Battle For The Internet About To Enter Crucial Phase

“Telecommunications firms salivate at the prospect of eliminating Net Neutrality requirements and setting up systems where websites that pay for the service will be more easily reached than sites that cannot afford the toll. And U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, the Alaska Republican who has for many years been a dominant figure in communications debates on Capitol Hill, is determined to change the rules so that Internet gatekeepers such as AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner, can create an ‘information superhighway’ for those who pay and a dirt road for those who fail to do so.”

MIA: Hollywood Heroes

Hollywood used to live on larger-than-life heroes. No more. “Where have all the action heroes gone? They certainly haven’t gone to be soldiers; no, they’ve gone to be sensitive, not so much in the touchy-feely way, but in that way that strikes at their essence. They no longer dominate.”

Movie Workers: Where’s Our Pay?

Movie industry workers are asking for payment for content that is streamed. “Because streaming is best viewed as merely promotional in nature, network execs argue, actors, writers and directors are thus owed no extra payments for Internet-repurposed programming. It’s a contention that closely follows an argument over which formula to use for residuals on Internet and iPod downloads of movies and TV shows.”

Cuban Dance And The Revolution

“Incongruous as it may seem, ballet was part of the Cuban revolution from its inception. Legend has it that, while Castro was battling the imperialists, he sent Alicia Alonso a message from his hideout in the sierra asking her to form a national ballet company in the event of his victory. When he came to power in 1959, she had no hesitation. ‘I was dancing in Chicago, but I dropped everything and came running’.”

When Collective Memory Goes Into Overdrive

Amid the nonstop anniversary commemorations of Hurricane Katrina and the Sept. 11 attacks, are nuance and the perspective of time being jettisoned in favor of instant history? “There are still 60 minutes in an hour, still 365 days in a year, but time gallops today. The cement of history cures fast. Maybe too fast. … The hopped-up environment generates its own vicious cycle of compressed-time demands: to cover an event, to analyze it, to memorialize it, to understand it, to produce the first feature film about it. It’s a daisy chain of rushed judgments.”

Dancers’ Feet: A Horror Story

“Go to any ballet house and, however serene the dancers’ faces, those elegant pink silk shoes hide a battery of injuries: black nails, purpling flesh, growths galore. Peter Norman, one of the UK’s leading podiatrists, has seen it all in the 16 years he has been treating the the Royal Ballet. ‘I know of dancers who have gone on pointe with broken bones and stress fractures,’ says Norman. ‘The pressure on them to get parts, to guard their places in the companies, means they push themselves too far.’ Most dance companies now employ physiotherapists, even masseurs, on staff, but dancers’ feet remain areas of private hell.”

Palme d’Or Competitor Banned From Filmmaking

“Chinese authorities have banned the film director Lou Ye from making films for five years because he failed to seek permission from them before his latest work, set against the backdrop of the Tiananmen uprising, was screened at the Cannes film festival. Mr Lou’s film ‘Summer Palace’ is to be confiscated and income from it seized, the Xinhua news agency reported.”