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Weekend, November 4-5


African Eugenics Debate Rears Its Head In London "The London School of Economics is embroiled in a row over academic freedom after one of its lecturers published a paper alleging that African states were poor and suffered chronic ill-health because their populations were less intelligent than people in richer countries. Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist, is now accused of reviving the politics of eugenics by publishing the research which concludes that low IQ levels, rather than poverty and disease, are the reason why life expectancy is low and infant mortality high." The Observer (UK) 11/05/06
Posted: 11/05/2006 8:54 am

Envisioning 22nd Century New York Daydreaming about the future of your favorite city is not a new pasttime, but when the city is New York, which on the surface would appear to be at maximum density already, the game becomes both difficult and fascinating. Ten New York architectural firms gave it a shot this month, and the results were as dreamlike as they were diverse. The New York Times 11/04/06
Posted: 11/05/2006 7:03 am

Demagogues & Dollars Election Day looms in the U.S., and when the polls close on Tuesday evening, more than $2 billion will have been spent to urge, cajole, and frighten Americans into voting one way or the other. And all this for a midterm election! What does this orgy of political spending teach us about our democracy? Well, maybe this: "the demagogue's secret is to make himself as stupid as his audience so that they believe they are as clever as he really is." Los Angeles Times 11/04/06
Posted: 11/05/2006 6:56 am

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Visual Arts

End Of An Era At The DeCordova The director of Boston's DeCordova Museum is leaving his post after 22 years, and while rumors persist that he was pushed, Paul Master-Karnik insists that he made the decision to depart on his own. "During his 22 years at the DeCordova, he led a transformation of the once- sleepy institution. The DeCordova's current $5.2 million annual operating budget is more than five times larger than when Master-Karnik arrived. The museum's endowment has more than doubled, to $10 million. In 1998, the DeCordova finished an $8 million campaign that included the construction of a new, 20,000-square-foot exhibition wing."
Boston Globe 11/05/06 Posted: 11/05/2006 9:01 am

Sort Of A Darwinian Theory Of Architecture A conservative think-tank in the UK is proposing a controversial plan to revitalize the country's cities: invite the public to submit lists of hated buildings that deserve the opposite of historic preservation. In other words, decide which old structures are really worth keeping, and knock the others down.
The Observer (UK) 11/05/06 Posted: 11/05/2006 8:57 am

Looking Deeper Into The Old Masters New technology is allowing art experts to examine long-held beliefs about centuries-old works as never before. "Probing the surface with X-rays or infrared light or dating the work by dendrochronology — counting the rings in the wooden panel on which the image was painted — can reveal much about how a work was actually made... Such analysis can also uncover many twists and turns in the long trip from the artist’s studio to the museum wall."
The New York Times 11/05/06 Posted: 11/05/2006 8:30 am

Never Mind The Art, How's Your Auction Etiquette? Auction season is an exciting time in the art world, but it can also be a confusing and expensive place for the inexperienced. "Within the already rarefied subculture of the art world, auction houses are a preserve all their own, with distinct practices, jargon and rites... How collectors comport themselves is nearly as important as what they’re willing to spend."
The New York Times 11/05/06 Posted: 11/05/2006 8:14 am

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Cleveland Won't Be Orchestra World's Montreal Expos The Cleveland Orchestra is spending an awful lot of time in cities other than Cleveland these days, and it didn't take long for rumors to fly that the orchestra, unable to sustain itself financially in economically depressed Cleveland, would shortly be pulling up stakes for months at a time or even abandoning the city completely. But Donald Rosenberg says that "for many reasons, it is nonsensical to consider that the Cleveland Orchestra would leave town." The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 11/05/06
Posted: 11/05/2006 7:33 am

Dreaming Of A Brighter Future Dallas Opera is three years away from the planned opening of its new home in the city's entertainment district, and this season's opening is in jeopardy from a potential work stoppage. But the company is eagerly looking forward to a time when it "finally will have the right-sized, properly equipped and acoustically supportive home it's craved for decades." Dallas Morning News 11/05/06
Posted: 11/05/2006 7:28 am

Popular Doesn't Always Mean Bad The gulf between what rock critics like and what the average radio listener hears on a daily basis has never been wider, and the frustration has caused many writers to adopt a bunker mentality. "We in the music press are, perhaps, sometimes guilty of making the bands we support appear to be bigger than they actually are. At the same time, we have a habit of ignoring the acts sprung from our midst that really do achieve massive numbers in radio and retail." Toronto Star 11/04/06
Posted: 11/05/2006 7:16 am

Christian Pop Moves Away From The Preachy It's getting very hard to tell what constitutes a Christian band anymore. "Much of Christian music's integration into the pop culture mainstream comes via the rockers who happen to be Christian - as opposed to the Christian rockers who wear their faiths on their sleeves and crosses around their necks. Each group of musicians is writing about what makes them tick, but one crafts its art with more subtlety, yet its intentions are never fully hidden by metaphor." Denver Post 11/04/06
Posted: 11/05/2006 6:52 am

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Arts Issues

The Case For Public Arts Funding What should the future role of public funding be in the UK arts scene as more of the world transitions to an American-style system of private philanthropy? "Should the state help pay for the arts? Of course it should; it always has. State support for the arts is a great European tradition. The great patrons of the performing arts and the visual arts have always been rulers or monarchs. Now they are governments... Whether you are talking about 18th-century Vienna or the UK today, the wealth that was and is handed out to the arts is the people's wealth. And it is absolutely right that it should be spent on the arts." The Observer (UK) 11/05/06
Posted: 11/05/2006 8:41 am

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Can Les Miz Maestro Still Pack The House? Cameron Mackintosh's name may not generate the immediate reverence of a Stephen Sondheim or a Neil Simon, but over the course of a long career, Mackintosh has generated hit after hit, whether on Broadway, in London's West End, or anywhere else around the world. "Mackintosh remade the modern theatrical spectacle and transformed Broadway and the American road (not to mention old cinemas from Vienna to Tokyo) with his big four: Cats, Les Misérables, Miss Saigon and The Phantom of the Opera... But the high points came 15 years ago." Does Mackintosh have any magic left? The New York Times 11/05/06
Posted: 11/05/2006 8:18 am

Helene And The Wolf Most classical musicians have lives and interests that range far beyond the concert hall, but pianist Helene Grimaud has managed to become almost as well known for her hobby - a passionate interest in wolves - as she is for her playing. "Her advocacy work has aroused a certain skepticism in the classical music world. Some have suggested that she’s in it as much for her own image as for the wolves’. But surely there are easier — and safer — ways to gain publicity... On a broader, impersonal level, Ms. Grimaud said that at a time when classical music and wolves are devalued if not endangered, with both 'there’s no long-term hope for conservation without education.'" The New York Times 11/05/06
Posted: 11/05/2006 7:46 am

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Silicon Valley Looks To Stabilize Its Theaters "The San Jose City Council voted 10-0 Tuesday to approve a $1 million loan to American Musical Theatre of San Jose. Two weeks earlier, on Oct. 17, the City Council voted by the same margin to bail out the more seriously financially troubled San Jose Repertory Theatre with a $2 million line of credit. The timing is not coincidental. The aid extended to the city's two largest theater companies is part of the city's new $4 million Arts Stabilization Fund." San Francisco Chronicle 11/04/06
Posted: 11/05/2006 7:14 am

Avast! Me Show Is Takin' On Water! "The Pirate Queen, a $15 million musical from the creators of Les Miserables and Miss Saigon, is listing badly in Chicago, the first leg of its voyage to Broadway. Local critics fired cannonballs at it - 'ill-ruddered' (Boom!), 'drearily predictable' (Boom!) - and Broadway insiders who trekked west to see it say it needs a massive overhaul. But is the creative team up to the job?" New York Post 11/04/06
Posted: 11/05/2006 7:01 am

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Maybe They Need To Pay The Readers, Too Big advances and extravagant payouts for celebrity authors are common practice in the publishing world these days, but some of the highest-profile deals struck this year have ended with publishers taking a financial bath. "After shelling out for deals worth up to £1m to buy into the celebrity memoir market, many have seen little more than a trickle of sales." The Independent (UK) 11/05/06
Posted: 11/05/2006 9:11 am

French Critics Accused Of Corruption "Next week will see the announcement of the winner of [France's] most prestigious literary prize, the Goncourt, closely followed by around 3,000 others throughout November. But last week saw a revolution in France's traditionally somewhat stuffy literary world in the form of a barrage of vicious open attacks on the critics and judges themselves. The 60-odd life members of the juries of the major prizes find themselves accused of back-scratching, favouritism, self-seeking commercialism and downright corruption." The Observer (UK) 11/05/06
Posted: 11/05/2006 8:48 am

Never Asked For Success It's not every novelist who gets a crack at real national or international fame. But for some authors, all the attention that comes with success has a price. For Janet Fitch, author of a novel that caught the fancy of starmaker Oprah Winfrey, the price was her privacy, her peace of mind, and very nearly her creative spark. Boston Globe 11/04/06
Posted: 11/05/2006 6:43 am

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Especially If Your Movie Has A Flaming River What's the best city in the U.S. for shooting a film? Not New York: too expensive, too crowded. Seattle? Eh - they had their moment. So what about... Cleveland? No, wait, we're serious. The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 11/04/06
Posted: 11/05/2006 7:09 am

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Bringing Real Dancing Back To Radio City New York's Radio City Christmas Spectacular has a new choreographer this year: Linda Haberman, the first woman to hold the job in the history of the long-running holiday show. "Her plan — a noble one to those who revere the dying art of precision dance — is to save the Rockettes from mediocrity... Ms. Haberman is creating choreography for them that is both deceivingly difficult and wholly glamorous. Yes, the eye-high kicks are still around, but she is actually giving the Rockettes something sophisticated to dance. And it’s clear that they worship at her finely arched feet." The New York Times 11/05/06
Posted: 11/05/2006 8:25 am

Is Dance Doomed In Cleveland? Wilma Salisbury has been writing about the arts in Cleveland since 1968, and she has seen various arts organizations thrive there, even as the city as a whole struggled. But when it comes to dance, Cleveland has always been lacking. "When the economy faltered, dance ensembles were the first to feel the pinch... Where are the funders? How committed are the presenters? Is it possible to grow a larger audience for dance in Northeast Ohio?" The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 11/05/06
Posted: 11/05/2006 7:41 am

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