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Sunday, August 31, 2003

Culture Lines At The WTC A new palace of culture is to be built at the site of the World Trade Center. We don't yet know which culture will be represented there, and jockeying for position is already intense. But "this much is certain: institutions that take the dare and locate themselves at that haunted, contested place will find that a lot more is asked of them than the usual dose of edification and diversion." The New York Times 08/31/03

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Cutting To Survive How are America's arts groups dealing with a down economy? They're cutting back. "Among those groups trimming programming, the Brooklyn Museum of Art closed its doors for two weeks in August and canceled some exhibits, the Boston Ballet cut twenty performances to save $1.6 million, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra replaced a planned three-act opera with a one-act. Some groups have had to put aside artistic integrity to survive financially." Philanthropy News 08/29/03

The NEA's New Mission The National Endowment for the Arts' new chairman Dana Gioia is questioning the NEA's "relatively recent transformation into an isolated entity supporting art for a very limited audience. 'We need to earn the trust and respect of the American people. The NEA exists to serve all Americans, and it must create programs of indisputable artistic merit and broad national reach. Art without an audience is a diminished endeavor.” Poets & Writers 09/03

Onstage - Turning The Lights Back On In America's Old Theatres Conservation-minded entrepreneurs across America are taking old theatres on the main streets of America and "turning historical movie houses into "cultural destinations." Christian Science Monitor 08/29/03

Another Arts Agency Closing? The Long Beach, California city arts commission may go out business after deep cuts in its funding. The 27-year-old arts agency "has a 10-member staff that helps administer the grants, after-school activities, neighborhood arts programs and Smithsonian Week, which brings in national scholars once a year." Long Beach Press-Telegram 08/27/03

Architect Of The Dispossessed There was a time when young architects and designers considered it their civic duty to put some time and effort into creating affordable housing and shelter for the dispossessed. But by the late '90s, "these concerns had given way to a preoccupation with signature design and theory." Enter Cameron Sinclair, a 29-year-old designer determined to return the notion of large-scale community service to prominence within his profession. The New York Times 08/28/03

Unintended Consequences Canada's duMaurier Arts Council doles out $2 million a year in grants to arts groups which otherwise might go unfunded. But the council, which is funded entirely by the Imperial Tobacco company, is about to be shut down, thanks to new restrictions on tobacco advertising by the federal government. "In what is widely being viewed in the arts community as one last, concerted effort by Imperial to shame the federal government into backing down on the advertising ban, the company issued a news release yesterday. It ran more than four pages and detailed, community by community, the $60 million the tobacco company has pumped into the arts through the council since 1971." Toronto Star 08/28/03

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

San Jose Considers Privatizing City Theatres San Jose is considering privatizing the management of the city's public theatres. The city's arts groups are concerned. "In light of a $4 million loss at the city-run McEnery Convention Center in 2002, the mayor's office sees privatization as a possible way to run the buildings more efficiently. However, the Mayor's Budget Message Task Force, an ad hoc advisory committee of representatives from local arts groups, has urged the city to consider the impact on local groups as well the bottom line when determining who will manage the facilities." San Jose Mercury-News 08/28/03

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

92nd St. Y Considers Downtown Outpost New York's 92nd Street Y, a mainstay of the city's culture and a fixture on the upper East Side, is considering a downtown branch at the site of the Wolrd Trade Center. "The Y is talking with several other organizations, including the New York City Opera, the Joyce Theater, the Tribeca Film Festival and Hunter College about sharing space in the performing arts center designated for the World Trade Center site or in other locations nearby. 'We want to be a central part of a wheel out of which many spokes come'." The New York Times 08/27/03

The Myth Of Rome The Eternal City seems like a paradise to outsiders. Art, food, beauty. But "it is virtually impossible to earn a living. To live here with a minimum of dignity (renting a small flat, eating out occasionally, but no car and no proper holidays), you need a good 3,000 euros a month pre-tax, say 1,800 euros post-tax (roughly £2,100 and £1,250 respectively). However modest this seems, it is not what you will get. While in the Anglo-Saxon world most adults expect to be able to live independently off their salaries, in Italy most don't. They stay with their families. Indeed, a staggering 70 per cent of single Italian men between the ages of 25 and 29 live in subsidised comfort at home, where their meagre earnings do very nicely as pocket money." The Telegraph (UK) 08/27/03

Behind Doors At Covent Garden Sir Colin Southgate steps down as chairman of Covent Garden after a tumultuous five years. "In February 1998, when Southgate was parachuted in by Chris Smith, the Culture Secretary, it seemed unlikely that there would be a Royal Opera House left for anyone to visit. The builders had been in for almost two years, their costs were soaring towards £214 million and the imposition of a businessman outsider was generally believed to be the Government's last throw before merging Covent Garden with English National Opera and disbanding the orchestra." The Telegraph (UK) 08/27/03

Edinburgh's "Golden Age" The Edinburgh Festivals are in a "golden age" and sold more than a million tickets this year for the first time. "The figures capped an exceptional month for the organisers, who have overseen one of the most vibrant events for years, and witnessed a growing acceptance among politicians of the need to consider strategic public investment in it." The Scotsman 08/26/03

10 Commandments - Go Forth And Multiply What's up with all the monuments to the Ten Commandments around America? How come there are so many of them? "In the 1950s, Cecil B. DeMille teamed with the Fraternal Order of Eagles to kick off donations of 4,000 6-foot granite tablets depicting the Ten Commandments to municipalities nationwide. For DeMille, this was great advertising for his epic movie 'The Ten Commandments.' The Eagles, which kept the program going at least into the 1960s, declared it a way to fight juvenile delinquency." Los Angeles Times 08/26/03

Monday, August 25, 2003

Record Edinburgh Fringe The Edinburgh Fringe Festival attracted record audiences this year. "On the final day of the three-week arts festival, organisers said 1,184,738 tickets had been sold, which represented a 21% increase on 2002 when 975,110 were sold. Income rose to £9,386,003, compared to £7,688,113 last year. The festival offered 21,000 performances of 1,541 shows in 207 venues." BBC 08/25/03

MIA - Public School Arts Programs "As they head back to the classrooms in coming weeks, kids may find their favorite part of school cut or reduced. The culprit, some educators and arts advocates say, is a combination of historic fiscal crises in the states and new federal standards stressing academic basics. Some critics say that if school officials cut unnecessary overhead costs they wouldn't have to touch academic programs and activities." ABCNews 08/25/03

Keep Art Alive A California state legislator writes of his fight to keep arts funding alive in California: "We are truly at a turning point in the relationship between government and the arts. I had one of the hardest fights of my life this year to prevent the legislature from eliminating the California Arts Council entirely. Not just defunding it, but eliminating it from the state. I have no idea how or why this proposal came about, but it was made and it very nearly happened — California almost became the first state in the nation to abolish all public funding of the arts. As it is, we will continue to fund the arts, but at a level that is the lowest in the nation. Lower than Mississippi. Lower than Alabama. Lower than North Dakota. The state's General Fund, which last year gave the California Arts Council about $18 million, will now fund it at $1 million. We will thus be spending less than 3 cents per capita on the arts. For comparison, the national average is $1.00 per capita. The math on that is fairly easy — California spends about 3% of the national average on the arts." Los Angeles Times 08/25/03

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Euro-Meltdown At Euro Disney "Europe's 'cultural Chernobyl', as one French critic called Disneyland Paris, is in meltdown again. Falling attendance, overspending on a new movie-themed park and those cursed terrorists are to blame. This month, it announced it would have trouble repaying its banks and the doomsayers are predicting bankruptcy." The Telegraph (UK) 08/25/03

Connective Tissue - Why Flash Mobs Are Interesting Some critics have quickly tired of flash-mobs that began this summer, writing off the phenomenon as "a slightly annoying fad, the techno equivalent of streaking. Others detect a 'social revolution' in the offing. Flash mobs are worth paying attention to. They offer a lesson about the evolving nature of networks: from Friendster, a six-degrees-of-separation dating service, to the 'relationship mining' software that combs through employees' electronic address books to identify which of their contacts might be useful to the employer. What flash mobs do is make networks tangible." New York Times Magazine 08/24/03

Friday, August 22, 2003

Can You Be Prosecuted For Violent Thought? "Students across the United States have been getting suspended and arrested for written work that authorities have deemed threatening. After two students in Colorado opened fire at Columbine High in 1999, killing 12 other students and a teacher, states and schools have been scrambling to find ways to protect students before violence occurs. But critics say they've been overreacting and violating constitutional rights." Wired 08/22/03

Thursday, August 21, 2003

An Arts Town Success Story Not so long ago, the city of Somerville, Mass. was "dilapidated, a place where artists got harassed; they certainly didn’t hold court at major intersections or thrash about in the street like dying fish. Over the past 20 years or so, the stigma of living in Somerville has been reduced, if not completely removed. Whatever the general explanation, most folks credit local artists — and, on a larger scale, the visible integration of art into the community by the Somerville Arts Council (SAC) — for helping to revitalize the city and improve its residents’ quality of life. The SAC is much more than a funnel for state grants. It’s a relatively high-profile, community-based collective that not only produces independent cultural programming all year long, but works to draw out the artistic strengths of its community. Which makes Somerville a kind of local-arts-scene success story, a city in which the influence of art isn’t merely discernable, but recognized for helping improve the town’s very tenor." Boston Phoenix 08/21/03

World's Languages Are Disappearing Ninety percent of the world's languages are expected to die out within a generation. "The social status of a language is the most accurate way of predicting whether it will survive, argue researchers in a paper appearing in the journal Nature. They also suggest that active intervention to boost the status of rare and endangered languages can save them." Discovery 08/21/03

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Copyright Would Be Great If It Paid Creators In theory it's a good idea that those who create something should be entitled to be paid for it. Trouble is, most copyrights aren't owned by the person who created them. So complaining that "artists need to be paid" as a justification for the current copyright laws is... well... Denver Post 08/20/03

Little To Cheer As Cuts Mount "In this time of exploding budget deficits, economic paralysis, and persistent revenue contractions, 2003 to date has offered very little news on the subject of state and local arts funding to give cause for good cheer. Dozens of states and hundreds of localities have cut arts appropriations - by half, two-thirds, three-quarters, or more. And while it's been a useful time for arts advocates and thousands of not-for-profits to join together in common spirit, the whole definition of victory at the moment is oddly perverse: If cuts are less draconian than first feared, if arts agencies are spared abolition, that's considered a win. Missing in all this, meanwhile, are pro-arts words from elected figures." Backstage 08/18/03

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Edinburgh's Golden Summer This summer's Edinburgh Festival looks like it will be the most successful edition ever. "With two weeks to go, the Festival has already taken more than £2.38 million at the box office this year - more than the entire sales for last year’s event. And senior figures say the previous record of £2.4 million, set in 2000, should be broken soon." The Scotsman 08/19/03

Art Of The Pitch The rest of us could learn a lot about selling ourselves from the way ideas for new shows are pitched in Hollywood. "People believe if they have a good idea it will sell itself. It won't. The person on the receiving end tends to gauge the pitcher's creativity as well as the proposal itself." Chicago Tribune 08/19/03

Monday, August 18, 2003

Should Art Criticism Pay Any Attention To Personalities? Criticism in the popular media "is very different from academic criticism, since the latter takes as given that the work in question is of value, proceeding from there into a study of where its value resides. Papers, conversely, return to first principles - is this any good? If not, why not? Artists of all stamps, naturally, would prefer to be judged by academics, and make the mistake of thinking that this is because academia is de facto more sophisticated than the media. This isn't true, they just serve different functions." The Guardian (UK) 08/19/03

Artist Visa Problems Keep Artists Out Of US "Accumulating news reports underscore how visa problems are depriving U.S. audiences of an array of foreign performers." As visas make it more difficult for foreign artists to get into the US, the cancellations mount. Los Angeles Times 08/18/03

Laguna - License To Travel? Laguna Beach California's 70-year-old Pageant of the Masters Festival attracts 250,000 people each summer. "But the festival is barely breaking even. From revenue approaching $6.5 million annually, its latest financial statements show it earned a small surplus of $275,000 in 2001 — not even enough to make up for the combined $325,000 it lost the previous two years." A plan to license the festival internationally, though, has traditionalists opposed. Los Angeles Times 08/18/03

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Iraq's New Burst Of Creativity "Out of the ashes of war and dictatorship, a new spirit of creativity and intellectual exchange is tentatively coming to life in scattered corners of the Iraqi capital, from the newly revived academy to the downtown alley that hosts a weekly book fair and informal literary gathering every Friday morning. The venues may be shabby and damaged, but the buzz of ideas is infectious and freewheeling, so much so that it's easy to forget how recently any form of artistic or literary dissent in this country was grounds for instant imprisonment or worse." Washington Post 08/18/03

Kicking California's Arts Council While It's Down The recent California state budget cut the California Arts Council budget to $1 million. But legislators aren't done yet - they're now looking at axing all state general funding for the arts. "In recent days, the Democrats' budget plan was altered to cut off all state general funds to the Arts Council, leaving a small staff to handle $1.5 million in federal funds and fees from the sale of special Arts Council license plates." Sacramento Bee 08/17/03

Readers Ask: What Is Art? The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel asked readers to ask questions about the arts - among the queries - do orchestra musicians count? Do dancers get tired of performing "Nutcracker" over and over again? And that classic: What, exactly is art? Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel 08/17/03

Culture By Refugee "With every new crisis in Cuba, Miami gains another layer of contributors to the cultural scene. 'We were victims of a macabre totalitarian experiment in Cuba, but we have arrived with a lot of energy, with the will to create and to contribute here.' The vision of the new exiles, colored by the freshness of their experience in Cuba, their rigorous cultural training on the island, and their travels to perform abroad, adds more layers to the Cuban arts community, which has been diversifying since the Mariel boatlift brought in 1980 an impressive cast of writers and painters." Miami Herald 08/17/03

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Getting Creative About Earning Money Faced with a downturn in government funding for the arts, arts organizations are getting more creative in their fundraising. "On a national level, nonprofit entrepreneurship can be a big business. But wave of the future or not, entrepreneurship is hardly foolproof. Where it is possible to make money, it is almost always possible to lose it." Hartford Courant 08/15/03

Do Music Lessons Reduce Your Chances Of Getting Fat? A new Canadian study reports that "children involved in even low levels of physical activity - including such things as Boy Scouts, music classes or art lessons - have a reduced chance of becoming overweight or obese" - as much as a 43 percent reduction. National Post (Canada) 08/14/03

San Jose Artists Oppose Funding Idea San Jose, California arts groups are opposing an offer by the city's mayor to be funded out of the city's general budget rather than from a hotel-motel tax (which was sharply down this year. "Once you get into the general fund, you are then competing with police, fire, recreation. And the arts, whether you look at the state or the schools, are always the first to get cut. So if the arts have a dedicated source, like the transient occupancy tax, why would we want to jeopardize that?" San Jose Mercury-News 08/13/03

Three-Quarters Of Americans Participate In Arts A National Endowment for the Arts Study measures arts participation in the US. "The study found that 76 percent of adults, or 157 million people, participated in the arts in some form during the one-year study period that ended in August 2002. Most adults participated by watching or listening to music, plays or dance on television, radio, audio recording or the Internet. Since the study was last conducted in 1992, there has been a drop in this kind of participation; however, rates still exceeded those of live attendance." NASAA 07/03

Donors - Who Calls The Tune? How much influence do donors to arts institutions have on artistic decisions or management of the institution? "Does he who pays the piper call the tunes? Equally relevant, how do the not-for-profits negotiate these treacherous (or, perhaps not-so-treacherous) waters in straitened economic times? For their spin, Back Stage talked with half a dozen theatre administrators, who oversee fundraising, in major not-for-profit theatres nationwide." Backstage 08/07/03

Cultural Imperative In Rural Australia Rural Australia needs an influx of investment in culture. "Cultural policy can easily smack of Big Brother (the political concept, not the TV show), but there are valid reasons why we need to keep culture high on the national agenda. It has nothing to do with opening nights, and everything to do with what Australia needs for a sustainable future. In 2000, the economic value of arts and related industries was about $8 billion. For indigenous Australians, the arts are their single biggest source of non-government income. The arts can provide jobs through flow-on effects such as tourism, but like any other investment, the money tends to gather where the people are." The Australian 08/14/03

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Burnout On Creativity This summer Canada lost its "most inviting art magazine and interesting cinema." Why? "Burnout. Principal founders hit the wall following years of pouring staggering amounts of energy into cultural projects that offered poverty-level financial returns. 'We got exhausted and infuriated. Any one factor would not be enough to close down the magazine, but if you add it all together'..." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 08/13/03

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

European Heat Wave Kills Box Office, CD Sales The heat wave in Britain is affecting the movie box office and sales of music. "Box office business at the weekend was down 13% on the previous week, while many films suffered a drop in earnings." Music album sales were also down about 15 percent. BBC 08/12/03

A New Reality For Arts Funding Are arts organizations facing a new era? An era when government withdraws its support for the arts? "The best advice to nonprofit arts organizations is cold, but realistic: Go out and have a bake sale. The days of generous, hefty, government support of the arts are numbered. The bottom line to dwindling government support isn't hard to figure out. Everything costs too much." San Diego Union-Tribune 08/11/03

Monday, August 11, 2003

Edinburgh Sticks Up For Itself The Edinburgh Festival requires a public subsidy of about £2 million to survive. This compares to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which gets about £64,000. "In recent days, the International Festival (EIF) has been attacked by some arts commentators for lack of artistic ambition and for its relatively high level of public funding, in comparison with the Fringe." The Scotsman 08/10/03

Sunday, August 10, 2003

I Pronounce Thee... More and more products (movies, cars, perfumes...) are being launched with odd, hard-to-pronounce names. "A name that's different, that's unfamiliar can be a plus because it sparks some memory code in people's brains. They remember it, if only to ask someone else if they've ever heard of that word and what it means. Another factor driving the weird-word name trend is the difference between older and younger consumers. For the generations coming-of-age with the Internet, all this media access and interactivity have transformed pop culture into a global playground – what was once foreign and remote is now cool and exotic." Dallas Morning News 08/09/03

Thursday, August 7, 2003

Hinglish Spoken Here The form of English commonly spoken by educated Indians is unique in the grammar and formation. "Welcome to the wonderful world of Hinglish, a Hindu-inspired dialect that pulsates with energy, invention and humour — not all of it intended. Hinglish is full of cricket terminology and army metaphors, with echoes of P.G. Wodehouse and Dickens. It contains clunky puns and impeccably logical neologisms. In short, it is a delight." The Spectator 08/03/03

Where Aussie Arts Sponsorship Money Goes In Australia "about 6 per cent of all business sponsorship money goes to the arts, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. That added up to $29.2 million in 1996-97, the last time such figures were collected." And where does the arts money go? Mostly to established traditional arts ventures. "Other parts of the arts miss out because their works are too confronting and edgy for sponsors, art figures say." Sydney Morning Herald 08/08/03

Making A Go Of It On The Net "Can an individual with a talent for writing, drawing, photography or music use the internet, not to create millions, but to make enough to live comfortably and do what they want to do professionally? The answer may well turn out to be a hesitant yes. Six years on from the start of the popular web explosion, people are adjusting to paying for content on the internet." The Guardian (UK) 08/08/03

Libeskind's Ground Zero Vision May Be Delayed Groundbreaking on the massive rebuilding project at Ground Zero in New York may be delayed by a peripheral fight over money. There had already been reports that architect Daniel Libeskind and developer Larry Silverstein had been at odds over various details of the project. Now, Silverstein's personal financial battles with the Port Authority and his mortgage company are putting the construction timetable in doubt. "Each of the three warring parties has significant say over how insurance proceeds from the twin towers are used. But Silverstein is insisting that the timetable for the 1,776-foot Freedom Tower will be delayed unless his lender - GMAC Commercial Mortgage Corp. - is bought out, sources said." New York Daily News 08/07/03

Those Cranky Austrians A new German television show, which allows viewers to vote on the "greatest Germans" of all time, has incurred the wrath of Austrians for including several Austrian-born individuals on the list. Chief among the disputed candidates is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who was actually from Salzburg and spent the bulk of his career there and in Vienna. Other great Germans of dubious Germanic heritage include Joseph Haydn, Sigmund Freud, and Copernicus. The Germans say that there were bound to be compaints, because, as the show's producers tactfully put it, "Germany's borders had changed so often." BBC 08/07/03

Wednesday, August 6, 2003

Creativity Equals Capital? "Advocates for the arts have long made a strong case that the local economy benefits from museums, theaters, orchestras, galleries, and similar institutions. Yet looking at the art establishment and its events misses much of the positive economic impact from the arts," says a new study. "The larger business community benefits from the presence of a vibrant arts community, not only because it helps firms recruit skilled workers to the region but also because it provides a pool of talent for them to draw upon for special design, organizational, and marketing efforts." Businessweek 08/06/03

  • Previously: The Creativity Factor A new study by Ann Markusen and David King argues that the arts are a core piece of a local economy. "Good schools, parks, recreation and housing are important, but also lively streets and ample opportunities for entertainment and artistic enrichment. It's not surprising, then, that cities with high concentrations of artists - San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis-St. Paul - tend to be better economic performers than cities with lower concentrations - Dallas, Cleveland, Pittsburgh. Markusen is right to suggest that nurturing clusters of artists is a sound investment for governments, foundations and other donors." The Star-Tribune (Minneapolis) 08/03/03

SPAC May Back Away From Symphony, Ballet The Saratoga Performing Arts Center in upstate New York has been a popular summer destination for decades, hosting the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York City Ballet for several weeks each summer. "However, while the ballet and orchestra were at the core of SPAC's creation in 1966 and have become a SPAC tradition, they are not money-makers. Each lose about $1 million a year." At the same time, Clear Channel, the 800-lb gorilla of concert promotions, pays SPAC handsomely for the right to book summer shows at the venue. It's a dangerous equation, and SPAC is now openly discussing the possibility of scaling back or dumping the ballet and the orchestra. The Saratogian 08/06/03

Monday, August 4, 2003

Edinburgh - A Festival Of Individual Passions "Should festivals be educational? Directors of Edinburgh’s mighty assemblages of acts have often been drawn to communicate their own ideas and enthusiasms." These passions have often resulted in artistic experiences not to be duplicated anywhere else (and sometimes the big fat floperoo). The Scotsman 08/01/03

Sunday, August 3, 2003

American Culture - Winning Hearts And Minds? America is going on a culture offensive in the "War on Terrorism." Singer Toni Braxton is "in a new kind of army, standing at attention with Celine Dion, Eric Clapton, Ace of Base and the rapper Coolio, making up a Trojan-horse brigade drafted to seduce young Arab adults into admiring the United States. Their staging ground is Radio Sawa, a Washington-based Arabic-language radio network heard in most Middle Eastern countries. This is the funky side of America's war on terror." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 08/02/03

The Creativity Factor A new study by Ann Markusen and David King argues that the arts are a core piece of a local economy. "Good schools, parks, recreation and housing are important, but also lively streets and ample opportunities for entertainment and artistic enrichment. It's not surprising, then, that cities with high concentrations of artists - San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis-St. Paul - tend to be better economic performers than cities with lower concentrations - Dallas, Cleveland, Pittsburgh. Markusen is right to suggest that nurturing clusters of artists is a sound investment for governments, foundations and other donors." The Star-Tribune (Minneapolis) 08/03/03

Get Diverse Or Lose Your Funding Arts organizations have often struggled to draw diverse audiences, and it can be even more difficult to achieve true diversity within the ranks of performers and managers. Ordinarily, this is one of those problems that everyone talks about from time to time without really doing anything to solve it. But in San Diego, where the city takes the diversity of an arts organization into account when divvying up available funds, the lack of ethnic and racial diversity on area arts boards is becoming a big financial problem, particularly for the city's celebrated Old Globe Theatre. San Diego Union-Tribune 08/03/03

Union Rejects Pay Cuts The union representing performers at America's opera and ballet companies says it is ready to help managements address ongoing budget problems within their organizations, but says that pay cuts should not be on the table. According to union officials, too many companies think that their fiscal woes can be solved simply by slashing payroll, and do not have an adequate long-range plan for financial success. Backstage 08/01/03

Is Porn Mainstream? "Not long ago, consumers of 'smut,' as it was derisively called, were considered to be, well, amoral sleazebags. The word 'porno' elicited seedy images of 'peep shows' and dilapidated video stores in beastly parts of town, where chain-smoking, raincoat-wearing deviants congregated behind papered-up windows amid the stench of vicarious stimulation. Today, right or wrong, 'adult entertainment' has lost most of this depraved veneer. Somehow the explicit has shed the illicit; the marginal has assumed the centre. The fornicating freaks are welcome on Main St. Call it 'carnal chic.' Or 'gutter glam.' Or, maybe, 'pop porn'." Toronto Star 08/02/03

San Jose Artists Decide To Stick With the Status Quo In an effort to find new strategies for local arts funding, San Jose's mayor recently proposed that the area's arts groups opt to switch the source of their funding from a hotel-occupancy tax to the city's general fund. But the deal didn't look too good from the artists' perspective, and the mayor's proposal will likely be officially rejected this week. "Three coalitions of arts organizations and the San Jose Arts Commission unanimously agreed that such a change in funding would put their institutions in competition with critical city services for the same funds." San Jose Mercury News 08/02/03

Friday, August 1, 2003

California Sinks To Last In Arts Funding Arts leaders in California are in shock this week after the state legislature slashed arts funding from $18 million to $1 million "leaving state arts spending at less than 3 cents per person and ranking California dead last in per capita arts spending among the 50 states." Los Angeles Times 08/01/03

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