When The Government Spies On Its Own People

Thirty-five years ago, a midnight break-in at an FBI office revealed “years of systematic wiretapping, infiltration and media manipulation designed to suppress dissent. Underground newspapers were targeted. Students (and their professors) were targeted. Celebrities were targeted. The Communist Party of the U.S.A., the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Student Non-Violent Organizing Committee, the Black Panther Party, the Women’s Strike for Peace — all were targeted.” That was supposed to be the break-in to end all break-ins…

The End Of The English Arts Council?

There’s about to be a big shakeup of the UK culture-funding system. “Abolition of the Arts Council is no longer a question of whether, but when – and how soon, this government or the next. The 60th anniversary of its foundation by royal charter will fall in August, by which time every colour of the political spectrum will have accepted that the system by which public money is fed into arts has outlived its usefulness to such an extent that it constricts art and contradicts its founding purpose.”

The “Corrie” Case – Big Disappointment

New York Theatre Workshop’s decision to back down from presenting “My Name Is Rachel Corrie” says something about the current state of New York’s theatre scene. “We have reached the unacceptable face of the New York arts scene when the theater that produced the original Rent—and, more to the point, the conscience plays of Tony Kushner and Caryl Churchill—should cave in like this to peculiar, unspecific pressure.”

Where Are The Right-Wing Playwrights?

Oscar winning screenwriter Julian Fellowes says there’s a problem with today’s theatre. What? There’s a shortage of right-wing playwrights. “There are all sorts of interesting areas for the right wing playwright to get into – the subversion of parliament, the intrusion of government into every day life. You could write a play about any of these things and technically it would be a right wing play but the phrase ‘right wing’ has now been kind of cast out into the shadows.”

The Case For Google Print

“Would publishers object if Google’s project led to an increase, rather than a decrease, in book purchases? I think not. There are already signs in America that Google Book Search is leading to a strong rise in demand for out-of-print books (although unless traditional publishers get their acts together the fruits of this boom may go to the new breed of print-on-demand publishers). I would be amazed if the same did not happen to books in copyright. So let American publishers sue to find out what ‘fair use’ means.”

Small Theatres Struggling In Minny

Minneapolis-based Pig’s Eye Theatre has canceled the remainder of its 2005-06 season and will focus on raising enough money to mount a comeback next winter. Pig’s Eye, which operated on a shoestring and was known locally for an offbeat combination of classic repertoire and edgier fare, is at least the second small company in the Twin Cities to face its own mortality in the last year, as high rents and economic malaise take their toll in a region loaded down with theatre.