This Is No Time To Treat The Arts As An Extravagance

“[T]he arts teach us morality, humanity, the range of identity, the importance of beauty and ideas and qualities you can’t quantify, the values we hold in common. … They teach us all this through miraculously pleasurable experiences that at their best are akin to spiritual revelation, and that even in their lesser occurrences are a source of delight and understanding. Why does that constantly have to be defended as worthwhile?”

In Protest, Chinese Hackers Invade Melbourne Film Fest Site

“Chinese computer hackers defaced the website of Australia’s biggest film festival in Melbourne after it defied a request from the Communist Party not to show a documentary about a controversial Uighur activist. … Hackers attacked the website on Saturday, posting an image of the Chinese flag and leaving slogans criticising” the activist.

Michael Steinberg, 80, Revered Concert Program Annotator And Lecturer

Mark Swed: “I have many times quoted from the program notes of Michael Steinberg, and I expect I will do so many more times. They include some of the finest writing on music that I know. … Not only writers came under the spell of his words, and of the man, but also musicians, composers and administrators. And, most important of all, audiences.”

The ‘Invisible Library’: Books-Within-Books

“Novelists have long tucked made-up fictions inside their real ones. … A few deft lines can conjure perfect examples of untutored rawness (Mattie Ross, the 14-year-old heroine of Charles Portis’s True Grit, has a manuscript entitled “You will now listen to the sentence of the law, Odus Wharton, which is that you be hanged by the neck until you are dead, dead, dead! … [etc.]“), sublime dullness (“The Purpose of Clothing Is to Keep Us Warm,” in Jorge Luis Borges and Adolfo Bioy-Casares’s Chronicles of Bustos Domecq) or anything in between. Why write the whole book when you can get so much mileage out of the title alone?”

Why Can’t The Movies Get Stand-Up Comedy Right?

“There have been some well-received documentaries on the subject (Comedian, The Aristocrats) and some memorable performance films. But the consensus in the comedy world is that … [e]ven the better movies on the subject – including those made by star-directors who should know better, like Richard Pryor and Billy Crystal – are full of tired showbiz clichés and central characters who are stereotypically unhappy, insecure, neurotic or even … downright certifiable.”

Did Freud Like Coney Island? Did Coney Island Like Freud?

“In September 1909, during his only trip to America, Sigmund Freud visited Coney Island” and “probably found it a little seedy.” {He did call America a “great mistake.”) Was the feeling mutual? Now an exhibition at the Coney Island Museum, “[c]reated by the media artist Zoe Beloff, … fills a room with drawings, photographs, artifacts and short films purportedly made by members of a previously unknown group of vocational Freudians founded, Ms. Beloff said, by a man named Albert Grass in the 1920s.”

Live Streaming, Video Screen Close-Ups, Post-Performance DVDs: Cleveland Int’l Piano Competition Goes High-Tech

Among “the many new bells and whistles in store for the 2009 contest,” which begins this week, are live video of the first two rounds via, “CDs and DVDs available immediately after each performance,” audio of each concert via Instant Encore, and close-up video of each competitor on a screen above the stage

After The Ballet: Finding New Work And A New Identity

The layoffs of 11 corps members of New York City Ballet “have produced a complicated set of responses among these dancers, who, since childhood, have endured grueling hours of cloistered study to achieve a remarkable level of artistry, a position at the pinnacle of the ballet world and then, suddenly, unemployment: anger mixed with grief but also a sense of new possibility and youthful optimism.”