The Killer Preview Review

When newspapers review a book before it’s actually been published, it lets the air out of publication. “Early reviewing means that books don’t get a fair shake. Why, I asked a friend at Viking, don’t they act against editors who infringe the embargo notice? Why not sue, or collectively boycott, offending journals – either directly or through the Publishers’ Association? The fact is that publishers are frightened of editors. So are authors.”

Disney Hall – Pressure To Perform

Talk about pressure. Frank Gehry’s new Disney Hall, home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, is expected to sound great and provide a transformative piece of architecture for a city not known for great buildings. “It is ironic that Gehry is being criticized for not producing a building that will transform a dreary, lifeless downtown area, since that is what he did more successfully than any other living architect when he designed the Guggenheim in Bilbao. (The phenomenon is even referred to generally as ‘the Bilbao effect.’) He made the first truly popular piece of avant-garde architecture in our time, and suddenly everybody else wanted one, including his own city, where he had not received a major commission until 1988, when he won a competition to design the new hall for the Los Angeles Philharmonic.”

Has Success Ruined Medieval Plays?

The medieval York mystery plays, originally performed on wagons on the feast of Corpus Christi, are in danger of not being performed again. “The uncertainty has been prompted by a dispute between traditionalists who favour small-scale outdoor performances every three or four years and modernisers who think York Minster should stage a bigger show once a decade. This ambition follows the success in 2000 of the production of the plays by Gregory Doran, of the Royal Shakespeare Company, in York Minster.”

Why Suing Technology Doesn’t Work

Trying to fight new technologies with legal tactics is a losing strategy. Trying to block file-sharing will only delay the technology, not stop it. “Technologies can be stubborn. Efforts to knock them down can send them rebounding back with a new twist. In the case of encryption, the technology continued to grow more powerful and researchers poked holes in the government’s weaker alternatives. In the case of peer-to-peer applications, the makers have found increasingly clever ways to help traders act anonymously, and without a centralized service that can be shut down.”

New Hall, New (Almost) Orchestra Tenant – Carnegie Goes For Makeover

Carnegie Hall is “trying to turn left and turn right simultaneously. It wants to bring in a downtown-ish clientele while acquiring a stable base of Philharmonic subscribers. This urge to absorb everything typifies the modus operandi of Sanford Weill, the chairman of the Carnegie board, who is also the outgoing chief executive of Citigroup. Weill made his name in the financial world by engineering a series of spectacular mergers; he ingeniously erased the distinction between brokering and banking by combining Salomon, Smith Barney and Citibank under one roof. He now wishes to apply the philosophy of synergy to New York’s artistic life. The sort of logic that brought us AOL Time Warner is creating Philharmonic Carnegie Zankel.”

Documents: US Ban Of Graham Greene “Made US Look Bad”

In 1952, the US banned novelist Graham Greene from entering the United States, citing his youthful membership in the Communist party. Greene was a critic of US foreign policy. Documents reveal though that US officials thought the ban made the US look bad. “They conceded that he had been a member of the British Communist party for only four weeks when a 19-year-old student, ‘as a joke’. They admitted his writing clearly showed that he was anti-communist, according to the documents obtained by the Guardian under the US Freedom of Information Act.”

Canadian Indians Want British Museum To Give Back Mask

A tiny band of West Coast Canadian indians wants a mask in the British Museum returned to them. “It would be good if getting back the mask would be precedent-setting so everybody who wants their pieces get them back. The people who live in this bucolic corner of Canada’s Pacific coast say retrieval of the mask — a beautifully carved and brightly painted crest that opens into a sullen, wide-eyed human face with what looks like sun rays protruding from around its circumference — is part of a broad effort to reverse a cultural theft by Christian missionaries and a series of Canadian governments.”

Recording Companies Who Cheer On File-Traders (And The Musicians Who Love Them)

The recording industry isn’t solidly against file-sharing. Indeed smaller labels benefit from file-trading. “File sharing, these owners say, helps their small companies compete against conglomerates with deeper pockets for advertising and greater access to radio programmers. ‘Our music, by and large, when kids listen to it, they share it with their friends. Then they go buy the record; they take ownership of it’.”

The Detroit Symphony’s Miraculous Turnaround

A dozen years ago the Detropit Symphony was destitute, a once-proud institution reduced to penury. But “the $60-million Max M. Fisher Music Center, which opens Oct. 11, puts an exclamation point on what experts say is one of the most improbable turnarounds in the history of U.S. orchestras. The DSO pulled itself up by its financial bootstraps, rebuilt its neighborhood, forged innovative civic partnerships and reinvented itself as a model 21st-Century arts institution. The DSO has woven itself deep enough into the fabric of the city that nearly everyone has a stake in its future.”

Construction Endangers Taj Mahal

“Conservation experts are warning that a massive mound of soil stretching across 72 acres of the banks of the Yamuna river opposite the Taj Mahal could turn into a mudslide and flood the foundations of the 17th-century mausoleum. This disaster waiting to happen is the latest chapter in the sorry story of the mismanagement of the great Islamic building.”