Elevator Music – Junk Food For Our Emotions

“Perhaps the use of muzak is in part a reflection of our preoccupation with gloss and spin – buff up the surface, attend to every external area of presentation and, with luck, anything goes underneath. But more than this, the use of muzak is pernicious because it is manipulative. Its effects, like those of the constant bombardment of sexual imagery, are insidious. We should be under no illusions: the power of music to manipulate our emotions is well known and widely exploited. And formulaic muzak stimulates only the very shallowest of our emotions, arousing or lulling our surface senses to order.”

Hollywood’s “Indie” Contradiction

A lawsuit against producers of “Brokeback Mountain points up “an uncomfortable contradiction in the specialty divisions owned by the major studios. That is, movies are budgeted as though they were in the independent world, often squeezing every nickel out of actors, directors and production staff, who cut their fees to near nothing for the privilege of making a picture they are passionate about. When it comes to releasing the film, however, the “arthouse” divisions can take advantage of the deep pockets of their studio parents, frequently spending tens of millions of dollars to promote a movie to glory or box office success in the award season. There is a trap in there somewhere…”

Gotta Brainstorm? That’s Not Very Creative

“The trouble with brainstorming is that it reduces people into impersonal little thought bites, little sound bites. It doesn’t allow them to access their imagination the way they can with avatars, and it doesn’t allow personal emotional investment. Its emphasis on nonjudgmental positivity prevents animus and its bitter, exciting battles. Brainstorming, with its image of storm troopers from faceless military platoons or free-associating advertising drones, encourages hivemind rather than originality.”

McBain Revamps Arts Magazines

Louise McBain has been building a $600 million publishing empire af arts magazines. Now she’s restructuring. “In five years, MacBain bought Art + Auction, Modern Painters and Museums Magazines and Gallery Guides, which publish guides for eight or more cities each. She added a data service, Art Sales Index, and a French publisher, Somogy. She launched a Web site, Artinfo.com, in 2005, and Truman will help start a new magazine, Culture & Travel, in September.”

Cardiff “Ring” Sells Out In Four Hours

Tickets for the Kirov Opera’s production of Wagner’s Ring in Cardiff, Wales, went fast. “Cardiff Fans from across the world have bought seats costing as much as £750 for the performance by Russia’s Mariinsky Theatre – formerly the Kirov Opera. The shows in December will be their only planned UK performance. Tickets have gone to fans as far away as Russia itself, as well as the USA, the Middle East and France.”

Gehry On A Broach

Architect Frank Gehry unveils a new line of jewelry for Tiffany. “The 76-year-old architect, who reached a whole new level of fame on the silvery sails of Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Guggenheim Bilbao, is the first new artist to be introduced by Tiffany since Paloma Picasso in 1980. The collection is comprised of six series named after recurring motifs in Gehry’s work: Fish, Torque, Axis, Fold, Equus and Orchid.”