What Is It About Cuba?

“Just what is it about this small island that has bitten us? Why we should identify Cuba as such an exotic paradise or centre of cultural attraction is hard to define. The quality that seems to be driving interest isn’t its literature, its politics or its food: it’s the music. And that is much more deeply rooted in British culture than you might at first think.”

Big Night Ahead For History Boys?

So who will go home happy from tonight’s Tony Awards ceremony? It might not be that hard to figure: “The best play and best play revival categories look to be about as suspenseful as a three-minute egg: Alan Bennett’s History Boys and the revival of Clifford Odets’s Awake and Sing!, said those polled, are safe money. The directors of those two plays, Nicholas Hytner and Bartlett Sher, are leading contenders in their category; Mr. Hytner will easily win. Indeed, The History Boys seems so likely to dominate the evening’s proceedings that it would hardly be surprising if the play somehow won the award for best regional theater, even though the recipient has already been announced.”

The Accidental Vandals

The Bureau of Land Management, which manages the 1.9 million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah, is trying to send a cautionary message to a growing number of visitors who are loving some ancient settlements to death. ‘We’re starting to call them the ‘accidental vandals.’ They lean on the walls to get a good picture. They take a corn cob with them, a pottery shard’.”

American Abroad Comes Home With A Mission

“For the past few decades, James Conlon has been the classical music world’s most noted American abroad. He’s held musical posts in Rotterdam, Cologne and most recently Paris, where he spent nine acclaimed years as principal conductor of the Paris Opera; his main foothold in his homeland has been the Cincinnati May Festival, a choral festival he’s led since 1979. But now, at 56, Conlon is coming home. He’s taken over the helm of the Ravinia Festival, the summer home of the Chicago Symphony, and in the fall he’ll succeed Kent Nagano as music director of the Los Angeles Opera.”

Short Stuff

Film shorts have traditionally been considered a loss leader. But “low-cost cameras and desktop editing have expanded the field beyond Hollywood aspirants to everyone from hobbyists to experimental artists. And online, sites like Atomfilms, iFilm, Clipland and Amazefilms, among dozens of others, have showcased shorts, transforming them from advertisements for one’s self to a form of self-expression in its own right. And along the way, they’ve actually managed what was long thought to be impossible: Making a little money along the way.”

Framing Zarqawi – An Image For…

“So will this image, given a strange dignity by its prominent frame, be a defining image of the war? Not likely. Its primary function is forensic. It proves, in an age of skepticism (heightened by a three-year history of official claims about the war turning out to be false), that Zarqawi is indeed dead. But beyond that, the image has little power. Indeed, as with so many images in this war, it is loaded with the potential to backfire.”

Engineer By Day, Professional Dancer At Night

The PushPULL Dance Company is made up of dancers who have other careers going. “We didn’t become professional dancers because we have multiple interests that have to be satisfied, and the name PushPULL underscores just how torn we are between the love of the arts and our day to day jobs. If you love dance, but you also love science or math or languages or the law — it’s hard to do these on the side. That’s why dance became the hobby, and in my case, engineering became the career. Once the decision had been made, there is also the benefit of knowing you’re going to get the higher paycheque.”