Popular Doesn’t Always Mean Bad

The gulf between what rock critics like and what the average radio listener hears on a daily basis has never been wider, and the frustration has caused many writers to adopt a bunker mentality. “We in the music press are, perhaps, sometimes guilty of making the bands we support appear to be bigger than they actually are. At the same time, we have a habit of ignoring the acts sprung from our midst that really do achieve massive numbers in radio and retail.”

Silicon Valley Looks To Stabilize Its Theaters

“The San Jose City Council voted 10-0 Tuesday to approve a $1 million loan to American Musical Theatre of San Jose. Two weeks earlier, on Oct. 17, the City Council voted by the same margin to bail out the more seriously financially troubled San Jose Repertory Theatre with a $2 million line of credit. The timing is not coincidental. The aid extended to the city’s two largest theater companies is part of the city’s new $4 million Arts Stabilization Fund.”

Envisioning 22nd Century New York

Daydreaming about the future of your favorite city is not a new pasttime, but when the city is New York, which on the surface would appear to be at maximum density already, the game becomes both difficult and fascinating. Ten New York architectural firms gave it a shot this month, and the results were as dreamlike as they were diverse.

Avast! Me Show Is Takin’ On Water!

The Pirate Queen, a $15 million musical from the creators of Les Miserables and Miss Saigon, is listing badly in Chicago, the first leg of its voyage to Broadway. Local critics fired cannonballs at it – ‘ill-ruddered’ (Boom!), ‘drearily predictable’ (Boom!) – and Broadway insiders who trekked west to see it say it needs a massive overhaul. But is the creative team up to the job?”

Demagogues & Dollars

Election Day looms in the U.S., and when the polls close on Tuesday evening, more than $2 billion will have been spent to urge, cajole, and frighten Americans into voting one way or the other. And all this for a midterm election! What does this orgy of political spending teach us about our democracy? Well, maybe this: “the demagogue’s secret is to make himself as stupid as his audience so that they believe they are as clever as he really is.”

Christian Pop Moves Away From The Preachy

It’s getting very hard to tell what constitutes a Christian band anymore. “Much of Christian music’s integration into the pop culture mainstream comes via the rockers who happen to be Christian – as opposed to the Christian rockers who wear their faiths on their sleeves and crosses around their necks. Each group of musicians is writing about what makes them tick, but one crafts its art with more subtlety, yet its intentions are never fully hidden by metaphor.”

Never Asked For Success

It’s not every novelist who gets a crack at real national or international fame. But for some authors, all the attention that comes with success has a price. For Janet Fitch, author of a novel that caught the fancy of starmaker Oprah Winfrey, the price was her privacy, her peace of mind, and very nearly her creative spark.