TV Nation

“Television viewers worldwide spent 15 minutes more per day glued to their screens in 2003 than in the previous year, bringing global average viewing time to three hours and 39 minutes daily, according to figures released today. Based on eight hours of sleep, that means the average viewer spends almost a quarter of their waking hours in front of the TV – and maybe a few of the sleeping ones as well.”

Mariinsky Asserts New Authority

The Mariinsky Ballet has claimed its contemporary credentials, writes Clement Crisp. “For the fourth Mariinsky Ballet Festival the ballet company made its best claim for a valid modernity in a post-Soviet age with stagings of three ballets by Frankfurt’s William Forsythe. I have been watching and loving the Kirov since its first appearances in the west in 1961. I recall few evenings more significant, more assertive of the troupe’s potential and its greatness, than this, and I salute the company’s artistry in Forsythe as a logical extension of its grand academic identity.”

World’s First Maori TV Channel

New Zealand has launched the first Maori TV channel. “The government-funded station aims to preserve the culture of New Zealand’s indigenous people, who make up around 12.5% of the country’s four million population. Half of the station’s programmes must be in Maori, which is now spoken by fewer than a tenth of Maoris.”

Emin Vs. The 8-Year-Olds, Part II

Tracey Emin worked with a school class of 8-year-olds to create a quilt. The school wants to sell it, but Emin says it’s not technically her artwork (thus making it less valuable). Nonetheless, she wants the school to give the quilt to her rather than sell it. And she’s angry over the request to sell: “As a result of this incident Tracey has since declined any further requests to work with schools or with young people.”

Writers Union? Now There’s A Curious Concept

“The Writer’s Union of Canada has done and continues to do great things for the community it serves, but I’m sure its membership would find the idea of a strike laughable. First question: Against whom do we strike? Publishers? Heather Reisman? The Malahat Review? And imagine the fallout if we did — this is what really keeps writers in their place — the resounding yawn we imagine would be the response to our announcement that we’re mad as hell and not going to write novellas about it any more.”

The Governator… (Oops, Can We Say That?)

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “election as governor and his newfound status as a public official have not curbed the zeal of his advisors to protect his image. If someone profits from or distorts his image, legal experts say, he can still sue for economic damages — even as governor. In the months since the recall, Schwarzenegger’s hard-nosed lawyers say, they have been on alert for unauthorized ads and products.”

Lynch Revives Choreographers Initiative

Molly Lynch, whyo resigned as artistic director of LA’s Ballet Pacifica after a dispute with the company’s board, has revived one of her best ideas while with the company – a choreography project. Her new program – the National Choreographers Initiative – will take place in July and culminate in a series of works created by four choreographers to be presented at the Irvine theater. “An amazing confluence of necessary resources came together in a very short period of time.” And Ballet Pacifica? The director who replaced Lynch resigned after two months, and the rest of the company’s season was cancelled.

Study: Digital Piracy Doesn’t Harm CD Sales

Recording companies have been saying that digital piracy has killed their CD sales. But “researchers at two leading universities have issued a study countering the music industry’s central theme in its war on digital piracy, saying file sharing has little impact on CD sales. ‘We find that file sharing has only had a limited effect on record sales. The economic effect is also small. Even in the most pessimistic specification, five thousand downloads are needed to displace a single album sale’.”