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Stories for Wednesday, January 3, 2001
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  • STILL THE BEATLES: The Beatles album of greatest hits has sold more than 20 million copies in the past few months, putting it on course to be the best-selling album of all time. Why, 30 years after the group broke up, do its songs resonate for so many people? New York Times 01/03/01 (one-time registration required for access)
  • THE ART OF DIGITAL: There are those critics (and you know who you are) who believe there is no such thing as digital art. Why? "Digital media are not easily written about as art. It is another leap that has to be taken. Until digital works are seen in an art context they will not be assessed properly - that's the biggest challenge. And no one knows how [or why] digital technology is art."  Los Angeles Times, 01/03/2001
  • THE LITTLE-GUY CONSORTIUM: Big recording companies are consolidating and folding up their classical operations. And small labels have a hard time advertising and getting shelf space. Now a new consortium of small classical labels hopes that by consolidating their efforts they'll thrive. Sonicnet 01/02/01

  • JOHN ADAMS ON BEING A COMPOSER TODAY: "It's been my impression that in terms of commissions there's never been a more bullish period in American history. There are all these operas being commissioned. San Francisco Opera has commissioned 4 or 5 operas, and the Met is on a big commissioning program, Chicago, those are all the big ones, and the smaller companies are commissioning like crazy, and orchestras are commissioning works, so it seems like actually this is a tremendously good time to be alive as a composer of large-scale works." NewMusicbox 01/01
  • HARD TIMES FOR NEH: America's National Endowment for the Humanities has had some rough years recently. And things don't figure to get much better anytime soon. "The most serious political problem on the Hill now seems at least partly demographic: Since the retirement and death of Sid Yates, all of N.E.H.'s Congressional founding fathers (except Ted Kennedy) have now departed the scene. Although the humanities have had strong supporters in both houses and on both sides of the aisle since 1995, the core stalwarts have not been replaced." Chronicle of Higher Education 01/02/01

  • KLIMTS RETURNED: Eight paintings by Gustav Klimt that were stolen by the Nazis and later turned up in an Austrian gallery, have been returned to the family from whom they were stolen and are on display in Canada. The Globe & Mail (Canada) 01/03/01

  • THE INNOCENT: A staged reading of a new script based on the statements of 87 prisoners wrongly convicted and sentenced to the death penalty and later proven innocent attracts a star cast: Debra Winger, Richard Dreyfuss, Steve Buscemi, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins. The Guardian (London) 01/03/01

  • THE PLAY'S THE THING (BUT MAYBE NOT ON CABLE) One year ago this month, the Broadway Television Network (BTN) kicked off an ambitious plan to broadcast Broadway musicals on a pay-per-view basis. The channel has had mixed success. Although executives maintain that BTN's development is modelled on a five-year plan, first-year viewership figures and scheduling have been lacklustre. "...On Broadway, questions are being raised about BTN's future." New York Post, 01/03/01

  • GLOBAL SLOWDOWN: For the second year in a row, Hollywood's international box office take has tumbled. In an international marketplace plagued by depreciating local currencies, escalating marketing costs and a global exhibition slowdown, distributors will be lucky to clear $6 billion, down 10% on last year's $6.66 billion target and way short of 1998's boffo $6.8 billion." Variety 01/03/01

  • CHANGING ECONOMICS? "Everyone concerned with literature wants to know what is going to happen to the homely old trade of book publishing in the Era of the Net." For one thing, maybe "brand name authors no longer need publishers; and more controversially maybe some publishing houses might have better balance sheets if they didn't have to pony up the immense sums paid to these brand names - $64 million, was it, to Mary Higgins Clark?" The New Republic 12/28/00

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