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Thursday, July 29, 2004

Woody Would Probably Have Approved, But That's Just Tough If you haven't seen the Kerry/Bush "This Land is Your Land" parody yet, go ask a co-worker to show it to you. The online animated creation features the two presidential candidates in S&M gear and dunce caps, singing alternate lyrics to Woody Guthrie's famous tune. The trouble is, someone owns that tune, and apparently, that someone doesn't have Guthrie's devotion to free expression. "About a week ago, the [creators of the parody] were served with a cease-and-desist order on behalf of Ludlow Music, demanding they remove This Land from their website." Wired 07/29/04

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

NJ Arts Cash In On Hotel-Motel Taxes "New Jersey, whose Legislature approved the creation of a hotel-motel occupancy tax last year to provide a dedicated stream of arts funding for the cash-strapped state, will have over $22 million available to give to not-for-profit arts groups during the next fiscal year, a $6 million jump over the current fiscal year." Backstage 07/28/04

Syracuse Gets In To Arts Journalism Syracuse University launches America's first arts journalism degree program. "Graduates of the one-year, 36-credit program will receive a master's degree in arts journalism from SU's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications in one of five concentrations: architecture, film, fine arts, music and theater." Syracuse Post-Standard 07/27/04

Miami Commissioners Approve Plan To Finish Performing Arts Center They're incredibly grumpy about it (and who wouldn't be?) but "scolding and grumbling about the past and expressing doubt about the future," Miami-Dade commissioners voted to approve a plan to finish the Miami-Dade Performing Arts Center -- 20 months late and $67.7 million over budget. Said one commissioner: "I feel like an abused wife who isn't leaving a relationship even though she still may be abused in the future." Miami Herald 07/28/04

  • Previously: Miami PAC - Off The Rails (The Saga Continues) "Fighting to finish construction on Miami's Performing Arts Center, only half-built, 20 months late and $67.7 million over budget, Miami-Dade County will seek county commission approval to hire a new project management firm at up to $150 an hour for five of its executives and more than $100 an hour for five more -- for $2.3 million by year's end." Miami Herald 07/27/04

America's First Arts Journalism Degree (It's In Syracuse) Syracuse Universuty has announced America's first degree program in arts journalism. "While a few general cultural reporting and some short-term mid-career enhancement programs exist throughout the United States, this is the first program from an accredited university to grant a degree in arts journalism." It starts in the 2005-06 school year. Syracuse University 07/27/04

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Miami PAC - Off The Rails (The Saga Continues) "Fighting to finish construction on Miami's Performing Arts Center, only half-built, 20 months late and $67.7 million over budget, Miami-Dade County will seek county commission approval to hire a new project management firm at up to $150 an hour for five of its executives and more than $100 an hour for five more -- for $2.3 million by year's end." Miami Herald 07/27/04

Monday, July 26, 2004

Maxwell Davies: Scotland's Ignorant Arts Policy Composer Peter Maxwell Davies has lashed out at the Scottish Executive's arts strategy, labelling it a jackboot in the face of Scottish culture. Sir Peter accuses the First Minister and the Cabinet of 'absolute ignorance' of cultural affairs, citing the recent £7 million restructuring of Scottish Opera as a prime example of the their 'vicious' attitude towards the arts." The Scotsman 07/27/04

Remaking Barcelona Through The Arts "Barcelona is host to a 141-day-long cultural fiesta comprising art exhibitions, pop and classical concerts, dance and theater performances and assorted other happenings. Costing $400 million, the festival, called Forum 2004, which began in May, hopes to draw five million visitors through Sept. 26. By then, the organizers say, the whole city should have benefitted." The New York Times 07/27/04

Met Opera Raises New Objections To Lincoln Center Plan Only three months before construction on a $325 million redevelopment plan for Lincoln Center was supposed to begin, the Metropolitan Opera has raised objections. "The Met had agreed to the 65th Street plans in April, along with 11 other participating groups. But the opera now says a recent traffic study it commissioned indicates that plans to move a garage entrance would cause delays at curtain time, inconveniencing patrons." The New York Times 07/27/04

Call To Culture - UK's £20 million Culture Initiative The British government has awarded £20 million of National Lottery money to be spent on cultural events throughout the country. "The European City of Culture competition stimulated the creation of a wonderful range of creative and ambitious plans in cities across the UK. The Lottery-funded Urban Cultural Programme will mean that many of those aspirations can become reality." BBC 07/26/04

Sunday, July 25, 2004

What Makes Chicago More Deserving Than Toronto? "Last night Chicago threw a spectacular party to celebrate the opening of Millennium Park, an extravagant and stunning waterfront development that features two flamboyant new creations by celebrated architect Frank Gehry... And in a few years, another Great Lakes city hopes to celebrate its first Frank Gehry building. That city, of course, is Toronto. But Gehry, who was born here but left at the age of 18 for Los Angeles, recently he made it clear that Toronto has no right to consider itself architecturally on the same plane as Chicago... The problem with his home town, in his view, is that the mindset is too conservative, too timid, too restrictive." Toronto Star 07/25/04

Is Political Comedy Being Reborn, Or Just Getting Shrill? In a time of unusual partisan divide in the U.S., it's no big surprise that some comedians are increasingly bringing their personal politics into their acts. But whereas political comedy has historically been focused on general themes so as not to appear to be overwhelmingly targeting any one ideology of individual, the new generation of political stand-ups are exceedingly personal. On the left, Janeane Garofalo and Al Franken rail against President Bush and the neoconservatives they believe pull his strings. On the right, Dennis Miller uses his CNBC talk show to ridicule the Democrats' lack of toughness and original ideas. But is it still comedy, or just a new method of attacking the opposition? Boston Globe 07/25/04

Plenty Of Cash, But Lots Of Tough Decisions "When the New Jersey State Council on the Arts convenes its annual meeting in Trenton on Tuesday, the highlight will be the awarding of annual grants -- expected to be somewhere around $22 million, or some $6 million more than last year. Thanks to last year's passage of a hotel-motel occupancy fee, the arts council has a dedicated funding source that brings its 2005 budget to $22.68 million -- the largest state appropriation in the history of the agency. The infusion of money will allow the arts council to pump millions more into the state's museums, theaters, dance companies and performing arts centers. [But] that doesn't mean everyone will be happy." Newark Star-Ledger 07/25/04

A Decidedly French Approach To Diversity "After 15 years of soul-searching, France has decided to create a Museum of Immigration. Why now? For generations, France successfully absorbed waves of Poles, Russians, Italians, Spaniards and Portuguese — and remained French. Then over the past 30 years millions of migrants flooded in from the third world, and it was France that changed. A Museum of Immigration is a fairly typical French response, one financed by the government and intended by politicians and bureaucrats to address a social problem through culture. Yet while willing to open a museum, France's cultural elite continue to resist embracing the creative energy represented by French artists, writers and performers of African, Arab and Asian descent." The New York Times 07/24/04

Friday, July 23, 2004

Funding Cuts In Music City Arts groups in Nashville were stunned this week to discover that their annual funding from the area’s Metro Arts Commission had been slashed by tens of thousands of dollars. The cuts are partly due to an overall shortage of available funds, but also to the use of “an extensive checklist of performance ratings” for each group receiving funds. The Tennessean (Nashville) 07/23/04

Stopping Piracy The Old-Fashioned Way The war on copyright piracy is looking increasingly like the war on drugs - a few stalwart enforcers desperately trying to hold back an unstoppable global wave of illegal activity. And the battles aren't just in courtrooms and online: "Recently, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry helped set up a raid on a notorious market near Mexico City called Tepito - using 1500 armed officers. There was a four-hour long battle with racketeers before arrests were made." BBC 07/23/04

  • Protecting Copyright Or Stifling Innovation? "The [U.S. Senate] heard strong opposition from the technology industry on Thursday about a bill that would hold tech companies responsible for creating devices that could be used to pirate digital content. But Sens. Orrin Hatch and Patrick Leahy, the sponsors of the bill, are determined to move forward with the legislation." The bill, which has been widely ridiculed for oversimplifying the problem of piracy to the point that devices like Apple's iPod could be made illegal, is being heavily backed by Hollywood studios and the music industry. Those industries, incidentally, have contributed $380,000 to the campaigns of Hatch and Leahy since 1999. Wired 07/23/04

Can An Art Fund Beat The Stock Market? When Bruce Taub looks at art, he sees dollar signs. And his new investment company is hoping that other high-rolling investors will see it that way, too, and diversify their personal portfolios to include works his company invests in. "The company will establish a series of art funds for clients looking to diversify their existing portfolios. The funds will buy art, both privately and at auction, that their consultants think is undervalued." Investors won't actually get to take the art home with them, since the fund would own the works. Instead, they'll reap the financial rewards (if any) when and if the works are resold. The New York Times 07/23/04

Thursday, July 22, 2004

All Of A Sudden, Broadway Tickets Seem Like A Bargain If you're a classical music aficionado living in Korea, you'd better be prepared to dig deep for concert tickets. A recent tour performance by the Vienna Philharmonic featured an average ticket price of $214, and a show featuring the La Scala orchestra wasn't far behind. In fact, the cost of seeing a concert in Korea is considerably higher than the cost of the same concert with the same ensemble in Europe. Promoters say that the discrepancy is due to a lack of government subsidy and corporate support for the arts. JoongAng Daily (South Korea) 07/23/04

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Artists (In Record Numbers) Against Bush "Not since the height of the Vietnam War have so many actors, writers, artists, and musicians mobilized politically during an election year -- the vast majority of them against Bush. It's not just the usual liberal Hollywoodites, either, like Goldberg, Susan Sarandon, and Rob Reiner. Artists of every type are speaking out, from the hip-hoppers involved in impresario Russell Simmons' nonpartisan voter-registration drive to literary lions such as novelists Joyce Carol Oates and Jonathan Franzen to respected visual artists such as Matthew Barney and Cecily Brown." BusinessWeek 07/21/04

Beneath The Medici Tombs (More Bodies) Begun last month, the Medici project "aims to exhume 49 bodies of the Medici family and reconstruct the dynasty's genetic make-up and their real family tree." Explorers of one Medici burial site have discovered a secret crypt that contains the bodies of seven children and one adult. "Though the tombs had been seriously damaged by the flood of 1966, the remains of a nine-year-old boy are still in good condition. Expertly embalmed, he wears red clothes and a small crown. We could have found the illegitimate children of Grand Duke Cosimo I." Discovery 07/21/04

Ahhh...A New Canadian Arts Minister Who Likes Arts Canada's arts community is cheering the appointment of Liza Frulla as the country's new Heritage Minister. Sho has - unlike the previous arts minister - a demonstrated interest in the arts. "The professional clout is there; the personal interest is there -- a reference to Frulla's own description of herself as a 'culture vulture' and her eclectic background as, for example, the first female reporter ever to be allowed into the Montreal Canadiens' dressing room, the first woman of Italian heritage to be elected to the Quebec National Assembly, and later, the host of a popular Radio-Canada TV show called Liza." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 07/21/04

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Labor Truce For French Festivals Last summer maajor French festivals were disrupted or canceled due to protests by labor unions. After worries about a repeat this summer, the festivals are underway in peace. "With the festival season now well under way, is it safe to assume the issue has gone away? Not entirely. This is a truce, rather than peace." Financial Times 07/21/04

A Curious Trend - Killing The President Art is always looking for taboos to break. And the curious convergence of this summer is assassination. Presidential assassination. "Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins may be closing, but next month, I’m Gonna Kill the President!, a satirical play by the pseudonymous Hieronymous Bang, reopens at a top-secret downtown location. Jonathan Demme has remade The Manchurian Candidate, and Niels Mueller’s drama The Assassination of Richard Nixon, starring Sean Penn, is based on the true story of a salesman who attempts to murder the president. And although the novel won’t be released until August 24 (the eve of the Republican convention), Nicholson Baker’s Checkpoint has already caused a stir: One character ruminates at great length on his desire to assassinate George W. Bush." New York Magazine 07/19/04

New Woodstock Performing Arts Center Ground was broken thios week for a new performing arts center on the site of the original Woodstock Music Festival. "When completed in 2006, the $63 million center, christened the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, will be the first permanent structure to be erected on the site. It will feature a 4,800-person indoor seating theater that can hold another 12,000 spectators on the lawn." USAToday 07/20/04

New Pressure Squeezing Out American Arts Education Under George Bush's No Child Left Behind initiative, "arts education was listed as a core subject for the first time in federal law. But reports released over the past several months have documented that arts classes are getting squeezed out because the law doesn't require that students be tested for proficiency in art, music, dance or drama. Many people also see arts classes as 'academic frills,' so they often are the first ones eliminated when school districts run short of money." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 07/19/04

Monday, July 19, 2004

The New Russian Censorship In Russia "a group of artists is being charged with 'inciting religious hatred' for lampooning religious ideology in a controversial exhibit. For the defendants, who face up to five years in prison if convicted, official reaction to the 'Caution: Religion' show, held at Moscow's Andrei Sakharov Museum last year, suggests the return of Soviet-style control - where dissent is quashed and policemen stand in for art critics. In place of the former Communist Party, they say, the Russian Orthodox Church is fast becoming the Kremlin's chief guardian of ideological purity." Christian Science Monitor 07/19/04

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Orange County - A Fundraising Contradiction Southern California's Orange County Performing Arts Center, which "recently issued $180 million in bonds to ensure that an expansion is built on time despite lagging fundraising, announced Thursday that it had raised a record amount of money to support its operations in the last year. The seemingly contradictory news reflects the continued softness in high-end donations that have plagued arts groups nationwide in recent years." Los Angeles Times 07/18/04

Looking For The Line As U.S. TV and radio broadcasters continue to tread an unusually cautious route through the latest "obscenity" minefield laid out by politicians and the FCC, the impact such crackdowns can have on popular culture is beginning to be assessed. No big media company wants to be made an example of for crossing the Puritanical line being toed by FCC chairman Michael Powell, but at the same time, no one seems to be terribly clear where that line is. The New York Times 07/18/04

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Ben Cameron To Silicon Valley Arts Leaders: "Nothing says more about the moment we are in than a report from the Chronicle of Philanthropy that said in fiscal year '02, charitable giving in this country fell 1.2 percent overall to all causes. Charitable giving to arts and culture fell 26.5 percent in the same year. And as a result, we are facing a moment of unprecedented stress and urgency." San Jose Mercury News 07/15/04

Saudi Arabia's New Cultural Policy Saudi Arabia says it will undertake a "massive restructuring of the Kingdom’s cultural and antiquities sector," making it the "cornerstone" of the national tourism policy. “We are not alone in this (focus on cultural tourism). According to the World Tourism Organization, all nations are embracing the increasing interest among world travelers in learning and experiencing other cultures. Cultural tourism today is one of the largest and fastest growing forms of tourism.” Arab News 07/15/04

Berkeley Commits to Arts The city of Berkeley, California has decided to make a major new commitment to the arts. "Affecting thousands of artists and 130 nonprofit organizations, the plan restructures Berkeley’s arts policy, setting a goal of eventually doubling arts grants and improving local artists’ chances of winning further grants." The Daily Californian 07/15/04

Private Funding Partnership Working in UK A program designed to bring private investment to the arts in northwest England seems to be having a real impact. "Companies in the region have pumped £500,202 into arts projects under the Arts & Business New Partners scheme, up from £107,840 in the 2002/3 financial year. And Arts & Business North West, the not-for-profit organisation which runs the project and offers to match business contributions, itself invested £277,061, compared to just £80,670 a year ago." Manchester Evening News (UK) 07/15/04

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Arts Council: UK Arts Groups In For A Rough Few Years "Arts Council England has warned that the level of arts funding set out in Gordon Brown's spending review will create a difficult few years for arts organisations. On Monday the chancellor announced an extra £230m for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, equivalent to a 2.3% increase per year in real terms. But according to ACE, the Treasury is engaging in some double counting." The Guardian (UK) 07/15/04

A Plan To Fix Boston's Strand What's to become of Boston's troubled Strand Theatre? Financially strapped and managed for two years by novice theater operators, the Strand was booked and programmed erratically. Youth programs were canceled for lack of funds, and producers were reluctant to mount shows at the theater, which garnered a reputation for inept, if not unethical, booking, marketing, and management practices." Boston Mayor Thomas Menino sommissioned a study and has some recommendations for how to fix things. Boston Globe 07/14/04

If You're 20, London Is The Place To Be London is draining the twentysomethings out of the rest of Britain. "In the City of London, Camden and Tower Hamlets, the proportion of twentysomethings has risen to 13 per cent, while it has fallen by 1.7 per cent to 6.6 per cent across Britain as a whole. In Wandsworth, 16 per cent of residents are aged 25 to 29. The influx of young people in some parts of London is up by 4.8 per cent in ten years." London Evening Standard 07/14/04

Seattle Art Student Hassled By Homeland Security A Seattle art student goes to the Ballard locks to take photographs. Police and Homeland Security officers descend, demanding identification. They show up at his home demanding ID. Why, when dozens of others at the locks are busy snapping pictures? Could it be the way he looks? Seattle Post-Intelligencer 07/14/04

More Arts Study Numbers From the recent Americans for the Arts study: "Arts businesses – both for-profit and nonprofit – comprise 4.3 percent of all U.S. businesses and employ 2.99 million people. California was found to be the bellwether of the country's arts industry, with more arts-related businesses – 89,719 – than any other state. New York ranks a distant second with 45,671." San Diego Union-Tribune 07/14/04

Why Was Austin Missing From Arts City Study? When people think of arts cities in Texas, most think of Austin. So why wasn't Austin on the recent list of best arts cities in a study by Americans for the Arts? "Austin was not on the initial list because it and other midsize urban areas such as Portland, Nashville and Raleigh-Durham were not included in the study. So the American-Statesman requested follow-up research from the advocacy group. With midsize areas counted, according to data provided Tuesday by Americans for the Arts, Austin would rank third in the country with 3.46 arts businesses per 1,000 residents. The Santa Fe and Bellingham, Wash., areas would rank Nos. 1 and 2." [sign-in requires first name: Use "access"] Austin-Statesman-American 07/14/04

Monday, July 12, 2004

How About An Arts Minister Who At Least Knows The Arts? Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin is expected to name a new minister overseeing culture this week. His last appointment to the Heritage Ministry job had no background in the arts. "The hope is that this time around, Martin will, in the words of the Canadian Conference of the Arts, 'appoint a minister . . . with knowledge of, and experience in the arts and cultural sector'." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 07/12/04

Friday, July 9, 2004

Michigan In New Arts Funding Cuts? A year after Michigan slashed arts funding, another round of cuts appears to be on the way. "Across Metro Detroit, arts and cultural institutions are surviving — if not thriving — in the face of budget cuts, a sluggish economy and shrinking corporate and private sponsorship of the arts. But with another state budget deficit looming, they’re bracing for the state arts budget to be cut again, if not eliminated entirely." Detroit News 07/09/04

US House Rejects Limiting Patriot Act Library Searches The US House of Representatives has defeated a measure that would have limited the Patriot Act. "On a vote of 210 to 210 — a roll call that GOP leaders extended for more than 20 minutes to sway dissident Republicans — the House rejected an amendment that would have limited the Patriot Act by preventing the Justice Department from searching library and bookstore records to probe individuals' reading habits." Los Angeles Times 07/09/04

Thursday, July 8, 2004

State Arts Funding Stabilizing? US state budgets are in better shape this year, and so arts funding may not be targets of cuts this year in most parts of the country. One survey sees "state expenditures growing by a national average of 2.8% during the next fiscal year. And one of the primary reasons why state legislatures and governors have cut arts funding so deeply -- deficits -- appears to be cresting and perhaps even receding a bit." Backstage 07/08/04

Reviving A Town Through The Arts The town of North Adams Massachusetts was a dying town when MassMOCA moved in. Now the town is rebuilding as a center of creative industry and people are moving in... OpinionJournal.com 07/07/04

Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Sniping Surrounds 'Music Manifesto' The UK government's new "music manifesto," which aims to put a renewed emphasis on music education in Britain, is being assailed by several high-profile musicians who say that it offers little in the way of substantive change, and by minority Conservative politicians who declared the document to be "of Wagnerian length with more hot air than the wind section of the London Philharmonic." When asked for his own vision of how to improve music education, the Tory shadow arts minister suggested that schools should bring back regular hymn singing. The Telegraph (UK) 07/07/04

Seattle Arts Groups Back In Balance "Although the past two years were economically difficult for Seattle arts groups, including the biggest and richest, the proverbial corner seems to have been turned for some. Pacific Northwest Ballet not only balanced its $16.3 million budget this fiscal year but eliminated its 2-year-old $1.2 million accumulated deficit and restored its cash reserve fund of $580,000... The Seattle Symphony Orchestra 'expects' to balance its $20.9 million budget, and Seattle Opera is 'cautiously optimistic' that it will do the same with a budget of $20.7 million." Seattle Post-Intelligencer 07/07/04

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Shanghai - Asia's New Capital Of Culture? "Determined to raise the city to the level of regional rivals like Tokyo and Hong Kong as well as Beijing, Shanghai officials have made culture a major priority. Beijing has its Forbidden City, its prestigious national schools and museums, its centuries-old neighborhoods that breathe Chinese culture, none of which Shanghai can realistically challenge. But like Tokyo, all but destroyed in World War II, this city is making a virtue of its newness." The New York Times 07/07/04

Union: A Better Day For Culture In Canada? Canada's actors' union is celebrating the Liberal Party's win in the recent federal election. "We look forward to working with the minority government to establish policy, legislate and make appointments that will protect and enhance Canadian cultural industries." BackStage 07/06/04

Message From America: Don't Come Here The American border police have been making it more and more difficult for foreign journalists, authors and musicians to enter the US. "American businesses have "lost $30.7 billion in the last two years because of visa delays and denials for their foreign partners and employees, according to a survey sponsored by eight business organizations." The New York Times 07/04/04

Monday, July 5, 2004

SF Mayor Drops Arts Funding Merger Plan "Faced with stiff opposition from the San Francisco arts crowd, Mayor Gavin Newsom has dropped his controversial budget proposal to merge the city's Grant for the Arts program with the San Francisco Arts Commission -- at least for now." San Francisco Chronicle 07/05/04

Reform Bug Hits Non-Profit Management After Congress passed legislature tightening accountablity on corporations, non-profits are looking at their management operating standards with an eye to reform. "Efforts at philanthropic self-policing have been launched across the nation. They aim to counter public perceptions that financial abuses may be widespread at charities and to deflect lawmakers' calls for more federal regulation." Chicago Tribune 07/05/04

Bioterrorism Fumble Against Artist Is Worrisome Sign So the Steve Kurtz "bioterrorism" case has been resolved, and Kurtz has been cleared of terrorism suspicion. "His case is the latest 'whoops' as America tries to regain its legal balance post-9/11. The government is walking the line between prosecution and persecution. In Kurtz's case, it stumbled. Pre-9/11, that's where it would have ended. Those days are gone. The FBI was called. Kurtz was arrested, his neighbors evacuated and a hazmat team in spacesuits picked through his trash. With the (Joe) McCarthy era, it was a Communist in every corner. Now it's a terrorist lurking everywhere." Buffalo News 07/02/04

Sunday, July 4, 2004

Political Art, Or Mindless Activism Disguised As Culture? George W. Bush may be a divisive leader to many, but there is no question that he has managed to unite one group like few U.S. politicians in history: artists, from painters to actors to musicians, are coming together in record numbers, all with the common goal of ridding the world of this American president. But when does political art become so strident that it ceases to be good art? "Many inside and outside the arts question whether such overt political expression — created expressly to effect change — crosses the line of art and simply becomes a colorful op-ed piece. It's important for the art to stand on its own merits... regardless of the message within it." St. Paul Pioneer Press 07/04/04

UK Schools Reinvesting In The Arts A new "music manifesto" being promoted by the British government in conjunction with a collection of industry groups proposes a major expansion of cultural education in the UK, including a program which would provide free or cut-price musical instruments to schoolchildren. The plan is being seen as "an admission that while the focus on numeracy and literacy in primary schools has been necessary to raise standards, it is too narrow." The Telegraph (UK) 07/03/04

Thursday, July 1, 2004

Report: UK Science Funding Impoverishes Arts The British Academy has issued a report that charges that "government enthusiasm for scientific research has left the arts and humanities underfunded and neglected." Financial Times 07/02/04

Anderson - Fiddling On Mars? Laurie Anderson is NASA's artist-in-residence. Didn't know NASA had an artist? Yup - the program was started in 1963. But previous a-i-r haven't been performance artists. "The idea of an avant-garde electronic fiddler hanging out with rocket geeks at NASA's research centers may seem like an odd collaboration. The researchers' reaction to their visitor was mixed, according to a NASA newsletter. One confessed to being a huge fan; another doubted the partnership of art and science. 'What's she going to do, write a poem?" Washington Post 07/01/04

Rethinking Aussie Arts Funding The Australian government is undertaking a review of arts funding, and the country's major arts groups are weighing in with opinions on the current system's shortcomings (shortfundings?). The Age (Melbourne) 07/02/04

Is Seattle The Nation's Best Arts Town? "According to a new study by Americans for the Arts titled 'The Creative Industries,' the Seattle-Tacoma area has more arts-related businesses, institutions and organizations per capita than any area of the country... The study is the first to measure not just non-profit arts groups, but also for-profit arts businesses... Eleven metropolitan areas have more than 10,000 arts-related businesses. The New York area leads the list with 54,894. Next is Los Angeles, with 48,862, followed by San Francisco (21,232) and Washington, D.C. (16,360.)" Seattle Post-Intelligencer 07/01/04

Preemptive Protest in South Texas It's only a staff recommendation, but a report suggesting that funding for many San Antonio arts groups be zeroed out to help balance the city's budget is drawing early fire. The Cultural Arts Board has recommended killing all funding for the long-embattled San Antonio Symphony, the ballet, and the Josephine Theater, and proposed heavy cuts for several other groups. "The issue of entitlement has been the largely unspoken bone of contention at the core of this funding cycle, with much of the anger from applicants focused on the peer panelists who have been called unqualified at worst and unprepared at best." San Antonio Current 07/01/04

Turning Ideology Into Consumable Pop Consider the various political acts which have recently burst onto the American popular culture radar - Bill Clinton's book tour; Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11; Howard Stern's self-martyring rants against the FCC crackdown; Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ - and it becomes clear that today's most successful ideologues are those who have managed to cross the line between serious political debate and pop culture mass marketing. While many Americans are still wary of anything that smacks of intellectualism, no one seems to be hesitant to voice an opinion on any intellectual issue that can be marketed on Oprah or Larry King. Is it a new era of national debate, or just the latest cynical marketing device proving its worth? Denver Post 07/01/04

E-Mail Intercepting Is Officially Legal When Bradford Councilman, the owner of a web site hawking rare and unique books, offered his customers a free e-mail service, he didn't tell them that he had "installed code that intercepted and copied any e-mail that came to them from his competitor, Amazon.com. Although Councilman did not prevent the mail from reaching recipients, he read thousands of copied messages in order to know what books customers were seeking and gain a commercial advantage over Amazon." However, in a surprise ruling, a Massachusetts court has found that Councilman did not violate any laws, effectively legalizing such tactics, and setting up a howl from privacy advocates. Wired 07/01/04

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