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Weekend, March 11-12


Inspired By... What, Exactly? Every artist, actor, writer, and musician talks about it, but what is this mysterious thing called 'inspiration'? "If you are a religious believer of any denomination you know, or at least you have words for, where your inspiration comes from, however mysterious it may seem... But for the more secular-minded there is not much language to talk about inspiration without beginning to sound a bit mystical, reliant on some powerful source or force that can't quite be named but can't quite be ignored." The Observer (UK) 03/12/06
Posted: 03/12/2006 11:42 am

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Visual Arts

When Paul Met Vincent... "In 1888, Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin spent nine weeks living together in Arles. It was a time of astonishing creativity, culminating in a catastrophic falling-out." A new book gets into the nitty-gritty of the relationship between the two masters and finds a collaboration that was far more than the sum of its parts. The Telegraph (UK) 03/11/06
Posted: 03/12/2006 11:49 am

Nudity? Cool! Oh, It's A Dude? Hmm. "Probably nothing so alienates us from the high art of the European past as its most prestigious subject - the male nude. Visit any old European museum, from Naples to Bloomsbury, and they have more marble statues of disrobed gods and heroes than they can reasonably display. Once these nudes were considered the apex of European culture. Today we don't really know what to do with them." The Guardian (UK) 03/11/06
Posted: 03/12/2006 11:31 am

Can Tijuana's Slums Lure America Back From The Sprawl? Mexico's shantytowns might seem an unlikely inspiration for a high-statuts architect, but for one suburban California designer, the low-cost Tijuana communities born of necessity represent a possible antidote to Southern Cal's plague of gated communities and endless sprawl. "It's not that he romanticizes poverty: he recognizes the filth and clutter, the lack of light and air, that were the main targets of Modernism nearly a century ago. But by approaching Tijuana's shantytowns with an open mind, he can extract a viable strategy for development that is rooted in local traditions." The New York Times 03/12/06
Posted: 03/12/2006 10:57 am

It's Your Museum. Play With It. "The Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum is about to take its Web site where no museum has gone before. Where that is isn't absolutely clear, but it merits getting excited about. The so-called 'online national design museum' promises to open the museum and its vast collection to visitors anywhere in the world. What's more, if development can keep up with vision, the site will turn museumgoers into participants in a bold cultural experiment." Specifically, visitors to the site will be able to add and manipulate content, Wiki-style. Will it work? No one really knows. Washington Post 03/11/06
Posted: 03/12/2006 10:03 am

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The Real Mozart "Mozart has come not just to represent musical beauty but, in a way, to define it." But what about in the composer's own time? Certainly, many of the legends about poverty and despair have been overblown, but Mozart was a complicated figure in 18th-century Vienna, and his professional fortunes reflected that. Still, "the people in the streets never abandoned him." The New York Times 03/12/06
Posted: 03/12/2006 10:45 am

Levine To Be Out For Months James Levine's shoulder injury will require surgery, forcing the maestro to cancel the remainder of this season's engagements with the Metropolitan Opera and the Boston Symphony. He hopes to be fully recovered in time for the BSO's summer season at Tanglewood. Both organizations are scrambling to find replacements. The New York Times 03/12/06
Posted: 03/12/2006 10:28 am

  • The Great Conductor Bug Of '06 What is it this year with the conductors? If they're not falling off the podium (James Levine) or losing their sense of balance (Daniel Barenboim), they're coming down with shingles (Seiji Ozawa) or bronchitis (Christoph von Dohnanyi). "Have the terrorists (or maybe a cabal of ambitious assistant conductors) launched a stealth attack against Western classical music?" Boston Herald 03/11/06
    Posted: 03/12/2006 10:14 am

  • Still Heard, If Not Seen James Levine's absence from the touring podium of the Boston Symphony is, of course, eminently noticable as the orchestra works its way down the East Coast under fill-in David Robertson. But Philip Kennicott says that Levine's most important work has never been what he does in concert, anyway, and as a result, his actual physical presence isn't required for his influence to be heard. Washington Post 03/11/06
    Posted: 03/12/2006 9:51 am

Toscanini's Comeback Arturo Toscanini was already in his eighties when NBC began a seven-year series of live telecasts of the maestro and his NBC Symphony Orchestra. "This was the first major attempt to bring symphonic music to television; the Leonard Bernstein 'Young People's Concerts' began in the late '50s. Now virtually all of Toscanini's television work has been reissued on five DVDs by the enterprising Testament label, and it provides a terrific answer to that perpetual question: 'What is it that a conductor does, exactly?'" Washington Post 03/11/06
Posted: 03/12/2006 8:21 am

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Arts Issues

Philanthropy As Local PR When arts groups go looking for funding, they traditionally look to local companies and individuals with deep pockets. But some huge global corporations have been getting into the arts funding game in a big way recently, partly as a way of showing their commitment to local communities even as they struggle against the perception of "big box" retailers as generic and lifeless. Washington Post 03/11/06
Posted: 03/12/2006 10:10 am

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The vision: A city arts center SACRAMENTO BEE 3-09-2006
Row over Israeli tolerance museum BBC News 2/17/2006
The Cartoon Crisis GothamGazette.com 02/06
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Seeing The Big Picture, And Showing It To The Rest Of Us Gordon Parks, the photographer and filmmaker who died last week at 93, was a master at finding the inherent truth in any situation, and his photographs told stories far bigger than the events they captured. "In the end this could be the true source of Gordon Parks' great appeal -- his ability to find the universal significance in one person's story, whether that of a boy in the barrios of Rio de Janeiro, or a gang leader from Harlem, and put that story in a form that the relentlessly mainstream middle class readers of Life could see and understand." Chicago Tribune 03/12/06
Posted: 03/12/2006 11:22 am

Fox Steps Out Of The Freying Pan Disgraced memoirist James Frey's Hollywood dreams may be as dead as his credibility. "Before Oprah Winfrey castigated Frey for 'duping' her with his book earlier this year, the writer sold Fox a script for a one-hour, apparently tongue-in-cheek crime drama." But in the wake of all the negative publicity surrounding Frey, "Fox has quietly killed the pilot." Los Angeles Times (first item) 03/11/06
Posted: 03/12/2006 9:31 am

Anna Moffo, 73 Glamorous soprano Anna Moffo, who starred on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera for more than two decades, has died at her home in New York, aged 73. Moffo's career was memorable but short - her voice deteriorated badly and forced her to retire from the stage while still in her 40s. Dallas Morning News (AP) 03/11/06
Posted: 03/12/2006 9:25 am

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Canadian Stopgap For Billy? "Is Billy Elliot, the biggest hit now on the London stage, going to open in Toronto before New York? That depends on whom you talk to." Promoters are downplaying the idea after it was initially reported in a New York tabloid, but according to sources in Toronto, many performers are being told to "keep their schedules clear" for the show. Toronto Star 03/11/06
Posted: 03/12/2006 9:45 am

On The Fringes Of Success There was a time when the only real gain you could achieve by being included in the New York Fringe Festival was the satisfaction of a job well done, and hopefully, a few tepid reviews. But ever since Urinetown leaped from the Fringe to Broadway back in 1999, the festival has become a whole new ball game, with any number of people keeping score. The New York Times 03/11/06
Posted: 03/12/2006 9:18 am

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Homeless New Orleans Publisher Auctions Off His Treasures "An auction of first-edition books, handwritten manuscripts and letters by Beat Generation writers Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and Charles Bukowski raised $225,000 in San Francisco to benefit a publisher left homeless by Hurricane Katrina." Los Angeles Times 03/11/06
Posted: 03/12/2006 9:36 am

Fireworks At DaVinci Trial "Heated verbal exchanges erupted yesterday in the closing stages of the Da Vinci Code copyright court case, in which two historians are accusing author Dan Brown of lifting their research in his bestseller." Boston Globe (first item) 03/11/06
Posted: 03/12/2006 9:23 am

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The Best Of The Not-Quites The late 1960s and early '70s were a period of major transition for Hollywood, and a large number of films which might have been hailed as classics in today's watered-down movie landscape instead fell through the cracks. This week in LA, American Cinematheque is mounting a festival of films from the "New Hollywood" era that, for one reason or another, never quite made it into the filmmaking canon. Los Angeles Times 03/12/06
Posted: 03/12/2006 12:02 pm

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Is Boston Ballet Back? "With the world premiere Thursday of 'Up and Down' by Mark Morris, the Boston Ballet celebrates an important milestone in its relationship with the renowned choreographer -- one that it could not have reached a few years ago, before artistic director Mikko Nissinen came to town." Specifically, the company believes it has completed its comeback, and is again ready to rank with the top ballets in the country. The always-outspoken Morris appears to agree. Boston Globe 03/12/06
Posted: 03/12/2006 11:13 am

The Rise Of Physical Theater Where does dance end and theater begin? And does it actually matter? John Rockwell has been sampling some of the UK's wide-ranging dance scene recently, and "from an outsider's perspective, it was surprising how ubiquitous 'physical theater' is in Britain today. The term means, in the most rudimentary terms, theatrical dance, or dance with implied theatrical elements, or theater expressed primarily through movement... But nearly all British choreographers seem to incorporate overt theatricality, sometimes so much so that they try to pretend that they aren't doing dance anymore at all." The New York Times 03/12/06
Posted: 03/12/2006 11:01 am

Youth In Charge The job of ballet conductor is far more than a simple stick-waving exercise. Synchronizing music and dance is a tremendously difficult undertaking, and it takes a cool head and a keen eye to adjust an entire orchestra to the sometimes unpredictable whims of the performers on stage. So it was a bit of a surprise when San Francisco Ballet tapped an unusually young man to be its new pit conductor, but 37-year-old Martin West loves a challenge, and initial reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. San Francisco Chronicle 03/11/06
Posted: 03/12/2006 9:38 am

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