Fictionally Yours (The Fans Get Into The Act)

“The rise of fan fiction comes as little surprise – it mirrors the trend in music for bands basing their careers on a single sound or period of a earlier act, or in film for endless sequels and remakes of older, classic films. With so much to choose from, at least there will be the enticement of familiarity – or so the thinking goes. Only perhaps in published literature has the premium on originality lasted somewhat longer, though this, too, has been taking a beating with so many recent cases of literary plagiarism.”

Publishing Surge For The Secularists

“A glut of popular science books making a trenchant case against religion have soared up the bestseller lists both here and in America. The phenomenon represents a backlash against a perceived rise in religious fundamentalism and recent crazes for ‘spirituality’ by way of books such as The Da Vinci Code. Secularists are now eager to show that the empiricism of science can debunk the claims of believers.”

DC Dance Gets A Facelift

Washington DC’s dance scene is undergoing a renovation, with “an expansion of studio and performance spaces taking root amid a real estate boom that’s transforming Washington — and transforming the arts scene. The theater community is already undergoing a facelift, with several new facilities open or under construction. Dance leaders may have come late to the party, with some spaces still in the planning stages, but starting this season, and especially in years to come, audiences will see fundamental changes.”

Dobrin: PhilOrch Has Dug Itself A Big Hole

Peter Dobrin says that the Philadelphia Orchestra has never really had much of a handle on this whole music director search business. “The orchestra is once again looking for (any?) port in a storm… Waiting for chemistry could take years, but the orchestra really has no choice if it remains committed to the idea of musical quality as the criterion. No one can afford another arranged marriage. Too much is at stake, and some critics believe that the orchestra is already injured.”

Creating Identity, Or Taking It Away?

As architecture gets more and more creative, and buildings spring up in shapes and configurations never before thought possible, the “wow” factor frequently gives way to more practical reactions. “Are the new skyscrapers giving us a new poetic language — or are they the architectural equivalent of profanity, strictly designed to grab attention and make a buck? Do the towers create vibrant urban places — or are they simply drop-dead objects that could be shifted from one look-at-me boomtown to another without anyone noticing?”

Iraq In Watercolor

Sketch artists are no longer a regular sight on the battlefield, having been long since replaced by omnipresent reporters and photojournalists. But following the 9/11 attacks and the US invasion of Iraq, one New York artist decided that the most important thing he could do was to report to Baghdad and serve as the art world’s eye on the war. “With press credentials provided by the online artnet Magazine, Mumford made four trips to Iraq in 2003 and 2004, and he created hundreds of ink and watercolor drawings documenting many different experiences of the war.”