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Thursday, November 16


VHS, R.I.P. "After a long illness, the groundbreaking home-entertainment format VHS has died of natural causes in the United States. The format was 30 years old. No services are planned. The format had been expected to survive until January, but high-def formats and next-generation vidgame consoles hastened its final decline." Variety 11/15/06
Posted: 11/15/2006 6:58 pm

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Visual Arts

Is Koolhaas Reinventing The Skyscraper? "Set on a site that’s about as large as 37 football fields, Rem Koolhaas’s television authority headquarters in Beijing may initially seem intimidating. This 54-story tower leans and looms like some kind of science-fiction creature poised to stomp all over the surrounding central business district. But if the five-million-square-foot building is one of the largest ever constructed, its architect sees it as a people-friendly reinvention of the skyscraper."
The New York Times 11/16/06 Posted: 11/16/2006 5:15 am

Warhol, De Kooning Sales Push Fall Auction Take To $1 Billion Yet another round of records was set at Christie's New York last night, as Andy Warhol's famous portrait of Mao Zedong sold for $17.36 million, the most ever paid for a Warhol. "Two other portraits of classic Warhol subjects - Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy - sold for over $30m in total. Willem de Kooning's Untitled XXV fetched $27.1m. The $240m sale set new records for 19 artists and caps a fortnight in which Christie's and rivals Sotheby's took $1bn between them."
BBC 11/16/06 Posted: 11/16/2006 4:57 am

  • Bordering On Giddiness The atmosphere at Wednesday night's auction was electric, as buyers and observers alike caught the unheard-of fever that seems to be permeating this season's high-end art market. "Christie’s had captured the best material this season, and the art world knew it. In the overflowing salesroom were dealers and collectors from all over the world."
    The New York Times 11/16/06 Posted: 11/16/2006 4:56 am

Dean's The Boss Tacita Dean, an English artist best known for her contemplative films, has won this year's Hugo Boss prize, a $50,000 award from the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
Bloomberg.com 11/15/06 Posted: 11/15/2006 7:18 pm

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Eschenbach Says He's Out Because Musicians Hated Him At a closed rehearsal with the musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra, outgoing music director Christoph Eschenbach revealed that his decision to leave was sparked by a conversation with the orchestra's CEO in which Eschenbach was told that "80 percent of the musicians did not agree with his artistic interpretations; that 80 percent of the musicians left concerts feeling great anger; and that the orchestra was a 'ticking time bomb.'" Philadelphia Inquirer 11/16/06
Posted: 11/16/2006 5:49 am

  • More Philly Phallout The relationship between Eschenbach and the Philadelphia Orchestra may have had its bumps, but Peter Burwasser says that it's a shame the maestro will be departing so soon. "Eschenbach has, on so many levels, fulfilled his commitment splendidly. He has infused the Philadelphia Orchestra with a lively sense of innovation and connection to living music that hearkens back to the storied Stokowski era. More significantly, he has given us a beautiful sounding orchestra." City Paper (Philadelphia) 11/16/06
    Posted: 11/16/2006 5:48 am

Korea's Ticket Price Problem South Korea is prime territory for touring orchestras these days, with a seemingly insatiable classical music audience lining up for tickets in numbers that most Western ensembles would kill for at home. But the popularity of the form has led to an explosion in ticket prices - how does $260 for a seat at the New York Philharmonic's concert sound? Or $400 for the Berlin Phil? And the numbers don't actually add up: there simply aren't enough music fans in Korea to justify the price spike. So who's buying the tickets, and who's getting shut out of the hall? The Hankyoreh (Seoul) 11/16/06
Posted: 11/16/2006 4:40 am

Lockhart Leaving Salt Lake Keith Lockhart will step down from his position as music director of the Utah Symphony & Opera following the 2008-09 season. "The orchestra has struggled financially in recent years and is in the middle of a recovery program. Some patrons have been perturbed by what they see as Lockhart's lack of community involvement; a professional consultant's study in 2005 said Lockhart needed to be more engaged with the orchestra." Lockhart has no plans to leave his other gig, as principal conductor of the Boston Pops. Salt Lake Tribune 11/16/06
Posted: 11/16/2006 4:24 am

Just Try Not To Smoosh The Soprano How do you get kids interested in opera? Well, writing one directed specifically at them wouldn't hurt - and if the main characters could all be gross (but lovable) bugs, that'd probably score you some points, too. For composer Geoffrey Hudson and librettist Alisa Pearson, the quest to bring their "Bug Opera" to life has been a five-year journey, with seemingly every aspect of the production kid-tested along the way. Boston Globe 11/16/06
Posted: 11/16/2006 4:12 am

SPCO Stays In The Black The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra has balanced its budget for the third year in a row, and posted a healthy increase in both donated income and ticket sales as well. In addition, the orchestra says it is only two years away from completely retiring an accumulated deficit that ballooned to nearly $800,000 as recently as 2003. Star Tribune (Minneapolis/St. Paul) 11/16/06
Posted: 11/16/2006 4:02 am

What's It Take To Get Young People To Listen To Classical Music? Greg Sandow reports some success: "You combine classical music with alternative pop (an umbrella term that may not really exist, but which I'm using here to mean all kinds of pop music that isn't on the pop charts, including alternative rock and electronica)." Sandow (AJBlogs) 11/15/06
Posted: 11/15/2006 7:14 pm

Bill O'Reilly, The Opera (Okay, Oratorio) A Seattle composer is writing "a 31-part, concert-length baroque oratorio titled, rather theatrically, Mackris v. O'Reilly. The libretto opens with a reading of the original complaint filed by Mackris and runs through seven chorales, four recitatives, and numerous arias before the denouement, which features a dramatic reading of the settlement." Radar 11/15/06
Posted: 11/15/2006 6:20 pm

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Arts Issues

Democratic Congress May Give Non-Profits Longer Leash Will last week's election results make life easier for cultural groups and other non-profit corporations? "Many eyes will be on the Senate Finance Committee, where Max Baucus (D-Mont.) is to succeed Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) as chairman. Indignant over financial scandals at some non-profits, Grassley had made reform of tax-exempt groups a cause. But Baucus doesn't seem to share that same ardor." Chicago Tribune 11/16/06
Posted: 11/16/2006 5:34 am

YouTube As Culture's Next Great Sales Technique The YouTube phenomenon may be old news in some circles, but for fans of low-tech forms like classical music, opera, and dance, the video site is still being discovered as a valuable resource. "Thanks to its ease of operation, YouTube allows pretty much anyone with a mild curiosity about opera or musical theater to expand his frame of reference without spending a dime, thanks to the compulsive generosity of members with a desire to exhibit their curatorial prowess." The New York Times 11/16/06
Posted: 11/16/2006 5:11 am

GenX After The Fact "Generation X has come to mean more than just a specific group of post-boomers, more even than a marketing demographic—people who will go see Last Days one evening and drop $5 on a pumpkin-spice latte the next morning. It has also come to serve as a marketing model, in this post–Reality Bites world, for how all young Americans should live out their 20’s. Now we are all Generation X." New York Observer 11/15/06
Posted: 11/15/2006 7:44 pm

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A Collector Throws In The Towel The art market may be booming like never before, but at least one high-profile collector says the thrill is gone. Boston art patron Kenneth L. Freed is selling off more than 800 works he amassed over the last two decades, saying that the art world has changed for the worse. "Where once young artists searched desperately for a supportive patron, now they find themselves quickly thrust into high-profile shows. Deep-pocketed collectors compete for the latest, greatest new piece." Boston Globe 11/16/06
Posted: 11/16/2006 5:23 am

Arts Writer Phyllis Garland, 70 Phyllis T. Garland was the first tenured woman on the faculty of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She was an articulate and passionate writer about music, and taught at Columbia for 31 years. She served as administrator of the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University when the program began." Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 11/14/06
Posted: 11/15/2006 8:25 pm

Remembering Ellen Willis The pioneering critic and writer was 64. "Throughout her life, Willis combined her obsessions in essays on pop culture. She was deeply respectful of pop culture—something proper intellectuals disdain." New York Observer 11/15/06
Posted: 11/15/2006 7:50 pm

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A Play A Day (Until The Doubts Creep In) Suzan-Lori Parks' 365-plays project has launched. "But in spite of the group-hug dynamic, doubts about the artistic coherence of the whole project have crept in. With low or non-existent production budgets and truncated rehearsal times, there's no guarantee that every production will be as good as the next, or that it will be what Parks intended. Then there's the issue of how audiences will perceive the playwright's work." The Guardian (UK) 11/15/06
Posted: 11/15/2006 8:00 pm

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"Echo" Wins National Book Award Richard Powers' "The Echo Maker," a scientific tale of memory and identity in the age of Sept. 11 and the Iraq war, has won the National Book Award for fiction. Yahoo! (AP) 11/15/06
Posted: 11/15/2006 7:39 pm

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Hard To Believe Anyone Would Question Their Credibility Philip Morris is asking Hollywood to stop using its tobacco products in movies, citing research that claims a link between smoking in films and smoking in children. But not everyone is applauding the move, with anti-smoking groups pointing out that Philip Morris is doing as little as possible to actually reverse the trend of smoking in films. Washington Post (AP) 11/16/06
Posted: 11/16/2006 6:03 am

Bush Renominates Ethics-Challenged Ken Tomlinson President Bush has renominated Ken Tomlinson as chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, "the agency that directs U.S. overseas broadcasts even though the nomination has been stalled in the Senate amid allegations of misconduct." Boston Globe 11/15/06
Posted: 11/15/2006 6:51 pm

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