So We Should All Read The Classics In School? (What A Turn-Off)

Carol Sarler doesn’t read books. Really. She blames it on school. “We read the books, we were tested on them and we passed or failed accordingly. Reading books was, therefore, the stuff of school in exactly the same way as was trigonometry or chucking a javelin — and since leaving my esteemed seat of learning, I am as likely to curl up with Jane Austen for the fun of it as I am to flirt with a cosine or risk the wrong end of a spear.”

Does San Francisco Really Need More Arts Funding?

“When art brushes up against politics in San Francisco, the results can often seem surreal,” and columnist Ken Garcia has some pointed questions for the mayor’s new arts task force. Balancing the needs of the city’s major arts organizations with those of smaller groups is an ongoing problem, and the task force’s proposal does little to address it, Garcia alleges. “[Also] lost in the funding frenzy was the fact that San Francisco already spends more money per capita on nonprofit arts organizations than any U.S. city, nearly $15 for each of its 750,000 citizens.”

Where Are The Women? Everywhere But At The Top

“Traditionally, if you look at our cultural institutions, most of them employ women in equal numbers. Women are certainly prominent in middle management. There is no question that women are good at what they’re doing – but what they’re generally doing is supporting male directors. There are, for sure, some art galleries with women directors. But if you start looking at national museums and galleries, no, there aren’t. And if you start looking at orchestras in general, no again; we’ve got one woman director of an orchestra [the LSO]. There are fantastically few women film scriptwriters. Why should that be? These are bastions of male leadership.”

The Museum Visitor Who Broke The Art

Last month a man tripped down some stairs in a museum and broke some Chinese vases. “Nick Flynn, of Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire, said disaster struck after he realised he had gone up the wrong staircase and swung around to come down. He trod on his untied shoelace and fell forward. ‘I was trying to grab hold of something but the walls were smooth marble and I couldn’t stop myself’.”

A London Renovation Forces Orchestras To Cope

London’s Royal Festival Hall is closed for extensive renovations. “The closing of the roughly 3,000-seat Festival Hall — a regular stopping point on the Famous Performer circuit (from Callas to Hendrix to Karajan) — was traumatic, said Michael Lynch, the chief executive of the South Bank Center. The center comprises Royal Festival Hall, the smaller Queen Elizabeth Hall, the even smaller Purcell Room, the Jubilee Gardens and the Hayward Gallery. The renovation, more than 20 years in the making, is part of a revitalization of the complex.”

Irony Abounds – Frey Fights For Truth And Integrity

Disgraced author James Frey was in Hollywood in January attending to the making of a movie of his memoir. The movie makers had changed some details in the book. Frey had what was described as “a classic Hollywood fit.” Frey said they didn’t have the right to alter the facts in the book, the observer recalled this week. “How could they do this? This was his life! How could they change the facts of his life?” Eventually, Frey fired his agency.