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March 8, 2007

Arts News from the Outback 03.08.07

John Stoehr

Art and the Patriot Act collide
"The legal battle with the Department of Justice that artist Steve Kurtz is embroiled in has implications not only for artists but, by extension, for anyone engaged in outside-the-box public discourse that challenges established convention. ... In May 2004, Kurtz's wife died in their Buffalo home. Police who responded to his 911 call noticed scientific materials, including petri dishes, in the house and notified the FBI, who confiscated Kurtz's computer, books and components of CAE projects under the Patriot Act. Analysis showed that his wife died of natural causes, and that the microorganisms impounded were harmless and readily available from biological supply houses. Lacking bioterrorism evidence, the FBI charged Kurtz with mail fraud and wire fraud -- based on his alleged receipt of the bacteria from University of Pittsburgh scientist Robert Ferrell -- and each of them faces a possible 20-year sentence."
(Thanks to Mary Thomas of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

What an individual can mean to a community
The philanthropist, politician and newspaper publisher of the Riverton Ranger in Wyoming, Bob Peck, is honored by educators, state legislators and journalists.
(Thanks to Joan Barron of the Star-Tribune in Casper, Wyoming)

Finding the personalities in a national celebration
"James Nowlan had never played the bagpipes or any other instrument when he joined the Territorial Irish Army, which is similar to the National Guard in the United States. He was 16 when he joined -- not unusual then for a lad from rural Ireland -- and by the time he turned 18, he was skilled enough to play at a wedding or funeral. By age 19, he was good enough to be appointed as pipe major of the Irish Army Pipe Band. Now 76, the Lancaster resident is one of the region's most renowned pipers and is the founder and pipe major of the General Michael Collins Memorial Pipe Band. ... For years, Nowlan has been a star in the annual Lexington St. Patrick's Day parade."
(Thanks to Margaret Buranen of the Lexington Herald-Leader)

New conductor to take orchestra into the future
"Andreas Delfs, conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, will become principal conductor of the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra next season. He takes over a program that has been without a permanent conductor since Samuel Wong stepped down two years ago. Delfs will take the podium for half of the Halekulani Masterworks series this fall. Delfs is known for pulling orchestras into the technological present and performing future, for example, by placing the Milwaukee symphony on iTunes."
(Thanks to Burl Burlingame of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin)

Posted by John Stoehr at March 8, 2007 7:58 AM

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