“Two violinists from the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra have been reunited with their instruments after they were stolen seven months ago.” The instruments, both of which were valuable 19th-century specimens, were taken out of the back seat of a car, and were reportedly recovered by a branch of the Vancouver Police known as the Intelligence Unit for Eastern European Organized Crime.
“In a controversial operation, scientists have exhumed several skeletons from Mozart’s family vault in Salzburg, where the composer spent most of his life. On Monday they appear to have discovered the remains of the composer’s 16-year-old niece Jeanette, whose bones could unlock the mystery of whether the skull, currently kept by Salzburg’s Mozarteum Foundation, really is Mozart’s.”
It’s the latest in high-tech advertising. Little boxes are being installed along roadsides that detect which radio stations drivers are listening to. “The monitoring aims to help retailers choose where to advertise by giving them a snapshot of which stations consumers tune into as they drive by their businesses. The most enthusiastic MobilTrak adopters: auto dealers, who generally believe that 80 percent of their business is with people who live or work within 10 miles of a given dealership.”
How important are movie reviews to the success of a movie? Not much. “A survey of 2,000 people by three business school researchers found that television ads and recommendations from others were the biggest influences on movie-going habits, each factor cited by about 70 percent of respondents. Professional reviews ran a distant third at 33 percent, while online ratings on such sites as Yahoo and the Internet Movie Database influenced 28 percent.”
Being dead isn’t really an impediment to earning lots of money. Celebrities can do very well indeed – this year’s Forbes list of high-earning dead people is topped by Elvis, who earned $40 million in 2003. “Elvis Presley’s estate earns tens of millions of dollars annually, not from music sales–Elvis’ manager famously sold the rights to pre-1973 recordings to RCA (now part of Sony (nyse: SNE – news – people )) for $5 million–but from merchandising and admissions to Graceland.”
In a world where the pretense of gentility is a rule of thumb, agent Herbert Breslin is, in the parlance of Hollywood (where he would be less distinctive than he is on West 57th Street), a ‘screamer.’ He’s also, as those of us who’ve been on the receiving end of his screams know, inordinately persistent, funny and knowledgeable about the nuts-and-bolts of the classical music world.”
“The better the food, the more intense the museum experience,” says Glenn D. Lowry, director of the Museum of Modern Art. So it should come as no surprise that the new MoMA, reopening Nov. 20, will include restaurants that complement the art, both aesthetically (the tableware can also be seen in the design collection) and in terms of aspiration (the restaurants are created by Danny Meyer). Ideally, people will refuel in one of the dining spaces and venture back into the galleries, refreshed.
“FBI agents have seized from a prominent Chicago art collector a Picasso painting that European authorities say was looted by the Nazis. The government is allowing ‘Femme en blanc’ (‘Woman in White’) to remain in the possession of the collector who bought it nearly 30 years ago until the courts can resolve questions about its legal ownership. The oil painting, valued at more than $10 million, has been in legal dispute since 2002.”
“The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra finished its 2003-04 fiscal year with a $463,000 surplus, a far cry from the $1.73 million shortfall the year before.” Foundation, individual and corporate giving was up, and operating expenses were down by $2 million, largely due to pay cuts of 7.8 percent for musicians and 10 percent for staffers.
Of the writers shortlisted for Canada’s 2004 Governor General’s awards, one is going for her fourth win. “Alice Munro, who has won Governor General’s awards in 1968, 1978 and 1986, was shortlisted once again in the fiction category for Runaway, her 10th story collection, when the finalists were announced yesterday.”