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PEOPLE - July 2000

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Monday July 31

  • CHARLTON HESTON'S NOSE & THE NRA: Charlton Heston's acting career may not have been possible were it not for the time he fell and broke his nose, giving him that rugged, stoic look. And that look seems to served him well in his station as president of the National Rifle Association. "To the NRA, it must be like having the backing of all the heroic, righteous characters that Heston has played - not only Moses, Michelangelo, Ben-Hur, Thomas More, Richelieu, Mark Antony and three American presidents, but also astronauts, sports stars, saints and even God himself." The New Statesman 07/31/00

Sunday July 30

  • FOND REMEMBRANCES: Van Cliburn is 66 and making still another comeback, with a concert at Tanglewood. "Mr. Cliburn gives the impression of being utterly content now and not too inclined to excavate the past afresh. He lets on at one point, as if revealing a deep family secret, that he's thinking about performing Bach again, the E minor Partita, maybe, and he floats a program for a scheduled Chopin recital in Boston that is so preposterously long that it sounds like a fantasy of a young pianist in the first flush of success - as if, no matter how stressful the stage may have been all those years, it is still the locus of his imagination." New York Times 07/30/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

    • GRACE UNDER PRESSURE: That he's retained these qualities through some pretty tough times is a remarkable personal achievement almost as great as his win in Moscow more than 40 years ago. Boston Herald 07/30/00

  • ODE TO COPLAND: "Deeper than George Gershwin, more disciplined than Charles Ives, more accessible than Elliott Carter, more prolific than Leonard Bernstein, more varied than Samuel Barber," Aaron Copland was the giant of 20th Century American music. He would have been 100 this year, yet no one seems to be paying attention. Why is that? Chicago Tribune 07/30/00

  • CONDUCTOR CULT: Surely Leonard Bernstein is the most-promoted of all dead-conductors. A new Sony project gathers up all of his recordings for another grand compilation.  New York Times 07/30/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

Thursday July 27

  • PAVAROTTI has made a $17 million settlement with Italian tax collectors, ending a nasty four-year battle. CBC 07/27/00

  • VIOLINIST OSCAR SHUMSKY dies in New York at age 83. New York Times 07/27/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

Tuesday July 25

  • FRENCH DIRECTOR CLAUDE SAUTET DIED Wednesday at age 76. One of France’s most popular filmmakers, he directed more than 30 features and won the Oscar in 1978 for “Une Histoire Simple.” CBC 07/24/00

Sunday July 23

  • VISITING DANIEL LIBESKIND: Libeskind's proposal of a crumpled spiral addition between the thoroughly Victorian buildings of London's Victoria and Albert Museum was something of a scandal when it was unveiled in 1996. Now it looks like it may compete with the Bilbao Guggenheim for attention." The Telegraph (London) 07/23/00

  • ENSHRINING A CONDUCTOR: Is the larger world ready to appreciate the late great Sergiu Celibidache? "Little did anybody at that time know to what extent Celibidache lacked a cordial relationship with the real world. At one point, he wanted to fire the entire Berlin Philharmonic. He demanded extravagant amounts of rehearsal time, declined to perform with American orchestras until a 1984 engagement with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, and, most curious of all, refused to record." Philadelphia Inquirer 07/23/00

  • CARUSO 80 YEARS LATER: "The Italian tenor died nearly 80 years ago. But the music that fills the Enrico Caruso Museum in a small New York City house endures around the world, too - and still stirs controversy." Chicago Sun-Times 07/23/00

Friday July 21

  • DON'T BE DISSING GRANDPA: Turns out Stalin's 28-year-old grandson is an artist - a painter - and judged a good one by those who have seen his work in London and Glasgow. Just one problem - what about those views of history he's all too happy to share? "Stalin was a truly great man," he says. "He was a great ruler like Napoleon, Genghis Khan, Julius Caesar. He cannot be erased as if he did not exist. I do not like it when people pretend he did not really happen in history." The Times (London) 07/21/00

  • PRICE OF PERFECTION: Four years ago pianist Keith Jarrett was struck with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome so severe it all but ended his career. He could barely get out of bed. Now he's back and talking about it. "Nobody gets CFS who isn't always trying to do three or four things at a time. If you're a couch potato, I don't think you'd be likely to get this. So if you're doing something new that's almost an athletic event, and then inside it is this intellectual and emotional component that requires all your abilities every time you do it, and you're starting from zero every time... well, it's almost a perfect disease for me to have gotten." The Guardian 07/21/00

Thursday July 20

  • A TWINKLE IN YOUR EYE, A TWINKLE IN YOUR TOE: In 1932 the Nicholas brothers were the youngest dancers ever to showcase at the Cotton Club and the first performers allowed to mix with a white audience. They danced with George Balanchine, Gene Kelly, and can count Gregory Hines and Mikhail Baryshnikov as some of their biggest fans.  After a life of tap dancing around racial barriers, chasing women, and approaching life with gusto, Harold Nicholas died this month at age 79. LA Weekly 07/20/00

  • BACK IN HOT WATER: Director Roman Polanski - exiled from the U.S. since a 1978 conviction for statutory rape - is now being sued by Artisan Entertainment which claims he siphoned $1 million in VAT refunds into a private bank account after the release of the film “The Ninth Gate.” Sydney Morning Herald 07/20/00

Wednesday July 19

  • DIFFICULT TO LOVE: The theatre world gathers to memorialize producer David Merrick. "It was Mr. Merrick's difficult, enigmatic personality that pervaded the memorial yesterday. While several speakers expressed a love of the shows he created, few conveyed a comparable love of the man." New York Times 07/19/00 (one-time registration required for entry

Tuesday July 18

  • LIVING A HIGH "C" LIFE: Placido Domingo miscalculated when he took on directing the Washington and Los Angeles opera companies. He thought he'd be about finished singing by now. But at age 60 the voice still works, and the conducting, directing and singing are easily three full time jobs. What next? The Telegraph (London) 07/18/00 

  • CRITICAL PATH: Martin McDonagh seemed to have it all three years ago. Coming from nowhere, suddenly "several of McDonagh's ferociously comic and unsettling plays" won great reviews and top literary prizes in the US and Europe. But then there was a drunken squabble with Sean Connery at an awards ceremony, "some cranky critical backlash and a few damning interviews" and McDonough retreated. Now he's back with a new play. Seattle Times 07/16/00

Monday July 17

  • CAMERON TRIES TO TURN IT AROUND: He was the Giant of Theatre in the 1980s, producing one mega-musical hit after another. Cameron Mackintosh is "one of Britain's 200 richest people, estimating his personal wealth at $600 million. He owns seven theaters in the West End of London. He was knighted in 1996 for his services to British theater." But in the past decade he hasn't had much luck. He's hoping that will change with his latest show, opening in London this week. New York Times 07/17/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

Sunday July 16

  • REMEMBERING RUSKIN: What was it that made John Ruskin the greatest art and social critic of the Victorian age? A new book is great at exploring his life; less successful at capturing his rhetorical lightning. Boston Globe 07/16/00

  • CANADIAN BARITONE Louis Quilico dies at age 75 after complications from surgery. CBC 07/16/00

Friday July 14

  • CRAFT OF THE PERFECT ASSISTANT: No matter what he has done in the rest of his career as a musician, Robert Craft will always be known as the man who was Igor Stravinsky's assistant. Is that okay with him? Absolutely. "He [Stravinsky] started composing the music he did, with the techniques he was using, because I was able to teach him these things." The Telegraph (London) 07/14/00

Thursday July 13

  • PETERSON PRIZE: Pianist Oscar Peterson has become the first Canadian recipient of the International Music Council UNESCO Music Prize. "The prize is given every year to a musician or musical institution that has contributed to the development and enrichment of music and has served peace and understanding around the world." CBC 07/13/00

  • CLOCKWORK AUCTION: Memorabilia from the estates of Stanley Kubrick and Laurence Olivier are being sold at auction today. Among Kubrick's lot are draft scripts for the nuclear war satire "Dr Strangelove". The Olivier papers include 250 letters and cards written by the actor and his family. BBC 07/13/00

Wednesday July 12

  • BEING POLITICAL BY BEING APOLITICAL: "Two years ago, Bill T. Jones was approached by Arena de le Sol in Bologna, Italy, to make a dance depicting the influence of Latin culture in the New World. Though confronted with issues of colonization and what Jones describes as cultural 'collision,' he decided to make a poetic rather than a political response to the unjust historical truths surrounding these native communities. 'Ultimately, I'm trying to enter this on the level of culture and art,' he says. 'I'm trying to tell the story as I see it, and what that looked like in terms of music.' " Village Voice 07/11/00

Tuesday July 11

  • A DIVA'S DUDS: More than 400 personal items once belonging to opera diva Maria Callas will be auctioned in Paris in December. The auction itself will also be open to Internet bidders using the site New York Times07/11/00(one-time registration required for entry)

Monday July 10

  • FIGHTING THE SAME OLD: It seems the more conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt likes a piece of music, the less he's inclined to perform it. He's a sworn enemy of routine. This and his thoughts on Bach, Bruckner and Beethoven. The Independent (London) 07/10/00

  • FROM PAPER TO THE REAL WORLD: He's one of the world's most celebrated architects, but so far he hasn't had much built to show for it. Now Rem Koolhaas's buildings are starting to pop up everywhere and he's at the forefront of what has become "arguably the most exciting branch of culture." New York Times Magazine 07/09/00

  • WHEN SAID MET SARTRE: Edward Said met Jean Paul Sartre in 1979: "For my generation he [Sartre] has always been one of the great intellectual heroes of the 20th century, a man whose insight and intellectual gifts were at the service of nearly every progressive cause of our time. Yet he seemed neither infallible nor prophetic. On the contrary, one admired Sartre for the efforts he made to understand situations and, when necessary, to offer solidarity to political causes. He was never condescending or evasive, even if he was given to error and overstatement. Nearly everything he wrote is interesting for its sheer audacity, its freedom (even its freedom to be verbose) and its generosity of spirit." London Review of Books 06/00

Sunday July 9

  • THE MAN REMAKING LONDON: Architect Norman Foster got his "gherkin" tower approved by the City of London last week. "Foster is a tough cookie; some of his competitors might go as far as to say he is ruthless. None doubts his genius as a designer." The Independent (London) 07/09/00

  • SOMETHING AFOOTE: "Hollywood may forever think of Foote as the Oscar-winning screenwriter of the original 'Tender Mercies' and the adapted 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' but his stature within theatrical circles has soared in his ninth decade." Los Angeles Times 07/09/00

Thursday July 6

  • THE 411 OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN LITERATURE: That E. Ethelbert Miller is a major mover in the African American literary world is undeniable. That he is considered by many to be an outstanding poet is indisputable. "I can't think of an African American writer whose life I haven't affected." So why is Howard University - his alma mater - going out of its way to ignore him? Washington Post 07/06/00

  • A SINGULAR DIRECTION: Zhang Yimou is revered in the West as one of China's greatest filmmakers. But his name is still inseparable from that of Gong Li, his partner for eight years and the star of the cycle of six Zhang films. Most were historical dramas with strong political undertones. Now that the pair has split, Zhang's last two films have none of the lush sense of historical sweep we associate with his name, and you couldn't imagine Gong Li playing in either of them. The Age (Melbourne) 07/06/00

Wednesday July 5

  • BRITAIN'S OPERA HOPE: The hip new opera in London last season was - of all things - a piece about soccer. Mark-Anthony Turnage, the "Silver Tassie's" composer, "has emerged as one of the great hopes of English classical music - a natural extension of an extraoridnary line that runs through such fertile counties as Elgar, Walton, Bridge, Britten and Tippitt." Sequenza 21 07/03/00

  • THE REAL STRAVINSKY: For a good part of the 20th Century Igor Stravinsky was considered the greatest composer of the era. But "by the time of his death in 1971 the plaudits of the mass media were out of sync with the opinions of musical tastemakers in Europe and America; these dismissed him as a diehard reactionary who had waited too long to acknowledge the historical inevitability of atonality. But the tastemakers were wrong, and with the restoration of tonality and the demise of the atonal avant-garde, Stravinsky’s music has once again returned to the limelight." Commentary 07/00

Tuesday July 4

  • A SIDE OF BACON: Vanity Fair is said to be publishing a story claiming that painter Francis Bacon, who died in 1992 aged 82, was a tax dodger. The magazine alleges that Bacon avoided paying tax in Britain by failing to declare payments made by his dealers Marlborough Fine Art to a Swiss bank account. London Evening Standard 07/04/00

  • COME IN FROM THE LIGHT: The art world loathes Thomas Kinkade's precious paintings. But America's mall-goers can't buy them fast enough and have made Kinkade a wealthy man.  Reviled by the critics and scorned by galleries and agents, his work has been described as everything from 'pseudo' to 'a damning indictment of our society'. Some question whether what he does is art at all." Now Kinkade's taking his show to England. The Telegraph (London) 07/04/00

Monday July 3

  • STROKE SENDS ARTIST'S CAREER SOARING: Artist Katherine Sherwood was always an artist. But a debilitating stroke at the age of 44 transformed her career.  "Critics see a huge change in Sherwood's work. From the restricted, analytical style of the art professor she once was, she has been transformed into a vibrant, free-flowing painter. She has just finished a show at New York's prestigious Whitney Museum, and her abstracts sell for $10,000. "I have sold more paintings in the past few months than in 25 years as an artist," she says with a smile. The Times (London) 07/03/00

  • TANGO TROUBLE: Composer Astor Piazzolla's distinctive tango music has become a world-wide phenomenon. But "while his music won an enthusiastic following in Europe, the United States, Brazil, and Mexico, Piazzolla was not widely appreciated in his native Argentina until a decade before he died in 1992. Instead, his tampering with a native form as sacrosanct as the tango earned an intensity of contempt from the music's old guard that may be difficult to fathom in this country, where disagreements over style and genre exercise only a handful of artists and critics." The New Republic 07/03/00