City Ballet – Time To Move On?

Robert Gottlieb deems New York City Ballet’s current season better than usual. But. “We’ve recently been told by Anna Kisselgoff, in one of her farewell columns in The New York Times, that “professional Balanchine mourners” should move on. But to what? To her beloved Boris Eifman? (Yes, she’s still defending the indefensible.) Believe me, Anna, we want to move on—to any large talent that presents itself. That’s why everybody hangs over Christopher Wheeldon, praying that he’ll be the one to lead us into new green pastures. What we won’t do is abandon the standards that George Balanchine established, both for his own ballets and for the dancers in what we still can’t help thinking of as “our” company. Far from wishing Peter Martins ill, people like me cherish everything positive that he does. But that doesn’t mean we have to tamely accept second-rate performances.”

New Education Secretary Criticizes PBS

Margaret Spellings, America’s new Secretary of Education, has denounced PBS for “spending public money on a cartoon with lesbian characters, saying many parents would not want children exposed to such lifestyles. The not-yet-aired episode of “Postcards From Buster” shows the title character, an animated bunny named Buster, on a trip to Vermont — a state known for recognizing same-sex civil unions. The episode features two lesbian couples, although the focus is on farm life and maple sugaring. A PBS spokesman said late Tuesday that the nonprofit network had decided not to distribute the episode, called “Sugartime!” to its 349 stations.”

The Bernstein Factor

Leonard Bernstein’s absence looms over classical music and its current dilemma: superstar conductors and dwindling receipts, “crossover” CDs and spiraling sales, and the ongoing burnout between academic composers and listeners. When Bernstein began his Young People’s Concerts in early 1958, classical culture was different in ways he changed irrevocably: the concert tradition was “high culture” filtered through Europeans like Toscanini, targeted at an educated elite, and orchestras were the province of elderly white men. How quaint that all feels today…

A Change of Direction At Paris Review

Why did the board of the Paris Review fire Brigid Hughes as George Plimpton’s successor? “Ms. Hughes’ firing was seen by some as a betrayal of Plimpton’s memory: He was fiercely loyal, and Ms. Hughes had apprenticed closely with him. But others saw it as an attempt by an anxiety-ridden board—which Plimpton himself had established—to honor his legacy by searching for new directions for the magazine.”

Poland Pressures Cleveland Museum To Return Nazi-Looted Drawings

“Poland is putting new pressure on the Cleveland Museum of Art and other major museums to return a widely dispersed collection of Albrecht Durer drawings looted by the Nazis during World War II. The 27 drawings, three of which are owned by the Cleveland museum, were removed by Nazi officers in 1941 from the Ossolinski Institute in the city of Lviv, which was then in Poland.”

Blockbuster Toronto Shows Fail To Blockbust

Attendance at three blockbuster shows at Toronto museums was respectable but not great. “The numbers, while respectable, weren’t record-smashers, and remain an indication that the city is still trying to shake off the effects of the SARS crisis of 2003 and the reluctance of tourists, especially those in the United States, to travel in the wake of the terror attacks of 2001 and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.”

Small Endowment – Why David Has A Small…

“As every visitor to Florence will know, the modest dimensions of David’s “pisello” are a running joke with Italians, and the stuff of irreverent postcards. But, in a paper to be published at the end of this month, two Florentine doctors offer a scientific explanation: the poor chap was shrivelled by the threat of mortal danger. Michelangelo’s intention was to depict David as he confronted Goliath.”

Movie Studios At Oscar Time – MIA

“It’s a funny thing, but today’s movie studios are no longer in the Oscar business. If there’s one common thread among this year’s five best picture nominees, it’s that they were largely financed by outside investors. Most of the nominees aren’t even classic outside-the-system indie movies. They’re artistic gambles financed by entrepreneurs. If you want serious cash on the barrelhead for an Oscar picture today, you have to find yourself a cinematic sugar daddy willing to foot the bill.”