“Encouraging people to attend the ballet more often was less about increasing their familiarity with productions and more about bridging an uncertainty gap. “Familiarity is about information,” notes Martin, “whereas uncertainty about how an experience will feel is much more personal. You can give somebody a lot of information but that’s not necessarily going to reassure them that they’re going to belong in that audience.”
Ken Lowson’s company, Wiseguy Tickets, used one of the first-ever bots to buy up and resell millions of tickets to shows and stadium concerts. “Seven years after his Los Angeles office was raided by shotgun-wielding FBI agents, Lowson [says] he’s switched teams. Now, he’s out to expose the secrets of the ticket industry in a bid to make sure tickets are sold directly to their fans.”
Now this is service journalism! First of the paper’s four suggestions is “Set a Time Limit and Eat Before You Go”; the last is “Consider a Private Guide.” These suggestions were offered by the founder of a company that provides patrons with private guides for museums.
“No choreographer in history has so naturally prompted museum exhibitions as Merce Cunningham. For more than 65 years, his form of radical dance theater was a vehicle for historic artistic experimentation, with brave breakthroughs of color, idiom, content.” Alastair Macaulay visit the new (and large) Merce exhibit at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.
Hamilton in London and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child are working hard on strategies to combat “the secondary market” and the high prices it charges.
The real question is whether the NYT can make itself “indispensable” to the lives of its subscribers. “The main goal isn’t simply to maximize revenue from advertising—the strategy that keeps the lights on and the content free at upstarts like the Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, and Vox. It’s to transform the Times’ digital subscriptions into the main engine of a billion-dollar business, one that could pay to put reporters on the ground in 174 countries even if (OK, when) the printing presses stop forever.
The Swedish firm, which accounts for a huge percentage of music consumed in the U.S. and has delayed its public offering to 2018, might be “too big to fail” – or it might just fail. “Spotify must pay ever larger sums to its creditors just to settle the interest on its loan, while the amount of money it can raise from its IPO is trimmed by an ever greater amount.”
Limited-run plays have become standard on Broadway these days, but musicals tend to keep their runs open-ended for as long as the tourists keep coming. So it’s unusual that there are two limited-run musicals on Broadway right now (Sunset Boulevard and Sunday in the Park With George), following another (Falsettos) earlier in the season. Howard Sherman looks at why this phenomenon has developed and whether it can work financially.
“There are, unsurprisingly, literally hundreds and hundreds of contemporary writers of color whose plays will move, engage, titillate, outrage, and delight audiences.”
“Theater owners, confronted day after day by long lines of women (and, sometimes, men) clogging lobbies and snaking down stairwells while nervously waiting for an available bathroom, are excavating, annexing, converting and renovating their buildings to remedy the chronic inconvenience. The biggest landlords are also retraining ushers, experimenting with new methods of crowd control, and even reversing the genders on restrooms.”
Theatres usually plan seasons at least a year and sometimes several ahead, but they’re starting to reshuffle and change the lineups, partly because “artistic directors and theater producers — positioning themselves as first responders in a time of political and humanitarian upheaval — grapple with how to jump-start a current-events conversation with audiences.”
Though its practitioners say this isn’t a new discussion, the contours of Middle Eastern theatre have taken on sharper focus after the election of Donald Trump. But it’s also very like other theatre for practitioners from communities of color: “The next round is equal parts main stage productions … and expanding to directors and designers of Middle Eastern descent. That would be radical.”
Lyndsey Winship, citing such examples as Siobhan Davies’s’ material/rearranged/to/be and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Babel(words) and m¡longa: “It’s the choreographer’s prerogative, of course, but in an art form that already feels distant and unreadable to some audiences, being wilfully abstruse in your labelling doesn’t exactly help. … It can feel as though artists are attempting to prove their cleverness and exclusivity when jargon actually functions as a barrier rather than an invitation.”
“Equally impressive are Facebook’s usage numbers: The social network attracted 1.23 billion daily active users in December on average, including 1.15 billion mobile daily actives, with the latter being up 23% year-over-year. And 1.74 billion of Facebook’s 1.86 billion monthly active users were on mobile devices for at least some of their visits.”
“It does so with an integrated app that passively collects audio fingerprints for all programming, both live and playback. Every single program automatically has an audio fingerprint, which is a condensed digital summary generated from an audio signal. The app simply matches it to a database that ingests all programming content across networks and streaming channels. The San Francisco startup, which launched in September 2015, depends on a diverse panel of users who run the app in the background of mobile devices, TVs, or laptops. The app offers brand-new insight into consumer behavior.”
“The 2.8% decline is almost all attributable to a fall in visitors from overseas, despite an increase in tourists visiting the UK. Overseas visitors now account for 47% of all visitors to the sponsored museums, while a like-for-like comparison shows they accounted for 49% the previous year. Visits by people from the UK continue to show marginal growth, roughly mirroring population trends.”
“Though we have seen uplifts in ticket sales during the days following broadcasts, it quickly became clear that the segment of our audience who have been most enthusiastic about the broadcasts are those who are not able to come to the National Gallery in person.”
“The total number of concerts and performances staged by these organisations increased by 7% between 2013 and 2016, and audiences grew by 3%. Outreach programmes for children and young people saw a 35% increase in participation… Despite the growth in performances, total income among the group studied fell by 5%, with earned income, contributed income and public funding all showing decreases. Earned income continues to account for 48% of all income, while the proportion raised from public funding fell by one percentage point to 34%.”
“Joe showed me the color-coding and the lines so you could see alpha waves in one color, and theta and delta waves in different colors. We saw this incredible spectacle, with groups of lines wavering in a kind of order. It was phenomenal — we were looking at the rhythms of the brain. At that moment, the idea of Portrait of Your Mind was born.”
NYT in 360 has the answer, or rather the view, as Daniel Barenboim conducts the Staatskapelle Berlin.
They “raised about $81 million from at least 125 investors in 13 states who were told their money was being pooled to buy large blocks of tickets to be resold for a profit.” Instead, the guys spent the money on private school tuition, jewelry, and casinos.
It’s not about money. It’s about the senses. “As an empirical matter, reading on a tablet cannot remotely approach the sensual literary experience offered by an old-fashioned book. The latter is, I’d venture, intrinsically more pleasurable than the former, not unlike the intrinsic difference between high quality toilet paper and the sandpaper stuff used in bus stations.”
After the fall of the Soviet Union and its satellite states, absurd theatre fell out of fashion. Then came 9/11. “Absurdism is about facing a world in which nothing seems to make sense. It is about accepting that deeply tragic events happen sometimes without much or any warning. It is about the realization that our understanding of the universe is limited and flawed. It is about the embracing the fact that our lives can be both terrifying and ridiculous, indeed the more terrifying, the more ridiculous. And it is about resistance.”
Per a strategic plan developed with Michael Kaiser, “We will feel a little less like Disney and a little more like a place where children are really exploring all the wonderful things that will make them want to be learners the rest of their lives,” says the Please Touch CEO.
Sydney Dance Company and the Art Gallery of New South Wales created a show for which Rafael Bonachela choreographed dances to be performed alongside such artworks as Rodin’s The Kiss and Francis Bacon triptych. Then they took the slowest-selling performance and branded it nude-audience-only; tickets sold out that day. Kate Hennessy went, and she writes about her experience there – as an art-lover and as a female.
“Located … in Skokie, about 20 miles northwest of the Loop, the [Illinois] Holocaust Museum is not exactly on Chicago tourism’s well-worn path. Yet it’s the third-largest of its kind in the world.” Says the museums VP of marketing, “We’re trying to move people from ‘something I’ve been meaning to do’ and always give them a reason to go.” And yes, the exhibit in question does have a Holocaust connection.
“We’ve talked about the idea of ‘radical hospitality. You meet people in their neighborhoods, in places where they’re already hanging out. Start with stories they know, things they’re familiar with.”
“Nielsen found that e-book unit sales from reporting publishers were down 16% in 2016 from 2015. Units fell the most in the juvenile fiction segment, where e-book sales dropped 28% in the year and accounted for 10% of total category unit sales in 2016, down from 14%. (E-books have never been a big factor in juvenile nonfiction and accounted for 1% of units sold in 2016.)”
“In many ways, the selfie represents the epitome of contemporary culture’s transition into a highly-digitalised and technologically-advanced age as mobile-phone technology has caught up with the camera.”
“You create a green scene of local bands who breed. They become fond of the venue because you give them support and, even if they grow, they’ll come back and play smaller shows here.”