“I love it when people talk about my music and I hate it when they don’t, but I never know quite what they’re talking about. When people analyze my music in a formal way – not by what it means in a Wallace Stevens-ish way but by what it is made of in a technical way – I say to myself, ‘Oh gee, did I do that? I guess I did’.”
Patricia Johnston runs the Afton Historical Society Press, a tiny publishing house in a little town outside St. Paul, Minnesota. You’ve probably never heard of the company. After all, Johnston puts out an average of four to six titles per year, and isn’t really all that interested in advertising, or making sales calls, or actually marketing her product much at all. Nonetheless, the business has flourished, with word of mouth being apparently enough to sell the consistently high-quality books that Afton puts out, and many see the company as a textbook example of how an independent publisher can survive in the world of increasingly corporate bookselling.
Flaws in Miami’s new $265 million Performing Arts Center, currently under construction, could “compromise its crucial sound quality, delay its opening and drive up its cost by up to $50 million, officials overseeing its construction and management charged Tuesday. These are issues affecting what the building looks like, what it sounds like, what it feels like.”
Canadian symphony orchestras have had a few difficult financial years. But “theatre, music, dance and opera entered the new millennium with a healthy financial surplus, thanks to record revenues of $543.7 million,” according to new government figures.
Janie Hampton started ballet at the age of 46. “No, we don’t wear tutus. No, we don’t dance on points – can you imagine what 12 stone of fat and gristle would do to those tiny bones in my toes? No, I haven’t lost any weight, but I am definitely a lot more supple and I can stand on one leg for a lot longer. My French has improved too – though I haven’t found many uses for croise devant, sur le cou-de-pied or temp de flêche when I’m on holiday.”
“Anastasia Volochkova, Russia’s most loved and loathed ballerina, has sparked a bitter row with the prestigious Bolshoi theatre following the reported hospitalisation of her male dancing partner, whom industry sources have said was injured lifting her ‘overweight’ frame.”
“Thrillingly, for the first time in a while, art seems more important than the system. The professionalism of the recent past, the thing that made the late-’90s art world seem corporate and unsafe, is morphing into something less predictable, more homespun. The fringes feel frisky, good new artists and galleries are appearing, hype and fashionableness matter less, those capacious Chelsea galleries don’t seem as off-putting, and art is becoming the focus again.”
London is getting a third opera house. The impresario Raymond Gubbay, the commercial arch-rival and a bitter critic of subsidised opera, is to mount year-round productions at the Savoy Theatre. He will begin in April with two guaranteed crowd pleasers, Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and Rossini’s Barber of Seville.”
One of Europe’s leading art collectors bought a Greek statue said to have been carved between 1878 and 1843 BC. But a few years later, François Pinault, the head of Christie’s and Gucci, has some doubts, and now believes it is a modern copy.
Washington DC’s annual dance awards, “the local dance field’s three-year-old answer to the theater’s Helen Hayes Awards and the Washington Area Music Awards cannot yet be seen as anything other than a nice pat on the back among friends. For one thing, the dance groups in this town are so varied in size, budget, quality, visibility and numerous other factors that it seems unwise and unfair to lump them all together in categories such as outstanding group performance and outstanding overall production. How can the bulk of the troupes – shoestring operations composed of dancers who rehearse during time off from their day jobs – hope to prevail when lined up against the Washington Ballet, with its $5 million budget, ready rehearsal space, time-tested repertoire and large stable of splendidly trained, full-time dancers?”