New York Offers Tax Breaks To Film Productions

New York’s film industry is tired of seeing productions set in New York filmed elsewhere – like Canada. So the Big Apple is copying other cities and offering tax breaks for producers. “The new tax credits for New York state and New York City send a clear message to Hollywood producers that film and television shows about New York should be filmed in New York.”

Blind Abstraction

Michael Richard was a scenic and documentary photographer until he went blind three years ago. He figured that was the end of his photography career. But “a visit to the Braille Institute in Los Angeles to learn to use his white cane unexpectedly led to his becoming an acclaimed abstract-art photographer.”

Experts: SF Van Gogh Is Authentic

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s “Still Life” (1880-1885) has been officially declared a genuine work by van Gogh. Okay, you say, it’s been labeled as such since its aquisition in 1960. But the painting’s authenticity has been questioned over the years, and kept in storage. But now a team of experts has pronounced it genuine, and the painting has been brought out in public.

Closing Libraries, Missed Opportunities

So the Salinas (California) public libraries are shutting for lack of money. There’s got to be a better way to fund libraries, writes David Kipen. “Of course, the danger isn’t that the next young Steinbeck will have to take a bus to borrow some Waugh. The danger, plainly, is that he’ll find something better to do. To paraphrase P.T. Barnum, there’s a Steinbeck born every minute. The trick of a literate society lies in cultivating him, carefully but generously, so that he actually grows up to be Steinbeck.”

Olympic-Caliber Art Wanted

“Depending on which way the arts community chooses to look at it, the 2010 Winter Olympic Games offer either a bonanza of riches or a bureaucratic nightmare. ArtsNow, an independent, non-profit society initiated by the British Columbia government, is now accepting applications for its $12-million cultural development fund, which must be dispersed by 2006… The goal, of course, is to leverage the Olympics into meaningful artistic legacies that will continue to flourish long after the event is over. But… the success of these initiatives will hinge heavily on how well various arts groups, communities and planning committees take advantage of the hard lessons learned from previous host cities.”

Public Access, Or Public Nuisance?

Public-access television – those stations tucked away in a corner of your cable box which are supposed to give the general public a crack at the airwaves, but which more often feature text announcements, low-quality handheld video of elementary school plays, and political rants from marginal-looking individuals with lots of spare time – is struggling to survive in the 500-channel universe. “Today’s access stations are run by small staffs that work primarily to keep programming on these stations,” and in many cities, officials are wondering why they should even bother keeping such channels on the air.

Is It Time To Get Rid Of The FCC?

The question isn’t as preposterous as it might sound. “Because the FCC has become so politicized and beholden to big business, it has ceased to be protector of the airwaves, which are supposed to belong to the citizens of this country (but most believe they belong to big business)… [Furthermore], there is simply no reason for the FCC to regulate broadcast content. By doing so, it is acting as a censor board. If it were really interested in protecting the public, the FCC would take on the issue of violence on TV, which it doesn’t consider indecent, instead of getting worked up over a tit and profanity.”

French Art Thief Faces Another Trial

“A French thief already convicted in Switzerland for stealing dozens of valuable artworks has gone on trial in Strasbourg, eastern France. Stephane Breitwieser, 33, has admitted stealing 239 artworks – including priceless masterpieces – in seven European countries in 1995-2001. He claims a love of art motivated him. He was given a four-year jail sentence in Switzerland in February 2003. He was extradited last year to face charges for 20 works stolen in France.”

So What Was All That Whining About?

Despite all the music industry’s moaning about the coming apocalypse of illegal downloading, CD sales in the U.S. rose by 2.3% in 2004, and continue to dominate the music-buying marketplace, accounting for 98% of all music sales. UK sales were up 3%, and set an all-time record for albums sold. Legal downloading from sites such as Apple’s iTunes, meanwhile, also skyrocketed in 2004, ending the year with an average of 6.7 million tracks downloaded each week, up from 300,000 per week in 2003.