What is it about Lynne Truss’little book of grammar “Eats, Shoots & Leaves?” “The slim volume, subtitled The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, is storming bookshops in country after country, entrancing pedants everywhere from Saudi Arabia to South Korea. It has soared to number one in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa.”
“After years (some might say decades) of Broadway surrendering any cultural identity of its own to the British, the New York theatre these days couldn’t be more American.”
The $14 million Bombay Dreams is about to hit Broadway, and producers have been out wooing the Asian community. “Bombay Dreams, after all, is essentially a staged version of a Bollywood film, the immensely popular kind of musical melodramas, produced in Mumbai (as Bombay is now called), that draws huge audiences from all across the Indian subcontinent. And the best estimates say that there are more than 500,000 South Asians living in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.”
The city of Sarasota, Florida has decided that its future is with the arts. “A consultant’s proposal would add up to 375,000 square feet of new cultural space and 300,000 to 600,000 square feet for shops, restaurants, galleries, offices and residences. There’s also a planned three-acre public park, a 10th Street pier and marina, and a baywalk path along the water.”
So Scotland is undertaking a cultural review. But what’s that mean? “A scan down the Cultural Policy Statement was enough to send readers cross-eyed trying to find meaning in the too-polished sentences. I have little idea what an ‘effective, sustainable infrastructure for our arts, heritage, screen and creative industries’ is. Nor do I like the suggestion that creativity is ‘the edge we need in a competitive world’. It’s wrong to evaluate the arts as a pounds-shillings-and-pence tool of business. We should enjoy and pursue them for their own sake.”
“Personal acting coaches are common in Hollywood, where rehearsal time is scarce and money is not. But on Broadway, though stars of musical theater often work with voice coaches, very few experienced theater actors hire an expert to help them prepare for a play. As more film and television stars moonlight in the theater, however, coaches are increasingly in demand.”
Is the Scottish Executive’s plan for the arts just an exercise in delaying a policy? The culture minister says not: “I’m asking the sector to come up with some solutions for itself. I’m tired with the passivity. The system of decision-making suggests we know best all the time. Well, if the arts sector genuinely believes in the contribution it can make, here’s an opportunity for the commission to interrogate that.”
The Banff Television Festival never got much respect. It was about TV, for goodness sake, so the cinema people didn’t find it glamorous. It didn’t offer up many stars either, so it didn’t get a lot of press. But it was about the business of quality TV. So when the festival almost died for lack of funding, a benefactor was found to save it. And it’s business back as usual. But shouldn’t there be some attempt to glamor-up?
Last week international police seized computers and arrested 100 digital pirates, who were part of a highly organized efficient international piracy operation. It’s a sophisticated business designed to copy thousands of movies and video games and distribute them. Busting the operation has given police new insight on how pirates work.
A faded historic LA movie theatre is a testing lab for the future of movies. “On the roof is the future: a battery of satellite dishes. And along the back wall of the Hollywood’s projection booth, a bank of 12 powerful computer servers blink furiously. Peering out at the five-story screen are three projectors: A high-end model by Kinoton able to handle 35-millimeter and 70-millimeter film and two high-resolution digital projectors, all cooled with a dedicated air conditioning system. The $1 million worth of equipment represents a fraction of the $1 billion the seven major studios believe they can save annually by embracing a future without film, when movies shown in theaters will be the result of streams of 0s and 1s flowing either from a high-speed Internet connection or from optical discs.”