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Tuesday, May 6


Does Globalism Equal American Dominance? "Fears that globalization is imposing a deadening cultural uniformity are as ubiquitous as Coca-Cola, McDonald's, and Mickey Mouse. Europeans and Latin Americans, left-wingers and right, rich and poor -- all of them dread that local cultures and national identities are dissolving into a crass all-American consumerism. That cultural imperialism is said to impose American values as well as products, promote the commercial at the expense of the authentic, and substitute shallow gratification for deeper satisfaction. If critics of globalization were less obsessed with 'Coca-colonization,' they might notice a rich feast of cultural mixing that belies fears about Americanized uniformity." Chronicle of Higher Education 05/05/03
Posted: 05/05/2003 9:31 pm

Visual Arts

Curator Says Iraq Looting Of Art Overestimated How many works of art were stolen or broken during looting of Iraq's National Museum? John Curtis, a curator at the British Museum estimates that "30 or 40 major works - some extremely significant - that remained on display last month are missing and that 15 are broken. The number missing from storage areas is still unknown. Initial reports suggested a much higher toll, which Curtis attributed to 'poor information'." New York Daily News 05/06/03
Posted: 05/06/2003 8:02 am

  • Ashcroft: Iraq Museum Looting By Criminals US Attorney General John Ashcroft told an Interpol meeting that "organized crime was involved in the looting of Iraq's national museum and the United States will fully back international efforts to retrieve the stolen artifacts. The comments came at a conference of art experts and law enforcement officials aimed at creating a database listing items looted in the aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq." The Star-Tribune (AP) 05/06/03
    Posted: 05/06/2003 7:50 am

  • Making Sense Of Iraq Museum Looting The story of looting of Iraq's National Museum is confusing. "Questions abound. What exactly was stolen? How significant was it? Can it be recovered? The story seems to change every day. Experts do agree on one thing: The losses at museums, libraries and other places were catastrophic even if smaller than first feared." Denver Post 05/06/03
    Posted: 05/06/2003 7:24 am

Smithsonian Beefs Up Security "For decades, the Smithsonian Institution museums had quick and easy access for visitors. But after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, security concerns increased for all of Washington's attractions. The National Air and Space Museum served as the Smithsonian's test site for visitor inspections, adopting hand searches of pocketbooks and backpacks and, eventually, installing metal detectors and X-ray machines. The addition of walk-through metal detectors at the National Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of American History was completed in the past two weeks. The two museums do not have X-ray machines, but may add them at some point. Bags are searched only if the metal detectors indicate a problem." Washington Post 05/06/03
Posted: 05/05/2003 10:34 pm

Cost Of MoMA Construction Going Up "The cost of the Museum of Modern Art's new complex is going up. "Since the museum broke ground in May 2001 the expansion has grown significantly in both scope and expense. To date there have been $31 million worth of changes to the original plans, along with unbudgeted expenses totaling $21 million. That brings the total cost to $858 million from the original figure of $806 million. And with 18 months to go before the Modern is to open its doors once again on West 53rd Street in Manhattan, museum officials still need to raise more than $200 million to pay for the project." The New York Times 05/06/03
Posted: 05/05/2003 10:17 pm

American Marines Say Iraqis Hampering Search For Artifacts "The US Marines in charge of tracking down antiquities of Iraq's National Museum say their search is "being hampered by strained relations between the US marine corps and officials of the Iraqi National Museum. The marines, who have been given responsibility for finding the missing treasures, say the staff are not cooperating. Colonel Matthew Bogdanus, who commands the taskforce conducting the search, said the officals had yet to provide an inventory of the museum's possessions. Without that it was impossible to establish how much had been stolen. Baghdad is awash with people offering antiquities, real and fake, to foreigners. In the markets, at street corners and roundabouts, statues and seals said to be more than 5,000 years old are on offer." The Guardian (UK) 05/06/03
Posted: 05/05/2003 9:49 pm

Is Bureaucratic Bungling Destroying Prehistoric Lascaux Paintings? The prehistoric caves at Lascaux have pictures painted 17,000 years ago. "Because the cave had been naturally sealed for millennia, the paintings were freshly preserved in vivid yellows, reds, and blacks. But in its April issue, the respected French science magazine La Recherche sounded an alarm, announcing that thanks to bureaucratic incompetence a good part of Lascaux may be permanently destroyed. In a story headlined 'Lascaux, the big mess,' it reported that the site has been suffering devastating damage from a reinfestation of fungi and bacteria for almost two years - since September 2001. One hundred fifty of the world-famous paintings have developed mold. OpinionJournal.com 05/06/03
Posted: 05/05/2003 9:16 pm

High-Tech Archaeological Vandalism "Most of the ancient artwork carved and painted into the rock walls and boulders of America's West survived for thousands of years in quiet obscurity. But technology has changed that. These days, art that once took years for a person to stumble upon can be quickly pinpointed with a GPS, and discoverers can post the coordinates on the Internet. That leaves the ancient, priceless art vulnerable to what the Bureau of Land Management calls 'digital vandalism.' A quick peek at the Internet auction site eBay confirms the sites are being plundered and sold piecemeal." Los Angeles Times (AP) 05/05/03
Posted: 05/05/2003 8:55 pm


Over One Million Served: Apple Music Downloads A Hit In its first week, Apple's new music download service (99 cents a song) sold one million downloads. "In less than one week we’ve broken every record and become the largest online music company in the world,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. Apple 05/05/03
Posted: 05/06/2003 2:02 am

Where Operas Come To Be Born New York City Opera's annual opera workshop is the place new operas come to to be seen - a kind of coming-out party. "Portions of 10 new American operas be presented, including one by Lou Harrison, who died in February. This year's other composers range from the young and unknown (Patrick Soluri, 28) to the decorated (the Pulitzer Prize winner Bernard Rands). All events are free and open to the public, offering a rare opportunity to catch a glimpse of the country's operatic future. From a performer's perspective there is nothing else quite like it in the country. Opera scouts and industry insiders have been present in past years, and there are stories of works being picked up at the Vox and slated for full production." The New York Times 05/06/03
Posted: 05/05/2003 10:22 pm

Violent Lyrics Linked To Violent Behavior A new study conducted by researchers in Iowa and Texas, finds "a link between listening to violent song lyrics and feelings of aggression and hostility, bolstering arguments that such content can lead to violent behavior - a finding that belies the notion that violent music provides a cathartic release for anger and negative feelings." Hartford Courant 05/05/03
Posted: 05/05/2003 10:02 pm

Is The Chicago Symphony's Plight Dire? Jeremy Grant reports that the Chicago Symphony's financial fortunes are precarious and worrisome. "Due to factors mostly out of [music director Daniel] Barenboim's control, the CSO faces possibly the most serious financial crisis in its 112-year history. With the US economy in recession, ticket sales are flat and subscriptions are falling. Plunging stock market values have eroded the value of the orchestra's endowment fund and new corporate and individual sponsorships have all but dried up. This year's budget is likely to balance, but only because of a one-off draw-down from the endowment. Management predicts the orchestra is likely to swing into a deficit of about $4m-$5m (£2.5m-£3.1m) next year, having slumped to $6.1m in 2002." Financial Times 05/02/03
Posted: 05/05/2003 9:44 pm

San Francisco Music Scene Dies Off "After more than a quarter-century of being one of the centers of the pop music world, the famous San Francisco scene has crumbled. While underground rock still percolates in warehouses and lofts around the Bay Area, this insular constituency breeds few mainstream breakouts. For years, the Bay Area music industry nurtured a steady procession of new and exciting rock talents - from Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead to Metallica and Green Day. Today, what's left of the local industry has disappeared into a crater left behind by the dot-com crash and struggles of the recording business. The dissolution of the area's music scene has occurred for two reasons: the economic hard times besetting the record industry as a whole, and the creation of new technology that has made recording studios all but obsolete." San Francisco Chronicle 05/05/03
Posted: 05/05/2003 9:22 pm

See The Concert, Buy The Music Clear Channel, which dominates the American radio business and is also a major concert promoter, is offering a new deal - go to the concert, then five minutes after it's finished, buy a recording of the concert you just heard. "Although initially modest, involving only small-audience clubs and theaters in the Boston area, the venture could eventually extend beyond radio and concerts into music distribution. And that could prove troubling to critics, who already complain that the company's rigidly formatted radio stations prevent diverse artists from reaching the airwaves and that its dominance of the concert business too often forces touring acts to accept unfavorable deals." The New York Times 05/05/03
Posted: 05/05/2003 9:01 pm

Arts Issues

Adelaide Festival Begs For Money The financially-strapped Adelaise Festival has thrown itself on the mercy of the state government asking "for debts of about $1.2 million to be forgiven, and seeking additional cash, which it would match with corporate investment or other festival sponsorship. The total budget is likely to be close to $5 million, short of the $8 million spent by Peter Sellars last year. Without it, [the festival says] it will be impossible to provide the level of programming needed to shore up the festival's reputation - tarnished by community dismay at Sellars's determinedly radical event." Sydney Morning Herald 05/06/03
Posted: 05/05/2003 10:31 pm

Can Miami Afford Its New $265 million Performing Arts Complex? Miami is building a new $265-million Performing Arts Center with a 2,200-seat symphony hall, a 2,480-seat ballet opera house and a 200-seat studio theater. Plans to fill the hall are grandly ambitious, envisioning a flowering of arts and culture that will benefit the region for years to come. "But can we afford it? With the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the PAC's crucial five resident companies, already threatening bankruptcy, a disturbing question is raised: Even after the center's construction is paid for, can South Florida come up with the money to run it?" Miami Herald 05/05/03
Posted: 05/05/2003 10:10 pm

Is LA The New Oz? "Where once emigre artists coming to America headed for New York, now they seem to be landing in Los Angeles. "You can't prove it through government stats (the bureaucracies don't track artist émigrés), but the city's curators, gallery owners and the artists themselves are convinced that a new wave of foreign-born 'beginner' types is showing up in L.A. for art's sake. New York has remained the marketing center for visual arts, but L.A. has taken over as the production center." Los Angeles Times 05/05/03
Posted: 05/05/2003 8:58 pm


Ailing Sawallisch Will Skip Final Tour Wolfgang Sawallisch, 79, who is in his last week of performances as the Philadelphia Orchestra's music director, will finish out this week's concerts with the orchestra in Philadelphia, but will not accompany the orchestra on a three-week tour of North and South America. Sawallisch "has felt dizzy and tired, and has been experiencing blood pressure problems." Philadelphia Inquirer 05/06/03
Posted: 05/06/2003 8:54 am


"Hairspray" Takes Outer Critics Circle Awards "Hairspray" picks up five Outer Critics Circle Awards, adding to its awards at last week's Drama Desk Awards. "The writers who cover Broadway and off-Broadway theater for out-of-town media crowned "Hairspray" king with five awards in all, including outstanding musical, director (Jack O'Brien), actress (Marissa Jaret Winokur), featured actor (Dick Latessa) and costume design (William Ivey Long)." New York Post 05/06/03
Posted: 05/06/2003 8:08 am

Kennedy Center New Play Fund Cancels Grants "The Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays, which over the last 15 years has awarded grants totaling $3.8 million to 114 playwrights and 55 not-for-profit theatres across the country, has canceled its 2003 grant cycle in order to undertake a major overhaul of the program's outlook and mission." Backstage 05/05/03
Posted: 05/05/2003 10:44 pm


A Best-Of List To Cut Through The Hype Why make a list annointing the "best" writers in a country? Granta editor Ian Jack thinks "it's useful for readers to have a list that cuts through the marketing hype that declares every new book to be a masterpiece and tells book buyers that these writers are genuinely worth reading." The Granta lists, of course, have been widely debated... National Post 05/06/03
Posted: 05/06/2003 7:57 am

PEN Awards This year's PEN literary Awards are announced. Among the winners are playwrights John Guare and Craig Lucas and essayist William Gass. Los Angelels Times 05/06/03
Posted: 05/06/2003 7:29 am

Canadian Author Jailed For Publishing "An author who posted details of one of Canada's most notorious murder-rape cases on a Web site has been arrested for violating a court-ordered publication ban." Nando Times (AP) 05/05/03
Posted: 05/05/2003 10:41 pm

First-Editions Of New Harry Potters Found In Field Two abandoned first-edition copies of the forthcoming new Harry Potter installment have been found in a field in Suffolk. "The books, found without covers, were dedicated to JK Rowling's husband, Dr Neil Murray, 37, and her two children, with the inscription: 'To Neil, David and Jessica who make my world magical'." BBC 05/05/03
Posted: 05/05/2003 9:35 pm


Country Station Suspends DJs For Playing Dixie Chicks A Colorado Springs country music station has suspended two DJs for playing the Dixie Chicks' music, violating a station ban. "We pulled their music two months ago, and it's been a difficult decision because how can you ignore the hottest group in country music," station manager Jerry Grant said. "I gave them an alternative: stop it now and they'll be on suspension, or they can continue playing them and when they come out of the studio they won't have a job."
Newsday (AP) 05/06/03
Posted: 05/06/2003 8:51 am

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