Staggering Economic And Career Cultural Losses Thanks To The Pandemic

Take star violinist Jennifer Koh as an example: “nine months into a contagion that has halted most public gatherings and decimated the performing arts, Ms. Koh, who watched a year’s worth of bookings evaporate, is playing music from her living room and receiving food stamps.” More than fifty percent of actors and dancers, and more than one fourth of musicians, are entirely out of work. And then there’s the broader category of arts and culture creatives. What will happen? – The New York Times

How Christmas Became Such A Child-Oriented Holiday

Yuletide wasn’t always an occasion for Santa Claus and toys and families opening presents in front of the tree. Historically, particularly in England, Christmas was such a time of rowdy revelry (not to say drunken debauchery) that, in the 17th century, Scottish Presbyterians and Massachusetts Puritans went so far as to ban it entirely. (December 25 wasn’t a public holiday in Scotland until 1958.) Christmas as Americans think of it today is a more-or-less deliberate creation of the 19th-century powers-that-be. – Zócalo Public Square

How The COVID Relief Money Will Help Performing Arts Venues

“Under the federal plan venue operators, promoters, music managers and talent agencies can apply for non-repayable, two-part grants that cover as much 45% of a venue’s 2019 revenue, capped at $10 million in the first round, followed by a supplemental grant in spring 2021 valued at 50% of the original grant. To qualify, applicants must have been in business on Feb. 29, 2020, and show 2020 revenues decreased by at least 25% on a quarterly basis compared to 2019. Venues will be able to begin applying for the funds in the coming days with priority given to venues that faced 70–90% revenue losses in 2020.” – Billboard

Trump Threatens To Veto COVID Funding If Funding For Cultural Institutions Isn’t Removed

He “reeled off items he deemed to be egregious, including foreign aid and wildlife research. Prominently featured on his list was “$40 million for the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, which is not even open for business; $1 billion for the Smithsonian, and an additional $154 million for the National Gallery of Art—likewise, these facilities are not open.” – Artnet

Legislation For A New Federal Writers Project?

David Kipen started lobbying for a new Writers’ Project in opinion columns and letters to lawmakers. One US congressman—Rep. Ted Lieu, a California Democrat—wrote back to Kipen expressing interest in the idea, and now hopes to introduce a bill in the next Congress. The timing and exact details of the bill have yet to be finalized, but Lieu’s office says that a new project could be anchored within the Department of Labor or a cultural agency, and run as a grant program administered through existing community institutions, including news outlets. – Columbia Journalism Review

What I Learned From Spending 2020 Working, Learning, And Entertaining On The Same Screen

Alissa Wilkinson: “In a strange, unexpected way, this year made me appreciate the richness of experience we’ve normally enjoyed both offscreen and on and, along with it, the importance of context in those experiences. Reality seemed to collapse because the context for everything was the same: a brightly lit rectangle in my house.” – Vox

Why Just ‘Adding Context’ To Controversial Monuments May Not Change Minds

In two words, confirmation bias. If the text about slavery added to a statue of a Confederate general at a battleground or to the displays at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello conflict with visitors’ pre-existing beliefs, those people will dismiss the new information as irrelevant (if they even notice that it’s there). This is particularly true at historical monuments because, research has shown, most people who visit them don’t go there to learn. – Smithsonian Magazine

Sorry – This Crossed The Line, Say Judges In Star Trek/Dr. Seuss Parody Copyright Case

“The ruling by a three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit concerned a Kickstarter-backed book, created by ComicMix, that inserted “Star Trek” characters into the whimsical pastel world that Dr. Seuss created for the 1990 children’s classic “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” The ComicMix book, a primer on “Star Trek” characters and lore, replicated broad swaths of the Dr. Seuss original, down to imitating small details of the illustrations, the judges said.” – The New York Times