Ohio Ballet Director Blames Press

The artistic director of Ohio ballet complains that press coverage of his company helped lead to the company’s current difficulties and cancellation of a spring season. “In his view, the preview stories have discouraged people from buying tickets, and the reviews have been negative and nasty. His complaints are not limited to coverage of the ballet during his seven-year tenure. He also cited criticism of his predecessor, founding artistic director Heinz Poll, and he suggested that ‘nagging reviews’ of Cleveland San Jose Ballet contributed to that company’s demise.”

Chicago Music Fans Angry At Pub Radio Decision To Drop Music

“Chicago Public Radio’s recently announced decision to gut music programs from all three frequencies it controls — most notably WBEZ-FM 91.5 — has unleashed a torrent of criticism. Listeners who for decades have tuned in to WBEZ’s jazz, blues and world-music programming are incensed at the plans, which will go into effect in early 2007.”

Where Are The Jukebox Musicals Taking Us?

“Jukebox musicals have always been controversial, inspiring hate and devotion in equal measure. Some have defended them on the grounds that they are harmless entertainment; others have dismissed them as not like ‘proper’ musicals (Chicago, Evita, The Producers), just the cynical repackaging of dusty back catalogues and fading reputations.
What no one could deny is that these hybrids of pop nostalgia and theatrical sawdust are here to stay.”

Coffee Culture – Finding Ourselves In A Starbucks

Starbucks seems to be everywhere. But does the “Starbucks experience” tell us anything about ourselves? “Founded in Seattle in 1971, Starbucks Corp. now has 11,000 outlets in 37 countries, including 500 in Tokyo. There is a Starbucks’s in Beijing’s Forbidden City, and the round green logo adorns the streets of Edinburgh and the boulevards of Paris. The company expects to open 1,800 new stores this year and aims eventually to have 30,000 outlets, half of them outside the United States.”

Broadway Theatre Gets Thuggish Over Cameras

A patron complains that at a Broadway Theatre recently, audience members were forced to surrender their cameras upon entering the theatre. “At the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre to catch a preview of Richard Greenberg’s ‘Three Days of Rain,’ starring Julia Roberts and opening officially Wednesday, he and other patrons were ordered — rather rudely, he says — to surrender their cameras before going in or to give up their tickets. Despite years of theatergoing, he says, he’s rarely experienced treatment so brusque.”

The Art Of Security

Want to spend your days around art? That’s what museum security guards do. So “when it comes to the people who guard art, visitors might be surprised to find that in more than a few cases, underneath that stern visage and pressed uniform there beats the heart of an artist.”

Email Intrudes Into The Concert Hall

Gadgets of our electronic age are increasingly becoming a distraction in the concert hall. A woman next to Robert Hurwitz in a concert recently spent the performance working on her Blackberry while the music played. “The concert hall is not a church or a temple, but in many ways it is a sanctuary from modern life. It is not, and should not be merely an escape where we hear pretty, soothing melodies or music that relaxes us (for that, smooth jazz radio stations or New-Age records will do just fine). It is, rather, a refuge where we can go and still be fully engaged.”

Why Film Lost Dance

There was a time when dance got star treatment on film. “But somewhere along the line, dance itself got lost in all the narrative strategies. Nowadays, film directors have come to believe that audiences can’t get any pleasure from just watching it — and they don’t stop with merely cutting it to pieces in the editing room. No, they make sure their films are structured so dancing becomes some kind of competitive ordeal. Yes, Astaire and Rogers did win a trophy in one of their classic musicals, but in recent years, virtually every film about dance culminates in some kind of life-defining contest.”