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Monday, March 13


The Cult Of Cool we've wanted to be "cool" now for 50 years. "No other cultural phenomenon in the United States has lasted so long. None has determined so powerfully how we want to be thought of. And even the geekiest among us, the proudest and most combative of misfits, lepers with ulcerated noses forever pressed to the glass, have at one time or another allowed it to influence their decisions. It is that much an American standard." Chicago Tribune 03/12/06
Posted: 03/12/2006 6:34 pm

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

Maastricht Updates Maastricht's art fair of Old Masters is modernizing. "In an effort to capitalize on the tremendous growth of the modern-art market, the show's organizers are out to carve a niche that they hope will make the European Fine Art Fair a new destination for lovers of modern and contemporary art. This year, in addition to the usual world-class collection of old-master paintings there are prime examples of works by Picasso, Magritte, Mondrian, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Claes Oldenburg. They are being shown by blue-chip galleries, all newcomers to the show this year." The New York Times 03/13/06
Posted: 03/13/2006 8:46 am

The Palace Restoration No One Wanted Yemen's Amiriya Palace was built 400 years ago, but abandoned only 13 years later. For centuries it was ignored and abused until an archaeologist came along in the 1980s and insisted it be restored. It was the restoration no one wanted, but as the decades went on and the work continued, a real treasure emerged... The Guardian (UK) 03/11/06
Posted: 03/12/2006 6:44 pm

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

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Juilliard Library Gets Ready For New Role Juilliard's library is getting ready for an unfamiliar role after landing a major trove of important music manuscripts. "Many of the manuscripts await the scrutiny of salivating scholars, who are ready to mine them in service to musicology. Juilliard has promised to make them available. 'Julliard, to my knowledge, has never been in the position of having to share such a treasure trove with the public, which will be beating a path to their door'." The New York Times 03/13/06
Posted: 03/13/2006 8:34 am

Ringtones Under Glass As a fundraiseer, the American Composers Orchestra is auctioning mobile-phone ringtones created by Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Laurie Anderson, and other composers as part of its spring fundraiser. PlaybillArts 03/12/06
Posted: 03/13/2006 8:33 am

Big Step - Pacific Symphony's Europe Tour Orange County's Pacific Symphony is heading to Europe for its first tour. The orchestra has been talking about going on a tour for about a decade. But until recently it wasn't thought that the orchestra was ready for one, financially or artistically. Orange County Register 03/12/06
Posted: 03/13/2006 8:18 am

The New Great American Symphony? It's John Adams' "Naive and Sentimental Music" (note it doesn't say "symphony" in the title). "This three-movement, 45-minute 'emphatically tonal' piece can't escape its own nature though, though. 'It sounds like a symphony and it behaves like one, so it probably is,' admits Adams. Nor can its modest author escape the accolades that have followed his work." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 03/12/06
Posted: 03/12/2006 8:45 pm

Decades Into The Minimalism Thing... The Los Angeles Philharmonic mounts the first retrospective survey of Minimalism by a major orchestra. Minimalism now seems old hat, but back in the late 60s, writes Mark Swed, it was something to capture the imagination... Los Angeles Times 03/12/06
Posted: 03/12/2006 6:26 pm

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Arts Issues

Canadian Arts Groups Score Big Tax Win Canadian arts groups have won a court ruling that allows them to classify the artists they hire as contract workers rather than employees. The ruling will save the arts groups a lot of money. "Earlier Revenue Canada rulings had hit arts groups such as the Thunder Bay Symphony hard, demanding thousands of dollars in Employment Insurance and pension contributions that drove them near bankruptcy." CBC 03/12/06
Posted: 03/13/2006 8:29 am

Finalists For This Year's Criticism Pulitzer This year's Pulitzer Prize finalists for criticism? Tyler Green has the early word... Modern Art Notes (AJBlogs) 03/11/06
Posted: 03/12/2006 6:19 pm

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One Minute You're Up.... Dallas Morning News 3/12/06
Art and Reality 01/11/2006
The vision: A city arts center SACRAMENTO BEE 3-09-2006
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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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The Broadway Wrapped In Failure A new book chronicles the backstage perils and failures of Broadway bombs. "Dramas are hard enough. Musicals, to judge by the on-the-scene accounts by several critics and journalists assembled here, seem particularly fraught with a special kind of peril. 'When disparate elements don't gel, panic sets in. With the clock running out, and the bankroll running low, and superegos running amuck, strange things can happen'."
Posted: 03/13/2006 8:48 am

Deaf Theatre Loses Funding, Might have To Close The 38-year-old National Theatre of the Deaf has lost a major grant and the theatre's leaders fear the company might not be able to continue. "Without the $680,000 annual grant, administered by the U.S. Department of Education, the National Theatre of the Deaf slashed its annual budget from $1.2 million to $300,000." Hartford Courant 03/12/06
Posted: 03/13/2006 8:06 am

Another Play - The Success Burden So you've produced a play and it's been well received on Broadway. Now what? "Expectations rise along with the number of opportunities to disappoint fans, who tend to want what they've so memorably enjoyed before. Then, of course, there are the critics, a few of whom specialize in holding artists to the impossibly high standards of their best works. These dramatists (one almost feels inclined to label them 'poor little rich') are damned if they attempt to produce more of the award-winning same and damned if they don't." Los Angeles Times 03/12/06
Posted: 03/12/2006 6:53 pm

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Are Non-Fiction Scandals Hurting Fiction? "Is all this fretting over lies in nonfiction giving fiction a bad name? I fear it is. And I?m afraid that our lack of regard for fiction actually may be hindering us from sorting out what is true and what is a lie. Fiction, after all, is the one lie that can tell us a truth. Unlike nonfiction ? memoirs included ? fiction makes no claim to reality. Works of the imagination ? better known as literature ? are totally unfettered from what actually has happened." Kansas City Star (SPT) 03/12/06
Posted: 03/13/2006 8:57 am

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2005 Movie Numbers Are In (And Down) The final American movie box office numbers are in, and they confirm a down year. Ticket sales were down 6% in 2005. "Cinema ticket revenues amounted to $9bn (£5.2bn), while total attendance fell by 9% to 1.4bn people. Some 240m fewer tickets were sold in 2005 compared with the previous year. BBC 03/11/06
Posted: 03/13/2006 8:57 am

The Great Battle Of The DVDs "A new war has broken out as two new generations of DVD players hit stores this year. Both are targeting owners of high-definition televisions, promising to maximize their set's capacity for razor-sharp images. One is called HD-DVD. The other is called Blu-ray. North America gets its first real look at Sony's Blu-ray player in Las Vegas this week, with the new format hitting stores May 23. HD-DVD players go on sale at the end of this month. And soon stores will stock movies on DVD specifically formatted for one player or the other." Toronto Star 03/12/06
Posted: 03/12/2006 8:43 pm

Amazon Taking The Online Hollywood Plunge? Is Amazon getting ready to enter the online download business? Reports say the company has been in talks with major movie studios. "Amazon has been increasing its spending in research and development. Financial analysts have thus far reacted positively to the prospect of Amazon entering the digital download business, which boasts higher margins than the retailer's traditional business. Amazon's investment in technology and content grew 57 percent in the fourth quarter." Yahoo! (Reuters) 03/10/06
Posted: 03/12/2006 6:16 pm

Micro-Niche TV Programming Finding An Audience Online "In the last six months, major media companies have received much attention for starting to move their own programming online, whether downloads for video iPods or streaming programs that can be watched over high-speed Internet connections. Perhaps more interesting ? and, arguably, more important ? are the thousands of producers whose programming would never make it into prime time but who have very dedicated small audiences. It's a phenomenon that could be called slivercasting." The New York Times 03/12/06
Posted: 03/12/2006 6:13 pm

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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A Dance Movement Of Fractious Parts Mark Morris is celebrating his company's 25th anniversary this year. Tere O'Connor and Susan Marshall are celebrating 20th anniversaries. "Together with Morris, they possess the force of a movement. But with all the bickering, no one has noticed. And modern dance's health depends on people noticing. Without an acknowledged history, an art form has little chance of a robust future." Newsday 03/12/06
Posted: 03/12/2006 8:55 pm

The man Who Turned Scottish Ballet Around Three years ago Scottish ballet was in disarray. The company was being moved forcibly from being a traditional company to going modern. Then Ashley Page came along. "The former Royal Ballet principal dancer and acclaimed postmodern choreographer took up the reins there just over three years ago. Since then, armed with the expertise gleaned over his 27 years with the Royal, and energy reserves worthy of Kazakhstan, he has not only created two full-length works for the company (Nutcracker and Cinderella, the latter of which he's also taking south): he has turned it almost completely around." The Telegraph (UK) 03/12/06
Posted: 03/12/2006 6:49 pm

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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