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Weekend, January 25-26


Can A Machine Be Artistic? With computers getting smart enough to beat even the best chess players, some are asking about the "artistic" abilities of machines. If a machine, by the use of sheer calculation, creates something artistic, is the machine artistic? Can machines practice art? "Is the system intelligent? It is because it produces intelligent behavior. If it does something artistic, then it is artistic. It does not matter how it did it." The New York Times 01/25/03
Posted: 01/25/2003 3:56 pm

Connecting The Dots - The Knowing Network Newtork theory is hot. "As an intellectual approach, network theory is the latest symptom of a fundamental shift in scientific thinking, away from a focus on individual components particles and subparticles and toward a novel conception of the group. 'In biology, we've had great success stories the human genome, the mouse genome. But what is not talked about is that we have the pieces but don't have a clue as to how the system works. Increasingly, we think the answer is in networks'." The New York Times 01/25/03
Posted: 01/25/2003 3:42 pm

Visual Arts

A $600,000 Tree Stump? John Davis saw a giant rootball unearthed in a tornado 27 years ago and decided to dig out the roots and make a sculpture out of it. After 2 1/2 years he was finished revealing the 14 foor-by 16 foot, 3000-pound piece. Then he listed it on Ebay for $2.7 million and got no offers. Now he wants $600,000, but the artworld doesn't seem interested. "From the photograph, it looks like an incredible object. A question that I'm asked a lot is, 'What is it really worth?' And there are different qualifications for intrinsic artistic value and what the art market will bear. ... On the art market, it's worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it." Dallas Morning News 01/26/03
Posted: 01/26/2003 12:25 pm

City In The Sky (And Under) The World Trade Center project is about more than big buildings. "The process of thinking about this unique site expanded into an exercise in imagining a new future for the skyscraper in an increasingly dense and urbanized world. In a number of proposals, the towers are interconnected rather than autonomous, so that they work horizontally as well as vertically. In effect, they create another ground plane to accommodate the kinds of public spaces historically limited to the street: parks, gardens and cultural facilities. The nine diverse schemes all conceive of urban life as a vertical proposition - cities in the sky." Atlanta Journal-Constitution 01/26/03
Posted: 01/26/2003 10:02 am

The Scottish Parliament Building Fiasco Hopes were sky high back in 1997 for the new Scottish Parliament building "designed by the Catalan architect Enric Miralles as 'the visual embodiment of exciting constitutional change'. How those hopes have turned to ashes. The Parliament, once estimated to cost between 10 and 40 million and scheduled to open last December, is now expected to come in at 338.1 million. Completion is not expected before November." It's all a big mess - so what happened? The Telegraph (UK) 01/25/03
Posted: 01/25/2003 4:40 pm


Utica Symphony May Close Because of Deficit "The Utica Symphony Orchestra, upstate New York's oldest continuing orchestra, may be forced to shut down if it does not get at least $112,000 by mid-February." Hartford Courant (AP) 01/26/03
Posted: 01/26/2003 12:44 pm

Motown Turns Up To Dispute Author Gerald Posner goes to Detroit to talk about his new book chronicling the history of Motown and gets an earful from the audience. "Only in Detroit could you write a book and have all the main characters show up at your book lecture." Mostly they were critical. Detroit News 01/26/03
Posted: 01/26/2003 12:36 pm

Calgary Mounts New Opera While the Calgary Philharmonic is languishing, the Calgary Opera is blazing away, ready to stage a $1.3 million production of new original opera. "The opera is set in southwestern Alberta during Prohibition and is based on the true story of an Italian immigrant who becomes entangled in bootlegging and murder. The woman was eventually hanged in 1923. The music and English libretto are by Calgarians John Estacio and John Murrell, respectively." Toronto Star 01/25/03
Posted: 01/25/2003 4:23 pm

Ripping Apart The ENO Under plans submitted this week to the Arts Council, the English National Opera would see the company shrink dramatically. "Under the proposal, the chorus would be cut by a third to 40 members, the orchestra by some 20 musicians, and production and administrative staff by 70. Big productions would rely on freelancers." The Times (UK) 01/25/03
Posted: 01/25/2003 3:52 pm

Arts Issues

Crossover - Getting Artists To Think About Science How do you get people to think creatively about science? The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation believes the arts can help. "Sloan's Public Understanding of Science and Technology program spends $8 million to $10 million a year funding a slew of projects in film, theater, public television, books, radio, and new media. "We need people going back and forth between the [science and lay worlds]. And I thought the best way is through media such as film, TV, and theater. It's very powerful." Boston Globe 01/26/03
Posted: 01/26/2003 10:17 am

Copywrongs - Locking Up Happy Birthday It's a myth that copyrights are owned by creative artists. Big companies own them. Take "the ubiquitous 'Happy Birthday,' whose tune was composed by Mildred Hill, a kindergarten teacher in Louisville, in 1893, was copyrighted in 1934 by her sister Jessica Hill, after the ditty with new lyrics attached appeared in the Broadway musical The Bank Wagon and had been used by Western Union for its singing telegram. Rights to the song changed hands several times and today they are owned by Summy-Birchard Music, which in turn is owned by AOL Time Warner, for which it earns $2 million a year in royalties for public usage. (Don't worry about singing it around your dining table; AOL Time Warner has not figured out how to collect on that yet.)" Toronto Star 01/25/03
Posted: 01/25/2003 4:27 pm


Glory To Slava "Rostropovich is a genuine hero of the Soviet era and what followed, having stuck up publicly for his friend Alexander Solzhenitsyn when the wrath of the Kremlin was upon him, and having flown to Moscow from the West in 1991 to support Boris Yeltsin, who at the time was facing down an attempted coup. He has lived his life as though borders and limits to freedom don't exist, which hasn't exempted him from sometimes having to accept that they do. He's also a human cyclone. Rostropovich turns 75 in March."
The Globe & Mail (Canada) 01/25/03
Posted: 01/26/2003 9:27 am


Missing The Boat - The Book That Got Away Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan tried and tried to get a Canadian publisher to take her book "Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World," a revisionist history of the Treaty of Versailles, but without success. Finally she flew to London and sold it there. The book has since become a big bestseller and once again editors whose job it is to pick out books to publish, missed out. How does this happen? The Globe & Mail (Canada) 01/25/03
Posted: 01/26/2003 9:53 am

Aussie Non-Fiction Supplanting Fiction Australian non-fiction has taken over publishing. "Book after book indicating a renaissance in Australian non-fiction, incorporating everything from narrative journalism to memoir, rock'n'roll, history, philosophy, the essay and political biography. Works that often blurred the territory between these forms and fiction, part and parcel of a radical hybridisation of style and content affecting literature internationally and sending our old generic orders into meltdown. When compared with this catalogue, recent local literary fiction was not up to the same consistent standard, let alone able to match en masse the furious energy our literary non-fiction exudes." Sydney Morning Herald 01/26/03
Posted: 01/25/2003 4:33 pm


Movie Critics Vs. Movie Audiences "Are movie critics out of touch with the public? Is that necessarily bad? And if so, should average moviegoers or Oscar voters pay any attention to this deluge of critical voting, rehashing and listmaking? Looking over the lists of movies anointed by the critics so far, compared with 2002's top grossing box-office hits, you can understand why some observers - especially movie studio and marketing executives and their cronies - become exasperated." Chicago Tribune 01/26/03
Posted: 01/26/2003 12:19 pm

LA PBS Station Lays Off 14 Los Angeles' KCET, the West Coast PBS flagship station, has laid off 14 people. "A spokeswoman for the station said that the cuts were due to lower-than-expected revenue from subscribers and corporate sponsorships. The projected station budget at the beginning of the fiscal year was $48 million, a figure that is now being reformulated." Los Angeles Times 01/25/03
Posted: 01/25/2003 4:15 pm

New Realities - The Changing Face Of TV "The success of shows like 'American Idol,' 'The Bachelorette' on ABC and 'Joe Millionaire' on Fox was so impressive that numerous executives said they were now ready to embrace plans for a radical restructuring of the network business, which previously had been talked about only as dimly possible, long-term adjustments. Not only will reality shows continue to flood network's schedules next fall, but television executives are also predicting such developments as an end to the traditional television season." The New York Times 01/25/03
Posted: 01/25/2003 3:49 pm

Say Anything - TV Loosens Its Language "Broadcast television, under intensifying attack by saltier cable competitors, is pushing the limits of decorum further by the year, and hardly anyone is pushing back. Though the changing standards of prime time have evolved gradually, the pace has accelerated in recent years. But the falloff in protests over those changes has been sudden." Seems the groups that used to protest racy language have gone away... The New York Times 01/25/03
Posted: 01/25/2003 3:46 pm

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