When TV Guide Mattered

TV Guide was the first publication to take television seriously. And it had high aspirations. “Would you believe that Margaret Mead and James Michener penned articles for TV Guide? Yes? Then how about John Updike and S.J. Perelman? Lewis Mumford and Arthur Schlesinger Jr.? Alfred Kazin and William Saroyan? And, not least, there’s Salvador Dalí, who painted the magazine’s cover on June 8, 1968, and offered his unpasteurized thoughts on the future of the cool medium (“Laser beams … DNA … holograms!”).”

Wichita – Car Tax For The Arts?

Earlier this year the Wichita (Kansas) City Council agreed to set aside an additional $719,000 in next year’s budget for about 27 local arts groups. But that is only a temporary fix, city officials say. The council wants to set up a fund dedicated to the arts.” How to do it? A tax on car rentals, but rental companies are complaining…


“The Miami muralist who misspelled Shakespeare, Michelangelo and nine other famous names on a mosaic outside the Livermore (CA) library slipped into town to correct her errors — at a cost of $6,000 to the city. And this time, city officials promise they have checked her work before it gets set in stone.”

Were Clues To London Bombings Found In British Fiction?

“Britain’s multiculturalism rests on political correctness. This means the mediator becomes more important than the message. Minority writers get a disproportionate amount of space on the bookshelves, but what is being said is seemingly willfully neglected. That partly explains why so many–including their neighbors and much of the British establishment–were surprised to find that three homegrown British Pakistanis became suicide bombers.”

We Knew It – Pianists Are Just Smarter

A study reports that practicing the piano in early childhood boosts the brain. “Childhood is the best time in life to boost the brain’s so-called white matter, according to the study, and boost the pyramidal tract, which is a major pathway of the central nervous system, transmitting signals between the brain and the pianist’s fingers. The scientists, who investigated the brains of eight concert pianists in their 30s who started practicing as young children, found that the pyramidal tract is more structured in pianists than in non-musicians.”

Convenience And Art In A Prettier Package

After four long years of contruction, Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center has finally removed all the orange barrels and concrete barriers, and unveiled its new look. “The front is now swept and polished with two fountains churning away in front of its grand entrances… Other improvements include a broad staircase facing the Watergate complex, an extended bike path that leads from the center’s front to the Roosevelt Bridge and granite sidewalks, replacing the sometimes slippery marble. New bus shelters east of the center are fitted with polished wooden benches and a wavy canopy. All the roadways and sidewalks are freshly paved, and there is a circle for taxis.”

Oh No, Yoko!

The new musical based on the life of John Lennon has New York’s theatre world all abuzz – but for the wrong reasons. Two directors have already left the production, and retooling has been constant and contradictory. “There are also complaints that the show… has become nothing but a Lennon whitewash job, turning one of the 20th century’s most complex cultural icons into a bland, peace-loving hippie. His drug use is just hinted at; his bisexuality ignored; and his serial philandering only dealt with head-on in one scene. Backstage, the mood at Lennon is grim.” So who’s behind all the problems at what ought to be a blockbuster show? Why, it’s Yoko Ono, of course.

Settlement In Nazi Art Looting Case

“As the result of an out-of-court settlement, Bay Area resident Thomas Bennigson will receive $6.5 million from Marilynn Alsdorf of Chicago for a Pablo Picasso painting reportedly stolen by the Nazis from Bennigson’s grandmother years before Alsdorf acquired it in 1975… The settlement ends a protracted legal battle over Picasso’s 1922 oil ‘Femme en blanc’ (Woman in White). The dispute began in 2002, when Bennigson sued to have the painting returned to him.”