DON’T BE DISSING GRANDPA

Turns out Stalin’s 28-year-old grandson is an artist – a painter – and judged a good one by those who have seen his work in London and Glasgow. Just one problem – what about those views of history he’s all too happy to share? “Stalin was a truly great man,” he says. “He was a great ruler like Napoleon, Genghis Khan, Julius Caesar. He cannot be erased as if he did not exist. I do not like it when people pretend he did not really happen in history.” – The Times (UK)

PRICE OF PERFECTION

Four years ago pianist Keith Jarrett was struck with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome so severe it all but ended his career. He could barely get out of bed. Now he’s back and talking about it. “Nobody gets CFS who isn’t always trying to do three or four things at a time. If you’re a couch potato, I don’t think you’d be likely to get this. So if you’re doing something new that’s almost an athletic event, and then inside it is this intellectual and emotional component that requires all your abilities every time you do it, and you’re starting from zero every time… well, it’s almost a perfect disease for me to have gotten.” – The Guardian

DON’T BE DISSING GRANDPA

Turns out Stalin’s 28-year-old grandson is an artist – a painter – and judged a good one by those who have seen his work in London and Glasgow. Just one problem – what about those views of history he’s all too happy to share? “Stalin was a truly great man,” he says. “He was a great ruler like Napoleon, Genghis Khan, Julius Caesar. He cannot be erased as if he did not exist. I do not like it when people pretend he did not really happen in history.” – The Times (UK)

PRICE OF PERFECTION

Four years ago pianist Keith Jarrett was struck with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome so severe it all but ended his career. He could barely get out of bed. Now he’s back and talking about it. “Nobody gets CFS who isn’t always trying to do three or four things at a time. If you’re a couch potato, I don’t think you’d be likely to get this. So if you’re doing something new that’s almost an athletic event, and then inside it is this intellectual and emotional component that requires all your abilities every time you do it, and you’re starting from zero every time… well, it’s almost a perfect disease for me to have gotten.” – The Guardian

THE WAGNER CASE (AGAIN)

“The notion that artists don’t have to be as beautiful as the works they create is a commonplace now – except in the case of Wagner. But those who seek to exonerate Wagner by differentiating between the composer and the pamphleteer have another problem: the argument that anti-semitism underpins not only his philosophy, but his music.” – The Guardian

THE POPULARIZATION OF JAPAN

“Pop culture is big business in Japan, with domestic ‘J-Pop’ alone racking up sales of nearly ¥40 billion ($373 million) a year. The most popular artists achieve sales of nearly 10 million copies per album. Volumes of manga (comics) as thick as telephone directories are read by children and balding salarymen alike. The best loved, ‘Shuppan Shonen Magajin’, sells 4 million copies a week.” Now the rest of Asia is catching the Japan-pop bug. – The Economist

CLASSIC FILL-IN

The Bolshoi’s performance of  Balanchine’s “Symphony in C,” Wednesday night at Lincoln Center began a day earlier with a backstage drama. The first movement of the classic was led on Wednesday night by Anastasia Goriacheva, who was celebrating her 19th birthday. Yet until Tuesday, she had never even rehearsed the role; when another of the company’s rising young stars, injured herself, Ms. Goriacheva was plucked out of the corps to replace her and put into nonstop rehearsal mode.” – New York Times

WITCHING HOUR

Theatre producer Cameron Mackintosh is in desperate need of a hit (he hasn’t had one since “Miss Saigon”). Now the reviews are in on “Witches of Eastwick” which opened in London this week. “Judging from the reviews and the reaction to the show from the theater elite here this week, Mackintosh seems to have hit a double. And with his unrivaled talent for marketing and publicity, he just may be able to steal his way to third, theater people here say. – New York Post