Some Authors Side With Google Against Publishers

Publishers are suing Google over the company’s plans to digitize libraries of books. Says Google: “The world would be a much worse place if the card catalog in a library only contained the books that the publisher had come by and put in” Some authors agree with the search giant, and believe that making their work freely searchable online will boost their stature and sales.

Are West End Ticket Prices Too High?

“The West End doesn’t allow you to try because tickets are £55. Then you have to take a taxi and pay the baby-sitter, and there is no change out of £200. ‘If we charge £10, or on our public dress rehearsals, £1 – you might not like it, but at least you can afford to come back next week. Nonetheless, theatre attendance is on the increase.”

Vanity Fare

Why do people buy books? To look good. A new survey reports that “driven partly by pressure from incessant literary prize shortlists, more than one in three consumers in London and the south-east admit having bought a book ‘solely to look intelligent’, the YouGov survey says.”

Sing A Duet After You’re Dead?

Nothing unusual about releasing an album by an artist after he or she is dead. But here’s a new low – a “duet” by two stars, mixed after they’ve both died. “Both Marley and Notorious BIG were used to pushing the musical envelope while alive, but this effort would still have surprised them. I know I scratched my head wondering why anyone would risk the reputations of two of the industry’s most influential artists for this ghoulish effort. The guilty parties, of course, are the late artists’ estates…”

National Gallery’s “Madonna” Was Expensive If It’s Not Raphael

Two years ago, London’s National Gallery bought “The Madonna of the Pinks” for £22 million, including £11.5 million in public money. “James Beck, a professor at Columbia University, New York, a tireless critic of the attribution, has just completed a book in which he claims that the Northumberland Madonna cannot be by Raphael.”

Critics Bash Munch Museum For Board Game

Critics are attacking Oslo’s Munch Museum for selling a board game based on the theft of the museum’s most famous painting – The Scream. “In principle I find it a bit in bad taste to make a game out of the theft of The Scream. My initial reaction is to disapprove of an initiative that helps trivialise a national and international drama while the painting is still missing.”

Swedish Ambassadors

Traveling orchestras are ambassadors for their art. The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic played Carnegie Hall this week, and this is what we learned: “First, Stockholm, not widely known as a music center, has a legitimate orchestra to serve its needs, and people should know more about it. Second, Sweden, and Scandinavia in general, produces composers the world should hear more of and doesn’t.”

Hollywood’s Great Divide

“In a town full of dirty little secrets, the composition of writers in Hollywood rises to the level of scandal. Though Tinseltown pays lip service to liberalism and equality, women and minority film and television writers get work and get paid with a disparity that is striking. The 2005 Hollywood Writers Report found that among film writers, women represented just 18% of employment while minorities combined stood at 6%. The median earnings gap between men and women, and minorities and white men in film work widened from $12,500 to $19,000 since the WGA’s last report was released in 1998.”