Swiss Cut National Arts Budget Because Of Controversial Exhibit

The Swiss parliament has voted to cut the budget of the Swiss Arts Council because it supported a controversial exhibition in Paris. “Entitled “Swiss-Swiss Democracy”, the exhibition contains an attack on the justice minister and rightwing People’s Party figurehead, Christoph Blocher. It also takes aim at the country’s system of direct democracy.”

Book-Buying – Am I Blue? (Or Red?)

Do you care what the political persuasion of the bookstore you buy from is? “Does it make the decision easier for you to know that 98% of B&N’s corporate political donations went to the Democrats, while 61% of Amazon’s went to the Republicans? Or maybe you’ll be encouraged to get offline entirely and shop at an old–fashioned brick and mortar store upon hearing the news that Borders gave 100% or its donations to Democrats?”

Random House Considers Selling Online

Publishing giant Random House says it is considering selling its wares directly to the public online. This would put the publisher in competition with e-tailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble. “Among factors driving such talk are sluggish sales in the industry overall and a role reversal at Barnes & Noble, which publishes more and more books under its own name. B&N has released literary classics, histories and novelty books, vying with traditional publishers for reader dollars.”

US Reverses Embargo On Publishing Cubans, Iranians

The US has changed a policy that had banned American publishers from working with dissident authors in certain counries. “The rule change by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control comes after Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi sued the United States because its economic embargo on Iran blocked U.S. publication of her memoirs. The new rule allows U.S. publishers to engage in ‘most ordinary publishing activities’ with people in Cuba, Iran and Sudan, while maintaining restrictions on interactions with government officials and agents of those countries.”

Theatres Vs. Cell Phones

Theatres and concert halls are going to greater and great lengths to try to get audiences to turn off their cell phones during performances. How about this pitch in a San Francisco theatre: “Dinner for two before the show: $60. Parking for the evening: $18. Ninety minutes of live entertainment without the annoyance of ringing cell phones, beeping pagers or chatty neighbors: priceless. Thank you and enjoy the show.”

FCC’s Making Us Look Like Boobs

So why isn’t the FCC investigating some of the truly wretched TV fare out there, asks Tim Goodman. Ifr they have to investigate, go after stuff that’s just plain bad. But the Olympics? Really? We’ll be a laughing stock… “The Greeks did something, um, “arty” in the Opening Ceremonies to annoy prudish “guns-not-boobs” America. That’s how it’ll read to the rest of the world as the story gets media play. Of course, it does provide you with more fodder for counter-intelligence. Yes, you can rise up again, or for the first time even. Because you don’t need a lusty interpretive dance to tell you this nonsense is nowhere near over.”

At Home With Paul Taylor

Paul Taylor’s company is clebrating 50 years this season. But Paul Taylor the man is happy to stay at home at his house on Long Island. “I had a very physical life while I was dancing, and the minute I stopped I was so glad to just be still and not hurt. I found barres and exercising extremely boring. You think I’m going to jog? Have you ever seen a jogger that looks like he’s not in pain? No, sir, not me. I don’t exercise. I do a little outdoor work, gardening, cleaning up the woods, playing with my chain saw, that kind of thing. But I’m very happy not to move anymore.”

Subito Piano – Our New “It” Architect

Renzo Piano is currently the architect of the day, with numerous high-profile projects underway. “How has Piano landed so much work in New York? The same way he’s done it all over the world—with designs that are beautifully precise but never radical. Depending on your point of view, Piano is either the most corporate avant-garde architect in the world or the most avant-garde corporate one. Increasingly, his firm is the one museums and big companies call on when they want to bridge the gap between iconic, eye-catching architecture and a quieter, more pragmatic—and more affordable—approach.”