Super-Size Me – The New Paperbacks

“Mass market paperbacks, those pocket-sized best sellers available everywhere from airports to drug stores, are on the decline, apparent victims of increased competition and the squints of baby boomers who value larger print over lower prices.” So publishers are experimenting with a larger format. “The new paperbacks will be at least a centimetre taller than mass market books — big enough to make the books more readable, but small enough to fit into pockets and existing store racks. In both size and prize, they will stand midway between mass market books and “trade” paperbacks, which are the same size as hardcovers.”

Kenyon: A Fascinating Time For Classical Music

Classical music in trouble? Not at all, writes Nicholas Kenyon. “The fascinating question is why the repertory has been creatively disoriented in the way it has over the past couple of decades, why people now find gamelan music or 13th-century organum as meaningful to them as the classics. I believe there is a very simple answer to this: we have finally reaped the harvest of a century and more of recording and broadcasting, which has gradually made the widest possible range of music available to us, all at the same time, in an almost frighteningly all inclusive way. How could this overwhelming experience not have a drastic influence on our taste?”

Plans For Hemingway House Rile Idaho Neighbors

Neighbours in the town of Ketchum, Idaho fear that plans to open to the public the house in which Ernest Hemingway killed himself will “bring scores of tourists who will disrupt their peace and clog up their drives. They want to buy the property – which could have a price tag of more than $500,000 – from the conservancy that owns it, and move it down the road. But the plan has run into opposition from the Idaho Hemingway House Foundation, which counts the Hollywood luminary Tom Hanks and the writer’s granddaughter Mariel Hemingway as board members.”

Please Oscar – A New Stunts Category

“With attention focused on the Academy Awards, less than two weeks away, an alliance of four stunt organizations is petitioning the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to create a new Oscar category, that of best stunt coordinator. At a time when computer effects make ever more outrageous stunts possible, the stunt groups say, recognition is long overdue for the men and women who design and carry out some of the most thrilling moments on the big screen.”

The London Underground – Cleaning Up The Kinsey Poster

Officials of the London Underground have objected to a poster advertising the movie Kinsey and insisted on changes. “When I first heard about the objections, I envisaged a robust image of, say, a youth coupling with a horse; after all, it was Kinsey’s research that revealed 17% of American farmhands had sex with their four-footed charges. But no, it was the naughty words that bothered the Tube censors. They demanded changes to the lettering that runs behind an image of Neeson as Kinsey: whereas once there was the legend “orgasms, masturbation and sleaze”, now the punters merely have to grapple with “pleasure” and “sexually”. Yuck!”

Of Love And Shakespeare – Maybe Science Can Help?

Is their a scientific explanation for the love Shakespeare writes so eloquently about? “Merging art and science, the Royal Shakespeare Company has engaged a psychotherapist to explain the “science of love” to actors rehearsing new productions of Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It hopes that they will get an understanding of what is happening in the human brain when one person gazes into another’s eyes and murmurs: I’ll follow thee and make a heaven of hell.”

Connecticut Governor Proposes Big Arts Funding Cuts

Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell is proposing big cuts in the state’s arts budget. “The $23.7 million budget of the Commission on Culture and Tourism took a 16 percent decrease last week when Rell proposed her $15.3 billion state budget. Among other cuts was $450,000 removed from $2.25 million in cultural resources grants, which help fund arts groups’ operations, education and programs. The commission’s new budget total is just under $20 million.”

Iraqi Artifacts Recovered In US

Eight priceless Iraqi stone seals are recovered by the FBI in the US. An “ex-Marine bought the seals from a vendor on a U.S. military base in southern Iraq in late 2003. He returned with them to the United States in early 2004 and took them to show Zainab Bahrani, a Columbia University professor of ancient Near Eastern art and archaeology. “I think he just looked me up on the Internet. He was in New York and looking for an expert. His goal was to return them right from the start. The reason he did it was that he was trying to show how easy it is to remove cultural artifacts out of Iraq. This is not a unique example. These objects are being taken out of the country by the thousands, and we are fortunate he brought the issue to the forefront.”