL, MASTER: After 43 years as concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, violinist Raymond Gniewek is retiring from the Met and will be giving his final concerts this weekend. New York Times 05/18/00 (one-time registration required for entry) 

  • POP DADDY: Richard Hamilton, whose 1956 collage “Just What Is It That Makes Today's Homes So, So Appealing?” is considered by many to have signaled the birth of British pop art, is still at the top of his game - fascinated by all things modern and by his own paintings’ iconic status. “Perhaps that is why of all living British artists he is the one whose work gets the richest showing in the opening displays at Tate Modern.” The Guardian 05/18/00

Wednesday May 17

  • TRY FINDING THE “NINA” IN THIS: Legendary caricaturist Al Hirschfeld, age 96, has fired his longtime dealer Margo Feiden and filed a suit against her gallery in New York Supreme Court. Hirschfeld alleges she withheld sizable earnings, refused to return drawings, and abused her fiduciary responsibility. New York Times 05/17/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • I AM A ROCK, I AM AN ARTIST: Eighty-year-old painter Michael Gross won his country’s highest arts honor last week, the Israel Prize for Art, but kept his distance from the week’s celebrations and publicity. He is widely regarded as one of Israel’s most esteemed living artists - his work is held in the Guggenheim and MOMA, he’s shown at the Venice Biennale and Documenta - yet he’s always chosen to live as an “outsider,” as far as he can from the "theory and chatter" in Israel. “All the writers are little people who read other people's theories, copy them and talk about them without understanding them. I am against all theories apart from one great one - an artist must be entirely free.” Ha’aretz (Israel) 05/17/00  

  • DYING OF SHAME: Ofra Haza was one of Israel's most beloved pop stars. When she died earlier this year at age 42, fans kept a vigil outside her window. But in the wake of revelations she died of AIDS in a country that has a low AIDS infection rate, a debate about the stigma of the disease has erupted. Toronto Globe and Mail 05/17/00 

Tuesday May 16

  • PIANO PRESTO: Renzo Piano just might be the world's busiest architect: For Hermès he is designing a Far East headquarters in Tokyo. In America, he is working on the Harvard Art Museum, the Chicago Art Institute, an art campus in Atlanta and a sculpture gallery in Dallas. There is a telecom HQ in Rotterdam, a Paul Klee museum in Switzerland, a trio of new concert halls in Rome, an elegant tower in Sydney nearing completion, and a pilgrimage church in southern Italy which looks set to be the religious masterpiece of millennium year. In Berlin his Potsdamer Platz, a vast development spanning a blighted area on either side of the Wall, is nearly complete. The Times (London) 05/16/00

  • ALTERNATIVE UNIVERSE: French intellectual Marc Fumaroli has very precise ideas about how our cultural history has gotten us to where we are. "Because I think that Renaissance is a continuity of antiquity, it is a rebirth, but at the same time it is a continuity. But with the French and the English at the end of the 17th Century, something new begins, and this novelty that has been acclaimed as a wonder, as a great period of Enlightenment, was perhaps full of the seeds of the Satanic elements that we have in this century, since spread in Europe and elsewhere." The idler 05/16/00

  • ONE SICK PUPPY: Even his admirers call Gottfried Helnwein that. "He earned his first gallery show in the 70s by driving around his


  • WHEN MARY SUED SALLE: In January New York art dealer Mary Boone signed David Salle to her stable. Now she's suing him for $1 million. Evidently "Boone promised to advance Salle $500,000, in return for which he would consign work worth at least $850,000 to her gallery. She'd pay all the promotional costs, and they'd split the sales, 60-40 in his favor." Boone says Salle failed to deliver on the promised work. New York Daily News 05/14/00 

  • ET TU KRZYSZTOF? Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki was one of the more adventurous and radical composers of the 20th Century. Now he's written a piece that sounds like it could be Mahler or Brahms. "It is, though, a curious state of affairs when the composer who, more than any other, was identified with that scandalous way of writing should become the one who most saliently repudiates it." Sunday Times (London) 05/14/00

  • YOU GONNA FUND PORNOGRAPHY? Jane Alexander's new memoir recalls the battles over arts funding while she was chair of the National Endowment for the Arts. Washington Post 05/14/00

  • UGLY VICTORY: Time art critic Robert Hughes may have won his court battle, beating reckless driving charges in Australia yesterday. But he sure blew it in the court of public opinion. "With a phalanx of cameras surrounding him, the New York-based art critic rose from his wheelchair, limped down the steps of the historic courthouse, and launched a broadside at those in the other car involved in the accident, describing all three as 'low-life scum'. And after making several jibes about the 'curry-munching' crown prosecutor's Indian background, Hughes accused him of being overzealous in his bid to score points by aiming for a high-profile scalp." Sydney Morning Herald 05/11/00

Thursday May 11

  • UGLY VICTORY: Time art critic Robert Hughes may have won his court battle, beating reckless driving charges in Australia yesterday. But he sure blew it in the court of public opinion. "With a phalanx of cameras surrounding him, the New York-based art critic rose from his wheelchair, limped down the steps of the historic courthouse, and launched a broadside at those in the other car involved in the accident, describing all three as 'low-life scum'. And after making several jibes about the 'curry-munching' crown prosecutor Lloyd Rayney's Indian background, Hughes accused him of being overzealous in his bid to score points by aiming for a high-profile scalp." Sydney Morning Herald 05/11/00

Wednesday May 10

  • NOT GUILTY: A court in Western Australia has thrown out the dangerous driving charges against art critic Robert Hughes. The Age (Melbourne) 05/10/00

  • DREAM MAYOR? London mayor-elect Ken Livingstone’s recent promises have already thrilled the art world. He plans to support the film industry, strengthen independent cinemas, and help make London a user-friendly environment for filming. He also “intends to maintain free entry to museums, and to introduce a "capital arts card" in partnership with business to give students, senior citizens and the unemployed the chance to attend theatres, cinemas and concerts for £3. And he wants to support cultural diversity in the arts.” London Times 05/10/00

  • HANOVER BAILS: NY Mayor Rudy Giuliani's wife, actress Donna Hanover, who was supposed to perform in the sexually suggestive "The Vagina Monologues" Off-Broadway has postponed her appearance in the show, citing family circumstances. Chicago Sun-Times (AP) 05/10/00

Tuesday May 9

  • RIDE TO NOWHERE: Patrick Stewart was overlooked for a Tony nomination just a week after he publicly chastised the producers of "The Ride Down Mt. Morgan" for insufficiently promoting the play. CNN 05/08/00

  • A JURY OF YOUR PEERS: Is novelist Martin Amis, whose much-hyped autobiography will be released later this month, still the pinnacle of English literary fiction? Nine younger British novelists' assess his work and influence, calling him everything from “the archetypal geeky white boy” to “uncompromisingly brilliant.” The Independent 05/07/00

  • A LIFE WELL LIVED: Celebrated conductor Semyon Bychkov reflects on his 26-year career - from being thwarted by anti-Semitism in his native Russia to “the KGB's seemingly arbitrary decision to allow him to emigrate” to the age 23. Irish Times 05 / 09/00

  • DRAMATIC MATRIMONY: Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise are reportedly planning to star on stage together in a London revival of Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” The West End production would be directed by Donmar Warehouse director Sam Mendes (of “American Beauty”) who directed Kidman in her dramatic breakthrough, “The Blue Room,” last year. The Age (Melbourne) 05/09/00 

Monday May 8

  • DOUGLAS FAIRBANKS JR dies in New York at the age of 90. BBC 05/08/00

  • POET'S EYE VIEW OF THE WORLD: At age 81, Lawrence Ferlinghetti is still feisty as ever. A recording company recently put out a recording of him reading his work - with musical accompaniment that makes him furious. "I find that music is a complete bring-down of the poems. They went ahead with complete disregard of my wishes in the matter." New Zealand Herald 05/06/00

  • DANCING WITH PRESS: Most writing about Marcel Duchamp focuses on what he said or wrote. But "through most of his subsequent career, Duchamp worked harder at burnishing his persona than he ever did at creating art. And he certainly spent more time plotting ways to expand an extremely limited oeuvre than he did poring over his signature accessory, the chess board (but that's another story)." The Idler 05/08/00

Sunday May 7

  • PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS ARTS ADMINISTRATOR: Michael Marsicano is one of the country’s most successful arts administrators. From 1989, when he arrived, until this year, one year after his departure, the annual budget of Marsicano’s agency - the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Arts & Science Council - grew from $2.8 million a year to $15.6 million. In terms of private support, it is No. 1 in per-capita giving among arts councils in the country, No. 1 in money given at the office, and No. 4 in total dollars raised. Cleveland Plain Dealer 05/07/00

Friday May 5

  • RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT: Time Magazine art critic Robert Hughes goes on trial next week in Australia for dangerous driving. But he says he won't get a fair trial unless he can present evidence about a $15,000 extortion attempt against him. Detectives charged two men on Wednesday night over the extortion attempt on Mr Hughes after a police sting operation involving a $15,000 drop-off at Perth airport. The Age (Melbourne) 05/05/00

Thursday May 4

  • PASSION PLAY: Australian fans of the TV show "Xena" have formed a club and are performing shows based on the series. "In recent weeks, they've perfected costumes and choreography for a production of 'Bittersuite,' a musical revival of a favourite Xena episode by the same name. In weekly practices, they clank plastic swords, march in unison and sing such lyrics as, 'Forgive those who harm you, do good to those you hate.' " No word yet on whether Cameron Mackintosh has optioned the rights. The Age (Melbourne) 05/04/00


Monday May 1

  • CONTROL YOUR BRATS! New York Magazine theater critic John Simon loses it at a performance of "Music Man" and screams at the parent of noisy kids to shut them up. "Simon said he 'smelled trouble' as soon as he saw several young children - between the ages of 4 and 8 - sitting in front of him." New York Post 05/01/00
    ANTONIO BUERO VALLEJO DIES AT 83: Spanish playwright, widely revered in Spain, was known for his opposition to the country's former fascist dictatorship. CBC 05/01/0