Issues

Downtown L.A.’s Arts District Is Pricing Out The Artists (It’s An Old Story)

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“In the 1970s, the streets east of Little Tokyo and west of the L.A. River made up a dingy district of hollowed-out warehouses that landlords rented to artists who needed a lot of space for little money. … [Now, a] new coffee shop moves in every month or so, and it’s hard to walk two minutes in any direction in the 52-block neighborhood without finding a blue-and-white filming notice.”

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After Funding Uncertainty, Ontario Steps Up Again To Fund Toronto Luminato Festival

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“For the past year Luminato has been working with Queen’s Park to extend that support. And in making the case, Luminato had some impressive numbers to provide. The festival generates about $60 million each year for the Ontario economy, delivers $12 million in provincial taxes and provides the equivalent of 600 full-time jobs in labour income.”

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Britain’s Top Draw For Young Visitors From Abroad? Culture

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“The UK’s cultural offering is the country’s most appealing feature for young people visiting from abroad, according to a new survey. More than a third of 18 to 34 year olds from Brazil, China, Germany India and the US that were surveyed said that culture ‘particularly contributed’ to making the UK attractive.”

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It’s The Year Of The Posthumous Performance – Is That Good For The Artists Or The Art?

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Michael Jackson performed at this year’s Billboard Music Awards. Rick James has a new memoir. Tupac Shakur had a Broadway musical. James Gandolfini, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and River Phoenix (!) are in new movies. “It’s not weird that we miss those artists who’ve died. But it is weird that, increasingly, we expect them to keep producing art. The afterlife has become just another career stage – one that’s as lucrative and, in some cases, as productive as the pre-death career ever was.”

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In Defense Of The Remaking Of Mecca

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“At night, all lit up and crowded with apartments and hotels, Mecca now looks like a Saudi interpretation of Gotham or even Las Vegas … and shopping malls and high-rise blocks are being built in a circle around the pilgrimage zone.” The Saudis are catching a lot of flak for these changes, but Nesrine Malik argues that they are both necessary and (certain excesses notwithstanding) well-considered.

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Salzburg Festival Opens With Increased Audience And A Difficult Financial Future

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“The number of performances rose and so did the number of visitors — Alexander Pereira insisted this was necessary to renew a festival that was becoming “increasingly inconspicuous”. Behind the scenes however, there was increased grumbling among artists and staff about the crowded programme, which looks to be reduced once Pereira is gone.”

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Head Of Big New Arts Center In Beverly Hills Out After First Season

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“The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, which only recently completed its inaugural season, confirmed Thursday that Executive Director Lou Moore has left the fledgling arts organization. Moore, who spent more than a decade raising money to construct the new center and then led its 2013 opening and first season, left the organization on Tuesday.”

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When Manhattan Became The Capital Of The World (In The 1920s)

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“Beginning with the reconstruction of Park Avenue in the early 1920s, Midtown became a destination neighborhood for the city’s ultrarich, eager to abandon their stand-alone Fifth Avenue palaces in favor of contemporary “mansions in the sky.” Alongside the real estate boom came a decadent new night life and a host of more serious cultural diversions, all of them fueled, in Miller’s telling, by a steady supply of ambition, energy and illicit booze.”

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New York City Is Introducing A New ID Card (And It Wants Cultural Groups To Help)

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“To broaden the appeal of a card that will be available to all New Yorkers early next year but is designed to help those who do not have a driver’s license or other official identification, the administration has asked some of the city’s most prominent cultural institutions to offer benefits, like memberships or discounted tickets, to cardholders.”

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Six Arrested In $1M StubHub International Hacking Case

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“Six individuals in Russia and the United States have been charged with taking part in a broad international hacking scheme that attacked over 1,600 StubHub users’ accounts and fraudulently purchased more than $1 million in tickets.”

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Boycott An Israeli Theatre Company Over Politics? Where’s The Logic?

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“The demands for censorship speak to the illiberal tendencies of much of the art world and their self-important overestimation of the impact of cultural boycotts. They are the kind of artists who call for artistic freedom for themselves, and for those whose opinions they approve of, but deny it to those who they disapprove of, or, in this case, those whose countries they disapprove of.”

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Stop Trying To Get Our Kids Into The Ivy League: The Stress Is Wrecking Them, And The Schools Are Overrated

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“Our system of elite education manufactures young people who are smart and talented and driven, yes, but also anxious, timid, and lost, with little intellectual curiosity and a stunted sense of purpose: trapped in a bubble of privilege, heading meekly in the same direction, great at what they’re doing but with no idea why they’re doing it.”

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When The White People In MFA Workshops Seriously Do Not Get It

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“A similar but different criticism occurs when a writer is told that her portrayal of minority characters isn’t different enough. A woman in my program has been told that her stories need to be more ethnic, that readers should be able to smell the food.”

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When One Culture “Steals” From Another Culture (Why Is That Wrong?)

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“Over time, the concept of cultural appropriation has morphed into a parody of the original idea. We are now to get angry simply when whites happily imitate something that minorities do. We now use the word steal in an abstract sense, separated from any kind of material value. It used to be that we said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But now there is new way to see the matter: Imitation is a kind of dismissal.”

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Italy Turns To Corporate Sponsors To Maintain Its Monuments

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“The practice of using corporate largess to finance restoration projects for public antiquities was once fairly rare here. But with the nation struggling with a stagnant economy and crushing public debt – Rome is flirting off and on with bankruptcy – politicians are now looking to private companies and international sources to help preserve Italy’s cultural heritage.”

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How Bourbon Street Represents New Orleans to The World

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“It’s a place that appalls preservationists, reformers and intellectuals — anyone who gets social rewards by decrying noise and garish commercialism. On the other hand, Bourbon Street is incredibly influential. It’s the most recognized place name in the city – and for better or worse, it has exported a vision of New Orleans culture around the world.”

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