The Documentary That Can’t Be Shown In The US

“Eyes on the Prize, the landmark documentary on the civil rights movement, is no longer broadcast or sold new in the United States. It’s illegal. The 14-part series highlights key events in black Americans’ struggle for equality and is considered an essential resource by educators and historians, but the filmmakers no longer have clearance rights to much of the archival footage used in the documentary. It cannot be rebroadcast on PBS (where it originally aired) or any other channels, and cannot be released on DVD until the rights are cleared again and paid for.”

Source: Wired - 12/22/04

It’s Just A Jukebox, People!

4 million iPods have been sold this Christmas season, and cultural commentators have been falling all over themselves to define what the new era of portable digital music really, really means – you know, in, like, a really big, cosmic sense. Jim Walsh would like all the technogeeks and live music doomsayers to just settle down for a minute and enjoy the moment. What does it mean? “It means that four million people will be listening to the soundtrack of whatever they call their lives at the moment… It means that four million people will go to iTunes and drink in the celebrity playlists… What it doesn’t mean is that four million people will chuck their tapes or CDs.”

Source: City Pages (Minneapolis/St. Paul) - 12/22/04

Lebrecht: Why Does Anyone Like Tippett?

The British have always been taken with the work of homegrown composer Michael Tippett, although he is hardly a household name elsewhere in the world. This is exactly as it should be, says Norman Lebrecht, and the coming celebration of his centenary will be little more than a tip of the cap to mediocrity. Tippett was, in fact, “an inglorious exemplar of English amateurism… Set beside any of his contemporaries, radical or conservative, British, American or European, Tippett fails the driving test of coherence.”

Source: La Scena Musicale - 12/22/04

Art vs. Neighborhood In Toronto

“Opponents of the Art Gallery of Ontario’s plans for a $195 million expansion designed by Frank Gehry are taking their fight to the Ontario Municipal Board. Five or six appeals have been filed, all asking the OMB to overturn the decision of Toronto City Council to approve the gallery’s so-called transformation… [T]he dissidents claim the Gehry project would ruin Grange Park and destroy their neighbourhood.” At issue is a 15-year-old pledge by the AGO that it would never again expand on the Grange Park site, a promise which paved the way for neighborhood approval of an earlier expansion.

Source: Toronto Star - 12/22/04

Loss of Traffic Reports Jeopardizes Minnesota Jazz

Minneapolis has already lost one of its classical music radio stations this year, and now, the city’s full-time jazz station may be in trouble after losing a $400,000 annual contract with the Minnesota Department of Transportation. KBEM, which is owned by the Minneapolis school district, drew half its annual operating budget from the MNDOT contract, under which the station aired extensive traffic reports every ten minutes during rush hours. With the state deciding to pull the plug on the reports, the station, known as Jazz 88, will likely be forced to make staff cuts and may have to significantly scale back its commitment to inner-city education.

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune - 12/22/04

It’s official: nobody sells more books than Oprah. “A new study confirms what many already knew: Oprah Winfrey’s book endorsements are good as gold to publishers… Of [the 45 books Winfrey recommended to her ‘book club’], only 11 had been on the bestseller list before her recommendation, and none of them had gone beyond No. 25. Of the first 11 books that Winfrey picked, all went to at least No. 4 within a week.”

Source: The Globe & Mail (AP) - 12/22/04

Ontario Movie Biz Gets A Big Boost

Canada’s film industry will be getting a much-needed boost in 2005, with the announcement of a new tax incentive package worth CAN$48 million. Workers in the industry had been flooding the Ontario legislature with demands for relief following a year in which the bottom dropped out of the province’s film business, largely as a result of the rising Canadian dollar, the faltering U.S. currency, and new incentive packages being offered to filmmakers by other locales.

Source: The Globe & Mail (Canada) - 12/22/04