ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas


Beaming Music To Potential Extraterrestrial Life

The SETI Institute is ready to take music to Mars, or wherever. While it's a listening project, it's also now a beaming project. A founding astrophysicist and a musician "have devised the 'Earthling Project': a call to people everywhere to upload snippets of song that plans to meld into a collective human chorus. An initial composition will be launched into space this summer, inscribed on a virtually indestructible disk alongside Wikipedia and the Rosetta Project, a sampling of 1,500 human languages. Future plans and dreams include an eventual dispatch to Mars." - The Economist

New Design For COVID-Safe Pop-Up Theatre

The Vertical Theatre, as it's called, will be modular, with a capacity of 1,200 to 2,400, seated in small groups separated (if necessary) by clear screens. The structure has a roof, but the sides are open to allow airflow. The UK-based creators hope to have at least one Vertical Theatre hosting shows later this year. - WhatsOnStage (London)

Hollywood Waits With Its Blockbusters. Streaming Is Still A Risky Path

Even as the studio insists that its streaming strategy is a one-off response to the pandemic, it might not be able to rebuild those bridges. Seeing the backlash is just another reason the rest of the industry’s major players continue to hold off from anything so drastic. Patience is hard, but it’s Hollywood’s surest path to profitability. - The Atlantic

Cable TV Cord-Cutting Accelerates During Pandemic

In the interim, expect a flood of cable programming to start migrating over to streaming in anticipation for the day when cable is no longer a viable platform for networks to reach audiences. - Axios

Before Coming Back To Live Interior Performances, Theatre Audiences Want Vaccines And Masks

A survey of frequent theatregoers says that widespread vaccines are the only way most people will feel comfortable in the theatre - and, even with that, 94 percent of those surveyed said they still want mask requirement in place. - American Theatre

Pandemic Lockdowns Were Supposed To Be A Chance To Rethink The Ways Theatre Operates. Has That Happened?

To an extent, yes, it has. Reporter Natasha Tripney talks with theatremakers around Britain about the positive developments — the success of streaming, increased engagement with communities, more egalitarian casting, long-distance collaboration — that started to arise during this public health disaster. - The Stage

Audiences Won’t Come Back Until Folks Are Vaccinated (But They Still Want Masks): Study

The survey of 3,300 frequent attenders (most over 60 and almost all over 40) found that, now that COVID-19 vaccines are being given to the public, more than two-thirds expect they'll be comfortable at indoor performances by June. (The rest say not until 2022.) More than three-quarters said they'd be willing to pay more to make up for revenue lost due to social distancing. - American Theatre

BBC Faces ‘Financial Risk’ As Viewers’ Habits Change

The UK's national broadcaster is funded by mandatory license fees, charged annually to every household that owns a television set. But as more and more Britons, especially younger ones, consume all their video via streaming on their computers and phones, fewer and fewer of them have televisions to pay license fees on. And so, says a report from the UK National Audit Office, the BBC "faces considerable uncertainty" in its future and needs to prepare "a long-term financial plan … as soon as possible." - BBC

The Musical Fantasy World Created By Teens That Has Spawned Three Concept Albums For Broadway Shows

Yes, it's partly because of TikTok and the world of duets, collaborations, and free-flowing (but in this case, very directed) creativity. But it's so much more: "Averno the setting of a sprawling, cross-platform universe over TikTok (125,000 followers), Instagram (47,000 followers), Spotify (1.4 million streams), YouTube, Twitter and Tumblr. It encompasses podcasts, livestreams, novels and short stories, TV and film scripts, an extensive alternate-reality game and, yes, musicals — all at different stages of completion." - The New York Times

An Author And Editor Says To Stop Thinking Books Have Meaning For Everyone

Megha Majumdar, author of A Burning: "I grew up middle class and I went to school, and from the school bus you’d see kids washing plates in the gutter, working at these little roadside eateries. We had to get school uniforms made, and the tailor’s apprentice would be a person your age. Books are very meaningful to me; at the same time, I believe books do nothing for a lot of people, and that is a very valuable truth too." - The Guardian (UK)

In Ontario, Even Livestreamed Performances Without Audience Are Now Banned

As the number of COVID cases continues to spike, "organizers behind a number of livestreaming concerts and theatre shows in Ontario say the province's stricter stay-at-home orders have forced them to sideline an array of upcoming virtual events. … The changes come after Premier Doug Ford introduced a new directive which, as of Thursday, requires residents to stay home, unless their activities fall under a list of 'essential' reasons." - Yahoo! (Canadian Press)

Why You Can’t Stop Watching “Bad” TV

“Consolatory entertainment” is a better term for such programming. There is consolation in the simple pleasures of ordinary conversation, shared enjoyment and of laughing together that underpins the success of panel games, quiz shows and even celebrity chat shows. - The Conversation

Why Horror Films Were So Popular In 2020, The Most Horrible Year In Recent Memory

"The past year … saw the horror genre take home its largest share of the box office in modern history. In a year where the world was stricken by real horrors, why were many people escaping to worlds full of fictional horrors? As odd as it may sound, the fact that people were more anxious in 2020 may be one reason why horror films were so popular. A look at typical horror fans may provide some clues about the nature of this peculiar phenomenon." - Nautilus

Concert Halls Can be COVID-Safe At 50% Capacity: German Study

The research, commissioned by and conducted at the Konzerthaus in Dortmund, used dummies that simulated breathing, with and without masks, placed at various points in the auditorium; the spread of aerosol droplets and carbon dioxide in the breath was measured. Results indicated that with checkerboard seating and masked audience members there is "almost no risk" of transmitting COVID-19. - The Strad

Is This Finally The End Of Broadcast TV?

How much of the telly you watch this year will be on a live, linear channel, at the scheduled hour, with millions of others tuning in at exactly the same time? For many of us, the answer is getting dangerously close to none. - The Guardian

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