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PEOPLE - July 2002

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Wednesday July 24

CHAIM POTOK, 73: Novelist Chaim Potok, who had been ill with cancer for some time, died at his home in Pennsylvania Tuesday. "Mr. Potok came to international prominence in 1967 with his debut novel, The Chosen (Simon & Schuster). Unlike the work of the novelists Philip Roth and Saul Bellow, which dealt largely with the neuroses of assimilated secular Jews, The Chosen was the first American novel to make the fervent, insular Hasidic world visible to a wide audience." The New York Times 07/24/02

NEW DIRECTION: "The National Museum of Women in the Arts announced its fifth director in as many years yesterday, naming American art scholar Judy L. Larson to the post. Larson is a former curator at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and has been executive director of the Art Museum of Western Virginia in Roanoke since 1998. The NMWA job has been vacant since October, when Ellen Reeder resigned after three months. Larson will assume her duties in September." Washington Post 07/24/02

Tuesday July 23

ALL ABOUT THE STORIES: At 36, David McVicar is "widely ranked the hottest talent on the international opera circuit; and his special genius is for telling stories on a big scale but with clarity and focus. At a time when opera staging seems in danger of abandoning narrative responsibility in favour of interpretative fancy - the bourgeois-battering aesthetic of Figaros set on futuristic rubbish dumps and Don Giovannis on a slip-road to the M6 - McVicar has emerged as something like a champion of old-fashioned values." The Telegraph (UK) 07/23/02

Sunday July 21

NOT ALL RICH PEOPLE ARE JERKS: "Eli Broad is one of the richest people in America: His $5.2 billion fortune places him at No. 51 on this year's Forbes magazine list. He is also one of the nation's most charitable individuals: The Chronicle of Philanthropy ranked him No. 5 last year, when he gave away more than $387 million. And he's one of the world's greatest art collectors: The current Artnews list puts him in the top 10. Another collector might build a Broad Museum. But this entrepreneur, who gives far more to public school causes than he spends on art, has instead created a ''lending library'' of the contemporary work that is his focus." Boston Globe 07/21/02

SEYMOUR SOLOMON, 80: "Seymour Solomon, who with his brother, Maynard, founded Vanguard Records in 1950 and turned it into the dominant label for American folk music, recording such artists as Joan Baez, Odetta, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Ian & Sylvia, died yesterday at his summer home in Lenox, Mass." The New York Times 07/20/02

ALAN LOMAX, 87: "Alan Lomax, the celebrated musicologist who helped preserve America's and the world's heritage by making thousands of recordings of folk, blues and jazz musicians from the 1930s onward, died Friday in Florida. He was 87." Calgary Herald 07/21/02

RESTLESS IN PORTLAND: Some people just aren't meant to stay in one place for too long. Such was the case last winter when James Canfield, the 42-year-old Joffrey alum and choreographer of the Oregon Ballet Theater, called his most senior dancers to his office and announced to them his intention to step down from the company. Canfield has built the OBT into one of the nation's respected ballet troupes, and was certainly facing no pressure to move on, but he described a restlessness that has become a familiar theme in his professional life, one that has almost always resulted in a career move. What's next for Canfield is uncertain, but there is no doubt that there will be a next. The New York Times 07/21/02

POTS AND KETTLES AND THE LITTLE TRAMP: A cynic might be forgiven for asking where a bunch of folks with the questionable moral history of the British royal family gets off making value judgments on the personal lives of others, but new documents demonstrate that the royals blocked Charlie Chaplin from knighthood for decades after controversial aspects of his personal life surfaced. Chaplin's marriages to underage teenagers and open membership in the Communist party in the age of the blacklist kept him from knighthood for nearly a quarter century. BBC 07/21/02

Friday July 19

AUSTRALIA'S GREATEST DANCER: Russell Page was only 33 when he died suddenly this week. Thursday he was eulogized as "perhaps the most talented dancer Australia has produced, skilled in both the old traditional dances and contemporary forms." A fiery principal dance with Bangarra Dance Theatre "Page was an amateur daredevil and a truly 'deadly'footballer, often sneaking off from dance practice to play touch footy with Redfern's street kids." Sydney Morning Herald 07/19/02

LOOKING TOWARDS HOME: James Conlon is that rarest of all musical beasts: an American conductor with a global profile and the trust of European musicians. Conlon, who left America for Europe two decades ago after surmising that American orchestras do not like to hire American music directors, is looking to come home as his tenure in Cologne and Paris comes to an end. Rumor has him at the top of the list of candidates to succeed Christoph Eschenbach as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's summer festival at Ravinia, but Conlon is likely to have many options for employment the minute he makes his return to America official. Chicago Sun-Times 07/18/02

Thursday July 18

BILBAO-ON-HIDSON CHOOSES DIRECTOR: Jonathan Levi has been chosen as director of the new $62 million Bard Performing Arts Center. The center, designed by Frank Gehry, "is to be completed in January and open in April as a home for music, theater and dance. The building's two theaters will be used both for academic purposes and as a public space for international cultural events. Like the Guggenheim Museum that Mr. Gehry designed in Bilbao, Spain, the Bard center is highly distinctive with a series of low-lying steel canopies that look like large, overlapping ribbons." The New York Times 07/18/02

Tuesday July 16

NOT PRODUCING: Henry Goodman was the victim of one of the most public firings in Broadway history when he was removed as Nathan Lane's replacement in The Producers last spring. So what happened? “Personally, I think they blew it. Of course they’d say, ‘No, no Henry, you blew it’. I just wanted the freedom to deepen my character, make him darker, more like Zero Mostel (who played the part in the original 1968 film). Just look at these letters” — he chucks down a sheaf of fan mail — “the bookings were fine. The fact is, 60,000 people saw me and no one asked for their money back. But they wanted a clone of Nathan and I wasn’t prepared to give them that.” The Times (UK) 07/16/02

Monday July 15

YOUSUF KARSH, 93: The Canadian photographer died in Boston of complications resulting from an operation for diverticulitis. "The formal portrait photographer, whose lens captured the who's-who of the 20th century, sold or donated all 355,000 of his negatives to the National Archives in Ottawa and they will form the core collection of the Portrait Gallery of Canada, which is to open in 2005 across the street from Parliament Hill." Toronto Star 07/15/02

CHOREOGRAPHER KILLED: Noted Russian choreographer Yevgeny Panifilov was found stabbed to death in his apartment. "Panfilov, 47, became popular in the early 1980s when he was among the first to create a Russian modern dance group. He was particularly well known for his choreography of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker ballet, which has been performed in major Russian theaters and around the world under his direction." Nando Times (AP) 07/15/02

Sunday July 14

GONE NATIVE: The arts world and the larger capitalistic society understandably view one another with skepticism, and sometimes outright hostlity, and the best way to make an artist nervous is to put a businessman in charge of his fiscal affairs. Such was the case when Gerry Robinson was persuaded to take on the leadership of the Arts Council of England, with the hope being that he could use his business savvy to streamline the council's operations. Four years in, Robinson has done just that, but the council appears to have had as much impact on him as he has had on it: "Like many arts ministers and Arts Council chairmen before him, Robinson has gone native, and is quite prepared to admit the fact. He now talks the arts talk with total conviction, effortlessly embracing both the social importance of the arts... and the pursuit of excellence." Financial Times 07/12/02

LIBESKIND SPEAKS: The architect of the new Jewish Museum in Berlin explains his vision of what makes for good architecture in the modern world. "Buildings provide spaces for living, but are also de facto instruments, giving shape to the sound of the world. Music and architecture are related not only by metaphor, but also through concrete space." The Guardian (UK) 07/13/02

A GROUNDBREAKER LOOKS BACK: James DePriest faced more than the average number of roadblocks to becoming a successful conductor. He has polio, and must walk with braces and canes. He has kidney disease, and required a transplant last year. And he is black, which is still a shockingly rare thing to be in the world of classical music. Nonetheless, DePriest has achieved great success on the podium, and is preparing to step down as music director of the Oregon Symphony after nearly a quarter century. Andante (AP) 07/14/02

Friday July 12

FINAL COPY: The head of Australia's largest university has been forced to resign after multiple claims that he plagiarized. David Robinson, the embattled vice-chancellor of Monash University, quit after being summoned back from a trip to London. "He could see he was creating damage for the university. The only solution that he could see, and I could see, and we came to this together, was to leave." The Age (Melbourne) 07/12/02

Thursday July 11

WOULDN'T YOU LIKE TO BE A SPANNER TOO: C-Span founder and host Brian Lamb has a cult following among viewers known as "Spanners" for their devotion to the cable network. "Lamb is open to interpretations of himself - the solemn ones, mocking ones, camp ones. He'll play along. He is resigned to his celebrity niche. He has been called the most boring and the most trusted man in America, both of which he would take as a source of pride, or, at least, humor." Washington Post 07/12/02

JESSYE'S ROUGH NIGHT: Sopranos can rarely sing at a high level up to their 60th birthday. Jessye Norman is 56, and her first recital at Tanglewood in years was a disaster this week. Clearly not in good voice, she cut short her program, then "mouthed the words 'I'm sorry' as she swept from the stage after singing excerpts from Berlioz's Les Nuits d'ete.'' Boston Globe 07/11/02

Wednesday July 10

JACKO'S CRUSADE: Michael Jackson's tirade against the recording industry for being unfair to artists, particularly black artists, seems a stretch, given the mega-bucks he's made in his career. Last weekend he said that "the recording companies really, really do conspire against the artists. They steal, they cheat, they do everything they can, [especially] against the black artists." But Jackson has been locked in a dispute with his recording label, and his career hasn't been going well... Philadelphia Inquirer 07/10/02

STRIKE OUT: Outgoing Boston Symphony conductor Seiji Ozawa is a big baseball fan. So when the orchestra was planning his farewell, Ozawa suggested a final concert at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. Sure, said the orchestra, and quickly negotiated a date with the ballclub. But then the numbers came in - it would cost "at least $500,000 to build staging, a sound system, and other support for the show." So the plans were abandoned. Boston Globe 07/10/02

Tuesday July 9

COMMITTED: Alberto Vilar is "believed to give more money to opera than any other donor in the world, and he is one of the top givers to the arts in general, as well. His gifts include a total of $33 million to New York's Metropolitan Opera, $10 million to Los Angeles Opera, and $50 million to Washington, D.C.'s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. But since late last year - when Vilar was laid up with medical problems and his company was laid low by the downturn in the stock market - rumors and press reports that he is not honoring his pledges to the arts have surfaced in the United States and Europe." Los Angeles Times 07/09/02

Monday July 8

STUDYING THE STUDIERS: Intellectual historians sometimes grumble that their peers don't regard them as doing "real" history. After all, they study books and ideas, rather than digging around in archives to chart the course of wars and revolutions, or the almost-unreconstructible life of, say, an Aztec peasant. Tony Grafton works on old, dead classicists. How much less-sexy can you get? And yet his work is read not only by medievalists and Renaissance scholars, but by a general audience as well." Chronicle of Higher Education 07/08/02

MICHAEL JACKSON VS PRODUCERS: Michael Jackson has joined the list of pop artists charging that recording companies take advantage of musicians. But he adds a racial element to the complaints. "The record companies really do conspire against the artists. Especially the black artists." Los Angeles Times 07/07/02

Sunday July 7

JOHN FRANKENHEIMER, 72: Hollywood director John Frankenheimer, famous for his tales of political intrigue and dark conspiracies, has died. His films included Seven Days In May and The Manchurian Candidate. The New York Times 07/07/02

Thursday July 4

HARVARD'S LOSS: James Cuno's departure as director of the Harvard Museums to become director of the Courtauld Institute is "certainly not glad tidings for Harvard, with its famously ambivalent attitude toward art, especially of the contemporary sort that Cuno has championed. There is fear now that the progress Cuno has made will halt or even be reversed, that his agenda - including plans for a new Renzo Piano -designed museum on the banks of the Charles - will unravel." Boston Globe 07/03/02

Wednesday July 3

RAY BROWN, 75: One of the most influential jazz musicians of the 20th century has died. Bassist Ray Brown revolutionized his instrument's role in jazz, and was one of the creators of bebop. He played with nearly every legend of the genre and was a founding member of the Oscar Peterson Trio. He was still performing at the age of 75, and was finishing up a U.S. tour at the time of his death yesterday. Nando Times (AP) 07/03/02

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER: Katherine Dunham's name has never been as immediately recognizable as Martha Graham's, but the 93-year-old dancer/choreographer has contributed arguably as much as Graham to the world of dance. An innovative choreographer, a quietly political crusader, and a devoted student of African and Western dance traditions, Dunham is finally starting to gain the recognition many aficionados feel she has long been deserving of. Boston Globe 07/03/02

FALLEN FROM GRACE, AND BITTER AS HELL: Time was in Hollywood when you couldn't make a move (or a movie) without Michael Ovitz's say-so. But today, Ovitz is a bitter and broken man, a few years removed from his embarrassing ouster at Disney, and smarting from the collapse of his once-dominant talent agency. Ovitz is lashing out in a soon-to-be-published interview in Vanity Fair, claiming, among other things, that a Hollywood "gay mafia" is responsible for his downfall. The New York Times 07/03/02

Tuesday July 2

WINKING AT THE TAX MAN: Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski is being investigated for tax evasion on purchases of art he bought but for which he didn't pay sales tax, claiming that the work was being shipped out of New York. What gave him away? "Investigators had obtained a fax which listed some of the paintings that were being shipped to New Hampshire with the words 'wink wink' in parentheses, indicating that the objects were not going to New Hampshire but were instead going to Mr Kozlowski’s New York address." The Art Newspaper 06/30/02

Monday July 1

PICTURING BARYSHNIKOV: A new book tells dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov life in pictures. But first he talks about a long career. "In this country, there's so much dance, so much talent, so much choice. American tradition of entertainment is very strong. We are entertainers, you know, and there's nothing wrong with that." The Plain Dealer 07/01/02