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Wednesday, March 1


Abbreviations and the Verbing of Everything Do Not A Language Make "Computer-speak is not just a dialect or vocabulary -- it has grammatical principles all its own. That's the claim in the current issue of English Today... But [the] suggestion that the grammar of e-English is new or different doesn't hold up," and Nathan Bierma can prove it. Chicago Tribune 03/01/06
Posted: 03/01/2006 6:35 am

What The 1st Amendment Needs Is A Hit TV Show A new study clearly designed to shock Americans into a higher sense of civic responsibility has revealed that more of us can name the members of TV's Simpson family than can name more than one of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment. (Yes, there are five. Look it up.) In other stunning news, ArtsJournal has learned that more Americans are familiar with the work of Jon Stewart than can recite a Walt Whitman poem from memory. Chicago Sun-Times (AP) 03/01/06
Posted: 03/01/2006 6:21 am

Is Scots A Language? "There are any number of Scots words still in common use, but most public discourse [in Scotland] is conducted in the language England still calls its own. It is still possible, meanwhile, to find any number of otherwise distinguished English academics who dismiss all claims for Scots." So the question remains: "Is the leid a real language, or merely 'the bastard offspring of a superior tongue?'" The Herald (Glasgow) 03/01/06
Posted: 02/28/2006 8:59 pm

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Visual Arts

Value To Be Determined By Expert Blather Art prices have been skyrocketing in recent years, and not only in the case of works by the old masters. "Boosted by an influx of Asian buyers keen to hoover up the classics of the modernist canon, the recent sales at Sotheby’s and Christie’s in London broke many records," and the new high water marks likely won't last long. But commerce aside, assigning value to art is a tricky business, especially in the long term, because "by far the most important factor in making art works valuable is what experts say and write about them." The Times (UK) 03/01/06
Posted: 02/28/2006 9:13 pm

Those Shadowy Auction Winners "One of the great contradictions of the art market is that it simultaneously has a thirst for publicity and an obsession with secrecy... Once a work of art has been sold, a veil begins to descend. Auction houses often trumpet big prices, yet they rarely reveal details about buyers. Meanwhile, dealers at fairs often refuse to confirm that a sale has taken place, let alone identify their clients. Artworks suddenly move out of sight into the discreet world of anonymous collectors, sometimes vanishing for generations." So a new book devoted entirely to some of the world's more reclusive collectors is bound to make a big splash. The Telegraph (UK) 03/01/06
Posted: 02/28/2006 9:06 pm

The Story Behind The Oils Most art collectors are content merely to own a painting, and perhaps to look at it on a regular basis. But when Mark Archer purchased a portrait of a woman in a red scarf for £2,800 at the London Art Fair two years ago, he found that the painting would not leave him alone. His investigation into the relatively obscure artist and her subject led to an intriguing storyline involving obsessive love, public nudity, and a tragic suicide. Financial Times (UK) 02/28/06
Posted: 02/28/2006 8:23 pm

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Two Opera Companies Form Partnership (But Don't Call It A Merger!) "The Pittsburgh Opera and Opera Theater of Pittsburgh yesterday announced they have entered into an artistic and marketing collaboration beginning in the 2006-07 season. But they are not merging, a move that has been tried in the past... A merger has been rumored since Pittsburgh Opera announced that its production next season of The Magic Flute will be directed by Opera Theater's head, Jonathan Eaton."
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 03/01/06
Posted: 03/01/2006 6:54 am

Smithsonian To Get Down With Its Bad Self You would never mistake the staid and distinguished Smithsonian Institution for the Rock Hall of Fame, but "at an emotional and at times rowdy news conference yesterday at the Hilton New York, a group of hip-hop pioneers gathered beside the dark-suited, white-gloved Smithsonian staff to announce a plan for a major new collection devoted to the music. Called 'Hip-Hop Won't Stop: The Beat, the Rhymes, the Life,' it is to be a broad sampling of memorabilia, from boomboxes and vinyl albums to handwritten lyrics and painted jeans jackets, as well as multimedia exhibits and oral histories." The New York Times 03/01/06
Posted: 03/01/2006 5:39 am

Are Louisville Orch's Execs Out Of Their Depth? ArtsJournal blogger Drew McManus says that there's absolutely no reason that the Louisville Orchestra can't find its way out of the fiscal hole it is in, but "ignorance, inexperience, and financial stress were conspiring to damn the negotiations [on a new musicians' contract] before they began." Neither the orchestra's board chair nor its executive director have ever participated in a collective bargaining process before, and the lack of experience apparently led them to lash out in anger the moment the musicians declined to immediately accept their terms. Adaptistration (AJ Blogs) 03/01/06
Posted: 02/28/2006 9:26 pm

  • Previously: The Louisville Score: Obstinacy 1, Mediation 0 Three days of mediated talks between the musicians and management of the Louisville Orchestra have yielded no breakthroughs, but both sides have agreed to meet again as soon as possible. As things stand, the orchestra's president is still threatening to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy (that's the permanent kind) by April 1 if the musicians do not accept a new contract under which the size of the orchestra would be significantly cut back. The musicians continue to believe that the board is ignoring other options for balancing its books in favor of forcing the players into a corner. Louisville Courier-Journal 2/27/06

You Mean They're Singing Words? Should operas performed in English still have surtitles projected above the stage? It sounds like a silly question, unless, of course, you've ever been to an opera ostensibly sung in English. Now, English National Opera, which translates all its operas into English and once had its director declare that he would "bomb the London Coliseum" if surtitles were introduced, has quietly begun using them. Not everyone is happy, but a few diehard surtitle haters have begun to admit that they could be won over. Culture Vulture (The Guardian) 02/28/06
Posted: 02/28/2006 8:51 pm

The Perfect Operatic Protagonist? Opera being the deranged parade of dysfunctionality that it is, there are certain literary characters to which composers find themselves inexorably drawn, and the more licentious and distasteful the rogue, the better. Perhaps the king of all operatic louts is Falstaff, "a fat everyman who gleefully clings to life, despite its often appalling cruelties." The Guardian (UK) 03/01/06
Posted: 02/28/2006 8:43 pm

Juilliard Given Priceless Collection New York's Juilliard School has been given a treasure trove of original scores, notes, and manuscripts by some of the greatest composers who ever lived. "Many of the manuscripts have been unavailable for generations and could be a significant source of new insight for scholars and performers." The 139-piece collection, which is considered priceless and includes an original score for Beethoven's 9th Symphony, "is so large that Juilliard is building a special room for the manuscripts" as part of a larger renovation to be completed in 2009. The New York Times 03/01/06
Posted: 02/28/2006 7:07 pm

  • What'd They Get? Here's a partial list of the scores and manuscripts included in the Juilliard collection... Washington Post (AP) 02/28/06
    Posted: 02/28/2006 7:05 pm

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Arts Issues

Darwin In New York Twenty years ago, it would have been thought laughable that the theory of evolution might once again come under attack in U.S. society. But Darwin is a hot-button issue in 21st-century America, and the creationists (or whatever they're calling themselves now) seem to be winning over a large chunk of the country. So it probably shouldn't be a surprise that New York's Museum of Natural History thought that now might not be a bad time for a refresher course on the man, the theory, and the difference between research and guessing. Wired 03/01/06
Posted: 03/01/2006 5:54 am

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Row over Israeli tolerance museum BBC News 2/17/2006
The Cartoon Crisis GothamGazette.com 02/06
The Washington Post Freelancer's Guide to Not Getting Fired Washington City Paper 2/16/06
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Putting Art Thieves On His List One of the most successful crusaders for the restoration of stolen and looted art turns out not even to be all that big an art aficionado. But there's no question in anyone's mind that Julian Radcliffe and his Art Loss Register have been extremely successful at reuniting art with its rightful owners. To date, the Radcliffe has had a hand in the restoration of more than $100 million worth of art, and the register now catalogs more than 170,000 items worldwide. The Christian Science Monitor (Boston) 03/01/06
Posted: 03/01/2006 6:36 am

Jowell Inquiry Wider Than First Thought The investigation of UK Culture Minister Tessa Jowell and her husband has widened beyond its initial scope, which was focused on a bribe alleged to have been paid to the couple by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The newly broadened inquiry will also now focus on a "secretive offshore investment fund" in which the Jowells had invested as much as £400,000. At issue is not only whether the couple's financial activities were legal, but whether they adhered to the UK's code of conduct for elected officials. The Guardian (UK) 03/01/06
Posted: 02/28/2006 8:35 pm

The Complicated Legacy of Miles Over the course of his long career, Miles Davis went from the embodiment of traditional jazz to its antithesis, becoming a psychedelic free-form musician bent on dragging the world along with him. "But Davis was always more than a mere trumpet stylist with an eye for a trend. He was a conceptualist, with a clear vision of how jazz works and how it should relate to the popular pulse. He pulled around him a succession of musicians, arrangers and producers who understood jazz to be a collective process, making him, if nothing else, an organiser of great innovative bands. Indeed, it was not until the 1980s that the trumpet sound and phrasing techniques he had been honing and experimenting with for decades became ubiquitous." Financial Times (UK) 02/28/06
Posted: 02/28/2006 8:30 pm

UK Playwright Recovering From Stroke Well-known British playwright Sir Alan Ayckbourn has suffered a stroke and is recuperating in a hospital. "The 66-year-old's best-known works include The Norman Conquests trilogy and A Chorus of Disapproval." BBC 03/01/06
Posted: 02/28/2006 8:17 pm

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(Inspired) By The Bard One of the Shakespearean legends that has sprung up over the centuries is the existence of a lost play, The History of Cardenio, based on Don Quixote and lost to the mists of time since at least the 18th century. No one is certain what became of the original, but one scholar from Florida has been working feverishly to reconstruct the play from what little source material remains. It's a controversial project, since the reconstructed play can never hope to be authentic, but some scholars say its worth some inaccuracy to get a glimpse of what Shakespeare might have written. The New York Times 03/01/06
Posted: 03/01/2006 5:43 am

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DaVinci Defense: You Can't Be Robbed Of What Isn't Yours As the copyright infringement case against DaVinci Code author Dan Brown continues in London, it has become clear that Brown's defense team plans to argue that the ideas the plaintiffs claim were stolen from them are so general that their use does not constitute a violation. Brown does acknowledge that he added some elements to the novel after reading The Holy Blood & The Holy Grail, but says that the ideas were not original to that book's authors anyway. The Globe & Mail (AP) 03/01/06
Posted: 03/01/2006 6:47 am

NY Library Buys Into Burroughs The New York Public Library has purchased an extensive personal archive by the author William S. Burroughs. Burroughs is best known for the controversial novel, Naked Lunch, which was at the center of a landmark court case on censorship in the 1960s. The archive, which includes 11,000 pages of written material, will join Jack Kerouac's papers in the library's collection, making it "perhaps the premier institution for the study of the Beats." The New York Times 03/01/06
Posted: 03/01/2006 5:32 am

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Anyone Remember When We Used Cell Phones To Call People? A Canadian company specializing in mobile phone content has announced plans for a new film festival, to be held entirely in the palm of your hand. "Mobifest aims to bring fame and notoriety to the little-known art of the so-called 'pocket films' that are beginning to take the world by storm... The festival welcomes mobile filmmakers from around the world. All film must be 60 seconds or less, and shot and created specifically for the small screen, either using mobile phone, smartphone or other handheld device." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 03/01/06
Posted: 03/01/2006 6:43 am

Global Distribution and Creative Control? Why, It's Madness! "The clash between a musician's creative impulses and the commercial imperatives that drive record companies is as old as recorded sound itself. Artists make the music and labels sell it, promoting and marketing it to the masses and reaping the lion's share of the profits. The online music revolution has begun rewriting that equation... yet most digital music distributors still perpetuate the record company business model, grabbing a healthy chunk of an artist's online sales." One Boston entrepreneur is hoping to change that model, offering a new service which allows musicians to make their songs available on iTunes and other online services while retaining copyright control. Boston Globe 03/01/06
Posted: 03/01/2006 6:15 am

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What's The Hold-Up In D.C.? Washington Ballet "has been on hiatus since mid-December, when negotiations on a first-time union contract for the dancers turned sour. Among the issues still unresolved: how the school's students will be used in professional productions, how many dancers will be in the company, and terms of employment. By all accounts, these are standard fare for the negotiating table. In other dance companies, somehow a balance of interests is achieved and shows go on. So what's holding up the Washington Ballet? A year after its dancers joined a union to correct what they say were poor working conditions, and after months of negotiating an employment contract, why is there no deal? And no dancing?" Washington Post 03/01/06
Posted: 03/01/2006 6:58 am

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