Turkey’s Sertab Erener has won this year’s Eurovision song contest with the song ‘Every Way That I Can.’Belgium’s Urban Trad came in second and Russia’s Tatu in third. Erener is one of Turkey’s most popular singers, with album sales of over four million.
National Public Radio has ambitious goals – 300 new member stations and 5 million new listeners by 2010. But where are they going to come from? “In today’s crowded radio market, increasing the number of NPR stations by half can seem far out of reach. Most large and medium markets lack room for new frequencies. Licensees such as state universities have no money to buy frequencies anyway.”
“The champagne has been flowing all around Hollywood lately. Box-office receipts jumped 13.5%, to $9.5 billion, in 2002 – the biggest year-over-year increase in two decades. DVD sales grew 71%, to more than $11 billion. That doesn’t even include DVD rental revenues, which grew from $1.4 billion to $2.9 billion, according to DVD Entertainment Group, an industry association. You can’t blame Hollywood for not wanting to rock the boat.” But big trouble is looming – and unless the movie business reinvents its distribution as download times shrink, a major case of heartburn awaits.
Movie box office tanked this weekend with the war and the Oscars on. “The weekend’s top 12 films sold an estimated $84 million worth of tickets, the lowest total since Super Bowl weekend and down 29% from the same weekend last year.”
TV ratings for Sunday night’s Oscar telecast were down 20 percent from last year’s all-time low. “The subdued 75th anniversary edition of the Academy Awards entered the record books on Monday as the least watched Oscar telecast ever.”
Which children’s books sold in 2002? A list of the top titles shows Lemony Snicket on top. But clocking in at No. 3 is former NEH chairman and present vice-presidential wife Lynne Cheney with “America: A Patriotic Primer.”
Archaeologists fear that George Bush’s war on Iraq and its aftermath could “obliterate much of humanity’s earliest heritage. Heavily looted in the last 10 years, Iraq’s archaeological treasure remains as precarious as the rest of the country’s post-war future. ‘What’s really at stake here is our past. What happened here was the establishment of civilization as we know it – codified religion, bureaucracy, cities, writing. What developed there was modern life – urban existence.”
Not for years has a new opera wowed the critics and enthralled the public as Danish composer Poul Ruders’s opera of Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” has done. “Premiered three years ago in Copenhagen in a staging by Phyllida Lloyd, the Dane’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 1986 bestseller was acclaimed as a modern masterpiece: savage, satirical, yet lyrical, evoking both a brutal totalitarianism and private tragedy. ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ looks like it may be one of the most popular operas of our time. Productions are planned in Washington, Minneapolis and Toronto. And next week it gets its British premiere when Lloyd’s staging comes to English National Opera.”
“In 1988, conductor Valery Gergiev emerged as a “poster-boy for Gorbachev’s perestroika, an intense young man chosen at the tender age of 34 to lead Leningrad’s Kirov Opera. Today, everything has changed: Leningrad is once again St. Petersburg, and the Kirov Theatre has reverted to its czarist name, the Mariinsky (although its ensembles – the opera, the ballet, the orchestra and chorus — still tour under the name Kirov). The one factor that has remained constant is Gergiev. He’s no longer quite so young – his shaggy hairstyle disguises a combed-over bald spot – yet he has lost none of his intensity.”
It worked in New York with the Broadway musicians strike. Now Houston mayor Lee Brown has decided to get involved in the Houston Symphony musicians strike. He’s appointed a special representative to work with the two sides and “said his action is aimed at helping the parties come to an agreement and return the Symphony to the Jones Hall stage, since a prolonged dispute is not only detrimental to the orchestra, but also to the entire city of Houston.”