Nazis Come To German TV

For the first time in more than half a century, German television is showing a program about Nazis. And it’s a comedy. “Non-German directors in a long line that stretches from Charlie Chaplin to Roberto Benigni may have dug humour from beneath the horror-strewn surfaces of Nazism and fascism. But for Germans themselves, ‘the catastrophe’, as it is often called, has been too painful to be seen as anything but a tragedy.”

The Next Big Movie Rental Model

“Consumers love the Netflix rental model, which lets subscribers order DVDs online, receive them by mail, and keep them for as long as they want without late fees. likes it so much that it’s launching a nearly identical service early next year. ‘They’re printing packaging that is essentially identical to ours. Blockbuster is close behind’.”

In Praise of Jesse Helms

What’s that, you ask? Praise the anti-arts, anti-NEA, anti-progressive, anti-anything-that-hints-of-compassion obstructionist US Senator? “While his actions may very well be motivated by the interests of small conservative Christian Internet broadcasters, his support for the Small Webcasters Settlement Act (SWSA) has compelled some noncommercial station backers to feel for him what they never imagined they could – gratitude.”

Historic Music Archive Sold

London’s Royal Philharmonic Society music archive has been sold – and it’ll stay in the UK after an emergency public appeal for funds. The library includes the score for Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (commissioned by the Society) “as well as original scores by Elgar and Vaughan Williams, it holds correspondence from Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Mendelssohn, Wagner, Berlioz, and Liszt, and, perhaps most poignantly, a letter from Beethoven announcing his intention to write a 10th Symphony to honour the society – eight days before his death in 1827.”

Nashville’s New Concert Hall

Staid, traditional American symphony orchestras from sea to shining sea have been going all modern with the architectural designs of their new concert halls. So wouldn’t you just know that Nashville, America’s home of country music and gaudy glitz, would spend its $120 million on an old-fashioned neoclassical concert hall for its symphony orchestra. The orchestra hopes to open the hall in 2006, and has raised more than half of the money required to build it.

The Re-education of Jonathan Franzen

It’s been a year since Jonathan Franzen dissed Oprah and her book club. He says things have changed, but others aren’t so sure. “Franzen has the most dire case of literary status-anxiety that I have ever seen,” says Leon Wieseltier, literary editor of the New Republic. “He demeans his own seriousness with his flurries of positioning.”Others are more positive. “This is someone whose work is galvanized by his own contradictions, his own warring instincts,” says Henry Finder, editorial director of the New Yorker.

Former National Ballet Dancer Dies in Motorcycle Accident

William Marri, 33, a former principal dancer with the National Ballet of Canada, died Saturday after being in a motorcycle accident in New York. Marri had left the National last March to join the cast of the Billy Joel/Twyla Tharp show Movin Out, which recently landed on Broadway. “Marri was riding his motorcycle before an evening performance when he crashed.”