Composer James Tenney, 72

“As a composer he was a kind of hard-core conceptualist driven by theoretical curiosity. As a result his music could be awfully dry at times, but in about half of it or more the conceptualism transformed in kind of an amazing alchemy to an extreme sensuousness, lovely, slow sound-metamorphoses that you just couldn’t believe.”

The Good Old Days In Canada (As In 3000 “Serious” Readers)

“The adjective ‘serious’ was never precisely defined, but it was understood to describe those readers who could be counted on to go to a bookstore at least once a week and buy one or two titles on each occasion, mixing purchases of fiction with those of non-fiction. Since then — a time some publishing types like to call the B.C. Era (as in ‘Before Chapters/Indigo’) — that estimate has dropped, I’m told, to between 1,600 and 2,000, the result, one imagines, of the competing distractions-attractions of the Internet and the rise of digital media.”

At Edinburgh – An Angry Theme

As usual, there are all manner of productions at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival. But “the vein that runs through the festival this year is anger: anger at the state of the world in general, and anger at America in particular. Comedians need only display a picture of President Bush to provoke hollow laughter or indignant booing, depending on the context.”

Lloyd Webber Goes Russian

Andrew Lloyd Webber has chosen his next project. It’s a musical adaptation of “Mikhail Bulgakov’s fantastical tale of the Devil, a talking cat, Christ and Pontius Pilate, a tormented writer named Master and a girlfriend named Margarita, who becomes a witch. A Faustian tale that satirizes the oppressive Stalin regime, the novel is considered a major work of 20th century Russian literature.”

Encyclopedia To The World

A goal of Wikipedia is to create articles in as many languages and cultures as possible. But “how do you create an online encyclopedia when few native speakers have access to the Internet? What use is an encyclopedia when literacy rates among a language’s speakers can approach zero? And who should control the content of an encyclopedia in a local language if not enough native speakers are moved, or able, to contribute?”

Eudora Welty On Film

Five hours of film of writer Eudora Welty has been found in the archives at the National Endowment for the Arts. “This is the only known 60 millimeter film of Eudora Welty reading and discussing her work. This is the earliest known footage of one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century.”