Next On The Cutting Block: Missouri

“The Missouri Arts Council could lose about 75 percent of its budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. A bill signed by Gov. Bob Holden authorizes the council to use money from the Missouri Cultural Trust, intended as an endowment to leverage private arts funding, for the new budget year. The council will receive no money from general revenues.”

Glasgow – Where’s Your Culture Now?

So many cities were anxious to be named European Capital of Culture because of what the title did 13 years ago for Glasgow. The city was touted for its rebuilding. “But what happened to Glasgow? It is 13 years since the high point of its renaissance and the media spotlight has moved elsewhere. Along with the re-emergence of England’s regional cities, Edinburgh has been buoyed by devolution and an accompanying cash influx. Glasgow has fallen off the radar.”

OED: 6000 New Words To Learn

The Oxford English Dictionary is about to add 6000 new words to its next edition. “The cosmetic treatment botox is included, as is Viagra. Minging is also honoured with a place among the dictionary’s 187,000 definitions. It is defined as ‘foul smelling or very bad, unpleasant’. Other slang terms include headcase, khazi and half-inching (pinching, or stealing).”

Hairspray Wins Big At Tonys

“`Hairspray’ took a firm hold of the 2003 Tony Awards Sunday, winning five, including best book, score and direction. Eugene O’Neill’s masterpiece `Long Day’s Journey Into Night’ was named best revival, while Brian Dennehy and Vanessa Redgrave, the play’s tortured parents, received the top acting prizes.”

Hartford Stage Takes Foot Off Accelerator

After six years of deficits, Hartford Stage is downsizing in an attempt to grab control of its budget. “It’s like the last scene in the movie `Thelma and Louise.’ But instead of pressing on the accelerator, as many organizations are doing, we are taking our foot off the gas and putting on the brake. And then we’re going to turn the car away from the cliff.”

Foundations Protest Proposed New Giving Rules

American charitable foundations are protesting a proposal in Congress to force them to give away more money each year. “U.S. giving by foundations, corporations, and individuals will fall this year from $212 billion to $165 billion, a 22% drop. For arts organizations in particular, Charity Navigator predicts even worse news: Giving may decline by as much as one-third, from $12 billion in 2002 to $8 billion in 2003.”

Are We Losing Our Sense Of Distance? Our Ability To Reflect?

Have we lost our critical distance from the cultural things with which we interact? “American culture as a whole has grown increasingly spellbound by electronic media to the point where now every other person we see wears a headset, has a cell phone to one ear or eyes fixed on some porthole of cyberspace. The critical distance that once appeared to be a virtue, or at least an advantage, now appears to be one more illusion, or perhaps a mere spasm of arrogance on the artist’s or the critic’s part.”

Inspired By The Silver Screen

Broadway had a healthy year at the box office this season. But more and more it seems, theatre is looking for its inspiration from the movies. “Despite these flashes of risk-taking creativity, the looming presence on Broadway this season has been the movie-musical and the musical revival. In the former genre, the year’s biggest smoking craters were left by such derided bombs as Dance of the Vampire and Urban Cowboy. But when producers turn their envious eyes to the grosses from Hairspray, the exuberant version of the John Waters cult film and a heavy favorite tonight, they still want to take a chance and get into the picture.”

Should Politics Be Like Reality TV?

Is voting someone out of the Big Brother reality TV house much different from voting out politicians? “Television has always been a problem for politicians, but never more so than now, when it is questioning their very ethos and raison d’ĂȘtre. Politics is going through the biggest change since the emancipation of women. It is massive, what could happen in the next five to 10 years, in the meshing of direct and representative democracy. It is something new. Television has picked up on interactivity in the telecommunications world. That is driving it.”