Richmond PAC Promises To Get Realistic

Richmond, Virginia’s proposed new performing arts center has been controversial from the beginning, with critics complaining that the project is far too ambitious and expensive for a small city. The mayor has demanded that organizers scale back by 2/3 their plans for “a $112 million cluster of theatres, music venues and a jazz club on an entire city block,” and while there are currently no plans to comply with that request, the PAC proponents this week agreed to tackle the project in stages, and not to begin construction on any individual part of the project until that component is fully funded.

Peter Boal’s Seattle Strategy

“I want lots of new choreography. I’m not going to do it myself because I want it to be good choreography. I want to see us perform more in Seattle. Not en masse, but in small groups; not at McCaw Hall, but elsewhere in town, maybe in collaboration with other institutions. I want everybody to see the company, invite everybody to come to the ballet; I want them to know it can be relevant to their lives. I want to reach out to the entire dance community. Four times this year, before particular rep programs, we’re going to be inviting dance students to come to watch a class at Phelps Center: We’re calling it ‘$5 Fridays.'”

Baltimore Sun Architecture Critic Accused Of Conflicts Of Interest

The Baltimore City Paper reports that Baltimore Sun architecture critic Edward Gunts owns considerable property in areas of the city he writes about. “According to the most recently available city and state property-tax records, Gunts currently owns seven residential properties in Mount Vernon and one in Bolton Hill. In the past 18 months he has sold eight additional residential properties in Bolton Hill for more than $2 million—$1.1 million above their purchase price. Since joining The Sun in 1984, Gunts has written extensively about both neighborhoods, often praising their architecture.”

Gutting The CBC (Who’s To Blame?)

The CBC’s leaders have failed Canada’s public broadcaster. “The longer they allow their lockout of 5,500 members of the Canadian Media Guild to grind on — it’s now well into its fifth week — the more precarious CBC’s position becomes. True, negotiations are back on, but the hard slogging of the big issues still lies ahead. Meanwhile, listeners tired of hearing the same old classical tunes on a loop are fleeing to their CD players and iPods. News junkies are turning to CTV Newsnet or CNN. And now the door has been opened to a nasty national dialogue about CBC’s alleged political bias.”

Getty Villa Almost Ready For Reopening

After five years of extensive renovations, the Getty villa in Malibu is almost ready to reopen. “The expected 2001 completion date was pushed back repeatedly by legal wrangling with neighbors and construction delays. But the $275-million project — transforming the J. Paul Getty Trust’s former general art museum into an educational center and museum dedicated to the study of the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome and Etruria — is nearly complete. A series of invitational previews this fall will lead to the public opening in early 2006.”

Why Orchestras Pay So Little

“A survey of British orchestral players by the Musicians Union finds that many have been reduced to taking part-time jobs in order to make ends meet. Aromatherapy, taxi driving, letting out rooms and web design are listed as supplementary occupations. One respondent complains that a young policeman earns more than a parental cellist, a plumber makes three times as much. Players may look smart in tie and tails on stage but their socks are full of holes and their satisfaction level is grumblingly low. The worst thing about being an orchestral musician, most agree, is the wretched pay.” Norman Lebrecht wonders: Is anything to be done?

Seattle Symphony Wins New Players Contract

“The three-year extension and modification of the present contract, worked out during the past nine months of negotiations between the orchestra management and the Seattle Symphony and Opera Players Organization, has three key elements. The first postpones raises that were supposed to come in 2005-06, the last year of the current five-year contract. The second affects health insurance, with musicians taking on some added costs, including covering 25 percent of the premium cost for their dependents. Finally, some future raises are being deferred”