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Wednesday, November 1


Moral Panic Sounds About Right How do you suck the fun right out of Hallowe'en, a holiday seemingly designed to encourage frivolity? It's easy, really: just sic a bunch of academic types on it. "They find Halloween to be 'a site of some considerable discursive ‘struggle’ between, amongst other things,national identity and globalization, childhood independence and moral panic, carnival and asceticism.'" New York Sun 11/01/06
Posted: 11/01/2006 6:43 am

A Turn To God? "The decline in church attendance in Europe is seen as evidence that secular modernity has entered the lives of ordinary people. Some optimistic secularists even see signs that the US, noted as a religious exception among western nations, is finally showing evidence of declining church attendance. But amid the apparent dusk of faith in Europe, one can already spot the religious owl of Minerva taking flight. This religious revival may be as profound as that which changed the course of the Roman empire in the 4th century." Prospect 11/06
Posted: 10/31/2006 7:27 pm

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Visual Arts

Bigger Is Sometimes Better Roberta Smith says that the overwhelming success of London's Tate Modern ought to give New Yorkers, who ponied up close to a billion dollars to build the new Museum of Modern Art, pause. "That MoMA could have spent so much money on a design that seems so unaccommodating — and already feels too small — for its growing audience is a travesty... The lessons of Tate Modern challenge a lot of conventional wisdom, at least that expressed in many American museums these days. Most important, Tate Modern’s huge building proves that being big is not the same as being corporate: it is possible to have a large institution feel personal to its visitors."
The New York Times 11/01/06 Posted: 11/01/2006 6:18 am

That's Asking An Awful Lot From A Lobby... New York's Lincoln Center complex has tapped husband-and-wife team Billie Tsien and Tod Williams to design the new indoor atrium that officials hope will lead to higher ticket sales and the emergence of the center as a public gathering space. "Their early ideas for the atrium include a stone platform that could serve both as a bench and as a stage for free performances by Juilliard students. They want to incorporate some of Lincoln Center’s signature materials, like bronze detailing and travertine."
The New York Times 11/01/06 Posted: 11/01/2006 6:05 am

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Never, Never, Never Tick Off The Soprano Moscow's Bolshoi Theater is reimagining Tchaikovsky's grand opera, "Evgeny Onegin," and the project has drawn the ire of at least one important presence. "The great soprano Galina Vishnevskaya was so infuriated by a new production of “Onegin” at the Bolshoi in September that she canceled her 80th-birthday gala, which was to be held there last Wednesday." The New York Times 11/01/06
Posted: 11/01/2006 6:14 am

The Underappreciated Sibelius The BBC Scottish Symphony is mounting a complete cycle of Sibelius's seven symphonies this season, the second time in a decade that they have undertaken such a project. So why all the Sibelius? Michael Tumelty says that "however much we might feel the music of Sibelius to be in our blood, there is still a great deal of missionary work to be done." The Herald (UK) 11/01/06
Posted: 11/01/2006 5:55 am

The Orchestra Problem It seems like nearly every year, some small to mid-sized North American orchestra or other finds itself in danger of folding. Usually, some emergency funding is found, and the orchestra is "saved," at least temporarily. But why do orchestras continually find themselves in such dire straits? It has to do with a deadly combination of high fixed costs and executive burnout. Toronto Star 11/01/06
Posted: 11/01/2006 5:45 am

Questioning Motives Buenos Aires's landmark music hall, the Teatro Colón, is in disrepair and set to undergo a $25 million, 18-month renovation that will close the venue to the public for more than a year. "But the tight-knit community of musicians, craftsmen and others who ply their trades at the Colón have voiced profound concerns about the artistic integrity and the timetable of the government blueprint." Los Angeles Times 11/01/06
Posted: 11/01/2006 5:34 am

Mentors Wanted, Melanin Welcome It's one of the dirty little non-secrets of the orchestral world that African-Americans are nearly nonexistent among the musicians on stage. It's always been assumed that the reason for the inequity is economically based: instruments and lessons are expensive, and poor urban black families don't have the resources to purchase either. But the lone black member of the Seattle Symphony thinks something else is lacking: mentors. Seattle Times 11/01/06
Posted: 11/01/2006 5:27 am

Classical Hot Classical musicians are taking a cue from pop stars and spicing up their images. "There are so many talented people out there, but there’s not the jobs for the talented people, and there’s not the concerts for every talented person. You need to be special. You need to have something that that other person doesn’t have, and maybe it’s looks." Georgia Straight (Vancouver) 10/26/06
Posted: 10/31/2006 5:19 pm

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Arts Issues

Apparently, You Can Be Arrested For Anything In Turkey "A [Turkish] court today acquitted a 92-year-old retired archaeologist who was put on trial for writing in a book that Islamic-style head scarves date back more than 5,000 years — several millennia before the birth of Islam — and were worn by priestesses who initiated young men into sex." Star Tribune (AP) 11/01/06
Posted: 11/01/2006 6:55 am

Talkin' 'Bout My Generation... Cultivating new generations of donors is an important part of any cultural organization's mission, and if the cultivation comes with free drinks, so much the better. "As Baby Boomer contributors grow into white-haired audiences, more arts and philanthropic organizations... are establishing young professionals groups to cultivate new patrons and volunteers. They offer the opportunity to mingle with others and party with people 25 to 40 who share the same interests." South Florida Sun-Sentinel 11/01/06
Posted: 11/01/2006 5:40 am

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Mamet Goes On The Offensive David Mamet has written a scathing "rant against assimilation." It may "shock those devotees who have either discounted or ignored the political implications of Mamet's Jewish turn. As in his recent mocking response to Mel Gibson's anti-Semitic ravings, Mamet has of late become a self-styled defender of the faith, accusing all defamers of Israel of being racists in their flagrant anti-Semitism." Chronicle of Higher Education 10/30/06
Posted: 10/31/2006 5:43 pm

Outsider Artist Mose Tolliver, 82 The self-taught artist known internationally as Mose T helped the world discover what was then called "folk art" in the 1982 show "Black Folk Art in America: 1930-1980" at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington. The Montgomery artist was the last living artist from the exhibition. Montgomery Advertiser 10/30/06
Posted: 10/31/2006 5:24 pm

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Never Read The Reviews A couple of high-profile Broadway shows have been getting rough treatment from the critics this week, and the big stars behind them are apparently taking the whole thing personally... New York Post 11/01/06
Posted: 11/01/2006 6:59 am

"Utopia" By The Numbers Tom Stoppard’s epic three-evening play about nineteenth-century Russian intellectuals is a big undertaking... New York 10/30/06
Posted: 10/31/2006 7:11 pm

Failure To Scare "The genre of horror, a wildly popular moneyspinner in other branches of entertainment, is practically absent from the stage. In fact, there is so little shock and gore available that a tiny fringe theatre in south London can accurately claim to be hosting Britain's only annual festival of horror theatre. It seems theatre has no desire, or indeed ability, to scare." The Guardian (UK) 10/31/06
Posted: 10/31/2006 6:50 pm

"Wicked" Sets West End Record The show took the most money ever at the box office in a single week. "Wicked took Ł761,000 during its eight performances at the Apollo Victoria Theatre last week, a record for a show on the London stage, they claim." BBC 10/31/06
Posted: 10/31/2006 6:22 pm

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Fellowship Of The Book There may be more unlikely publishing moguls than Viggo Mortenson, but you'd have to look hard for them. The Lord of the Rings star launched his Perceval Press shortly after the film trilogy made him an international superstar, and since then, the business has carved out a small but important niche in the industry. "The point of the enterprise is to cast light on work that might not otherwise be published, and to present artists’ work as it was intended to be seen." The New York Times 11/01/06
Posted: 11/01/2006 6:10 am

Are Textbook Publishers Working Against Students? A new report "accuses publishers of undermining the used book market and unnecessarily inflating prices. Studies show that the cost of textbooks is rising faster than the rate of inflation, and the price issue has gained traction with at least one lawmaker this year." InsideHigherEd 10/30/06
Posted: 10/31/2006 7:14 pm

The Spelling Challenge (Celebs Writers Vie) A group of famous writers show up to participate in a charity spelling bee. How'd they do? Well, it's good writers have spell-checkers... New York 10/30/06
Posted: 10/31/2006 7:03 pm

The Directive Review "Recently I've noticed a disconcerting trend for publishers to tell literary critics exactly what they should be saying about a new book. Instead of letting reviewers get on with their job of reviewing, publishers are behaving like anxious children, pulling at the journalist's sleeve and suggesting what should come next." The Guardian (UK) 10/31/06
Posted: 10/31/2006 6:39 pm



All Hail The "Carbon-Neutral" Movie An independent filmmaker has made a green film. "This means that all of the carbon dioxide emitted by the filmmaking process -- lights, cameras, transportation -- was totaled up and offset by comparable investments in renewable energy. Carbon dioxide is a potent greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere and contributes to climate change." Backstage 10/31/06
Posted: 10/31/2006 6:25 pm

The New Online TV (Beyond YouTube) Companies are rushing to build online TV services. "These companies are building flexible online networks that can host content, serve up ads and dish out interactive features. These new Internet TV platforms are designed to host full-fledged channels that content creators can control." Seattle Times (AP) 10/30/06
Posted: 10/31/2006 5:46 pm

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