Communicating With Your Fans Has Never Been Easier


“New technologies are shifting the balance of power in artists favor. Direct-to-fan platforms offer viral content distribution and even commerce. Discovery services such as 8tracks, Pandora and Soundcloud suggest content to their users. In turn, creators use them to reach new fans on a far more level playing field than the pre-digital era.”

I Was Kim Jong Il’s Poet Laureate (Until I Wasn’t And Had To Escape)


“As a state-appointed poet laureate, Jang Jin Sung reached the pinnacle of elite life in North Korea. He spent his days writing epic poems for dictator Kim Jong Il – and overseeing inter-Korean espionage. … In 2004, having committed a minor transgression deemed treasonous by the state, he fled, becoming one of North Korea’s highest-ranking defectors.”

Clive James, Terminally Ill, Says He’s Starting To Say Goodbye

clive james

“The 74-year-old, who has leukaemia and emphysema, has written of having ‘lungs of dust’ in his most recent work, Sentenced To Life.” He told BBC Radio 4, “But the trick is not to overdo it. As my friend PJ O’Rourke told me, ‘you’re going to have to soft pedal this death door stuff, Clive, because people are going to get impatient.'”

An Algorithm That Turns Books Into Music


“The text of a novel — with the first experiments including To Kill a Mockingbird and Alice in Wonderland — is segmented into four parts, the octaves determined by the “joy and sadness densities,” and the length of notes set by the density of those emotions. These emotions in turn are determined by a database of words linked to eight different sentiments, including joy, anticipation, anger, disgust, trust, fear, surprise, and sadness.”

Students, Professors, Alumni Sue Cooper Union For “Mismanagement”


The lawsuit charges that trustees “undermined the financial health” of the school when they “built an extravagant new academic building that the school could not afford.” In addition, it alleges that “the Trustees compounded the impact of this mistake by squandering the endowment through investments in risky hedge funds.”

Opera Cinemacasts Aren’t Raising Interest In Art Form: Survey

opera cinemacasts

“The investigation found that, after seeing an opera at the cinema, around 75% of participants reported feeling no different about attending a live production, with around 10% feeling less motivated. … It [also] revealed that around 80% of cinema opera attendees were more than 60 years old, which was slightly older than the average age of live opera-goers.”

‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ Is Really A Self-Help Book (#AcademicsOverthinkingPopCulture)


Sociologist Eva Illouz argues “that EL James’s novels are ‘a gothic romance adapted to modern times in which sexuality is both a source of division between men and women and a site to orchestrate their reconciliation’, and that their graphic descriptions of bondage, discipline and sadomasochism are ‘as much a cultural fantasy as a sexual one, serving as a guide to a happier romantic life’.”

Do We Really Have To Shut Down? Ask Musicians Of Wisconsin’s Green Bay Symphony

green bay so

“Members of the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra will talk among themselves in coming weeks to determine whether there’s any way to keep the 100-year-old organization alive beyond next season. At least two of the 70-plus musicians disagree with executive director Dan Linssen’s claim that orchestra can’t survive beyond next season.”

Violinists Forbidden To Board Flight With Their Instruments – And Turn (Of Course) To Social Media

time for three

Indianapolis Symphony concertmaster Zach DePue and colleague Nick Kendall, two-thirds of the group Time for Three, were denied boarding on a US Airways Express flight out of Charlotte after flight staff refused to allow them to bring their instruments as carry-ons. Left on the tarmac, they made a video and posted it to YouTube; naturally it went viral.

Boston Ballet Names New Executive Director

boston ballet meredith hodges

Meredith (Max) Hodges “succeeds Barry Hughson, who left the company in January to become executive director of the National Ballet of Canada. Hodges is currently executive director of Gallim Dance, a New York-based contemporary dance company.”

Opera’s Chubbygate: One Critic Recants (Sort Of)

richard morrison

Richard Morrison of Britain’s The Times: “The first responsibility of all reviewers is of course to tell the truth as they perceive it to their readers, not to avoid bruising the egos of performers. … Sometimes, however, critics – and indeed all journalists, bloggers and tweeters – need a reminder of how much their words can hurt and how carefully they should be used.”

The Dark Room Where Contemporary African-American Poetry Was Incubated

dark room

“Distressed that they had never met an African-American literary lion of [James] Baldwin’s stature, the poets, Thomas Sayers Ellis and Sharan Strange, hatched a plan: They would bring young black writers and artists together to read their work aloud, to bond with mentors and to foster the sort of comradeship that had nurtured many a cultural movement.”

Molding Stars At The School Of American Ballet

ballet school

“How does a teenager turn into a cowboy at the School of American Ballet? It’s all in the chest. …’You’ve got to strut that girl around,’ [faculty member Susan] Pilarre said. ‘Just puff up, Chris. Blow up. Mr. B used to say, ‘Stuffed turkey on Thanksgiving.””

India’s Largest LGBT Film Festival Holds On In A Nation Changing (And Maybe Changing Back)

lgbt mumbai

When the Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival was launched five years ago, LGBTs in India were slowly achieving social acceptance, and the law forbidding “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” had just overturned. But that law was recently reinstated, and a conservative Hindu part just scored a big win in national elections. What’s next?

You Know What Else Is Up For Auction? Tracey Emin’s Bed

my bed tracey emin

“Complete with vodka bottles, cigarette butts and pregnancy tests, the installation didn’t win the Turner prize during the year of its entry in 1999, … [but it did spark] a media frenzy and causing visitor numbers to the Tate Britain to hit record highs. Fifteen years on, it can be yours for an estimated price of between £800,000 and £1.2m.”