Literary classics are hot with readers right now, and they’re selling fast. “Baby boomer nostalgia, the rise of book clubs and a longing for ageless wisdom after 9/11 are among reasons for the trend cited by publishers, editors and authors. High profit margins for books out of copyright help, too.”
With touring holiday Rockettes shows fanning out across America, many ballet companies are worried their audiences for Nutcrackers will be eaten up. But is it happening? The answer is complex and not entirely clear. “The discussion going on among ballet executives nationwide is a slice of an issue facing all arts leaders trying to grow audiences. Will the arrival of a new facility or show in town make the entire audience of arts patrons larger? Or does new competition simply ‘cannibalize’ existing audiences?”
This has been Broadway’s Year of the Understudy. “Thanks to star walkouts, babies, influenza and the common cold, understudies – typically theater’s most obscure, least appreciated actors – have been stepping into the spotlight in record numbers.”
It’s the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first flight, and the Dayton Ballet had the idea to celebrate the feat in movement. “Certainly the subject of the human body’s sloughing off earthly shackles to claim air as its element is apt for dance, given the art’s constant challenge to gravity’s pull and its ecstatic emotional dimension, often equated with soaring.” But Tobi Tobias wonders if perhaps the commissioned choreographers interpreted their guiding muse a tad loosely?
Writer Diran Adebayo “does for black urban Britain what Irvine Welsh did for working-class Edinburgh: his novels resonate with the slang and street idioms of the multicultural inner city. ‘I want to reach a stage where black characters can talk in a language as universal as white characters. You know, the film Titanic plays from Lagos to Delhi to London and no one has a problem taking lessons of love from it. But what would happen if you did the same thing with an all-black cast? It would be a ‘black film’, just as my books are still categorised sometimes as ‘black books’. People have a much harder time drawing an objective message from that.”
The Barnes Collection has lost “hundreds of items” including artwork by Matisse, Renoir and a Steinway piano. “It was unclear how the pieces disappeared, whether they were stolen, or when they might have been taken from the foundation.”
“Italian engineers have completed work to prevent the collapse of the cliff niches which house the remaining fragments of Afghanistan’s ancient Bamiyan Buddhas which were destroyed by the Taliban.”
There are four plinths in Trafalgar Square, but one of the pedestals has been empty since 1837. Now there’s a plan to rotate art onto the plinths, and the artists have been selected and their projects chosen. So what’s going up? Their work includes “a car covered with bird droppings, a statue of a handicapped, pregnant woman, a sculpture of anti-war demonstrators and a pigeon hotel.”
The gap between countries with ready access to information technologies and the internet, and those without, is rapidly becoming the next likely staging ground in a global class war of haves and have-nots. A summit in Geneva is attempting to identify some potential solutions before the problem explodes into an open conflict which could result in the have-not countries setting up their own semi-global networks in an effort to sidestep American ‘net dominance. But the major obstacle to finding an equitable solution appears to be that the countries with all the clout – most notably, the U.S. – have little to no interest in sharing their power.
Two years ago, the smart money in the orchestral world said that the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra would be lucky to exist in 2004, and that even if it survived, its downward spiral of debt and disorganization would cost it its place in the top ranks of American orchestras. Since that dismal time, the SLSO has scrambled back from the fiscal precipice, shored up its organization, and, this week, hired one of the most celebrated young conductors of his generation, David Robertson, as music director. With Robertson on board, the orchestra is convinced that it will shortly complete one of the great comebacks in industry history.