Have We Lost The Striving For Getting Better? "Simply put, the arts of museum, concert hall, opera house, theater and library have smaller audiences than they once did because growing older no longer means growing up." Once, we had a drive to "imrpove ourselves" and one of the ways we did this was through the arts. "Whatever it was that prompted such aspiration is absent today. "Bettering yourself" is now primarily understood in terms of money and power. People routinely change the work they do when it denies them comfort or fun, so the idea that anything higher could be gained from leisure-as-work is alien. Staying young no longer only means being idealistic and adventurous or looking like you're under 30. It can mean a kind of arrested development." Chicago Tribune 09/04/05
Posted: 09/04/2005 4:54 pm
Rebuilding New Orleans (But How?) A thirty-year-old book reported that "of all the cities that had been flooded, burned, sacked, leveled by earthquake, buried in lava, or in some way or another destroyed worldwide between 1100 and 1800, only a few dozen had been permanently abandoned. Cities, in other words, tend to get rebuilt no matter what.We've been assured that New Orleans will, too. But, after what promises to be a Herculean clean-up operation, what will the new New Orleans look like? How much will it resemble its antediluvian self?" Boston Globe 09/04/05
Posted: 09/04/2005 4:47 pm
Our Links to Arts and Hurricane Katrina We've compiled a page of aggregated links to hurricane arts-related stories and resources... ArtsJournal
Posted: 09/04/2005 10:08 am
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London Museums See Big Drop In Attendance After Bombings In the wake of the bombings in London this summer, attendance at the city's museums has dropped off considerably. "Overall the seven galleries recorded an average fall of 26% compared with the same week last year. Obviously this has a financial impact, in that less revenue is generated from exhibition tickets, shop sales and catering. The hope must be that numbers will pick up this month and begin returning to normal levels." The Art Newspaper 09/03/05
Posted: 09/04/2005 11:51 am
Modern Western Art Reappears In Iran A collection of modern Western art goes on display in Iran for the first time in 25 years. "The exhibition at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Arts includes works by Van Gogh, Picasso, Gauguin, and Warhol. Most of the 188 works were purchased to further Iran's cultural activities by the wife of the late Shah. But the Shah's fall saw the collection locked away by an Islamic government opposed to Western influence. BBC 09/04/05
Posted: 09/04/2005 9:00 am
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A Tale Of Two Tristans EMI is making the last great studio opera recording - Tristan und Isolde with Placido Domingo. It was recorded in 15 sessions spread over eight weeks and cost about $1 million to make. Another Tristan is also being released of a stage performance by the Royal Swedish Opera on the budget-priced Naxos label. "This was made in six days; the orchestra, conductor, and all but one member of the cast were performing the work in the opera house during the same period, thereby cutting down on the need for session time. The performance is professional, satisfying, and in many respects competitive with EMI's, even though Naxos's Wolfgang Millgram is not a match for Domingo. Amazon.com sells the Naxos version for $22.98." Boston Globe 09/04/05
Posted: 09/04/2005 4:28 pm
The Little Guitar Company That Could "First Act's secret weapon is a line of small guitars in cardboard boxes with see-through plastic fronts. They're sold in the toy departments at Target and Wal-Mart. And they're revolutionizing the market for musical instruments. In the past decade First Act has essentially created the musical instrument niche at the country's mass merchant retailers. In 2004 First Act grossed over $100 million and accounted for more than 90 percent of the market share in instrument sales at such stores." Boston Globe 09/04/05
Posted: 09/04/2005 4:17 pm
Has Cleveland Orchestra Got The Wrong Conductor? Anthony Holden compares orchestras he heard at this summer's Proms and finds the mighty Cleveland Orchestra coming up wanting. "Like a pedigree dog on an over-tight leash, this is a dazzling orchestra with an uptight conductor. Devotees of this mightiest of masses found much to disappoint, from the underwhelming Cleveland chorus to the less than inspirational conducting of Franz Welser-Most (known to our own LPO, with whom he had an unhappy six years in the 1990s, as 'Frankly, Worse Than Most'). His orchestra is one of the world's finest, its strings boasting as much sheen as the Berlin's, its wind players capable of sonic miracles. So why is Welser-Most so "bloodless"? The Observer (UK) 09/04/05
Posted: 09/04/2005 11:45 am
Orchestras' Problems - The Cost Of Tickets? Ticket prices for symphony orchestra concerts have gone up much faster than the rate of inflation in recent decades. "What if what we're talking about here is not a crisis in interest in classical music, but a crisis in what the public is willing to pay for that interest, orchestras nationally need to change the dialogue. Our ticket buyers are affluent, orchestras say. Some are, some aren't. But the relevant question today is not what people are able to pay, but what they're willing to pay. The answer isn't more popular programming (though that's a worthy subject on its own) or punchier adjectives in brochures. It just might be that cheaper tickets would do more to fill houses than an award-winning advertising campaign." Philadelphia Inquirer 09/04/05
Posted: 09/04/2005 11:17 am
Police Investigate Songwriters Guild Royalty Embezzlement Police are investigating an alleged embezzlement of $1.25 million in royalties from the Songwriters Guild of America. "The SGA represents about 5,000 songwriter members and their estates. Members may elect to have the guild collect royalties for them from publishers, collecting societies and others. The SGA collects nearly $16 million in royalties annually and holds about 2 percent of that amount, when it cannot find current addresses for writers." Yahoo! (Billboard) 09/04/05
Posted: 09/04/2005 9:23 am
National Symphony Looks For New Leader What kind of conductor will replace Leonard Slatkin as music director of the National Symphony? Tim Page writes that it's instructive to look at the orchestra's history. "It is too early to speculate with much authority on who will become the sixth music director of the National Symphony Orchestra. Slatkin's contract runs for another three seasons (although he is thought to be actively pursuing other jobs, especially Daniel Barenboim's soon-to-be-vacated position with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra), and the search process is still in its beginning stages." Washington Post 09/04/05
Posted: 09/04/2005 8:48 am
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A List of Damaged New Orleans Landmarks Compiled as of Sunday... Boston Globe (AP) 09/04/05
Posted: 09/04/2005 4:39 pm
What's Happened To The Study Of Arts And Culture? "The need for reliable data, trusted publications, and a familiar meeting place for the arts industries has never been greater. The arts, both high and popular, are being fundamentally reshaped by economic and technological forces that originate outside the field and are largely unknown or misunderstood. The established mechanisms for supporting, producing, distributing, validating and connecting art with a public are mutating rapidly or simply turning obsolete. Meanwhile, surprisingly little collaboration exists within the world of the arts or across disciplines, borders, and oceans to come to terms with this emerging environment." The Art Newspaper 09/03/05
Posted: 09/04/2005 11:58 am
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Fats Domino Safe In Baton Rouge Fats Domino had been reported missing in New Orleans earlier this week, but was rescued and spent the last part of the week sleeping on a couch in an apartment in Baton Rouge. "We've lost everything," said Domino, 77. "I don't know what we're going to do. I never wanted to leave." Washington Post 09/03/05
Posted: 09/04/2005 9:14 am
Israeli Minister Brands Barenboim Anti-Semitic Israel's education minister called Daniel Barenboim anti-Semitic after the conductor refused to be interviewed by a radio reporter wearing a military uniform. Barenboim: "Anti-Semitic? What is anti-Semitic about it? When I say that a uniform should be worn to the right places and not to the wrong ones, there is nothing anti-Semitic about it, there is no logic to this claim. I just thought that in this place, discussing a book written together with a Palestinian, it shows lack of sensitivity." BBC 09/04/05
Posted: 09/04/2005 8:57 am
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Ave. Q - Twice A Night On The Strip Avenue Q is about to open in its permanent home in Las Vegas. "While the theater, stage and puppets will probably impress, the show's success rests on the two Las Vegas casts that will perform twice a night, five days a week. Finding the right mix of actors who can dance, sing and work the puppets was an enormous challenge. It took a nationwide casting search more than a year to complete both companies." Backstage 09/04/05
Posted: 09/04/2005 11:31 am
A Pulitzer Finalist Gets Some Traction Sarah Ruhl's play "The Clean House," a comedy "about house cleaning and mortality," hasn't been seen yet in New York, but it's already been "(ahem) sweeping the country. Companies from coast to coast and beyond are putting this 2005 Pulitzer finalist on the boards, with the play's New York debut at Lincoln Center still a full year away." Washington Post 09/04/05
Posted: 09/04/2005 9:08 am
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Book Challenges At American Libraries Up The number of attempts to remove books from America's public libraries has jumped in the past year. "The number of books challenged last year jumped to 547, compared to 458 in 2003, with the library association estimating four to five unreported cases for each one documented. According to the ALA, a challenge is a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness." Yahoo! (AP) 09/04/05
Posted: 09/04/2005 9:29 am
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Can California Afford Movie Tax Breaks? The California legislature is considering a bill that would give tax breaks to the movie industry and cost the state too much. "Opponents in Sacramento, citing data that shows entertainment jobs have increased compared to other industries, claim the state can't afford to lose the $50 million needed to fund the program, especially, they say, because Schwarzenegger's 2004–05 budget dramatically cut funds for schools and social services. Backstage 09/04/05
Posted: 09/04/2005 11:34 am
Soderburgh Slams Reality TV Director Steven Soderburgh says reality TV is less real than scripted movies or TV. Soderbergh slammed reality TV for being "as far from reality as you can imagine and more fictionalized than the movies you see." "They're forcing the issue onto characters," Soderbergh said, contending reality TV's goal is to "force these people to be humiliated." Yahoo! (AP) 09/04/05
Posted: 09/04/2005 9:18 am
NBC Edits Out Statement Critical Of Bush NBC edits out a comment criticl of George Bush by singer Kanye West on the network's hurricane relief telethon Saturday night. "By censoring Grammy-winning rapper Kanye West's remarks critical of President Bush during its West Coast feed of the program Friday night, the network violated the most moving and essential moment in an otherwise sterile, self-serving corporate broadcast." Los Angeles Times 09/04/05
Posted: 09/04/2005 7:51 am
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Prokofiev's Cinderella In A Brothel? Permission Denied! The Latvian National Opera has been prohibited by the Sergei Prokoviev estate from performing its production of the composer's ballet Cinderella after setting the classic children's story in a brothel. "Prokofiev's family feels very strongly that if you are going to present a new storyline, you should employ one of the many talented new composers to write new music for you." BBC 09/01/05
Posted: 09/01/2005 7:43 am
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