KNOW YOUR CLIENT

In the late 19th Century one of the greatest forgers of antiquities set up shop in Jerusalem. “The late 19th century was the beginning of modern tourism, following the invention of steamships, and it was also the beginning of archaeology. Wilhelm Moses Shapira was the first to recognize that archaeology could be a profitable business.” His career was derailed when he attempted to sell the British Museum what he claimed to be ancient Torah scrolls, and was exposed as a fraud. He killed himself soon after. – The Jerusalem Report

TALES FROM A CLASSICAL MUSIC STORE

Who shops at a classical music store? There are “the Toscanini freaks and the Riccardo Muti-Walks-on-Water squad, who will pay anything – anything – to own a CD of their hero doing the stick-waving equivalent of singing in the shower.” Some are “a little less than erudite. Many come in search of ‘The Fat Guy’ (Luciano Pavarotti), ‘The Blind Guy’ (Andrea Bocelli) or ‘The English Kid’ (Charlotte Church, who’s Welsh, not English, by the way).” There was one confused man who came in looking for “WOCTAKOBNY” (or Shostakovich – in Cyrillic lettering.) Baltimore Sun

ROMANCE WRITERS UNITE

Last week over 2000 female writers, aspiring writers, agents and publishers attended the 20th Annual Romance Writers of America Conference. “These nice ladies are actually serious pros – just looking at them, you can tell who makes the really big money, and who writes the nasty sex scenes and who doesn’t. We’re talking some of the best research and writing craft on the shelves.” – Washington Post

CHARLTON HESTON’S NOSE & THE NRA

Charlton Heston’s acting career may not have been possible were it not for the time he fell and broke his nose, giving him that rugged, stoic look. And that look seems to served him well in his station as president of the National Rifle Association. “To the NRA, it must be like having the backing of all the heroic, righteous characters that Heston has played – not only Moses, Michelangelo, Ben-Hur, Thomas More, Richelieu, Mark Antony and three American presidents, but also astronauts, sports stars, saints and even God himself.” – The New Statesman

WE DON’T DO BODY PARTS

Singapore’s arts scene is tightly controlled by the government. Last month a production of “The Vagina Monologues” was banned by the censors. “The actors submitted the script, including stage directions. Part of the performance involved briefly projecting a picture of a vagina as a backdrop. Choo says the performance could have proceeded without the image but the theatre group refused a change. They were denied a license and will probably lose any government funding.” – New Zealand Herald

EVERYONE’S A CRITIC

“The Australia Council has just thrown a shirtful of public money at an advertising agency to tell the arts community that it has to stop being “elitist” and make everyone feel relaxed and comfortable about the arts. Presumably when everyone is convinced that fingerpainting and being Richard Tognetti are equally easy, they’ll start queuing for Schoenberg. It’s enough to make me throw the papers across the room. But I don’t. I heckle, silently. Well, almost silently. I do a lot of muttering.” – Sydney Morning Herald

UNESCO TO THE RESCUE

  • UNESCO, the UN’s cultural and educational agency, is coordinating a $250 million international effort to rebuild Moscow’s 19th-century Bolshoi Theatre, which is crumbling and close to collapse due to years of neglect. Theatres from around the world have already rallied around the cause by sending in contributions equal to one night’s earnings. – NPR [Real audio file]