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Monday, September 12

Visual Arts

Giving Up On Ground Zero Quality? Project after project has been foiled at the site of the old World Trade Center. "On this anniversary weekend, it may be time to face up to what few have wanted to acknowledge: that nothing of value can be built at ground zero while the anguish and anxiety remain so fresh - nor while political and economic forces are eager to exploit those emotions." The New York Times 09/12/05
Posted: 09/12/2005 6:55 am

British/China Art Deal - Does It Harm Tibet? Does Britain's major deal with China to trade archaeological treasures damage Tibet's culture? "By lending their prestigious names to the Chinese government, the British Museum and others implicitly sanction Beijing's cultural policy and, with it, the ongoing artistic, linguistic and religious genocide in Tibet. Over the past 10 years, mainland China has rediscovered its pre-communist past. The iconoclastic modernism of the Great Leap Forward has been replaced by official respect for China's ancient civilisation. But this admiration for heritage has come too late for the people of Tibet." The Guardian (UK) 09/11/05
Posted: 09/11/2005 7:52 pm

World's Greatest Painting? (Time To Vote) Fresh off the success of polling for Britain's greatest painting, producers intend to export the idea worldwide. "Voters will be asked to discriminate between Picasso and Pollock, Botticelli and Bosch, in the latest manifestation of the trend to popularise high culture by applying the voting principles of Big Brother. The global success of television formats such as Pop Idol, Big Brother and Strictly Come Dancing has shown an appetite for interactive entertainment formats that can be replicated internationally." The Guardian (UK) 09/10/05
Posted: 09/11/2005 7:21 pm

Serota: Reimagining The Tate Tate director Nicholas Serota has big plans for the Tate. "He plans a radical unseating of painting and sculpture from their positions as the "king and queen" of art. In addition, he aims to create a Tate that "does not appear monocultural" but reflects a "broader British society, in all its richness". His ambition also includes representing the full depth of contemporary life, such as club culture." The Guardian (UK) 09/12/05
Posted: 09/11/2005 7:16 pm

Families Protest Freedom Museum A group of 9/11 families rallies against plans for a Freedom Center Museum at the site of the World Trade Center in New York. "Family members worry the International Freedom Center will take attention away from those who died in the attack. They said the museum should not be allowed to show exhibits about struggles for freedom around the world. 'These are important stories to tell. Elsewhere, not at America's memorial'." Denver Post (AP) `09/11/05
Posted: 09/11/2005 6:55 pm

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What's Wrong With Today's Music Conservatories "The conservatory's emphasis is on one overriding subject: How to survive and succeed at an audition. Much time is devoted to teaching a student to stress the tried and true and to value unchanging metrical lines above expressiveness and rubato. The best performer is the one who can play a cliche in the most reliable manner. As a result, students pursue a gingerly course. This is now so entrenched in the nation's top schools that many of the soloists below the age of 35 I hear in concert are guilty of plodding and ciphering; they trudge through the music unscathed but without communicating its substantive meaning." New York Sun 09/12/05
Posted: 09/12/2005 9:20 am

Chicago's Weekend Of Free Music "Blockbuster Weekend was how the City of Chicago billed its trifecta of free performances that included concerts by members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on Sunday afternoon and the Lyric Opera of Chicago on Saturday night. Each event attracted blockbuster crowds -- some 10,000 for the CSO and 12,000 for the Lyric, according to a city spokeswoman. Now, all the symphony and opera have to do is translate that great wave of popular enthusiasm into paying customers, and nobody will be crying deficit." Chicago Tribune 09/12/05
Posted: 09/12/2005 8:57 am

Indies Score A Bigger Share Independently-produced recordings are getting a greater share of the music market in the UK. "Almost a third of UK albums that went silver, gold or platinum in 2004 came from independent labels, according to figures next week from the Association of Independent Music (AIM)." The Observer (UK) 09/11/05
Posted: 09/11/2005 7:18 pm

Denver Celebrates New Opera House Denver opens a new opera house - the Ellie Caulkins Opera House to pomp and ceremony. "One couldn't help noticing that this gathering of old Denver really was old Denver, but Mayor John Hickenlooper said the opera house "will bring in a new generation and give them new reasons to be proud of their city." Denver Post 09/11/05
Posted: 09/11/2005 6:58 pm

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Arts Issues

After Katrina - Where The Artists Went "Since Katrina slammed into this region of soggy landscapes and resolute people, Baton Rouge has become a temporary command center for businesses and planners drawing up blueprints for the area's comeback. Many artists, on the other hand, have passed over the buttoned-down state capital and headed for laid-back Lafayette. It's likely that hundreds, if not thousands, of musicians, artists, photographers, writers, designers and other creative talents have fled New Orleans in Katrina's wake, both the world-famous and the not-so-famous. Some have strayed as far away as Memphis, Nashville, Houston, New York and Los Angeles." Los Angeles Times 09/12/05
Posted: 09/12/2005 8:53 am

Culture After The Storm Hurricane Katrina disrupted the culture of the Gulf Coast. But it's also had a subtle effect on the arts across the US... Los Angeles Times 09/12/05
Posted: 09/12/2005 8:50 am

Attacking The Premise (Artist Response To Tregedy) A conference in New York about artists' responses to 9/11 was attacked in advance. "The conference was built on the solid premise that mourning and remembrance evolve over time, and that art of all kinds - challenging, comforting, even rude - is a valuable element in the process. That doesn't deny that the grief is still raw for many people, and may always be. But the media attacks on the show were hardly about grief. At best they display a yahooism that says art doesn't matter, at worst a political agenda that says anti-government opinions have no place in any event linked to 9/11." The New York Times 09/12/05
Posted: 09/12/2005 6:37 am

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Spacey Stamps The Vic Kevin Spacey had a rough reception in his first year running London's Old Vic Theatre. "Spacey, 46, is committed to a plan to re-establish the Old Vic as the leading popular theatre in London. 'My commitment here is for 10 years. It will take five to establish myself and build up the audience who come and see the work. I will have been on stage here this year for 36 weeks in three plays. I took six weeks out to shoot the new Superman movie. That to me is the right balance. The movies are not my first priority - the theatre is'." The Observer (UK) 09/11/05
Posted: 09/11/2005 7:12 pm

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Bee-ing Profitable "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" becomes the first show of the 2004-05 season on Broadway to become profitable. The show's producer said on Friday that he had returned his show's $3.5 million capitalization 18 weeks after opening on Broadway, a remarkably quick return for a new musical. For David Stone, who is also a producer of the hit musical "Wicked," the success of "Spelling Bee" is a testament to the power of word of mouth." The New York Times 09/12/05
Posted: 09/12/2005 6:42 am

Mike Leigh's New Play Opens "The preview of Two Thousand Years, Leigh's first foray into theatre for 12 years, was enthusiastically received at the National Theatre on Saturday night. With all 16,000 tickets for the entire 20-week run of the mystery play sold out, queues formed at 6am for 30 extra tickets. The play zipped across the political terrain of Israel, Iraq, withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and even the floods in New Orleans, as Leigh, 62, perhaps proved why the first performance was suddenly postponed last Thursday: it was clear the author of Abigail's Party and Secrets & Lies was still writing it." The Guardian (UK) 09/12/05
Posted: 09/11/2005 8:49 pm

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Leading Poet On Trial In India For Insulting Goddess A leading Bengali poet has been ordered to stand trial for insulting a Hindi goddess. "In an article in Bengal's biggest newspaper this year, Sunil Gangopadhyay was quoted as saying he was "sexually aroused" by an idol of Saraswati. Retired policeman Bhibhuti Bhusan Nandy filed a lawsuit saying the comments had hurt his religious sentiments." BBC 09/12/05
Posted: 09/12/2005 6:26 am

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Get Your Video Game By... Book "In the last few years, publishers have taken a cue from the booming world of fan fiction and have begun commissioning novels based on famous games. It's now such a successful cottage industry that when you wander into any Barnes & Noble, there are shelves groaning under the weight of books written from Resident Evil, Halo, Tomb Raider and MechWarrior. Consider it the ultimate port: cutting-edge digital entertainment delivered via a media platform that's 200 years old." Wired 09/12/05
Posted: 09/12/2005 6:59 am

Pirated DVDs On The Rise In UK The number of pirated DVDs made and seized in the UK is up 133 perfcent in the first half of this year. Police "seized 386,569 UK-made fake DVDs from January to June, as UK seizures of pirate DVDs from abroad fell. UK criminals earn 600m per year from pirate DVDs, an anti-piracy campaign fronted by TV host Jonathan Ross said." BBC 09/12/05
Posted: 09/12/2005 6:22 am

Will Venice Film Fest Be Homeless? The Venice Film Festival has an uncertain future. "Plans to replace the festival's current home have stalled once again and there is increasing uncertainty as plans for a new iceberg-shaped Palace of Cinema remain at the drawing board stage. 'It is a question of money, and we should not be ashamed. Cinema is, after all, an industry'." BBC 09/12/05
Posted: 09/11/2005 8:55 pm

Fallen Idol - The Fake Talent Shows Why are bad talent shows such hot business on TV? "Who's to blame for those gladiatorial talent shows if not the millions of people who ring in to register their votes? Light entertainment is now a slave to the users of mobile phones, which allows you to understand why phone companies are falling over themselves to sponsor these shows and raise their profits. It's a fake new democracy: people get to vote for their favourite bad singer and feel they're involved in creating an entertainment phenomenon, while raising their own personal connection to the processes of fame." The Telegraph (UK) 09/11/05
Posted: 09/11/2005 8:24 pm

A "Sound of Music" Museum? The city of Salzburg is considering building a museum for "The Sound of Music." "Discussions are under way to create a centre about the Von Trapp family, whose story was told in the 1965 Hollywood classic about a family singing troupe that flees the Nazis. Around 300,000 people visit Salzburg each year simply because of the movie." The Globe & Mail (AP) 09/11/05
Posted: 09/11/2005 12:19 pm

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Mason - Remaking The Royal Ballet Three years ago Monica Mason took over an ailing Royal Ballet in London. "Since taking on the top job, she has made many improvements. She has calmed an unsettled company, helped an exciting and talented set of dancers to dance better, and made judicious and interesting choices in the repertoire she has revived." The Telegraph (UK) 09/11/05
Posted: 09/11/2005 8:19 pm

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