Fleeing Mid-Performance: Indefensible Or Not?

“Is it OK to walk out of a show? Finally I did it: at an interval, mind – not while stuff was actually happening on stage. I felt very, very bad. Very bad indeed. I think it’s incredibly bad form not to stay the course. But, I admit, I also felt lightheaded, joyful, and ready to reclaim the evening that had been in such serious danger of being becoming incredibly depressing.”

If Huck Finn Had Had A Few Dozen Artist Friends …

“If all goes as planned, and that is no sure bet, an unlikely crew on an improbable craft will amble the Mississippi for the next month, spreading culture and chaos downriver. For more than a week, the ‘Miss Rockaway Armada’ — a few dozen self-selected artists from Manhattan, Brooklyn, Seattle, San Francisco and beyond — has toiled … on the banks of the Mississippi River, assembling salvage wood and cadged Styrofoam into three interconnected rafts, each 20 feet long. … Theoretically, the crew plans to stop in various river towns to give workshops on everything from silkscreening to power tools and put on a performance — a kind of punk-rock musical variety show — followed by a dance party.”

Young People! (The Copy Generation)

“Among teens ages 12 to 17 who were polled, 69% said they believed it was legal to copy a CD from a friend who purchased the original. By comparison, only 21% said it was legal to copy a CD if a friend got the music free. Similarly, 58% thought it was legal to copy a friend’s purchased DVD or videotape, but only 19% thought copying was legal if the movie wasn’t purchased. Those figures are a big problem for the Recording Industry Assn. of America and the Motion Picture Assn. of America, both of which have spent millions of dollars to deter copying of any kind. The music industry now considers “schoolyard” piracy — copies of physical discs given to friends and classmates — a greater threat than illegal peer-to-peer downloading, according to the RIAA.”

The 90-Minute Star Wars

George Lucas has given the Reduced Shakespeare Company permission to do a condensed version of the Star Wars movies. “The films total more than 13 hours but this should not pose a problem for the company that did the Complete Works of Shakespeare in 97 minutes. ‘In the space of 20 minutes I’m going to be Jabba the Hutt, Jar Jar Binks, Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker’.”

Chicago Public Radio Is Out To Reinvent Public Radio

“Hosts will be in charge of two-hour blocks of radio time, and they’ll be free to play whatever strikes their fancy that day. Maybe a host is still thinking about last night’s episode of America’s Next Top Model, so he cues up a field report from a recent casting call for the show. Next might come a slam poet’s musings on commercial beauty, then three of the fiercest songs off of a local band’s new LP, followed by a spoof remix of James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful,” then an interview with a fashion photographer. Or maybe a bunch of music, or a lot of commentary. The point is, pretty much anything goes. But—and here’s the major innovation—there’s a communal element, too.”

Scialabba: A Culture Of Contradictions

“George Scialabba is an essayist and critic working at Harvard Universit. He writes in what William Hazlitt — the patron saint of generalist essayists — called the ‘the familiar style,’ and he is sometimes disarmingly explicit about the difficulties, even the pain, he experiences in trying to resolve cultural contradictions. That is no way to create the aura of mystery and mastery so crucial for awesome intellectual authority.”

A Place For Islamic Art

“Since 9/11, many museums in Europe and the United States have begun highlighting collections and exhibitions of Islamic art as a way of promoting greater understanding and bridging the cultural gap between the Judeo-Christian and Muslim worlds. In Western Europe this strategy also implies recognition that, because of heavy immigration from North Africa, Turkey, Pakistan and Bangladesh, Islam is now also a European religion, and it is therefore important both for Europeans to show respect for Islamic culture and for Muslim immigrants and their children to take pride in their past. But are we asking too much of art, giving it too much political weight?”

Earmark Research

The US Congress has been increasingly funding research projects in colleges through earmarks – special funding inserted by legislators. But some scientistsare “concerned that, in a time of flat funding for research, earmarks drain the pool even more, forcing institutions to spend big in order to gain big. Earmarking can “set up these incentives in which universities feel they have to lobby for earmarks to get a shot at having research funds.”