King Award Is Controversial

The selection of Stephen King for an honorary National Book Award has been greeted by some with dismay. “Told of Mr. King’s selection, some in the literary world responded with laughter and dismay. ‘He is a man who writes what used to be called penny dreadfuls. That they could believe that there is any literary value there or any aesthetic accomplishment or signs of an inventive human intelligence is simply a testimony to their own idiocy’.”

Florida County Wants Artist To “Fix” Rust On Sculpture

Florida artist Bradley Arthur was hired to make sculpture out of melted guns. He did. But shortly after the sculpture was installed, it began to rust. “The county now contends Arthur has delivered a defective product. He must have done something wrong in making the sculpture. Officials with the county’s public art program want him to ‘fix’ it.
Arthur, 50, of Land O’Lakes, says there’s nothing broken. Of course the pieces are rusting, he said, because they’re made largely of gunmetal. He fully expected his artwork to rust in parts, and took that into account in his design.”

Inside Job – Movie Pirates

A new study says that most movie pirating is done by movie industry insiders. “Seventy-seven percent of films uploaded during this period were apparently created during production or distribution. Some simply appeared online before their cinema release – meaning they must have been leaked. Others were posted after their cinema release but displayed text indicating they were made from a pre-release review DVD. Some even showed evidence that they had yet to be edited, for example, they might contain a stray microphone at the top of the frame.”

India’s Bollywood Ban

Sepaaratist groups in northeast India are calling for a ban on Bollywood movies. “They say the Hindi-language films undermine local culture and values, and that erotic song and dance sequences are a bad influence on young people. A ban is already in effect in Manipur state, forcing many cinemas to shut down or find other sources of income. The cinema owners and distributors say the move to ban the films would only lead to greater piracy.”

RIAA’s Failed Strategy

The recording industry is doing itself n o favors with its war on music file traders. “In its current action, the RIAA, which is claiming damages of thousands of dollars per download, may have the law on its side, but that will matter little in the end. Indeed, it’s far from clear whether the group’s legal threats will even have any, let alone much, impact on unauthorized file sharing. There’s no mass exodus [from file-sharing services], that’s safe to say. Ironically, usage this week and this month is up… More important, even if the RIAA is somehow successful in actually stamping out file sharing (which it won’t be), that doesn’t mean that CD sales will necessarily pick up. “Many of these individuals [who use file-sharing services] have gotten out of the habit of buying CDs. They think CDs are too expensive.”

Suing Kids -Maybe Not The Most Sympathetic Strategy

The recording industry could have made itself sympathetic – all those people downloading and stealing music. But suing music lovers… and a 12-year-old girl no less… “Suddenly, the trade association – in its effort to squelch illegal music sharing over peer-to-peer networks such as Kazaa and Grokster – looked more like a schoolyard bully.”

The Royal Ballet’s Other Star

“In the dance world, Danish-born Johan Kobborg has quietly amassed a major international following. Technically, he is a dancer of great elegance and finish, but what draws audiences to his performances is their intense dramatic colour. Like Nureyev, he turned to ballet late (at 16). He had already toured Europe as a schoolboy singer and proved himself a highly promising violinist when he was accepted for ballet training at the RDB school. By 21 he was a principal dancer in the company.”