Donors – Who Calls The Tune?

How much influence do donors to arts institutions have on artistic decisions or management of the institution? “Does he who pays the piper call the tunes? Equally relevant, how do the not-for-profits negotiate these treacherous (or, perhaps not-so-treacherous) waters in straitened economic times? For their spin, Back Stage talked with half a dozen theatre administrators, who oversee fundraising, in major not-for-profit theatres nationwide.”

First Words… 2.5 Million Years Ago?

“Recent evidence suggests we may have started talking as early as 2.5m years ago. There is a polar divide on the issues of dating and linking thought, language and material culture. One view of language development is that language, specifically the spoken word, appeared suddenly among modern humans between 35,000 and 50,000 years ago and that the ability to speak words and use syntax was recently genetically hard-wired into our brains in a kind of language organ. This view of language is associated with the old idea that logical thought is dependent on words.”

Where The Sun Never Sets

“Why, you might ask, now that empire has become an irrelevant historical fact, are pundits, intellectuals and sundry other commentators debating whether America is an empire or should be an empire, or whether the United States has what it takes to succeed
as an empire? By using the word “empire” as if it were a living possibility, even people opposed to the idea of an American imperialism make it easier for the pro-empire crowd to make their fantastical case. But a country doesn’t decide to be an empire the way a person decides to wear black rather than brown shoes to a party.


DJs perform by spinning vinyl records to get the sounds they’re after. Now a new spinnable CD player offers DJs the opportunity to go digital. “The key to the system – which resembles a small version of a vinyl deck – is a grooved, touch-sensitive jog wheel, which allows records to be stopped and scratched at any time. Until now, the inability to do this was one of the key reasons DJs had shunned performing with CD decks. Deck has a memory card that recalls edit points for tracks. Additionally, the system has an internal memory that can remember cue and loop points, and allows tracks to be remixed live.”

Where Are The Comics For A New Decade?

The 70s, 80s and 90s each had their hit comics, those strips that seemed essential to their age. “Doonesbury and Bloom County—and heck, while we’re at it, let’s throw in Dilbert for the ’90s—each managed to perfectly capture the zeitgeist of the decade in which they were created. So what of our current decade—nearly four years old, without even a proper name to its credit (the Zeroes?). Are we still subsisting on fond memories of the long defunct Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side?”

Should National Gallery Be Concerned About Digital Piracy?

The movie and music industries are warning London’s National Gallery that the museum’s digitization project is an open invitation to image piracy. “The National Gallery has been working with computer giant Hewlett-Packard for eight years on a scheme to digitise all of its 2300 paintings. The images have been captured with a digital camera that steps backwards and forwards over the painting, a technique that improves the resolution of the image to 100 megapixels, 20 times that of the best consumer cameras. When someone places an order, a six-colour printer in the gallery’s shop will print out a high-quality copy in just five minutes. The gallery hopes to generate extra revenue by allowing accredited print shops around the world to sell copies as well.”