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Friday, June 20


The Art Of Mobbing It's called the Mob Project and it works like this: Someone writes an email with a date, time, place and random activity, then sends it to people to forward to whomever they want. At the appointed time, dozens (hundreds?) of strangers converge at the appointed location. "The Mob Project has a particular New York twist - you have to know someone to get invited. There's no website to go to for information, no ads in local papers - the mob forms from e-mails that are forwarded from person to person. 'Everyone loves a mindless mob! I was so stoked when I got my invitation - no action, no protest, no needing to review my political stance on a particular issue. Just be there or be square." Wired 06/19/03
Posted: 06/19/2003 6:23 pm

Visual Arts

China Arrest Museum Official For Stealing Art China has arrested a museum official in Chengde, a city north of Beijing, for "stealing some of the precious antiquities he was supposed to be guarding. It is the biggest such theft reported in half a century of Communist rule." The official is accused of "stealing 158 relics during 12 years, substituting fake artifacts or doctoring inventories to conceal his crimes." Voice of America (AP) 06/20/03
Posted: 06/20/2003 7:28 am

Toon Town: Is Superman The New Apollo? Cartoons are more and more showing up in "serious" art. " 'Making art from cartoon figures today 'is like painting a Madonna in the Renaissance'. With cultural literacy at a low ebb, a riff on Superman communicates more universally than Bible stories, mythology, or fairy tales. Archie and Veronica have become our Aries and Venus." Christian Science Monitor 06/20/03
Posted: 06/20/2003 6:16 am

A Small-Town Museum Grows Almost As Large As Boston's MFA The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem Massachusetts has a new home designed by Moshe Safdie, writes Robert Campbell, and it's a winner. The old museum "was a hodgepodge of buildings and additions that accreted over more than a century and a half. With the new addition - and the dozen or more historic houses in Salem owned by the museum - PEM now has, according to its director, Dan Monroe, 88 percent as much floor area as the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. A local provincial museum has morphed into a potential national icon. It's not easy to fit so big a museum into the modest surroundings of historic Salem. On the whole, Safdie pulls it off. Boston Globe 06/20/03
Posted: 06/20/2003 6:07 am

The Cleaning-David Ordeal How do you clean an icon such as Michelangelo's David? Carefully, of course. But it turns out that the restorer hired to do the job was maybe too careful. When her bosses insisted on a more invasive cleaning process, she quit. "I hated to do that, because the David is the best job a restorer could have. But I simply could not be party to diminishing Michelangelo's masterpiece." Will the alternative method destroy David? "Unlikely. Short of taking a hammer to it like Piero Cannata, or blowing it up, it is, as Ms Parronchi insists, pretty hard to do that." The Telegraph (UK) 06/20/03
Posted: 06/19/2003 11:18 pm

Critic's Hell - The Venice Biennale One critic laments the crowded Venice Biennale: "I don't mean to be philistine, but art in quantity - black box, video, car-boot-sale installation art - is not a pretty sight. Nor, come to that, are we in such numbers. Too much of now about us, too much dogma of the hour. And too much perspiration. We don't sweat well in the art world. Here we all are, anyway, come for the vernissage, which literally means varnishing but now denotes the two or three days set aside for professionals to make their judgments while the paint dries. Since there is precious little in contemporary art that needs varnishing, a better translation of vernissage might be The Shining - every critic and curator on the planet, and not a few artists to boot, thrown together in a confined space and left to go berserk." The Guardian (UK) 06/20/03
Posted: 06/19/2003 11:07 pm

Museum Finds Drawings In Its Attic The Emanuel Vigeland Museum in Osler has hundreds more Emanuel Vigelands than it thought it had. This week electricians who ventured into the museum's attic for some repair work discovered several hundred sketches signed by Vigeland. The museum has no idea how they got there. Aftenposten 06/19/03
Posted: 06/19/2003 6:01 pm


Fans Flocking To Big Music Festivals Again A couple of years ago tickets to some of the biggest English music festivals went begging. Critics said there were too many festivals chasing too few fans. And (depending on who you talked to)the music wasn't strong enough to excite people. Well, this summer has stilled such talk. Major festivals are selling out at a record pace. Could it be that good music sells? BBC 06/20/03
Posted: 06/19/2003 10:54 pm

What Happened To The "Better" Music Festival? A music festival at New Jersey's Giants Stadium that was "supposed to be a weekend to redefine the music festival - replacing Coca-Cola banners with fan art and teen idols with musicians who actually write their own music - collapsed into 12 hours of 'put up with it or leave.' What happened to the celebration of art and nature, to the notion that exposure to new music could carry a show? Why had Field Day, with events and a lineup that had the world talking, dwindled to an audience of 20-somethings just kicking around until Radiohead came out to play?" Says one fan: "Our modern bureaucratic society makes it impossible to have large gatherings of any type. With the current required logistics, anything that even gets off the ground is immediately tainted with falsehood because of the built-in compromise." Christian Science Monitor 06/20/03
Posted: 06/19/2003 9:21 pm

Arts Issues

Israel's Ongoing Culture Cuts Israel's culture budget has been cut nine times in two years. "Economic uncertainty hovers over the nation's cultural institutes and has grown larger with a new cut in the budget that was passed last week. Announcements about the size of cuts in the culture budget were contradictory. Millions of shekels were added to the budget and were then subtracted with a stroke of the pen."

Ha'aretz (Israel) 06/20/03
Posted: 06/20/2003 7:22 am

Scotland's Arts Plan Scotland's culture minister has unveiled his government's new arts policy, and has ruled out a bailout of the troubled Scottish Opera. "Last month, senior figures in the arts warned that without a substantial cash injection, national companies - notably Scottish Opera - and some theatres might have to cut the number of productions this autumn." The Scotsman 06/19/03
Posted: 06/20/2003 7:17 am

Senator Hatch The Destroyer Uses Unpurchased Software Himself Earlier this week Utah Senator Orrin Hatch advocated allowing companies to damage computers on which they found copyrighted material that hadn't been purchased or licensed. It "may be the only way you can teach somebody about copyrights," he said, before suggesting that "the technology would twice warn a computer user about illegal online behavior, then destroy their computer." So take your best shot at Hatch's own computer. Turns out he uses unlicensed software on his own computer... Wired 06/19/03
Posted: 06/19/2003 10:28 pm

  • Previously:

    Vandalism As Copyright Enforcement Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) believes he has a solution to the problem of illegal file-swapping and downloading of copyrighted material: destroy the computers! Hatch wants technology developed which would disable or destroy any computer attempting an illegal download. The fact that such a plan would be in blatant violation of U.S. anti-hacking law does not seem to concern the senator, but the plan does not seem to have much support among Hatch's colleagues. BBC 06/18/03

The Creative Economy The economy is changing. And the most highly-desired jobs? Those with creative outlets, flexibility, a sense of individuality. "Creative individuals no longer need to be isolated, romantic souls who've given up worldly success for the sake of their art. We must abandon our prejudices regarding the sources of economic value. The production of wealth comes not simply from labor or raw materials or even intellectual brilliance. It comes from new ways to give people what they want. By matching creativity and desire, the economy will renew itself." Wired 06/03
Posted: 06/19/2003 6:45 pm

Latinos Now Biggest US Minority For the first time Latinos are now the largest minority population in the US. "Figures released in Washington placed the Latino population at 38.8 million in July 2002, an increase of nearly 10% from the 2000 census. The bureau estimated the African American population at 38.3 million. Each group accounts for a little more than 13% of the overall U.S. population." Los Angeles Times 06/19/03
Posted: 06/19/2003 6:19 pm

Study: Playing An Instrument Helps Fight Alzheimer's Want to stave off Alzheimer's? Then make your mind active, says a new research report. "Those who played board games had a 74 percent lower risk and those who played an instrument had a 69 percent lower risk. Doing crossword puzzles cut the risk by 38 percent. Using the mind actually causes rewiring of the brain, sprouting new synapses - it may even cause the generation of new neurons. So psychology trumps biology." Washington Post 06/19/03
Posted: 06/19/2003 5:41 pm


Penumbra Theatre To Ordway? St. Paul, Minnesota's Penumbra Theatre is one America's leading African American theatres. And it's been looking to build itself a real home for some time. Now it looks like the theatre might abandon those plans and move into the Ordway Performing Arts Center. "A potential collaboration between the Ordway and Penumbra provides a possible: Penumbra would provide cachet, a density of activity and, most probably, rental income to the Ordway. St. Paul Pioneer-Press 06/19/03
Posted: 06/19/2003 11:45 pm

Linda Lovelace, The Musical A musical about porn star Linda Lovelace is being workshopped in Los Angeles. Producers hope to stage a full production in LA or New York. "It's the idea of finding ourselves in a bad situation and surviving that audiences will relate to." Los Angeles Times 06/20/03
Posted: 06/19/2003 11:26 pm


Kids' Books - Into A Sea Of Difficulty The odds against the author of a kids' book are enormous. "Those of us who review childrenís books jettison books we dislike, unwilling to waste time and limited space on squashing reviews because we know that itís our recommendations that are most useful. Information about childrenís books - genuine, independent, informed and balanced - is hard to find. The job of childrenís bookseller may not feature in many careers advisersí files, but itís one that benefits from a vast panoply of skills - interpersonal to intellectual - that create the right environment for perfect retailing: a successful sale is of a product that wonít come back to a customer who will." The Scotsman 06/20/03
Posted: 06/20/2003 6:59 am

Harry Publisher Sues Newspapers - 1st Amendment Be Damned Harry Potter author JK Rowling and her publisher are suing the New York Daily News for $100 million for printing details of the new Harry Potter story before it hits stores. Simon Houpt writes that other media outlets have been intimidated into not publishing plot details, and then Houpt throws in some plot details of his own to illustrate. Is it not a first amendment issue, he asks? The Globe & Mail (Canada) 06/20/03
Posted: 06/20/2003 6:25 am

Potter - Underneath The Hype, Something Truly Worth Celebrating The clamor over the Harry Potter books may be a little (ok, a lot) over the top. But Norman Lebrecht says that it's important to celebrate a publishing phenomenon that flies in the face of what the conventional wisdom about books - and children's books particularly - insisted was true. "While it is futile to predict the thought processes that will prevail a century hence, when books may have been supplanted by chips and authors by robotic processors, one certainty can be safely asserted. A hundred years from now, millions of people will still be reading Charles Dickens, and they will still be reading Harry Potter, the written word triumphant." London Evening Standard 06/20/03
Posted: 06/20/2003 5:55 am

Oprah's Book Club Is Back With The Classics "Oprah tapped John Steinbeck's East of Eden this morning as the first selection for her revived book club. Within an hour, the $16 trade paperback jumped from #2,356,000 to #113 at Amazon.com, suggesting that readers aren't daunted by her new focus on classic titles." Publishers Weekly 06/18/03
Posted: 06/19/2003 10:59 pm


Senate Committee Votes To Overturn FCC The Senate Commerce Committee votes to overturn parts of a Federal Communications Commission decision freeing media companies from decades-old ownership limits and allowing them to buy more outlets and merge in new ways. The proposal would "roll back changes that allowed individual companies to own television stations reaching nearly half the nation's viewers and combinations of newspapers and broadcast stations in the same city. The Republican-controlled FCC relaxed those rules on June 2 with a 3-2 party-line vote." Wired 06/19/03
Posted: 06/19/2003 10:36 pm

  • FCC Overturn Is Victory For America The Senate Commerce Committee's overturning of new FCC media ownership rules might not hold up in the full Senate. So what does the committee vote mean? "It is no overstatement to say that the committee's vote was a victory, or at least a step on the road to victory, for the American people. To put it another way: If Frank Capra's idealistic Sen. Jefferson Smith, from the film 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,' really existed, he would be jumping for joy right now." Washington Post 06/20/03
    Posted: 06/19/2003 10:32 pm

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