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Wednesday, March 29


Elevator Music - Junk Food For Our Emotions "Perhaps the use of muzak is in part a reflection of our preoccupation with gloss and spin - buff up the surface, attend to every external area of presentation and, with luck, anything goes underneath. But more than this, the use of muzak is pernicious because it is manipulative. Its effects, like those of the constant bombardment of sexual imagery, are insidious. We should be under no illusions: the power of music to manipulate our emotions is well known and widely exploited. And formulaic muzak stimulates only the very shallowest of our emotions, arousing or lulling our surface senses to order." The Guardian (UK) 03/28/06
Posted: 03/29/2006 6:45 am

Gotta Brainstorm? That's Not Very Creative "The trouble with brainstorming is that it reduces people into impersonal little thought bites, little sound bites. It doesn't allow them to access their imagination the way they can with avatars, and it doesn't allow personal emotional investment. Its emphasis on nonjudgmental positivity prevents animus and its bitter, exciting battles. Brainstorming, with its image of storm troopers from faceless military platoons or free-associating advertising drones, encourages hivemind rather than originality." Wired 03/28/06
Posted: 03/28/2006 8:52 pm

The Smartest Countries In Europe (A List) Germany comes out on top in a new study, followed by the Netherlands. Researchers say "that populations in the colder, more challenging environments of Northern Europe had developed larger brains than those in warmer climates further south. The average brain size in Northern and Central Europe is 1,320cc and in southeast Europe it is 1,312cc." The Times (UK) 03/27/06
Posted: 03/28/2006 6:09 pm

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Aesthetic Competition Walker Art: Off Center Blog
Culture Clash Travel + Leisure, April 2006
William Safire And Art That's Good for You Washington Post 3/15/06
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Visual Arts

Barnes Gets $25 Million From State For Move "At a news conference in the Grand Ballroom of the Park Hyatt at the Bellevue, Gov. Rendell announced that the state would contribute $25 million toward construction of a new home for the Merion museum on the site of the Youth Study Center, between 20th and 21st Streets. The grant announced yesterday is one of the largest such grants ever dispensed from Harrisburg." Philadelphia Inquirer 03/29/06
Posted: 03/29/2006 8:56 am

Sotheby's Makes A China Bet "Though still in its infancy, the appetite for contemporary Chinese art is booming in Europe and Asia. Betting that the trend is fast moving West, Sotheby's has put together a sale that includes some of China's hottest names. The auction house has timed it to coincide with Asia Week, the annual round of sales and exhibitions that draw dealers and collectors from across the globe to New York each spring." The New York Times 03/29/06
Posted: 03/28/2006 9:38 pm

Johns Leads Museum Acquisitions List The Art Newspaper's annual museum acquisitions survey reveals latest trends in museum collecting. "In 2005, the overwhelming majority of museums chose to focus on established, mid-career and post-war artists, such as Ed Ruscha and Jasper Johns, whose artistic reputations are already secured. Leading the list of most sought-after artists in 2005 is modernist giant Jasper Johns, with five museums acquiring his work." The Art Newspaper 03/28/06
Posted: 03/28/2006 6:02 pm

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SF Opera To Simulcast Outside San Francisco Opera is following the lead of other companies such as Covent Garden, and will simulcast its first opera of this summer's season. Tyhe broadcast will take place in an outdoor plaza. "What we want is to establish an overall image of the company as being community-friendly and very accessible, and to emphasize what I believe -- which is that opera as an art form is accessible. Civic Center Plaza could accommodate as many as 12,000 to 15,000 at the outside if the circumstances were right. But I'd be happy with 5,000." San Francisco Chronicle 03/29/06
Posted: 03/29/2006 8:48 am

Chamber Group Disbands Because Of Success The Music Toronto Chamber Society played its last program this week. But the group is disbanding not because it can't survive, but because its members have too much else to do... Toronto Star 03/29/06
Posted: 03/29/2006 8:44 am

Music By Phone Scores Big Music to Mobile phones is a huge hit in the UK. "Nearly 7% of all chart music bought this year has been downloaded through a mobile service. That represents nearly 70,000 chart singles bought every week by people on the move. Users of the 3G network 3 account for more than half the total sales with the rest coming from Vodafone and Orange." BBC 03/29/06
Posted: 03/29/2006 8:16 am

A First: Download Makes No. 1 On UK Charts For the first time, a song sold through downloads has reached No. 1 on the UK pop charts. "Until this month, download sales could only count towards a chart position if it was also available to buy in stores. But a change in the rules has enabled download sales to be considered - as long as physical copies of the single go on sale the following week." BBC 03/29/06
Posted: 03/29/2006 7:16 am

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Arts Issues

Canada's Artists - A Snapshot A new study measures Canada's arts workforce. "Toronto artists on average earned $34,100 a year. That's almost $11,000 more than the national average for artists and almost $15,000 more that what artists in St. John's get -- but 11 per cent less than the average earnings for Toronto's total labour force. Moreover, dancers in Toronto were found to earn on average less than $20,000 a year. In 2001 -- the last year a full, nationwide census was completed -- artists represented 0.8 per cent of Canada's working population. But Vancouver had 7,250 artists in its total labour force of just over 307,000; at 2.4 per cent, that was the highest concentration of arts workers in the country." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 03/29/06
Posted: 03/29/2006 9:01 am

Judge: Teachers Don't Have Free Speech In Class A judge rules that American teachers "do not have a right under the First Amendment to express their opinions with their students during the instructional period. The judge ruled that school officials are free to adopt regulations prohibiting classroom discussion of the war." The Progressive 03/24/06
Posted: 03/28/2006 10:18 pm

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David Mamet On Mamet... "He might only have lived and worked here for a handful of his adult years, but Chicago lays claim to Mamet with an uncommonly intense passion that it hopes is reciprocated but is never quite certain if that's the case." Chicago Tribune 03/29/06
Posted: 03/29/2006 9:06 am

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Dinner Theatre Lands World Premiere A Minnesota dinner theatre lands the rights to produce the world premiere of "Easter Parade," a stage version of the classic 1948 movie with music by Irving Berlin. "Though new musicals frequently begin life outside New York, it's unusual for a theater — particularly a dinner theater in the suburbs — to earn the right to develop a high-profile title on its own. The Chanhassen production, scheduled to open in February, will be the template for amateur and professional productions. It could have a life on the road and has an outside shot at advancing to Broadway." St. Paul Pioneer-Press 03/29/06
Posted: 03/29/2006 6:53 am

Of Thee I Sing - Musicals Bloom In West End London is poised to be awash in musicals on an order no one can remember. International Herald Tribune 03/27/06
Posted: 03/28/2006 9:20 pm

Shakespeare, Political Animal Shakespeare wasn't just a great playwright, he was a skilled politician who worked hard to make his acting company the most successful in London. The Guardian (UK) 03/26/06
Posted: 03/28/2006 9:12 pm

Rescue For Theatre Museum? The Royal Opera House in London is putting together a rescue plan for the Theatre Museum. "The museum, which is part of the capital's Victoria and Albert Museum, is under threat because it had a Ł2.5m lottery grant bid turned down." BBC 03/28/06
Posted: 03/28/2006 5:57 pm

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Naipaul: Joyce Is Incomprehensible, James Is The Worst Nobel novelist VS Naipaul has lashed out at literary greats, including as Jane Austin and Henry James. "Naipaul said Thomas Hardy was 'an unbearable writer' who 'doesn't know how to compose a paragraph'. And Ernest Hemingway 'was so busy being an American' he 'didn't know where he was'." BBC 03/29/06
Posted: 03/29/2006 6:55 am

Religious Books Hit The Bookstores With the impending release of the Da Vinci Code movie, bookstores are being inundated with religious-themed books... Reuters 03/28/06
Posted: 03/28/2006 10:00 pm

McBain Revamps Arts Magazines Louise McBain has been building a $600 million publishing empire af arts magazines. Now she's restructuring. "In five years, MacBain bought Art + Auction, Modern Painters and Museums Magazines and Gallery Guides, which publish guides for eight or more cities each. She added a data service, Art Sales Index, and a French publisher, Somogy. She launched a Web site, Artinfo.com, in 2005, and Truman will help start a new magazine, Culture & Travel, in September." Bloomberg.com 03/28/06
Posted: 03/28/2006 9:24 pm

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Chill Winds Blowing From FCC "These days, apparently, the human condition on broadcast TV does not include any sexual behavior. Following sweeping Federal Communications Commission indecency decisions two weeks ago that resulted in proposed fines of more than $4 million against more than 125 TV stations, the WB has snipped every last sexy interlude from a pilot version it had already approved." Philadelphia Inquirer 03/29/06
Posted: 03/29/2006 8:52 am

Canadian Broadcasters Buying US TV, Not Canadian Canadian broadcasters are spending more money on buying American shows than they are on Canadian shows. "Last year we were shocked that so-called Canadian private broadcasters spent four times more on U.S. programming than they did on original Canadian drama. Now we're appalled to learn that in 2005, they spent almost five times more. The system is clearly broken." Toronto Star 03/29/06
Posted: 03/29/2006 8:41 am

Hollywood's "Indie" Contradiction A lawsuit against producers of "Brokeback Mountain points up "an uncomfortable contradiction in the specialty divisions owned by the major studios. That is, movies are budgeted as though they were in the independent world, often squeezing every nickel out of actors, directors and production staff, who cut their fees to near nothing for the privilege of making a picture they are passionate about. When it comes to releasing the film, however, the "arthouse" divisions can take advantage of the deep pockets of their studio parents, frequently spending tens of millions of dollars to promote a movie to glory or box office success in the award season. There is a trap in there somewhere..." The New York Times 03/28/06
Posted: 03/28/2006 9:43 pm

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Saratoga PAC Forgives Dance Museum Debt The Saratoga Perfoaming Arts Center, which has been recovering from financial challeneges of the past few years, has decided to forgive $1.2 million in debt owed to the organization by the National Museum of Dance and Hall of Fame. "The $1.2 million figure represents approximately 15 years of accumulated losses incurred by the museum and absorbed by SPAC. White said that writing off the museum's debt will not affect SPAC's current operating budget or its projected surplus for 2006." The Saratogian 03/29/06
Posted: 03/29/2006 9:10 am

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