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  • Two California Opera Companies Merge

    “We were looking at a sustainable model to pay for, support and increase quality for markets of our size.”

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    Small Music Venues Are Dying In The UK (Can They Be Saved?)

    “It is urgent that we find solutions to finance independent music venues which respect the spirit of live music and musicians. Artists are their customers, too, and we know that branding and club nights are not enough to keep some of our venues afloat.”

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    $10 million Of Art Stolen In One Of America’s Biggest Art Heists Is Recovered In LA

    “After an undercover operation at a West Los Angeles hotel in October, federal authorities detained Raul Espinoza, 45, who tried to sell the paintings — which are valued at $10 million — for $700,000 cash. The nine works recovered were among the dozen stolen from an Encino home on the morning of Aug. 24, 2008.”

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    Sure It’s Fun To Read The Hacked Sony Emails. But Should We?

    “What it comes down to is that anyone who disseminates the information found in those emails is doing their bit to chip away at free speech.”

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    San Francisco Symphony Transforms A Dead Acoustical Space Into A Sound Marvel

    “Using real-time reverberation and spatialization algorithms, this sound engineering solution tricks our brains into perceiving vastly different acoustic spaces. Add comfortable, if scarce, seating, evocative video projections, blue-and-green mood lighting, and of course alcoholic libations, and you might have created just the kind of alternative venue that would make Jonny Greenwood proud.”

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    Leadership Changes At Sotheby’s, Christie’s Have Art World Buzzing

    “The leadership shake-ups coincide with changes in the contemporary art auction world, where record sales do not necessarily translate into big profits, and where new markets — primarily China and the Web — are proving vital for growth.”

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    Lawsuit Over California’s Artist Resale Royalty Payments Nears Decision

    “Payments are supposed to be made to any artist who is an American citizen or who is a California resident — if his or her work is being sold by a California owner, regardless where in the United States the sale occurs. The royalty right extends 20 years after an artist’s death.”

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    Those Amazing Writing Machines (A Cult Of Typewriters)

    “We felt we were more productive on a typewriter because we had to keep moving forward…. If we made a mistake, we kept typing. If we wanted to rearrange the information, we had to start over. With the word processor we’ve lost some of the immediacy. It’s too easy to delete, to cut and paste.”

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    Excuse Me For A Moment While I Rant About Celebrity Worship

    “I used to get it, the whole carnival of one frock festival after another leading to the Academy Awards and the unveiling of the allegedly best movies of the year. Now I see an endless sprawl of mindless celebrity worship.”

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    Fights Over James Brown’s Estate Freeze Out His Final Wishes

    “The bulk of his estate, worth millions of dollars — perhaps tens of millions — was to go to a trust to provide scholarships to needy children here in his native state and in Georgia, where he grew up. But nearly eight years after his death, at 73, on Dec. 25, 2006, the I Feel Good Trust has not distributed a penny to its intended recipients.”

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    The Death Of American Playwrighting

    “In 21st-century America, playwriting cannot be thought of in earnest as a rival of screenwriting. In reality, it is more like a barnacle clinging to it. Indeed, the economic ruin of the playwriting profession is a 20th-century story, not a 21st-century one. It began in the 1920s, or thereabouts, with the rise of commercial motion pictures, and was more or less complete by the 1980s, with the introduction of cable TVs and VCRs.”

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    La Monnaie, Belgium’s National Opera House, Eliminates Dance Programming

    Faced with huge funding cuts from the federal government, the Brussels theater – home to Maurice Béjart’s company for 27 years, the place where Mark Morris created his most popular works, the base for Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker and her company – must abandon dance, says its chief executive, so that it can continue its core function as an opera company. (in French)

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    No Prosecutions Over West End Theatre Ceiling Collapse

    “A council investigation found the collapse happened because of the age of the roof, which dates back to the theatre’s original construction in 1901, and no laws had been broken. … The accident at the Apollo Theatre last December left 88 people injured when plaster fell from the roof … during a performance of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time.”

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    Theatre Is Definitely Not “A White Invention,” Says UK Culture Minister

    Responding to actress Janet Suzman’s controversial comments of last week, Ed Vaizey said, “Every community has a tradition of performance and theatre so I wouldn’t agree with those comments. … If you talk to the black, Asian and ethnic minority community, the frustration is they feel this conversation has been going on for 30 years, and nothing has changed. I have a lot of sympathy for that.”

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    Can They Reinvent The Chamber Orchestra In St. Paul?

    With now-stable finances, new leadership, a revamped musicians’ contract, 90% capacity audiences, and plenty of ambition, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra means to try.

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    North Korea Was Behind Sony Hack, Says U.S. Gov’t Source

    “North Korea has denied it was behind the hacking, but security experts in Washington said it was an open secret Pyongyang was responsible.”

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    What We Actually Know So Far About Sony, “The Interview” And North Korea

    Here’s a rundown of what is and isn’t certain, who is affected, and how.

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    Explaining How An Opera Company Works To A Business Journalist

    L.A. Opera CEO Christopher Koelsch talks about keeping the company healthy fiscally and artistically, how they weathered the financial crash and recession, and why lower total box office revenue isn’t always a worrisome thing.

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    Why’s It Taking So Long For The NEA To Get A New Theater Chief?

    “This week marks a year since [Ralph] Remington left his job as director of theater and musical theater at the National Endowment for the Arts to take a position with the Actors’ Equity Association in Los Angeles. In the interim, the federal agency has advertised the position twice but hasn’t filled the job.”

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    Police Investigate Corporate Philanthropy Chief’s Grant To His Partner’s Ballet Company

    “The chair of supermarket chain Asda’s charitable foundation … resigned from his twin roles as vice president of corporate affairs and head of the £8.6 million foundation in September following the discovery that he had sanctioned [£180,000 in] payments … to the MurleyDance company, without the approval of the foundation’s board.”

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    Worrying About Stuff May Be A Sign Of Intelligence (Your Mother Is Totally Vindicated)

    “Correlation doesn’t imply causation, of course, but this is not the first paper to have found a link between anxiety and intelligence. On the other hand, Penney and his colleagues also found an interesting association in the other direction: The more respondents said they replayed past events over in their minds, the lower they ranked on non-verbal intelligence.”

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    Top Posts From AJBlogs 12.17.14

    More on That Indy Admission Fee
    AJBlog: Real Clear Arts Published 2014-12-17

    Three (+) Cultures
    AJBlog: Engaging Matters Published 2014-12-17

    Dreams and Journeys, Destination Uncertain
    AJBlog: Dancebeat Published 2014-12-17

    Portland’s Master Works: Looking Back And Forward
    AJBlog: Real Clear Arts Published 2014-12-17

    Les Paul Over The Rainbow
    AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2014-12-16

    Sony Cancels “The Interview” Release After American Movie Chains Refuse To Show It

    “On Wednesday afternoon, AMC Theaters, citing “the overall confusion and uncertainty” around the film, joined Carmike Cinemas, Cinemark and Regal Entertainment in dropping the film. Together, those exhibitors control more than 19,200 screens across the United States. Smaller American chains and Canada’s Cineplex Entertainment also canceled the film.”

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    How Online Is Powering The Art Market

    “Far from competing with physical fairs such as Art Basel, digital and social media have become an integral part of the event. In addition to 73,000 visitors, Art Basel Miami has 300,000 Facebook followers, 150,000 Twitter followers and 100,000 on Instagram.”

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    The Frick Museum Has Been Evolving Since It Was Created (So Maybe A Little Historical Perspective Is In Order?)

    “Past behaviors offer little guidance when deciding what and what not to keep. Change is messy; preservation must be balanced against needs, but also against quality of experience.”

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    War, Peace And A Culture Of Exceptionalism

    “The most famous ceasefire was among British and German regiments around Christmas Eve. German soldiers actually decorated their trenches with Christmas trees and began singing carols. British forces began singing back, and in a matter of hours over 100,000 troops were unofficially crossing into disputed territory to sing, exchange gifts, and celebrate with one another. This all occurred, mind you, during the second bloodiest conflict in European history.”

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    A Proposition: I’ll Pay You What You Paid For Your African Art (And Nothing More)

    To encourage private collectors in the West to repatriate such pieces, Shindika Dokolo hopes to set up a war chest funded by Angolan businesses, including the State oil firm Sonangol, to reimburse buyers who purchased such items in good faith. “I want to organise a business club around the idea of heritage and start buying it back. I want to create an instrument that is effective,” Dokolo says.

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    The Essential Ballet? It’s About Generosity

    “Again and again among dancers and teachers, I saw examples of generosity that were not simply random, but intrinsic to this world. The real-life counterparts of the ballet teacher who nurtures Billy Elliot and his talent turn out not to be the exceptions but the rule. The die-for-your-art histrionics of The Black Swan and The Red Shoes mercifully exist mostly in the realm of fiction.”

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    ‘Tis The Season For Kitsch (So Here’s Why Kitsch Is Bad – And Good)

    “Kitsch, in other words, is not about the thing observed but about the observer. It does not invite you to feel moved by the doll you are dressing so tenderly, but by yourself dressing the doll. All sentimentality is like this – it redirects emotion from the object to the subject, so as to create a fantasy of emotion without the real cost of feeling it.”

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    OMG! Our City Is OVERRUN With Nutcrackers! WHY???

    “I would call our Nutcracker The Great American Way Nutcracker! You get your Nutcracker in a half an hour, you can sit with your family, enjoy coffee, bagels, muffins, a balloon twister and dancing with the Nutcracker characters. And… photos with Santa! No mall lines!”

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    Have You Ever Noticed How Violent Kids’ Cartoons Are?

    “Rather than being the innocuous form of entertainment they are assumed to be,” writes a research team led by Ian Colman, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Ottawa, “children’s animated films are rife with on-screen death and murder.”

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    Freer And Sackler Galleries Put Images Of All Their Art Online (Here’s Why)

    “The technology pushes the boundaries of what it means to be a museum because it allows for unrestricted study and enjoyment of the collection. Next month’s release will include at least one image of each work — the majority in high-resolution — and the collection will be searchable and largely downloadable for non-commercial use.”

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    The Problem With Academic Books (For Everyone Involved)

    “There are certainly university press books that sell 350 books and that’s a copy sold to literally everybody in that sub-field and some libraries. So, that’s 100 percent market saturation. I consider that a kind of victory for a book.”

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    “Scandalous Desecration”: Restorers Paint Walls Of Chartres Cathedral; Architecture Critic Flips Out

    “Looking upward we then saw panels of blue faux marbre, high above them gilded column capitals and bosses (the ornamental knobs where vault ribs intersect), and, nearby, floor-to-ceiling piers covered in glossy yellow trompe l’oeil marbling, like some funeral parlor in Little Italy. How could this be happening, and why had we heard nothing about it before?”

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    Oldest Surviving Example Of Polyphonic Music Discovered By Chance In British Library

    “The scrap of music, which would have lasted no more than a few seconds, was written on the bottom of a page of a portrait of a saint and has been dated to around AD900. Although there are very early treatises on such music, the discovery is the earliest practical example intended for use by singers.”

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    All The World Really Is A Stage: Shakespeare’s Globe Actors Report Back From “Hamlet” Tour To Every Country On Earth

    “On 23 April this year, to mark the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, a company of 12 actors … set sail on an epic journey. Their mission: to take the world’s most famous play – Hamlet to every country in the world … during [a] two-year-long tour … Here, in personal diary entries, the players reflect on some of their experiences so far.”

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    The Shakespeare Staging That Made Live Audiences Faint And Retch Will Induce Nausea At A Cinema Near You

    “The Shakespeare’s Globe production of Titus Andronicus, which was so bloody it caused more than 100 audience members to faint or leave during its theatre run, is to go global as it is screened in cinemas across the world.”

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    25 Women Who Drove The Culture In 2014

    “Whether they sent us into a collective tizzy with their scandalous album covers or had us pumping our fists in favor of their truthful testimony, these 25 women (plus a few honorable mentions at the end) were the ones who got us talking, thinking, re-thinking, and maybe, just maybe, planning a revolution of our own.”

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    Sony Hackers Threaten Theaters That Show Kim Jong-Un Spoof “The Interview”

    “The threat was made in rambling emails sent to various news outlets Tuesday morning. [One] said, in part: ‘Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)'” Both cinema chains and the studio are in a difficult position, and the New York premiere has already been cancelled.

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    An Interview About “The Interview”, With Seth Rogen And James Franco

    Rogen: “No one has officially told me our movie, 100 percent, has proven to be the cause of any of this stuff. We’re not the first people to shed light on how crazy North Korea is, the myths that exist there and the oddities of the regime.”

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    Janis Martin, Mezzo-Turned-Wagnerian-Soprano, Dead At 75

    “To most opera lovers worldwide, Ms. Martin is best remembered for her potent mastery of the challenging soprano parts in the works of Wagner and Richard Strauss. She was a regular at the Bayreuth Festival in Germany, dedicated to Wagner’s music, and she appeared at the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Covent Garden, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and other leading opera houses.”

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    Norman Bridwell, Author Of “Clifford The Big Red Dog” Books, Dead At 86

    “To hear Norman Bridwell tell the story – and hundreds of millions of children around the world have read his tales for more than 50 years – Clifford the Big Red Dog almost never came to be.”

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    Andrew Litton Named Music Director Of New York City Ballet

    “It is unusual for a symphony conductor of Mr. Litton’s stature to decide to lead a ballet company ensemble: He is the music director of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in Norway, and was formerly music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.”

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    Arts Council England’s New CEO: Boss Of UK’s Classic FM

    “Arts Council England has appointed the managing director of Classic FM, the music radio station, to be its next chief executive. Darren Henley will take over at the country’s main arts funding body in 2015, replacing Alan Davey, who leaves after seven years in the role” to become controller of the BBC’s classical network, Radio 3.

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    Thanks To The Nobel, Americans Are Finally Paying Attention To Patrick Modiano

    “One of his most famous works, Missing Person,” … had sold just 2,031 copies before the prize was announced in October, and has since sold more than 13,600 copies. … Now, a big commercial publishing house has acquired Mr. Modiano’s latest novel, with the hope of drawing more American readers to his work.”

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    Walking The Paris Of Patrick Modiano’s Novels

    “There is probably no other writer like Modiano who invites his readers on a tour. Give me your hand, he says, and I’ll take you to the streets of Paris. He returns to places he knew many years ago, and demonstrates that very little has changed. He gives us a clear, concise, amazingly accurate map with which we can walk around the city.”

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    Is “Gone With the Wind” America’s Strangest Film?

    “Far from being simple, wholesome family entertainment, the film is an admiring portrait of a conniving, lying, mercenary seductress. It’s a valentine to the slave-owning South, and a poison-pen letter to the anti-slavery North. … It’s a romance that puts the hero and heroine at each other’s throats. And it’s an episodic coming-of-age story that keeps going for nearly four hours before reaching its abrupt, unresolved ending. In short, Gone with the Wind is a preposterous, almost unclassifiable mix of highly questionable elements. The wonder is not just that it’s America’s most beloved film, but that it isn’t America’s most hated.”

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    Alexei Ratmansky Recreates One Of Petipa’s Classic Ballets

    Marius Petipa more or less created what we now think of as classical ballet, but very few of his works have survived intact. “Together with Doug Fullington, an expert in Stepanov notation, he[Ratmansky] has painstakingly pieced together this 1881 Petipa ballet [Paquita], created for the Mariinsky Ballet of St. Petersburg.”

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    Why Materialism Doesn’t Really Make People Happy

    In a new press release from the American Psychological Association, “psychology professor Tim Kasser gives an interesting perspective from his research on just why placing a high value on stuff is no good. In a recent meta-analysis he published with colleagues from the University of Sussex, he found that materialism seems to undermine some of our deepest human needs.”

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    Remember That Old Lady’s Botched Fresco Restoration in Spain? Best Thing That Ever Happened To That Town

    “Grief [at the damaged painting] has turned to gratitude for divine intervention – the blessing of free publicity – that has made Borja, a town of just 5,000, a magnet for thousands of curious tourists eager to see her[the hapless restorer’s] handiwork, resurrecting the local economy.”

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