African Film Fest Opens Amid Industry “Crisis”

Fespaco, Africa’s largest and most successful film festival, has opened its 19th season in Ouagadougou, the capital city of Burkina Faso. “Cinemas have been closing in many African countries, leading the monthly magazine Continental to describe the African film industry as ‘in crisis’. For many involved in the film industry, Fespaco has become a hugely important event.”

Dance’s Music Problem

“Are ballet audiences simply indifferent to music? The evidence isn’t encouraging. Ballet orchestras tend to be much worse than symphony orchestras or those that accompany opera. For years, the New York City Ballet Orchestra has been beyond embarrassing, producing not music but a barren hodgepodge of feints in the general direction of what the composer called for, all held together with a leaden hand by the conductor.”

James Conlon’s Big Plans For LA Opera

He’s only just arrived as the company’s music director. So “right now, it’s a bit early in Conlon’s tenure for him to be willing to go beyond generalities, but the conductor does have a vision of the future. He wants to make Los Angeles a center for Wagner (an L.A. Opera “Ring” has been scheduled since he came aboard) as well as the launching pad for his “Recovered Voices” project — reviving music suppressed during the Third Reich.”

Studios, Indies (Who Can Tell The Difference?)

“Something’s up with Oscar. Hollywood’s golden guy isn’t the populist he once was. Last year, as Crash and Brokeback Mountain duked it out for best picture at the Academy Awards, the grumblings about independent flicks crashing Hollywood’s big party began getting louder. It’s more than a coincidence that at the same time this tut-tutting is going on about the Oscars, a number of critics and indie-film aficionados bemoan what they see as the increasingly mercantile aspects of the Sundance Film Festival.”

America’s Favorite Buildings? Maybe. (Maybe Not)

Making lists of favorite buildings is problematic. The Architecture Institute of America did a poll, and critic Robert Campbell says there are some lessons. “It’s hard to ignore the fact that so many of the most admired modernist architects are missing. There’s nothing by Mies van der Rohe — not the Seagram tower in New York, nor the Farnsworth House near Plano, Ill., nor Crown Hall in Chicago.”