Ballroom dancing is very hot right now. Not just in studios and nightclubs, but onstage too. “The way I see it, ballroom has existed in this sort of cocoon, in the studios and competitions. It was almost its own unique little world, like a step back in time. When you think of ballroom, you think of the slicked-back hair and the fake tans and the sequins…. We want to sort of deconstruct that myth.” – Christian Science Monitor


A new freeware closed-captioning program for for video on the web has been released at Boston public station WGBH. “Before MAGpie, if you wanted to add captions, you had to type in formatting codes and timecodes. To caption a 10-minute clip, it took two to three hours. With MAGpie’s automation, it takes about 30 to 40 minutes.” – Wired 03/31/00


  • Much of the art on the web is, well, rather lacking in imagination. Etoy is trying to change that. Fresh from battles over the use of their name, the artist group is forging ahead. “Created in 1994 by seven original founders who describe themselves as ‘sound-producers, artists, designers, lawyers, PR and CI experts [public relations and corporate identity]’ etoy’s first project was to merge their individual identities into one digital identity and produce, ‘the first brand in the art world.’” – The Art Newspaper 03/31/00


High-definition television broadcasting is here, but broadcasters are wondering if anyone is watching it. “It’s a good old-fashioned chicken-and-egg debate. Depending on your viewpoint, either there aren’t enough digital set owners to make broadcasting much programming worthwhile, or there isn’t enough high-def programming out there to spur new set sales.” – Variety 03/31/00


The lives of two of Britain’s most revered writers, father and son Kingsley and Martin Amis, are due to cross paths in May with the release of the father’s collected letters and the son’s long-awaited autobiography. “To have Kingsley’s chronic hatred of phonies, philistines, tight-fisted drinking companions, bullying officials, mouthy women, pompous barmen, and pretentious artists and have all his opinions raw, unconstrained by any shreds of tact, and his pungent stories about his peers unmediated by the filter of fiction, is a treat. To have the inside story on Martin Amis, the writer who has influenced more prose styles than any other in the last two decades, runs it a close second.” – The Independent (UK)


A new book documents the CIA’s “promotion of a non-Communist left” through lavish post-war funding of American intellectuals and artists. “The most disturbing revelations of the book are not so much what the CIA did as whom it persuaded-openly or under cover-to do the dirty work of propaganda.” The roster includes some decidedly unusual suspects: Stephen Spender, Mark Rothko, Mary McCarthy, Dizzy Gillespie, Robert Lowell, Peter Matthiessen, and many others. “Such people were foot soldiers in a cultural cold war. For two decades they accepted grants, travel stipends, and commissions from a wide variety of CIA front organizations designed to win the hearts and minds of intellectuals tempted by ‘neutralism.'” – Chronicle of Higher Education


“Theatre is not just New York,” says a representative of the National Theatre Artists Residency Program, which funds collaborations between theater artists and theater companies to develop new work. The organization announced the recipients of its $1 million in annual grants – and not one New York-based theater received funding. – Backstage


Broadway has an unlikely new hit – a play depicting the fabled meeting between physicists Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg. In 1941, the German Heisenberg was eagerly pursuing a workable atomic bomb for his country and the Danish Bohr was researching quantum physics in Copenhagen. Its success bodes well for a developing genre: science-based theater. – Wired


A British Council-sponsored season of English plays being produced in Paris has been shaking up intellectual French audiences who aren’t quite sure what to make of the “crude language” and campy acting. “To French audiences, the British season has often been disorientating. Should, for instance, they take seriously the camp acting in the Kaos Company’s “Importance of Being Earnest”? Or learn to laugh at Oscar Wilde, an author popular in France as a symbol of resistance to tyrannical British officialdom?” – The Times (UK)