The Cult Of Directing

“That directing has, for a time, replaced writing or acting as the primary force in theater is only an understandable phase in stage history. Soon it will undoubtedly have run its course. While the phase lasts, we can relish its virtues and groan over its defects. But that the director should replace the performance as the object of interest is a physical impossibility, since that would make the whole occasion lose its point.”

Festival Music As Badge Of Honor

The core audience at the BBC’s Proms concerts come for reasons other than the music. “The origin of these summer traditions is a primal herd instinct, the urge to join with others in a festive act. When asked in a 2001 BBC survey why they chose to stand, most Prommers (38%) replied ‘because of who I was with.’ Others cited the ‘atmosphere’. These are herd reactions, innocent as chewing cud. But mass ritual can turn sinister when combined with feats of endurance that engender a sense of superiority – of being part of an elite that embraces pain.”

New Meaning For Underground Dance

“On Saturday night the Canadian-owned Inmet mining company set a cultural record by hosting a dance performance – 1,410 metres down its copper and zinc mine in Pyhäsalmi, 475 kilometres north of Helsinki. According to organizers, the 45-minute performance, which went off without a hitch, set a new record for physical profundity in dance.”

Creativity Equals Capital?

“Advocates for the arts have long made a strong case that the local economy benefits from museums, theaters, orchestras, galleries, and similar institutions. Yet looking at the art establishment and its events misses much of the positive economic impact from the arts,” says a new study. “The larger business community benefits from the presence of a vibrant arts community, not only because it helps firms recruit skilled workers to the region but also because it provides a pool of talent for them to draw upon for special design, organizational, and marketing efforts.”

What’s Next For Twyla?

Twyla Tharp planned a New York season on short notice. She’s a loner — relieved, she’s been saying in interviews, not to be saddled with a large institution, with “real estate.” Over the years, she’s proved that she can do just about anything she sets out to do, so what does she want to do now? Can she stay small while getting bigger and bigger? Will she seriously commit herself to revivifying her important work from the past, either under own banner or elsewhere?”

NY Times Names A New ‘Culture Czar’

The new executive editor of The New York Times, Bill Keller, has promoted Adam Moss from the paper’s Sunday magazine to “assistant managing editor for features.” The position amounts to an appointment as the Times’ new ‘culture czar,’ and will give Moss control over the “Book Review, Culture and Style sections, Travel, Circuits, Real Estate, Escapes and special sections of the magazine.” Moss was previously offered a similar position by former Times editor Howell Raines, but declined.

The DNA Song

A Thai geneticist, a computer programmer and a composer have “written” a piece of music based on DNA genetic sequencing. “When I first heard my hepatitis song, all my hairs stood up. The song was amazingly beautiful and it perfectly fit with my (play about DNA).”

Minnesota Fringe Reflects Changing Times

The Minnesota Fringe Festival, the largest in the U.S., is halfway through its 10-day run, and Dylan Hicks detects some subtle shifts in the focus of many participants. “With more shows than ever, the Fringe serves as a broader – if still skewed – zeitgeist-o-meter. In keeping with the tenor of the times, frivolity is somewhat on the wane. In terms of percentages, there appears to be a decline in shows trumpeting nudity, and while comedy remains strong, it’s not quite the hegemony it once was. Either that or it’s just lurking in odd places.”

The Death of The Short Film?

Making a short film is hardly a quick, low-cost enterprise. But for countless young filmmakers, the short is a chance to learn the craft, to get a toehold in an industry notorious for high costs and fickle moneymen. Unfortunately, once a short does get made, usually on the strength of donated equipment, actors working for nothing, and sets designed and built by the director and her friends, there’s still little chance that anyone will see it, or pay attention to it. Tani Hansen knows the frustrations firsthand, and wonders if the form itself isn’t on the way to the dustbin of film history.