Major Upheaval At Adelaide Fringe

The entire board of Australia’s Adelaide Fringe Festival has been replaced, following a legal dispute with the organization’s members. The board had called off its annual general meeting, but “29 of the Fringe’s 41 members still turned up, decided there was insufficient reason to cancel the AGM and voted to appoint a new board. The former board disputed the constitutional legitimacy of the election and sought legal advice. However, it announced its resignation yesterday through its lawyer”

That Dirty, Dirty Museum

Web sites are of great value to museums, with the potential to reach a far wider swath of the public for a smaller cash outlay than most forms of advertising. But what if the public can’t find your site? It’s a nightmare scenario being experienced by the UK’s Horniman Museum, which has found its site blocked by automatic web filters and its e-mails discarded by spam blockers. Why the nasty treatment for a legitimate art museum? Try saying the name a few times, and you’ll get the idea.

So It’s Not Really A ‘Film’, Is It?

“In a first of its kind move, independent movie distributor Lions Gate Films, based in Vancouver, will make its first release of a movie… on new digital systems in AMC theatres that offer a low-cost way to reach mass audiences. The move tests a nascent process for distributing films via digital systems linking theatres on high-speed networks, and it could offer low-budget films a more effective way to compete with Hollywood.”

Mrs. Schwarzenegger Takes On California Museum

California’s State History Museum is nearly broke, and could close in the next few months if a sudden influx of cash is not found. The state’s first lady, former journalist Maria Shriver, is proposing to convert the institution into a museum celebrating the contribution of women to California’s history, but a backlash began the moment Shriver stepped into the fray, with detractors accusing her of strong-arming the museum board. Shriver insists that the board approached her, and that she is “happy to help.”

Where Are The City Folk?

The shortlist for this year’s Giller Prize is once again filled with historical novels, and almost obsessed with a rural sensibility that has dominated Canadian literature over the past few years. Philip Marchand doesn’t see anything wrong with that perspective, but “I still wondered if, in our literary culture, a work of fiction set in present-day Toronto was somehow regarded as a bit trivial. A good writer who carefully observed contemporary life always ended up sounding satirical, and to some people satire was Not Serious. Better to have these soulful looks at the past, at a way of life that was vanishing. That was real literature.”

The Art Of Voter Manipulation

A new exhibit at New York’s Parsons School of Design has taken a direct approach to combining politics and art: students were each given an actual Florida voting booth from the 2000 election debacle, and asked to express themselves in whatever way they chose. The range of results is a fascinating look at the varying ways in which young people view the modern political world: some of the works are hilarious with a twinge of bitterness, while some are simply bitter. Some are even cautiously optimistic about the future.

Whatever Happened To International Propaganda?

A series of short films designed to bolster the image of the U.S. in Europe has surfaced 50 years after it was first produced. “The 25 films were long hidden from Americans because of laws, now changed, that barred the government from using tax dollars to propagandize its citizens… By turns blunt and beguiling, menacing and mawkish, the films beg an overriding question: Why, with this experience behind it, has the United States failed so conspicuously since Sept. 11 to bolster its image in another region it seeks to transform, the Middle East?”

Smithsonian Books To Shut Down

Having lost $2 million over the last decade, the Smithsonian Institution is shutting down its publishing arm, causing an outcry from scholars who fear a void in the industry. Also of concern is that the dismantling of Smithsonian Books represents another step towards the bottom-line-first philosophy that has made Smithsonian chief Lawrence Small a controversial figure.

So Nice To Have Him Back Where He Belongs

“Throughout most of his high-profile life, it seemed that Salvador Dalí had come from the moon, by way of the Walt Disney studios and some bar in a swank Paris hotel: art’s original Space Oddity, the super salesman of Surrealism… But you only have to travel the dusty back roads well inland from the tourist havens clogging Spain’s Costa Brava area north of Barcelona to come across stark evidence of the roots of so much of his imagery.” Surrealism seems to be hot again in the eyes of both critics and collectors, and a reexamination of Dali’s influences and impact is a natural offshoot of the revival.

New Year, Same Scandal

Hollywood studios desperate to protect their copyrights from unscrupulous critics had been planning to send out this year’s Oscar “screeners” on encrypted DVDs that can only be viewed on specially equipped players which would be distributed to Oscar voters across North America. But with awards season fast approaching, the technology is reportedly nowhere near ready, and the studios are in danger of a similar PR debacle to the one it faced last year, when the industry tried to do away with screeners altogether.