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  • Nina Simone Heirs Allege Sony Music Operates A Piracy Ring

    According to his legal papers, “By operating a subsidiary that massively pirates Nina Simone recordings, at price points generally lower than those at which Sony sells her RCA recordings, [this] has the natural tendency to displace Sony’s sales, thereby depriving Claimants of the full royalties they would otherwise earn under the New Artist Agreement.”

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    Why UNESCO Is Freaking Out About The Safety Of Palmyra Treasures As ISIS Invades

    The city contains the ruins of what, according to UNESCO, “was one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world” — an important Silk Road hub where East met West more 2,000 years ago. A World Heritage Site, Palmyra is heralded by experts as having some of the finest Roman-era ruins in existence.

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    English National Ballet Announces An Ambitious New Home

    “English National Ballet (ENB) is to move to a new “state of the art” home in east London, its artistic director Tamara Rojo has announced. The company will share the building – on the new London City Island development, close to the Canning Town railway interchange – with the English National Ballet School.”

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    Our Culture Is Based On The Enlightenment. Now Those Ideas Need Defending

    Immanuel Kant defined the Enlightenment as the “progress of mankind toward improvement” through the “freedom to make public use of one’s reason on every point,” and Vincenzo Ferrone claims it is this critical process that has driven public opinion and politics, giving us the language of human rights, tolerance, and individual liberty.

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    “Hard To Overstate His Significance In Italian Culture” Dante Turns 750

    “I teach Dante to American undergraduates, and I struggle to convey to them his place in Italian culture. The obvious comparison is to Shakespeare, but this is like trying to make sense of Mozart by means of Coltrane: the number of centuries that divide Dante from Shakespeare is practically as large as the number that separates Shakespeare from us.”

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    “Pirates Of Penzance” Has Just Broken UK Moviecast Box Office Records

    “It has so far taken more than £600,000 at the UK box office, from a single screening on May 19, with around 400,000 people watching it. The previous record for an opera was the Metropolitan Opera’s broadcast of Franz Lehar’s The Merry Widow earlier this year, which took £504,000 in total.”

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    PJ Paparelli, 40-Year-Old Director Of Chicago’s American Theater Co. Dies On Vacation

    “Both Paparelli and his theater company — the two were inseparable — were at their creative peak. During Paparelli’s seven-year tenure, ATC produced a slew of highly regarded world premieres, including that of Ayad Akhtar’s “Disgraced” which moved to Broadway and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama.”

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    Study: Innovators Have Easier Time Justifying Bad Behavior

    “Refining earlier research, a newly published study finds innovative people are indeed more likely than most to cross ethical boundaries—but only after they have been engaged in creative work. According to a research team led by Ke Michael Mai, a creative frame of mind enables one to come up with compelling justifications for bad behavior.”

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    Rich Universities Get Richer – But Are Poor Students Being Left Behind?

    “The gap between wealthy colleges and the rest of the pack is clearly wide, and getting wider each year, leading some to question if these rich universities need much of the public aid they receive. And if they are receiving public money, should they be doing more to enroll a higher percentage of low-income students?”

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    Iconic Dance Teacher Maggie Black, 85

    “From the 1960s to the ’90s, Ms. Black’s classes were studded with star dancers and choreographers from American Ballet Theater, New York City Ballet, the Joffrey, Dance Theater of Harlem, the Paul Taylor Dance Company and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. Among them were Twyla Tharp, Trisha Brown, Eliot Feld, William Forsythe, Gelsey Kirkland, Tina LeBlanc, Lar Lubovitch, Natalia Makarova, Kevin McKenzie, Ohad Naharin, Lawrence Rhodes and Martine Van Hamel.”

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    Broadway About To Hit Record Box Office For 2014/15 Season

    “Thanks in part to the box-office drawing power of Hugh Jackman, Bradley Cooper, Helen Mirren, Larry David, Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick and other celebrated performers, Broadway’s on-track to report that grosses and attendance rose by about 8 percent from 2013-14. After 51 weeks, Broadway’s sales of $1.33 billion are already a record. Given that attendance is 12.8 million and exceeds 200,000 a week, it’s almost certain to top 13 million for the first time when official results come out early next week.”

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    Our Audience As Community? Not Necessarily

    “Community requires connection. Without interpersonal relationships, a community is just a group. Community requires generosity. Without an element of giving, it is hard to imagine members being invested in the collective and future well-being of the group. Community requires space. Without a place (virtual, physical) in which people can connect and contribute, it will be much more difficult for these things to take place.”

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    How 19th Century Newspapers Were Like Today’s Internet

    “Many 19th-century newspapers are comprised primarily of content from other newspapers,” he said. “They were more aggregators than producers of original content. And often they were created by very small staffs, and scholars such as Ellen Gruber Garvey have shown that this aggregation is what allowed newspapers to spread as rapidly as they did in the 19th century, because you didn’t have to produce the whole thing.”

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    The New York Times Has Always Reviewed Every Hollywood Movie In General Release. Until Now…

    “Because of the increasing volume of new films released each year, the Times is no longer able to guarantee reviews of all New York theatrical releases,” A.O. Scott, the Times’ chief film critic, wrote companies in an email obtained by Variety.

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    Fraternities Once Were Paragons Of Accomplishment and Excellence. But Then…

    These organizations, which were literary and social societies, were founded very much in the same spirit as Phi Beta Kappa. They fashioned themselves with the model of ancient Greece in mind. They were named after Greek letters during a period in American history when “Greece eclipsed Rome as the model for virtuous citizenship in the American imagination and at colleges particularly.”

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    Los Angeles Master Chorale Hires New Director

    “The group chose Jean Davidson after a national search because of her work with top artists such as Yo-Yo Ma and Laurie Anderson as well as her track record at New York Live Arts since 2011. Davidson was instrumental in the creation of the group, formed through a merger of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and the Dance Theater Workshop.”

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    Time For Lit Magazines To Rethink How They Choose What To Publish?

    “Let’s be honest about the situation at lit mags: most are funded out of the editors’ pockets or else given a small budget from a university, most have unpaid editors (often MFA students getting a year’s experience), and most receive far more submissions than the editors could ever read. And if we are being really, really honest, most magazines don’t even have much of a readership, so no real way to raise money by charging readers.”

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    Protests Over Tony Awards’ Intent Not To Televise Some Awards

    “Creative Arts Awards, including Best Original Score, Best Book of a Musical and others such as Scenic Design, Lighting Design, Orchestrations and more, are typically handed out off the air. Clips from winners’ acceptance speeches are then shown during a commercial break, and videos later surface on the Tony Awards YouTube channel.”

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    How Hollywood Has Failed The Great Comic Books

    “To love American cinema is to love comic-book movies, and to want better comic-book movies in the future. What made the first round of actual comic book movies from Superman (1978) to Batman (1989) so disheartening was that they were distinctly bad. They were bad for a number of reasons.”

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    Why Translating Literature Is Torture

    Breaking the Bulgarian structure out of the sentences and turning it into an equally strong and evocative phrase in English is a lot like doing 50 pushups. It’s painful and exalting. And one day, you get better. But sometimes you cry and swear, becoming haunted by Nabokov’s seminal, merciless essay, “The Art of Translation.”

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    Why We Need Poetry Now More Than Ever

    “Conventional public discourse is boring, too familiar and brittle: the spray-on-tan blather of pundits on CNN, the coo of commerce, the drained, template-like rhetoric of political speech. That’s where poetry, that oft-forgotten form, comes in, a specific kind of verse called “civic poetry.” Civic poetry is public poetry. It is political poetry. It is about the hard stuff of life: money, crime, gender, corporate excess, racial injustice.”

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    UNESCO Warns That Antiquities In Palmyra World Heritage Site Are Threatened By ISIS

    “Palmyra is home to a UNESCO world heritage site and is famous for its 2,000-year-old ruins, including a Roman aqueduct and necropolises. Syria’s antiquities chief said on Saturday that the militants would destroy the ancient ruins if they took control of the city.”

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    Why Do Cities Still Build Over-Sized Performing Arts Theatres?

    “For large-capacity halls that are only in the business of presenting touring commercial entertainment (including Broadway shows), the more seats the better. But in reality, many large-capacity halls were originally conceived and funded to present touring cultural programs — classical music, dance, opera — and to support local arts organizations by being available for rent. And here’s where we get into trouble.”

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    Las Vegas – Where The City’s Orchestra Is Growing Like Crazy

    “The orchestra has increased the number of performances next season from 11 to 19, presenting some programs over two days rather than one evening (including Sunday matinees).”

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    What Orchestras Can Learn From The Failed “Concert Companion” About Innovating

    They must “build innovation into the core product so that eventually innovation becomes part of your incremental track. It’s a 10-year window and requires a real investment in innovation.”

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    Study: Experiencing Awe Builds Compassion, Humility

    “Reminding participants of a time when they experienced awe … increased their tendencies to endorse ethical decisions across a variety of scenarios.”

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    Utah Symphony And Opera Musicians Sign New Contract, Get Raise

    “The deal includes an average 3.5 percent increase in base salary in each of the next three seasons for the musicians, who endured $3.8 million in salary cuts over the past seven years as the orchestra weathered a nationwide economic downturn and its aftermath.”

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    Why The New Shakespeare “Portrait” Is So Not Him

    By the time we get to Shakespeare, a lot of logic has been sidestepped. And now we really do enter Dan Brown territory. Starting from the heraldic tradition of the “sign of 4”, he embarks on a series of elaborate moves involving Latin and coats of arms to produce the name “Shakespeare.”

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    Remember When The Tech Revolution Was Supposed To Be For The Masses? Now Not So Much

    “We are once again living in a go-go time for tech, but there are few signs that the most consequential fruits of the boom have reached the masses. Instead, the boom is characterized by a rise in so-called on-demand services aimed at the wealthy and the young.”

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    Jerry Saltz: How Kim Kardashian Is Achieving Art World Cred

    “I think that we may be turning a corner away from what I think of as takedown culture. It all comes from cynicism, the feeling that the system is corrupt and that everything is rigged and nothing is what it seems. We all love a good critical catfight, but somehow, with these catfights and cynical demonizations becoming the way of mainstream media, I perceive the wider culture and the art world slowly trying to separate out and isolate this behavior for what it is: Headline-grabbing, grandstanding, gasbags, people scared of change, or afraid of going deeper.”

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    These Are The Songs That Were Cut Out Of The Original “My Fair Lady”

    “The five songs that were cut before rehearsals include a tune called “Lady Liza,” sung by Higgins and his buddy Colonel Hugh Pickering; “Please Don’t Marry Me,” a lament for Higgins; and “Shy,” in which Eliza confesses she has feelings for her professor. The composers decided that wasn’t true to George Bernard Shaw’s original play, so they replaced it with “I Could Have Danced All Night,” where she expresses excitement rather than affection.”

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    Study Says Typical Kids’ Dance Classes Don’t Provide Enough Physical Activity

    “Only 8% of children and 6% of adolescents achieved the 30-minute recommendation for after-school moderate-to-vigorous exercise. In children, the type of dance really mattered. Hip-hop was the most active kind of dance, with 57% of class time being devoted to moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Jazz took second place, followed by partnered class, tap, salsa and finally ballet, where 30% of class is spent in moderate-to-vigorous activity.”

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    Maria Abramovic Complains Jay Z Took Advantage Of Her. But Who Took Advantage Of Whom?

    Maria Abramović has crossed a line that even Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst are wary of. Someone was bound to do it eventually. She has not just taken art out of the gallery but into a realm of rock concert hysteria and teen adulation. To put it kindly, you can say her fans resemble the star-struck kids in old films of the Beatles. But what is the cultural price of mass intoxication? Is it a good thing?

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    Handicapping This Year’s Tony Nominees For Best Actor

    While 20 have been nominated, only four will win. “Here, a look at who’s ahead, who can upset and who should just be happy to be there.”

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    Heel-gate Ends: Cannes Film Festival Apologizes

    “We apologise. There was perhaps a small moment of over-zealousness,” Cannes Festival director Thierry Fremaux said, apparently referring to the security guards who prohibited women without heels from walking the festival red carpet.

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    Eccentric Frank Gehry Guesthouse Once Valued At $4.5M Sells At Auction For $750K

    “Once valued at $4.5 million, the house had been estimated to sell for up to $1.5 million. But after less than five minutes of lackluster bidding, auctioneer Richard Wright declared it “Sold” to a telephone bidder for $750,000, plus auction house fees.”

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    Rant: Time To Stop Being Snobbish About Book Genres

    “I’m tired of cultural pompousness passing as a form of intelligence and moral superiority, whether we’re talking about television, book, movie or music preferences. I record “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” while my boyfriend records “Nova”—does that make him a better person? Is that really what we want to pass down to the next generation—a way of one-upping ourselves over something that should be entertaining?”

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    Bruce Lundvall, 79, Influential Jazz Recording Exec

    Mr. Lundvall’s career in the recording industry encompassed more than half a century, with success across multiple genres. Blue Note had been an important jazz label for decades but had been dormant for years when he revived it under the umbrella of EMI Records in 1984, intent on celebrating its legacy while moving forward.

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    PEN Warns That China Censors Foreign Translations Without Authors’ Knowledge

    “A report Wednesday from the PEN American Center says translated versions of foreign books may be excised because of political sensitivities, like Taiwan, Tibet and the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown on democracy protesters. But references to sexually explicit material and gay and lesbian issues are also frowned upon.”

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    San Luis Obispo Symphony Members Threaten To Quit Over Firing Of Longtime Music Director

    Michael Nowak had led the orchestra for 31 years when the orchestra’s board fired him. “We asked for a reason, and we were told that no reason was required according to the terms of the contract, and we would not have a reason.”

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    Toronto’s Luminato Festival Gets Anthony Sargent As New CEO

    Sargent, 65, recently stepped down after his latest triumph: leading the team of Sage Gateshead in creating an internationally acclaimed new venue for music in northeast England. Previously Sargent worked for the BBC as concerts planning manager, including the work of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and helped create the BBC Millennium Music Live project.

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    Who Was It Who Declared That This Is The Year Of The REALLY Long Novels?

    “I don’t fear the long novel as much as pine for good editors. A book can be any length, if the words earn their keep on the page. I rarely see the point in huge chunks of prose that don’t serve the story: writing has to be mesmerisingly good before that doesn’t feel self-indulgent to me. I also worry that we might be overlooking short novels.”

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    Landmarks Commission Rules Against Altering Modernist NYC Classic

    “The interior of the Four Seasons restaurant, a vision of Modernist elegance with its French walnut paneling and white marble pool of bubbling water, should not be changed, New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission decided on Tuesday.”

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    Artist: We Should Prescribe Drugs For Creativity

    “Basically what I’m proposing is the idea of using performance-enhancing drugs in education,” Leon Ewing told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Wednesday. “We already prescribe amphetamine-like medication for focus and docility. What if we medicated for creativity?”

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    Pandora Buys Music Data Service To Track Popularity

    “Next Big Sound has quickly become a standard part of the analytical sphere of the music industry, digesting the ebbs and flows of artists’ popularity through activity on YouTube, Twitter, Wikipedia and elsewhere. It sells its analyses to record companies and other outlets, and its reports on music consumption are frequently cited by the music press.”

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    How Pandora Can Make A Success In The Music Streaming Business

    “As is the case for most digital-media content providers, growth increasingly depends on maximizing the reams of data compiled about users — totalling some 79.2 million for Pandora as of March 31. For Pandora, advertising is especially important because the great majority of its users choose to listen to ads rather than pay for a subscription to avoid them.”

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    Digital Companies Make Big Inroads At Tradition-Bound Cannes

    “Presentations by companies such as Netflix and virtual-reality outfit Oculus have been priorities for attendees. Agents who once never gave a second thought to nontraditional platforms are now courting them. Beefed-up teams from digital entities such as Amazon and Vimeo are pursuing rights with the zeal once reserved for studios like Universal Studios and Warner Bros.”

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    New Model: Corporate Relationships Between Bands And Sponsors

    “In cities such as Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, a growing number of concerts are popping up that are either free or dirt-cheap for fans. The catch? They’re sponsored by the likes of Mountain Dew, Red Bull or Converse. Corporate sponsorship has infiltrated almost every corner of music culture, from mega-sized festivals such as South by Southwest and venues such as the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre to the Polaris Music Prize. Riding this success, companies are increasingly seizing the chance to run shows of their own.”

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    Stewart Copeland On The Differences Between Pop And Classical Music

    “Composing music for readers is all about homework. You have to get it right in the quiet in front of your score. You put it on the page, flop it out on the stands and count them in. With bands, you don’t have any score – you think on your feet. It’s not about homework. It’s about being ready to follow the trend or lead the trend. It’s much more spontaneous.”

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    Could The Arts Be Funded With User Taxes?

    “When I was Director of the California Arts Council, I floated the idea of adding 25 cents to the price of a movie ticket (in California), the money to come to the Arts Council and support Arts Education (a bit of an easier sell than general arts organization funding). Again, I didn’t think an extra quarter would discourage movie goers.”

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