Tacoma Actors Guild Shuts Down

Tacoma Actors Guild, that city’s only professional theatre company, is shutting down. “The producing artistic director of eight years tendered his resignation at a board meeting Monday. The rest of the 24 full-time administrative and production staff members will be laid off indefinitely after this weekend. The theater owes between $300,000 and $350,000 to creditors, including at least $30,000 in rent payments to the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts for the use of Theatre on the Square. TAG has lost money in its last four seasons.”

Dumbing Down? Don’t Blame The Media

“Intellectuals have long expressed concern about the media’s potential for diminishing the quality of our culture. Ever since the invention of the printing press, there have been periodic outbursts of anxiety about the destructive impact of the popular media.” But “too often the blanket condemnation of the media pundit reflects the profound sense of insecurity that the professional academic experiences when confronted with having to engage with a wider audience.”

What The Barnes Decision Is Missing

A judge allowed the Barnes Foundation to move to Philadelphia. But not all of the foundation’s requests were granted. “Not granted specifically, lawyers said yesterday, were changes to the indenture that would allow the Barnes to hold fund-raising events or special exhibitions at its proposed site on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, to be open any days and times it chooses, or to sell any of the artwork that it has in storage. It was unclear whether the judge left those requested changes out of his decree intentionally or unintentionally.”

Is Pittsburgh’s Hahn Headed To San Francisco?

“Even after a contract extension, Pittsburgh Opera artistic director Christopher Hahn continues to be talked about as a top candidate to succeed Pamela Rosenberg as general director of the San Francisco Opera.” Neither Hahn nor the San Francisco company are talking publicly about the rumors, but with Chicago Lyric Opera also now seeking a new artistic director, SFO may want to move quickly to secure Hahn’s services.

Liberty Park Gets A Boost – Literally

A park facing the new towers set to rise at the Ground Zero site could wind up being more topographically interesting than planned if a new proposal for the towers’ parking garages goes ahead as scheduled. “The ramps, which will lead to underground parking and loading docks for the giant complex, will have to accommodate the headroom needed for buses and trucks. And because the land drops as it approaches the Hudson River, the west end of the park may end up as a berm 25 to 30 feet above street level.”

Minnesota’s Jazzdance To Fold

“Jazzdance, one of the best-known, longest-running dance companies in the Twin Cities, will take its last steps in a farewell concert in April, then cease operations. Founder Danny Buraczeski is closing his nine-member company after 25 years. Buraczeski, who began as a dancer in New York, formed Jazzdance in New York in 1979 and moved to the Twin Cities in 1989… At its height, in 1999, Jazzdance had an annual budget of about $550,000, Buraczeski said. This year the figure is about $175,000.”

Because Public Radio Likes To Rock, Too

When Minnesota Public Radio announced that it was buying independent Twin Cities classical music broadcaster WCAL, music aficonados throughout the North Star State protested the move, viewing it as just more evidence of MPR’s secret plan for global domination. MPR took the criticism in stride, and promised to use the frequency to create a new type of non-classical music station (the network already maintains a round-the-clock classical service on another frequency) aimed at younger listeners. This week, the new format was revealed to be what MPR is calling “the antiformat”: progressive rock with an “adult” lean, drawing on a library of 500,000 albums.

Canada Renewing Commitment To Public Arts Funding

The Canadian government’s renewal of the arts funding program known as Tomorrow Starts Today, which had cultural organizations across the country breathing a sigh of relief, was far from a foregone conclusion. Arts advocates had spent months lobbying new Heritage Minister Liza Frulla to insure that the program, which was launched in 2001, would not fall victim to the budget knife. Now, with funding secured through mid-2006, Frulla is predicting that she may have more good news for the arts when the new national budget is released early next year.

The Last Of The Great American Newsmen?

When journalist and cultural commentator Bill Moyers signs off the PBS airwaves for good this month, he will be leaving a news industry that he believes to be in tatters, and sorely in need of self-examination. In his career, Moyers frequently bucked the conventional TV news wisdom to craft truly impressive, if admittedly partisan, works of journalism on a network which seems forever trapped in a whirlwind of bias allegations from the right. “Moyers dabbled in commercial TV for CBS, but he’s no fool. He knew his true calling was the truly independent voice of Public Broadcasting, where he led exhaustive reporting on the things that got under the skin, and grew there, like a rash.”