“Beyond the simple knock-offs and the provocations exists an entire class of nonsensical, algorithm-generated content; millions and millions of videos that serve merely to attract views and produce income, cobbled together from nursery rhymes, toy reviews, and cultural misunderstandings. Some seem to be the product of random title generators, others – so many others – involve real humans, including young children, distributed across the globe, acting out endlessly the insane demands of YouTube’s recommendation algorithms, even if it makes no sense, even if you have to debase yourself utterly to do it.”
Caleb Crain: “A little more than a decade ago, I wrote an article for The New Yorker about American reading habits, which a number of studies then indicated might be in decline. … I’ll go out on a limb and say that I don’t think that I got this part wrong. But I’ve often wondered whether I was right about the underlying trend, too. Were Americans in fact reading less back then? And are they reading even less today? Whenever I happen across a news article on the topic, I wonder if I’m about to find out whether I was Cassandra or Chicken Little.” So Crain looked into the data.
“‘The industry’s tripled in size since the early 2000s,'” says [producer] Ma Jung-hoon. … ‘Half of our income comes from international sales.” Says an American executive who distributes K-drama, “I think that the format of Korean dramas is very digestible. So instead of having these long, 20-episode, multi-series shows like we have in the US and other parts of the world, Korean dramas are [up to] 16 episodes. That’s it, you only have one season.”
“Our thesis for a lot of this work is that there is no future without the past,” Andrew Balio tells me. “I don’t think that’s a controversial statement.” He’s correct, and there’s no doubt that the Future Symphony Institute was born out of a real love for, and desire to share, the rich tradition of classical music. What the genre—and the wider arts world—found itself facing in the 20th century, however, was a challenging of the notion of a singular beauty, and a distrust of its pursuit.
Festivals are an ideal setting for experiential marketing campaigns as brands try to blend in seamlessly with the mood-altering atmosphere of a communal celebration. “The trend is no longer just marketing,” said Joe Lucchese, founder and owner of Pro-Ject, a 5-year-old, Chicago-based experiential marketing agency that manages sponsorships for Spring Awakening. “Their goal is to sell as much product, in a thoughtful and unique way, as possible at each festival.”
Sean Douglass: “I think we have to accept that the former critic and blogger landscape is gone, because there just isn’t enough interest to sustain it. … While many blogs may be gone, the social media that has replaced them can be a far more powerful tool for reaching people than what we’ve ever had before. Let’s not lament the migration to social media and theaters-as-content-distributors. Let’s embrace it.”
Disney–Pixar’s “Incredibles 2” shattered box office expectations with its $180 million domestic debut — the eighth-best opening weekend of all time in North America and the biggest ever launch for an animated film. Overseas, it picked up an additional $51.5 million for a global start of $231.5 million.
It will be used by Arts Council England (ACE) to guide investment via is Creative People and Places programme, which supports arts activity in areas with historically low levels of cultural engagement. ACE Chair Sir Nicholas Serota today announced £37m will be invested in a new round of the scheme between 2018-2022. Of this, £24m will be invested in projects in new areas for the first time since 2014.
I’ll cut to the chase: between 2003 and 2016, the amount of time that the average American devoted to reading for personal interest on a daily basis dropped from 0.36 hours to 0.29 hours. It would seem that reading in America has declined even further in the past decade. But statistics can be tricky, so let’s kick the tires a little.
But. Those in distribution and exhibition continue to bet against MoviePass’ survival; since CinemaCon they’ve whispered whether the monthly ticket service would make it to the end of summer. Parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc. (HMNY) stock has been in free fall, plunging from a high this year of $9.77 on Jan. 23 to a current $0.38.
“The Russian government has urged museums to offer discounts to visitors with a World Cup Fan-ID, the special document that allows ticket-holders to enter the country without a visa.” The Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow will offer free admission to its 20th- and 21-century art wing for the next six weeks. But the director of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg has curtly declined to make any such offer – and the way he explained his reasoning will not please Russian nationalists.
Maura Hogan, in a Spoleto Festival USA post-mortem: “Perhaps some among us view our annual arts dive as simply transactional. The customer is always right, so we can bolt from or belittle performances as we see fit. I would argue that we are missing the point. Ditching a performance mid-show is at best disruptive, and potentially far more insidious. … What’s more, if you truly have pride in place regarding our singular city, I can promise you that the provincial attitudes regarding its relationship with world-class performance telegraph that if you scratch the surface — if you go beyond the high-end Boho apparel and performance belt-notching — the walk-outs and sneers render us collectively a bunch of yahoos.”
“Artists in London and Gaza are to launch a series of simultaneous, live-streamed performances this month in an attempt to connect people living under severe blockade in the coastal enclave with international audiences in Britain. Performers will use video projection as a backdrop to simulate walking through each other’s homes and streets, and interact as if they were in the same room, even as they are separated by 2,000 miles.”
“Visitors to the Mauritshuis in The Hague … [will] have the opportunity to see conservators in action, when two specialists embark on a project to clean the oldest work in the Dutch museum’s collection: The Lamentation of Christ (around 1460-64) by Rogier van der Weyden and his studio. The treatment, due to be completed by the end of the year, will take place in a special studio in the institution’s exhibition galleries.”
“Consumers are now, often unconsciously, sorting every media product — from podcasts to magazine stories to video — into three categories: intentional, interstitial, and invisible. The implications of these changes are huge, especially for the people who create what we watch.” Daniel H. Pink makes the case for intentional content (“couch shows” that you make a point to sit and watch) and interstitial content: “programming we use to fill the spaces in our lives — 10 minutes in a grocery store line, 5 minutes waiting to pick up a kid at practice, 35 minutes on a train or bus.”
“Planning permission has been granted for a block of men’s public toilets in Newport to be turned into a performance space. The Victorian building in Newport city centre is to become a 25-seat micro-venue used for monologues, site-specific works, magicians and other professional and amateur performances.”
Stuart Chafetz says that while classical fans came because of the orchestra itself, pops fans had a different goal. “‘They were coming for the Bee Gees, or they were coming for Randy Newman, or they were coming for Jurassic Park,’ Chafetz said. ‘I often ask, ‘First time to the symphony, round of applause.’ The whole place erupted, and I thought: ‘There’s something here. … You know, this is my mission.’'”
Whew. This in-depth piece definitely calls the future of storytelling in favor of Netflix: “TV has gone through major transformations in the past — cable and Rupert Murdoch’s Fox toppled the hegemony of the Big Three broadcast networks in the 1980s, for instance — but this leap dwarfs all others. Netflix doesn’t want to be a streaming, supersized clone of HBO or FX or NBC. It’s trying to change the way we watch television.”
Chicago artist Nick Cave has made it official now, at the Park Avenue Armory in New York: He wants to use massive art/dance projects to inspire and encourage those feeling pretty down these days. “‘Empowerment’ is the word that performers have been using to describe their take on the project, and what they want to convey to the audience, [a dancer said]. In an onslaught of negativity, ‘you have two choices,’ he said. You can be discouraged and tormented, ‘or have the audacity to say, ‘I’m not going to let this break me.’'”
Audiences will be encouraged to use electronic card readers to help tackle fears from artists about a slump in donations as growing numbers of people shun carrying money around with them. Street performers are also expected to get the chance to go “on tour” to new pop-up sites around the city in future.
To be a member of a fandom is to take a property and embrace it like a vise. You consume it, you talk about it with fellow fans, maybe you go to conventions, maybe you write fanfic or draw fanart, and no matter what — and this is the most crucial part — you pray that, if there’s more of it, it’ll be as good as the best of what’s come before. There are polite fans who say it quietly and don’t get mad when their needs aren’t met. But, by their very nature, such fans are always going to be drowned out by the ones who, like Bobby Axelrod, declare to the world, These are my needs. What’s remarkable and dangerous is the fact that, in the past 20 years, Hollywood started feeding them. They started getting what they wanted, and they’ve never looked back.
“‘Foreign Bodies’ [is] a one-night-only interdisciplinary extravaganza on Friday that marks the end of his three-year tenure as the [New York Philharmonic’s] composer in residence. But the program isn’t only a showcase of Mr. Salonen’s work; he shares billing with the New York premiere of a violin concerto by Daniel Bjarnason, a video installation by Tal Rosner and choreography by Wayne McGregor. If anything, the evening is a manifesto for what Mr. Salonen thinks the 21st-century concert could — and should — be.”
“UK Theatre’ member venues, comprising more than 200 auditoria, took a reduced total of £469.8 million from ticket sales in 2017, down £1.9 million on the previous year. The total number of tickets sold was also less than in 2016, falling 1.87% from 19 million to 18.7 million. … This is despite a 2.9% increase in the total number of performances in 2017.”
In less than a decade, the realm of professional sport has been taken by storm by the rise of eSports (short for electronic sports). These video game events now compete with — and in some cases outperform — traditional sports leagues for live viewership and advertising dollars. For the top eSports players, this means sponsorship contracts, endorsements, prize money and yes, global stardom.
Robin Givhan: “Fashion is no longer defining itself. Increasingly consumers are telling the industry what constitutes fashion. This is a problem. Not because the industry shouldn’t listen to its customers; it should. But then it should merge those demands with its own expertise, vision and standards to create something that is better and more relevant than the consumer ever imagined.”
“If the always-streaming, everything-on-demand state of TV right now has taught viewers anything, it’s that very little about television is urgent. Sure, there are still a few watercooler shows, and events like the Oscars or the Super Bowl require real-time viewing, but everything else can be watched on an I’ll Get to It When I Get to It basis. Short of one’s peer group pressuring them into watching something right now no one feels they have to be caught up on everything. Killing Eve, however, was different.”