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Tuesday, November 21


Some Concerns About Google's Book Project Jean-Noël Jeanneney is president of France's Bibliothèque Nationale. And he has some big-picture concerns about Google's project to digitize the world's books. "Jeanneney, in short, looked at Google's 'boast' on its Corporate Information page - 'Google's mission is to organize the world's information' - and thought, 'Mais non. Not your job.' And too important a task to be run by a company whose "dominant philosophy is still that of short-term profit." Philadelphia Inquirer 11/19/06
Posted: 11/20/2006 7:05 pm

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Visual Arts

Philly Tries To Protect Eakins; University Strikes Back "Thomas Jefferson University said yesterday that efforts by the city to stall removal of Thomas Eakins' masterpiece The Gross Clinic, which the university has agreed to sell, are an inappropriate, misguided attempt to 'restrict the University's control over its own property.' ... On Friday, Mayor Street nominated The Gross Clinic, owned by Jefferson since 1878, for protection as a 'historic object' under the city's historic-preservation ordinance."
Philadelphia Inquirer 11/21/06 Posted: 11/21/2006 6:55 am

Germany Addressing Restitution Concerns "Germany's culture minister and top museums called Monday for more transparency in the return of paintings stolen by the Nazis, responding to concerns that the nation's galleries risk losing scores of valuable and popular works."
Washington Post (AP) 11/21/06 Posted: 11/21/2006 5:08 am

Goya Thieves Trolling For Video Games? Law enforcement officers say the thieves who stole Goya's now-recovered "Children With a Cart" from a Howard Johnson motel parking lot likely weren't looking for it. " 'This time of year, close to Christmas, they probably thought they’d found a truck filled with PlayStations and broke in and started looking for the biggest-looking box,' said Steve Siegel, an F.B.I. agent who serves as the spokesman for the bureau’s Newark office."
The New York Times 11/21/06 Posted: 11/21/2006 3:44 am

Artistic Voyeurism, With A Key "Several years ago the artist Nina Katchadourian found herself staring up at the sky full of office windows in Times Square and thinking about the faceless occupants behind them. 'You think, "My God, all those anonymous people up there, living and working," ' she said. 'There’s this sense of so much detachment between interior and exterior.' With the cooperation of one of those anonymous people and the help of the Public Art Fund, Ms. Katchadourian is now trying to build a bridge — or at least, as she says, stretch a tenuous thread — between those two worlds."
The New York Times 11/21/06 Posted: 11/21/2006 3:32 am

Looking For That Connection Between Life And The Art "Whatever's happened, Robert Rauschenberg's famous 'gap between art and life' has turned into a new vividly dissonant gap between inner and outer life. Despite what's happening in the outside world, in our studios or in front of artworks we experience moments of genuine stillness, intensity, and meaningfulness—places on the edge of language that the world can't strip away."
Village Voice 11/17/06 Posted: 11/20/2006 5:12 pm

FBI Recovers Stolen Goya The painting had been stolen from a truck en route from Toledo to New York City. "The FBI said extensive media coverage of the theft led to tips that enabled the agency to recover the painting. But the agency did not reveal when, where or how the painting was recovered, citing an ongoing investigation."
MSNBC (AP) 11/20/06 Posted: 11/20/2006 4:55 pm

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Mozart In Multicultural Vienna, By Way Of Peter Sellars In the current New Crowned Hope Festival, "Vienna has entrusted Peter Sellars, the festival's director, with creating a four-week event within the official Mozart Year 2006 festivities and has given him a budget of nearly $13 million with which to do so. The opera and theater director, who has previously created festivals in Los Angeles and Adelaide, Australia, that were more ambitious than those cities could accept, has now been allowed to think on the scale he has always wanted. And, as before, he has thought globally and controversially." Los Angeles Times 11/21/06
Posted: 11/21/2006 4:58 am

BMG Classical Reduced To A Shell "Late last week, Sony BMG Music Entertainment underwent a major downsizing. Among the casualties were the key staffers in what has come to be called Sony BMG Masterworks – encompassing Sony Classical, Columbia Masterworks, BMG Classics, RCA Red Seal, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi and pretty much every other classical or classical-related label under the legendary companies once known as CBS Records and RCA Records." Musical America 11/20/06
Posted: 11/20/2006 6:00 pm

Why Beethoven Might Not Make A Good Movie So another movie about Beethoven lands with a thud. "As one of the titanic figures of Western culture, though, Ludwig surely deserves his own 'Amadeus.' Why has no movie captured the imagination of the masses on his behalf? It’s not for lack of trying. But there may be something about the nature of the Beethoven myth, and the bare facts of his biography, that challenges fictionalization in a way the Mozart myth doesn’t." The New York Times 11/19/06
Posted: 11/20/2006 5:15 pm

Thai Officials Threaten Opera Ban Over Bad Luck A Thai composer says government officials threatened to ban his opera just before it was due to open. "The composer said officials told him that any misfortunes which befell those in power would be blamed on the opera." BBC 11/18/06
Posted: 11/20/2006 9:27 am

Music In The Laser "Miya Masaoka is a composer, koto player and inventor of the Laser Koto -- a tripod-mounted laser array that she plays by passing her hands through the beams, triggering a variety of sampled and processed sounds from her G4 PowerBook. Each flick of the wrist and twitch of the finger is interpreted as a stroke on the instrument's virtual strings." Wired 11/20/06
Posted: 11/20/2006 8:09 am

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Arts Issues

A Call For Higher Standards For Arts Boards The state of arts institutions in Australia is generally good. But "there are still a number of prominent arts boards plagued by management weaknesses, staff discontent and external criticism, particularly from funding bodies such as federal and state governments. Ultimately, those boards must take responsibility and yet some continue to whitewash or ignore scrutiny." The Australian 11/21/06
Posted: 11/20/2006 6:55 pm

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Toni Morrison Sets Conversation In Motion At The Louvre "Different cultural disciplines may share audiences, yet art, theater, movies, music, dance and literature rarely commune directly with one another. More often, it seems, they are self-referential, defining their own vocabularies, speaking their own languages. The Louvre has now set out to prove that this need not be so." How best to do that? Invite Nobel laureate Toni Morrison to choose a theme and program around it. The New York Times 11/21/06
Posted: 11/21/2006 3:15 am

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As TV Credits Roll, Look For Your Favorite Playwright "Theater buffs often get a secret little thrill as they surf TV's hour-long drama series: The opening credits frequently include the names of some of America's best playwrights," including David Mamet, Jon Robin Baitz and Eric Overmyer. Theater critic Lawson Taitte and media critic Tom Maurstad discuss the reasons for the crossover trend and its implications for both media. Dallas Morning News 11/18/06
Posted: 11/21/2006 7:17 am

RSC Reduces Shakespeare, Orders New Works "The Royal Shakespeare Company, keeper of the flame of the greatest playwright ever, plans to 'knock Shakespeare off his podium', according to artistic director Michael Boyd, by increasing the proportion of new plays it stages to half of its total work." In addition to commissioning plays, "writers will be 'embedded' within the company. The first of these, Adriano Shaplin, will be working with the actors who are preparing Shakespeare's history plays, all eight of which will be in the repertoire by spring 2008. The idea is for authors to write plays with a specific ensemble in mind, just as Shakespeare did." The Guardian (UK) 11/21/06
Posted: 11/21/2006 6:24 am

Trinity Rep Names Executive Director "Michael Gennaro, who announced last week that he would be leaving his positions as president and chief executive of the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, N.J., will become the executive director of Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, R.I. He is to succeed Edgar Dobie, who is leaving in January to focus on his duties as executive producer of the new musical 'The Pirate Queen.' " Gennaro's move to Trinity means a reunion with his former Steppenwolf Theater Company colleague, Curt Columbus, now Trinity’s artistic director. The New York Times 11/21/06
Posted: 11/21/2006 4:14 am

Culture Project Leaving East Village For SoHo "The Culture Project, the 10-year-old downtown nonprofit theater that specializes in political drama, has found a new home: the space now occupied by the Manhattan Ensemble Theater." The New York Times 11/21/06
Posted: 11/21/2006 4:10 am

The Cloud Over Korean Theatre "There is a double pain in contemporary South Korean theatre; an anguish about the absence and suffering of their compatriots in the ruined North, and a mourning for the victims, many of them leftists, of the South's right-wing military dictatorship, which fell in 1988." New Statesman 11/20/06
Posted: 11/20/2006 5:10 pm

Burstyn: Acting Needs Help Actress Ellen Burstyn, co-president of the Actors Studio, says the craft of acting is in trouble these days. "Acting? I think it needs some help. TV has lowered the bar. With quicker schedules everything is rushed, so the quality gets lowered." Back Stage (Reuters) 11/20/06
Posted: 11/20/2006 5:00 pm

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Murdoch, Regan Almost Had It Both Ways Rupert Murdoch and Judith Regan have backed away from O.J. Simpson's blood-soaked book and TV special, but let's not be too quick to hand out the gold stars. "Like Mr. Simpson himself, they were hoping to have it both ways. The conceit of selling Mr. Simpson’s hypothetical guilt is despicable, as is Ms. Regan’s argument that this was her way of eliciting his 'confession' and giving herself closure for her own history as a victim of abuse. Even the American obsession with 'closure' as a therapeutic concept can’t begin to justify 'If I Did It.' " The New York Times 11/21/06
Posted: 11/21/2006 4:24 am

Sinister-Looking Singleton Seeks Same "Perhaps only someone from Britain could genuinely believe that a personal ad beginning, 'Baste me in butter and call me Slappy,' might lead to romance with an actual, nonincarcerated person. But in the strange alternate universe that is the personals column in the London Review of Books, a fetish for even the naughtiest dairy product is considered a perfectly reasonable basis for a relationship. Rejecting the earnest self-promotion of most personal ads, the correspondents in the London Review column tend instead to present themselves as idiosyncratic, even actively repellent." The New York Times 11/21/06
Posted: 11/21/2006 3:54 am

Why Poetry Matters "There's actually an odd correlation between these ideas: poetry is either inadequate, even immoral, in the face of human suffering, or it's unprofitable, hence useless. Either way, poets are advised to hang our heads or fold our tents. Yet in fact, throughout the world, transfusions of poetic language can and do quite literally keep bodies and souls together - and more." The Guardian (UK) 11/20/06
Posted: 11/20/2006 6:17 pm

Do Poetry Prizes Matter? The market for poetry in Canda is tiny. Miniscule. So do prizes for poetry help sales at all? The Globe & Mail (Canada) 11/20/06
Posted: 11/20/2006 6:12 pm

News Corp (Rupert Murdoch) Cancels OJ Book, TV "The cancellation comes after as many as a dozen Fox affiliate stations refused to air the show, which was scheduled to run during so-called sweeps, the period when Nielsen Media Research collects viewer data used to set local TV advertising rates. ReganBooks paid Simpson an advance of $3.5 million, according to Newsweek magazine." Bloomberg.com 11/20/06
Posted: 11/20/2006 5:19 pm

Bookstores On OJ Book - Some Will Sell, Others Won't Bookstores in the US are mixed about whether they will stock OJ Simpson's confession book. "The book, due to be published on November 30 by ReganBooks, an imprint of HarperCollins, has drawn a firestorm of criticism from members of the publishing community, media commentators, and relatives of the victims." Yahoo! (Reuters) 11/17/06
Posted: 11/20/2006 9:11 am

  • Borders On OJ: We'll Sell, But Donate Profits Borders says it will sell O.J. Simpson's new book. A spokesman says the company expects the widely condemned new book to have "strong sales," but will donate profits to charity. Yahoo! (AP) 11/17/06
    Posted: 11/20/2006 9:02 am

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    Hollywood's Fast Food Addiction "No one is a bigger supporter of the fast-food emporiums that have colonized the known world than Hollywood's studios. For the last 10 years, Disney had a cozy partnership with McDonald's, with promotions specifically aimed at introducing young fans of 'The Incredibles' and 'Pirates of the Caribbean' to the pleasures of Happy Meals. The 10-year pact, valued at more than $2 billion, has just ended, but Disney has not ruled out doing individual McDonald's tie-ins in the future." Los Angeles Times 11/20/06
    Posted: 11/20/2006 8:40 pm

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