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James Levine withdraws from remainder of BSO season

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 1, 2011 04:10 PM

539w.jpg(Michele McDonald/Globe Staff File)
Boston Symphony Orchestra music director James Levine has withdrawn from the remainder of this season due to his lingering back problems, meaning the orchestra will now have to find conductors to lead it during an upcoming tour of the East Coast.

Levine, whose tenure has been marked by artistic highs but physical ailments that have kept him on the sideline for extended periods, was not available for comment, the BSO said. There was also no word of Levine’s plans for the summer season at Tanglewood.

An email from the BSO's Bernadette Horgan said: "James Levine has had to withdraw from his remaining scheduled concerts of the BSO's 2010-11 season, March 3-19, including Symphony Hall, Carnegie Hall, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and Kennedy Center appearances, though all concerts will take place as scheduled. We will be sending updated program information at some point tomorrow morning."

A spokesman for the New York Metropolitan Opera said Levine has not canceled his appearances there. His season at the Boston Symphony was slated to end March 19, while his Met season was supposed to start there March 30.

Late last week, The Globe first reported Levine's latest ailments that forced him to cancel his appearances this past weekend and this week. That story is here:

More to come.

So You Wanna Be a Rock Opera Star

Posted by Geoff Edgers October 28, 2008 10:27 AM

If you’ve never seen “A Night At The Rock Opera,” you should. But if you have seen the Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra and, deep down, believe you could hold your own through a smokin’ version of “Behind Blue Eyes,” it is time to step forward.

The URO is holding auditions Nov. 2, 3, 9, and 10 for a keyboardist, bassist, and female/male vocalist.

Over 18
Excellent & versatile musician able to learn parts by ear (when necessary).
Very comfortable working with an ensemble.
Desire a career as a full-time performer - a goal which we are striving toward.

Sunday Nov. 2, Monday Nov. 3
Sunday Nov. 9, Monday, Nov. 10

For more info, contact:


Levine's Carter replacements

Posted by Geoff Edgers July 11, 2008 01:01 PM

From the Boston Symphony Orchestra:

"Because of James Levine’s withdrawal from the rest of the 2008 Tanglewood Season, the following changes have been made. An updated release and listing is attached.

July 20, 8 p.m.

Stefan Asbury and Erik Nielsen will conduct Carter’s Dialogues for piano and orchestra, Clarinet concerto, the world premiere of Sound Fields, and Variations for Orchestra.

July 21, 8 p.m.

Ursula Oppens will perform Carter’s Matribute

July 22, 8 p.m.

Jeffrey Milarsky and Ryan Wigglesworth will conduct mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey, soprano Jo Ellen Miller, Harpist Ann Hobson-Pilot, the Fellows of the TMC in Carter’s Sonata for flute, oboe, cello, and harpsichord, In the Distances of Sleep, the American Premiere of Mosaic, the world premiere of Mad Regales, commissioned by the TMC, and A Mirror on Which to Dwell.

July 24, 8 p.m.

Oliver Knussen and Shi-Yeon Sung will conduct the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Carter’s Boston Concerto, Three Illusions, and Horn Concerto."


Kapoor, The ICA's Banner Show

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 17, 2008 04:53 PM

Yes, there are actually people who might not know that there's a (recently) new art museum in town. This banner, which recently went up on the Institute of Contemporary Art, should provide a bit of extra pub.


ICA Gala, $75 Million Announcement

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 12, 2008 09:38 PM

The news, out of the Institute of Contemporary Art's gala Friday night, is that the museum's capital campaign is over. The final tally: $75 million. (The ICA's original goal was $50 million.)

Oh, and here are a few pictures from the gala.

From left to right: Nick Winton, ICA Chair of the Board of Overseers; Jill Medvedow, Director of the ICA/Boston; Tricia Winton

From left to right: Ron and Karen Walker; Tim Ferguson, ICA Trustee

From left to right: Eliza Osborne, Sotheby’s auctioneer; Ric Scofidio; Elizabeth Diller; Paul Bessire, ICA Deputy Director.

Peirce School String Band

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 6, 2008 10:03 AM

A photo of the band I helped organize for the Peirce School Art Fair.


Artnet Editor On Having Own Show Reviewed

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 9, 2008 10:52 AM

Here are a few interesting facts:

- Walter Robinson, the editor of Artnet, is also a painter.
- He currently has an exhibition of his work on display at a Chelsea gallery, Metro Pictures.
- The show received a rave review from Charlie Finch in Artnet.

And when I say rave, note the following graph:

"You are going to hear a lot of balderdash about Walter Robinson’s work as forerunners of John Currin, Karen Kilimnik and others. Don’t believe it: they never heard of these paintings and Robinson’s oeuvre proudly stands on its own, sui generis."

I sent Robinson a question:

"Were you at all concerned that having your own writer review your own work in your magazine would appear to be a conflict?"

Robinson's response:

"I’d do almost anything to get attention from dweebs like you! W"


For more of an answer, I called Robinson’s boss, Artnet Worldwide president Bill Fine. He noted, first, that Robinson did not edit the Finch piece. Ben Davis, the magazine’s associate editor, oversaw the review.

"Charlie is a freelance guy and a contributor, but we don’t muzzle him or control him,” said Fine. “I suspect Walter would publish it if it were negative.”

Isn’t it unlikely the review would have been negative?

“I think generally speaking most media in the art field, they’re generally publishing positive things. You wouldn’t see a copy of Art in America or ARTnews with all the negatives. That particular show did very well.”

That’s not the point, I told Fine. Isn’t the idea of conflict not merely that there was no conflict but to remove the appearance of conflict?

Fine then told me that Robinson and Finch had a “difficult relationship” over the years.

“I actually brought Charlie into the company. But I think initially Walter probably fired him two or three times in the early going. You know, Charlie’s a real asset to the company. I think he has a lot of eyeballs. The art business is fairly incestuous anyway. You might find that's the story.”


Gallery Change

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 25, 2008 06:08 PM

Greg Cook has an excellent overview of the changes coming to Boston's gallery scene. He hints at the "grim" rumors involving potential gallery shutdowns but, as best as I can tell by the confirmed shifts, at the moment we're looking at a lot of musical chairs.


Why Newspapers Are Failing

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 24, 2008 01:47 PM

I've been thinking a lot about Douglas McLennan's essay on the newspaper business, and how it relates to what I do.

He makes an excellent point about the advertising kinks the mainstreamers need to work out as they transition into the Tubes. With absolutely no inside knowledge, I'll speculate on why it is taking so long to come up with a solution.

I don't pay much attention to newspaper circulation figures. I mean, I note them when they're released, and wish they were increasing, not sliding. But I don't feel a connection to those numbers. It's not as if writing X number of stories about Y subject is going to shift the tides.

The Net, though, is a different story.

Take my own experience with the Exhibitionist. When I began this blog, I asked the folks to send me daily page view figures. I wasn't just curious. I wanted to see how this blog beast worked. I can already hear the snooty, arts-coverage-is-being-dumbed-down lobby responding to the horror of a writer who cares about numbers.

To them, I say this. Newspapers are a business. If we truly care about making sure arts coverage remains a vital part of that business, we need to stay relevant. That means remembering that the stakes at the Boston Globe are different than in a creative writing group, or an independent blog. You can't hide when nobody's reading. Eventually, somebody in charge is going to notice. Then, you're cooked.

Back to the numbers.

It was depressing at first. The Red Sox and Patriots blogs had hundreds of thousands of built-in visitors. In the arts, pop music, TV and movies were the early leaders. The Exhibitionist - a blog about museums, classical music, etc.? Way down the line.

So I started to experiment.

There would be plenty of entries like this, where I dug for information, took on a somewhat complicated subject, and broke "news" on the blog BUT I would also post entries such as this.

I'd then watch the numbers.

The Paris Hilton post, for example, took all of 27 seconds to produce, and didn't even require a right brain warm-up. But it had legs. The Hilton post got linked on Drudge, and who knows how many google news alerts led to my url. In the end, Paris rolled up more than 100,000 page views. Barenboim? That number's hovering around 500, if I'm lucky.

Which doesn't mean the entry wasn't worthwhile, or that I wasted my time producing it. For me, it showed how this dramatic shift, from paper to virtual, is a work-in-progress. Maybe once in a while it pays to feed the numbers beast to potentially drive more traffic to the blog, and, in turn, the newspaper.

Loosening up - embracing both Sterns, Howard and Isaac - has certainly attracted more clicks. This blog has been praised, and it has been savaged.

In the end, it serves a series of functions for me. I can quickly address national and international arts news, even when the Globe's arts staff is smaller than that of the New York Times. I can (attempt) humor and a conversational tone that doesn't always fit into print. I can also experiment. Will the Paris Hilton post build more regular readers? Or will it merely convince my editors that we need more Paris Hilton posts? Hopefully, the former.

Which, in a roundabout fashion, gets me back to McLennan's post.

So if the Globe goes out to sell an ad for the Exhibitionist, what is it selling? An ad for a site that draws hundreds of thousands of people? Or are they selling ads for a niche site that "breaks" news of an antiquities deal at the Museum of Fine Arts, or posts the on-line travel journal of a Boston Ballet dancer? Those are vastly different products, with vastly different reaches.

In my opinion, the problem isn't putting up a link to an ad buy. It is explaining to those advertisers, steeped in the traditional lingo that's been used by print for decades, why a successful blog might have a little bit of everything.

Don't blame only newspapers for the confusion. Last week, I visited a class at New York University taught by Arthur Cohen. During the discussion, I realized that even the leaders of one of the cultural world's leading marketing firms has questions about this new world. How are traditional journalists going to cover arts news? Where does the Internet come in? How can arts institutions better use the technology to directly reach out to their audiences?

Again, there were no magic bullets. But I didn't feel panic. Instead, I felt comforted listening to a group of intelligent, young, and ultimately interested future cultural leaders as they searched for the answers.


Thai Antiquities, MFA

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 17, 2008 09:34 PM

If this article is accurate, the Museum of Fine Arts may have another antiquity problem on its hands.

The issue, as reported by Jori Finkel, is related to a series of recent museum raids:

The investigation could also have broad implications for other museums across the country. In the affidavits filed to obtain search warrants, the agents laid the groundwork for a legal argument that virtually all Ban Chiang material in the United States is stolen property.

In essence, the paperwork states, antiquities that left Thailand after 1961, when the country enacted its antiquities law, could be considered stolen under American law. And since Ban Chiang material was not excavated until well after that date, practically all Ban Chiang material in the United States could qualify.

Why is the MFA in the mix? Because, Finkel reports, it is one of many museums with these artifacts in its collection.


Ray Davies, Review

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 17, 2008 03:00 PM

"You Really Got Me." "A Well Respected Man." "All Day and All of the Night." Ray Davies wrote all those, and plenty more. His songs have been covered by everyone from the Black Keys to Yo La Tengo, sold computers and laundry detergents, and pumped life into hipper-than-thou soundtracks ("Juno," "The Darjeeling Limited").

more stories like thisBut that's history, and Davies's long-awaited official solo debut, 2006's "Other People's Lives," didn't offer much hope for the future. Murkily written and overproduced, the record was as bland as a bowl of shredded wheat left out in the rain.

So it's a welcome surprise to hear Davies on "Working Man's Café," a collection of twangy rock that might not stand up with the best Kinks work (what does?) but certainly marks his return as a maker of new music.

Read the rest.


Breaking: Free Shakespeare On Common, Springfield

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 14, 2008 02:18 PM

By Geoff Edgers
Globe Staff

A year after a much-criticized decision to cut in half its free Shakespeare production on Boston Common, the Citi Performing Arts Center announced today it will restore some of the lost shows, and travel to Springfield for three performances.

The production of “As You Like It” will run from July 18 to August 3 on the Common’s Parkman Bandstand, and play the Forest Park amphitheatre in Springfield from August 8 to 10.

Last summer, citing a financial crunch, the Citi Center cut the Shakespeare on the Common run from 20 to 7 performances, and the production budget from $1 million to about $500,000. In addition, the Citi Center decided, after the run, not to offer keep on staff Steven Maler, who had put on the Boston Common production since 1996.

This year’s run will cost $660,000, and Maler will direct it as a hired contractor. There will be 15 performances in Boston, and three in Springfield.


Symphony Super Bowl

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 7, 2008 03:13 PM

Repeat after me. Tom Brady, you are forgiven. Bill Belichick, it's fine you didn't kick a field goal. We are okay.

Now, turn to the real Super Bowl. The Symphony Bowl.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra takes on the New York Philharmonic. I don't want to tell you what happens, but I can promise this. There will be no Ellis Hobbs in the string section.


Art For Sale, $10

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 5, 2008 11:45 AM

There is a catch, of course.

The art exhibited in the Montserrat College of Art's "Mini Opus" show must be less than 6 inches long or high. If that's not big enough, you can always pick up a mountable magnifying glass for a few more greenbacks.

"Mini Opus" has been curated by Jessica Lewis, a senior at the college, and features works by alumni, faculty, students and staff. As for the sale: All the works will be sold at a closing reception, Feb. 15, for $10 each.

For more information, visit the Bear Gallery blog.


"Bloggies" To Blame For Viveros-Faune's Fall

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 29, 2008 08:27 AM

Charlie Finch, over at artnet, tries to get in the grill of those "bloggies," who he says unfairly attacked former Village Voice critic Christian Viveros-Faune. You can read all of Finch's comments here, but I'll provide a taste.

He states that the bloggers "began to call for "regulating" critical speech like the blue-nosed cryptofascists they are, while ignoring the free market manipulations of the auction houses and blue chip galleries they love to suck up to. This is analogous to a bunch of Boy Scouts pushing an old lady into the street for crossing against the light, while the mugger cruises by in a stolen car."

Read on, and you'll see Finch reference historical examples of critics who also created art. Fair enough, but I'm not sure I'm ready to compare a freelancer who wrote a few decent reviews to George Bernard Shaw.

What's also strange - coming from me, apparently one of those bloggers who thought an art critic should understand the difference between reviewing exhibitions and organizing them - is this reference to the auction houses and galleries we all supposedly like to suck up to.

Isn't artnet a service that provides sales figures and basically charts the art market? This "foggy bloggie" is more likely to post an important chunk of cultural news than sort through receipts from Sotheby's.


BSO, Family Fun

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 28, 2008 06:15 PM

If you're 21-38 and single - YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE - the Boston Symphony Orchestra has Repartee. The 40 and over crowd gets Bolero.

But what if you've already found that special someone, and become a breeder?

Fear not. Today, the BSO announced the Concerti Club, "enabling the entire family to most fully enjoy the concert orchestra experience via family concerts that provide specially designed pre- and post-concert activities that all take place at Symphony Hall, as well as family-friendly Boston Pops programs."

The first family concert is Feb. 2, at 10:15 a.m. and 12 p.m. Tickets are $195 per pair, and $390 for four.

For more info, go here.


Gimme Some Money

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 2, 2008 10:41 AM

It's that wonderful time of the year when arts organizations zap your e-mail box with requests. Today's comes from the Huntington, which reminds us that:

Live theatre is a unique experience, shared by a community of people eager to laugh, to escape, or to simply be entertained. Whether you're being transported to an unfamiliar world or becoming reacquainted with your past, the theatre provides you with food for your mind and your soul, time with your friends and family, and good conversation fodder for days afterward.

Want to give? Click here for more info.


Weekend Reads

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 30, 2007 06:57 PM

The Washington Post exposes another case of free-spending in the museum world. Read to the end, as the final lines are priceless.

Boston's arts year in review. And Boston's year in dance.

A classical music critic reminds us why he, and we, should like classical music.

Matthew Guerrieri, in Slate, on Stockhausen.



Posted by Geoff Edgers December 4, 2007 10:32 PM


"Everything I Do (I Do It For You)"

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 3, 2007 09:42 AM

Yes, it's snowing, and it's a heavy snow to shovel, and I've got a cast on my leg, etc., etc.

But it's hard not to feel blessing when the google alert arrives with the account of "An MIT wedding." I'm not one to criticize other people's affairs. So I won't. I'll just direct you to this fantastic blog entry of the Sept. 15 pairing of Mollie B. and Adam. She's a PhD student in developmental neurobiology and... and former captain of the cheerleading squad! He was "a cute curly-haired aerospace engineering major" when they met.

What else should you know?

"Instead of throwing rice at us after we left the church, our guests threw paper airplanes. Adam designed the airplanes in Solidworks, optimizing for easy foldability and distance."

Oh, and their first dance was to "Everything I Do (I Do It For You)" by Bryan Adams.


He Shoots, He Scores

Posted by Geoff Edgers November 29, 2007 06:33 AM

Nothing excites the news desk like nude hockey players. Okay, perhaps a juicy library board meeting. Today, my story on Kurt Kauper, and his imagined nude portraits of retired Bruins legend Bobby Orr, can be found here.

There's also a slide show.

Kauper's gallery also has a slideshow for the exhibition. The pictures there are, ahem, a bit more complete.

An added note of interest that didn't make the piece.

Kauper told me that he sought, and received, permission from the Pro Hockey Hall of Fame to reproduce the images (non-nudes) he found on hockey cards.

For example, here's Orr's 1971-72 card.

Here's Kauper's painting.

Antiquities, Antiquities

Posted by Geoff Edgers November 28, 2007 06:16 PM

Item 1: The Greeks drop charges against former Getty curator Marion True (below).

And now for an interview:
LACAYO: Should the Met have gone about things differently when it made acquisitions in the past?
DE MONTEBELLO: I don't know, should Enrico Dandolo not have taken the horses of San Marco [from Constantinople] in 1204?

- Part 1 and Part 2

I'm not sure what to make of this, but it appeared in my e-mail in box, so I pass on. The Clark Art Institute's publicity folks relay that today, in Rome, "leaders of American and Italian museums and cultural organizations to discuss ways to foster improved cooperation between the two countries that would lead to enhanced intellectual and cultural exchange."

The meeting was co-organized by the American Academy in Rome and the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute of Williamstown, Massachusetts.

I e-mailed to ask which American museum types were there.

Maxwell L. Anderson, Director and CEO, Indianapolis Museum of Art
Don Bacigalupi, Director, Toledo Museum of Art
James Ballinger, Director, Phoenix Art Museum, (Immediate Past President,
Association of Art Museum Directors)

Michael Brand, Director, J. Paul Getty Museum

Michael Conforti, Director, The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute
(President-elect, Association of Art Museum Directors)

Carmela Vircillo Franklin, Director, American Academy in Rome

Prof. Thomas McGinn
Andrew W. Mellon Professor-in-Charge of the School of Classical Studies
American Academy in Rome

Anne-Imelda Radice, Director, Institute of Museum and Library Services
(U.S. Government Cultural Funding Agency)

Adele Chatfield-Taylor, President, American Academy in Rome

James N. Wood, President and CEO, The Getty Trust


Jessica Morgan, ICA

Posted by Geoff Edgers November 28, 2007 01:12 PM

Word comes from the Institute of Contemporary Art that Jessica Morgan, once a curator at the museum, has signed on to become an adjunct curator at the ICA. Morgan's full-time gig remains curator of contemporary art at the Tate Modern.

Nicholas Baume, the ICA's chief curator, told me that the decision to extend the invitation to Morgan came as the museum tried to determine who it might want to work with in the future. Morgan seemed a natural, he said. Keep in mind that next year the ICA will bring in "The World as a Stage," a show Morgan organized for the Tate. Baume said she will put together a solo artist show - he said it's too early to name the artist - for the ICA in 2009.

Morgan won't be on the ICA's fulltime staff, but the relationship will be "ongoing," Baume said.

"We’re looking at who would be interesting to guest curate shows, and we thought right away of Jessica," he said. "And we thought, she’s more than a one off guest curator. We should recognize that and it just evolved very naturally."


Hartman Jades, Going, Going, Gone

Posted by Geoff Edgers November 27, 2007 10:59 AM

CultureGrrl has the facts, and a commentary on Alan and Simone Hartman's jade sale at Christie's. The second part of the collection brought in $25.7 million, well over the pre-auction estimate.

A few other comments:
- Modern Kicks
- Tyler Green
- Richard Lacayo


Weekend Reads

Posted by Geoff Edgers November 18, 2007 10:26 PM

Saturday night, still resisting the Oxycontin, I blew through Steve Martin's memoir about his development as a stand-up comic. There's a lot to like about this book, even beyond it being possible to consume in a single reading session. For our purposes, I'll just post a chunk of this 1966 meeting with Aaron Copland, who met with the then-unknown Martin and a friend who was researching a college paper.

"We knocked on the door, Copland answered, and over his shoulder we saw a group of men sitting in the living room wearing what looked like skimpy black thongs. He escorted us back to a flagstone patio, where I had the demanding job of turning the tape recorder on and off while Phil asked questions about Copland's creative process. We emerged a half hour later with the coveted interview and got in the car, never mentioning the men in skimpy black thongs, because, like trigonometry, we couldn't quite comprehend it."

Sam Allis catches up with James Levine, who the Globe columnist admires despite admitting "I've ground my teeth to powder over the years from the likes of Carter and Schoenberg."

F. Scott was right. The rich really are different than you and I. For starters, they can turn to Warren Buffett for advice.

The New York Times dips into the Murakami show, and asks whether it's right for a museum to accept support from a commercial gallery with a clear stake in an artist's work.

Did anybody really think the Celtics would go 82-0?


More Awards: Ziporyn, and Office dA

Posted by Geoff Edgers November 15, 2007 12:54 PM

Fresh off the press release pile:

"United States Artists (USA), a national organization that provides direct support for living artists, today announced the recipients of fifty USA Fellowships for 2007 totaling $2.5 million. This marks the second year of the USA Fellows program, which annually awards fifty $50,000 unrestricted grants to artists of all disciplines from across the country, in recognition of the caliber and impact of their work."

And now, what we care about: Local recipients were architects Monica Ponce de Leon and Nader Tehrani of Office dA, and musician Evan Ziporyn (below).


Keith Lockhart, Catching Up With

Posted by Geoff Edgers November 12, 2007 09:52 PM

A Pops date with John Mayer? Possibly. Inside commentary on The Wedding. ("It was a great party!) All of it, and more, on the updated

In the "Ask Keith" section, the Pops conductor lists his favorite conductors, offers his take on the European and American musicians, and explains the difference between the Pops, Boston Symphony, and Pops Esplanade Orchestra.

And then there's this picture of Lockhart with Rosemary Carderi, and Patrice Pollard, who took in the VIP experience.


Saturday Reads

Posted by Geoff Edgers November 10, 2007 10:43 PM

I took a nice roll through Harvard Square today. Yes, my wife, knowing 36 consecutive hours of in-house contemplation would likely not lead to much positive energy, borrowed a wheelchair and pushed me around the Charles River. It was a kind gesture, to say the least.

The reads.

Just last week, I re-hooked up the Sirius, post-car accident, and heard Stern riffing on The Zs. Alex Ross has the clips, though it should be noted that it is Fred, not Howard, who disses John Cage.

Would you believe my almost brand new, 160 gig iPod broke this morning. Good timing.

At Soho, a fitting commentary on Norman Mailer.

Reading Jeremy Eichler's review, I almost feel as if I can't keep myself from limping into Symphony Hall Tuesday night.

Ever read a story in which it is hard to feel for any of the characters? Here's one.


Harvard Arts Task Force

Posted by Geoff Edgers November 7, 2007 11:08 PM

Drew Faust, Harvard's president, has created an arts task force to be chaired by English Professor Stephen Greenblatt. American Repertory Theatre boosters take note: Greenblatt, a noted Shakespeare scholar, has worked with Charles Mee on the ART's upcoming production of "Cardenio."

The task force, according to Harvard's press release, is "charged broadly with examining the role of the arts in a research university, in a liberal arts education, and at Harvard specifically. It will explore the role of arts both within and beyond the curriculum, as well as how Harvard can encourage connections between arts activities and science, technology, humanities, and other related fields. The committee is asked to consider as well how other parts of the University, such as the American Repertory Theatre (A.R.T.), the museums, and the Graduate School of Design (GSD) can be more fully integrated into a vibrant arts culture at Harvard. As it charts answers to these broad questions, the committee is also asked to consider what administrative, financial, and physical structures will be needed to advance the goals identified."

You can read the press release in its entirety, but I'll choose to focus on one quote from Faust:

"Our extraordinary strengths in the arts remain fragmented, less well-understood, less well-supported, and less integrated than their importance warrants. … The arts play a central role in the lives of so many students and faculty at Harvard, yet their role in the life of the University remains uncertain and undefined. I hope that this task force will attempt such a definition.”

Others on the task force:

Homi Bhabha, Anne F. Rothenberg Professor of the Humanities, director of the Humanities Center, Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Melissa Franklin, Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics, Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Peter Galison, Joseph Pellegrino University Professor, director of the Collection of the Historical Scientific Instruments

Jorie Graham, Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory, Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Alfred Guzzetti, Osgood Hooker Professor of Visual Arts, Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Madelyn Ho ’08, chemical and physical biology, recipient of Harvard Artist Development Fellowship in Dance, Harvard College

John Kelly, 2004-2005 Fellow, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

Joseph Koerner, professor of history of art and architecture, Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, Emily Hargroves Fisher Professor of Education, Graduate School of Education

Jack Megan, director, Office for the Arts, Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Helen Mirra, assistant professor of visual and environmental studies, Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Helen Molesworth, Maisie K. and James R. Houghton Curator of Contemporary Art, Harvard University Art Museums

Ingrid Monson, Quincy Jones Professor of African-American Music, Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Mohsen Mostafavi, dean, Graduate School of Design (January 2008)

Dan Pecci ’09, English and American literature and language, secondary field in drama, recipient of 2006 Phyllis Anderson Prize in Playwriting, Harvard College

Hashim Sarkis, Aga Khan Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urbanism in Muslim Societies, Graduate School of Design

Diana Sorensen, James F. Rothenberg Professor of Romance Languages & Literatures and of Comparative Literature, dean for the Humanities, Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Marcus Stern, associate director, lecturer on dramatic arts, American Repertory Theatre and the A.R.T./ MXAT Institute for Advanced Theatre Training

Damian Woetzel M.P.A. 2007, principal dancer, New York City Ballet, John F. Kennedy School of Government


MIT Sues Gehry

Posted by Geoff Edgers November 6, 2007 06:10 AM

This is easily the story of the day. MIT has sued architect Frank Gehry for negligence, "charging that flaws in his design of the $300 million Stata Center in Cambridge, one of the most celebrated works of architecture unveiled in years, caused leaks to spring, masonry to crack, mold to grow, and drainage to back up."

In a soon-to-be-published interview I did with former Boston University boss John Silber, he flat out calls Frank Gehry a "fraud." Silber and I were talking about the whole starchitect movement, in relation to his upcoming book, "Architecture of the Absurd: How 'Genius' Disfigured a Practical Art." In the book, he singles out MIT's Stata Center as starchitecture gone bad. Never mind the look, which Silber doesn't appreciate. The roof leaks!

Here's what Silber told the Globe for today's story:

"It really is a disaster."

After learning of the lawsuit yesterday, Silber said Gehry "thinks of himself as an artist, as a sculptor. But the trouble is you don't live in a sculpture and users have to live in this building."


Harvard Museums Update, Rent-A-Museum

Posted by Geoff Edgers November 5, 2007 12:21 PM

If you missed it Saturday, we ran an update on the Harvard University Art Museums situation. The news: The Allston museum has been put on the backburner, and the renovation on Quincy Street - that's home to the Fogg - has been given the go ahead.

Incidentally, my search for background information on the Fogg led me to the facility rental page. Quick quiz:

How much to rent out the courtyard, and experience the 17th Century "furnishings, oriental rugs, and stained-glass windows" that "create sophisticated intimacy in the Jacobean period Naumburg Room?"

Yes, a cool eight grand.

Which is nothing when you consider the Institute of Contemporary Art's rates. For $15,000, you get "exclusive use of and access to the entire museum." (Sorry, no individual space rentals.) Tempting, eh? Of course, I'd be a bit nervous about the insurance required, a "minimum combined single limit of liability or not less than $1,000,000 per occurrence and $2,000,000 aggregate."

I assume that covers the glass elevator.


Pops TV Goes Live

Posted by Geoff Edgers October 23, 2007 08:30 AM

Starting today, you can see Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops for free, as part of the Boston Symphony Orchestra's first Internet TV program. To launch, go here.

The "Oscar and Tony" show - featuring music from Hollywood and Broadway - will also include scenes from a recording session, interviews with Pops musicians, and a conducting lesson with Lockhart. With the broadcast, the BSO becomes the first orchestra to launch its own Internet TV show.

Here's an earlier story detailing the Net effort.


Jacoby, On Art

Posted by Geoff Edgers September 26, 2007 10:38 AM

I almost thought I'd had enough of the on, off situation but along comes Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby. If you're an art world insider, you probably won't agree with what he has to say. But you would be served to listen. Because Jacoby represents a large group of people, i.e. people who think art should be about more than setting up a light on a timer.

An excerpt from the piece:

Either you are sophisticated or cynical enough to gush over the emperor's wonderfully postmodern and transgressive new duds, or you are one of those reactionary rubes who get all hung up on the fact that the emperor actually happens to be naked. If talent and skill aren't required to produce a work of art, if a striving for truth or excellence or beauty has nothing to do with artistic greatness, if craftsmanship and effort matter less than attitude and gimmickry - in short, if there are no standards, then why not fawn over an "artist" who "works with rubbish?" Why not bestow a prize named for J.M.W. Turner - the greatest landscape painter in English history - on a chucklehead who crumples sheets of paper and films people vomiting?

Martin Creed won the Turner Prize in 2001 for his installation. (photos by ESSDRAS M. SUAREZ/GLOBE STAFF)

Marvin Moon, Exiting BSO

Posted by Geoff Edgers September 22, 2007 06:01 PM

Orchestras typically don't send out press releases when they lose players, and that's the case with Marvin Moon, the young viola player with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Moon, who is in his 20s, is heading to his native Philadelphia to serve as a section violist.


Catching Up, Arts News

Posted by Geoff Edgers September 19, 2007 07:51 PM

I'm glad I checked in with Greg Cook. He's got a series of useful nuggets, including the impending retirement of Williams College Museum of Art curator Deborah Rothschild, and the appointment of Edward Saywell as director of the Museum of Fine Arts’ west wing, which, as Cook points out, "will give him a leading role in the institution’s contemporary art programming." (Saywell had served as an assistant curator of prints and drawings at the MFA.)

Tyler Green is all over the St. Louis Art Museum's wheeling-and-dealing, a process we're familiar with in Boston.

Ken Johnson's exit has been noticed, in Seattle, these parts, and you'll even find a genuine picture of the art critic's head here.

And here's a taste of the reformed Van Halen, courtesy of YouTube.

Ken Johnson, Globe Art Critic, Leaving

Posted by Geoff Edgers September 18, 2007 05:07 PM

For the last few weeks, those of us who have known that Ken Johnson, the Globe's art critic, would be leaving to return to New York City have been trying to put off the inevitable. But with Johnson's final day approaching, it is time to face reality.

Ken is leaving, and we're sorry to see him go. (Just to head off the "Globe is cutting arts staff" stories, arts editor Scott Heller says that the paper will replace Ken with a full-time critic, and is going to start interviewing candidates over the next few weeks.)

I asked Ken to explain his decision mainly because I knew he was happy at the paper.

From Ken:

"With mixed feelings I will be leaving the Globe at the end of this month. I'm moving back to New York, and I'm returning to writing art criticism for the New York Times as one of its principal freelance critics. Though not a staff job, it's a slightly better position than the one I had before I came to the Globe, and it offers opportunities for professional growth and diversification that I feel I cannot pass up. I'll also be doing some part-time teaching: This semester I'm running a seminar in criticism and theory with students in the MFA studio art program at Hunter College; and in the spring, I'll teach a seminar for the School of Visual Art's MFA program in criticism and writing.

I hope no one will interpret my departure as a critique of Boston, the Boston art world, or the Boston Globe. I've had a wonderful time living and working in Boston since I started at the Globe last September; it's been an excellent adventure. I've felt welcomed and appreciated; I've met and befriended some terrific people; my editors and colleagues at the Globe gave me the space and the encouragement to do some writing that I'll always be proud of and that I might otherwise have not been able to do; and the museums and galleries of Boston and New England gave me lots to write and think about. I found that there is a highly sophisticated community of people in Boston that is intensely and passionately interested and involved in art -- a community that I was looking forward to becoming more deeply a part of. I was also gratified by the responsiveness of the broader, non-artworld Globe readership. Were it not for the
gravitational pull of New York, I'd be happy to spend the remaining years of my career here.

Much as I've enjoyed and profited from my time in Boston, one of the things it taught me is that no other place that I've lived in has felt as much like home to me as New York. So although it pains me to leave unfinished business in Boston, that's where I'm going to go and stay."

A few Ken Johnson specials:

- On John Walker.
- The new Institute of Contemporary Art's first exhibition.
- Summer of Love.
- Christoph Büchel, and Mass MoCA.
- Sara and Gerald Murphy, at the Williams College Museum of Art.


Bill Belichick, As Spy

Posted by Geoff Edgers September 14, 2007 12:26 PM

Here are two wonderful images of the Patriots coach, one modeling night vision glasses, the other as Darth Vader. Because clearly, the Patriots have become the evil empire to the rest of the universe, i.e. a team America hates because of how easily it beats you.

Finally, an intriguing post on Patriots owner Robert Kraft's awkward Rosh Hashanah service.



Walker Art Center, New Director

Posted by Geoff Edgers September 11, 2007 08:28 PM

The Walker has decided who will replace old friend Kathy Halbreich: Hirshhorn Museum Director Olga Viso.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Mary Abbe outlines one of Viso's challenges in her piece:

"In the fiscal year ended June 30, attendance at Walker shows and programs fell to 330,230, down 15 percent from the previous year, while attendance at the adjacent Minneapolis Sculpture Garden was 281,060, down 2 percent."


Patriots Cheat Camera?

Posted by Geoff Edgers September 11, 2007 03:57 PM


Local Arts News, Notes

Posted by Geoff Edgers September 10, 2007 01:58 PM

- The Center for the Technical Study of Modern Art (CTSMA) at the Harvard University Art Museums scores a major gift of artist Barnett Newman's studio materials and "related ephemera." As the HUAM release states, "these materials, most of which have never been seen outside of Newman's studio, include painting tools and supplies, damaged or unfinished paintings and multiples, drawings, sketches, notes and models, as well as paint trials and canvas fragments."

- Donna Desrochers, now former public relations manager at the Peabody Essex Museum, has taken over the pr job at the Institute of Contemporary Art. Ann Petruccelli, once media relations manager for Boston Ballet, returns to the city from her post at Carnegie Hall. She will be the publicist for the Celebrity Series.

- Allan Rohan Crite has died. The tenative plans are for an evening wake on Friday, Sept. 14th 6-8 p.m. at J.S. Waterman & Sons, 580 Commercial Street in the North End. There's also a funeral service planned for Saturday morning, Sept. 15th 11am-12:30pm at Trinity Church-Copley Square, Boston, MA.

Greg Cook Scoop: Cat Scratch Painting, And Exacto Knife

Posted by Geoff Edgers September 10, 2007 06:03 AM

Apparently, the Alex Matter camp has a perfectly logical explanation for the painting it says was destroyed by a cat, but Harvard scientists determined had been damaged by some sort of sharp tool. Try both. At least that's the account given to Cook late Sunday by Mark Borghi, the gallery director enlisted by Alex Matter after he found the now famous wrapped package of drip paintings.

Borghi's explanation, posted on Cook's site, is fascinating. If true, it paints a bizarre picture of this whole process. Normally, fine art is handled with white gloves, stored in a climate controlled chamber and protected by guidelines no registrar dares diverge from. Now picture Borghi, realizing the restorer he hired did a hack job, frantically trying to remove the paint with an Exacto knife. As they say, don't try this at home.


Mass MoCA, Clark Deal - Full Story

Posted by Geoff Edgers August 30, 2007 06:20 AM

The Clark Art Institute has a $300 million endowment, more art than it can put on its gallery walls, and is eager to expand. The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, a 15-minute drive away, has plenty of extra space and needs cash.

So yesterday the two institutions, one which opened in 1955, the other just eight years old, announced a deal to provide the Clark with nearly 30,000 square feet of storage and exhibition space on Mass MoCA's campus in downtown North Adams.

The lease deal for three former factory buildings will increase the Clark's visibility, and provide the museum with a sensible place to branch out into more contemporary art exhibitions, Clark director Michael Conforti, said. For Mass MoCA, the arrangement will pump money into the museum's tiny endowment and perpetually strapped annual budget.

Read the rest.


MASS MoCA, Clark Art Institute Make Deal

Posted by Geoff Edgers August 29, 2007 03:32 PM

The Clark Art Institute announced today it will pay the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art "seven figures" and more to take over 30,000 square foot on the MASS MoCA campus. The reason for the deal - a long term lease that's renewable - is clear. The Clark needs more space, and MASS MoCA needs more money.

More details in tomorrow's newspaper...


Today's Worst PR Pitch

Posted by Geoff Edgers August 27, 2007 04:31 PM

A woman from Richmond Public Relations sent along a note today letting me know that the firm now represents Portland's 937 Condominiums. "Set to open in the fall of 2008, 937 will be a 16-story mixed-use luxury residential condominium, located in the heart of Portland’s stylish Metropolitan Pearl District market."

Portland, Maine? Oregon? And why me?

Instead of punching delete, I asked.

She wrote back: "I'm so sorry! I had you down as an architecture reporter. I am guessing this is/or was not true? Would it be possible to point me in the right direction?"

Nope. (Well, I didn't say that.) Instead, I wrote, "well, this is the Boston Globe. Where are those condos?"

"The condos are located in Portland, Oregon," she wrote. "However, I thought your real estate/architecture reporter might be interested in case they are doing any national trend stories."



Beppu Blog, Final Chapter

Posted by Geoff Edgers August 27, 2007 11:30 AM

Sadly, our final entry from Boston Ballet dancer Romi Beppu ... stomach issues, a real Queen, and a final stop in Hemingway's old haunt.

For the first Beppu blog, go here.
For the second Beppu blog, go here.
Part three is here.

Part four is here.

Monday August 13th
With bus call at 4:15pm and class at 5:45pm, many of us head into Girona’s old city. Architecture of buildings, cobblestones walkways, quaint cafes set up outdoors under beautiful archways, and a grand cathedral. We are performing at the Festival in Perelada, but are staying one hour away in the city of Girona.

Bus finally pulls into the festival in Perelada. The drive getting there seems to pull us farther and farther away from the comforts of civilization. “Where are we?!?! Oh, oh, I see a cow! Oh, look sunflowers!”….Katelyn informs the group…. “Where is the castle?”

By this point we are all getting a little giddy, a little grumpy and just want to get of this overheated bus. What we thought would be a 35 minute bus ride turns into an hour bus ride out of the city and into the countryside accompanied by the varieties of farm-like aromas. These pungent, eye-brow raising scents would follow us to the theatre and greet us in waves throughout our stay in Perelada, especially during class, in between combinations. Heat and foreign smells often brought feelings of nausea and discomfort. A few dancers experienced abdominal cramps and sickness during our stay here. The heat, frequent travel, lack of adequate sleep and “who else knows what was in that tortilla?” could have been factors for temporary illness. Tempe was the dancer who suffered the most, but she stayed strong and pushed through like a trooper for a beautiful performance of Serenade and 4 T’s.

The festival in Perelada will be our last outdoor theatre on this tour, and probably the best as far as design, set up, stage space and flooring. The dressing rooms were spacious with sinks, running water, actual toilets and functioning showers. A fully equipped production office with wi-fi, air conditioning, and all the amenities we’d have in an indoor theater was made possible for us- outdoor under what seemed like tents set up atop stable metal posts. The festival celebrated its 21st year in existence and it has housed many prestigious ballet companies, musical artists and such. We were honored and excited to be part of it this year and as added bonus to have Roland Petit presented to us before curtain and to perform our Balanchine program for him. Post performance party was held just beside the theatre in a beautiful garden hosted by the festival directors. Many of our own Boston Ballet supporters were there to greet and congratulate us having flown in from Boston to see the shows in Perelada and Mallorca, showing their support. It was a great feeling to see familiar faces and hometown fans. We all partied until 2:30am (bus call back to the hotel in Girona) and continued the party on the second level of the double decker bus all the way back to the hotel.

3:30am Basta! Ready for bed! See you in Mallorca!

Thursday, August 16th
Arrive at Hotel Isla Mallorca. Although the flight itself is only about 30 minutes from Barcelona, the travel day is again long and taxing. The busing to the airport, checking in, waiting to go through security and all of the other annoyances that one must deal with when flying is magnified three times when traveling with 60 other people. Kirsten, our company manager, is the one who call the shots as far as knowing which gate to go to, what bus we are boarding, travel problems, meeting times and locations, theatre issues, and the list goes on and on. It’s a tough job with a lot of responsibility and stress but she delivers with an answer to almost any question or problem. Her no nonsense demeanor and straight-forward style get us through the tiring travel days. Thanks Kirsten, you are the best!

Friday, Aug. 17th
Free day in Mallorca means shopping and Playa for many of us. After breakfast we hop a taxi and head into the city for some shopping before siesta. No luck for shopping this time, the stores are beginning to repeat. There’s only so many Zaras and Mangos (popular Spanish clothing chain) that one can go to even if there are huge “rebajas” (sales) going one. We press on and head for the beach at Cala Major. “Oh my- this is like Waikiki beach, I immediately think, as we walk on the burning sand and dodge the multi-colored beach towels strewn all over the sand with just about every personality, body type and degree of sunburn possible. The water is warm and comfortable. Not quite cool and refreshing for my taste but warm enough to jump in and out without shocking your system. We spend the rest of the afternoon frolicking in and out of the water, lying on the sand, writing postcards, reading and cat-napping. Ah, this is the life!

Dinner with Boston Ballet Friends group at Castillo Hotel Son Vida. How do I describe this place? Literally, the lap of luxury. I am told that Paris Hilton stayed in one of the suites in this swank hotel.

Mallorca continued…………….
Boston Ballet Friends are there to share dinner with us and give us tips on buying Mallorcan pearls as we sip on wine, nibble on jamon y melon and enjoy the view of the city.

Saturday, Aug. 18th
The Queen is coming! The Queen is coming! Yes, indeed the queen of Spain, members of the royal family and her security were present for our La Sylphide performance in Mallorca. She was more than gracious as she came backstage after the performance to congratulate the company and show her appreciation for us and the show. It was a stunning performance to a completely sold out audience.

Tuesday, Aug. 21st;
San Sebastian, the 7th and final city of Boston Ballet’s Spanish tour! Rainy, overcast and FREEZING! Why didn’t I pack a jacket?!?!? With an average temperature of about 19? C many of us take the opportunity to do a little more shopping for warmer clothes of course. Aside from the weather, San Sebastian is a small, but beautiful city. The Parte Vieja, the older part of the city sits against the water where fresh seafood is brought in. At the top of the Parte Vieja lies a gorgeous baroques type cathedral. Again, across the Rui Urumea is the newer part of the city, where the Auditoria Kursaal (our theatre) sits. Less than a decade old, it is a huge, modern looking (in comparison to the rest of the buildings in the city) structure that one can’t miss.

Both performances of La Sylphide are a success once again as we wrap up our stay here in Spain.

Boston Ballet meets the Queen.

Pollocks At BC, AG At The Citi Center

Posted by Geoff Edgers August 26, 2007 08:32 PM

It's been one of those final, busy summer weekends so I'm just getting an update up now. But for those who missed 'em, two stories:

The Attorney General's office has contacted the Citi Performing Arts Center in light of its issues.

The Alex Matter pictures, those controversial works he believes were done by Jackson Pollock, go on display Saturday at Boston College.


To Halen, Or Not To Halen

Posted by Geoff Edgers August 24, 2007 08:25 AM

I'm still on the fence. I mean, how can I not go and see Van Halen with Diamond Dave back on board? (Tickets for the Boston gig go on sale tomorrow.) Well, I've got two good reasons. That cheesy performance of "Jump" with the Pops a couple years back. And the bluegrass version. Or maybe that his recently rediscovered hair resembles a Velveeta soaked tumbleweed. Now I've got another reason to stay away. For some odd reason, Van Halen seems to be trying to erase the legacy of Michael Anthony. He's the guy who played bass for the band for three decades before VH's announcement that Eddie's teenage son, Wolfgang, will talk over. I've got no bone to pick with "Wolfie." But if the boys are really trying to airbrush Anthony off album covers, slice his name from songrwriting credits, and use pre-recorded vocals to replicate his backup singing, I'm concerned. I mean, didn't Robert Plant and Jimmy Page ever tell these guys the golden rule or rock 'n' roll: Nobody cares about the bassist.


Why I No Longer Drive A Red Mustang

Posted by Geoff Edgers August 21, 2007 08:53 PM





Citi Center, Defense Letter

Posted by Geoff Edgers August 21, 2007 03:00 PM

The Citi Center has sent this letter to about 15,000 supporters, members, and donors. Here's the full text.

An Open Letter from the Citi Performing Arts Center

As you no doubt are aware, recent media reports have raised questions about the governance and the management of the Citi Performing Arts Center, including compensation matters, the Center’s Free Shakespeare program and its strategic plan for the future. For all of us who care deeply about this great institution, these reports were troubling and, in our view, ignored the Center’s long and successful track record of bringing outstanding theater, dance, and music to the public as well as its historic and ongoing leadership in providing broad-based access to arts education.

As an organization dependent on funding from charitable foundations, government entities and the public at large, we recognize our responsibility to be as transparent and open as possible. In that spirit, we are writing to provide you with additional information about the issues covered in the recent reports and to reassure you – our members and supporters – of our steadfast commitment to offering the highest quality of performing arts and educational programs to the public.

Executive Compensation

The first issue concerned the compensation of our President and Chief Executive Officer, Josiah Spaulding Jr., and the assertion that the Center agreed to pay Joe a stay bonus “not long before” the Center decided to decrease the number of performances of the summer’s Free Shakespeare on the Common program.

In fact, the decision to award Joe a stay bonus was made in 2001. At the time, the Compensation Committee’s goal was to assure that the then Wang Center would be optimally positioned to face significant challenges for an additional five years. The committee recognized not only Joe’s extraordinary performance and leadership during the previous fourteen years but an increasingly competitive environment brought on by several factors: the arrival in Boston of giant for-profit players in the entertainment industry like Clear Channel, the proposed renovation of the 2400 seat Opera House and heavy recruiting from national performing arts centers with CEO vacancies.

Joe’s bonus was paid in July 2006, pursuant to the terms of his 2001 contract, and in recognition of his having fulfilled his commitment to remain at the Center during the entire contract period. Although recognized as a lump sum cash payment of $1.238 million in FY07, the payment reflects a yearly bonus of $200,000 for fiscal years 02 through 06, plus accrued interest. The payment came from accrued reserves.

It is important to note that the fact that Joe’s contract included a stay bonus was not news; the amount of the bonus as well as when it would be paid was reported on by the Boston Globe more than two years ago. Simply put, it was misleading to link the bonus payment, which fulfilled a contractual commitment made six years ago, to recent program decisions in connection with the Center’s annual operating budget.

We also want to underscore that Joe’s annual compensation is comparable to the heads of performing arts centers with gross operating budgets of $25M - $45M. One of the recent press reports inaccurately stated the percentage of the Center’s operating budget that goes to pay Joe’s salary. In reality, Joe’s compensation was less than 2% of the Center’s gross operating budget of $22.9 million in FY 06.

Programming Decisions

Regarding the reduction in Free Shakespeare performances, the Board and senior management team have had to make some difficult but necessary decisions concerning the scale of the Center’s activities. These are challenging times for many performing arts organizations, and we must constantly balance our mission with the need to be fiscally responsible to ensure the Center’s long-term viability.

The Center has invested more than $4 million in Free Shakespeare over the last five years but faces an accumulated loss on production-related expenses during that time of $1.366 million. While our goal was to cut as few performances as possible, this summer’s run reflected a balance involving the total number of performances, the Center’s investment in production values, and the overall artistic vision as reflected by Steven Maler, the founding artistic director of Commonwealth Shakespeare Company. We will continue to evaluate new and different funding sources and possible partnership models that can help us stage Free Shakespeare for years to come and ensure that it remains a vital and key component of our public programming efforts.


The Center has a detailed conflict-of-interest policy that complies fully with state Attorney General’s guidelines. As part of a governance and reform initiative, the Center’s by-laws and polices were rigorously reviewed this spring by legal counsel from two firms. The Board is responsible for continually reviewing possible conflict issues and addressing them in a timely fashion; it will continue to monitor this with deserving due diligence.

Questions were raised about Board members who at times have provided professional services for the Center, and whose firms have been compensated for this work. This is entirely ethical and hardly unusual. Non-profit organizations and for-profit companies often seek board members who can provide value both in terms of leadership and specific professional expertise. Any work performed by Board members themselves is on a pro bono basis, and any fees charged for work done by their firms represent a standard non-profit discounted rate.

Strategic Plan

We also wanted to share with you the vision of the organization contained in our recently completed strategic plan, which starts with an acknowledgment that all non-profit performing arts organizations must continuously respond to changing market conditions and improve their services.

Two years ago, the Board of Trustees of the then Wang Center embarked on a comprehensive strategic planning process to refocus the Center’s programs and operations. The strategic plan envisions collaborations with many other arts and educational organizations, more self-funding programs, and technology upgrades to better serve our customers, among other initiatives.

Transformative change of this scale and scope is not quick or easy; we think it will take five-to-seven years to see the true results of our work. But we believe that with our talented professional team, your patronage and generous support, the investment of corporate leaders like Citigroup, Boston-area foundations and our public officials, and the vision of this strategic plan, Citi Performing Arts Center will prosper as a distinguished leader among Boston’s arts institutions.

As part of our strategic planning, we have been recruiting new trustees while engaging current trustees to provide them with the greater opportunities to contribute to the institution. Additionally, the Wang Theatre occupancy has increased substantially through a new mix of uses that have included education programs, community activities and performances, corporate events and film industry productions.

Our Leadership

We are mindful of our fiduciary responsibility to our donors and our mission to provide access to and promote appreciation of the performing arts. As the people most knowledgeable about the Center’s finances, governance, and management decisions, and as individuals with a great deal of personal investment in this enterprise, we affirm our Board’s respect for and total confidence in the leadership of Joe Spaulding and his new management team. All of us who have had the honor to work with Joe enthusiastically believe in the integrity, energy and drive that characterize his visionary leadership. We have absolutely no doubt that he is the right leader to revitalize the Center at this time.

This institution has many great strengths and there is no question that it will withstand this period of challenge. We deeply appreciate your continued support as we strive to accomplish the goals of our new strategic plan and work to bring the highest quality performing arts and arts education programs to you, our members, supporters and the public.

John William Poduska, Sr.
Chairman of the Board

On behalf of the Citi Performing Arts Center Officers of the Corporation

John Cook – Treasurer
Charley Polachi – Vice Chairman
Robert Sachs - Chair of Governance
Elliot Surkin - Clerk


Chat Elvis With The Exhibitionist

Posted by Geoff Edgers August 21, 2007 12:28 PM

At 1 p.m., head to to chat Elvis. Or just chat about anything.


Morning Reads

Posted by Geoff Edgers August 20, 2007 10:46 AM

Did you ever hear of the Lunders? Perhaps not. Never mind that their collection of art has been appraised around $100 million, and includes works by O'Keeffe, John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, Sol LeWitt, and Edward Hopper. Or that they recently decided to give that collection to Colby College. Robbie Brown tries to track down this mystery couple, who just hate it when people make a fuss.

The DeCordova names the Rappaport Prize winner.

The Arlington Advocate has this to say about the Exhibitionist's Elvis book.

Banning headphones for runners? Now that's a good one. The Globe writes about the ongoing debate, as race directors contemplate how, and whether, to enforce the ban.

This is my favorite quote:

"It's like Tom Brady listening to the Who while he's throwing a touchdown pass. Hard-core runners are focusing on racing. If they're wearing those things, they're out there for health," says Paul Collyer, director of the Jerry Garcia Memorial River Run & Walk in Cambridge.

Sure, Paul, except for one thing... Last time I checked, the NFL didn't allow people like me - 36, four-hour marathoner who has never had his vertical jumping ability measured at the Combine - take a few snaps in the A.F.C. Championship game.

For the record, I always run with headphones EXCEPT in a race, when the crowd support and atmosphere are enough to keep me going. But I'm sorry, when it's 5 a.m., pitch-black and the plows are rolling by, you sometimes need "Combat Rock."


Beppu Ballet Blog, Part IV

Posted by Geoff Edgers August 17, 2007 08:08 AM

Our latest entry from Boston Ballet dancer Romi Beppu ... go go dancers, sweaty bus rides, and won't Miss Kuranaga finally bare some skin?

For the first Beppu blog, go here.
For the second Beppu blog, go here.
Part three is here.

Saturday, August 4th:
Last day in Madrid calls for ….. party! After the last La Sylphide performance we all (most of the company) decide to meet downstairs at 1:15 am for party plans. First stop: Rendall Salsa Club. Nelson knows one of the promoters of Rendall Club and gets all of us in free of charge. It is a small, intimate club with people coupled off and serious salsa action in play. Young, old, big, small, no matter, people are here to get their salsa on. We stay for about half an hour and decide to move on to our second destination: Club Kapital. Katelyn and Tempe work their charm on the bouncers as soon as we arrive and once again manage to get all of us in for a reduced rate. Thanks girls! Wow! This is my kind of club! With 7 floors, each floor having a different theme and a different style, it was hard to decide on where to begin. We ended up on the first floor (House music) it was amazing – crazy lights, dry ice, go-go dancers…. Hmmmmm – am I sharing a little too much information? In any case, you get the idea – party accomplished – check.

Sunday, Aug. 5th:
Travel day to Santander, destination #4. we load onto two buses, each dancer getting two seats for maximum comfort. Roman and Megan shoot for the last row on the bus – six seats all to themselves. Thinking they have snagged the first class section of the bus, they set up shop for what they think will be a comfortable ride. Little do they know, it will be the “hot seats” of the ride. Within 15 minutes of departure, I hear Roman saying “Why is it so hot back here? I am sweating like a pig!” Megan is feeling sick from the heat as well so she is lying on the seats, legs up on the windows. In the next hour Roman is walking up and down the aisle of the bus for some air and heat relief. We discover that prime bus seating as far as temperature goes is in the mid-section. One will freeze towards the front of the bus and the rear seats are basically padded stoves. Again, we are learning as we go.

As we hear the hotel, Kirsten (company manager) announces “Okay, everyone listen up! Now I want everyone to know that the location of the hotel isn’t near any restaurants, nor is it walking distance to the city, however I have been told that the hotel itself is quite nice. The exterior might not look that way, but don’t judge a book by its cover”

“Uh oh, I immediately thought – what are we in for?” Well, she was right. We were in the middle of nowhere, an undeveloped semi-industrial flat-land. With the only thing in sight being a Cortes Ingles (think of it as the Spanish Wal-Mart) and what looked to be a large pile of metal scraps and waste, depression and mild irritation was quickly settling in. And to top it off, it was cold, grey and rainy. Thrilled we were not.

With each passing day, the weather warmed up to us as we did to Santander. Once in the Centro de Ciudid we discovered wonderful restaurants, beautiful beaches, eclectic boutiques, a castle surrounded by water and beaches and oh…. The best helado ever!

#1 Jonathan McPhee and our beloved pianist Freda Locker (Freddy as she is known to us), join us for the Santander performances. Jonathan is here to conduct the Lithuanian Orchestra, and Freddy accompanies us for our 3 shows. I can’t tell you what a difference live music makes to dancers – you feel that extra sparkle onstage, and all of us did! Muchas gracias Jonathan and Freddy!

#2 I am getting 8 hours of sleep per night this week, finally! Being in boonlyland does have its perks.

#3 Our free day was spent at the beach – two beaches in fact. Playa de Los Bikinis, and Playa de la Magdalena. With perfect beach weather, soft therapeutic sand and chilly but refreshing ocean water, we couldn’t have asked for a better freeday.

Side note: Miss Kuranaga once again joined us at the beach with yet another interesting beachwear outfit. I think this time she wore what looked to be a hoodie jacket under a baseball cap with a fall coat covering her entire head. All this in efforts to block any or all sunlight. Bless her heart, we love you Misa.

#4 James Whiteside stepping in last minute for an injured Nelson Madrigal in The Four Temperaments, dancing Sanguinic alongside Erica Cornejo, with one rehearsal and learning the part via videotape and help from ballet master Tony Randazzo. James’ debut went off without a hitch and he was fantastic – a true professional. Congratulations James!

Fun and funny moments worth mentioning:
#1 Kelsey and Tempe both dropping their breakfast trays in the same spot within minutes of each other – it must have been a slippery countertop.

#2 Rie continues to ask for a “café colacha” por favor, even though we keep advising her that it is “café con leche” that she wants.

#3 Desperate for something, anything, in English to read, Katelyn shares her July issue of Elle magazine with me. She has read the entire magazine from cover to cover and I am sure I will too. Reading material printed in English is hard to come by in Spain!

#4 Boyko performing his rendition of Michael Jackson’s “ee-hee” high pitched yelp with choreography to match, after company class.

#5 Tony’s fabulous beachwear / safari / hiking (or ready for any adventure)attire. On our freeday, he was spotted leaving the hotel with what appeared to be a fishing hat, sunglasses dangling from his neck, a fanny pack draped around his shoulder, water bottle attached to the pack, another bag draped across the other shoulder, (with what I’m sure contained a first aid kit, snacks and perhaps a tent?) and hiking shoes with ankle length socks. He was a sport and posed for us (and our cameras) hitting a perfect passé and an academy award winning smile. His best accessory though was his sweetheart, the elegant and beautiful Kathleen Mitchell.

Saturday, August 11th:
Travel day to Perelada, destination city numero cinco.
AKA: “The Great Bus Ride ’07 - the 13 hour bus ride that really should take only 7 ˝ hours”. In Spain, along with taking siestas everyday, not being able to readily catch taxis on the street (one must wait at designated taxi stands) and other rules/regulations that we as Americans don’t have, there are strict bus stop rules that are enforced by law. It requires that the bus driver must take a half hour break every 2 hours of driving time, and then in addition to that, an hour sometime in the middle of the trip for a lunch or dinner break. Bus drivers have it much better here in Spain than in America!

Bus ride itself was fine. With two seats to each dancer and the 8:30am bus call, most of us immediately set up camp, put on our i-pods, feet up and dozed off………

Left to right Rie,Karine,Larissa,Romi.jpg

Rie Ichikawa, Karine Seneca, Larissa Ponomarenko, Romi Beppu, in Santander. (Photo by Sabi Varga.)

ICA's Fall Schedule... Burma, Byrne, More

Posted by Geoff Edgers August 16, 2007 09:17 AM

Several compelling dates on the Institute of Contemporary Art's fall schedule:

- Mission of Burma plays a pair of shows on Sept. 23, at 4 and 8 p.m.
- David Byrne and evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller are lecturing on Oct. 10. "Connections Between Biology and Culture, Sex and Beauty, Genes and Creativity" will feature the duo laying "siege to the world of contemporary art and culture."
- Illustrators Maira Kalman and Roz Chast will talk on Nov. 14.

And the rest...
- Sept. 21, 8 - 12 midnight
Experiment featuring DJ Scientific and Hearthrob
- Sept. 22, 8 pm
Daniel Bernard Roumain and DJ Scientific
Sonata for Violin and Turntables
- Oct. 18 and 19 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2 and 8 pm
The Old Trout Puppet Workshop: Famous Puppet Death Scenes
- Nov. 2, 7:30 pm (post-performance Q&A), Saturday, Nov. 3, 8 pm, Sunday, Nov. 4, 3 pm
CRASHarts Presents Maureen Fleming: Waters of Immortality and other works
- Nov. 29, 7:30 pm, Friday, Nov. 30, 7:30 pm
Faker, Choreographed and directed by Morgan Thorson- Dec. 7, 7:30 pm (post-performance Q & A), Saturday, Dec. 8, 8 pm
CRASHarts Presents: Bridgman/Packer DanceTrilogy, featuring Under the Skin, with live music by Ken Field and the Boston Premieres of Memory Bank & Seductive Reasoning

- Sept. 16, 3 pm
Missing Victor Pellerin (2006, 35 mm, 102 min) by Sophie Deraspe.
- Oct. 5 - 7, 2007
New Independent Animation from Japan (U.S. Premiere)
- Oct. 5, 7 pm; Saturday, Oct. 6, 3 pm; Sunday, Oct. 7, 3 pm
Ski Jumping Pairs-Road to Torino 2006 (82 minutes, HDCAM) by Riichiro Mashima
- Oct. 6, 1 pm; Sunday, Oct. 7, 1 pm
Animated Short Films (BETA SP)
- Oct. 28, 3 pm
New England Animation
- Nov. 8, 10, and 11, 2007
Boston Jewish Film Festival at the ICA
- Jan. 8 - 13, 2008
Between Two Worlds

- Oct. 11, 6:30 pm
Artist Talk: Dave McKenzie
- Oct. 4, 6:30 pm
Momus- Oct. 18, 6:30 pm
Joseph Ayers- Nov. 8, 6:30 pm
David Small
- Nov. 29, 6:30 pm
Michael Meredith- Oct. 25, 6:30 pm
Words from the Walk: Gail Mazur
- Nov. 15, 6:30 pm
Kader Attia in conversation with Nicholas Baume

ICA/AIGA Design Series
- Sept. 27, 6:30 pm
Julie Lasky with J. Meejin Yoon and Joshua Davis
- Dec. 13, 6:30 pm
Ellen Lupton with Chip Kidd, Ben Fry, and Toshiko Mori

- Oct. 11 - Nov. 15, 6 - 7:30 pm
Artists 360: Introduction to Contemporary Art with Karen Kurczynski
- Nov. 10, 10 am - 4 pm
Designing the Animated Journal with Heather Shaw
- Dec. 1, 10 am - 4 pm
Personal Process with Ben Fry

- Sept. 29, 10 - 4 pm
Color, Light, and Movement
- Oct. 27, 10 - 4 pm
Amazing Transformations
- Nov. 24, 10 am - 4 pm
All About Design
- Jan. 26, 10 am - 4 pm
When Art Meets Music

- Sept. 7, all day


UPDATE: MASS MoCA To Christoph: Don't Make Art Of Case

Posted by Geoff Edgers August 15, 2007 11:49 AM

[UPDATE: I asked Büchel's attorney, Donn Zaretsky, whether his client intends to create art out of the case. Here's what he had to say:

"He made an artwork out of the Complaint the museum filed against him and two letters Thompson had sent to him. He has no specific plans to create anything further, but of course reserves his right to change his mind. And the fact that the museum would try to censor him from doing so is just incredible."]

There's an interesting new development in the dispute between Christoph Büchel and MASS MoCA. The museum has filed a request to keep the artist, and his peeps, from making documents related to the case public. The museum believes Büchel is looking to turn the conflict into art.

Here's a report from the Clandestine Construction Company International.


Eddie Van Halen As Elderly Lady

Posted by Geoff Edgers August 14, 2007 10:42 AM

I know everybody's smiling and even promising a new record. I know that Eddie's been through rehab, and he's dealt with that tongue cancer thing, etc., etc. But even though the news seems to be the big reunion, I can't help but think of this picture of Eddie, who clearly resembles somebody's Aunt Gertrude.


Beppu Ballet Blog, Part III

Posted by Geoff Edgers August 10, 2007 05:34 PM

Boston Ballet dancer Romi Beppu is back with a few more entries in her tour diary as the company heads through Spain. Call this edition comping the cerveza.

For the first Beppu blog, go here.
For the second Beppu blog, go here.

Wednesday, July 25th

Continued from Las Palmas ………….as we weren’t able to properly space and run a dress rehearsal due to rainy weather conditions hampering the crew from being able to test out lights and put up sets. A side note of appreciation to Boston Ballet’s awesome hardworking crew – they have been pulling many overnighters in these cities, putting up and taking down sets, lights, etc. just to make it all happen here in Spain. We see them shuffling into the hotel after their 19th hour of work, bloodshot eyes and all. We love and are thankful for them. – Without them the show could not go on.

Wednesday, July 25th
First performance of La Sylphide in Las Palmas with Yury and Karine dancing James and the Sylph, is warmly welcomed and enthusiastically enjoyed by the folks in Las Palmas. One of the big highlights of Las Palmas was seeing Elizabeth Olds (a former dancer and currently Mikko’s assistant) make her debut as Madge in La Sylphide. The work, thought and quality she put into the character more than paid off onstage. Such a powerful punch from such a little lady – congrats Liz!

Saturday, July 28th
Last day in Las Palmas. Sleep deprivation is catching up with me! With performances starting at 10:00pm and ending at midnight or later, busing to the hotel, eating and showering, bedtime has been generally set at 2:30am or 3:00am. It is the last day and last show here in Las Palmas and although it has been absolutely gorgeous and resort-like, many of us are anticipating our next destination, big city Madrid. We close the four Las Palmas performances with the Balanchine program and all in all, with the exception of a few lighting problems, everyone dances well and Las Palmas seem to agree. After the show, some dancers decide to go out to a salsa club to celebrate but our guys decide not to because bus call the next day is 10:15am and we are tired and hungry. Rie and I find a restaurant near the theatre and befriend the waiter, Jose, who turned out to be the biggest sweetheart, basically comping our entire meal of patatas con mojo, jamon, ensalada and cerveza. He was so thrilled that we were ballet dancers from Boston and wanted to impress us with his hospitality and the little English that he knew. We each gave him dos besos and he turned bright red. Mucho gracias Jose!

Monday July 30th
Madrid – big city shock!
Heat wave central, gigantic buildings, taxis, buses, shops, museums and people galore. After being in resort like conditions where a beach or pool was within at most a 10 minute walk radius, my first impressions of Madrid was “Yikes, we’ve landed in the Spanish version of NYC.” Overwhelming, with so much to see and do but not knowing where to begin or end. Planning ahead and creating some sort of itinerary for the day seemed necessary. Walking around aimlessly through the city during the day in the 100? weather was not going to cut it, especially if you still wanted to be partially alive for the evening’s performances.

Tuesday, July 31st
Call for class and rehearsal in Madrid was 5:45pm every day. Because we were in an outdoor theatre with no studio space available and the daytime temperatures were too hot and dangerous to dance under, our entire daily schedule had to be pushed back. The schedule actually worked out well, because we were all free during the day to sightsee, explore and shop, come back to the hotel for a little siesta, then head to the theatre for class, rehearsal and performance. With the Balanchine program opening the first two shows in Madrid, I wanted to wait on the sightseeing and such until we started La Sylphide. First two days in Madrid were spent walking up Gran Via, shopping in Puerto del Sol and catching up on bills and e-mails at the nearby VIPS (a partial bookstore, restaurant, and internet café) and one of the only places that we would later find out was open past midnight for post performance grub.

Highlight of first day; Raul Casasola’s party at his home, 30 minutes away from hotel, and renting a bus to transport the entire company to and back. We arrive at the home of the Casasola’s; mom, dad, sister and other family members greeted the mob of dancers crowded around the front of the house. They barely spoke a drip of English, but the warm smiles, kisses, abundance of beverages and endless dishes of delicious Spanish treats told us that the Spanish know how to throw a fiesta! The nearby kids in the neighborhood peered in through the patio gate trying to get a glimpse of the pretty company girls and begged for bites of food and drink. They were a little rowdy and persistent for their age I thought, but I guess it was all in good fun and what else do kids do on a Monday night but try to crash a cool Boston Ballet party?

Wednesday, August 1st
Opening night of the Balanchine program in Madrid is fantastic – everyone dances well and the company pulls together as a whole for a wonderful premiere. We adjusted to the obstacles faced the night before during dress rehearsal- lighting issues, spacing and a harder floor. Go Team!

Friday, August 3rd
With class starting at 5:45pm, we decide to take advantage of the partially free day and visit the Prado Museum in Madrid. I was interested in seeing the Goya and El Greco collection. Only downside: all of the captions describing the piece and the historical info applying to it were written solely in Spanish. All I could make out was the artist and dates. Oh well – still very impressive and cool to see the actual pieces that I had seen in my art history text book.

Two photos of Sarah Wroth, by Sabi Varga, during "The Four Temperaments"



Tax Free Art

Posted by Geoff Edgers August 9, 2007 02:35 PM

Normally, this space stays away from commercials. But Bernie Toale zapped me a note that I considered inventive enough to let it squeeze through the Exhibitionist's multi-layered filtering device.

He reminds us that Saturday is "tax free day." So instead of heading to Best Buy to pick up a fridge, go to his gallery and slap down a few bucks for a Morell or a Penelope Umbrico.


More Metropolitan Opera Movie News

Posted by Geoff Edgers August 9, 2007 01:56 PM

It's still not clear what impact this will have on Boston opera enthusiasts - we asked, but the Met said it didn't have any info at this point - but the Metropolitan Opera and National CineMedia have announced that they've signed a deal to bring the opera to more movie screens in the 2007-08 season.

A section of the release reads:

“The Metropolitan Opera: Live in HD” series will be expanding in 2007-08 from six to eight live opera transmissions, beginning on December 15, 2007, with Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, starring Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón.

Through this agreement, NCM’s FATHOM entertainment division will present the Met’s HD series in theater locations across the country, including participating AMC Entertainment Inc., Cinemark USA Inc., Georgia Theatre Company, National Amusements and Regal Entertainment Group movie theaters. Other new affiliate locations will soon be added to NCM’s digital network – the largest live, digital in-theater network in North America – allowing additional movie theaters and performing arts centers across the country to present the Met series and other in-theater events."

Ticket sales info:

"For the first time this season, Met Opera members can take advantage of an advance ticket sale offering for all “Metropolitan Opera: Live in High Definition” in-theater events at the majority of participating locations in the U.S. Advance ticketing for the 2007-08 season is subject to availability and begins on Friday, October 19, exclusively for Met Opera members at the $125 level or above. Ticket sales to the general public in the U.S. begin Friday, November 9. Tickets in the U.S. are $22 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $15 for children. For information on tickets and membership, visit or call 1-800-Met-Opera (1-800-638-6737)."


Tanglewood Piano Sale

Posted by Geoff Edgers August 8, 2007 10:28 AM

Wanna pound the same ivories as Emanuel Ax?

Some of the pianos at Tanglewood are being sold. The pianos can be viewed, by appointment, during the August 18-19 weekend. Steinway reps will be there to help, and if you buy a piano, it will be delivered after the final performance of the Tanglewood season.

To make an appointment, call 866-384-6097.


Pencil Removed From Woman's Head

Posted by Geoff Edgers August 7, 2007 11:12 PM

Perhaps, this is off subject.

But any time there's a story about a woman having a pencil lodged in her head for 55 years, I'm going to bite.


A computer tomography picture provided by the Park-Klinik Weissensee in Berlin on Tuesday Aug. 7, 2007 shows a pencil inside a woman's head. After being plagued for 55 years with the torment of a pencil lodged in her head, a German woman has finally had it removed. Margaret Wegner, now 59, was 4 years old when she fell while carrying the eight centimeter-long (3.15 inch-long) pencil, which went through her cheek and into her brain. On Friday, it could finally be removed at the Park-Klinik. (AP Photo/Park-Klinik Weissensee)

Harbison = Coughing Fits

Posted by Geoff Edgers August 7, 2007 12:22 PM

The Philadelphia Inquirer's Peter Dobrin, in Tanglewood, isn't the only writer praising James Levine's programming. But he is the only critic to connect audience coughs with the maestro's penchant for living composers.

"Unwittingly, it was the Ravel that pointed to the conclusion that new scores might never go down easily here, at least with the summer audience. The concert's second half opened with John Harbison's Concerto for Bass Viol and Orchestra, a bracing but hardly dissonant score, and, in the second movement, the audience was seized with a collective coughing fit. Not two or three hackers, but, almost comically, dozens.

Then Levine closed the concert with Ravel's second suite from Daphnis et Chloe, and mysteriously, even in the quietest moments, all the coughers were restored to full health; not a sound could be heard coming from the audience. Listeners probably weren't even aware of the spontaneous commentary they were offering on the Harbison, but the message was clearly one of impatience and displeasure. Everyone's a critic, it seems."


Monday Reads

Posted by Geoff Edgers August 6, 2007 10:05 AM

A Globe editorial calls for changes at the Citi Performing Arts Center, including a new leader.

A Van Gogh found at the MFA.

The latest, and creepiest, story about Jeremy Blake and Theresa Duncan.

What happens when an artist builds a recreation of the first sub and then tries to approach the Queen Mary 2? I love this statement from NYC Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly: "A makeshift submarine discovered at about 10:30 this morning by an N.Y.P.D. Intelligence detective on board the Queen Mary 2 in New York Harbor is the creative craft of three adventuresome individuals. It does not pose any terrorist threat."


Real Or Fake Pollocks, The Return Of

Posted by Geoff Edgers August 3, 2007 06:36 PM

Don't tell me you forgot the tale of the Alex Matter pictures. Well, the Sept. 1 opening at Boston College's McMullen Museum of Art is approaching, and there's a hitch in the plan to at least provide a press preview for the show. Actually, it's not a hitch. The preview is cancelled.

But McMullen director Nancy Netzer assured me today, via e-mail, that the cancellation has nothing to do with the controversy surrounding the works. It is simply a matter of scheduling a preview on the Friday before Labor Day weekend. The museum had virtually no confirmed attendees, and didn't want to pull Ellen Landau, one of the show's curators, away from classes if nobody showed up.

Alex, and his paintings.

Free Shakespeare, Attendance Figures

Posted by Geoff Edgers August 3, 2007 12:08 PM

Here are the numbers for this year's shorter, smaller production of free Shakespeare on the Common.

These come directly from Lynne Kortenhaus, the Citi Performing Arts Center's spokesperson:

"The attendance for this year's Free Shakespeare on the Common was approximately 38,000 people over 7 performances, Tuesday - Sunday. This averages out to be about 5300 people per night. In comparison with last year, 2006, over 19 performances, attendance was approximately 91,000 which averages about 4800 people per night. This year represents a 12% increase in attendance per evening."


Money Tree, MCC Grant, Berkshires

Posted by Geoff Edgers August 3, 2007 10:46 AM

As any loyal Exhibitionist reader knows, I'll never pass up an opportunity to post a picture of the money tree.

Today's occasion: A $100,000 grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council to the Berkshire Creative Economy Council.


Thursday Reads

Posted by Geoff Edgers August 2, 2007 05:12 PM

Technical difficulties have made this a very slow blogging day. (Okay, a no-blogging day.) But here I am.

The Getty strikes a deal with the Italians. Here's a list of the items heading back. Here's Christopher Knight's take.

My wife profiles the architect behind the Children's Museum expansion.

Poor Roger. I feel so bad.


Jeremy Blake, Theresa Duncan

Posted by Geoff Edgers August 1, 2007 11:59 AM

The tragic, bizarre, distressing and ultimately heartbreaking tale of Jeremy Blake and Theresa Duncan, as told in the Washington Post. A final post has also been added to Duncan's website, at Blake's request.

[Image: Source]

Citi Center, A Response

Posted by Geoff Edgers July 31, 2007 02:59 PM

The Citi Performing Arts Center has posted a comment on its homepage regarding today's story on the organization's hiring and spending practices.

Here's the statement, verbatim:

"Geoff Edgers article in today’s Boston Globe implies that compensation paid to Josiah Spaulding is directly affecting some of the Citi Performing Arts Center’s public programming, namely Free Shakespeare on the Common. This is not the case.

What the Globe article doesn’t convey is that Mr. Spaulding’s compensation has already been reported by several Globe columnists in previous years, dating back to 2003. In fact, internal decisions to offer Spaulding the compensation reported in the Globe dates back to 2001.

Mr. Spaulding’s compensation is governed by the Citi Performing Arts Center’s board of directors, which unanimously and collectively supports Spaulding in his role as President & CEO. Spaulding’s compensation in no way affects existing or future programming initiatives. Likewise, any insinuation that existing board members or current employees are in any way violating any conflict of interest is absurd.

The Center’s Board of Directors, its Executive Committee, Finance and Compensation Committees stand behind the Center’s governance and overall compensation processes that have been adopted in the by-laws of the institution. The Citi Performing Arts Center remains focused and committed to implementing its new strategic plan.

John William Poduska, Sr.
Chairman of the Board, Citi Performing Arts Center"


Most Uncomfortable Interview Of All Time

Posted by Geoff Edgers July 31, 2007 02:27 PM

Perhaps it's silly for me to even pretend you haven't seen this. But if you haven't, you need to. Mediabistro then has the inside scoop on how poor Merry Miller stumbled into, and through, her supposed puff-piece interview with actress Holly Hunter.


Another Day, Another Death

Posted by Geoff Edgers July 31, 2007 12:58 PM

Is there something in the water? Bergman, Tom Snyder, Bill Walsh and now... Italian film director Michelangelo Antonioni.

Here's what former Globe critic Jay Carr has to say.

The Guardian on the director's five best scenes.

And a clip from Jay Scheib's Antonioni-inspired production "This Place is a Desert," which played at the Institute of Contemporary Art earlier this year.


Handel and Haydn Society, Tour Blog (Episode 2)

Posted by Geoff Edgers July 26, 2007 04:47 PM

Today, timpanist John Grimes (below) checks in from the Handel and Haydn Society's Prom visit. Here's where to find our previous post from mezzo-soprano Katharine Emory.

Friday, July 20, 2007
Under way!

How often is it that one learns of a colleague being scheduled to fly out of the country from the same terminal, but on a different airline at the same time as one? It turned out Heinrich Christensen, sometime organist with Handel and Haydn these past two seasons (remember our Holiday Sings at Symphony Hall) and Music Director at King's Chapel who succeeded the late Dr. Daniel Pinkham was scheduled to fly on Icelandic Air to Denmark to play a series of organ recitals. So, we met at the airport and partook of a sumptuous salmon and potatoes dinner. I remarked on the noticeable lack of greens and wondered if this was supposed to be purposeful on the part of the dieticians ensuring there be a paucity of roughage intake prior to these transcontinental flights.

Heinrich remarked he had never seen someone eat as many potatoes in a single meal since he left Denmark ages ago. It was a hefty portion. I neglected to remember that i would be fed dinner and breakfast on the flight in a compressed succession of just over 5 hours, but heck.

I flew on British Air. The 777 was spacious and seats looked comfy until about mid-flight when suddenly I tried to get up to go to the restroom and felt as if I had been a sardine confined to a tin can and needed a fork to lift me out of my seat. Still, the service was gentle and the sound system quite good.

Which leads me back to the beginning of the flight. It was characterized by a somber start. I plugged in the headset and immediately heard something I did not recognize but which was totally engaging. It was the filler material passages in between the important tunes in Candide, so for a few moments there all I could remark upon were the clarity of the voices, English diction, etc. and wonder if it was one of the lesser known Gilbert & Sullivan operettas or a broadway show with which i was unfamiliar.

Well, I started thumbing through the book to find the station and the work. I thought it nice that the last passenger was also listening to classical music and was assured not all hope is lost for mankind. Still, as I perused the book I then heard the beginning of "We'll make our Garden Grow" and was very moved. When I finally looked at the entry, it was the "definitive" recording with Leonard Bernstein, himself, conducting June Anderson and Jerry Hadley! I thought, "my god, this man has just taken his own life."

As I listened to the whole work on its replay, I was greatly saddened to hear such a gorgeous tenor voice, beautiful diction and overall artistry. Bernstein had a way of discovering and giving a chance to young musicians. It was a great lesson to all of us, something we should strive to emulate in our lives.

Hadley had a wonderful career and was part of a very meaningful place in America's 20th century musical heritage. It is so sad, he saw his life at this recent juncture as having been other than that. One is left with many questions and cannot help but draw parallels to one's own life and career as a free-lance musician. This is not an easy life for many. It requires strength and soldiering on through tough times.

Arriving in London, of course it was a major schlep on the Piccadilly line from Heathrow to the hotel and I took at least one wrong train when O switched over to the District line, but then who doesn't. That afternoon, I left the hotel and attended the musical Billy Elliot at the Victoria Theater.

What an incredible show! One gets a glimpse of how Brits now view Margaret Thatcher. Most of us have seen the movie, but the musical is actually quite faithful and very creatively presented. Elton John outdoes himself with the music. The kids acting and dancing are terrific, especially the Billy I saw in this matinee production, a young lad of 14 from Manchester. If he is any indication of the talent today being sown in England, all hope is not lost in our culture. Go see it!

Saturday, July 21, 2007
Heathrow, Hiltons, and Rehearsals

It seems that this Hilton hotel is not always on the ball. They ran out of PC Internet use cards and no one could access their e-mails for one whole day. I posted my first blog and then went mysteriously silent. Part of the reason was that once we were committed to rehearsals, it seems our concentration was totally focused on that aspect of things. Not until we emerged at the end of the day did our thoughts turn to blogging or drinking, whichever was of first priority. You can guess which that would be.

But, let's take a step backwards to the day of the orchestra's scheduled arrival at Heathrow. I was asked to perform the task of taking an afternoon train to the airport, connecting with the bus company representative and meeting the musicians as they emerged from Customs inspection in order to guide them toward the awaiting bus. Sounds very simple, right? Well, nothing was going to be very simple on that day. A tremendous flash flood occurred throughout London and apparently in many parts of southern England that morning. I was standing in the Hilton lobby chatting up an English couple about my age who had traveled to the city to take in the theater. They went to about 3 plays in two days and managed to attend a son's wedding on the 2nd day as well. The husband had driven his car into the city and was complaining about a 100Ł ticket he got for going overtime at a nearby meter. i sucked in a deep breath and thought, he doesn't understand that i already feel i live in a third world country. My cup of espresso cost $6.00 and i thought Starbucks in Newtonville was pricey!

Well, arriving at Heathrow, one emerges from customs to be greeted by a wall of family members of all nationalities, limo drivers with signs, bus drivers and tour company reps all vying for an empty space in order to be seen. That afternoon, the sudden rains had caused extensive flash flooding which incapacitated the small branch line that stops at Olympia station on the Underground, so I had to take a bus up Kensington High Street to Hammersmith in order to catch the Picaddilly line to the airport. Well, that took a bit longer than I had anticipated. But, i made it on time.

To my shock, the flight was scheduled to land at 8.20PM but had in fact made great time and landed at 7.49PM. The good news was that they hadn't been offloaded as yet. In fact, it took a good hour and a half after arrival before they actually received their luggage.

When I first arrived at the airport, there must have been 2,000 greeters out there. It looked like a great confabulation of the United Nations, hardly an Anglo Saxon in sight. What a contrast to 30 years ago when I first saw London.

Well, an hour and a half later the crowd was down about 1,000 and you could actually see some empty space in between people. I managed to locate the bus, the bus rep, a couple of choristers found me and eventually a few bewildered instrumentalists came through the exit doors. Soon we were whisked back to West London, but suddenly the driver pulled up to a different Hilton. As I looked out the window, I instinctively popped up out of my seat and said, "no, it's a different Hilton". Soon, after consulting his satellite finding device, we were on our way around the neighborhood and pulling up to our target domicile.

Everyone soon discovered the bar on the second floor. This was to become our watering hole and general community center. Very comfortable, open space, friendly foreign summer student type waiters and bartenders and dear prices...natch! if you like Boddington's and other flat tasting British ales, this was the shop for it. I tend to prefer the Czech and German pilsners so I had to settle for the Stella Artois instead just to feel a little bit of raspiness going down the gullet with each swallow.

The first day of rehearsals was scheduled to be a marathon. We were bussed to the Royal Academy of Music which is on the street behind and just below Royal Albert Hall. The rehearsal space was a small concert hall. It had good acoustics, attractive, old and charming. Ben Hoffnung, yes, the son of the well known musical racconteur and cartoonist Gerald Hoffnung, is the timpanist of the London Mozart players. He has worked with Sir Roger Norrington on many occasions and was scheduled to play tambourine in the fall scene of the Seasons with us. He too, had agreed to provide me with kettledrums for the affair. As I alighted from the bus, i saw him schlepping the drums out of his auto, so I ran over to lend a hand. We hit it off nicely. He walked me through the necessaries concerning how to handle his instruments, etc. and we were soon off and running.

The rehearsal scheme for the day was to proceed as follows: First, 2 hours followed by lunch; then 2 more hours followed by dinner, and then 3 hours, followed by pub time (that was, of course, unscheduled but essential to every musician alive).

As the Brits might say, we were quite nackered by the end of the day. Rehearsals went well. Norrington showed great pleasure throughout the rehearsal period. You couldn't do wrong by the soloists conscripted for the event ... they were terrific, particularly the soprano and tenor. The Brit extra musicians had played much with Norrington in the London Classical Players and the concertmistress was top shelf. She knows the piece really well, gets a big generous sound out of her instrument, leads well and very musically. Norrington, one could ascertain, felt very comfortable with her at the helm. The orchestra sounded strong.

That evening while we were in the bar, the busload of singers arrived from Boston and their customs and Heathrow experience in general was even less strenuous than that which greeted the band the evening before. We all breathed a sigh of relief. Soon, they too joined us in the bar and we steeled ourselves for the first joint rehearsal the following morning.

So, we proceeded to day two. Everyone was amazed at how things were seeming to work out quite well.


Thursday Reads

Posted by Geoff Edgers July 26, 2007 11:20 AM

This is a terribly depressing, and slightly bizarre story, of the apparent double suicides of Jeremy Blake and Theresa Duncan (below). Her blog remains up, haunting considering that Duncan posted a final message the day she died.

Two recent Globe stories you may have missed. I wrote Sunday on the reduction of free Shakespeare on the Common. And my colleague, Mark Shanahan, revealed the world of LMontro, the "unofficial barber of the Red Sox."

Maestro Levine passed on Verbier, but he's heading to Cincy in 2010.


Boston Ballet, On Tour

Posted by Geoff Edgers July 26, 2007 10:31 AM

The folks at Boston Ballet, embarking on a tour of Spain, have promised to zap us updates and pictures over the next few weeks. We start with a photo of company member Kelsey Hellebuyck unloading her case in the Canary Islands. Soloist Sabi Varga took the pic.


Handel and Haydn Society, Tour Blog (Episode 1)

Posted by Geoff Edgers July 25, 2007 12:33 PM

The Handel and Haydn Society made its Proms debut this week, and we were fortunate to have a few diary entries sent our way. I'll post from mezzo-soprano Katharine Emory (below) today and follow with timpanist John Grimes tomorrow.

Thursday, July 19, 2007
Packing for Proms

It's 6.30pm and I've done all the packing I can stand for the day, knowing that tomorrow will be filled with last-minute checking of toiletries, reading material, electronic updates, etc. Of course, the cats have both enjoyed the process, setting their soft little bodies down inside the suitcase ("Take me! Take me!"). It's good that they're so cute, given that they've shed contrasting fur all over my Handel and Haydn black velvet performance gown... Yes, add the lint brush to the toiletries list!

Weather in London looks to be sadly wet and chilly, but that won't stop me from exploring as much as I can during our free time. I've already purchased tickets with some of my colleagues to see "The Car Man" by Matthew Bourne. A matinee was chosen in anticipation of jet lag and the need for an early bedtime Sunday night. Sigh. I wish I didn't need sleep at all! There's so much to see and do in our few precious hours of non-rehearsal or performance!

One unexpected delight is that my neighbors Chuck and Lu are going to be visiting their daughter and grandchildren in London while I'm there. I convinced them to buy tickets to our concert! I think we'll be getting together afterwards for a drink, which should be lovely. It's such a pleasure being able to share what I do with my neighbors! Some are able to come to my performances in the New York area, but few are even aware of the Handel and Haydn Society, so I am going to enjoy introducing them to this ensemble that has been an important part of my musical life for so very long. It's a great way to show off! Maybe they'll buy some CDs?

That's it for now. My neighbor Laura is making me dinner so that I don't have to create a mess in my kitchen tonight. Plus there's almost no food left anyway! Andy (my husband) comes home from his job around midnight tonight (he's the moving light technician for the show Mamma Mia! on Broadway). He's been an enormous help with all the technological aspects of this trip (downloading software onto the GPS to include the U.K., backing up my computer in case of disaster while we're gone, etc.). He's a veteran packer, too, having toured with shows, opera companies, ballets, and the like for years. So he'll help me decide if I should bring the bathing suit or that extra pair of whatever. I'm so happy that he's joining me, though it won't be until later (he arrives Monday morning).

There's something SOOO hard about anticipating a trip, even when you know how wonderful it will be! I just look forward to getting to the airport; that should make it all real enough! Ah, I wonder how the hotel will handle so many singers singing scales and arpeggios in their rooms to warm up before 9am Sunday morning?!? Should prove entertaining at least!

Friday, July 20, 2007
Written on a plane

Oh the excitement of travel! For me, it starts out with the unlikely aspect of a complete lack of appetite. My stomach so perfectly expresses what my mind cannot fathom: the anxiety that comes from anticipation of the unknown. Andy makes me breakfast but I can barely eat. Coffee, on the other hand, I can drink forever...(with soy milk to avoid the phlegm-production that lactose-laden products like milk create - it's a singer thing). I wonder how easy it is to get soy milk for coffee in the U.K.?

The day is spent in packing and crossing off items on lists. I also spend extra time with the cats, knowing that they already sense something is going on; routines are not being observed!

The ultimate shock comes when Andy and I both realize that we're ready early. EARLY! He's gotten permission to miss "light check" at Mamma Mia! in order to take me to the airport himself before heading to Broadway. I'm eternally grateful for the extra time together.

We go to a local diner for a late lunch before heading off to Newark. (Most of the chorus is leaving the next morning from Logan Airport.) I confess that, even though we're going to see each other in a couple of days, we take our goodbyes seriously - either that or he humors me!

Getting through security was a breeze. Hallelujah. I can't imagine what the orchestra must go through with their instruments. It's been ages since anyone's even asked me to explain the strange round metal object I carry in my purse (pitchpipe). Sigh. I remember joking about its doubling as a pizza cutter in the old days; we don't joke about anything at airports anymore.

I wait for my flight to board - it feels like an eternity, so I fill the time with studying my music. Because I live in NJ, I was allowed to miss the brush-up rehearsal Wednesday night. Still, I don't want to let down our chorus master, John Finney, nor embarrass myself at the Sunday morning rehearsal in London. I mouth the German text in rhythm to re-familiarize myself with the piece, wrapping my mouth around the complex consonants as silently as I can so as not to disturb the man reading next to me. His book is about arrows and archery!

Finally! I'm on the plane and we're taking off. New York at night is a glorious sight and my view is particularly spectacular and meaningful. The air is crystal clear so I can easily see the distinctive lights of the Chrysler and Empire State buildings. Even Times Square is easily distinguished from my window seat. How amazing to think that my husband might see the lights of my plane were he to be outside right now...

Soon I arrange my neck pillow and attempt sleep. It's important to get on London time as soon as possible to get my voice in its best shape for Sunday's rehearsal. I'm drinking lots of water on the plane as dryness is a singer's nemesis. It's inevitable on long flights, but we do what we can to stave it off or minimize it at least. Alas, alcohol dries the throat even more, so - for me - my first Guinness will come after the concert Monday night!

But first things first - reset the watch for England time and drift off... When I wake, it will be in another country!

Monday, July 23, 2007
Back from Dress!

Just back from the dress rehearsal in the hall. And what a hall it is!!! Royal Albert Hall is the quintessential old world European concert hall - red velvet trim, box seats, columns, and archways all around. A dream to sing in! Today we could all hear each other clearly and the acoustic was very friendly to the singers in particular. The BBC had cameras everywhere in preparation for filming the concert tonight. Their staff was incredibly friendly and treated us with respect and humor.

I think this is the best hall I've ever sung in - it seats an incredible 5000, yet feels more intimate by far than Symphony Hall in Boston. In fact, the feel is more like Jordan Hall. Apparently, there will be people standing as well as sitting for the concert tonight, as the cheap seats are actually standing room! The BBC rep told us that the standing room areas are actually the best places to experience the concert acoustically, too.

So now, we're on break until the bus leaves the hotel at 5.30 this evening. Time to find some food and then relax before the concert!

Monday, July 23, 2007
A superb rehearsal

Well, no entry yesterday as the hotel ran out of internet access cards! We had a superb rehearsal at the Royal College of Music just behind the Royal Albert Hall. Acoustically things were a bit difficult - it felt muddy and we had trouble hearing. Still, everyone - orchestra and chorus - was on their game. Sir Roger seemed in a good mood indeed.

The soloists are incredible. Sally Matthews (Hanne) has a remarkably dark, sometimes dusky timbre to her voice. Yet it can soar and move with a sparkling agility when the music calls for it. Tenor James Gilchrist (Lukas) is a gift to the world of oratorio. (I hope that Handel and Haydn audiences remember his brilliant performance in the St. Matthew Passion a couple of years ago.) I am in awe of his ease with all aspects of the music and with his complete lack of pretension in everything that he does. His intelligence comes out through his musicality and the result brings the listener in - from intimately nuanced pianissimo to dramatic forte. And his wonderful rapport with Ms. Matthews makes their duets a charming treat. The bass, Jonathan Lemalu, has a deep, rich timbre that is perfect for the role of Simon.

After rehearsal, we had the rest of the day to play! Many did the sights; I went to Sadlers Wells with 3 other choristers to see Matthew Bourne's "The Car Man" a ballet based on Carmen set in an auto body shop! It was marvelous. Post-play, we walked through all sorts of London districts, vaguely setting our sights on heading back to the hotel. We walked through the theatre district and many fancy shops, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, Picadilly Circus, Knightsbridge, and eventually back to Kensington. Had to be at least 6-8 miles. It was exhausting and wonderful. The weather all day was perfect - sunny and clear. A tourist's dream!

Back at the hotel with my "take-away" from a little hole in the wall called Luscious Organic, I couldn't wait to shake off my shoes and watch some TV before going to sleep.


Lindsay Lohan, Mugshot

Posted by Geoff Edgers July 24, 2007 02:58 PM


Exhibitionist Gallery, Nurit Wilde

Posted by Geoff Edgers July 24, 2007 07:33 AM

The other day I was considering purchasing a Michael Nesmith t-shirt when I googled upon Nurit Wilde, the woman with whom the former Monkee had a child. Turns out Nurit liked to take photos and, in my humble opinion, she snapped some pretty intriguing pictures. (She also played a photographer in a Monkees episode.) So I wrote to Nurit with a few questions. Here's her response, and some images. You can also click over to her website to buy prints.

Hi Geoff,
I was born in Israel and left for Czechoslovakia in 1950 when I was five years old. I eventually moved to Canada where I went to school and graduated from college after which I came to Los Angeles where I now live. I worked at the Whisky and The Troubadour as a light and sound person and got to meet and know many of the up and coming performers and actors of the late 1960s. I actually started snapping photos with a Yashica that my friend Larry Hankin (The Committee) left with me for safe keeping. I just started photographing everything and everybody with a 50mm lens and no light meter. Eventually I got some feel for how a camera worked and I would just take photos when we were hanging out or when I was working at the clubs. I went on to use a Pentax, a Nikon and settled on the Olympus OM1. I never studied photography and just winged it so I don't think I ever lived up to my potential and never took it
seriously enough, alas.

I only have a point and shoot digital but I am seriously thinking of getting an SLR. I still use my Olympuses and a Holga just for fun. I mostly take photos of animals and friends and my son Jason Nesmith, who is a musician.

I would say that Neil Young and The Monkees are my popular photos. I hope this does it.

Neil Young, 1966

Tim Hardin, 1967

Penny Marshall, 1974

Jackson Browne, 1966

Nurit Wilde, today

ICA, Macomber, Lawsuit

Posted by Geoff Edgers July 24, 2007 06:39 AM

Tom Palmer has an update on the Museum of Fine Arts purchase of a nearby property.

Here's my story on Macomber's lawsuit, which alleges that the Institute of Contemporary Art owes the now defunct construction company $6.6 million.


MFA Buys Building

Posted by Geoff Edgers July 23, 2007 02:48 PM

News out of the MFA...

"The Museum of Fine Arts said today it has agreed to buy the nearby Forsyth Institute property in the Fenway as part of its expansion plans.

No financial details of the transaction, which involves a building with 107,000 square feet of space on 1.6 acres of land, were disclosed in a statement issued by the two parties."


Levine Cancels, Verbier

Posted by Geoff Edgers July 23, 2007 02:23 PM

The maestro is fine, the Boston Symphony Orchestra says. But he's not going to Verbier on doctor's orders.


Theater In Hooterville, And Other Reads

Posted by Geoff Edgers July 18, 2007 05:56 PM

Terry Teachout, a smart writer whether in print or out in the tubes, comments on the state of arts criticism. Thanks for bringing us back to Hooterville.

Nick Nolte tries to outdo his mugshot. Predicably, TMZ was there.

You've perhaps seen the Met at the movies. Now, you can get the DVD.

I just got my tickets for the Meat Puppets gig at the Middle East in September. To understand just how unlikely it once seemed that Cris and Curt would take the stage together, read this depressing and stunning article from 1998 by David Holthouse.


Alan Gilbert, Dudamel

Posted by Geoff Edgers July 18, 2007 07:02 AM

Alan Gilbert (below) has been named to succeed Lorin Maazel at the New York Philharmonic. Considered part of the Philharmonic family - his mother is a violinist in the orchestra, as was his father, who retired six years ago - Gilbert was, as Daniel Wakin describes it, a frontrunner for the job for some time. At 40, Gilbert is quite a generational change from Maazel, 77. Which brings me to another young conductor, Gustavo Dudamel.

If you remember, Dudamel, 26, has been hired to take over at the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The orchestra isn't wasting time. This morning, when I scanned through the new release section of my iTunes, I noticed a DGG release of a Bartok concert conducted by the Venezuelan music director, and for just $5.99.


Sly Stone, Back On Stage

Posted by Geoff Edgers July 17, 2007 04:35 PM

This Sly Stone situation has me baffled. Does he indeed have a couple hundred songs ready to record, or are we witnessing something that falls somewhere between Brian Wilson and Syd Barrett?

No idea, but this video, from a recent Sly appearance, does seem to show that he can still bring it.

James Levine, Live And On CD

Posted by Geoff Edgers July 16, 2007 10:12 PM

This newspaper thing, a.k.a. "my job," still seems to puts some considerable demands on my time, so I've been slow to blog on the first few nights of Tanglewood.

The New York Times has Jimmy's Mahler concert covered.

Jeremy Eichler takes in British conductor Mark Elder.

And this story, the latest from the classical-music-is-not-dead files, tells us how we can buy the discs with Levine doing Elliott Carter, John Cage, Milton Babbitt and Gunther Schuller.


Boston Ballet, $35,789,273

Posted by Geoff Edgers July 16, 2007 01:47 PM

News from Boston Ballet:

The company, via a release, announces "the conclusion of a comprehensive, three-year fundraising campaign that the organization launched in October of 2004. With a total of $35,789,273 in gifts and pledges received by June 30, 2007, the effort will exceed its original goal of $32.5 million.

The Campaign for Boston Ballet reflected multiple aspects of our institutional mission, as well as the need to reduce the Company’s traditional dependence on revenue earned from ticket sales and tuition.

"We set out to advance our overall fundraising capability and future planning while advancing our progress in four key areas-artistic excellence, educational initiatives, financial stability and endowment," recalled Executive Director Valerie Wilder, "We are very pleased to have reached and exceeded our goal."

The cornerstone gift of the campaign, a $3.5 million endowment bequest from the estate of Dr. Beatrice H. Barrett, stands as the largest single contribution ever received by the Company. The campaign generated four additional commitments of $1 million or more, including a challenge gift from Trustee Lizbeth Krupp and her husband, George, that will establish an endowment for the production of contemporary ballet repertoire. The solicitation of matching gifts for this endowed fund will continue beyond the official close of the campaign."


Wilco Pics, Shelburne Museum

Posted by Geoff Edgers July 16, 2007 10:47 AM

It seems like ages ago, but I spent my first vacation day in Vermont at a Wilco show. Rick Levinson, the house photographer for Higher Ground, the production company that put on the show, was nice enough to send along a bunch of his shots from the concert. For a blogger's review, click here.









Anna Schuleit, The Yurt

Posted by Geoff Edgers July 15, 2007 06:35 AM

Here's today's piece on Anna Schuleit, a "genius grant" winner commissioned by the Institute of Contemporary Art to create a project on a Boston Harbor Island. She did, on Lovells, though, as you'll read, she would prefer you call it a "work in progress".

A narrated slideshow...


The Howard Zinn Re-Enactment, Today

Posted by Geoff Edgers July 14, 2007 11:17 AM

Here are the details of what Mark Tribe, assistant professor of modern culture and media at Brown, will do today, at 5 p.m., on the Common:

"Exploring the parallels between the current war in Iraq and the Vietnam War, artist and curator Mark Tribe will stage re-enactments of Vietnam-era protest speeches this July on the sites where they were originally delivered. The re-enactments will take place in Boston on July 14 and in Washington, D.C., on July 26, 2007.

The events are part of Tribe’s Port Huron Project, a series of re-enactments of protest speeches from the New Left movements of the 1960s and ’70s. Each performance in the project is staged at the site of the original speech and is delivered by an actor to an audience of invited guests and passers-by. To reach a wide audience, videos of these events are also distributed on DVD and posted online at YouTube and other sites. The project is named after the Port Huron Statement, the visionary manifesto of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), a radical student group formed in 1962. The first event in the series, Port Huron Project 1: Until the Last Gun Is Silent, took place Sept. 16, 2006, and was based on a speech given by Coretta Scott King at a peace march in Central Park in 1968.

At the re-enactment Saturday, July 14, 2007, at 5 p.m. on Boston Common, an actor cast by Tribe will deliver a speech originally given by author and activist Howard Zinn at a peace rally in May 1971. In the speech, Zinn argued for the necessity of civil disobedience to protest the war in Vietnam and called on Congress to impeach the president and vice president of the United States for the “high crime” of waging war on the people of Southeast Asia. The erformance, titled Port Huron Project 2: The Problem is Civil Obedience, will take place at the northwest corner of Boston
Common, near the intersection of Charles and Beacon streets, the exact site of Zinn’s original speech."


Ken Johnson, Not Agreeing With

Posted by Geoff Edgers July 13, 2007 05:41 PM

Now this is a long one. But I figure if you get bored, you're perfectly free to click over to Tyra and the dolphins. Independent curator James Hull did not appreciate Globe critic Ken Johnson's take on the Büchel situation.

"The first sentence clearly establishes the biases of the “critic” and irresponsibly places blame singularly on a valuable regional art center that has won accolades for almost everything it has done artistically and economically since it opened–until now.

Johnson concludes, as if he is in some way a good judge of the complicated legal and budgetary issues that have not even been made public, that the Museum’s response is “sad, dumb and shameful.” What is shameful is that Mr. Johnson did not consider that there may be two sides to this story.

Just to put my take in perspective, I have been working with artists to create installations of all kinds on a limited budget for over 15 years. I am an artist who fund raises for myself and other artists and volunteers my time at a non-profit gallery to install work for public exhibition. I have written reviews of exhibitions that have been published in Art Papers, ArtsMedia and Big Red and Shiny. I have also worked with artists as an installer at the List Visual art Center at MIT, ICA Boston, the Thread Waxing space, the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, The High Museum of Art and Barbara Krakow Gallery. Additionally I have had to work with installers at the Huntsville Museum of Art to have one of my own installations installed to my specifications for the Triennial “Red Clay Survey” several years ago.

This is just to say that I looked at view this in a the situation in a much more open minded way than Mr. Johnson. Which is not much of a challenge, considering that he spent the entire article vilifying an institution whose side of the story he barely even mentions except to quickly list that the artist had already used up a budget of $300,000 after agreeing to do the installation for $160,000. He gives the museum’s past record short shrift in the second paragraph saying “ Mass MoCA is known for sponsoring artists with ambitious, big ideas.” This actually is just a disguised compliment that Johnson pays to the artist implying he was another artist with a big idea. When the museum tried to remind visitors of the successes it had always had in the past Johnson again attacks them saying, “Mass MoCA has compounded its misdoings by mounting a slick, disingenuous, egregiously self-serving photo and text display called “made at Mass MoCA” ... “The implicit message is that Büchel must be a real jerk to have been so uncooperative.” Show me a single museum that does not brag and archive its past exhibitions. The message is only implicit and egregious because this critic does not want anyone to get both sides of the argument.

To call the installation “slick”–which I think is an underhanded compliment about how well installed the temporary, unplanned “Made at Mass MoCA” installation must have looked–showing the unmentioned skills that the institution can muster in a crunch were not good enough to satisfy the artist (or were they?).

I am not faulting the artist yet, just because I agree with some of the Bloggers and writers that gave more consideration than Mr. Johnson to the obvious similarities of this legal battle to the artist’s stated practice. The text for a recent exhibition Hauser & Wirth Coppermill in London's East End states:

“Büchel often appropriates mass media sources such as the Internet, printed political pamphlets and everyday household objects. His work is informed by an explicit political awareness, often telling of new forms of propaganda...” perhaps referring to Mr. Johnson’s article!

It goes on to say, "'Capital Affair' (also 2002), another collaboration with Motti, promised the entire exhibition budget to the gallery visitor who could find a cheque hidden within the exhibition space of the Helmhaus in Zurich. Büchel repeatedly manipulates and exploits the perceived power of the social and legal contract, subverting the relationship between artist and audience while insisting on a more active political role for both.”

It is not unreasonable, given his past history, to think Buchel may include his legal contract and exhibition budget as fodder to be used in his artistic practice and his installation. After all there is no such thing as bad press–at least for an artist–unfortunately that may not ring true for an institution that has to raise money from almost any source available in order to survive.

This possibility was obvious to others as well, just not to Mr. Johnson, as a posting on the Blog ANABA by Evan demonstrates...

“ Regarding the Büchel kerfuffle: I've been following it for awhile now, and I've come to the conclusion that perhaps his intent all along was to have a "non-show show" at Mass MoCA. It seems like something he would do--create a lot of hype, pull a supposed "freakout" at the last minute, force the folks at Mass MoCA to cleverly conceal everything, post some newspaper clippings about the whole thing and voila, you have a VERY tongue-in-cheek and subversive show. In any event, it's pretty clear to me that Büchel did indeed manipulate the powers-that-be in the press and Mass MoCA to get something out of it, even if it was just some more exposure.”

Yet another posting says:

Man, I pretty much ALWAYS side with the artist, and hate curators claiming artistic license... but I have to hand it to Joe Thompson and Mass Moca for one-upping Büchel at his own "subverting the relationship" game.”

One reason to consider why this explanation was ignored by Mr. Johnson comes from Johnson’s own writings on the artist from a few years earlier at the Swiss Institute, New York (which he quotes in his Boston Globe rant) where he describes the exhibition space as “a grungy, fully furnished apartment with a meandering cinderblock wall running through it. There is a visceral absurdity about the wall, and it is sad how it divides and isolates two people who, we may imagine, might otherwise productively commune and collaborate.”

Could the “two people” of Johnson’s Swiss Institute review be replaced by the Museum vs. Büchel for the same effect? Might the artist want the burlap and tarps of the “Closed” Mass MoCA exhibit to function like the cinder block wall?

Many reasonable questions such as these were omitted by Johnson throughout the incendiary article and replaced by argumentative suppositions like “What may seem to museum workers a perfect solution may not necessarily be acceptable to an artist who has an extremely exacting vision” while the museum implicitly has no vision, not to mention that the installers, many of whom are artists, get slighted by Johnson as well in this slur. I guess the MoCA installers and even his imported, salaried swiss assistants were incapable of making things look “grungy” in just the right way.

The funny thing is (and it was so one sided as to be mildly entertaining!) that after describing a ...“ a grungy, fully furnished apartment with a meandering cinderblock wall running through it” and a “labyrinthine space” ... “animated by mysteries the visitor could only guess at” Mr. Johnnon anoints it “a miracle of industry and imagination” because the trash and old beer can strewn coffee table, old rugs and the cinderblock wall were “exacting” I guess. Johnson could instantly see “ that the artist worried over every object in it the way a literary novelist worries over every word and every sentence.”

Yet Mr. Johnson fails to accept The Mass MoCA installations burlap and tarp covered space, saying visitors will be “mystified by what he or she encounters”. Continuing this sudden change of heart Johnson’s description continues “as you follow a path through the unfinished installation, you can see through the openings below the tarps parts of cars, trucks, trailers ....the second story of a white clapboard house...a guard tower and an almost completely reconstructed interior of an old movie theater.”

He then concludes–in telling contrast to his “miracle of industry and imagination” response to the Swiss Institute installation of a single “grungy” apartment, that “it is altogether a gloomy, frustrating and not at all illuminating experience.” Can we really be expected to believe Mr. Johnson had a completely opposite response to two similarly rambling, Alice in Wonderland installations by the same artist?

Another ANABA blog entry says:

“My impression, and I saw "the show", is that Büchel was overwhelmed by the huge space - unable to finish on-time and within budget - while trying to maintain his demanding character at the same time - and just couldn't deal.... so he abandoned it until safely back home in Switzerland, where he perhaps began to embrace the new nature of the piece.

Really, this works out better for him, because even with ALL of the stuff they put in there (a movie theater, mobile homes, many vehicles and cinderblock walls and shipping containers, a HOUSE) it still looks all spread-out and very much like you are in a single gigantic room, not the disorienting gosh-am-i-still-at-an-art-show? effect that he is able to get in a more manageable space. The museum putting up a maze of tarps and opening the space without permission is doing him a favor... more notoriety for him, and it will actually look better.

I hope that the closeness of Mr. Johnson to this artist, his belief that institutions should not ever question the desires of an artist that they collaborate with (does he accept that term?) and spend whatever money the artist demands are held in check in future opinion pieces that the Globe chooses to publish.

Maybe Mr. Johnson should reread the “List Of Demands” printed in the Globe and see if he has indeed been had.

It makes you think doesn’t it?

Just one final note: Try to remember that, even though your years as a mighty art critic for the New York Times may have convinced you that there is only one interpretation that really counts– YOURS –art is almost by definition a subjective experience. Please try to look at things from more than one perspective in the future, you will serve your Boston Globe readers far better if you do.

Thank you,
James Hull"


Vita (Extremely) Brevis

Posted by Geoff Edgers July 13, 2007 09:59 AM

Back when she was hired as the Institute of Contemporary Art's new director, Jill Medvedow promised the "Vita Brevis," the public art program she had founded, would continue.

Well... we've recently learned that the ICA will no longer do "Vita Brevis". But fear not, the ICA's Deputy Director Paul Bessire says. Public art remains a mission at the ICA. It's just that the Latin term is getting the heave ho.

Bessire notes that the program's name "has resulted in some confusion by the public, including the assumption that the program is endowed by an individual named Vita Brevis, or that the ICA is housing a separately operating public art organization by the name of Vita Brevis.

The last public project to be noted as a Vita Brevis project was Julian Opie's Suzanne walking and Julian walking located on the Northern Avenue Bridge 2005-06.

And no, this has no impact on the ICA's budget for public art. We continue to be committed to the presentation of public art in Boston."


Thursday Reads

Posted by Geoff Edgers July 12, 2007 10:41 AM

CultureGrrl is on top of the Rutelli negotiations, as the Italian culture minister talks about his meeting with collector Shelby White.

The North Carolina Symphony, home of Handel and Haydn's Grant Llewellyn, looks to make a dramatic expansion.

It's bad enough the dude had to play Ringo in Beatlemania. Now, Michael Bellusci's got to deal with a bad right ear. He's not alone, crazy boomers.

I've always had doubts about Whole Foods. Maybe it's the fact that whenever I go in there, whether I'm buying enough food for a week of family consumption or just a papaya, I always end up with a $736 bill. Now a little dirt on the company's CEO.


Mobius, New Home

Posted by Geoff Edgers July 9, 2007 04:54 PM

Mobius, a wandering collective since 2003, has signed a lease to open a gallery and performance space in the South End. The new home, at 725 Harrison Avenue, is going to need some work, and Mobius is looking to raise around $20,000 to add a bathroom, do window treatments, and get the place open for a September opening. (That's not firm, but likely.)

I asked Director Nancy Adams why Mobius didn't just move out of town, a la Jerry Beck and the Revolving Museum. Here's what she e-said:

"Jerry is his own man. We're a long-established group of collaborators - 15 to 20 of us depending on the year. Most live in or close to Boston. We can't just move. No one would attend meetings. The organization and space would fail. The organization has remained relatively stable because it flies close to the ground and has this complicated group of artists and a board of directors at its core that gives it balast, more than that, life.

And we're simply Boston people. We looked in Somerville, Cambridge, we've looked out of town too, but we keep coming back to Boston."


Pops On The Edge = Low Attendance

Posted by Geoff Edgers July 9, 2007 03:12 PM

An interesting endnote on the Boston Pops season, and particular the "Pops on the Edge" program.

I noticed quite a few empty seats at the first Cowboy Junkies concert, on a Saturday night, and that's for a show I was led to believe was selling better than the Sunday night performance. So I asked for the numbers.

It isn't pretty. The Pops filled 65.4 percent of the Symphony Hall seats for the Cowboy Junkies shows, and just 50.1 percent for the Hem gigs. For perspective, keep in mind that the overall season attendance - without "Edgefest" - was 90.2 percent.

One more thing. "Edgefest," which seemed so commercially viable when Guster and My Morning Jacket were in the house, has now layed three consecutive eggs, ticket-sales wise, dating back to last year's Aimee Mann shows.


Back, And Overwhelmed

Posted by Geoff Edgers July 9, 2007 07:16 AM

I woke up at 4:30 a.m. needing to get out the door. I've been off for six work days. Is that a crime? For somebody unaccustomed to vacation, it feels like I have committed some sort of gruesome act against the working man. Okay, deep breath. As of 7:19, the e-mails are checked. I'm ready to get cracking on a story due later today. We'll see about a fuller report on the break later... for now, a few items of interest.

Consumed during vacation, partial list:
- Wilco (at Shelburne Museum, in Vermont)
- "Lost," first season
- "Dharma Bums"
- Glenn Gould, "Goldberg Varations," Zenph re-performance
- Red Sox games, on shortwave
- Montreal Jazz Festival
- Story Land
- "Cloud Nine"


A Conversation With Reinhart Poole

Posted by Geoff Edgers July 6, 2007 09:14 AM

From Rinde Eckert:

The following is the record of a conversation with Reinhart Poole, a character of my creation who has become something of an alter-ego. Poole is the main character in ‘Horizon’ a new musical play of mine. Poole is a Christian minister. This colors his views.

Poole: You’ve been pondering the role of theater in society – the use of it?

Eckert: Purely as a correlate of my search, not as a focus.

Poole: Meaning

Eckert: I lack the scholar’s or the intellectual’s enthusiasms and command of history, so my speculations on the morphology of social norms or the genealogy of idea (the various weddings and assignations and their various heirs and bastards) must be pretentious.

Poole: Let me consider the state of theater then.

Eckert: By all means. The stage is yours.

Poole: My concern, of course, is a loss of faith in the poetic that steered theater into the rich but perilous narrows of psychological realism, presumably in response to the phenomenal success of the novel and its eloquent structuring of the inchoate psyche in hours and hours of sentences and paragraphs. One can build impressive castles in that many pages. Alas, the theater, being the ‘poor player’ ‘struts its hour on the stage and is heard no more.’ Yet, through cunning and genius the theater made itself novel-like in the scope of its psychological depth and realism, its artfully detailed drawing rooms, kitchens, and gardens. Then, of course, movies entered the contest, essentially becoming graphic novels, thus further complicating the identity crisis of theater. The movie combines the detail of the novel, and its ability to change the scenery at a stroke, with pictures, music, and voices. Am I warm?

Eckert: Do you mean to imply that the temptation of playwrights will be to write screenplays masquerading as plays, that the poetic content of theater, its poetic strengths are no longer quite trusted, that main stream theater is essentially a movie manqué?

Poole: That, or the alternative form of resignation: spectacle

Eckert: Spectacle is a form of resignation?

Poole: Spectacle as spectacle (not, for instance as the necessary extension of a poetic idea but as a fascination with grandeur) is like a little girl dressed up in her mom’s clothing shouting “Look at me!” Mom, of course, is watching TV, so she may need to be shocked to attention.

Eckert: What are you driving at?

Poole: If we fail to understand the poetic poser of theatrical art, its genius for transfiguration of the ‘chemistry’ of the sanctuary, if we lose faith in the intrinsic religious mystery of this gathering, if we fail to be thoroughly present and aware of the poetic power of the questions: Who are we and why are we here, we become second class story tellers holding the coat-tails of the contemporary giants of linear story-telling: the novel and its inspired child, the movie (not to mention that cunning little bastard TV and its brilliant cousin the computer)

Eckert: What is all this? What do you propose? You want to throw out unity of time and place? You want to throw out ‘Death of a Salesman’ because it’s too literal, too real, a movie manqué, as you put it?

Poole: No. No pogroms. Just an avowal of faith and a frank acknowledgement of the temptations we face, the giants we have to slay to get to the gold at the heart of the cave.

Eckert: You want to turn theater into religion?

Poole: No. But theater, in my terms, is an offering. It is, or ought to be, attempting to transform the chemistry of the sanctuary, the room.

Eckert: Isn’t that what theaters are doing now, minus the religious rhetoric.

Poole: Perhaps a few. The rest seem a little unclear about the project. Many of them behave as if a play or more precisely a theatrical offering is a theaters way of making a bigger theater. Look, the value of religious thinking is that it pays attention to the source, it acknowledges a power at the heart of the church that isn’t actually contained or defined by that church. It says “when two or more are gathered in the name of what is Holy (or Whole) the place becomes a place of worship. You see, one needn’t tear down the theater, one has only to reaffirm one’s commitment to the original God. One need only change one’s definition. One has only to say “we are trying to find ourselves in this room, here, now. We are altering the molecular structure of the room. The comedy is deep here. The tragedy is deep here. The chemistry is volatile. We are attempting to illuminate the darkness, we are saving ourselves from darkness.

Eckert: Sounds as pretentious as one could get.

Poole: Yes, it is. It’s tragically, artfully , dangerously, comically pretentious. Exactly what it should be. We are reinvigorating the strangeness of a world that has been drugged by conventional anodynes, little narratives of no metaphoric sweep, no real danger, and no prophetic power.

Eckert: I’m uncomfortable with these terms.

Poole: You prefer cooler terms, safer terms? Theater as extension of politics? Theater as yet another entertainment in a world of entertainments? Theater as political narrative in a crowded field of narratives (movies, novels, sitcoms, miniseries)? Theater as propaganda?

Eckert: Isn’t theater useful in those terms?

Poole: Look, the difficulty with a theater that pretends to resemble the world, that sees itself as having a specific didactic function through the ‘confession” or “the little slice of life” or the “subtle morality play” is its apparent resignation to the status of subordinate to the larger theater it is bound to serve. Confessional, social, and political theater, prides itself on its lack of pretension, saying, in effect, ”this room is just the antechamber to the real theater which is out there in the world expressing itself as politics. The”real theater”, apparently is the unfolding story of justice and power. The best theater can hope for, according to this scenario is to do its job well as little life lesson or documentary or propaganda.

Eckert: Isn’t confessional work essentially poetic.

Poole: It can be, of course, but I have a natural suspicion of confessional work. I resent, finally, being seduced by the easy victory of its sentimental powers over my little wilderness of ironies, creating the same exact pathos every time. I’m similarly annoyed by an axiomatic iconoclasm that seeks to subvert the power of sentiment by blunt refusals, offering us a kind of ‘cool’ that supposes itself beyond the reach of temptation, well defended from the sentimental forces, and therefore oblivious to the presence of those same forces tunneling under while their dummy siege engines are drawing fire from the fortress wall. The presumed impregnability of the ‘cool’ leaves them oddly and pathetically vulnerable. No, “cool” never had much of a future. Its victorious pose is not ultimately convincing. The work is still in the field, disguised, hiding in the mud, or sitting around the campfire as one of them, memorizing the plan of attack, fathering rebellious children, subtly introducing doubt about the omniscience of their little golden gods, learning their habits, inexplicably stealing things of little value and replacing them with common utensils or fortune cookies with profound predictions.

Eckert: We seem far away from the church here.

Poole: I’m a scattershot allegorist.

Eckert: You prefer that to, say, historical analysis?

Poole: The parable, to simplify this, has an advantage over historical analysis because it admits that is can’t be true and therefore has some truth to it, whereas inspired analysis, seduced by its command of the facts, begins to think itself true, therefore it has no truth at all.

Eckert: We are back to a kind of mystery then?

Poole: Right back in church.


Postcard From L.A.

Posted by Geoff Edgers July 5, 2007 01:55 PM

Today, we've got Jeremy Rosenberg, a Los Angeles-based writer and editor. He is the consulting Project Manager for Farmlab, and was the consulting Public Information Officer for Not A Cornfield.

Hey Boston,

It's been a while…

Exhibitionist, thanks for the cybersquat.

Can someone out there please tell me if that cheap pizzeria is still located at the Fenway end of Boylston Street? You know, that joint that used to, at least, serve single slices the size of a tennis racquet's head? And didn't they keep the condiments chained to the counter?

I'd look the place up myself on Google Earth, but I'd probably get distracted checking for crop yields in the Victory Gardens.

Or looking for otters swimming in the Muddy River.

I mean, those were otters, right? Rats can't grow that large.

Speaking of wild things, out here on the best coast, twenty months or so ago I was at cultural forum when I heard one of the Wertheim sisters – was it Margaret or Christine? – point out that Los Angeles was full of "feral institutions."

If I understood correctly, then the point of the 'feral' comment was that Los Angeles is a new city that developed culturally outside the controlling traditions and structures of the Academy; this allows for all sorts of idiosyncratic, visionary, and hybrid organizations to form and thrive. In short, not everyone is Symphony Hall.

The nomadic Institute For Figuring, co-directed by the sibling Wertheims, is one such example of untamed L.A.-based culture. The most famous local example, and justifiably so, is David and Diana Wilson's storefront Museum of Jurassic Technology, over on Venice Boulevard, in Culver City features bats that fly through walls, Athanasius Kircher hagiography, and a complimentary Russian Team Room. Just like the Met, right?

Next door to the Jurassic is the Center for Land Use Interpretation, or, as it's pronounced in the abbreviate, "clooey." The small crew who work there are like the Indiana Joneses of geography. CLUI's guidebooks make for ideal touring of desertscapes that somehow turn out to brim with mothballed and active military installations, mining operations, and centers for new age spirituality.

My friend Steve Rowell works with CLUI. He and I are both consultants for Farmlab, and previously, to the Not A Cornfield project, which this blog was kind enough to once mention.

Now, please don't just take my word for all the following, since, again, I'm on the company payroll, but Farmlab is likewise considered a feral joint. We're part art production studio, part think tank, part free-of-charge salon, music, film, and dance venue. We've built a 32-acre full-service park, salvaged trees from the doomed South Central Farm, and with roller derby players and musicians in tow, delivered planters to skid row, to name a few early projects.

Farmlab is a fully funded initiative of the Annenberg Foundation, part of the avant-garde re-imagining of project- or place-based philanthropy. (Also big out west: venture philanthropy). The Farmlab and NAC founder, creative director, visionary -- and my boss -- is Lauren Bon. She's also a trustee of the Foundation whose grants help support many of the area's feral hatchlings.

Many of my fellow Farmlab consultants are part of other local feral operations. Paolo Davanzo, Ken Fountain, and Lisa Marr – yes, that famous indie-rockin' Lisa Marr – are among the folks behind the Echo Park Film Center, a neighborhood microcinema and community-based youth-and-seniors educational facility. Rochelle Fabb, formerly of your burghMobius , just finished a Farmlab gig. She came out west to work with the Rachel Rosenthal Company. Farmlabbers Jaime Lopez Wolters and Sarah McCabe are burners , participants in that annual West Coast fleeting oasis, Black Rock City.. Irene Tsatsos ran Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions. Sean Dockray who helped out for a while during NAC, is with Telic. Janet Owen Driggs co-founded Raid Projects. Gerardo Vaquero Rosas was a South Central Farmer. George Herms is a feral institution all to his leonine self. Adolfo V. Nodal [again, like Bon, my boss] a city insider and President of the Cultural Affairs Commission, has multiple feral side projects, including helping create La Casa del Tunel: Art Center, a cross-border cultural institution based in Tijuana, Mexico. Nodal's wife, Tammy Singer, is part of Los Animistas, a trio of artists and scientists who work out of Cuba and show in L.A. and TJ.

Back when I used to write The Secret City column for the calendar section of, I'd have to go seeking out these sorts of burgeoning orgs – from the eerily happy creator of the Banana Museum to the intrepid builder, and re-builder, of the Velaslavasay Panorama.

These days, I sit at Farmlab and feral folks come to us. Paid salon presenters at the spot have included many more local feral-ites – Jenna Didier and Oliver Hess from Materials & Applications; David Burns, Matias Viegener and Austin Young from Fallen Fruit, Mark Allen from Machine Project; Fritz Haeg of GardenLab.

The Los Angeles Urban Rangers stop by, as do representatives from Outpost for Contemporary Art, Dublab, Puppets (After Dark), and FoLAR – Lewis MacAdams' projected forty-year effort to restore the concrete straight-jacketed Los Angeles River, now gaining tangible traction.

Okay, Exhibitionist. What more do you want to know? I'll start winding down now, but first, how about some local feral publications? There's Feral House, which with a name like that, might as well lead the list. L.A. might have lost Judith Regan, but we still have Taschen America. Local staffers include Jim Heinman and my pal, Nina Wiener. The company offices are on Sunset Boulevard, in the "Crossroads of the World" building, which by the w ay, looks like a boat, a la the Coca-Cola bottling plant on Central Avenue, and that old Dust Brothers recording studio on Hyperion Avenue. In the rag world, Coagula Art Journal, maverick Mat Gleason's tabloid, is officed in a former brewery. And – for consenting adults only, please – the erotic drawings of Tom of Finland are showcased, by an eponymous foundation, in a stately Craftsman house on the eastside of town.

So, in the end, what tames feral? Is it time? Money? Family obligations? Peer or political pressure?

Elsewhere, maybe. But out here, who knows? After all, we've got fires, earthquakes, and – were it to ever rain again – mudslides. We've got highly paid entertainment industry executives who spend their days debating, say, what color a CGI monster ought to be.

The Getty has a tram. Cal Tech's JPL was built from the TNT-tinkering, Alstair Crowley-loving DNA of Jack Parsons. Larry Flynt and Arriana Huffington live here – though as far as I know, not together.

In the meanwhile, somebody call the Isabella Stewart Gardner. Maybe they want a Tom of Finland traveling show?

That's all I got. Exhibitionist; come home soon.

From L.A.,
Jeremy Rosenberg

The Real Art Scene Be-In

Posted by Geoff Edgers July 2, 2007 10:23 AM

From Bill Arning...

This week I will be catching up with the Boston art world crowd, hearing about the recent Venice Biennale, Documenta and Skulptur Projekte Münster openings, and debriefing them for their lists of what is most worth seeing there. (I am taking the mature tack this time, going later in the summer for more quality art-viewing time and less celebrity-filled parties.) Where do I go when I want to have quality conversations with my colleagues from the greater Boston visual-arts world? Not the first Friday art opening zoo, which is fun but really more about socializing than art talk. Instead I know I will see my colleagues, including artists, collectors, gallerists, critics and museum folks at the scores of great summer music concerts that more than anything else call together the movers and shakers of Boston culture. Because art folks love to talk about art more when the official focus is on music.

I was away and missed the already legendary Critique of Pure Reason's Jandek show at the ICA, but it seems that everyone who cares about art that was not in Venice was there, and all interpreted the night more as an art event than a music event. Working with Dan Hirsch and his Non-Event team I got to host a music night of my own at The MIT List Visual Arts Center in May with Japanese noise artist Keiji Haino doing a live film soundtrack to JO by Cameron Jamie, the Paris-based artist whose retrospective we have up through July 8th. Local globetrotting curator Marjory Jacobson was there rubbing noses with the new contemporary art theoretician at Brandeis Peter Kalb, who I had been hoping to meet. I did, but was too nervous to get his card, after Haino chastised me about wearing ear protection, saying "No Bill, that's not Rock and Roll!"

Tonight, the Polyphonic Spree are performing at the Paradise, and their shows make a lot more sense when interpreted as art. Last tour when they were doing their white robes, Christian revival show schtick, the discussion among the art folks was that their popularity signaled a post-ironic turn in culture. They had seized and recoded the pleasurable aspects of collectivism that make otherwise normal people embrace fundamentalism. This week they bring their fashionable neofascisti black-shirt look to Avalon, and my guess is that it will be read as a comment on our lives during wartime. Then Thursday's Tortoise show in the courtyard of the MFA is also sure to be full of art folks enjoying the summery outdoor post-rock grandeur of a live Tortoise show. Bring your business cards.

After a few years here one knows whom one will see at what type of concert. The recent closing night of BMOP's season featuring a debut of a truly marvelous Evan Ziporyn piece and a star-turn by DJ Spooky was packed with art collectors as well as my MIT arts colleagues, since Ziporyn has taught here for years. There is a whole other set that I only see at BSO events. I luckily have wildly diverse tastes, as does Stephen Prina, a world-renowned artist and professor at Harvard and Andrew Witkin, artist and director at Barbra Krakow Gallery. As musical wanderers we have formed a little posse that structures our art lives and music lives together. Boston might be a thought of by outsiders as a Baseball and Seafood city, but in truth the cultural life here all intersects only in the concert hall and/or mosh pit.

Stephen Prina and Andrew Witkin with Arning (right) before Prina's acoustic
set at the Carpenter Center, 2006

Keiji Haino with Arning after his live film soundtrack event at
MIT, May 2007

Friday Reads

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 29, 2007 08:18 AM

CultureGrrl on the antiquities trail... This is, once more, sort of a mysterious visit. But the Italian and American officials are promising some kind of upcoming arrest, and Princeton has apparently struck a deal.

How did I miss the latest episode of "Strauss and Mahler Re-Enact Your Favorite Movie Moments"?

The music director money numbers are in.

Today's Tom Sawyer, mean mean pride. [Duh duh duh duh, duh duh duh duh.]


Name Change For Symphony Organization

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 27, 2007 02:45 PM

The American Symphony Orchestra League is changing its name to the League of American Orchestras this fall.

A statement sent by the ASOL, er, LAO, reads, in part:

“After 65 years as the American Symphony Orchestra League, we have decided to invigorate our name to reflect our renewed commitment to America’s orchestras,” said League President and CEO Henry Fogel. “Through interviews with League board, staff, and membership, we discovered a universal desire for change, as well as a belief that the introduction of the implementation of the new strategic plan provides the perfect opportunity to make this change and propel us forward. Working with our branding consultants, and after considering a wide range of options, we found that the League of American Orchestras is the one that makes the most sense. Webster’s Dictionary defines ‘League’ as ‘an association of persons or groups united by common interests or goals,’ and the emphasis on that word in our refreshed name builds on the equity already established by our history, while embracing our bold new future. Quite simply, it states most emphatically who we are.”


Salaries Of Symphony Leaders

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 26, 2007 10:14 PM

If I ever do come back as a section violinist, one thing's for sure: I'm not heading to Alabama. I mean, the musician's base salary can't be much more than you would get punching pictures of Big Macs on a cash register.

The Adaptistration salary report is out, and scanning through the list is almost as fun as publishing yet another picture of a money tree. Mark Volpe, the Boston Symphony Orchestra's boss, looks downright underpaid next to some of these heavyweights.

Incidentally, Volpe also gets paid a lot less than maestro James Levine.


BSO Website, Letter About

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 26, 2007 11:56 AM

Dear Geoff Edgers,

I am not certain quite what annoyed Nico Muhly about the BSO/Pops website, but I did recently find a number of glaring and, one would think, embarrassing errors on the website of our wealthiest and most prominent local musical institution.

On June 17, I wrote the website to say that I had noticed some problems in the Recordings listings in the SHOP section of the site. When I checked just now, most of these had been corrected.

On page 2 of the Recordings, one CD was listed as containing music by "Faur"-- when it should have been Fauré--and the title was given as "Pellas et Mlisande."

The following listing on page 2 was given as Frank and Stravinsky, but the correct spelling should have been, of course, Franck.

Further down on page 2, on the Mahler listing, the soloist's name is given as "Shirley Verret", although the album cover shows the correct spelling: Verrett. This is the one error I found that was not corrected.

Lastly, on the bottom of the 3rd page of Recordings, the conductor for the Tchaikovsky 6th symphony was listed as "Pierre Monteaux", instead of Monteux. Since Monteux was the music director of the BSO itself in the early 1920s and a popular and distinguished BSO guest conductor into his eighties, the Orchestra's website should have been able to get the man's name spelled correctly.

While I suspect Nico Muhly was targeting something more on the lines of design, user friendliness, and accessibility of information, I think an organization of the calibre of the BSO should not showcase errors that suggest indifference to the musical and institutional heritage that the organization relies upon for its place in the world. I am happy to say that these mistakes were (almost all) corrected, but one would have thought that someone at the BSO would have checked beforehand what is going to be posted on the website under the Orchestra's name.

Stephen Ault, Brookline


Sarkin Photo, Explained

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 26, 2007 11:36 AM

Ernest Morin sent me a note explaining his photograph of Sarkin, entitled "Caged Artist".

"I took the Photograph of John as part of my documentation of Gloucester, a project I have been working on for the last 7 years. And because Sark is a worker like me - as an artist and as someone who also has been physically injured - and whose life is restricted by the injury - I had an industrial accident in 2000 and have been trying to recover and cope with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and Facial Neuralgia, chronic fatigue and some other complications.

My photography is useful - to distract the chronic pain - like a mini meditation when you are doing it. But they have artist tours up here and people go around and gawk at the artists in their cages - or at least that is how some refer to it."


Kerouac Scroll, Extended

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 25, 2007 11:29 AM

From the press release:


Go here for more info.


Jimmy Turns 64

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 25, 2007 06:03 AM

Okay, I'm two days late, but on Saturday James Levine turned 64. How better to celebrate than with some Wagner.

Boston Pops, Younger Audience Search, Part 3

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 24, 2007 07:25 AM

Arranger Sean O'Loughlin was in the audience, with his parents and his sister, so perhaps it was comforting that the harp - understated as it was - remained in his arrangement of "Sweet Jane." The scene for the first "Pops On The Edge" concert of 2007 was considerably lower-key - no dancing in the aisles - than at Guster, or My Morning Jacket. I'll be interested to hear about ticket sales because I spotted quite a few empty seats. A nice touch: Keith Lockhart introducing the young composers, Nico Muhly and Felix Brenner, who had their pieces performed in the first set. Muhly, by the way, was no fan of our item the other day noting his criticism of the Boston Symphony's website. On his site, Muhly posted: "Alarmingly, somebody at the Boston Globe wrote some snippy thing ... referencing this blog post and accusing me of not being properly stoked about this weekend’s Fun Thing. It’s funny, to not be excited about an orchestra piece is like not being excited about having a baby or something!" That's fine, Nico, but far more disturbing is your decision not to link to our item. Now that hurts.

The New York Times has a lengthy piece on the Edgefest movement, with a lot of focus on the Pops. Ben Folds has this to say about the 'tude he feels from orchestral players toward the pop ventures: "They view it as a wet T-shirt contest to bring in a little bit of money," he said.


Meet The Arranger

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 22, 2007 07:58 AM

Sean O'Loughlin is the guy arranging the songs of the Cowboy Junkies. He was nice enough to explain his craft using the band's "Sweet Jane" recording.


Caged Artist

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 21, 2007 05:19 PM

Pauly Shore, Wes Craven, Landslide

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 21, 2007 04:28 PM

I'm not really sure what this has to do with culture, unless you consider Bio-Dome high art. But it is pretty darn entertaining.


Andy Summers, Photo Show

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 21, 2007 02:28 PM

Andy Summers, guitarist for the Police, will join Grace Slick, Ron Wood, and Ringo as rockers who get their own art shows in Boston.

Newbury Fine Arts will host an exhibit of Andy's photographs from the band's glory days. And anyone who buys one of the pics will get to hang with the Police guitarist at a special VIP reception.

The show runs from July 21 to August 10. The Police, of course, play gigs in Fenway Park July 28 and 29.

Here are a couple images.



Eubanks To NEC, And Other News

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 20, 2007 12:41 PM

American Ballet Theatre’s 2007 Fall season has some Boston ties, as it includes world premieres by Jorma Elo, "in collaboration with Philip Glass and Chuck Close, and by Benjamin Millepied, with a commissioned score by Nico Muhly."

Who says classical pianists can't get record deals? EMI Classics has signed Ingrid Fliter, and will release an all-Chopin recording next spring.

Monet paintings are expensive.

New England Conservatory has hired three new teachers, including trombonist Robin (brother of "The Tonight Show" Orchestra's Kevin) Eubanks, pianist and vocal chamber music specialist Cameron Stowe, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s new fourth horn Jason Snider.

Robin Eubanks

Re-appearing Music Critic, Episode II

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 19, 2007 03:02 PM

Don't look now, but yet another publication that was supposedly cutting its classical music staff has made a hire. And a pretty high-profile hire, as well. Justin Davidson, who won a Pulitzer at Newsday, is going to serve as classical music and architecture critic for New York magazine.


Super Bowl Trophy, Spanakopita

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 17, 2007 10:33 PM

Somehow, this photo slipped by without my posting it. This is an image from the Irsay kitchen during my visit last week to see the Colts owner pose with the "On the Road" scroll.

That would be a Super Bowl trophy just hanging out on the kitchen counter.


Clark Art Institute, Serious Art Grab

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 15, 2007 12:01 PM

The Associated Press reports on a Clark acquisition:

"Works by Renoir, Monet, Homer and Sargent will now share space with a flood of Turners, Constables, Gainsboroughs and other pieces from the English Romantic period of the early 1800s that were owned by [Sir Edwin] Manton, a driving force behind AIG Insurance who died in 2005 at 96.

The new pieces include about 200 oil paintings, watercolors and studies valued at about $40 million. They come with a $50 million cash donation, making the gift the largest the Clark has received since it opened in 1955.

"This is a very big deal," said Franklin Kelly, senior curator of American and British art for the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. "This makes the Clark a very important center for study in British art."

Albany Times Union.
Berkshire Eagle.
Chronicle of Philanthropy.


First CD From Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 14, 2007 06:29 AM

It ain't James Levine doing his Carter thing, but the BSO does have a CD to roll out. Tomorrow, the BSO releases the first-ever commercial recording of the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra. The double disc features three pieces as performed live last summer: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 with conductor Herbert Blomstedt (August 14, 2006); Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé, Suite No. 2 with Stefan Asbury (August 6, 2006); and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10 under Bernard Haitink (July 3, 2006).

The disc goes for $12.50 at the BSO's website, and symphony stores in Boston and Tanglewood. WGBH radio will play the recording on Sunday, at 3 p.m.

Herbert Blomstedt.JPG
Blomstedt, in action.

Wednesday Reads

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 13, 2007 06:21 AM

A new museum opens in Boston.

Pierre Ruhe has something to say.

In case you missed it, the case of the lawyer and the lady at the Institute of Contemporary Art is no more.

On Damien Hirst's diamond skull.

The outrage!

A line the Hilton parents didn't have to wait through.

Pittsfield, Economic Impact of Arts

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 13, 2007 01:27 AM

Interesting numbers out of Pittsfield, the only place in Massachusetts that chose to participate in the Americans for the Arts economic impact study.

Here's a release on the study:

The headline of the study: "Over One Billion Dollars in Economic Activity Generated by Nonprofit Arts in Chicago, Greater Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Greater Washington, DC Area."

The subhead: "Comparative Regions Show a 50% Increase in Economic Activity Since Last Study Five Years Ago."

As for Pittsfield, the city shows organization expenditures of $8,730,781 and audience expenditures of $8,300,532 for a grand total of $17,031,313. That's no Philadelphia ($1.3 billion) but it's in line with such places as Lackawanna County, PA., Abilene, TX., Southeast Minnesota, Humbolt Country, CA.


Lord Dartmouth Painting, To Dartmouth

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 12, 2007 10:56 PM

Dartmouth College's Hood Museum of Art has purchased, at auction, a portrait of William Legge, the second Earl of Dartmouth (1731-1801), for whom the college is named.

From the press release:

"The three-quarter-length portrait in oil on canvas, completed in 1756, represents the sitter leaning to one side on a pedestal situated in a portico-like setting. The painting was purchased by the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, at Sotheby's London auction on 6 June 2007, with funds generously given by Jane Dance and David Dance D'40, T'41, Jonathan L. Cohen D'60, T'61, Frederick Whittemore D'53, T'54, Barbara Dau Southwell ’78 and David Southwell T'88, Raphael Bernstein DP, and an anonymous donor. was an acclaimed portrait painter in Rome who created iconic images of late-eighteenth-century British travelers. William Legge, like many aristocratic Englishmen of this era, deferred the start of his professional and political career for the opportunity to broaden himself through travel and the acquisition of foreign languages on the European Grand Tour. His correspondence indicates that during his travels through the continent from 1751 to 1754 he absorbed lessons from antiquity through the writings of classical authors on Roman history, visited sites where important events had transpired, and studied and collected sculpture and other artifacts."


Image: Purchased 2007, with gifts from Jane Dance and David Dance D'40, T'41, Jonathan L. Cohen D'60, T'61, Frederick Whittemore D'53, T'54, Barbara Dau Southwell '78 and David Southwell T'88, Raphael Bernstein DP, and an anonymous donor.

New Blog: Flyover

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 11, 2007 01:42 PM

I'm from Boston, went to school here and now work for the Globe. But I spent six important years in North Carolina, where I learned that not everything cultural starts and stops on one of the coasts, or Chicago. Great art takes place everywhere, you've just got to be willing to find it. Okay, enough preaching.

ArtsJournal has added Flyover, a blog by journalists in Georgia, Montana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. One suggestion: How about adding somebody from Minneapolis.


Guest Art Review, Part I

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 11, 2007 08:54 AM

Ravi Shankar - not that Ravi Shankar - wrote with a request. The poet, who teaches at Central Connecticut State University, first mentioned that he's a dedicated reader of the Exhibitionist. That, to me, is Step 1 in having a request granted.

Shankar wrote up a review of a show in Chester, CT. I don't review art shows, or get to Chester much, which means that, sadly, I missed this recent tag sale. So I figured we could all benefit from Shankar's review.

Here's part 1.

Works by Pamela Marks
June 1st to July 1st
eo art lab, 9 Main St., Chester, CT 06412

Along the Connecticut River Valley and towards the shoreline, there are a plethora of art galleries, many of which specialize in post-Thomas Cole, Hudson River Valley school views replete with newly tilled fields and misty gorges, Thomas Eakinsesque portraits, or maritime scenes painted in breathy brushstrokes. A new gallery in Chester, eo art lab, has bucked that trend in a few notable ways: first, by place of prominence on Main Street downtown, next to a few fine restaurants and boutiques; next, by sheer architectural presence, its black galleon shape looming on a street arrayed with the peaked hoods of Victorian rooftops, a mass which resolves itself on closer inspection into fragile detail: dalle de verre glasswork on a 16-panel clear-patterned side door so fine it takes leaving the sidewalk to appreciate it; and finally, most crucially, the art itself, which is unlike anything seen regularly east of New York City.

Take Pamela Marks' recent show Nature's Veil, which features her dazzle paintings, many finely calibrated watercolors hung throughout the space. The title of the series refers to the eponymous art of dazzle painting, primarily used during World War I to disrupt the visual rangefinders of naval artillery. The camouflage on US and British ships, intricate webs of geometric shapes in contrasting colors, was not meant to blend in, but to stand out, confuse rather than conceal. Marks' dazzle paintings appropriate this technique, superimposing the organic abstractions of cellular shapes on a scaffolding of repeating quincunxes, the sacred double cross. The collision of these divergent carriers of meaning, because rendered in watercolor, is not vehement or abrupt, but softened into a mandala of merging geometry.

[Continued Tomorrow]


"Medusa," watercolor in a series, at the Kirkland Art Center in Clinton, NY. Homepage image: DPM, (Disruptive Pattern Material) #7.

Another Atlanta Critic Posting

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 10, 2007 08:09 PM

Alex Ross isn't paid to be a reporter, but it's clear he's got the chops when you read what he's elicited from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in the wake of the what's-the-deal-with-Pierre incident.

The AJC's Hank Klibanoff also has a pretty sweet excuse for failing to block Bob Spano's letter from seeing print: He was too busy accepting his Pulitzer Prize.


Symphony, New Internet TV Program

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 9, 2007 11:11 AM

Here's today's story on the BSO's internet program, which will debut in August. An interesting nugget that only partially fit into the story:

Average age statistics...
Pops audience: 49.4
BSO single ticket buyer: 46.1
BSO subscriber: 51.2


New York Times, On Classical Music Coverage

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 9, 2007 06:36 AM

The New York Times reports that the New York Times is doing a wonderful job covering classical music. As for the rest of Daniel Wakin's story... It's hard to tell whether the crisis is real, or whether, as Alex Ross has put it, "we in classical music tend to jump to the worst-case scenario."


POPSearch Scandal, The Bootleg

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 8, 2007 04:32 PM

Now this is why they pay me the big bucks. I've acquired video of Lauren Dutterer, the woman busted for her karaoke past, from the performance that earned her a spot in the semi-finals. That's before she was promptly wiped from the video record by the Boston Pops.

Dog, As Graphic Novel

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 8, 2007 11:03 AM


Re-appearing Music Critic, The Case Of

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 7, 2007 04:05 PM

So what exactly happened, or didn’t happen, to Pierre Ruhe? For the uninitiated, he’s the Atlanta Journal-Constitution classical music critic/reporter who became the latest symbol of the newspaper world’s disregard for everything arts. Now, Henry Fogel drops that Ruhe’s been re-appointed to his post.

But Hank Klibanoff, the AJC’s managing editor for enterprise, told me today that Ruhe’s job was never really in jeopardy.

The AJC recently cut staff through buyouts, Klibanoff said, and then the paper’s management decided staffers would have to reapply for existing jobs. That means technically Ruhe could have been replaced. But as Klibanoff told me: “I love Pierre’s criticism and I love Pierre and there was no interest in changing that job.”

So what about the stories that stated that the AJC was cutting arts coverage and Ruhe specifically? There’s also the May letter-to-the-editor from Atlanta Symphony Orchestra music director Robert Spano that opened with the line, “The AJC recently announced to its staff that designated reviewers for classical music, visual arts, and literature will be eliminated.”

These cuts were reported as fact in Creative Loafing, Musical America and repeated in the blogs published by Fogel and New Yorker critic Alex Ross.

“If Alex Ross or Henry Fogel would like to come into our organization and quibble with our administrative machinations and how we reorganized our newsroom, that’s fine, but don’t do it based on falsehoods and misperceptions,” said Klibanoff. “Call and ask. Don’t cover behind a blog when a simple phone call or an e-mail could have gotten the truth.”

I called Scott Henry, the Creative Loafing writer who reported Ruhe’s post would be eliminated. He said he never tried to reach Klibanoff or Ruhe. He said he got his information from three or four staffers at the AJC, all of whom would not agree to be named.

“If it turns out to be wrong, I would rather not have gotten it wrong and that would have entailed making a few more phone calls,” Henry said. “You have to understand, there were a lot of positions changing. And in most cases, when I did make phone calls to staffers, they were not returned. Especially to people I didn’t know. I don’t know Pierre Ruhe.”

As for the ASO, Charles Wade, the orchestra’s vice president of marketing, said he regrets an e-mail sent out to board members at one point stating that the AJC had cut its arts staff, but didn’t apologize for Spano’s letter.

“With regard to that e-mail, I apologized to Hank,” said Wade. “That was definitely a mistake on our end and I apologized straight away on that. We took care of that part. The more important part, I thought, was, as I said to Hank, 'why we didn’t call,' and I said, 'we thought we’d write you a letter.'”


Mellencamp To Play Pops Fourth Show

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 7, 2007 12:29 PM

By Geoff Edgers
Globe Staff

Roots rocker John Mellencamp will headline the 2007 Boston
Pops Fireworks Spectacular concert July 4th on the Esplanade.

Mellencamp, 55, is known for his hits “Jack and Diane, “Pink Houses,” and "Paper In Fire.” More recently, Mellencamp’s gained attention for his song “Our Country,” which has been featured on a series of Chevy Silverado television commercials as well as on his recent album, “Freedom’s Road.”

The concert on the Esplanade, attended by roughly 500,000 each year, will be broadcast locally from 8 to 10 p.m. on WBZ-TV with Jack Williams and Lisa Hughes hosting. At 10 p.m., the show will go national on CBS with Craig Ferguson, the host of the Late Late Show.


Ad: Wife Needed, Deadline Dec. 1

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 7, 2007 10:22 AM

Hey, ladies. Finally, Mr. Right.


POPSearch, And Then There Were Six

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 6, 2007 12:39 PM

The semifinalists are:
- Rachel DeShon of Kenmore, Washington.
- Maria Perry of Kansas City, Missouri.
- Lydia Harrell of Everett.
- Gisela Johnson of Hyde Park.
- Jane Kim of Sandy Hook, Connecticut.
- Anna Norton of Chelsea.

From here, the six will perform live at a Pops concert on June 12, whittling the list to three finalists. On June 28, the final three will perform and a winner will be selected. That singer gets her star-turn performing on the Esplanade on July 4.

You can vote for your favorite by going here.


Charges Dropped, Symphony Hall Brawl

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 5, 2007 11:14 AM

Just 10 minutes. That's all it took for the two guys whose dispute disrupted "Gigi" to make peace. After this morning's meeting, Michael Hallam, 44, and Matthew Ellinger, 27, decided to withdraw their complaints and let the case drop.

Here's the story. I'll post pictures and other material as it arrives.


Longing For The CD

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 4, 2007 03:51 PM

Maybe I'm turning into a luddite, but I'm not encouraged by the latest move in the world of music packaging.

Island sent a press release out today announcing that Bob Marley will become the first "major label catalog artist" to have his music released on USB Memory Stick. Yay?

Now, I understand gigantic, gatefold records have gone the way of the dodo bird, and that even CDs are toast. But are you really ready to pay your hard earned cash for a memory stick?


Pranking The Museum Of Fine Arts

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 4, 2007 10:19 AM

You need to hear this. B. J. Novak, the Newton native who plays Ryan Howard on "The Office," reveals on his blog how he and a buddy punk'd MFA visitors back in 1997. They stole a tape from the museum's audio tour for the Chinese art exhibit, "Tales From the Land of Dragons," and painstakingly re-recorded their own version of the guide. Then, the boys had a group of friends visit the MFA and slip the phony guide tapes into players. Now, the tour is posted on iTunes. Just search for Novak and museum.


Sunday Reads

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 3, 2007 07:13 AM

I don't spend much time thinking about $70 million paintings. They're about $69,999,998 out of my price range, even when the Dow's up. Ken Johnson does think about what these zany art market prices mean.

"A violin, it turns out, needs to be played, just as a car needs to be driven and a human body shooed off the couch. In this city that produced the best violins ever made, that job belongs to Andrea Mosconi. He is 75, and for the past 30 years, six days a week, he has finger-fed 300-year-old violins, worth millions, a diet of Bach, Tchaikovsky and Bartok."

Boo hoo, Roger Clemens.

As of this morning, Andrew Ryker is leading in the popular vote of POPSearch.

Dog, At Party

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 1, 2007 09:35 PM


Exclusive: Büchel's Statement, Part 4

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 1, 2007 11:27 AM

First, the story.

The first part.
The second part.
The third part.

The budget for “Training Camp for Democracy” was never clear. The museum only mentioned after the installation was fully underway the costs of adding sprinklers – that would deduct from an already diminished budget. The budget issues at an early stage threaten to jeopardize the completion of the project. Early on the artist alerted the museum that they had to fundraise more and gave useful solutions to save money and even suggested how to incorporate transport subsidies into production costs.

The museum had not really fundraised for a project that they were well aware was costly, not only in materials but more so in labor. They did not approach the installation resourcefully, as they had not looked for cheaper alternatives, and seek more free options for many of the materials.

Christoph, who has been making exhibitions since 1988, has made several of these labor-intensive sprawling installations, – he has the knowledge of how it works and how one is able to find and purchase many materials inexpensively and in most cases for free.

The museum had employed its curator and one curatorial assistant to find and purchase materials – they proved to be unable to be organized and systematic, thereby assembling items that could not be used. They paid no attention to the detail and instructions the artist carefully assigned.

The project was only given a project manager at the last minute on December 15th– in fact, after the original opening date of December 16 was postponed. It is impossible to organize and realize and exhibition such as this without a foreman or one person in charge. A project manager would have controlled the situation and kept up with the daily punch-lists and overseen the schedule. The museum was so poorly equipped that in the beginning of the exhibition’s installation the job of project manager was assigned to the curator, Nato Thompson. As he proved ill equipped at this task, Joe Thompson, the director of the museum assumed this role. All CB needed was one person, full-time dedicated to this job – not a curator or museum director who could only partially supervise due to their other responsibilities in the museum.

The institution proved not to be capable - neither logistically, neither schedule- nor budget-wise to manage the project. The biggest disappointment was that the curator director and head technician did not understand the work or believed enough in the artist to allow him to manage his own installation. The artist had to constantly negotiate over every detail. The museum treated the project as though it was the artist’s wish list for Christmas, eliminating necessary and key elements that were always listed as part of the artwork from the beginning. The museum acted, as they knew more about the artist’s vision then the artist himself. This is indeed ironic since neither the curator of the exhibition or museum director ever saw his exhibition in London, which was on view from six months – opening in September and closing recently. This exhibition was the closest in scale to Mass MoCA’s proposed installation – has the museum responsibles seen this exhibition, they would have been more familiar with the way in which the artist works – and his attention to detail. It was as though the curator and director knew nothing of the artist’s work.

Christoph left for the Christmas holidays after he and his assistants worked for more then 45 days frustrated and defeated by a contentious situation in which the museum technicians and Christoph were not working harmoniously and a museum that was not supporting the realization of a major installation – not just in scope and scale but conceptually, politically and art historically.

Before the artist left it was agreed that the exhibition would be postponed until the 3rd of March thereby compelling the artist to cancel a major solo show at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris in order to focus on Mass MoCA.

The director made this agreement knowing full well but not admitting that there were not enough funds left to continue the project and open by the March deadline. As it turns out now CB could have done the show in Paris with his assistants – and he would of at least completed an exhibition as the status of “Training Camp…” remains in limbo.


Paul McCartney, Making Mash Potatoes

Posted by Geoff Edgers June 1, 2007 09:56 AM

If you would like, spend today reading all of the pointy-headed commentaries on the importance of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," the Beatles record released 40 years ago today. Or you could scan through the New Yorker's slightly depressing profile of Paul McCartney. I prefer to watch the Macca mash his potatoes.

POPSearch, And Then There Were 16...

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 31, 2007 12:42 PM

Hope you aren't YouTube'd out, because the 16 POPSearch finalists are up and singing on-line. You can see them all by clicking here. I'll also post a few.

Ben Silverman, New NBC Co-Chairman

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 30, 2007 01:17 PM

Now that Ben Silverman's going to help run NBC, it's worth re-reading Meredith Goldstein's piece on the Tufts grad made good.


Theatre World: Road Shows Down

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 30, 2007 10:46 AM

This week's Variety has a lengthy report on the struggles of the touring road show market. By the numbers, the trade journal reports that the 51-week total gross for touring musicals is $521 million. That's down from $628 million over the same stretch of time in 2004-05, and $711 million in 2003-04.

Variety says the big shows - "Wicked, "Mamma Mia!" and "Monty Python's Spamalot" - did well. The trouble, industry-wise, came with shows such as "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" and "Legends," the Joan Collins-Linda Evans performance that Variety called "a colossal disaster, garnering some of the worst reviews in recent road history and causing inital talk of its eventual arrival on Broadway to quickly evaporate."


Police Playing The Garden

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 29, 2007 10:38 AM

You know, it wasn't easy - or cheap - scoring those tickets to one of the Fenway shows. And now comes word that The Police are playing a gig in November at the TD Banknorth Garden. To go or not to go, that is the question. The presale for tickets is on Thursday, though you'll have to join the Police Tour Fan Club to get into that line.


Got eBay?

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 29, 2007 04:13 AM

Charles Nelson Reilly

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 28, 2007 06:45 AM

"I want to be Bob Barker..." No you didn't, Charles, and that's why you'll be missed. Here's a wonderful clip in which our hero - who died Friday - takes over "The Match Game".

Winslow Homer, Hardy Lee, Eric Rudd

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 27, 2007 02:57 PM

This may not be an anniversary you've circled on the calendar, but Falmouth-based historian Eric Rudd, 73, wanted me to know that today marks 150 years since the publication of "Mr. Hardy Lee, His Yacht," a book by Charles Ellery Stedman. Why do we care? Because Rudd, who picked a volume up for $25 in a used book store in 1971, feels as if he has made an important discovery about it: The lithography is by none other than Winslow Homer.

Rudd also suggests a cultural relevance, as the book serves as a sort of precursor to the graphic novel. See for yourself here.

Rudd first wrote about his analysis in a 1974 issue of Antiques Magazine, but now, with additional information, he would like to write a book about the Hardy Lee lithos.

"Without recognizing that it's Homer, which it definitely is, any art students, and any people who are aficionados of Homer are missing a very, very important work by him," says Rudd.


Büchel, Newsweek And BBC

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 26, 2007 05:49 AM

I went on the BBC Thursday night to discuss the Büchel situation. You'll have to scroll through this webcast to find my spot on the Thursday progam.

Peter Plagens brings Newsweek to the story with a web-exclusive commentary.


ICA Jetsetters...

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 25, 2007 05:26 PM

How delightful to get an invite from NetJets asking us to attend a "celebratory evening" on May 29 in honor of Philip-Lorca diCorcia at the Institute of Contemporary Art. Of course, we can't make it because the event would probably be pure fun...

"The evening will kick off with a cocktail reception followed by an exclusive 30 minute tour of the exhibit before the VIP Opening. After the tour, a dinner with Philip Lorca diCorcia will be held at the Barbara Lee Family Foundation Theater."

The ICA tells us that in the past, the private jet company has donated a trip to Art Basel Miami auctioned off during the ICA's gala.

A NetJets PR person sent this along when we asked...

"In this particular instance, our relationship with the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston has allowed us special access to preview Philip Lorca diCorcia's exhibition prior to the general public. The artist and the exhibition curator will join us at a special dinner for NetJets Owners and Museum Trustees to celebrate the exhibition.

We also have special relationships with various arts institutions including the Guggenheim Museum, San Francisco MOMA and the Whitney Museum as well as major art events such as Art Basel and Art Basel Miami Beach.

NetJets does this regularly to offer NetJets Owners unique opportunities to experience the art world. The art world and NetJets is a natural fit as travel to important art destinations is a critical need to our Owners."


Exclusive: Büchel's Statement, Part 2

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 25, 2007 10:56 AM

The second part of the seven-page statement I received back in March from artist Christoph Büchel outlining his complaints over Mass MoCA's handling of his planned exhibition.

Here's the first part.


Last August Christoph Büchel arrived in North Adams for a site visit and immediately set out to work on building a scale model of the gallery in order to finalize the plan he proposed months earlier. Christoph had presented the curator, Nato Thompson and the museum director Joe Thompson a cohesive proposal for his solo exhibition slated to open in Building 5 at Mass MoCA in mid-December.

Everyone was incredibly enthusiastic about “Training Camp for Democracy” and it was agreed that it was a massive installation requiring a significant amount of energy in research, compiling of elements and a labor-intensive build-out. The museum agreed to the proposal and the artist began to map out the installation months before. He left North Adams having given the museum a thorough checklist with all the key items they will need to organize and purchase and a clear plan of action. The scope and scale of the installation was clearly defined. Several lists and instructions were given to the museum in advance so they could be prepared for CB’S visit later that fall

The first and most important demand was that Christoph would not move forward without 3 assistants from Switzerland – who were crucial to the realization of CB’s installation. These are his assistants who had worked on several of his other labor intensive installations and have the most technical and logistical knowledge of the work – as well as able to understand and execute CB’s vision. Originally the museum offered a meager salary to the assistants (1000$ dollars for one assistant for seven weeks of work, the two others were not to be paid). When the museum finally agreed to pay their proper salaries, they only ended up requesting that the NY gallery front the money. The artist was never notified of this and was only made aware of this when a “confidential budget” was finally released in early January to his European gallerist, after the show was postponed.

The museum had no intention of paying the salaries of these assistants – who ended up working 45 days straight – at least 10 hours a day.

Secondly, in order to realize an exhibition the scale and scope of “Training Camp for Democracy”, a serious schedule had to be prepared and adhered to. This is where Mass MoCA failed in everyway. The deinstallation of the Carsten Holler show was delayed by three weeks. Seriously pushing back the start date of CB’s construction. The museum failed to have several key elements ready by the time the artist arrived ready to work. The museum delayed the purchase of key items that CB had approved and selected – thereby losing some of these elements.

The schedule was plagued by the delay of the deinstallation of the Holler show, which caused a chain reaction of delays. The museum decided to add a large gate that would be installed in Building 5 to facilitate the movement of works into the space. It was agreed that this was a cost absorbed by the museum as it is something they would use in the future due to the ambitious nature of the artworks installed in Building 5, but later the cost for the gate ($45,000) was listed in the “confidential budget” – adding its cost to the overall production of CB’s installation. The gate’s installation was extremely delayed – preventing the large-scale elements to be moved in a timely fashion. And then there were the holiday delays. Thanksgiving interrupted the workflow significantly. At this point Christoph alerted the museum and began discussing postponing the exhibition. The museum proved time and time again, that they could not finish in time, yet they were pressing ahead with the original opening date of December 16.

The cinema, that the museum technicians were building – took longer then expected to construct and dismantle from its original site to be moved and reinstalled into Büchel’s exhibition– as the museum ignored the artists instructions which would have saved time and money. Before the proposed opening date (Dec 16) the cinema was nowhere complete in its reinstallation. And even today the cinema component of the installation is not finished – three months after the original opening date. Additionally there are several key structural elements that have not even been organized.


POPSearch YouTuber, Unmasked

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 24, 2007 09:26 PM

His performance has been the talk of, well, the area directly surrounding my desk. And now we know that the man singing "All I Need Is The Girl" is none other than Nathan Chang. The Ashville Citizen-Times has the lowdown on the man, and his music.

New: Attorney's Letter To Mass MoCA

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 24, 2007 02:35 PM

Donn Zaretsky, who we used to know for "The Art Law Blog" but now know as Christoph Büchel's attorney, has posted a letter he sent to Mass MoCA complaining about the museum's tarp plans.

In the introduction, Zaretsky states: "There are a bunch of factual inaccuracies floating around out there, which we will address, but, for now, the essential point to understand is that the Visual Artists Rights Act is there to prevent the exhibition of works of art that have been distorted or modified -- and the museum is doing exactly that six ways to Sunday here. No amount of "tarp" can cover that up."

Vanessa Badino

Cutting Arts Coverage, Other News

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 24, 2007 12:12 PM

Things are not so good in Atlanta, where the daily paper is cutting arts critics. Conductor Robert Spano writes a letter to complain. Tyler Green's thoughts.

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts loses director William Griswold (below) after just 18 months. Griswold heads to New York's Morgan Library and Museum.

"A craptastic finish to what could have been a nice series."

Braniac covers Hitchens on Falwell's death.

Allen Brisson-Smith for The New York Times

Rock The Casbah

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 24, 2007 07:57 AM

Exclusive: Büchel's Statement, Part 1

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 23, 2007 05:19 PM

Back in March, I received a seven-page statement from artist Christoph Büchel outlining his complaints over Mass MoCA's handling of his planned exhibition. Now that the situation has blown up more, I figure I should post the statement in its entirety. Previously, I've posted only Büchel's demands.

I'll present the statement in several parts over the next few days.

Part 1:

Communication to the press would not be necessary had the museum agreed to the terms made by an artist in order to realize his artwork. “Training Camp for Democracy” is a solo exhibition by artist Christoph Büchel at Mass MoCA, which is currently in the midst of being installed, which is in no way to be viewed by anyone until completed.

This press communication is a response to the fact that members of the press were allowed to view a work in progress without the consent or presence of the artist or any of his representatives. The following is an attempt to communicate the difficulties and obstacles that result in the unfinished installation by Christoph Büchel.

Christoph Büchel prohibited the installation “Training Camp for Democracy” from being viewed in its current state. This condition was made verbally stated as well as written to the museum before he left for the Christmas holidays. The museum has led tours of the installation, without notifying the artist or his representatives. Journalists, art critics, art collectors, museum curators -- and even politicians have viewed the in-progress installation. In fact the governor of Massachusetts was led through Building 5 by the museum director himself. Please refer to this article:


The unfortunate reality is that MASS MoCA was unable to adequately prepare the exhibition space of Building 5 – the location for “Training Camp for Democracy”. The delay was precipitated by the fact the museum was three weeks late in dismantling the previous exhibition of Carsten Holler. In addition, the museum did not assemble materials and elements that were necessary to begin Büchel’s installation. These major logistical errors forced the opening date, originally slated for December 16th to be postponed. The museum proved to be incapable of managing and supporting technically and logistically a production the scale of “Training Camp for Democracy” The museum underestimated this exhibition even though the scope and detail of it was clearly defined.

After the show was postponed to March 3rd and in a few days before Christmas the museum confessed that they were out of money. There was no money to pay bills and to continue. There was no money to pay Christoph’s three assistants. Christoph was compelled in December to cancel several very important shows (for example a solo show at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, scheduled to open early February) to deal with the Mass MoCA installation as he was committed to finishing the project by the new goal of early March. As it turns out he cancelled these other shows for nothing as the installation remains 50% completed and Christoph is still on standby. Meanwhile Mass MoCA has removed the announcement that states its inability to realize the exhibition in time along with any information regarding Büchel’s show from their website. It is removed from their online schedule.


Morning Büchel

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 23, 2007 06:23 AM

Our story on Mass MoCA's decision to sue the artist.

Richard Lacayo checks in, as does artist Martin Bromirski, who has seen the "show' - who hasn't? - and believes the artist "was overwhelmed by the huge space - unable to finish on-time and within budget - while trying to maintain his demanding character at the same time - and just couldn't deal.... so he abandoned it until safely back home in Switzerland, where he perhaps began to embrace the new nature of the piece."

Then there's this weird commentary, which can be what happens when a newspaper decides to editorialize on arts issues. The Berkshire Eagle, in arguing that it hopes the court will side with Mass MoCA, claims that: "If an artist's vision is allowed to supersede all of the legitimate financial concerns of the institution displaying the artist's work, artists may find there are fewer and fewer venues in which to display their visions."


ICA Memberships, 10,000 And Rising

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 22, 2007 11:27 PM

The Institute of Contemporary Art sends along news it has just hit 10,000 members, which is 10 times the number the institution had at this time last year. (Of course, they also didn't have a new, shiny building on the water.)

Paul Bessire, the ICA's deputy director, adds that:

"Our membership folks just came back from a conference in SF and learned that we have more members than the Walker Art Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. We’re now in the big leagues in terms of contemporary art museums."


Mass MoCA Vs. Büchel, Court Filing

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 22, 2007 06:14 PM

To get a sense of just how far apart these two sides are, here's a section of the complaint Mass MoCA has made against artist Christoph Büchel.

Pick up the timeline after the museum has tried, and failed, to get Büchel to talk about completing the exhibition.

"Left with no other options, on March 28, 2007, MASS MoCA sent Büchel a letter setting forth two alternatives: the first, that Büchel return to North Adams and complete the exhibit; and the second, that Büchel remove the materials in Building 5 and reimburse MASS MoCA for the costs it has incurred in connection with the exhibit. MASS MoCA strongly indicated its preference that Büchel complete the exhibit and offered to make additional funding available for this purpose (even though under no obligation to do so)."


Christoph Büchel’s unfinished display rests inside the museum’s enormous Building 5. (Wiqan Ang for the Boston Globe)

Mass MoCA's Büchel-Off

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 22, 2007 04:07 PM

I've been slow to post this mainly because I'm working the story.

So here's the latest chapter on Mass MoCA's Büchel-off. Here's out story, which ran earlier.

John Carli

Monday Reads

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 21, 2007 06:35 AM

The Ben Folds, Pops gig didn't do much for Jeremy Eichler, but he's down with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project's collaboration with DJ Spooky.

A yarn about a pair of Edward Steichen pictures.

The standings.

You should visit Charleston, South Carolina if you get the chance. I once saw a dolphin there. Oh, the point? Good news for the city's orchestra. As for Salt Lake City? Super clean. But Utah's classical music community must be wondering what's next. First, Keith Lockhart announces he's stepping down. Now Anne Ewers, the administrator who worked closely with him, is heading to Philadelphia.

Good for Uta Renz, who had a terrible experience at Symphony Hall because of some lady blabbing through the concert. Renz complained to Boston Symphony Orchestra management, but she didn't get a reply for a couple of months. I posted it here. Now Joseph Kahn, in a story about performance disruption, brings Uta back for an encore.


POPSearchers, Five More

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 20, 2007 09:34 AM

Please let me know if this is too much, too soon. Otherwise, I'll keep posting.

Büchel, In London

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 20, 2007 07:26 AM

Still no word from MASS MoCA about the Christoph Büchel situation. I did find these pictures of Büchel's recent exhibition in London. Here's the gallery's description of the show.


Another Talker At BSO Concert, Complaint

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 18, 2007 04:16 PM

Uta Renz read our story on the brawl at Symphony Hall. She sent along a letter she had mailed to the Boston Symphony Orchestra in March after her own unpleasant concert experience. The longtime subscriber detailed an incident at a concert in February.

Two friends and I hold subscription seats in First Balcony Center, Row D, Seats 33 to 35. To our left sat a blond woman who said she purchased four seats but her children weren’t interested in attending the performance. She was talking animatedly to people around her prior to the performance, and continued whispering and tapping people on the shoulder after the music began. It soon became apparent that she was under the influence of some substance or another. At one point, she opened her cellphone and waved it around so the blue reflection of the screen could be seen all around. She held the phone up as if taking a photograph of the orchestra. During the break between the Debussy and the Saariaho I asked her politely to keep the phone closed while the orchestra was playing, which was met with a quite rude response.

By intermission, her antics had been sufficiently annoying that we brought them to the attention of an usher (who had noticed her coming in), and to the floor manager. We described the individual and pointed out her seat.

The piece following intermission was Sibelius’s Four Legends from the Kalevala. The woman was not in her seat when the music started, and we were hoping the staff had persuaded her not to return. No such luck. The following transpired:

• 10 minutes into the work, an usher came to retrieve the woman’s coat
• 10 minutes later, the woman walked back in (with her coat), sat down next to my friend and started whispering. My friend didn’t engage her, so the woman demonstratively stood up and moved one seat over. More jittery behavior.
• Next, an usher came in, stood along the wall observing for a while, and left again through the rear door.
• Next, another staff member came in, spoke softly to the woman (perhaps encouraging her to leave) and was rebuked audibly with a “No I’m not going to do that.” He sat down next to her while she continued to fidget.
• About 15 minutes before the end of the piece, both of them got up and left.

By then, not only the Sibelius but the entire performance was ruined for me, as it must have been for many others in the surrounding seats. In many years of attending BSO concerts, this was my worst experience ever. While I understand that there is no practical mechanism for ‘screening’ audience members when they arrive, if the behavior of someone who is so disruptive is brought to the attention of the staff at intermission, wouldn’t there be some way to keep them out of the hall for the balance of the concert?

There was no response, Renz said, so we contacted the BSO. A day later, Renz received a letter from BSO managing director Mark Volpe. He wrote, in part:

As I am sure you are aware, it is a challenging situation when patrons behave inappropriately during concerts. In this case, the ushers felt it would be very disruptive for the other patrons if we asked the talkative woman to leave during the performance. When she was approached by staff at intermission, she indicated a willingness to leave the Hall. Unfortunately, the staff did not ensure that she departed. Clearly, we should have handled the matter more effectively so that the patron in question was not able to disrupt so much of the performance.

Volpe went on to offer a pair of complimentary tickets to the BSO or Tanglewood.


When Young People Sing Old Music

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 18, 2007 12:41 AM

Jonathan Perry's story about the Brookline Music School girls doing "Sgt. Pepper" reminded me of one of my favorite discs of recent years.

Have you heard of the Langley School's "Innocence & Despair" project? These two-track recordings were made during the 1976/77 school year in a gym with a bunch of kids in Western Canada. They cover the Beach Boys, the Beatles, Herman's Hermits and others. It's a crazy idea, having these pre-teens take on "Good Vibrations," for example, but also exhilarating. I love most of these songs. And even those I can do without become compelling. The little girl singing "Desperado"... you just have to listen.

You can read about the recording here, and pick it up on


Met Movies, Expanding

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 17, 2007 11:29 AM

POPSearch auditions on YouTube. Podcasts from the Gardner. And now, the Metropolitan Opera expanding its movie simulcast program. Welcome to the 21st Century, arts world. And thanks, Daniel Wakin, for a lead that references Papageno and Spider-Man.

Michael Nagle for The New York Times

ConstellationCenter Opens... A Newsletter

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 17, 2007 06:28 AM

No, Glenn KnicKrehm hasn't released a revised timeline for his plan to build the ConstellationCenter, a multi-theater performance space in Cambridge. But the project, which he at one time said would be complete by 2005 - as of yet, ground hasn't been broken - has taken a step forward.

Issue 1 of "ConstellationCenter News" has arrived.

In the glossy mailing, we learn that the center's current cost is $85 million, "though we feel it might be significantly higher as the aspirations of our donors and supporters inevitably expand." (Hint, hint.) Of that total, KnicKrehm says about $35 million has been raised. The Ellis L. Phillips Foundation will get naming rights for the baroque organ in the center's "Great Hall," and a William Brown of Phoenix, Arizona has donated his 1928 Wurlitzer theatre organ.

Other news nuggets:
- KnicKrehm has acquired nearly 200 film prints over time, from recent Oscar winners to "Le Jardinnier L'Arroseur Arrose," the 1895 movie by the Lumiere Brothers. For now, the collection will be stored at the Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study.
- Newsletter readers are invited to make an appointment to hear how the ConstellationCenter will sound by visiting the AcousticsLab, a space in East Cambridge where "state-of-the-art technology transports a listener to many of the finest performance venues around the world, as well as into the future with ConstellationCenter's own halls".

And fear not, acousticians... There may be no ground-breaking scheduled, but KnicKrehm does let supporters know, through a timeline, that a tentative "testing" trip will be held later this year in Bremen, Hungary, and Paris.


The ICA's "Botched Box"

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 16, 2007 10:26 AM

There's one review of the new Institute of Contemporary Art that's unlikely to end up in the ICA's press packets.

In Metropolis mag, Philip Nobel tears into the building, and what he perceives as an unhealthy relationship between critics and STARchitects.

Nobel doesn't like the back end of the new ICA. "It's clear from the first glance at that poorly detailed, almost accidental rear facade that the experience of tourists on tour boats and the views of residents of gentrifying East Boston on the opposite short have been privileged over those of future neighbors and those actually entering the thing. But the grand gesture to the sea looks great in pictures, and that serves architects and critics (and their photo editors) alike."


Nobel does like the Mediatheque, but not much else about the building. As far as circulation, the ICA has "the same big-elevator-and-narrow-stair combination that works so badly at the Whitney."

And then the windup.

"Bad buildings by big names get a regular pass. Favorable coverage ensues for the client. Though no connection between high-glamour architects and high-quality buildings is ever demonstrated, the client class learns anew that it pays to gamble on the stars. Other architects retool their practices to get in the game (first stop: drinks with the local critic). Students take note (fledgling critics too...). Mediocrity goes unchecked. The public gets shafted. The cycle repeats. The planet spins. Architecture lives to die another day."


Elvis Costello, More Reissues?

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 16, 2007 10:08 AM

Look, I like Elvis Costello. A lot. I've seen him in concert maybe a dozen times and have every one of his CDs. But enough already with the reissues. I arrived at work this morning to find an e-mail from Universal Music letting me know that as of May 1, the label had re-issued 11 Costello albums - from "My Aim Is True" to "Blood and Chocolate" - along with two compilations.


The cds came out originally in the first wave of laser releases. Then Rykodisc gave the discs the extra track treatment. Then, in a third wave, Rhino fattened the discs more, offering deluxe, two CD versions. If you were consuming during the LP era, you could now say you've purchased "Get Happy" five times (record, cassette, four cd reissues, counting the new release). I'm done, and sticking to my Rhinos.


Renoir, Court Case

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 15, 2007 03:37 PM

About two years ago, I profiled Alexandre Renoir (below), the great-grandson of the legend, and his attempt to cash in on the family name. The Arizona Republic has a story on a judgement against his older brother involving copyright violations.


Getty Board Appointments, Two Views

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 15, 2007 02:55 PM

So the Getty has some new board members. Tyler Green and CultureGrrl, not surprisingly, have different views of the appointments.


Vance County (North Carolina) Community College Board of Trustees

Keith Lockhart, 1,000 Concerts

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 15, 2007 10:38 AM

The Pops sends word that tonight's concert will be Keith Lockhart's 1,000th leading the orchestra. To celebrate, he's going to be throwing out the first pitch at Fenway.

Oh, and then he'll conduct a concert that will include a balloon drop, and cupcakes for the audience. Please folks. Even after you get sugared up, no fighting.


Hopper Roundup

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 15, 2007 06:49 AM

A few more reviews:

The New Yorker.


Joe Louis, Birthday

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 13, 2007 10:34 PM

Tony Millionaire, Brawls, Monitoring TV

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 13, 2007 07:38 AM

Edward Hopper isn't the only artist with a link to Gloucester. Check out Tony Millionaire, who, the New York Times reports today, "is famous for once, at the end of a very long night, having sex with a slice of pizza."

A neighbor of the shirtless Symphony Hall brawler speaks to the Cape Cod Times.

Speaking of the Pops, Keith Lockhart - or Keith Lockhart's personal website - likes the Herald review of opening night more than the Globe's take. The Herald review is posted in the news section.

A TV critic gets hooked up with electrodes for her "30 Rock" viewing.

Tony Millionaire

POPSearch 2007, First YouTuber

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 11, 2007 03:58 PM

Alice, from Weymouth, is the first to post her POPSearch audition on YouTube. Here's her stab at "Now That I've Seen Her," from Miss Saigon.

Friday Morning Roundup, New BSO Website

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 11, 2007 06:08 AM

I'm going to do my best to complete our Symphony Hall brawl coverage with this story, as so many smart people have been telling me our interest is somehow a sign of the decline of civilization.

And wait, the Boston Symphony Orchestra has launched a new website.

Smoke in the movies and put your PG-13 rating at risk.

Is the single killing the music industry?


Style Man, Advice For Pops Fighter

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 10, 2007 05:31 PM

Style maven Christopher Muther has filed an important comment on the Symphony hall brawl. It concerns the decision by one of the men involved to wear no undershirt.

"It's always important to wear a T-shirt underneath a dress shirt. A T-shirt can act as a sponge for gents who suffer from excess sweating, sparing your outer shirt from looking like you're a contestant in a wet T-shirt contest. It can also keep pesky chest hairs from randomly poking through open seams. Last night's Symphony Hall brawl now gives you a new reason to wear a T-shirt. In case you are dragged out of your seat for fighting at a Pops concert, you won't offend fellow concert-goers by flashing your man-breasts when your dress shirt becomes unbuttoned in the tussle. There's nothing worse than seeing grainy footage of your un-manscaped chest on CNN."


Brawl At Symphony Hall, On Film

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 10, 2007 12:57 PM

Here's a nice clear clip of last night's fight in the second balcony, and here's a grainier video which shows Pops conductor Keith Lockhart stopped the performance briefly.


Comings, Goings, News Updates

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 10, 2007 06:26 AM

The Boston Symphony Orchestra is losing one of its younger players. Violinist Marvin Moon has been hired by the Philadelphia Orchestra. I spoke to Moon for this piece last year.

Tomorrow afternoon Mayor Menino will be part of a groundbreaking ceremony for the Paramount Center, an Emerson College project that calls for renovating the former Boston movie house, turning it into a concert hall. An adjoining space will have, among other things, a black box theater, screening room, rehearsal spaces and a sound stage.

The blogosphere has been chatting about the Netanyahu family's decision to pull "To Pay the Price" from the New Rep. Click here, here, and here for a taste of the discussion.

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has hired Noah Schneiderman as its new chief financial officer. Schneiderman, a Dartmouth graduate who lives in Needham, was the founder and president of NRS Consulting, a firm whose clients included Bank of America, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, CB Richard Ellis, Harvard University, and the Gardner Museum. Before that, he was capital finance manager for the Massachusetts State College Building Authority.

I think he also painted this.


POPSearch 2007 Launched On YouTube

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 9, 2007 10:46 AM

Remember POPSearch, that contest cribbed from "American Idol" that led to Tracy Silva's star turn on the Esplanade? POPSearch is back, and with a new twist. You can audition by posting a clip on YouTube. Go here. Pops conductor Keith Lockhart's intro (below) is up already.

Play Pulled From New Rep

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 9, 2007 06:39 AM

The New Repertory Theatre had been planning to pair the controversial "My Name Is Rachel Corrie," about the pro-Palestinian American activist who dies on the West Bank, with "To Pay the Price," the story of Jonathan "Yoni" Netanyahu, the lone Israeli military person killed in the daring hostage rescue mission at Entebbe Airport.

No dice, said Iddo Netanyahu, one of Yoni's brothers. (His other brother, Benjamin, is the former Israeli prime minister.)

"My Name is Rachel Corrie" will now rotate with "Pieces," another one woman play centered around the Middle East conflict.

The Late Rachel Corrie

Melissa Kuronen, Leaving ICA

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 8, 2007 05:03 PM

Melissa Kuronen, the longtime director of communications for the Institute of Contemporary Art, is leaving to take a position with an architectural firm in New York City. Kuronen, who worked at the Gardner Museum before heading to the ICA in 2000, will be director of communications at R.M. Kliment and Frances Halsband Architects. Kuronen tells us she'll be commuting between New York and Boston as her husband, Darcy, remains curator of musical instruments at the Museum of Fine Arts.


The Exhibitionist , On NECN

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 8, 2007 12:11 PM

At 12:42 p.m., on New England Cable News, I'll be interviewing Museum of Fine Arts curator Carol Troyen about the Edward Hopper exhibition.


Monday Reads

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 7, 2007 05:04 PM

A fascinating nugget within Matthew Erikson's preview of a Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra concert:

According to recent figures from the American Symphony Orchestra League, Beethoven's Ninth is becoming even more popular in American concert halls. In the 2005-06 season, it was performed 72 times by professional orchestras, compared with 45 times two seasons before. The piece has surpassed crowd pleasers such as the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, Brahms' Symphony No. 1 and Beethoven's Fifth.

"Radio Golf" opens on Broadway, but not without some help from marketing.

CultureGrrl has some juicy info from the Clark, though director Michael Conforti wouldn't come clean with the "big news" coming in a few months.

Is Jann Wenner keeping the Monkees from getting Rock and Roll Hall of Fame consideration? Maybe it's time somebody remind Jann of this.


Clemens, Part II

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 7, 2007 01:10 PM

I promised to refrain. But this just isn't right.


Help Wanted: Museum Director

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 7, 2007 10:25 AM

Looking to run the “only museum in the Western Hemisphere entirely devoted to the study of arms and armor?” The Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester is hiring. Kent Dur Russell resigned last year, and the trustees are looking to find his replacement. No mention of money in the job listing, though in the most recent I.R.S. filing, the Higgins paid Russell $83,745.


Yankee Clemens

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 7, 2007 07:33 AM

I'm not going to spend a lot of time on Roger. Leave that to the sports guys. But let the latest chapter in the Clemens sweepstakes make one thing clear: It is all about the money.

Roger could have come back to Boston, closed the "twilight of his career" chapter, and proved he's about more than greenbacks by actually taking less to suit up for the Sox. But who can blame him. He's got so many K's to feed.

What's more, I really didn't want Clemens back, at least the aging, goatee'd Clemens of recent years. I wanted the guy I first saw pitch as a kid during the Ralph Houk era, and skinny Roger ain't walking through that door.

Old Roger

The Roger I wanted back

The Ginger Man, And Watercolors

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 4, 2007 01:21 PM

I’ve got a few favorite books, and J.P. Donleavy’s “The Ginger Man” has to be right up there. Sebastian Dangerfield, the star, is one of the classic rogues of punk lit. I like “The Rachel Papers” for the same reason, maybe because my own life is so far removed from booze, babes, and general mischief. Perhaps, I’m overanalyzing. Both books are just plain fun to read.

Which brings me to the odd catalog that arrived a few days ago in the mail. I guess I haven’t sufficiently studied Donleavy to know that, well before his books were published in the 1950s, he considered himself an artist. Next Friday, Damien Matthews Fine Art will open a show of his art at The National Arts Club in New York City.

I’m going to post a few of the pictures, but what I liked best was the complete list of prices. Go check out the catalog, with 107 pieces ranging from $1,750 to $7,540 each.




Hopper At MFA, Reviews

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 4, 2007 08:32 AM

Ken Johnson's review of the Edward Hopper show, opening Sunday at the Museum of Fine Arts, explains why the artist was "a good enough painter."

Holland Cotter, in the New York Times, writes that "there’s not much suspense or mystery in this show."

The Concord Monitor has a feature with quotes from the show's curators.

Greg Cook has a review in the Phoenix.

The Herald.
The Somerville Journal.


The Worcester Telegram.

Mike Daisey's New Show

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 3, 2007 07:35 AM

Louise Kennedy reviews the new Mike Daisey show and, so far, no staged walkouts.

This has nothing to do with Daisey, but a question: Had you heard the New Cars would be playing the July 4 Tanglewood show? Somehow, I hadn't. How this bodes for the Boston Symphony Orchestra remains to be seen. Last year's Lee Ann Rimes concert was a budget bomb, and, audience size-wise, the New Cars ain't exactly James Taylor.


Boston Ballet, Additions, Changes

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 2, 2007 04:36 PM

A few adds and one replacement for Boston Ballet's upcoming season...

George Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco and Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room are being added to the final program of the season, performed with Anthony Tudor's Dark Elegies.

Also, Swan Lake will replace La Bayadčre in May. Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen explained, in a press release: "Due to scheduling conflicts that arose in the last few weeks, the particular production of La Bayadčre that we were going to stage ended up being unavailable. The ballet is still being considered for a future season. Meanwhile, I am very happy to bring back Swan Lake."

One thing we can promise: This man will not be part of the program.


MFA Hopper Preview, And Unveiled Art

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 2, 2007 03:42 PM

Joel Brown over at, took in the Edward Hopper preview yesterday at the Museum of Fine Arts. His blog is here.

A release from the MFA:

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) is pleased to unveil Mahisasura, by Tyeb Mehta, one of India’s most distinguished living arts. The loan of Mahisasura, one of the artist’s best known works, is on loan to the MFA from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Rajiv Jahangir Chaudhri. The Chaudhri Collection, comprising around 300 works, is one of the premier collections of contemporary Indian art in the world. The loan of Mahisasura, on view at the MFA from May 4 through September 9, 2007, is the first in a series of loans of contemporary South Asian paintings from the Chaudhri Collection.


Rose Curator Leaving

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 2, 2007 03:38 PM

[Update: This Cincinnati Post story explains why there was a job available for Platow, and one of her chief challenges. The previous director was squeezed out because of low attendance.]

Raphaela Platow, chief curator at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis, is heading to Cincinnati to take over as director of the Contemporary Arts Center.

Platow, 34 and at the Rose since 2002, starts in July.

Here's how the CAC describes itself:

Founded in 1939 as the Modern Art Society by three visionary women in Cincinnati, Contemporary Arts Center was one of the first institutions in the U.S. dedicated to exhibiting the art of our time. In May 2003, the Center relocated to its first free-standing home, the Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art, designed by Zaha Hadid. Throughout its distinguished 68-year history, the Center has earned a reputation for stimulating thought and introducing new ideas by presenting the work of diverse artists from around the world, including hundreds of now-famous artists such as Laurie Anderson, Jasper Johns, Louise Nevelson, Nam June Paik, I.M. Pei, Robert Rauschenberg, Kara Walker and Andy Warhol. CAC focuses on new developments in painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, performance art and new media, presenting 8 to 12 exhibitions and 20 to 40 performances annually.


Saturday Night Fiedler

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 2, 2007 06:50 AM

Don't be fooled into thinking this "Pops On The Edge" thing is the first time Symphony Hall has been hip to what the kids are digging.

How about "Saturday Night Fiedler," an ode to the Bee Gees & Co. that features the maestro doing his finest Travolta.

I have this record, an important eBay purchase from a couple years back. A quick google tells me you, too, could probably scare up a copy for the hi-fi. Unpleasant! looks back at when disco mania took over the Pops. My favorite quote comes from Arthur Fiedler himself on the back of the record in question:

From the moment I conducted the “Saturday Night Fiedler” suite on television in May, I knew the youngsters had done it again: disco–a marvelous, insistently rhythmic dance form to which all manner of music can be adapted from Bach to the Bee Gees. And this span of musical poles truly accents the universality of music.


New Endowments, MFA

Posted by Geoff Edgers May 1, 2007 02:18 PM

The Museum of Fine Arts announced two, newly endowed curatorial positions. (The endowments are new; the curators are not.)

Fidelity's Roger Servison, president of the MFA trustees, and his wife, Kristin, have endowed Carol Troyen's post as curator of paintings in the MFA's Art of the Americas department. (Troyen curated the upcoming Edward Hopper exhibition.)

William Pounds, ex-chairman of the trustees board, and his wife, Helen, endowed Anne Nishimura Morse's position, curator of Japanese art. Morse curated one of my favorite, recent shows, "Art of the Japanese Postcard."


New Massachusetts Cultural Council Executive Director

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 30, 2007 04:20 PM

From the press release:

The Massachusetts Cultural Council has hired Anita Walker to replace Mary Kelley as its executive director. Walker was the director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs from 2000 until January.

The Des Moines Register reports on her hiring.


Gail Levin, Hopper Expert, @ Tufts

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 30, 2007 08:16 AM

With Hopper mania about to take over Huntington Avenue, it's worth noting that former Whitney curator and current professor Gail Levin will speak at Tufts about the artist. The illustrated lecture - 2 p.m. Thursday at Gordon Hall and open to the public - has nothing to do with the show at the Museum of Fine Arts, other than its subject. A new edition of Levin's excellent Hopper bio is just out.


More Slava

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 28, 2007 09:05 AM

"Music and art are a whole spiritual world in Russia," he once said. "In Russia, when people go to a concert, they don't go to it as an attraction, as an entertainment, but to feel life."

The New York Times
The Washington Post
Chicago Tribune
Los Angeles Times
Boston Globe
Alex Ross, with music clip


Eichler, On Rostropovich

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 27, 2007 04:13 PM

From Jeremy Eichler's Mstislav Rostropovich obituary:

Off-stage, he was known for his ebullient generosity of spirit, his love of luxury living, his enormous bear hugs, and the often childlike playfulness with which he related to the world. A stocky man with the refined hands of a poet, he showed up to Isaac Stern's 70th birthday concert in a ballet tutu. When he met with journalists, he would often request that a translator be present, and then nevertheless barrel through the conversation in choppy English, drenched in an accent thicker than a Russian forest.


Travels With Cello

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 27, 2007 01:08 PM

Yesterday, the American Federation of Musicians sent out a release applauding Delta Airlines’ decision to allow small musical instruments and guitars on board all flights. Naturally, I wondered what was behind the news.

Dennis Alves, director of artistic planning for the Boston Pops, clued me in.

The crux of the issue: Musicians carrying instruments worth, in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars aren’t particularly interested in checking them in as baggage. But airlines have strict regulations as to the size of a carry on, and have, at times, made it hard to bring instruments on board.

“I remember times when we’ve been boarding a plane at Logan and we’ve literally had to stop and hold everything up because there wasn’t enough room above the seats and we had the flight attendants telling us we couldn’t bring the instruments on board and put them beneath,” said Alves. “Many of our players would sooner stay home than have to put their instruments underneath, especially the wooden instruments.

Delta, the AFM noted, was a particular problem after carry-on restrictions were put into place following the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Last year, the union asked all 100,000 of its members to boycott Delta. That boycott has been lifted with Delta’s new policy.

I asked Alves about how to deal with larger instruments.

“Basses always have to be checked in,” he said. “Occasionally, if a pilot will agree, you can actually buy a ticket for a cello. Sometimes, in the middle of the tour, the cellists want to have their cellos with us so they can practice in the hotel room, we’ll organize with the charter company. The cellos will be packed into the bulkhead seats and we’ll put a seatbelt on them.”

Here's a fine essay offering guidance on booking a seat for your cello.


The Round Up

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 27, 2007 06:21 AM

Exclusive! Soho the Dog has smuggled an updated organizational chart out of New York Philharmonic headquarters.

The Times (of London) has the latest piece on the state of the classical recording industry, full of numbers and theories.

Ken Johnson explores the art at the Cyberarts Festival, and he's not quite sure it's all art.

If you're not sick of the Mike Daisey-gets-water-poured-on-his-notes story, here's a post in which theatre director Isaac Butler's "quasi-Orthodox brother" takes in "Invincible Summer."

Cellist Mstislav Rostropovich has died.


Now There's A Great Idea!

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 26, 2007 06:27 PM

So you take a world class, hot shot violinist and stick 'em in a public spot, busker style, and shhh, don't tell anyone.

Sound like a good idea? I thought so a few weeks ago when the Washington Post did it with Joshua Bell. Apparently, the Independent agrees because the newspaper recruited Tasmin Little to set up her Stradivarius near Waterloo Station. Okay, perhaps ideas are made to be stolen, er, borrowed. But does anybody else find it strange that it takes 1,814 words before the writer even mentions the Post piece?


The Other High School At Mike Daisey's Show

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 26, 2007 12:06 AM

Today's story offers the latest on the Mike Daisey incident at the American Repertory Theatre.

But there's more.

Throughout chaperone-gate, the American Repertory Theatre has repeated the fact that another high school group attended the very same performance that sparked the Norco High walk-out. And those kids not only stayed, they took part in a post-show discussion with storyteller Mike Daisey.

This, I assume, is to make the point that hey, Daisey's "Invincible Summer" wasn't too naughty for them, so why should it have sparked the Norco freak-out.

So I called Mike Walczak, the Brooks School teacher who brought his class to the ART the very same night. From what Walczak told me, there are some distinctions to make between the two groups.

The Norco kids attend a public school. They are between 15 and 17 years old, meaning some are high school sophomores. Brooks is a private school. The 22 kids from Brooks are part of Walczak's senior seminar.

The Brooks students have been visiting local theaters as part of a theater and performance class. So far, the group has seen plays at the Huntington, Boston Theatre Works and plans to also attend a SpeakEasy Stage Company production.

When the Norco group walked out, Walczak said, "some of my kids thought it was planned, and some of them thought it was really happening and were completely shocked. I knew it was real. It was pretty disruptive and pretty inappropriate to the actor and the whole company. For me, it became a great teachable moment because it raises a question of when you go to the American Rep., what do you expect to see?"

Walczak said he wasn't comfortable judging whether the Norco group was right, or wrong, for leaving. But of the adults who bought tickets to the ART...

"I would never take a group of kids to something I didn’t know about, only because I’m a firm believer that, at this level, if you’re teaching theater or drama you need a context to pin it into."

Mike Daisey

Phil Spector's Hair

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 25, 2007 08:39 PM

In our continuing series on "The Wall of Sound" producer's hair, we present a photo from the opening of his murder trial.


This, though, remains my favorite do.


Boston Ballet, Subscription Deal

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 25, 2007 03:16 PM

Boston Ballet is offering first-time subscribers a deal for its 2007-08 season, five ballets for $125. According to Boston Ballet, subscriptions normally run for as much as $470, all depending on how many ballets you buy into and where you want to sit.

The first-timer deal, available by calling 617-695-6955 through May 15, will include tickets to La Sylphide, with George Balanchine’s Monumentum Pro Gesualdo and Movements for Piano and Orchestra (October 18-28, 2007); John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet (February 14-17, February 28-March 2, 2008); Next Generation 4 Ballets – 3 World Premieres, including a new work by Resident Choreographer Jorma Elo (March 6-9, 2008); La Baydčre (March 1-11, 2008); and the Spring Program featuring Antony Tudor’s Dark Elegies and two ballets to be announced (May 15-18, 2008).


Mike Daisey Has Now Posted A Response

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 24, 2007 03:44 PM

Mike Daisey's lengthy commentary comes after he's spoken with several of the Norco High School folks who were involved in the now infamous "Invincible Summer" walk-out. He even chatted with the water-pouring man.

Go here to read...

He also wanted me to post this response to principal John Johnson.

1) I'd like him to explain why a public school group portrays itself, repeatedly, as a Christian organization. We have multiple independent corroborating witnesses to this fact--I'd like to know more about the division of church and state at Norco High School, as I don't think it was very much in evidence on Thursday night.

2) I want to be clear that *no* *one* from Norco High School has contacted me to apologize about this: *I* have contacted *them*. I certainly haven't heard from this principal--the apology would mean a lot more if it was made directly, and is indicative of this entire affair--this school and the individuals responsible would not be addressing anything that had happened if there hadn't been a camera and if people hadn't spoken up. The intended to slink away, in the same way they slunk away that night.

3) I would posit that what is not "appropriate" in all this is an adult, who is responsible for students, assaulting and destroying work he disagrees with, and then none of the adults having the guts to engage with me about what their group has done. I have received heartfelt apologies from a number of students who would have stayed for the show, and regret the actions of the adults--unlike the people ostensibly in charge, *they* reached out to *me*, and I think that indicates that many of these students have a degree of class and dignity missing in their teachers and chaperones. I've already offered any of these students free tickets to any of my shows, anywhere in the country--I hope someday some of them will be able to
take me up on it.


Norco's Explanation, Apology

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 24, 2007 01:08 PM

I’m glad to have received a return call from John Johnson, the principal of Norco High School, who told me he’s eager to give the school’s side to the Mike Daisey watering incident at the American Repertory Theatre.

First, we should clear up one piece of misinformation, first reported by Daisey on the ART's blog. The school group has no religious affiliation. It is a choir made up of 15-to-17 year-old students who were in town singing at a festival. As for the chaperone who poured water on Daisey’s notes… Johnson flat out apologizes.

"I agree with Mike Daisey," says Johnson. "With everything that's going on in the world today, to have somebody come up on stage and take the water and pour it on his script was very inappropriate. I want to make this very clear, I apologize for that happening."

But Johnson says he's not sure the school group should apologize for the situation itself. He says the American Repertory Theatre told the chaperone who called the theater that Daisey's monologue was appropriate for high school kids. Johnson says the chaperones felt it wasn’t.

I'll let Johnson tell the story.

"From my understanding, and this is third hand, [the chaperones] were looking for some kind of experience for the kids because they are a theatrical group and they obviously want those kids to see some professionals. So I guess one of our chaperones had called and gotten the advertising about the storyteller. When she called, she said, 'these are high school kids between 15 and 17. Is this appropriate for them?' According to her, they told her it was appropriate for them and, in fact, there was another high school that was there. They decided at that point they would go. They were 100 strong, I think they had 80 kids and 20 chaperones with them. They were sitting there, there was an announcement made. Something like this. 'Turn your [f-ing] cell phones off or we're going to shove it up your [expletive]. At that point, our teacher got real nervous that this may not be the place for our kids. He approached the house manager and said, something to the effect, 'this may not be the place for us. Can you hold off with the monologue so we could leave?' I think he felt uncomfortable. You have to understand, we’ve got chaperones, we've got 80 kids, we have … They're responsible for those kids and what happens and what’s said and what's done. They're obviously thinking this could possible be inappropriate for them. [The ART said] 'no, we have to go on with the show, we can't stop the show.' … By that time, [Daisey] was into his Paris Hilton routine, with the use of the f-word several times. We got everybody out and the chaperones got up and they started to leave... He basically just wanted to get them out of there as quickly as they could. What was inappropriate was one of our adult chaperones walked up and poured the water on the notes. As far as being a principal of this school, I am really sorry that that happened and certainly apologize for that happening. That shouldn't have happened and I'm not even sure why that happened."

I ran all of this by Gideon Lester, the ART's interim artistic director.

"The issue here is not that they decided to leave. That's fine. The real issue here is there was a real act of violation that took place."

Is Lester satisfied with Johnson's apology for the water-spilling?

"As far as the ART is concerned, that's enough. We have no plans to take this further. What Mike does as an individual is really up to him but my understanding is that he doesn’t want to take it any further. It’s captured the attention of the world at this point. As of this morning, the YouTube video had been viewed 70,000 times."

I also asked Lester how, by chance, Daisey got the idea this group had any religious connection. Here's what Lester said: "One of the teachers told a member of our staff, in the lobby – and again, this is all hearsay – that there are a lot of Christians in the group."


Newport Folk, Jazz Festival Lineups

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 24, 2007 09:57 AM

The Newport Folk Festival opens on Friday, Aug. 3 with Linda Ronstadt at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The action swings over to the festival campus for a weekend that features, among others, the Allman Brothers Band, Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas, Emmylou Harris (below), the North Mississippi Allstars, Amos Lee, the John Butler Trio, Alejandro Escovedo, Ralph Stanley, Cheryl Wheeler, and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

The Jazz Festival opens a week later with a tribute to the class of '57 - "Ella, Billie & Basie" - performed by Dianne Reeves, and the Count Basie Orchestra with guest Nnenna Freelon.

Over the weekend, other performers include: Branford Marsalis, Dave Brubeck, Joshua Redman, Al Green, B.B. King, Luciana Souza, Etta James, Ron Carter, and Gunther Schuller conducting the Mingus Orchestra.


Mike Daisey Interviews...

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 23, 2007 07:15 PM

A couple more items from the Mike Daisey incident. First, a brief e-mail interview I did with him.

Where was the group from?

The group is from Norco High School, and they are a Christian chorale group--while in the lobby and theater they called themselves a Christian group repeatedly, despite being from a public high school. I'm not certain why they represent themselves that way, except that I believe the division between church and state is not terribly strong in Norco.

What exactly did the guy pour water on?

My outline and notes, which are handwritten, and which I use to shape the performances.

What impact will that have on the performance?

I am working from a photocopy now, and it will have a big impact after the current run, when it becomes time to continue amending the notes--I will probably, when time permits, have to rebuild a new outline and begin the process again. It's hard, but over time I'll get the new outline together.

Has anything like that ever happened to you before?

I do a show about L. Ron Hubbard, and have had very angry Scientologists in the audience, though they were less cowardly about engaging with me and didn't destroy my work. Due to the nature of the monologues they do sometimes stir strong responses from audiences.

Now an item that will appear in Tuesday's Globe.

Celebrated storyteller Mike Daisey had barely begun his 90-minute monologue at the American Repertory Theatre when much of the audience suddenly stood up and walked out. One of the put-upon patrons even picked up a glass of water used as an on-stage prop and poured it over Daisey’s papers. The problem? The posse, 87 students and staff visiting Thursday from Norco High School in Southern California, objected to Daisey’s dirty language. (They left during a particularly profane riff about Paris Hilton.) Daisey, who’s posted the episode on YouTube, invited the aggrieved audience members to talk to him, but they bolted. ‘‘None of you have the guts to stay here and talk to me,’’ said Daisey. ‘‘Saying (expletive) is the least racy thing I do, so I’m a little flabbergasted.’’ Daisey’s handwritten outline — he doesn’t work from a script — was soaked, but salvageable. ‘‘If a patron in an art museum objected to a painting and slashed it, we’d be clear that that’s a criminal act,’’ the ART’s artistic director Gideon Lester fumed yesterday. Seems the school group did inquire about the content of the show, called ‘‘Invincible Summer,’’ and was told it includes profanity and adult subject matter. They decided to buy tickets anyway. Daisey has since talked to Cindy Lee, Norco’s activities director, and received a halfhearted apology. ‘‘They keep saying it was a ‘security issue’ ... They had to get their children out because of these words,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s ludicrous.’’ The show runs through Sunday.


Elliott Carter, Me So Funny

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 16, 2007 10:42 PM

From messiaenisms:

"William Bolcom forwarded this to the composition department. I think it's pretty funny.

Posted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 6:53 pm From the Associated Press NEW YORK -- American composer Elliott Carter, an exemplar of the atonalist style of modernism and according to admirers the greatest living practitioner of his craft, apologized to music lovers around the world today for what he called "a half century of wasted time." "What was I thinking?" the venerable Mr. Carter, 99, said at his home in Manhattan. "Nobody likes this stuff. Why have I wasted my life?" Carter said he "went wrong" back in the 1940s and spent the next 60 years pursuing the musical dead-end of atonality. In the past seven decades, he has produced five string quartets, a half dozen song cycles, works for orchestra, solo concertos and innumerable chamber works for various combinations of instruments--all in an advanced, complex style he now dismisses as "noise." Despite consistent encouragement of many mainstream musicians such as Boston Symphony Music Director James Levine, for Chicago Symphony conductor Daniel Barenboim, and the cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Carter said his many admirers were "delusional." "The critics who said they were just congratulating themselves for being smarter than everybody else were right all along," he said. "We should all go back and get our heads on straight." Carter said he blamed his late wife, Helen, for turning him into an unrepentant modernist. "She liked this stuff, and I could never say no to her," he said. Mrs. Carter died in 2003 at age 95. Since then, Carter said, he has been reevaluating his aesthetic. "I'd like to write something pretty for a change--maybe something based on an Irish folk tune," he said. He was uncertain whether he would withdraw his substantial catalogue from the repertoire, though one alternative would be to revise his works, ending each with a tonic triad, he said. "I feel like an enormous weight has been lifted from my shoulders," Carter said. "From now on, I promise to be good."

What Next?, indeed. . ."


No. 21092

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 16, 2007 06:41 AM

Blogging will likely be suspended today. I'll be busy.


BSO Volunteer Fees, Continued

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 15, 2007 09:15 PM

The bloggers have spoken about the Boston Symphony Orchestra's decision to institute fees for volunteers, and the symphony's deficit. If there is one word to describe the collective take of John Blog Public, it would be: Bafflement.

Soho the Dog calls the new policy foolishness.

Alex Ross is having trouble squaring the BSO's solar-system-sized endowment with budget problems.

Drew McManus believes a little web site redesign could go a long way.

David Oswald, who doesn't have a blog but does have my e-mail, adds to his earlier thoughts.

"So is there a point at which financial prudences becomes exploitation, and if so, where is it? The BSO argues that it is short-sighted to focus on this question, akin to a family looking at its retirement assets as funds to be used whenever needed. But the BSO is not a family saving for retirement; there is not some magical point or age at which these endowment assets will suddenly come into play. Instead the BSO is an ongoing business that is choosing to set some of its money aside for special purposes and future needs. In fact, though, the BSO website says that the endowment is already contributing $12M per year to the operating budget. So the BSO has already made the decision to use its investment income to support the budget, and my question here is simply, in bounty years shouldn't they be using a little more rather than risking their hard-earned goodwill?

Conservatively, the BSO's endowment last year increased some 30 times the size of the operating deficit ($43M/1.4). That's just the increase, not the total size of the endowment. If the BSO would draw from this increase at the same 4% rate that they are already drawing on the endowment ($12M/$300) it would amount to $1.7M which would more than balance the budget. That would not represent any substantial change in policy for them nor would there then be any need to unwisely burden its volunteers."


Jackie Robinson

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 15, 2007 08:09 AM

BSO Budget Deficit, Responses

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 14, 2007 08:31 AM

David Oswald, of Brookline, has this to say about the Boston Symphony Orchestra's financial issues...

What are we to make of the BSO wringing its hands over a $1.4M loss in 2006 and putting the squeeze on its volunteers for $75 each to make it up, when we read in the same article that in roughly that same time period the BSO's endowment grew more than $60M to a total of over $370M dollars, which is more than a third of a billion dollars? Should we feel sorry for the BSO and bewail the crisis in classical music, or should we rather rejoice that the BSO is so successful and genuinely wonder why they don't just reallocate their more than ample income to cover their expenses? Is it right for them to speak of a structural deficit in this case, when the structural goal of many non-profits is to have an endowment large enough to generate investment income as a dependable part of the budget? It seems to me that by creating the impression of a financial crisis in what appears to be a time of plenty, the BSO is unnecessarily risking the good will of its volunteers and the good faith of its generous public donors. At a time when many smaller music organizations are struggling just to survive, the BSO should be counting its blessings and quietly continue its good work.

As luck would have it, the BSO has sent out a statement discussing the endowment. It reads:

At the same time we're reporting a deficit for fiscal year 2006, we also are reporting significant growth in our endowment from $310.0 in August 2005 to $353.5 in August 2006. The current endowment figure is $370.7 million as of December 31, 2006.

The absolute size of the endowment is not in itself an indication of the institution's financial strength. Not-for-profit organizations, from Harvard on down to the smallest social-service agency, know that it is the relative size of their endowments, their endowment spending policy, and their ability to operate in balance, that determines the institution's present and future financial stability.

While a $350 million endowment might understandably be seen as a king's ransom for some, this actually isn't the case for an institution of the scope and complexity of the BSO, with an annual operating budget of over $75 million.

In truth, the current BSO endowment is not yet sufficient to provide the endowment interest income needed for the future financial stability of the organization in today's challenging economic and market environment.

If a not-for-profit organization were to focus too much on the change in the size of its endowment from one year to the next, it would be taking a very short-sighted view of its financial health. Endowments, by their very nature, require a long-term investment horizon, and to view a single year's strong results as somehow a windfall is akin to a family seeing their retirement assets as funds they can access whenever they feel the need to do so.

A disciplined approach to spending the interest income from an endowment is critical to ensuring that the current and future needs of an organization are kept in balance. To do otherwise is to gamble with the future of the institution.


BSO Budget Woes

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 13, 2007 06:35 AM

The Boston Symphony Orchestra's deficit has been growing - in large part becase of Tanglewood (below) - and the orchestra now looks for ways to cut costs, and raise money.

This comes after the BSO reduced the number of players at some holiday Pops concerts and cracked down on the Symphony Hall house crew's overtime system.


On Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 12, 2007 06:42 AM

A little known fact that Kurt Vonnegut told me in the 1990s when I interviewed him: He ran the first Saab dealership in the country. That nugget is in his obituary today.

When you're growing up and trying to understand the absurdity of the universe is there any voice more important than Vonnegut's? I've got the day off, so I think I'll go to a coffee shop and blow through "Breakfast of Champions."


Herb Ritts, Letter of Complaint

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 11, 2007 04:44 PM

I find it almost unbelievable that "the first gallery in MFA history to be exclusively dedicated to photography" will be named after Herb Ritts. I say "almost" because nothing Malcolm Rogers does surprises me, least of all his shameless courting of the Ritts family and foundation to procure the money. I think it's time that the museum itself be renamed. The Museum of Commercial Art comes to mind.

Douglas Hein
Salem, MA


Elliot Norton Awards, Nominations

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 11, 2007 12:56 PM

The Norton Awards will be given out May 21 at the Cutler Majestic Theatre at Emerson College.

And the nominations...

Doubt (Presented by Jon B. Platt)
Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake (Broadway Across America/Boston)
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (David Stone, James L. Nederlander, Barbara Whitman, Patrick Catullo, Barrington Stage Company, Second Stage Theatre By Special Arrangement with Jon B. Platt)

Britannicus (American Repertory Theatre)
Love’s Labour’s Lost (Huntington Theatre Company)
Mauritius (Huntington Theatre Company)

Miss Witherspoon (Lyric Stage Company)
The Pillowman (New Repertory Theatre)
Titus Andronicus (Actors’ Shakespeare Project)

King of the Jews (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre)
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Boston Theatre Works)
White People (Downstage @ New Rep)

Samurai 7.0: Under Construction (Beau Jest Moving Theatre)
Silent Night of the Lambs (The Gold Dust Orphans)
Stuff Happens (Zeitgeist Stage Company)

Caroline, or Change (SpeakEasy Stage Company)
Ragtime (New Repertory Theatre)
See What I Wanna See (Lyric Stage Company)

Curt Columbus, Cherry Orchard (Trinity Repertory Company)
Nicholas Martin, Love’s Labour’s Lost (Huntington Theatre Company)
Robert Woodruff, Britannicus, Island of Slaves (American Repertory
Scott Edmiston, Miss Witherspoon (Lyric Stage Company), The Women
(SpeakEasy Stage Company)
David R. Gammons, Titus Andronicus (Actors’ Shakespeare Project)
Paul Melone, Fat Pig (SpeakEasy Stage Company)

Diego Arciniegas, White People (Downstage @ New Rep)
Jon Lipsky, Coming Up for Air: An AutoJAZZography (Alliger Arts), King of the Jews (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre)
David J. Miller, Hiding Behind Comets, Sacred Hearts, Stuff Happens
(Zeitgeist Stage Company)

Eugene Lee (set), Mauritius (Huntington Theatre Company), Wicked
(Broadway Across America/Boston)
Christine Jones (set), Justin Townsend (lighting), The Onion Cellar
(American Repertory Theatre)
John Coyne (set), Clint Ramos (costumes), The Taming of the Shrew
(Commonwealth Shakespeare Company)

Jeff Adelberg (lighting), Cam Willard (sound), Titus Andronicus
(Actors’ Shakespeare Project)
Dewey Dellay (sound), Miss Witherspoon, 9 Parts of Desire (Lyric Stage Company), The Women (SpeakEasy Stage Company)
Jon Savage (set), King of the Jews (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre)

Leigh Barrett, Ragtime (New Repertory Theatre), Souvenir (Lyric Stage
Jacqui Parker, Caroline, or Change (SpeakEasy Stage Company)
Stephanie Umoh, Ragtime (New Repertory Theatre), The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin (SpeakEasy Stage Company)

Diego Arciniegas, Thom Pain (based on nothing) (Downstage @ New Rep)
Jonathan Epstein, Via Dolorosa (Brandeis Theatre Company)
Stan Strickland, Coming Up for Air: An AutoJAZZography (Alliger Arts)

Michael Aronov, Mauritius (Huntington Theatre Company)
Alfredo Narciso, Britannicus (American Repertory Theatre)
James A. Williams, Radio Golf (Huntington Theatre Company)

Marin Ireland, Mauritius (Huntington Theatre Company)
Cherry Jones, Doubt (Presented by Jon B. Platt)
Joan MacIntosh, Britannicus (American Repertory Theatre)

Larry Coen, The Plexiglass Menagerie, Silent Night of the Lambs (The
Gold Dust Orphans), Miss Witherspoon (Lyric Stage Company), The Taming of the Shrew (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company), Samurai 7.0: Under Construction (Beau Jest Moving Theatre)
Will Lyman, King of the Jews (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre)
Robert Walsh, Titus Andronicus (Actors’ Shakespeare Project)

Liliane Klein, Fat Pig (SpeakEasy Stage Company)
Georgia Lyman, White People (Downstage @ New Rep)
Paula Plum, Miss Witherspoon (Lyric Stage Company)

The awards ceremony begins at 7 p.m. and will include performances by the three nominees for Outstanding Musical, followed by a reception on stage. Tickets: $25, $35 after May 7, available at the Cutler Majestic box office, Bostix booths, by calling 800-447-7400 or visit


MFA Curator Gets Japan Society Job

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 11, 2007 11:20 AM

Joe Earle, who heads the Asian, Oceanic and African art department at the Museum of Fine Arts, has been hired by the Japan Society in New York as its gallery director and vice president.

Artnet News reports that Earle will start his new gig in the fall. We'll update with work from the MFA when it comes in.


Denver Art Museum, Cuts

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 10, 2007 01:17 PM

Here's every museum leader's nightmare. You open a new building and a year later have to make cuts.

The Denver Art Museum's leaders will trim its staff, cut $2.5 million from the budget, and lower attendance goals.

Denver Post
Tyler Green
Rocky Mountain News


New Curator At MASS MoCA

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 9, 2007 01:23 PM

No news out of MASS MoCA on the Büchel situation. And Büchel’s reps haven’t responded to a half dozen of my phone calls and e-mails.

But MASS MoCA does have a new curator. Denise Markonish, a Brandeis graduate who has taught in Boston, arrives from her most recent gig, at New Haven’s Artspace. She replaces Nato Thompson, who left earlier this year for New York’s Creative Time.


Charles Gayle, ICA's Donor Bids

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 9, 2007 11:31 AM

These two stories are unrelated. But they're each worth reading.

Here's the nut of Steve Greenlee's piece on jazz man Charles Gayle's live recording:

The date was Feb. 12, 2006. The place was a tiny jazz club in Stockholm. The concert was recorded, and the result is the Charles Gayle Trio's "Live at Glenn Miller Café," released last June on the Swedish label Ayler Records. It may have been the best jazz record of 2006, and most of us missed it. Finding it is nearly impossible. Good luck searching Borders or

Now that makes me want that record.

Then there's Ken Johnson's review of "Bourgeois in Boston," an exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art. Johnson writes about the art but saves some of his harshest questions for the institution. Is the ICA catering to its donors more than its mission?

Dudamel, To Los Angeles

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 8, 2007 06:05 PM

There's certainly no way of knowing when James Levine will step down from the Boston Symphony Orchestra. But if it's before 2114 - when Levine turns 71 - cross Gustavo Dudamel, the super-charismatic Venezuelan conductor who made his BSO debut last summer, off the list of potential replacements.

Dudamel will take over the Los Angeles Philharmonic when Esa-Pekka Salonen steps down at the end of the 2008-09 season, a move the Los Angeles Times calls "daring," and he'll be signed for five years.


BREAKING: Herb Ritts Money, Art To MFA

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 5, 2007 07:07 PM

By Geoff Edgers
Globe Staff

Eleven years ago, the Museum of Fine Arts gave Herb Ritts his first museum show, drawing crowds and controversy by displaying more than 230 works featuring the celebrity photographer's favorite subjects: semiclad models and movie stars. Today, the late photographer's foundation created a more permanent bond with the MFA.

The Herb Ritts Foundation announced it will give the museum $2.5 million, and in return the MFA will create a gallery named for the photographer. The foundation will also give the MFA 189 of the artist's photographs, making the museum the largest holder of Ritts's work.

The Herb Ritts Gallery for Photography, the first in MFA history to be exclusively dedicated to photography, is to be part of the museum’s new wing, set to open late in 2010.

"When we did the exhibition, it was a critical point in Herb Ritts's career, and it was an important moment for the museum as well," said MFA director Malcolm Rogers today. "The museum was making a major statement about accessibility, about what we thought was art, and what we thought were the preoccupations of a younger generation in America, and Ritts was just a wonderful vehicle to make that statement."

The Ritts show drew just over 250,000 visitors; it remains one of the 10 best attended shows in MFA history. The exhibition also marked the first of several high-profile shows — including those displaying clothing designer Ralph Lauren's automobiles and collector William Koch's "America’s Cup" sailboats — that have made Rogers a controversial figure in the art world. Critics have said he’s too willing to cater to celebrity culture, while supporters point to Rogers's ability to attract new audiences and new donors. With the Ritts Foundation gift, the MFA has now raised $363 million of its $500 million campaign goal for its expansion project.

Boston gallery owner Bernard Toale, who criticized the Ritts exhibition in 1996, praised the foundation for its donation.

"I don’t know another museum that has named a gallery after an artist," said Toale. "It seems unusual to me. Is it bad? Bottom line, they’ve got a great new endowed gallery. That's excellent for the town."

The MFA has about 5,000 works in its photography collection, which was started in 1924 with a gift of 27 photographs from Alfred Stieglitz. The photos donated by the Ritts Foundation were all featured in the MFA show.

The Ritts Foundation, established in 2003 just after the photographer’s death at the age of 50, has typically donated to
AIDS-related causes. For example, a print featuring five 1980s supermodels, "Stephanie, Cindy, Christy, Tatjana, Naomi, Hollywood 1989," was auctioned off in February at Elton John's Oscar party for $190,000, with the proceeds going to an AIDS charity. The MFA has a print of this image, given to the museum by Ritts along with 44 other works in 2000.

The new MFA gift is the largest ever by the foundation, according to foundation executive director Mark McKenna.

He said he was pleased with the MFA’s commitment to photography and praised Rogers for working hard to maintain his relationship with the Ritts family. Rogers has remained friendly with Ritts's mother, Shirley, taking her to dinner on occasion when he's in Los Angeles, Rogers and McKenna said. Shirley Ritts gave her blessing to the gift, McKenna said.

"I see the building blocks of what they're going to be doing with photography and where they want to take it. That's great," said McKenna. "But Malcolm, in his relationship that he created with Herb, with his mother, that was a big part of this."

Geoff Edgers can be reached at For more on the arts go
to theater_arts/ exhibitionist.


04. Stephanie, Cindy, Christy, Tatjana, Naomi, Hollywood, 1989
Herb Ritts (American, 1952–2002)
Photograph, gelatin silver print
*Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Gift of Herb Ritts
*© Herb Ritts Foundation
*Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Lockhart, New House

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 5, 2007 01:22 PM

From today's Globe:

...It's looking more and more like Pops conductor Keith Lockhart and girlfriend Emiley Zalesky are bound for wedded bliss. The couple just bought a house in Brookline together. The 3,525-square-foot home has 10 rooms, including 5 bedrooms and 3 1/2 baths. The price tag? $915,000...


Alex Matter Backtracks

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 4, 2007 06:31 PM

So this morning, Alex Matter told me that New York art dealer Ronald Feldman does, indeed, own a few of the works either outright or partially. That clearly doesn't square with what Matter told me on Tuesday, and confirmed in a follow up interview. (We'll run a clarification in the paper tomorrow.)

So what changed?

Here's what Matter says: He wasn't clear about his arrangement with Feldman until he spoke to him. (That conversation came after at least a half dozen calls from me.) As Matter describes the situation, he found the expenses associated with restoring, insuring and researching the works grew so much he needed help. "Basically, I turned to a friend," he says.

That "help" involved giving Feldman partial ownership. How many pictures? How much of a stake? Matter says he doesn't know. The deal is verbal, with no contract. And the value of the pictures largely depends on whether the pictures are authenticated as actual Pollocks. Knowing what's at stake for Feldman, it's easy to understand why the Pollock-Krasner Foundation made a point of highlighting the dealer's push to get the pictures authenticated.

I tried to get Feldman to tell me his side. He didn't return phone calls.


Keith Richards Didn't Snort His Dad

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 4, 2007 05:01 PM

ART To Kerry Healey: No Thanks

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 4, 2007 03:52 PM

Over its 28-year history, the American Repertory Theatre has never rejected a nominee for its advisory board. Until former lieutenant governor Kerry Healey was nominated.

As Mark Shanahan writes today:

During a contentious March 19 meeting to consider Healey's appointment, several members of the ART's 40-member board criticized the Republican nominee's unsuccessful campaign last fall, calling it mean-spirited and condemning a controversial television ad that highlighted Deval Patrick's advocacy for a convicted rapist.


Cowboy Junkies, M. Ward Playing With Boston Pops

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 3, 2007 03:33 PM

Cowboy Junkies and M. Ward will be playing with the Boston Pops this summer in the third EdgeFest, designed to attract a younger crowd to Symphony Hall.

Cowboy Junkies, known for a moody sound that incorporates blues, rock, and folk, will play June 23 and 24. Indie folk singer M. Ward will perform with the Pops on June 26 and 27.

The Pops will also perform a commission by Los Angeles composer Felix Brenner as part of the Cowboy Junkies program, and a remix of the work by DJ Paul Oakenfold during Ward's dates.

Since launching the EdgeFest series, the Pops has collaborated with Aimee Mann, My Morning Jacket, and Guster.

For tickets, call 888.266.1200 or go to


Pekar Keynote, At Brown

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 2, 2007 03:51 PM

"American Splendor" creator Harvey Pekar will be at Brown on Friday afternoon, April 13 at the Salomon Center for Teaching, Room 001. After he talks, a reception follows to mark the opening of the "Students for a Democratic Society: A Graphic History" show.


Kriston Capps Is A Man

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 2, 2007 12:31 PM

The other day, I referred to Kriston Capps, of Grammar.police, as a woman. After a tip (okay, from Capps), I launched into an extensive investigation and determined that the writer is indeed a man.


Circus Review, From Four-Year-Old

Posted by Geoff Edgers April 2, 2007 10:00 AM

We took in the Big Apple Circus on Saturday at City Hall Plaza. Here's a review, directly from the youth.

Favorite Part: "The beach one. Because it was funny, they threw cups at people and sprayed the hose at Grandma clown."

Other Favorite: "The horses. Because I've never seen real horses before. It was fun to watch them gallop around. They had little sweaters on their back, little sparkly things."

Didn't Like: "I didn't like when that man put the glove on and put the ball in the air. I thought it was boring."


BSO's Season Announcement

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 30, 2007 06:27 AM

Next season opens on Oct. 4 with an all-Ravel program featuring mezzo-soprano Susan Graham and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet (below).

James Levine will lead 11 programs, with world premieres from Elliott Carter, John Harbison, and William Bolcom.

The full story is here.

Jeremy Eichler also has a review of Levine's last program of this season.


Tommy Ramone, Bluegrass, In Cambridge

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 29, 2007 05:14 PM

It is either disturbing or admirable that Tommy Ramone, former drummer of the legendary punk band and estimable producer (The Replacements' "Tim"), is heading to Club Passim with his - brace yourself - bluegrass duo.

It is called Uncle Monk.

"There is a similarity between punk and old-time music — both are home-brewed as opposed to schooled," Tommy tells us in a press release announcing the April 6 gig. "Both have earthy energy. And there is a certain cool in old-time music that is found in the best alternative artists."


Boston Ballet Season

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 29, 2007 12:09 PM

The press release is here.

The 2007-08 season opens with a gala on Friday, Oct. 12 before the following week's first program, George Balanchine's "Monumentum pro Gesualdo" and "Movements for Piano and Orchestra" and Sorella Englund’s staging of August Bournonville’s two-act "La Sylphide." There will be three more full ballets during the season: "The Nutcracker", the company premiere of John Cranko’s "Romeo and Juliet," and a new staging of Marius Petipa’s "La Bayadčre."

Here's the full program list, from the press release:

Monumentum/Movements and La Sylphide
October 18-28, 2007

The Nutcracker
November 29-December 29, 2007

Romeo and Juliet (Company premiere)
February 14-17, February 28-March 2, 2008

Next Generation
March 6-9, 2008

World Premiere
Choreography: Helen Pickett
World Premiere
Choreography: Heather Myers
Ein von Viel (Company Premiere)
Choreography: Sabrina Matthews
World Premiere
Choreography: Jorma Elo

La Bayadčre
May 1-11, 2008

Dark Elegies (Company premiere)
May 15-18, 2007


Malcolm Rogers: I'm Not Going Anywhere

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 28, 2007 11:50 AM

With Charles Saumarez Smith leaving London's National Gallery, it seemed only natural to ask Museum of Fine Arts director Malcolm Rogers if he still longed for the post.

Remember, he spent nine years as deputy director of the National Portrait Gallery before being passed over for the top job. That rejection led to his search abroad, and his MFA gig.

Here's what Rogers had to say, through an MFA spokesperson:

"The National Gallery was my dream job … until I came to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston! The MFA is going through one of the most exciting times in its history. Our Building Project, designed by the world-renowned architectural firm, Foster & Partners, will transform the MFA for visitors of today and future generations. I am honored to be at the MFA and this is where I want to be. I’m here for the long haul."


MASS MoCA VS. Büchel

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 28, 2007 06:24 AM

Here's today's story on the Büchel dispute, which should explain why there's a two-story house, mobile home, movie theater and more in a MASS MoCA building that's not open to the public. Come back later for a few excerpts from the seven-page letter Büchel sent me after my repeated requests for an interview.


Christoph Büchel’s unfinished display rests inside the museum’s enormous Building 5. (Wiqan Ang for the Boston Globe)

Free Bread For Poems

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 27, 2007 04:54 PM

Of course, you'll have to go to New Haven.

The Atticus Bookstore is celebrating National Poetry Month by offering a free loaf, courtesy of Chabaso Bakery, to anyone who recites a poem out loud on Fridays on April 6, 13, 20 and 27.

On April 27, the bookstore will host a more formal reading at 7 p.m. with, among others, Marilyn Nelson, the Connecticut Poet Laureate, and Vivian Shipley, editor of Connecticut Review and twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.


MFA Painting Dispute, Update

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 27, 2007 10:26 AM

In a recent Wall Street Journal profile of attorney Lawrence Kaye, mention is made of a painting at the Museum of Fine Arts now in dispute. I asked the MFA to explain the status of the 16th-century picture, "Landscape with Burning City," by Herri Met De Bles.

Here's the response:

This painting was included in the launch of the European Provenance website in April 2000. By 1948 the MFA was aware that the painting had come from Carinhall and was being sought by the Dutch government. The museum entered discussions with the authorities in the Netherlands at this time. In a letter from A. P. A Vorenkamp, Director of Boymans Museum, to George Edgell, Director of the MFA (November 25, 1948), he confirmed that he had "turned the 'Herri met de Bles affair' over" to the General Commission of Recuperation, Amsterdam. However, the MFA was not contacted by the Commission. In 1998, the MFA again contacted the Netherlands, corresponding with the Inspectorate of Cultural Heritage. It was confirmed that the painting was missing from the Netherlands and it could not be determined why it had not been returned.

Settlement of the issue has been delayed by two legal claims. In 1998 the heirs of Jacques Goudstikker took legal action against the State of the Netherlands for possession of the paintings sold to Miedl. This was settled December 16, 1999; the Court ruled that Goudstikker could assert no rights to them. An heir of Franz Koenigs also claimed to have legal title to the objects sold through Goudstikker, on the grounds that Koenigs was forced to sell his possessions at a cost below fair market value. On November 3, 2003, the Dutch Advisory Committee on the Assessment of Restitution Applications rejected these claims. The resolution, "Advice concerning the application for restitution of the Koenigs collection," is accessible online.

The MFA awaits communication from the interested parties regarding their attempts to reach a neutral resolution of the ownership of the painting. The painting is not on view.


Poetry Out Loud, A Winner

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 26, 2007 04:35 PM

The winner of Saturday's Poetry Out Loud winner is... Gabrielle Guarracino (below) of Rockland High School. Second and third, respectively, were Monique Symes of Boston Latin School and Amanda Lozada of Beverly High School.

Guarracino heads to Washington on April 30 to represent Massachusetts in the finals.


Vicodin Portrait

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 26, 2007 11:48 AM

Today's going to be busy. I leave you with this.


Wan-go Weng, A Profile

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 25, 2007 07:29 AM

"You know who knows how to mix a martini? I.M. Pei." Wan-go Weng says this as he prepares the drink in his kitchen. "His dry martinis are as good as his architecture."

My profile of Mr. Wang can be found here, and click here for Ken Johnson's review of "Through Six Generations: The Weng Collection of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy."

Wan-go Weng (left) next to MFA curator Hao Sheng.

Rodrigo Y Gabriela Can Play

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 23, 2007 04:49 PM

The duo had to cancel a Boston gig earlier this month.

Now thanks to Rodrigo Sanchez procuring his Visa, the show can go on. It's April 17 at the Roxy.


Jane Austen: Babe City!

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 23, 2007 12:37 PM

Good news for fans of "Extreme Makeover" and "Pride and Prejudice." Finally, that scurvy-faced Jane Austen has got her groove.

Publishers have "added make-up, hair extensions and removed her night-cap.

"I know you are not supposed to judge a book by its cover. Sadly people do. If you look more attractive, you just stand out more," said Helen Trayer, managing director of publisher Wordsworth Editions.

Like all purveyors of fine literature, I'm hopeful this leads to a little Botox for Charlotte Bronte and a nosejob for Emily.

Old, plain Jane:

The new, babelicious Austen:

Arts Reads

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 23, 2007 09:36 AM

Sometimes, the paper just seems packed with compelling arts stories. Today is one of those days.

Levine talks "Fidelio."

CBS has relaunched its record label, but with a twist. It will use its television networks to push songs, issue them on iTunes, and then release actual CDs if there's demand.

The American Repertory Theatre announces its first post-Woodruff season.

Sheryl Marshall, one of the Institute of Contemporary Art's big supporters, lands in Steve Bailey's column today for issues unrelated to art. Bailey's opening: "All that gagging you hear coming from the high-rent district around town is the sound of some of the city's elite business people and financial institutions writing checks this week -- more than $5 million in all -- to cover the bad bets made by stockbroker-turned-venture-investor Sheryl Marshall."

Sheryl Marshall (on the right) with ICA Director Jill Medvedow and Deputy Director Paul Bessire.

Classical Music Industry: Living Or Dying?

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 22, 2007 08:18 AM

Is it the crossover crowd or a genuine, renewed interest in classical recordings? I think we should lock up Josh Groban with Michael Bolton and John Tesh in Biosphere 2 for the remainder of '07 to test whether he and his cohorts are stacking the deck.

The debate continues with a meaty post from Alex Ross. Ross has been pushing for numbers, chatting with folks in the biz, contemplating theories on cultural consumption. But for me, it comes down to what one record executive told him: "Nobody has the slightest idea what's going on."

Other strong voices on his matter:

Norman Lebrecht.
Greg Sandow.


West Side Story, At B.U.

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 22, 2007 06:44 AM

Boston University's theatre company, On Broadway, is putting on "West Side Story" Friday and Saturday to celebrate the production's 50th anniversary.

As an added treat, the opening performance will include an hour-long, pre-show talk by Jamie Bernstein, Lennie's daughter. Her lecture starts at 6 p.m.will include letters from her father, an analysis of his work, and Held at 6:00 PM in BU’s College of Arts and Sciences building, room 224, and end with a meet-and-greet at 7 p.m. The performance starts at 8 p.m.


Daily Reads

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 21, 2007 10:53 AM

Jon Sarkin (art below) headed to New York last week to accept an award as one of four runner-ups for the first Wynn Newhouse Award for artists with disabilities. Listen to his rap again.

Sarkin tells us he'll be reading his poetry Friday night, April 6 at 8 p.m.

Sirius starts talking about what its proposed merger with XM will mean to us, the consumers.

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery at Sotheby's, selling antiquities to raise money for the Buffalo museum. The move has angered museum supporters who say the art shouldn't be sold.

Phil Spector has new hair.


Halbreich, 8 Questions

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 21, 2007 10:33 AM

As Tyler Green first reported, Kathy Halbreich is leaving the Walker. She's very clear, in an e-mail to me, that she's resigning, not retiring.

Tyler spoke with her and posted their exchange.

I e-mailed a series of short questions which, as expected, elicited a series of short responses.

1. Odds of your taking a job at either the MFA, ICA, or Mass MOCA in the next five years.

2. First leisure activity you'll undertake.
Leisure? Does reading count?

3. Royal Caribbean or Carnival Cruise?
Try a kayak.

4. Any plans to visit the new ICA?
Would love to.

5. Will you leave Minneapolis?
Next 7 mths are all about helping to provide a smooth transition for institution and staff I love---too early to speculate. (Could someone tell me how my son became a midwestern engineering student?)

6. Biggest regret from your time at the Walker.
Decided to leave before I had any.

7. If you had a choice, name three people you think could run the Walker.
No can do but I always believe a good process, which I am confidant walker's will be, turns up the appropriate candidates...the final choice is more subtle.

8. Thing you are proudest of about your time at the Walker.
Remarkable staff and institutional culture, expanded accessibility, daring to lead, trust of artists, using our responsibility wisely, being well supported by board, funders, community and colleagues.


Awards, Central Square Theater Ground Breaking

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 19, 2007 11:38 PM

Central Square Theater (logo below) will hold a ground breaking on May 1. The shovels will be put in the ground at about 5:15 at 450 Mass. Ave. A "fun-filled community parade" follows at 6, with a community reception (with Nora theatre Company and Underground Railway Theater) at the Cambridge YMCA between 6:30 and 8.

The Boston Cyberarts Festival will give out the $5,000 IBM Innovation Award - with two, $500 runner-ups - at the Cyberarts gala on May 4.

What's perhaps as exciting, but not as financially profitable, is the new Cyberarts blog.


Ray Nasher, 1921-2007

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 19, 2007 06:46 AM

The death of Raymond Nasher came suddenly last week. It should be noted that Nasher, who grew up on Mallard Avenue in Dorchester but made his fortune in Texas, was an incredibly generous arts patron. He changed his adopted hometown of Dallas, and drove the project at Duke University that led to the Nasher Museum of Art. In Boston, Nasher gave considerable money to Boston Latin, his alma mater.

I met him twice, first in North Carolina when he was getting involved with the Duke project (and I proceeded to freak out a Duke press person by daring to ask the man whether he had dated Joan Rivers) and then in Boston when Nasher toured the Gardner. It was not clear whether he intended to give money to the Gardner. But Nasher was a big booster of Renzo Piano, who got the Gardner gig, and wanted to help where he could. He also remembered the Gardner fondly from childhood visits.


Klezmer Shows, No Go

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 17, 2007 03:06 PM

Sadly, the weather has forced the klezmer group Brave Old World to cancel its shows this weekend. Apparently, the band couldn't get to Boston.


Another Pollock Situation, Fingerprint Refuted

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 16, 2007 04:40 PM

Forget the Alex Matter situation for a moment.

Turn to Teri Horton, the retired truck driver who is at the center of another Jackson Pollock controversy. Horton bought a picture at a flea market back in the 1990s for $5. Then somebody told her it was a Pollock.

Her response created the title of the excellent recent documentary, "WHO THE $#%& IS JACKSON POLLOCK?"

The breaking news is that the Fine Art Registry now has a report up on its site refuting the fingerprint work done by Peter Paul Biro.

Also, here's a story about a splatter painter who thinks he may have done the Horton picture.


YouTube Ruined, Part IV Of Continuing Series

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 16, 2007 04:31 PM

The latest on YouTube...

Viacom has decided to sue. And YouTube's partnership with CBS Sports means more college basketball.

So if you're keeping score, no Jon Stewart, but plenty of Jim Nantz.


Robert Woodruff, And Staged Fights

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 16, 2007 02:13 PM

For those who wondered about Robert Woodruff's next move, it's none too shabby. He's going to make his San Francisco Opera debut in October directing the world premiere of Philip Glass's "Appomattox."

Now for the big news.

A fundraising e-mail from the Actors' Shakespeare Project breaks down the actual cost of specific theater moments. That ranges from the $10,000 it costs to rent a venue for a month to our favorite, the $750 it'll run a company to stage a fight.

I do wonder about the Burt and Willie surcharge.


Do You Care About Sound?

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 15, 2007 10:33 AM

Theoretically, I do.

But I'm torn by the iPod situation. As Joan Anderman so nicely laid out in the Globe, our ever-developing technologies have created a problem. Sound geeks, who struggled to even embrace compact discs, are now being confronted by the spread of MP3s. Like kudzo, these low fidelity sound files are basically taking over the market.

What to do? I've burned enough stuff to fill my 60 gig iPod, more than 16,000 songs. Now I'm waiting for the 100 gig model to be created. Along the way, I've sort of accepted the trade off, sound for convenience (no storage issues, no longer having to haul CDs from upstairs, no scratching of discs by imaginative pre-schooler who determines my Rahsaan Roland Kirk cd would make a really good platform for her wooden animals). And this coming from somebody who has, in the past, flipped between a SACDs to the regular version, trying to detect the difference.

For this battle, I'm going to defer to my stereo purchasing philosophy. I remember, as a kid, going to the Tweeter at the Chestnut Hill Mall and watching a demonstration of the $15,000 turntable. Then I'd go home and slap my James Gang records on my $180, all-in-one, Bar Mitvah-gift Panasonic unit. Conclusion: Without the super expensive turntable right next to mine, I hardly noticed the difference. So if you come to my house today, and are looking for this, you will be disappointed. I'd much rather have the free cash to pick up a Victrola and a Jack La Lane "leg lift" 78, scratches and all.


Actors' Shakespeare Project : No Chicks Allowed

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 14, 2007 05:55 PM

The Actors' Shakespeare Project's "Titus Andronicus," which runs from March 19 through April 22 at The Basement at the Garage, features an all-male cast.


Because it reflects "Elizabethan theatrical practice and speaks to the gritty, stark, male-dominated world of the play," according to ASP.


Hatto Sonnets

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 14, 2007 12:58 PM

Part of me thinks it is not a great idea to reward such use of a music professional's time. But that's the part of me that looks like this.

Michael Monroe's latest work is an important addition to the Hatto oeuvre.


Children's Museum, Reopening

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 12, 2007 12:42 PM

The Children's Museum is moving closer to finishing its expansion project. And today, Director Louis Casagrande told me he would like to open up in time for school vacation week in April. (That's somewhere between April 14 and 21.)

Still, Casagrande said he's not ready to set a date. He needs to talk with his staff more to determine whether the museum will be ready.


Catching Up

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 12, 2007 10:36 AM

The Gardner Museum's study is out, detailing the link between art and learning. Here's the Gardner's release on the results.

For those who miss Bill Koch... Here's a piece on his wine bottles.

I have made peace with the fact that Henry Fogel isn't going to blog often. So I'll remain grateful for the times he does post, because Fogel always has something compelling to say.

The Museum of Modern Art acquires a trailer for its collection.


Pollock, Pollock, Pollock

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 12, 2007 06:01 AM

Unless you're in the art world, you might not realize the importance of the Williamstown Art Conservation Center. Just consider that the center has worked on a monumental work, now on display at Utica, New York, and that a second conservator, no longer at the center, is in the middle of the Alex Matter controversy.


Photo by The Associated Press

Docent Joan Herrmann talks to a group about Jackson Pollock's frieze painting "No. 2, 1949" at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Museum in Utica. After undergoing conservation treatment, the museum's flagship masterpiece is back on display.

Why Van Halen Isn't Touring

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 8, 2007 08:38 PM

My concern started a while ago, when that scary picture of Eddie rolled across the wires. (See below.) Then Ed booted Michael Anthony for his teenaged son, Wolfgang. Diamond Dave was back, the tour was on, then it was off. And most disturbingly, in interviews, Dave sounded like the sanest member of Van Halen.

Now we learn that Eddie is entering rehab. Van Halen will be represented by Sammy Hagar and Anthony at the band's Hall of Fame induction ceremony next week. Is there no justice?


Carr, Finneran... Were They Faking It?

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 7, 2007 11:38 AM

A lot of people seem to be suspicious about this on-air feud. I think it's real, at least from the Finneran camp. You can go here to vote.


WRKO talk-show hosts Tom Finneran (left) and Howie Carr at the AM station's party last night at the InterContental Boston. (Bill Brett for the Boston Globe)

Does The ART Need A "Young Joe Papp?"

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 7, 2007 09:17 AM

Anne Bogart, just announced as a member of the search committee looking to find Robert Woodruff’s successor at the American Repertory Theatre, told me this morning that she doesn’t have any specific candidates in mind.

When Provost Steven Hyman called to ask her to be on the committee, Bogart said: "You should know I’m there to be an advocate for the art. And he said, 'absolutely, that’s why we’re calling you.'"

How did Bogart feel about Woodruff being pushed out?

"I don't think it's a good sign at all. I think it's a very tragic sign of our times. Because the ART was, for those five years, the regional theater you could look to in the United States that was not afraid of doing, dare I say, cutting edge work."

What kind of person would you look for?

"It's so new. If I answered that that would mean I'm arriving with a huge amount of prejudice. I will say one thing though. I wonder if the model of a Joe Papp, meaning a producer who is in love with art, as opposed to a director who is involved more in their own work as an artist than in producing might be a better way to go. Is there a young Joe Papp around? But that’s just me wondering."


ICA, By The Numbers

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 6, 2007 02:30 PM

So far, the numbers are falling in place at the ICA, we're told.

Dance events and talks - the "What New Is" series - have been selling out. (Four of the five Mark Morris performances scheduled for May are already sold out.)

Not so good: Attendance at films has been between 25 and 175 people.

Overall attendance, as of March 4: 92,000. That's ahead of the ICA's 112,000 projection for Dec. 06 through this June, when it ends its fiscal year.

As for memberships, the ICA is at 8,600 households. Its original projection was 5,000.


A.R.T. Names Search Committee

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 6, 2007 10:57 AM

Who will replace Robert Woodruff? It's unclear, but the American Repertory Theatre's search committee has been named, according to an e-mail sent out yesterday by Harvard Provost Steven Hyman.

On the committee:
- Director Anne Bogart, three Harvard professors (Carolyn Abbate, Marjorie Garber, Diana Sorensen), three A.R.T. advisory board members (Barbara Grossman, Rebecca Milikowsky, and Ward Mooney) and two members of the A.R.T./Harvard Fiduciary Board (Associate Dean Judith Kidd, and Jackie O'Neill).

Also from Hyman:

"As part of the search, members of the committee will reach out to various stakeholder groups. I also welcome your thoughts about the opportunities and challenges facing the A.R.T., and the qualities we should seek in an artistic director. You may also wish to indicate specific individuals who should receive serious consideration along with your reasons for recommending them. You may write to me at Attn: A.R.T. Artistic Director Search, Massachusetts Hall, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, or e-mail to

I would be happy to share your suggestions with the advisory committee but will do so only if you indicate that you are willing to have your correspondence treated in this way. If not, I will hold your views in strict confidence. You can also get in touch directly with members of the search advisory committee, if you prefer."


Argerich Cancels On BSO

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 5, 2007 05:25 PM

This, just in the from the BSO:

"Pianist Martha Argerich has withdrawn performances of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 on this week’s Boston Symphony Orchestra program with Charles Dutoit due to physical exhaustion. On her doctor’s orders, she will return home to Europe. Pianist Yuja Wang will replace Ms. Argerich on the March 8-13 program, performing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, which received its world premiere in Boston in October 1875 and is the most famous of the composer’s three piano concertos.
Chinese pianist Yuja Wang made her debut last season with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, replacing Radu Lupu in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4. She was immediate re-engaged to perform Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 last June. She also performed last season with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, China Philharmonic, and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. While in China, Ms. Wang gave recitals in Beijing, Zhuhai, Shijzhuang, Harbin, and Umuqi. She attends the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and was named a recipient of the 2006 Gilmore Young Artist award. This season includes a tour of the Netherlands with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, as well as debuts with the New York Philharmonic, the Houston, Chicago, and San Francisco symphonies, and the NHK Symphony Orchestra. This is also Ms. Wang’s BSO debut."


Belushi, March 5, 1982

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 5, 2007 01:57 PM

Barrington-Couple, Sit Down

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 5, 2007 07:31 AM

Joyce Hatto's husband agrees to his first sit down interview. He's already confessed, but the piece has some nice color.


Beatles, Beethoven, A Clip

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 4, 2007 06:49 PM

Remember the pub scene from "Help." It starts about 90 seconds into the clip I'm posting below. So Ringo gets stuck with a tiger, and the only thing that can get him out is...

Sunday Reads

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 4, 2007 02:38 PM

No more chocolate, no more yams. But Karen Finley is back in Boston.

Your favorite art shows of the year? Well, here are the picks of the local chapter of the International Association of Art Critics, as detailed by Greg Cook.

In Sunday's Plain Dealer, Steven Litt has what might be the most complete story to date about the Alex Matter pictures. Includes quotes from Matter and Ellen Landau, the professor who has typically not been answering reporter queries.

A review of Elijah Wald's book, "Global Minstrels: Voices of World Music."

Karen Finley In The Good Old Days

Shakespeare On Common, Cut Back

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 3, 2007 09:27 AM

Sam Weisman, cutting to his chase:

"[The free Shakespeare] is just one of the greatest things that goes on in Boston," said Weisman yesterday. "I can't believe that given the influx of cash they got that this is how they choose to behave. And knowing what I know about Mayor Menino, I would think he would find another solution. This is a civic blunder."


Pollocks Or Not Pollocks, Another Twist

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 2, 2007 09:09 PM

Sometimes, even professional arts reporters miss fascinating developments, even on stories they're trying to cover closely.

Greg Cook, author of the always compelling New England Journal of Aesthetic Research, posted on Feb. 19 about the curious case of James Martin. He's a Williamstown researcher who told Steven Litt of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he had been hired to examine most of the paintings Alex Matter found in 2002 in a storage space. Matter says they're Jackson Pollocks. Others say they aren't.

It's an interesting story, so read up.

And inside Cook's entry, there's reference made to my story on the Boston College show featuring Matter's work.

Strangely, Geoff Edgers’ story in yesterday’s Boston Globe about Boston College’s plans to exhibit Matter’s “Pollocks” this fall doesn’t mention anything about the Williamstown study – and mistakenly suggests that the question of the authenticity of the Matter “Pollocks” remains much in doubt.

I'd like to think that Cook is using strangely as in "strangely, because Geoff Edgers is such a spectacular reporter, it's surprising he didn't notice this article before his went to press." What I really think Cook is saying is that he believes I intentionally didn't include it in my lengthy story.

Just for the record, I saw Cook's entry today. Then I found Litt's piece. Then I called the researcher, James Martin, immediately. He declined to comment. I wish I had seen the story before my earlier article. As for the question of whether these are or are not Pollocks, I'll leave that to the experts. I'm certainly not qualified to make that determination.

Alex Matter

Forget Hatto, Choose Ruth!

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 2, 2007 11:13 AM

Les Dreyer, a violinist at the Met, wrote a letter to the New York Times in response to the Joyce Hatto situation.

Joyce Hatto, whose CDs made in her 60s and 70s have now been proved to be the work of younger virtuosos, will sadly not be remembered as a “prodigy of old age,” a term used by Denis Dutton.

Yet there is a legendary living pianist, Ruth Slenczynska, who was a world-famous child prodigy but is now in her 80s and still teaching, performing and recording with her own age-defying hands. Madame Slenczynska is a neighbor of mine, and I have the pleasure of hearing her practice daily.

She is a true “prodigy of old age” — not unlike her teacher and mentor, Sergei Rachmaninoff.

In that spirit, how about we drive some business Slenczynska's way.

Here are performances of:
- Bach and Liszt.
- Brahms, Chopin, and Copland.
- Schumann, Carnaval, Kinderszenen.


Slenczynska, Age 8

New Harvard Art Museum On Hold

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 1, 2007 08:29 AM

Here's one thing that didn't help smooth relations between Harvard and the community members concerned about the plans for a new art museum at "Barry's Corner."

Last night, city officials and the university put the art museum plan on hold. With community members complaining that they haven't been properly consulted on the plans, the question is how much the late switch of locations has hurt the HUAM plan.


Cross-Dressing Wagner, Cheap Seats In Baltimore

Posted by Geoff Edgers March 1, 2007 07:07 AM

Two very important developments in the music world.

A newly published letter finds Wagner ordering "something graceful for evenings at home" ... "The bodice will have a high collar, with a lace jabot and ribbons; close-fitting sleeves; the dress trimmed with puffed flounces - of the same satin material - no basque at the front (the dress must be very wide and have a train) but a rich bustle with a bow at the back, like the one at the front) ..."

He said it was for his wife. Sure.

Then there's the ticket-slashing announcement in Baltimore. Thanks to a $1 million grant, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is going to be able to offer tickets for $25 a pop. And not just rush seats to students, or special one-off deals. All seats, every night. Are you listening UBS?


Pops Opening Night: Ben Folds

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 28, 2007 02:17 PM

Sarah Rodman has the scoop...

"The Boston Pops will kick off their 2007 season with a dash of humor and rock 'n' roll, courtesy of the talented singer-songwriter Ben Folds. Folds is no stranger to classical-pop mashups, having recorded his 2005 album "Live From Perth" with the Western Australia Symphony Orchestra. He opens an eclectic season, conductor Keith Lockhart's 13th, that includes everything from Broadway favorites to gospel testifying, jazz grooves, and rock music."

No word yet on who will pick up the My Morning Jacket mantle for the "Pops on the Edge" series.

Other highlights of the season include: Singer Dianne Reeves, vibe man Gary Burton, and pianist Chick Corea in the Jazz Fest, Hollywood and Broadway nights, amd John Williams doing his film night thing.

Look for Sarah's story tomorrow for the rest.


Dyer, Handley - More On Hatto

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 28, 2007 01:13 PM

A couple or interesting outtakes from our Hatto story.

First, I've heard folks say that conductor Vernon Handley, who seemed to be praising Joyce Hatto before she was exposed, is clearly changing his tune. Perhaps our need to keep the story under 1,200 words did Handley a slight disservice. Handley's comments, to me, sounded similar to what he has said in the past. He thought Hatto was a lovely lady, a fine solo player, but had not had enough experience playing with orchestras.

Or to quote:

"She was a very nice person and with 10 good fingers. Very very musical. But when I knew her, it was a narrow repertoire. When we did a Mozart concerto, she played beautifully, but in the middle of the last movement, she just lost her way."

"The Bax recording was very very difficult indeed. She couldn't really play rhythmatically. And although she enjoyed the Bax, it was very very hard to put together... One of the hardest records of my 179 discs. It seems such a great shame that anything like this should surround her, because she was a lovely, lovely person. Always pleasant, always charming. And there was no doubt there was a great musical talent in those fingers but she never made a reputation in Great Britain."

And then, a bit more from Richard Dyer, the Globe's classical music critic until recently. He, of course, is the author of the now much-traveled "greatest living pianist that almost no one has ever heard of" quote.

"It's embarrassing," he said, "but there's no way to know. I doubt the pianists themselves would recognize themselves. The minute you change the speed, that changes the interpretation. When you manipulate the color and sound of the piano, there's no way to recognize it's anybody else. And many of the records that were poached were obscure."

"In hindsight there are a couple of things that maybe ought to have warned me. I haven't heard all of the concerto records, and it should have occurred to me how could an enterprise this small have afforded to have recorded 20 concertos or 30 with a professional orchestra?"

"One of the things that attracted me to her story was not just the cancer but that there are, everywhere, interesting and significant musicians who are internationally famous and who aren't part of the big international, big business machine. If nothing else, this controversy has proved that this is true. That there are a lot of pianists we don't know about."


James Levine Cuts Back, Musicians On Mancation

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 27, 2007 07:35 PM

Wondering why Daniel Wakin's piece on the Metropolitan Opera's season announcement didn't include a single mention of James Levine? Perhaps because Levine will conduct just 33 performances at the Met, his lightest workload in 30 years. (Consider he conducted 111 performances a season at his peak.)

By the way, make sure you read Don Aucoin's "mancation" story. One of the groups profiled includes BSO players Tom Rolfs, James Sommerville, and Timothy Genis. It's comforting to know that these stars of the orchestral world are not afraid to use an outhouse.


Hatto Confession, The Globe's Story

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 27, 2007 06:49 AM

The word is out. William Barrington-Coupe has confessed to what may be the most egregious example of artistic plagarism in the history of classical music. He hasn't gone into details, but he did admit that he stole other people's work and passed it off as that of his wife, the late Joyce Hatto.

My story includes comments from the man who received Barrington-Coupe's e-mailed confession. It also includes comments from now retired Globe critic Richard Dyer, at one time a huge Hatto enthusiast, and Tony Fogg, the Boston Symphony Orchestra's artistic administrator.

This site has been doing an excellent job keeping up with the Hatto phenomenon.


Monday Reads

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 26, 2007 07:55 AM

I'm not about to miss a blog entry on Chang and Eng, (below) first because a member of my small, creative writing class at Tufts wrote this acclaimed novel about the twins and second, because I just saw "Twin Falls Idaho."

Speaking of movies, you should know that "Basic Instinct 2" scored at the Razzies.

A lot has been written about the late jazz critic Whitney Balliet. James Parker's piece is the best.

This is perhaps my favorite meander:

Thelonious Monk was "a tall, dark, bearish, inward-shining man" -- a line that prompts one to reflect also on Balliett's good fortune in finding his literary home at The New Yorker. (Many a magazine editor would have unthinkingly split that last compound adjective into "inwardly shining," thus sacrificing its poetic suggestion that Monk's interior illuminations were essentially private, directed toward no one but himself.)


Jorma Elo

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 25, 2007 07:51 AM

One thing I wish I had been able to squeeze into this story...

Jorma Elo is a tennis fiend. He loves playing, and finds a way to squeeze in regular visits to the Boston Athletic Club when he's in town.

He also has a curious way of playing. Elo's no Jarkko Nieminen. He simple doesn't care about winning. He likes to hit the ball over and over until he's exhausted. This Zenlike approach doesn't always sit well with the player across the net.

"A lot of players get really cranky when they play with me," Elo says.

Knowing how busy he is, I asked him what a typical day might be like.

"My dream is to wake up at like 7 o’clock. Go and play tennis from 8 to 9. Then I take class with the dancers and then I start rehearsing til 11:40 and I go to 5 o’clock with the dancers. And then I go to the hotel and look at the rehearsals with the dancers for a couple of hours and somewhere in there I squeeze a phone call in to my girlfriend. I try to go to bed at the latest 11."


Jorma Elo works with Boston Ballet dancers on the choreography for his "Brake the Eyes," which will have its world premiere Thursday. (photos by ESSDRAS M SUAREZ/GLOBE STAFF)

Hatto, Sting, Redux

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 24, 2007 04:22 PM

The Hatto situation keeps getting better, and now we're treated to an almost 14,000-word filing by Christopher Howell. Of particular interest: Letters between Howell, Hatto and Hatto's hubby. There's also a tasty Boston reference.

If you want to hear Hatto's "version," and that of the artist who actually played, go to this page.

By the way, JL found a better Sting article than the one in Slate.


Surprise Appointment: Dutoit To Philadelphia

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 23, 2007 04:58 PM

According to Peter Dobrin:

"In a surprise move made without the knowledge or approval of its full musician membership, the Philadelphia Orchestra has appointed Charles Dutoit chief conductor and artistic adviser."

Dutoit, of course, quit the Orchestre symphonique de Montreal in 2002.

Here are a few snippets from the Montreal Gazette story announcing his resignation.

"Three days after a blistering denunciation authorized by players who he raised to international fame, Charles Dutoit stunned Montrealers and the musical world last night by resigning as music director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.

"It is with great sadness that following hostile declarations made by the president of the Quebec Musicians' Guild, Mr. Emile Subirana, shared by a majority of the (MSO) musicians, I see no other choice but to announce my resignation as artistic director of the MSO, effective immediately," read the terse statement, issued to the media not by the orchestra but by Dutoit's personal assistant.

Claiming a mandate from an "overwhelming" majority of musicians in the MSO, Guild president Emile Subirana wrote an open letter Monday ascribing an abusive and arbitrary rehearsal style to the conductor, who had not long ago announced the orchestra's 2002-2003 season, festively styled as his 25th."


Jimmy's Busy, Lorin Steps In

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 22, 2007 11:22 PM

Lorin Maazel is going to conduct at the Met, and he's doing Wagner, no less. What about James Levine, the ultimate Wagner guy?

Peter Gelb, the Met's general manager, "said that Mr. Levine decided to step back from the production because of scheduling conflicts."

So Maazel conducts the Met orchestra in "Walküre" for a run from Jan. 7 to Feb. 9, 2008.


Joyce Hatto's Husband Speaks

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 22, 2007 07:19 AM

The Washington Post digs into the curious case of Joyce Hatto, and gets her producer-husband, to say the following:

Hatto's recordings were published by her husband, William Barrington-Coupe, on a small British label called Concert Artist. The label has released more than 100 albums under Hatto's name. Barrington-Coupe yesterday denied any wrongdoing.

"Sound waves don't prove anything," he said. "If the sound waves are giving that impression, I'm at a loss."

Barrington-Coupe said that the findings published on the Web , have started a "culture of fear" among critics in London who are afraid to stand up and defend the Hatto recordings now in dispute. "They're being told that something is a scientific fact, and they're no longer believing their ears," he said.

It's interesting to read writers covering this case refer to iTunes, and more specifically the Gracenote program that indentifies your cds when you put them in the drive, as some kind of CSI-like device. I've had just as many struggles with Gracenote, and classical discs are a particular mess. I can't count the number of times I've popped in a cd and had to decide which, of two Gracenote suggestions, to click on. And if you make the wrong choice, the track titles are all messed up.

That said, this case, thanks to the engineer follow-up, looks pretty compelling. Now the big question in the Hatto case: Whodunnit?


Wednesday Reads

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 21, 2007 05:42 PM

It's a busy day, with Sunday deadlines to feed. But a few stories worth noting.

Robin Pogrebin offers an important update on the arts funding front. The bottom line: Things aren't so good, unless you're willing to slap a corporate logo on your tutu.

CultureGrrl seems to like the ICA's "Super Vision."

Bill Marx has emerged with a predictably seething take on the Robert Woodruff saga.

And aren't you just dying to buy Britney's hair?


Making A Symphony

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 20, 2007 05:01 PM

Daniel Wakin's Sunday piece on the New World Symphony is a great read. But, thanks to the blogiverse, we can hear directly from one of his key subjects. Matthew Heller, the double bassist who opens the story, has posted several times on the feature.

Here, he lists a few issues he had with Wakin's account, though the post is not particularly scathing. This is Heller's immediate response upon reading the story. Heller's November post on the interview process, and worrying he'll come off as a "self-absorbed putz," is my favorite, as it suddenly dawns on him that this reporter, who has been talking to him for hours, might actually put something in the paper of record.

Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Satellite Merger

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 19, 2007 07:17 PM

The much rumored XM-Sirius merger is no longer a rumor. The question is whether, as a Sirius subscriber, I'll need a new gizmo at some point, and how the new company is going to deal with the overlap in channels. On the positive side, I'd much rather have baseball (XM) than football (Sirius), and I'm hoping to get the Bob Dylan show sometime soon.


A.M. Gallery, Icy

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 19, 2007 09:12 AM

It is cold. Usually when you hear that, it's just kinda cold. But trust me, running up Mass. Ave this morning toward Lexington - against a harsh, west wind - I could barely hear my Nano. Even when I clicked on "Presence." I was able to churn out a cranky 7 miles, but most of the time my face was thinking about getting back inside.

On to the art.

Jane Marsching, one of the ICA Artist Prize finalists, has posted photos from Vermont on her Climate Commons blog. The pictures almost make me dare to venture out again.

I think it's great this guy won a grant to travel to Antartica to create installations. But he's from Miami, and somehow it seems like cruel punishment. His project involved placing flags, as markers, on a glacier to mark significant world events in the last 50 years. One quibble: Isn't the 2004 Sox championship up there with "Silent Spring?"

To be honest, I can't figure out what this project is, or whether it's over. I also wonder if this artist - who looks as if she'd be far more comfortable cruising through Barstow than playing Sir Shackleton - is going to regret her visit.

By the way, did you have any idea how many songs were supposedly inspired by "The Cold War?"


A Maybe Or Maybe Not Pollock You Haven't Seen

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 17, 2007 06:11 PM

Tomorrow, I'll have a piece on the McMullen Museum of Art's process to score the are-they-Pollocks-or-are-they-not-Pollocks show.

To whet your appetite, here's one of the Alex Matter pictures you haven't seen. We snapped a shot at the Museum of Fine Arts, where this is one of four works being studied in anticipation of the September show.


Variety: Legit Beantown Theatre Biz Shakes

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 16, 2007 07:08 AM

Variety weighs in with a take on the Robert Woodruff and Nicky Martin departures. The article includes this, loosely sourced paragraph, which states: "Both chiefs were driven out, say industry insiders, by increasingly empowered board bottom-liners, who seized on the natural ends of contracts and slumping B.O. receipts to make their move - a characterization the Huntington denies."

Interesting. Variety's Frank Rizzo doesn't need "industry insiders" to get the Woodruff deal. It's here. As for Martin, nobody, at any point, has suggested he was pushed out, at least to me.

But wait, we're missing the best part. Varietyspeak.

In Rizzo's story, the Huntington doesn't just dispute rumors. It "harrumphs." The crispy-fresh term "Beantown" is also employed at will, three times (once in the headline) and "Beans" is used for a second headline. Oh, and the sidebar... A correction. The Globe didn't lay "off much of its arts staff last year." Five staffers took a voluntarily buyout. It also hired some replacements. (See item 3.) As for "rumblings" of "a possible additional wave of cutbacks," we covered that.


Golijov Speaks!

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 16, 2007 06:39 AM

Where will be put his Grammys? What famous film director has he been hanging with? The answers are here.

WGBH has also posted an interview with the composer, this from last August.


Osvaldo Golijov, seen in his Brookline studio, recently won two Grammy awards and has several new projects in the works. (JANET KNOTT/GLOBE STAFF/FILE 2006)

Thursday Reads

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 15, 2007 06:53 AM

Here's a bit more on the Gardner's Tuesday night meeting, in which the ghost of Mrs. Gardner (below) - or at least her intentions - seemed to hover over the room.

The bizarre story of the stolen paintings, a Watertown lawyer, and former developer - and current ICA board member Paul Palandjian - takes another turn.

The Globe editorial page weighs in on the Harvard University Art Museums-slash-Barry's Corner conflict.

And Howard Stern is getting married.


WCRB, (Pirate) Radio Killed The Radio Star

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 14, 2007 04:20 PM

A reader sent along his exchange with WCRB's Programming Director Mark Edwards.

I don't know if you are the correct person to write about this, but, if not, I hope you will direct this to the appropriate person. I look forward to the BSO broadcasts on Saturday night, but since WCRB switched to 99.5 it has been virtually impossible to listen these broadcasts. I live in the Ashmont neighborhood of Dorchester and most of the time the WCRB signal is completely overwhelmed by a gospel/hiphop station which broadcasts on 99.7. I have not heard them actually announce call letters, but they do say they are located in Boston. I have tried different antennas and different receivers and nothing that I can do seems to make much difference. I know other people in the neighborhood who have similar difficulties receiving your station. I have wondered if the station at 99.7 is doing something incorrect in the way they transmit their signal which is causing it to bleed over onto 99.5 and I thought that you should be aware of the situation. They do not seem to be on the air all the time, but usually are on during the week-end. Your signal is not great at any time, but when this other station is broadcasting it becomes hopeless.

The Boston Symphony broadcasts are a wonderful public service and greatly appreciated. I'm sorry that, most of the time, I can no longer listen to them.

James Morris

And the reply...

Hi James,
Thanks so much for your note. You are not the first person to write us with this concern about 99.7. This is an unlicensed pirate station. We have contacted the FCC with an official complaint, and they are currently investigating this. It's our hope the interference caused by this pirate station will go away very soon.

Thanks once again for letting us know about your problem receiving WCRB in your neighborhood!

Mark Edwards
Director of Programming
WCRB Boston


The Mysterious Pollock Situation In Syracuse

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 14, 2007 01:13 PM

Apparently, the Everson will now show the Alex Matter (below) pictures. But not first. That honor goes to Boston College's McMullen Museum of Art.


Harvard's New Art Museum, Neighbor Complaints

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 14, 2007 11:26 AM

The Harvard University Art Museum plan to build a new museum in "Barry's Corner" is meeting some opposition. The Harvard Crimson covered Monday's hearing in Allston. You can also keep up through this neighborhood blog.


Landmarks Commission To Gardner: No

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 13, 2007 08:56 PM

It is really nothing more than a mere technicality, but the Boston Landmarks Commission refused to lift its demolition delay on the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum's carriage house in a meeting that ended around 7 p.m.

The delay was first voted on at a January meeting.

Mrs. Gardner built the house in 1907, four years after opening the museum. The Garder says it needs to be knocked down to make way for the approximately 55,000 square-foot building being designed by Renzo Piano's workshop.

At the hearing, commission member Jeffry Pond made the most passionate argument for keeping the house, and said the Gardner should do more to try to incorporate it into any new project.

The reality is, the Landmarks Commission can only slap a delay on the demolition. And that delay runs out in April. The Gardner doesn't plan to knock the carriage house down for at least another year. But Gardner director Anne Hawley said she was trying to explain the museum's reasoning because she wants the Landmarks Commission's support for the project. More on this in Thursday's newspaper.

Here's an interesting photo, from 1908, showing the carriage house's trellis, which no longer exists.


Another Theatre Exit

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 13, 2007 03:46 PM

Hot off the press...

Jon Kimbell, the North Shore Music Theatre's artistic director, will step down next January. He's the third area artistic director to leave in the last few months, joining Robert Woodruff and Nicholas Martin.

Globe reporter Catherine Foster has the scoop:

Kimbell will work with the company to help choose a new artistic director; the national search begins today. Kimbell also announced that John La Rock, associate producer at North Shore, will become producer, overseeing programming and production.

Kimbell's been with the company for nearly half of its 52 years. When he first began working at North Shore in 1983, it was a summer stock house with a $1 million annual budget that operated for 2 1/2 months a year and didn't produce its own shows. Today, with a $14 million budget, the company operates year-round and has a thriving new-musical development program and a large educational component.

"I couldn't be happier," says Kimbell by phone. "This is my 25th year here, and my 65th birthday will be in January 2008. I've been itching to move on."

Under his leadership the company has developed 41 new musicals, and Kimbell himself co-authored and directed North Shore's "A Christmas Carol."

"Jon Kimbell has made such a dramatic change in the landscape of the regional theater musical-theater circuit," says Jeff Poulos, executive director of StageSource. "He set up a national network of other colleagues who've helped him bring interesting productions to North Shore and has grown a healthy organization. He's been an excellent leader for them, and I'll be sorry to see him go."

The company had a crisis in July 2005 when a fire broke out under the stage after opening night of "Cinderella." The resulting damage caused the theater to be closed for the rest of the summer, concerts canceled, and shows moved to the Shubert Theatre.

Then a year later, rumors started circulating that Kimbell hadn't been seen around North Shore and that he was being forced out. Kimbell denied the rumors, saying that he'd taken a sabbatical, citing exhaustion from dealing with the aftermath of the fire and a "Damn Yankees" show that proved unusually hard to produce. He says he's been discussing the move with the board of trustees for two years.

"I feel he's done an extraordinary job here and that he had had other things he wanted to do," says Kevin Bottomley, chairman of the board of trustees. "It was all positive and initiated by Jon. And he's been proactive in personally offering to help in the transition. That makes a difference in how smoothly these things go."

Kimbell says he plans to remain involved in North Shore's new works program and will spend more time working with the New York Musical Theatre Festival, of which he is vice-chairman.

"I really want to devote my energies to developing new musicals. This is an opportunity to have an impact on the art form," he says.

Kimbell notes that when he first arrived at North Shore, he planned to stay only a few years.

"I thought of it as a stepping stone," he says, "but then I started to see its potential and started to work with the board. It's been a great joy every day."


Gardner Hearing, Today

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 13, 2007 10:53 AM

The Boston Landmarks Commission will hold the demolition delay hearing for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum at City Hall today at 5:30. Don't worry. Nobody's talking about knocking the Gardner down. This deals with the museum's carriage house, which Gardner officials say they need to clear away to make room for a planned second building.

Here's an earlier post on the subject.


BSO's Biggest Donor Dies

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 13, 2007 06:47 AM

Julian Cohen, the single largest contributor in Boston Symphony Orchestra history, has died. Here's his news obituary.


In this photo, from 1990, Julian and Eunice Cohen (both seated), with former Boston Symphony conductor Seiji Ozawa and George Kidder, former head of BSO board. Eunice died in 2000.

BSO: A Woman On The Podium

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 12, 2007 05:07 PM

Marin Alsop has, of course, played Tanglewood. But we've learned that for the first time, the Boston Symphony Orchestra has appointed a woman as an assistant conductor. Shi-Yeon Sung, a native of South Korea, won the 2006 Sir Georg Solti International Conductors’ Competition - the first woman to win it - and the 2004 Female Conductors’ Competition in Solingen, Germany. Sung will be joined as assistant conductor by Canadian Julian Kuerti who, in 2005, served as a Tanglewood Music Center Fellow, conducting "Don Giovanni" in masterclasses and studying under BSO music director James Levine.

And as Canada gives, she also takes. The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra in Toronto has announced that it has hired James Sommerville, the BSO's principal French horn player, as its new music director. Sommerville will remain at the BSO, but be conducting for about nine weeks a season in Canada.


Keith Urban, The Painter?

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 10, 2007 07:51 AM

Donn Zaretsky shares this item, about Keith Urban, recently rehabbed singer and husband of Nicole Kidman, filing suit against Keith Urban, painter and owner of website

Far more disturbing than the idea of our court system somehow paying for this mess is a click through the "artist's" website. You can buy prints like these.




Blue Man Group, Begging

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 9, 2007 01:39 PM

The clock is ticking. K-Fed's bagged on the Gypsy Bar. So what could you possible want to do more tomorrow than see me chat with the men behind Blue Man Group?

It's at 1:30 at the Shubert, and I bet you'll still be able to get a decent seat.


Former Globe Critic Suspected Of Urination, And More

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 9, 2007 08:15 AM

Boston Lyric and Opera Boston announce their seasons today.

Former Globe critic Ed Siegel runs into trouble in Harvard Square.

And the ICA's four finalists for the Artist Prize like to sing together.


Boston Museum Project, More Info

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 8, 2007 06:44 PM

Chris Klaehn, a partner at Corey McPherson Nash, zapped back a few answers to my questions about the firm's involvement with the Boston Museum Project.

I asked:
- What exactly are you doing on the project?
- How challenging has it been for BMP to push forward without specific plans for the Greenway (seen below) in place?
- Do people know the difference, in your opinion, between the BMP and the New Center for Arts and Culture?
- Which of those projects will be more impressive?
- If you were a betting woman, what odds would you place on BMP getting built?

She answered:
"We have been working with the Boston Museum Project on their overall messaging strategy.
The Boston Museum Project is one of the most exciting propositions for Boston [and the country, for that matter] in a long time. They do have specific location on the Greenway, which is a compelling location - a true asset for them. It is by Faneuil Hall.

As for the public perception and understanding of Boston Museum Project and the New Center for Arts and Culture, both brands are distinctive and will invigorate our city. At this stage on both institutions life, it is OK if the general public doesn't have a crystal clear understanding. What is crystal clear is who the Boston Museum Project is and what we set out to do:

The [Boston Museum Project] will fill a void in the city’s cultural landscape – celebrating all the familiar Boston stories, while also embracing centuries unmentioned, communities unrepresented, stories untold, and showcasing the city’s role in the making and remaking of the American identity.

When we get closer to launching this special experience, believe me, everyone will know and understand. That is the job we are hired to do: tell a compelling and succinct story so it not only differentiates, it incites people to become involved.

Betting woman, hands down, it will definitely be built."


Boston Museum Project, New Hire

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 8, 2007 03:23 PM

This, off the PR newswire:

"Corey McPherson Nash, the branding and design studio, today announced that it has been selected by the Boston Museum Project for campaign communication and messaging services. This new cultural and civic institution will help both residents and tourists understand Boston's rich history and impact on the nation and the world. The BMP is slated for the new Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway on a prime downtown location adjacent to Quincy Market."

While we're on the subject, it's not a bad idea to check out the Boston Museum Project's tour, narrated by architect Moshe Safdie.


More Symphony Salaries

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 8, 2007 08:16 AM

Another day, another salary dump.

Drew McManus drops us the line on music directors, and executive directors.

Levine isn't in the report - the I.R.S. filings didn't cover his first year - but again, we've done that story already. If you missed Alex Beam's 990 item recently, have a look.


Gardner Podcasts, Update

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 7, 2007 03:57 PM

Just today, Charlotte Landrum reports, the Gardner podcasts hit the 100,000 download mark.

Fast Company's story on the the program is now available, and without password requirements. Alex Ross offers the success of the weekly podcast - he reports it has cracked the iTunes podcast Top-40 - as more evidence that classical music is alive and well. Ross writes that this popularity comes "almost entirely without the support of mainstream American media and big-league advertising. Imagine what might happen if Hollywood studios, TV networks, and national magazines actually showed a flicker of interest in the subject."

Curator Scott Nickrenz, project manager Charlotte Landrum, lawyer Phil Malone, and (former) marketing head Cathy Deely.

Journey Bags On Tanglewood, And Other News

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 7, 2007 11:07 AM

Was it me? Because word from the Boston Symphony Orchestra is that Journey won't be playing Tanglewood this summer, even with its replacement singer. What better reason to offer another picture of Steve Perry and his jeans? (Below)

Drew McManus has a series of posts listing salary figures for members of the Regional Orchestra Players' Association, which naturally doesn't include big players like the BSO. Of course, you already know how much maestro James Levine is paid.

This New York Times story bummed me out, mainly because I planned to do it.

Busy Saturday? You're excused. The rest of you need to offer up some spiritual support to the Exhibitionist, who is beginning to get stage fright over the Blue Man Group Globe Talk being held at the Shubert.


The ICA's Popularity Contest

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 5, 2007 02:52 PM

At first, the poll really bugged Jane D. Marsching. She's one of four finalists for the ICA Artist Prize, to be selected by a jury. The ICA, wanting to embrace all things interactive in its snazzy, new mediatheque, has been allowing visitors to vote, a la "American Idol," for their favorite artist.

"It was a sort of third grade gut response," Marsching told me today. "When I go over to see my show there's this thing about being a popularity contest."

This, coming from an artist who isn't afraid of the Net, as you can see from her website.

"I have a blog in the show," says Marsching, who now just ignores the public voting. "I'm a big fan of engaging the viewers and a process or inquiry and conversation and thoughts around ideas. That's what my work's about. But if you're going to ask people about the show and the work and get them to think about it and feel they have a stake in it, I don't think this is the way to do it."

Okay. She's got a point. But since we're keeping score, the most recent public vote shows Sheila Gallagher in the lead (40.47 percent of the vote), following by Rachel Perry Welty (30.16), Kelly Sherman (14.98) and Marsching (14.4). The four-person jury will likely decide on a winner later this week.

So how does Gallagher, the big winner so far, feel about the vote?

"I'm not a big fan," she said by phone from the ICA, where she was climbing down from a ladder. "Thomas Kinkade's a popular guy, too."

Gallagher says if there had to be a popular vote, it would have been better to have it announced at the end instead of tallied constantly.

"Here, there's so much emphasis on the prize, the prize. I feel like it takes the focus off the work, where it should be. The popular vote just adds to the prize mentality."


Department Of Wrong

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 5, 2007 05:49 AM

Asked to compare this Super Bowl victory to his three titles with the Patriots, Vinatieri said: "You can't compare. It never gets old, I'll tell you that."


The Day The Music Died

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 3, 2007 09:17 AM

Farewell, Josh Glenn

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 2, 2007 04:18 PM

The man responsible for our slideshows, our blogs, our multimedia expansion has now left the building. We will try not to get choked up.


100 % Fake Pollock

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 2, 2007 01:42 PM

Artist Bill Graffan, 74, sent along the following note, and an image of a painting he created.

In the fifties, when young and drunk, I imagined myself to be Pollock.

I revisited this fantasy in 2003 while searching for a style that i could be comfortable with while resuming my career as an artist. I had been a sculptor and painter but laid off while raising and educating a bunch of kids.

The photo isn't great. The painting is 24"x48'.


Let me know what you think. Or not.

Problematic Pollock Saga, MFA

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 31, 2007 06:08 PM

Strangely enough, the other "research" mentioned by the owner of the 32 works attributed to Jackson Pollock, but discredited by some art historians - and this week's study released Harvard - is being conducted at none other than the Museum of Fine Arts.

Four more paintings supplied by Mark Borghi, the gallery owner representing finder Alex Matter, were sent to the MFA back in December. Nancy Netzer, the director of Boston College's McMullen Museum of Art, requested the study as part of the planned "Pollock Matters" exhibition.

Today, we were told the results will be out in September, published in the exhibition catalog.


Maestro Levine's Mints

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 31, 2007 12:15 PM

This speaks for itself:

Symphony Mints: Medium sized gift box of 18 pieces. Custom handmade recipe using only the finest dark sweet chocolate subtly flavored with peppermint crunch and embossed with the BSO crest. Packaged in a gold box with red ribbon!
A favorite of Maestro Levine, who purchases them before every performance. Because they are "so irresistible, I must enjoy them in moderation!"


Erections Out, Invincible Summer In At ART.

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 31, 2007 11:41 AM

An announcement from the ART just arrived...

The April run of "Elections and Erections: A Memoir of Fear and Fun," by Pieter-Dirk Uys, will be postponed. In its place, Mike Daisey (below) in "Invincible Summer."

According to the release, "Pieter-Dirk Uys sent his heartfelt regrets to all A.R.T. theatregoers: "Unexpected pressure of work at my little theatre — Evita se Perron — in Darling, South Africa means that I have to put off my visit to Boston in April/May with Elections and Erections: A Memoir of Fear and Fun. After the thrill of Foreign Aids in 2004, I was so looking forward to once again entertaining you with stories of my country and reflecting those from yours, all underlined by that ultimate weapon of mass distraction: humour. Bear with me. I hope to be with the A.R.T. in 2008, which of course is your big year for finding a new president and then there will hopefully be many erections for that election!"

This from the ART's executive director Rob Orchard: "Mike Daisey is a a consummate story teller. Like Pieter-Dirk Uys, his work is fueled by both the personal and political with a blend of humor and outrage. We are thrilled to be able to introduce Mike to New England audiences."


GlobeNag V.1, Blue Man Group & Exhibitionist

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 31, 2007 06:43 AM

On Saturday, February 10, at 1:30 p.m., yours truly will be at the Shubert hosting a Globe Talk event entitled "Behind the Blue."

The entire schedule is here.

Joining me will be Blue Man Group co-founder Phil Stanton, artistic director Michael Quinn, and music director Chris Dyas.

First, please come. Second, feel free to zap me any questions you would like to hear the trio address.


Opera Idol, Latest Round

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 30, 2007 01:57 PM

Sunday, at Jordan Hall, 14 finalists faced off in the latest round of the Met's National Council Auditions Program, which I'm going to call Metropolitan Idol. Advancing were Michael Fabiano, 22, Matthew Plenk, 24, and Faith Sherman, 25. Sara Jakubiak got an "encouragement awards." (If only Simon were so kind to those who didn't make the cut.)

The trio of singers will now head to the Met to compete in the national semi-finals.

Matthew Plenk

Harvard's Pollock Study, In The Paper

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 30, 2007 08:22 AM

Here's our story. Of particular note: The bizarre, and to-be-continued situation with the "Pollock Matters" show. It was supposed to open at the Everson in Syracuse. Now, we're told it'll be at Boston College. And the Everson isn't happy.

The New York Times. Randy Kennedy, of the Times, has a piece here. Kennedy spent time with all of the characters, including Matter, for stories over the last few years.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer. Steve Litt has the story from the home turf of Ellen Landau, the Case Western Reserve professor who deemed the Pollocks legit - and now seems to have headed into a PR-protected bunker. She'll have to emerge eventually, as she's curating the Boston College show.

If you're interested in the other side, here's the Pollock/Matters website. It includes rebuttals to the Harvard report, and the press release announcing the BC show.


Breaking: Harvard's Pollock Study

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 29, 2007 08:45 PM

Nobody at Harvard will talk to us, but the study is up online.

Here's the top of the story that should appear in tomorrow's paper and, in shorter form, at any minute.

Three paintings at the heart of a bitter dispute over whether they were painted by Jackson Pollock use materials not available during the artist's lifetime, according to a study released yesterday by the Harvard University Art Museums.
The year-long study found that a pigment in one of the paintings wasn't introduced as artist's paint until 1996, and a pigment in a second work has been available only since 1971. Pollock died in 1956, having completed his most famous works from 1947 to 1950.
The report adds to a growing body of research that questions whether a trove of 32 works discovered in 2003 could have been painted by Pollock, whose masterworks are regularly sold for millions at auction. One large painting recently fetched $140 million at auction.
Still, its release has not discouraged Boston College's McMullen Museum of Art from exhibiting the disputed paintings. Yesterday the McMullen announced that an exhibition, "Pollock Matters," would open in September.


BSO's 2007-08 Season, Sneak Peek

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 29, 2007 08:14 PM

Jeremy Eichler sends along at least a piece of the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s 2007-2008 season, which probably won't be unveiled - in full - for months.

Today, the BSO announced the three programs that it will perform next season in Carnegie Hall. These programs, which will also be performed locally, include two of the orchestra’s 125th anniversary commissions: William Bolcom’s Symphony No. 8 and a new work by Henri Dutilleux (seen below). Bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff will be the soloist in orchestrations of Schubert lieder, and there will be an all-Ravel program, including the Piano Concerto in G with Jean-Yves Thibaudet as soloist.


Today's Slideshow, Trot Nixon, Dejected Soldiers

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 29, 2007 03:46 PM

Josh Glenn, for those who don't know, has been working tirelessly behind-the-scenes to bring all this kooky multimedia stuff - slideshows, audio clips and, of course, blogs - to you. Now, he's leaving, which frankly leaves us baffled and confused.

In tribute, each day we'll be presenting a slideshow created by Josh and, in some cases, narrated by small children, perhaps belonging to him.

Clip 1: Tom Brady! Trot Nixon and Bronson Arroyo, in Sox uniforms! Knights, Vikings, castles under siege, and King Josh's family tree! Wounded and dejected Union soldiers! Paul McCartney! Anime! More Tom Brady!

Click on image

Did Pollock Or Didn't He?

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 28, 2007 08:23 PM

The paintings - 32 of them - were found by filmmaker Alex Matter in 2003. They were kept by Matter's father, friend of Jackson Pollock, and were said to have been painted in the late 1940s. Quite a find. Except that there have been doubts raised about the authenticity of the works. Harvard University agreed to conduct an independent study and tomorrow, at 5 p.m., the report comes out.

The entire matter is being handled quite strangely, to say the least. Harvard is putting out the study but it won't make any of its researchers available until Tuesday. As for the Globe, we'll have a story in the paper Tuesday, and at least a summary of the study up on Monday night.

While you wait, feel free to do your own Pollock.


Woodruff Extra, Ticket Sales

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 28, 2007 08:53 AM

Hopefully, you feel that today's story got to the heart of the matter about Robert Woodruff's exit from the American Repertory Theatre. Now, take a closer look at some of the numbers from this season.

I've got data on each production, except for "The Onion Cellar," which, let it be known, was a huge, commercial smash for the ART. Otherwise, the season was generally marked by ticket sales that didn't meet the goals set by the ART's marketing department and General Manager Jonathan Miller. (Note that Woodruff does not make the projections.)

"Carmen" and "No Exit' were the exceptions, earning 118 and 103 percent of the revenue goals. The biggest bombs? "Three Sisters" (15,279 tickets projected to be sold, just 10,937 actual), "Romeo & Juliet" (22,184 projected, 16,168 actual), and "Island of Slaves" (12,844 projected,6,979).

These are, of course, just numbers. But they're important when you consider why the six people on Harvard's ART fiduciary board made its decision.


Batman, Because We Like You

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 26, 2007 05:31 PM

This is both intensely annoying and mesmerizing.


Puppets Seek Neighbors

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 26, 2007 04:46 PM

A strange note came in from the Puppet Showplace Theatre. Turns out, an apartment's for rent in the Brookline Village building the puppets habitate, and they're looking for a personal Mr. Rogers.

To find out more about the $2,850, two-three bedroom pad, get in touch with the Puppet Showplace Theatre at 617-731-6400 or go to its website.

But we figured we would try to save you some time, and e-mailed some questions over.

EX: Have you had any problems with any of your puppets?
PST: Problems? Like showing up late for work? I can't discuss our personnel issues specifically. Overall, it's a good group. They put on wonderful shows, and very rarely bite the children.

EX: We've heard you've got a drunk puppet there who hits on all the marionettes? Are you going to do something about him?
PST: This is a family theatre and we do not permit that kind of behavior. Unless it's part of a show, and then we encourage it. Especially if it's an adult show. However, the puppet you are speaking of is current in rehab. Again.

EX: What are these puppets looking for in a neighbor?
PST: A seven foot canary. Or a family with kids. Preferably the canary.

EX: What time do the puppet make the most noise?
PST: Late at night. It's surprising how many puppets are insomniacs. Or narcoleptics. You get one or the other.

EX: What kind of music do they listen to?
PST: Punk. And Bluegrass.

EX: What are the names of the puppets there? How many live there? Is that a violation of building code?
PST: The Puppet Showplace is a theatre, so there are very few who actually live here. But they do like to party. I think we can get about 700 puppets in here. That's well within code. (The town of Brookline is very lax).


Hotwheels, Art, Free Beer

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 26, 2007 12:09 PM

I'm not supplying it, but the New Art Center in Newton will. Tonight, the center holds an opening for "Trans Am," a show featuring works by Jason Chase, Will DiBello, and Scott Listfield.

And you are encouraged to bring your Hot Wheels, as the artists have installed a track. (See below.)


Britannicus, Warren Zevon

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 26, 2007 09:17 AM

Two unrelated subjects that caught my eye this morning.

Louise Kennedy raves about Robert Woodruff's final directing effort as artistic director of the American Repertory Theatre. Here's her review of "Britannicus."

Rhino sends word that, come March 27, we'll get expanded editions of Warren Zevon's "Excitable Boy, "Stand in the Fire," and "The Envoy." Hopefully, that'll spark a more complete reissue campaign.


Most Ridiculous PR Pitch Of Day

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 25, 2007 05:21 PM

Here's an interesting feature topic for your consideration. Below is a release detailing the increasingly popular trend of high-end plaster art restoration for walls & ceilings for homes, businesses, and other venues. We would be happy to provide you with quality photos or arrange an expert interview with plaster artist Steve Selos for a feature on the technique.
If you aren't the best contact for this type of pitch or if there is someone better to send it to can you please forward this to him/her or provide me with the contact information? Let me know how I can help further.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Todd Brabender-Spread The News


Free Slim Jims

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 25, 2007 01:23 PM

Just a few thoughts on new media and newspapers, as the subject has been buzzing recently.

First, we've got the video obituary of Art Buchwald which, frankly, creeped me out and also made me laugh. Which then creeped me out more. Of course, Art Buchwald may have wanted it that way.

At least the "iBit" made Jon Stewart pay attention.

Dan Kennedy, late of the Boston Phoenix and currently of Northeastern University, weighs in on the recent goings-ons at the Globe, and elsewhere.

And the Los Angeles Times is making changes to bring its on-line and print editions closer together.

Here at Exhibitionist, where funds are limited, we've come up with a new way to entice you to click on over. Free Slim Jims. E-mail me and, each month, I'll randomly select your name out of a giant bowler. I will then mail out either a bag of beef chews or one of the old-fashioned original sticks.


Morning Reads

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 25, 2007 08:06 AM

I love Meredith Goldstein’s story on swag at Sundance.

Some folks say they can hear WCRB-FM better since it moved from 102.5 to 99.5, some say they can’t hear it as well. And others say they don’t want to listen, fed up with the dumbed-down classical format.

CultureGrrl discusses the Getty’s attitude toward transparency and salaries, but feels squeamish about listing new president James Wood’s take. We’re not. He gets $700,000 a year plus a $20,000 a month housing stipend. (Apparently, Wood won’t be placing any “roommates needed” ads in LA Weekly.) But wait, there’s more. He’s paid $150,000 for moving, a $250,000 signing bonus, and, finally, up to $400,000 in deferred compensation. That’s a nice way of getting around the always touchy topic of severance. When Wood leaves, he won’t get severance. He’ll get “deferred compensation.” Oh, and Wood gets six weeks of vacation.


Britannicus, YouTube

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 24, 2007 12:38 PM

After whining about the seemingly inactive "Britannicus" blog, I'm proud to provide the American Reportory Theatre's eight-minute flick on staging Robert Woodruff's final production as artistic director. It's a little blurry, but has some worthwhile interviews with Woodruff, associate artistic director Gideon Lester and members of the cast.

Pops Degradation, Fred Harrington's Thoughts

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 23, 2007 10:53 AM

Fred Harrington, a 36-year-old reader from Cambridge, responded to my entry.

When was Keith Lockhart ever accused of being stuffy? Here's a man who could use a good dose of pretension. I'm not referring to the goofy album cover photos but rather the relentless degradation of the Pops into a condescending cash sucking machine for soulless connoisseurs of corporate approved blandness operating under the guise of culture.

Even in the days of "Saturday Night Fiedler" the Pops could still be counted on to deliver charming performances of light and popular classics anyone could enjoy. Now it's just endless servings of plastic cheese.

And them, after I asked Fred for permission to run his e-mail, he responded with another.

Sorry to bug you but this occurred to me right after I hit send.
I'd like to clarify that I'm someone who feels that classical music needs to be less pretentious. That is, looking for ways to break through the laquer of formality and (sigh) pretense and well, stuffiness with which a lot of classical music, and other "Fine Arts," is presented. I get tired of the formality of concert going; the applauding and standing while the performer comes out for yet another bow, whether we think it's any good or not. The feeling of "he must be brilliant, he's wearing a tuxedo." or "this must be great, I paid $125 for this ticket." It makes the audience think that whatever they are watching must be great to receive such lavish presentation.
My critique of the Pops is that they "laquer up" second rate music to give it the appearance of sophistication, rather than stripping it away to allow an entrance point for the more casual listener, or even playing music that's just plain fun. They just seem to try to serve the people who demand "accessability" as if their mind is in a wheelchair. They need to show that good music can be enjoyed by anyone, that you can "like" it even if you don't "understand" it. There are other ways of presenting "the Arts" in the more direct, immediate way that say pop music, movies or television provide as a way of showing that Schubert can be as soul rattling as Dylan, that "Don Giovanni" can be as edge of the seat exciting as "Lost" or that Webern can be as much of a sound-sculptor as Radiohead. I can think of Matt Haimovitz' informal coffee house and rock club tours; Peter Sellers' productions where mythical or other obsolete characters are given contemporary relationships; of Alarm Will Sound's recording of Aphex Twin, which is given as much integrity as they give Steve Reich.
I also recall from one of Lockhart's first seasons, his performance with Mark Morris' troupe of Ibert's "Divertisment." Wonderful music, fun music, performed with glee and style which made me think there would be more such events to come. I'm still waiting.


Toe Shoe Treasures

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 22, 2007 07:40 PM

Boston Ballet has hidden 20 toe shoes throughout Boston, from the Frog Pond and Aquarium to Mario Russo's salon and Shaws. These shoes, worn by company dancers, are part of the "Toe Shoe Treasure Hunt" meant to promote Boston Ballet's spring season. (It opens Feb. 8 with George Balanchine’s "A Midsummer Night’s Dream.)

What will you find inside the shoes? Boston Ballet merchandise, tickets to the spring season, restaurant gift certificates, and the grand prize, a 1971 Ford Maverick! Whoops. Actually, you'll win two subscriptions to Boston Ballet and a Jewel from EB Horn.

Each week, log onto for a list of locations and events where the toe shoes can be found. In addition, a clue will be given each week hinting at where you might find the grand prize.


London, Tripping With New Rep.

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 22, 2007 10:49 AM

Last chance to join up with the New Repertory Theatre's London Arts Tour. It takes place from May 19-27, when you'll get a chance to talking shop with swinging artistic director Rick Lombardo, check out Sir Ian McKellen in King Lear, and get backstage tours of the Globe. There's a lot more being offered, which might be why this thing'll run you five grand. Go here to check it out.


Britannicus, First Preview

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 22, 2007 12:08 AM

I know there’s nothing an actor or director hates more than hearing that a member of the press is going to come to the first preview performance of a play. But I’m not a critic, so I figured the folks at the American Repertory Theatre shouldn’t worry. I went Saturday night to see "Britannicus," Robert Woodruff's final directorial effort as artistic director of the ART.

It's classic Woodruff, with Nero and electric guitars and political overtones and a lot of homoerotic subtext. And then there’s the two things I bet won’t show up again. Somebody is either going to fix the zipper on the sweatshirt Narcissus wore, or tell Nero to stop fiddling with it. And I bet Octavia’s microphone chord won't get caught up in a chair in future performances.

Terry Byrne, formerly of the Herald, has the "Britannicus" preview in the Globe. The Phoenix also has a preview. The Patriot Ledger does a feature on the Cohasset native who plays Britannicus.


Elvis, Leaving The Building

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 21, 2007 02:40 PM

Glad to say, it appears the final edit on my Elvis kids book is done. It should be out by August, otherwise known as the 30th anniversary of the King's death.

This has been a relatively easy process, nothing close to the saga detailed by Alex Ross regarding his more scholarly work, but it always feels good to get something done. I just wish Penguin would reconsider and use Jason Chase's fantastic Elvis drawing.


Local Arts Web Sites, A Critique

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 19, 2007 07:50 PM

I'm no blog expert, but I do know when I've been web teased. A site goes up. It promises to hold my attention, and draw me back for other visits. And then... nothing. Here are a few sites I hope will improve. There's some good stuff here, and brownie points for not being too stuffy to launch a site. I like Keith's iPod picks and the new edition of the Ask Keith section, in which he reveals his history with a '72 Plymouth Duster. But the forum is about as stale as an unwrapped Twinkie, and the recently added "Message From Keith" is entertaining only because you hear the maestro, clearly being recorded during a call, hang up the phone.

American Repertory Theatre's Britannicus Blog: Not much to say here other than... don't launch a blog until you can update it. There's a single entry here, from Dec. 5. Please, somebody find Nero a keyboard.

On The Record: Different blog, same problem. Henry Fogel is a supremely informed figure. He was president of the Chicago Symphony for 18 years, among other things. But Fogel has posted just three entries since Christmas. That's barely a company news letter.

Exhibitionist: Entries on Muhammed Ali, cheap clip art, and trashy entries like this. Does this guy think we care?


Neruda, The Dirty Version

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 19, 2007 11:51 AM

Is "Neruda Songs," the heart-wrenchingly beautiful collaboration between the Liebersons and the Levines, as smutty as Sheena Easton's "Sugar Walls?"

A reader wondered that after his experience looking up the album on iTunes.

"... next to the jacket photograph, there were the words "clean lyrics." I was puzzled as to what this could possibly mean, but clicking on the words brought me to "The use of the Clean Lyrics label is to differentiate the edited version of an album or song whose content has been modified from its original form so that it does not require the Parental Advisory Label." I'm curious as to how this was done; were two versions recorded at the time, or is some sort of sophisticated electronic bleeping involved? Does the BSO under Levine customarily permit or facilitate this sort of editing?"

We were intrigued, not only by the idea of the mix-master maestro pumping out explicit orchestral arrangements - and we don't mean Milton Babbitt - but by the potential return of Tipper Gore's PMRC. Fear not, youngsters. It turns out this is some misunderstanding.

"That is a mistake," writes Nonesuch's Melissa Cusick. "There is no explicit version of Neruda Songs. We're contacting iTunes to try to get the error fixed."


Gardner Podcasts, in Fast Company

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 18, 2007 01:44 PM

The February issue of Fast Company includes a feature on the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum's podcast program. According to the piece - which you'll need a password to access on-line - the Gardner's podcasts have been downloaded 40,500 times from 83 countries.

"For this genre, 40,000 [downloads] a month is phenomenal," says Aaron Burcell, director of communications at PodShow, a leading national source for podcast statistics and information. Classical music shows typically generate between 5,000 and 10,000 downloads per month, he says, so "when you see such high numbers at a small nonprofit museum like this, you know it's the content that's driving the popularity, not the brand."


Ex-Getty Curator to Museum: You Knew The Risk

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 18, 2007 11:47 AM

The New York Times reports on the latest twist in former Getty curator Marion True's trial. The letter - first reported on by the Los Angeles Times - has been entered into the record.

The Times lead:

ROME, Jan. 17 — In a move that seemed to gratify prosecutors, lawyers for a former curator of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles who is on trial here asked on Wednesday that the court admit as evidence a letter in which the curator railed against her former employer.

A statue Italy says the Getty should return.

ICA Attendance, So Far

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 17, 2007 11:05 AM

A report from the ICA...

Through Monday, 59,622 visitors had come into the new museum. That includes 16,000 during the opening events, including 8,000 on the free, opening Sunday.

Membership is at 6,500.


Ali, Cosell, and the Black Phone

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 17, 2007 07:22 AM

For some reason, I got stuck last night on this otherwise unexceptional fight between Muhammed Ali and Oscar Natalio Bonavena. Rusty from his time off, Ali couldn't get much done until the 15th round, when he won by knocking the Argentinian down three times.

But the real spectacle is at the end, when Howard Cosell climbs into the ring and does his post-fight bit. It makes you appreciate the pre-wired days. There's Cosell, he's getting Ali to stare at a ringside monitor to comment on the knockdown. Then he gets Joe Frazier, all set to fight Ali three months later, on the phone. And I mean the phone. Cosell's holding a mike in one hand, and cradling this giant, black receiver in the other. He gets Ali to pick up the phone and talk Frazier, and blurt out things like, "Joe, we can't get along, so let's get it on." Then Bonavena comes out of nowhere and, in broken English, tells Ali "I'm sorry I call you a chicken. You are a great champion." Cosell, not wanting to be supplanted, begins to shout, in the midst of Ali, Bonovena, the trainers, New York City cops, the black phone, "we're in the midst of bedlam!"

Not that I was around in 1970, but it makes me miss the days of watching boxing. The Hagler-Leonard fight was pretty much my last go-around. Now, all sports stations are stacked up with poker or billiards, which, to me, seem about as interesting a Clinique infomercial.

Here's the 15th round, and "bedlam."


Coltrane, MLK

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 15, 2007 08:31 AM

The Museum of Fine Arts has its MLK Jr. open house, opening its doors for a series of remembrances.

The Greater Boston Youth Symphony will perform a conert at Suffolk University at 3 p.m.

Actor Charles Dutton will help pay tribute to Pulitzer Prize-winning playright August Wilson at the John F. Kennedy Library. Elvis Mitchell will moderate the program, which runs from 2 to 4 p.m.

Then, at 7 p.m., the Dr. Martin Luther King concert with the Boston Children's Chorus, Chicago Children's Chorus and Young People's Chorus of New York City takes place at Jordan Hall. If you can't make the production, it will be broadcast on WCVB-TV.

In this space, we'll commemorate the day with John Coltrane, and a performance of his composition, "Alabama."

Coltrane always supported and admired King. He played benefit concerts for the civil rights leader, and dedicated the music on his album "Cosmic Music" to him.

Birmingham, Alabama was, of course, the site of King's great peace marches, and the arrests that garnered so much attention for the movement. The city also was home to a great tragedy on a Sunday morning in September, 1965. That's when dynamite was planted in the basement of the 16th Street Baptist Church. Four young girls died.

King spoke at the their funerals, and Coltrane, as he did so famously on "A Love Supreme," used his saxophone to emulate the speech patterns of the famous orator.

Letter To The Editor, Uninvited to ART

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 14, 2007 08:53 AM

Katalin Mitchell, the public relations director at the American Repertory Theatre, took issue with my coverage of the ART's decision not to bring back artistic director Robert Woodruff. (She's not the first to complain.)

Mitchell's letter in today's paper reads:

"Geoff Edgers's piece in the Arts section on Robert Woodruff's meeting with the ART staff, Board, and friends on Thursday, Jan. 4 prompts me to make these observations:
- Woodruff's meeting with the ART community was private and by invitation only. Edgers was not invited. When it was discovered that he attended, he was informed that this was a private, off-the-record event. Therefore, quoting Woodruff without his permission was an invasion of Woodruff's and the ART's privacy.
- He contacted a person who has not worked at the ART for over two years and quoted him as if he spoke for the organization, expressing opinions that are not those of the ART and are insulting to other arts organizations.
- Edgers requested financial data from the ART provided, but unfortunately it was garbled in transmitting the computer file. The article's statement is therefore inaccurate that "mainstage subscription series revenues remained largely flat under Woodruff, hovering between $1.75 million and $2 million. They were slightly higher in the previous five years." Total revenues of the subscription seasons under Woodruff rose from $2 million to $2.4 million, higher than the $1.75 million to $2 million during the years prior to his tenure."


Lee Hyla, Jerry Lee Lewis of Classical Music

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 14, 2007 08:27 AM

[UPDATED: Here's the Eichler profile.]

Jeremy Eichler has a fabulous profile of composer Lee Hyla in Sunday's Globe. We'll provide a link as soon as the magic hour arrives. For now, you can whet your appetite with this slideshow, which features Hyla at the piano and a slew of photos, some featuring Hyla with his '70s rock band. Oh, and the slideshow will explain my reference to the nun.


James Levine, A Week Of

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 12, 2007 02:28 PM

Sirius will mark James Levine's 35th anniversary at the Metropolitan Opera with a week of broadcasts from 1973 to 2005.

If you've got Sirius, click on over to Met radio, channel 85, starting on January 15.

Among the highlights:

Rossini's "Il Barbiere di Siviglia" from 1973 with Marilyn Horne, "Cosi fan tutte" with Cecilia Bartoli, and a complete Ring Cycle.


Please Ma, No More Museum Talk!

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 12, 2007 11:32 AM

Poor Suisan. She wants to take her daughter to the art museum. And all her mother wants to do is see the Titanic (below) exhibition. God. And she can't stop talking about Boston. Never mind that they're in San Francisco. It's Peabody Essex this, MFA that.

Wait. Why am I trying to tell this? Suisan can do it so much better.

Grudge Match 1
Grudge Match 2


Thank You Note, Department Of

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 11, 2007 01:56 PM

I bet Mitt never got one of these. Dan Hunter, head of the Massachusetts Advocates for the Arts, Sciences, & Humanities, sent out an e-mail asking arts lovers to send the new governer a "thank you" note. The solicitation opens with a slam of the Herald's recent story "criticizing Governor Deval Patrick’s support for the arts. The Boston Herald likes to print stories about small corners of the state budget. These articles will continue to come and go with little long term significance."

Then there's this link to the thank you note template.


Gardner Expansion, Update

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 11, 2007 11:44 AM

Time for another update, this on the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum's expansion plans. When last we wrote, the Gardner had announced it had hired Italian architect Renzo Piano to design a building on the museum's site. The project, which officials said would cost at least $60 million, would move offices and the café out of the existing "Palace" and triple the Gardner's special exhibitions space.

To make room for Piano's building, the Gardner says it needs to knock down a pair of structures on the site. One is the carriage house, built by Mrs. Gardner in 1907. The second is a two-story annex, constructed in 1933, after her death.

[Below, are two views of the carriage house. A third diagram gives you a sense of where the Gardner plans to expand.]

Earlier this week, the Boston Landmarks Commission told the Gardner it could knock down the annex, but said museum officials needed to offer a better explanation before removing the carriage house.

As far as the annex, "it was built in 1933 after her death, it was an adminstrative support building," said Roysin Bennett Younkin, architectural historian for the Landmarks Commission. "[In regard to the carriage house, "their concern was the association with Mrs. Gardner."

James Labeck, the Garder's director of operations, said the museum intends to prove its case before April 9, when the Landmark Commission's 90-day delay expires. The museum has tried to incorporate the carriage house into Piano's plans, but it won't work, Labeck said.




Calvin Trillin, Not Dating

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 10, 2007 09:28 PM

My review of Calvin Trillin's "About Alice" ran a few days ago. Here's Lizzy Ratner's fantastic feature on Trillin in the New York Observer. She details how the New Yorker essay (and now book) about his late wife seemed to "trip some kind of secret wire in urban romantics' hearts."

My favorite exchange:
As for the thorny question of dating, he responded that he could conceive of it, though "not in some organized way."
"I don't want to be fixed up with your aunt, if that's what you mean," he said.


Calvin Trillin (pictured with Alice after their London marriage in 1965) benefited from his wife's contributions as muse, straight woman, and sounding board. (courtesy of calvin trillin)

News Dump

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 9, 2007 02:20 PM

A few news nuggets worth blogging...

- The American Symphony Orchestra League has given the Longwood Symphony Orchestra one of its Metlife Awards for excellence. (The other recipients are: Oakland East Bay Symphony, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

The LSO gets $7,500 for its "Healing Art of Music Program."

- The Cleveland Orchestra is going to record again. Under music director Franz Welser-Möst, the Orchestra is going to tape this week's performances of Beethoven Symphony No. 9. The Orchestra will release the recording on CD and the Net. What's sort of odd, from the article, is that there is, as of yet, no label signed on to release the planned disc.

- Eager for more illegal antiquities talk? SAFE "Saving Antiquities for Everyone" is doing podcasts with, among others, Donny George (former director of the Iraq Museum in Baghdad), author Roger Atwood, and law professor Patty Gerstenblith.

- Time's Richard Lacayo has launched a blog. In this entry, he discusses the Institute of Contemporary Art a bit.

- Doesn't Jim Rice deserve to be treated better than this?


Exhibitionist, On Stern

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 8, 2007 02:01 PM

At 2:41 p.m., we're told, Howard Stern news reporter Lisa G's report on my report on Howard Stern - does this sound incestuous enough for ya? - will air on Sirius.

Also, here's the transcript of our on-line chat.


Defending Scott Black's Art

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 8, 2007 12:41 PM

Ken Johnson's review of the Scott Black exhibition didn't sit well with a few folks. Here are the letters that ran Sunday if you didn't catch 'em.

Too personal
Ken Johnson’s opening attack on ‘‘The Romance of Modernism: Paintings and Sculpture From the Scott M. Black Collection’’ struck me as strangely negative and personal (‘‘Mixed blessing,’’ Weekend, Dec. 29). An art critic should focus his attention on the art, not the donor who generously chooses to share his paintings and resources with the public.

I can understand the temptation to knock Scott Black down a peg or two. Perhaps Black might have earned Ken Johnson’s praises if he had spent his money buying flavor-of-the-month trendy contemporary artists who sell for way too much money.
Since Johnson obviously wouldn’t be caught dead hanging a ‘‘vapid’’ portrait by Renoir, a ‘‘mediocre’’ Monet, or a ‘‘paint-by-numbers’’ Cross, what does he collect? Perhaps Johnson collects contemporary paintings that are so new that they have no history; that way he can pretend to be avant-garde. Or perhaps he zeros in on some not-well-collected category of drawings or prints — something esoteric that allows him to, again, play the art intellectual while bashing mere millionaires that collect third-rate paintings.
New Bedford

Ken Johnson’s review of the Scott Black Collection is mean-spirited at best and an ad hominem attack at worst. His arrogant and denigrating comments on the paintings and collector are well beyond the norms of artistic reviews, almost suggesting a personal animus. Shame on Johnson and the Globe for publishing such drivel. We readers expect more.
Portland, Maine


Exhibitionist, Stern Chat

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 8, 2007 06:10 AM

At 11 a.m., I'll be chatting at about all things Howard Stern. Feel free to stop by, even if you haven't been listening to "The King of All Media," and want to commiserate about the sad state of radio.


Exhibitionist Archives, Mike Nesmith

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 6, 2007 02:02 PM

This story, from Wired Magazine back in 2000, should explain why I really do believe Mike Nesmith is not just the Monkee in the knit cap.


Hate Mail, Episode 2

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 5, 2007 12:34 PM

This exchange, between Judd Apatow and Mark Brazill, is an oldie, but a goodie. I'm posting it because I assume I'm not the only one who missed it the first time around.

So you know, Apatow created the cult TV show "Freaks and Geeks" and then co-wrote and directed "The 40 Year-Old Virgin." Brazill created "That '70s Show." They are apparently not friends.

Judd Apatow

The '70s Show

The ICA, In The Wall Street Journal

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 4, 2007 03:52 PM

CultureGrrl, a.k.a. Lee Rosenbaum (below), has her take on the ICA in the Wall Street Journal. My favorite section:

"...while I was seated in the café, a loud thud was heard as someone smacked full force into a glass wall beside the confusingly designed exit. While the victim iced his forehead outside, Mr. Renfro assured me that this fault would be corrected by affixing stickers."

Here's part 1 and part 2.


Body Worlds, Extended Viewing Hours

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 3, 2007 04:45 PM

Good news if you're still hoping to see "Body Worlds 2" before it closes Sunday at the Museum of Science. The Museum has extended its hours, staying open from 6 a.m. to midnight Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Buy tickets in advance here.

By the way, December vacation week broke attendance records at the Museum with 103,000 visitors. On Dec. 29, the MOS had its highest daily attendance ever, with 21,000 people visiting, including 8,700 for "Body Worlds 2" alone.


Shout Out, At Pops

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 3, 2007 02:24 PM

Those attending a Dec. 28 Holiday Pops concert at Symphony Hall may have heard a man shout, during a quiet moment, "Where's the beef, where's the orchestra!"

That was Paul Sullivan, whose complaints have been reported in the paper recently.

Sullivan tells me he was making reference to the Pops decision to play its post-Christmas gigs with fewer players.


Wednesday Reads

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 3, 2007 10:17 AM

Life isn't a popularity contest, until, that is, you get noticed. And it's nice to see this humble blog make the Top 10 Tyler Green submitted to the Walker Art Center.

Frammolino and Felch are at it again. They've found new information to support claims that the 2,400-year-old Aphrodite statue, "the best-known work" in the J. Paul Getty Museum's antiquities collection, was illegally looted before it came to the American museum.

Franklin Einspruch did not like Ken Johnson's review of the Scott Black show.

Josh Glenn teases us by promising that, were he in charge, you would be able to make comments on our blog.


Another Letter, Boston Pops

Posted by Geoff Edgers January 2, 2007 03:44 PM

It's been so long since anybody wrote, that it's a pleasure to get a second letter today. Here it is, from a Pops subscriber.

Hello Geoff,

I read with great interest your December 8th article (“Pops trims orchestra at five holiday shows”). Our family always attends a pre-Christmas concert and has done so for the past ten years. In addition, this year I also attended the December 29th concert with my college alumni association and, as a result, had a chance to compare the two concerts. People who attended the 29th concert and were expecting holiday music (which everyone in our group was) were extremely disappointed by the selections. In case you weren’t at any of the concerts, the New York Voices announced there would be no Christmas music at this concert because they were tired of singing that and the orchestra was tired of playing it. Not only were the members of our group disappointed in the music, but also in the size (or lack thereof) of the “orchestra”. It would appear as though many of the other attendees were as well. Many were dressed in red and there were lots of families, an indication that they were expecting a holiday performance. I even saw some people leave prior to the intermission. The second balcony was not even 1/3 full and the “electricity” of a typical Pops Holiday Concert was not evident.

Our family is a Pops Supporter and we receive advance ticket order forms. I went back and checked and in their defense, the Pops indicate that those concerts would be pre-New Years concerts with different music. However, they did not mention that the size of the orchestra would be drastically reduced.

I am very interested to hear if you’ve received any feedback, either positive or negative as a result of your article. I’m also curious to see what the Pops will do next year.

On another note, we always enjoyed Bruce Hangen and his style of conducting and we were very disappointed to see he was “let go”. While Grant Llewellyn is an excellent conductor and thoroughly enjoyable, he doesn’t seem to have the rapport with the audience that Bruce Hangen had. Just my opinion…

Thanks for listening and keep up the good work!

Happy New Year,

Gordon MacEwan


Top 30 of 2006

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 31, 2006 08:52 AM

I used to get a teensy bit jealous this time of year. That's when the editors deigned who to invite into the Top 10 list club. You know, the best music or movies or grilled cheese sandwiches of the year. When asked - and as a non-critic, I was honored with an invitation twice in five years - I took my work seriously. I scoured the year's list of releases, sampled the music in question, and tried to come up with a proper list. It's not easy. A great list offers something unexpected without sounding too contrived. (Confession: I did pick Geoff Muldaur's Bix Beiderbecke tribute one year.) It also tries to move beyond the obvious. (Okay, Cat Power. We get it.)

This year, I didn't even attempt to hang with the cool kids. Besides, enough folks are jockeying for Top 10 space in the paper. Out here on the Internets, space is unlimited.

1. Michael Pollan, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals.” This created some problems at home, as I grew obsessed with ordering grass-fed beef and then, after slapping down way too much money to a mid-western meat provider whose cooked cuts tasted about as fresh as an Andrew Dice Clay bit, realized I had defeated the purpose by burning fossil fuels. Also, nobody in the house seemed to appreciate my four-day obsession with oyster mushrooms. But if you care about what you eat, this a more literate alternative to “Fast Food Nation.”

2. Elvis Costello, Allen Toussaint, July 5, Cape Cod Melody Tent. The record they did together would be better if Costello didn't croak his way through so many of the lead vocals. At this show, though, Toussaint took the mic early, and often. He also rearranged Costello’s warhorses, making even that aging slut “Alison” sound fresh.

3. “The Departed.” The only flaw: That rat.

4. James Levine loses 30 pounds. As much as it hurt the Boston Symphony to lose its maestro, Levine’s desire to lose weight - anyone for Pilates? - is the BSO's best bet for a lengthy Levine tenure.

5. Nano. So the shuffle was the size of a pack of gum. But could anything be more aggravating than trying to figure out, without a screen, what song might come next? The Nano is small, less likely to break than a regular iPod – it’s got flash memory, no hard drive – and finally offers a screen.

6. Birth of Exhibitionist. After years of toiling behind the scenes, ink-stained wretch finally gets to post things like this.

7. "Pearl Jam." The great forgotten album, the curse of coming out so early in the year. I don’t like Pearl Jam that much. But this one’s a keeper, a lot closer to Green Day’s “American Idiot” than “Jeremy.”

8. Papelbon. Now he’s going to start?


9. My Morning Jacket and The Boston Pops, June 21 and 22. Imagine bootlegging Keith Lockhart. A lot of My Morning Jacket fans did, trading sound and video clips, many with a Zapruderesque wobble, during the pair of Pops gigs featuring Jim James & Co. The “Pops On The Edge” series had its ups and downs. (Sorry, Aimee Mann, but you stiffed at the box office.) But nowhere did the concept come together, artistically and commercially, better than with My Morning Jacket.

10. Sirius. My wife bought me satellite radio knowing 1. I drive a car without a CD player, 2. I can no longer take the AM-tyrants, and 3. I am a closeted Howard Stern junkie. Good call.

11. "The True False Identity, T-Bone Burnett. Every few years, a rock album comes out with that perfect sound. This record wasn't as popular, but it’s a better blues record than Bob Dylan’s “Modern Times.”

12. Institute of Contemporary Art. It took a while, and not everybody could make the big party. But the new ICA is an important, new addition to Boston’s cultural landscape.

13. Boston Marathon. Sure, it wasn't a land speed record. I did beat the guy in the gorilla suit.

14. “High Fidelity” and “The Times, They Are A-Changin’” bomb. After “Lennon” failed as well, perhaps Broadway will finally understand that rock and roll fans and musical junkies do not hang out together. Abba lovers, incidentally, do not count.

15. “Neruda Songs,” Lorraine Hunt Lieberson accompanied by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The first release of the Levine era makes perfect sense. Just out in December, this is already considered the classical record of the year.


16. "Ys," Joanna Newsom. The fact she plays harp, and has been compared to Victoria Williams, should have served as a warning. I’m glad I didn’t resist. Slightly off-kilter orchestral pop, plus Van Dyke Parks.

17. The Michael Richards rant? Lohan V. Hilton? All here.

18. “The Emperor’s Children,” by Claire Messud. It’s a testament to Messud’s writing that it’s so hard to put down a book populated by such selfish, spoiled people. “The Corrections” feels like “Uncle Buck” next to this novel.

19. “Crazy,” Gnarls Barkley. Explain how this could possibly not be single of the year.

20. Cornelia Parker, Watching Her Install Her Art. Sometimes, I’d do this job for free. (Hope the publisher doesn’t read this blog.)

21. "Little Miss Sunshine." Exactly what the last couple of Wes Anderson movies should have been.

22. Globe hires Ken Johnson (art critic) and Jeremy Eichler (classical music critic). This was satisfying, having watched grumblers proclaim we were replacing serious art coverage with some kind of “Dancing With the Stars” beat.

23. “State of Denial,” by Bob Woodward. This is a politics-free blog, but it's always fascinating to live vicariously through Woodward’s notebook.

24. Warren Zevon, "Desperados Under The Eaves." Yes, this is a 30-year-old song. But I can’t stop listening to it. "I was sitting in the Hollywood Hawaiian Hotel, I was listening to the air conditioner hum…"

25. Andy Partridge, "The Fuzzy Warbles Collectors Album." Andy, you had me at packaging alone. But thanks for the “Dear God” demo.

26. Steve Reich, “Phases: A Nonesuch Retrospective.” Perfect as a starter set, or as a reminder.

27. "Spaceman: A Baseball Odyssey." I never get sick of Bill Lee, a figure who is at once tragic, ridiculous, and ultimately unstoppable. The footage of Lee in the early 80s jogging through the streets of Montreal is priceless.

28. The New York Dolls, “One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This.” What happens when the comeback, after more than 30 years, is actually better than anything you did in the day?

29. "Alice, Off The Page," by Calvin Trillin. The New Yorker article that, next month, becomes a book. And with good reason.

30. “A Prairie Home Companion,” directed by Robert Altman. “I’m of an age when if I started to do eulogies, I’d be doing nothing else.”

Bill "Spaceman" Lee

Neruda Songs, A Smash

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 30, 2006 07:45 PM

As Alex Ross notes, "Neruda Songs," Lorraine Hunt Lieberson's recording with James Levine's Boston Symphony Orchestra, is at #3 on Amazon. And we don't mean under "classical music." The album is looking down at Justin Timberlake, the Beatles, and John Mayer.

Here's NPR's feature on "Neruda," with Levine, Ross and composer Peter Lieberson - the late singer's widower - doing interviews. How sad to read that Lieberson spoke from the hospital, where he's being treated for lymphoma.


Met At The Movies, A Report

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 30, 2006 05:58 PM

I couldn't get to Framingham for the Metropolitan Opera's simulcast screening of "The Magic Flute," so we'll rely on a very trusted authority - my father - for a first-hand report:

"It was sold out." [My parents bought their tickets, $18 plus $2 service charge, a month ago online.] "It wasn't that big a theater, and we were told by somebody that one of the reasons they didn't choose a bigger house is they had technical issues."

"It was really fun sitting in an auditorium and seeing a Metropolitan Opera production. The Met has great production values, wonderful singing, wonderful theatricality. It was also an abbrieviated, English language version of the opera. I didn't mind abbreviation but I happen to like that opera better in German than English."

"The audience was very well behaved. It behaved like an opera audience, even though there were some children there. There were people eating popcorn and they were dressed much more casually than you're used to seeing at the Met."

"It sounded great. It looked great. You could see that the picture, you could almost see some of the pixels, so this thing was obviously stretching technology. But the color was beautiful and the production values were excellent. And you had the screen right in front of you, so you could see emotion and makeup and costumes much better than you could sitting 30 rows back in the theater."

Anything strange? "If you're in a live performance, there are certain times when you would normally applaud and the applause was much less because I think people felt some discomfort applauding to a screen. They did applaud, but it was much more subdued than in a normal situation."


Best Of 2006, List 2

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 29, 2006 01:31 PM

List 1, if you missed it.

Continuing on, and in no particular order of importance:

9. My Morning Jacket and The Boston Pops, June 21 and 22. Imagine bootlegging Keith Lockhart. A lot of My Morning Jacket fans did, trading sound and video clips, many with a Zapruderesque wobble, during the pair of Pops gigs featuring Jim James & Co. The “Pops On The Edge” series had its ups and downs. (Sorry, Aimee Mann, but you stiffed at the box office.) But nowhere did the concept come together, artistically and commercially, better than with My Morning Jacket.

10. Sirius. My wife bought me satellite radio knowing 1. I drive a car without a CD player, 2. I can no longer take the AM-tyrants, and 3. I am a closeted Howard Stern junkie. Good call.

11. T-Bone Burnett, “The True False Identity.” Every few years, a rock album comes out with that perfect sound. This record wasn't as popular, but it’s a better blues record than Bob Dylan’s “Modern Times.”

12. Institute of Contemporary Art. It took a while, and not everybody could make the big party. But the new ICA is an important, new addition to Boston’s cultural landscape.

13. Boston Marathon. Sure, it wasn't a land speed record. I did beat the guy in the gorilla suit.

14. “High Fidelity” and “The Times, They Are A-Changin’” bomb. After “Lennon” failed as well, perhaps Broadway will finally understand that rock and roll fans and musical junkies do not hang out together. Abba lovers, incidentally, do not count.

15. “Neruda Songs,” Lorraine Hunt Lieberson accompanied by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The first release of the Levine era makes perfect sense. Just out in December, this is already considered the classical record of the year.


Scott Black Review, Woodruff Leaving (2)

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 29, 2006 10:19 AM

Ken Johnson wasn't a big fan of MFA overseer Scott Black's art collection. Here's a line: "So, rather than tell him that many of the paintings and sculptures in his collection would be prime candidates for deaccessioning if ever they were bequethed to the MFA, the museum is giving him a nice, ego-boosting kiss of gratitude in the form of this depressingly uneven, mixed bag of an exhibition."

Read on.

And Robert Woodruff's ART exit is detailed here. Joel Brown, at, makes note of the ART's interesting approach to announcing such an important chunk of news: Send out a press release, and then have virtually nobody available for comment. "It's pretty clear the ART didn't want to talk about it," he writes.


Naked Woman

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 27, 2006 05:50 PM

Boy, are things slow. Where is the arts news? Okay, we've got three things today.

Actually, one isn't news. Read Alex Beam's column. It's a good one.

The American Textile History Museum is cutting admission fees in half while it redesigns and renovates its main exhibit, Textiles in America. As of January 4, entry is $4 for adults, $3 for anyone 6 to 16.

Oh, and there's a new gallery opening in Weymouth next month. That's where the nekkid lady - seen below - comes in. She's the work of Edwina Caci, one of the artists to be featured at the Art Treasure Gallery, which will be on Route 18 in Weymouth next to the former Weymouth Naval Air Station.

The gallery opens January 11.


Best Of 2006, List 1

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 26, 2006 02:48 PM

I used to get a teensy bit jealous this time of year. That's when the editors deigned who to invite into the Top 10 list club. You know, the best music or movies or grilled cheese sandwiches of the year. When asked - and as a non-critic, I was honored with an invitation twice in five years - I took my work seriously. I scoured the year's list of releases, sampled the music in question, and tried to come up with a proper list. It's not easy. A great list offers something unexpected without sounding too contrived. (Confession: I did pick Geoff Muldaur's Bix Beiderbecke tribute one year.) It also tries to move beyond the obvious. (Okay, Cat Power. We get it.)

This year, I didn't even attempt to hang with the cool kids. Besides, enough folks are jockeying for Top 10 space in the paper. Out here on the Internets, space is unlimited.

So here's my new idea, with a nod to Greil Marcus, he of Salon's now defunct "Real Life Top 10." I'm offering a series of lists over the next few days. The lists aren't in any particular order, though they're numbered because, well, they're lists. By the end, we should end up with around 40 to 50 things - songs, books, movies, moments - I considered my favorites of 2006. If you're intrigued, feel free to write, or suggest your own ideas.

1. Michael Pollan, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals.” This created some problems at home, as I grew obsessed with ordering grass-fed beef and then, after slapping down way too much money to a mid-western meat provider whose cooked cuts tasted about as fresh as an Andrew Dice Clay bit, realized I had defeated the purpose by burning fossil fuels. Also, nobody in the house seemed to appreciate my four-day obsession with oyster mushrooms. But if you care about what you eat, this a more literate alternative to “Fast Food Nation.”

2. Elvis Costello, Allen Toussaint, July 5, Cape Cod Melody Tent. The record they did together would be better if Costello didn't croak his way through so many of the lead vocals. At this show, though, Toussaint took the mic early, and often. He also rearranged Costello’s warhorses, making even that aging slut “Alison” sound fresh.

3. “The Departed.” The only flaw: That rat.

4. James Levine loses 30 pounds. As much as it hurt the Boston Symphony to lose its maestro, Levine’s desire to lose weight - anyone for Pilates? - is the BSO's best bet for a lengthy Levine tenure.

5. Nano. So the shuffle was the size of a pack of gum. But could anything be more aggravating than trying to figure out, without a screen, what song might come next? The Nano is small, less likely to break than a regular iPod – it’s got flash memory, no hard drive – and finally offers a screen.

6. Birth of Exhibitionist. After years of toiling behind the scenes, ink-stained wretch finally gets to post things like this.

7. Pearl Jam. The great forgotten album, the curse of coming out so early in the year. I don’t like Pearl Jam that much. But this one’s a keeper, a lot closer to Green Day’s “American Idiot” than “Jeremy.”

8. Papelbon. Now he’s going to start?


Post-Holiday Reads

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 26, 2006 08:55 AM

The Globe has a more detailed account of James Brown's 1968 Boston concert (image below), including an interesting quote from Peter Wolf.

Ever wonder what the Beatles-obsessed do with their time? Publish their own books, and make some decent coin. Incidentally, have I mentioned this Beatles children's book would make excellent winter reading? And it's only $5.

The ultimate answer for the inflated auction market? Decaying art.


Scott Black, Art Collector

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 24, 2006 09:42 AM

Here's a story that represents the first - and perhaps last - time that I've used the phrase "vagina dentata" on the front of the Sunday A & E section.

Hopefully, you'll keep reading.

Last month, Scott Black, an art collector who is also an overseer at the Museum of Fine Arts, let me watch as he visited Christie's Auction House so I could get a sense of how he buys art. Why now? An exhibition featuring his collection is on display at the MFA.

Panache did an interview with Black.


Scott and Isabelle Black in front of Paul Cézanne’s Trees in the Jas de Bouffan (circa 1874), which they lent to the exhibition Cézanne in Provence at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. © 2006 Board of Trustees, National Gallery of Art, Washington; Photo by Kyle Samperton

ICA Catchups...

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 23, 2006 10:30 PM

Charles Giuliano connects the new ICA to the Menino proposal to move City Hall and the 20th Century takeover of the West End. This graph - And what of the new ICA in its acclaimed building by Diller, Scofidio and Renfro? Once the euphoria cools off how long will it take for the bold cantilevered design to begin to look like a cliché? - tells us Giuliano hasn't been drinking the Kool Aid.

This blogger has an interesting ICA take, if only because I've yet to see the new museum trigger an analysis of Memphis.

This story about the ICA's new shop has an interesting wrap-up discussing the T-shirts being sold supposedly featuring an architect's drawing of the building...

" architect was disconcerted to see that the image "is nearly twice as long and half as high" as it should be. "It seems like an inadvertent error of distortion," says Preston Scott Cohen, a professor at Harvard's Graduate School of Design. "It's a shame."

Ricardo Scofidio, one of the architects for the ICA, acknowledged the image is "slightly squashed," but said he doesn't know how it turned out that way and declined to comment further. "I figure that if someone with the right proportions wore the T-shirt, they could stretch it out to be the right scale."


Among the many items for sale at ICA Store are lamps of various shapes and sizes. (Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff)

Spend The Holidays With The Exhibitionist

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 22, 2006 03:27 PM

It's become fashionable to post a "see you in 2007" message around now. And hey, there's nothing wrong with that. Except we're not going anywhere next week. It's likely there will be a slow down of arts news. But so what? We've got plenty of YouTube clips to share, and, starting sometime soon, my list of favorites for the year. (It's at 52 and counting.)

Also, I promise a Jon Sarkin cartoon for the naughty and nice.


Musical Card, With Wagner

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 22, 2006 10:02 AM

Michael Monroe, an assistant professor of music at Gordon College, sent along this musical card that - if you're willing to give it some time - grows deliciously weird.


Friday Reads...

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 22, 2006 07:42 AM

Sony's secret snooping software, otherwise known as the Neil Diamond dilemma, has led to a nice, fat settlement against the entertainment company. And Neil (seen below), who apparently got all depressed when his best CD ever - my opinion - had to be recalled, is back in the studio.

The Italians threaten the Getty.

The Children's Museum, as announced weeks ago, sent out another press release reminding everyone that it's closing (third item).

And Cathy Deely, the Gardner Museum's head press person, has let some folks know she's leaving.


Ken Freed, Holiday Greetings

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 21, 2006 01:32 PM

Ken Freed, who recently auctioned off a good chunk of his collection, has sent out an e-mail to mark the New Year.


Der Tagesspiegel 19.12.2006

The new breed of collectors who are pushing up art prices to unparalleled heights "are not only wealthy, but also educated and cultivated," says art dealer Rudolf Zwirner in an interview. This newly-educated class wants to buy art at events, not trade fairs. "At parties, what's important is the fun, not the interminable discourses on the artworks. That's why organisers now liven up their fairs with parties. These buyers got rich quick on the stock market, and have a relatively playful relationship to money. They're ready to win and to lose. That's why the market for contemporary art is so strong right now in the USA, especially in New York, the stock market capital… The young rich start with 21st century art. Just like on the stock market, they see no sense in buying a share at it's highest value. They prefer young enterprises, in this case, up-and-coming painters or certain trends. For example the Leipzig School (more here). There, it makes no difference how good the painting is, because if I belong to the buyers on the ground floor, even if the work later turns out to be junk, the price will still go up in the short run. Today 60 to 70 percent of art purchases are motivated by speculation."

On that note, I wish you all a happy holiday season.



Turnpike Authority To Mass Hort.: Bye, Bye

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 21, 2006 12:19 PM

Three years ago, a Globe magazine story asked the question: "A spectacular winter garden is the centerpiece of the Massachusetts Horticulture Society's plan for the parkland above the depressed Central Artery. But can the society get the job done?"

Yesterday, the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority gave at least its version of the answer. Mass Hort. says it will fight the decision by the MTA to yank its support for the organization's plans for the Rose Kennedy Greenway.


Fund For Fixing Arts Buildings, Apply Here

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 20, 2006 02:50 PM

Got a crumbling theater (below) you're looking to fix up? The Massachusetts Cultural Council has announced it is accepting applications for the Cultural Facilities Fund approved last July.


Journey, Kicking Out Another Steve

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 20, 2006 10:24 AM

Okay, this might be filed under the category of "who cares?"

But Journey's pr folks sent me this announcement, and it's hard to ignore. Steve Augeri, the dude brought in to replace the real Steve - STEVE PERRY - has been replaced by... Jeff Scott Soto.

Yippee. What Journey needs is to lure back Steve Perry. He can still sing. Honest. I got him to croon a few lines back in 2005. But Jeff Scott Soto? Is it ever a good sign when the "rave reviews" the press agent cites are from the Grand Rapids Press?

The Real Steve

The Replacement Steve

Jeff Scott Soto
scott soto.jpg

ICA Visit, Broken Glass

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 19, 2006 05:33 PM

Believe it or not, today marked my first real visit to the ICA. Oh, I went in for lunch last week, but after skipping all the parties and press opening - I was away, okay? - I headed to the new museum to see how it had come together.

Overall, it felt good to see the place up and running. Depending on how many high school kids were walking through, the galleries ranged from crowded to comfortable. The cafe filled up at lunchtime, precipitating a quick walk over to Anthony's. (And a dining experience, thanks to the broiled scallops and ice cream sundae, that remained with me throughout much of Tuesday.)

Now to the issues. It was hard not to notice the cracked panels along the back wall of the glass elevator. Apparently, the panels were damaged even before the opening. The plan is to replace the glass over the next few Mondays, when the museum is closed.

On to the mediatheque. That's the room with 18 iMacs, and a stunning, rectangular view of the water. I've heard complaints of the computers crashing, but wanted to check out for myself. Alas, three of the 18 machines weren't working. Those on-line were not running smoothly. It took more than two minutes to load sections of the site, and some features simply didn't seem to work.

But good news. David Henry, the ICA's director of programs, told me today that the problems are software related, and should be rectified later this week. Expect faster-loading programs, and fewer crashes, he said.

What I did see was encouraging. Laurie Anderson's short film is funny. So were the "tags," which allow ICA visitors to label a video or an artwork. Anderson's tags included "weirdgood, "pretentious," and "be-boppy." Also, for those keeping score, Rachel Perry Welty and Sheila Gallagher were leading the popular vote for the ICA Artist Prize. They each had 34.68 percent of the vote. Jane D. Marsching was at 16.96 percent, and Kelly Sherman at 13.67 percent.

Too bad for Perry Welty and Gallagher that the popular vote doesn't mean squat. A jury will decide who takes home the $25,000.

Hey, here's ICA curator Bennett Simpson giving a tour.

Remembering Joseph Barbera, Tom and Jerry

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 18, 2006 08:29 PM

Joseph Barbera, who died Monday at 95, was one half of the team that gave us "The Flintstones, "Yogi Bear" and "Tom and Jerry."

Scientologists Go After Scientology-Inspired Production

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 18, 2006 05:03 PM

How did Tom Cruise's church feel about "A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant," the Boston Theatre Works musical that closed Saturday night? Gerard Renna, head of Boston's branch of the Church of Scientology, said he found the production, which he didn't see, "uninteresting."

But Renna did take an interest in the show's program. On Dec. 1, he sent a letter to artistic director Jason Southerland telling him the picture of Church founder L. Ron Hubbard had to go. It is copyrighted, and Southerland had no permission to use it. Southerland tried to correct the issue, placing a sticker over the image of Hubbard - he said he didn't have time to get new programs printed - but Renna still wasn't happy. (See the letter below.)

Southerland's solution? Over the weekend, the company cut the picture out of some programs. But others, with the sticker, were handed out. From the stage, Southerland and other theater members made an appeal not to peel. If the sticker remained on, he felt the company would be protected.

We asked Renna about the exchange today.

"It's a copyright violation," he said, adding he planned to take no legal action. "We have a right to our copyright. There's no story here other than that it's a copyright violation."


Extended Viewing Hours, Body Worlds

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 18, 2006 06:51 AM

Holiday Pops, "The Nutcracker," and... plastinated pregnant ladies?

Yes, it is the holiday season, and "Body Worlds 2," that cadaver show you can't do without, will extend its hours as it nears the January 7 closing. Starting on Dec. 26, the Museum of Science will keep the exhibition open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and until 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday. MOS recommends buying tickets in advance by calling 617-723-2500 or going online to


News Updates

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 16, 2006 07:47 AM

The American Textile History Museum in Lowell is launching the public portion of its $3.9 million campaign. The museum has already raised $1.5 million during its "quiet phase." In boardspeak, the goal of the campaign is "to preserve, protect and provide public access to the Museum’s collections; to renovate the Museum’s core exhibition, textiles in America (TIA); and to build its endowment and its future in Lowell, as a partner in the city’s continuing efforts to stimulate the economy and encourage the growth of the cultural community.”

More specifically, the museum will use $1.5 million to redesign TIA, $1.4 million for operating funds, and $1 million for the endowment.

Senator Kennedy will be one of the featured speakers at the Association of Performing Arts Presenters conference in New York City next month.

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts has announced a February opening for a show centered around the "San Francisco sound." One exhibit will feature 60 photographs of, among others, the Grateful Dead, Janis Jopin and Jefferson Airplane. In another gallery, the museum will feature 28 posters designed for the Avalon Ballroom and the Fillmore. Does something about this sound familiar?


Freed At Last

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 15, 2006 04:46 PM

The figures are in from the Kenneth L. Freed auction, and the Boston collector should be happy. The $2.25 million total topped the high estimate, and records were set for works by Liz Larner, Thomas Nozkowski, Lee Lozano and a bunch of others.


Runaway Reindeer, A Holiday Story

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 14, 2006 01:33 PM

The folks who brought us "The Somerville Gates" are back with another important project. A warning: "Runaway Reindeer" is an emotional roller-coaster.


Thursday Reads

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 14, 2006 11:24 AM

Alan Bull paints trucks. Joel Brown writes stories. Go here and see how their lives intersect.

Tyler Green disses us for our ICA coverage, and then he came back and half-dissed us. (Actually, he praised me, about 29 percent of the reason we're posting here.) What I really like about Tyler's post is the linkage to a homemade film of the ICA's elevator.

Now this story, involving former Boston Phoenix writer Michael Crowley, is an odd one. Definitely the first time I've seen the New York Times reference the "small penis rule."

Welcome, Dice-K. Can Roger be far behind?


A truck painting by Alan Bull.

Our Hero, Andy Partridge....

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 13, 2006 11:16 AM

So I've got an interview with XTC's Andy Partridge, but that's not all. In the next few weeks, I'll offer nine posts on Partridge, one for each disc in his new set.


Newport Folk Festival Snub

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 13, 2006 07:21 AM

Everybody sounds so polite when you ask, but how else to explain the North American Folk Music and Dance Alliance's decision not to nominate the Newport, er, Dunkin' Donuts Folk Festival for its annual awards. The nominees are: Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, Kate Wolf Memorial Music Festival, Kerrville Folk Festival, Philadelphia Folk Festival, and Winnipeg Folk Music Festival.

Is this the Elvis Costello-isn't-a-folkie philosophy at play?

Randy Wynne, the Florida program director who chaired the Folk Alliance's nomination committee, offered the following in an e-mail:

"I think Newport is great but there are five excellent folk festivals on the finalist list. For some members' taste Newport may be based too much on big name artists these days and not the grassroots music that is central to the Folk Alliance."

Bob Jones, Newport's longtime producer, told me he wasn't particularly upset by the snub. "It's possible that there's an old, hard kind of feeling. We push the envelope with the music pretty strongly. So for the most part, it doesn't surprise me."

Just so we all feel better, here's a picture of somebody I think looks like a real, genuine folk singer.


Handel Artist Cancels, Opera Underground

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 12, 2006 01:10 PM

[UPDATE: John Finney, H&H's Associate Conductor and Chorusmaster, will step in for Haim.]

The Handel and Haydn Society tells us that Emmanuelle Haim (below) has had to cancel her Sunday and Wednesday appearances due to an ear infection.

Here's a promising development: Opera Boston will head to the Lizard Lounge for "an informal, themed opera cabaret" on Jan. 17. For $5, you'll get an evening hosted by Opera Boston Music Director Gil Rose and singers Glorivy Arroyo and Christian Figueroa. The first show will have a Kurt Weill theme, and singers interested in participating should e-mail:


ICA Chat - Transcript

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 11, 2006 06:38 PM

Exhibitionist, Chat At 11

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 11, 2006 08:58 AM

I'll be at, chatting about the ICA and any other arts and cultural matters of interest. Like, do I really sort of agree with Bill O'Reilly about "Happy Feet?" So come on by.

Here's the link.


More ICA Coverage

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 9, 2006 03:10 PM

The Providence Journal chimes in, though I'm so tired of having to create a password to sift through a newspaper's free website - the Globe's also an offender - I didn't read the piece.

GQ has a blurb.

Former Globe art critic Christine Temin has her second ICA-is-opening story. This one's in the Washington Post.

Maverick Arts has a pair of articles on the ICA, an architecture review and then a nicely grumpy piece about what's actually inside the snazzy, new building.


Shrinking Pops...

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 8, 2006 03:57 PM

The post-Christmas crunch is nothing new for the Boston Pops. And those touring Rockettes didn't make anything easier. Here's a story from today about how the Boston Symphony Orchestra's management is dealing with the seat struggles. It is rolling out a 40-member orchestra for a series of concerts after Christmas.


Tune In Quick - Lieberson's "Neruda" Debut

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 8, 2006 11:48 AM

The BSO/Lorraine Hunt Lieberson recording of "Neruda Songs" won't be out until Dec. 19, but today, at 1 p.m., WGBH will debut the recording before the broadcast of the BSO's concert.

Also, look for Jeremy Eichler's piece on Lieberson in the Sunday Globe. The buzz surrounding the CD makes it clear that this is already being considered the classical recording event of the year.


New York Times, ICA Art (Not So Nice)

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 8, 2006 10:33 AM

I somehow missed Holland Cotter's review of the ICA's art when I looked online this morning. But it gets three columns across the Weekend Arts front, and is considerably, how can I put this, less enthusiastic about the ICA than Nicolai Ouroussoff in his architecture review.

But as interesting as these pieces are, in the overdetermined exhibition context of the show they come across as illustrational rather than absorbing. And too much of what’s around them is too familiar. The right group mix can freshen almost anything, but the chemistry is sluggish here. You end up feeling that Andreas Gursky, Tony Oursler and the unconditionally beloved Ed Ruscha could do with a rest.

Photo by Iwan Baan, New York Times

New York Times, New ICA

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 8, 2006 07:40 AM

Nicolai Ouroussoff has weighed in on the new Institute of Contemporary Art, and overall, it's a rave.

Conceived as an extension of a 43-mile boardwalk along the water, its ability to interweave art and civic life makes it the most important building to rise here in a generation.

There is a criticism...

The ground-floor entry is oddly laid out: the main entrance is set at the corner and cuts diagonally into the lobby, creating an awkward leftover space just inside the street facade. The space functions neither as a lobby nor a contemplative corner.

Photo by Iwan Baan, New York Times

Divine Gas, ICA

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 6, 2006 02:41 PM

Josh Glenn, one of our resident Brainiacs, has an ICA post we would like to share:

"There's a special section in today's Globe dedicated to the Institute of Contemporary Art's new waterfront home, a fancy glass box -- with an 80-foot cantilever jutting towards Boston Harbor -- on Fan Pier. Full disclosure: As the web editor for Living/Arts, I played a very modest, mostly advisory role in the creation of a snazzy online version of the ICA section.

One thing you won't find in the Globe's online ICA section is a link to an excellent Ideas essay by painter and critic Dushko Petrovich, who back in September argued that the idea of a "contemporary museum" is, in certain important respects, a contradiction in terms. While a museum of non-contemporary art can build a collection of art that has stood the test of time, he pointed out, by exhibiting and purchasing -- sometimes even commissioning -- new work by living artists, a contemporary art museum becomes a player in the art market, driving up the "stock" of those artists. A side effect of the rush to build contemporary art museums (like Bilbao's Guggenheim, London's Tate Modern, and New York's MoMA), Petrovich adds, is this:

There simply isn't enough high quality work to fill the profusion of buildings. Even as artists tend towards cheaper and reproducible media like videos and digital photographs, it seems hard to fill the spaces. The effect on art seems, to put it plainly, bad.

Petrovich singles out for ridicule the Guggenheim's "Art of the Motorcycle" show, its exhibit of Armani suits, and the 43-foot-tall puppy made of 70,000 flowering plants that the Gugg commissioned from Jeff Koons. One would like to ask what he thinks of "The Divine Gas," a monumental mural commissioned for the lobby of Boston's new ICA.

Drawn by artist Chiho Aoshima and printed on adhesive vinyl, "Gas" was (one hears) originally titled "The Divine Fart," for reasons that become obvious when you give the artwork a close look. The ICA coyly shows only an innocuous detail of the mural on their website, but the Globe shot a 360-degree photo of the lobby; so you can take a peek for yourself.

Can't take the time to view the 360-degree photo? OK, here's a photo of the divine gas in media afflatus:


PS: Despite my snarky tone in this post, I actually think "Divine Gas" is gorgeous, and very funny too. But one wonders how it will go over with other Bostonian museumgoers, who by all accounts are a stuffy lot. As they step into Boston's first new art museum in nearly a century, will they mind having their faces farted in? Stay tuned."

Exhibitionist TV, Emily Rooney

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 6, 2006 01:45 PM

Tonight, I'll be a guest on Greater Boston talking about, what else, the new Institute of Contemporary Art.

By the way, two more articles to read: A Globe editorial praising the new ICA, and former Globe art critic Christine Temin has a review in the Somerville Journal.


Body Worlds.... The Homestretch

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 6, 2006 12:16 PM

Because we care about cadavers, we can report that the Museum of Science has expanded viewing hours for "Body Worlds 2." The museum, which typically closes at 5 p.m. - except on Friday, when it's always open until 9 p.m. - is now open until 7 p.m. So get going, because Gunther von Hagens (pictured below with a very special friend) is going to be taking his plastinated pals back in January.


The New ICA Section

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 6, 2006 07:12 AM

Over the last few weeks, when people would ask, "what are you working on," I'd undoubtedly answer, "The ICA." Usually, the next question would be: What's that? Well, it's here, not only Boston's first new art museum in nearly 100 years - are you sick of that phrase yet? - but the Globe's special section meant to serve as a guide, and introduction to the building.

Here's the section. I could plug my own work, but the other material - the graphics, slideshows, photo essays - is too good to skip. In the next few days, I'll post at least parts of the juicier interviews that ended up on the cutting room floor.


World Music/CRASHarts Season

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 5, 2006 03:58 PM

With the ICA finally opening, World Music/CRASHarts feels secure setting its schedule in stone. We could list it all, ranging from Dan Zanes (below) to the Alloy Orchestra, but it might make more sense to just click here.


Deval Patrick, The Arts Governor?

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 5, 2006 12:11 PM

Obviously, it's still too early to figure out where Governor-elect Deval Patrick stands on arts funding. Everybody sez the arts are important; only the few back that up with cold cash.

So far, arts advocates have been given glimpses of hope. Kitty Dukakis and Barbara Grossman zapped us a Deval-is-pro-arts message during the campaign. And then there's the governer elect's blood connection to a certain Sun Ra.

Today, word comes that Patrick has established a committee focussed on the "creative economy." It will be headed by ICA Director Jill Medvedow.

The first forum for arts advocates is today in Worcester, at 12:30 pm at the Worcester Art Museum. That's followed on Thursday in West Barnstable at the Cape Cod Community College.

Patrick's calendar should list upcoming forums.


New Getty Trust Prez/CEO

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 4, 2006 06:23 PM

James N. Wood, the former head of the Art Institute of Chicago, has been named the new head of the Getty Trust. Tyler Green had the news, and an interview with Wood which is notable for how quickly Tyler got it but doesn't tip Wood's hand much. (He clearly doesn't want to make a splashy statement before he's headed out to Los Angeles.) Here's the LA Times story.


ICA Cuts A Ribbon

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 4, 2006 12:51 PM comes through with some interesting photos of the press event on Friday. And CultureGrrl praises my TV presence, a post that can not go unnoticed.

You probably won't believe this, but I've got the grease on my fingers to prove it. On my way to the ribbon-cutting this morning, a man in a giant, red Caddy kept signaling me. First, I kept driving, thinking "I don't know that guy," but eventually he pulled up alongside and let me know the sad reality. I had a flat tire. So that's my excuse for missing the ribbon cutting.

Here's what happened, as related by ICA Deputy Director Paul Bessire.

There were doughnuts and coffee. Remarks in the theater by Trustees Barbara Lee and Paul Buttenwieser, ICA Director Jill Medvedow, and Boston Redevelopment Authority boss Mark Maloney. Mayor Menino was not on hand; he had a funeral to attend. The ribbon-cutting itself was done by Medvedow, Lee and Steve Corkin, chair of the ICA's building committee.

Now what? Tomorrow morning, a group of about 30 ICA folks - including Bessire and chief curator Nicholas Baume, trustees Buttenwieser and Sheryl Marshall - are heading to Miami for Art Basel. Many will be back for Sunday's public opening. In Miami, ICA architects Liz Diller and Ric Scofidio will speak at an event Thursday.


Shirley Gray of Chestnut Hill was among those who attended a special tour of the Institute of Contemporary Art, where she viewed ‘‘Beetle Manifesto XIII (Genesis)’’ by Tam Van Tran. (David L. Ryan/ Globe Staff)

Two Massachusetts Artists Get $50,000

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 4, 2006 12:12 PM

Laylah Ali (work seen below) and Michael Lesy are two of the 50 artists - announced a few minutes ago - who are receiving grants from the new United States Artists fund. Mainers William Pope.L and Wesley McNair made the list. Other recipients include: Bill Frisell, Chris Ware, Ronald K. Brown and Amy Hempel.


Separated At Birth: Peter Sellars And...

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 4, 2006 11:33 AM

For those of you who need a break from our ICA coverage, an important discovery has been made.

Peter Sellars

French Stewart

ICA... Catching Up

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 3, 2006 10:54 PM

Okay, it is perhaps absurd that this weekend, when all the super smart people were gathering to drink to the new ICA, I was more than 1,000 miles south. But there were tenants coming in, and leaves to rake. I also bought a weird painting of Howlin' Wolf from a guy named Eddie. But enough about me. What about Boston's first new art museum in nearly 100 years?

Joel Brown's posts made me feel as if I were there. Start at the first entry, and scroll up. The Globe followed around art-world types getting special access on Saturday. Coverage of that night's party should be coming in Monday's paper. CultureGrrl was at the press event, but she's not talking, except about a disturbing experience at the Museum of Fine Arts and the sad state of WCRB.

As punishment for skipping out on the parties, I'm going to observe the ribbon cutting tomorrow.

Josiah McElheny

Rascal Flatts Alter, WCRB Switch

Posted by Geoff Edgers December 1, 2006 05:27 AM

Be very, very afraid. Because today, at high noon, WCRB listeners who may be expecting Ravel will likely find themselves stuck with Rascal Flatts who, I should say, were not as annoying as on paper when featured in that Cars movie but darn it, in other contexts, should be used as one of Dick Cheney's nine truth-seeking tools.

Yes, WCRB moves from 102.5-FM to 99.5-FM. That's so classical music can reach fewer people and bad country - sorry, you won't hear the Merle, George Jones or the original Hank on the new 102.5, WKLB - can stretch into the South Shore.

Just so classical fans can be even more bummed, the Globe's story includes this section with comment from Louis F. Mercatanti Jr., president of Nassau, the company that has bought WCRB.

"As for what the new WCRB will play, Mercatanti stresses "more consistency." That means a tighter play list with less variety, he acknowledges. "It's not going to be . . . Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons' over and over and over again," he says, "but listeners like familiarity."


ICA... It Begins

Posted by Geoff Edgers November 30, 2006 10:04 PM

Robert Campbell checks in with a rave review of the ICA, and a slide show.

My debut on the tele can be found here.

Here are ICA stories in Time and the Phoenix.


Exhibitionist, On Television

Posted by Geoff Edgers November 30, 2006 04:54 PM

Tonight, on New England Cable News, I'll be doing something I've never done before: Becoming a TV reporter.

My piece on the new Institute of Contemporary Art should be running between 9:15 and 9:45 p.m., with repeats Friday and Sunday. Feedback is welcome, as long as it's praise.


Robin Young, Thong

Posted by Geoff Edgers November 30, 2006 04:26 PM

Katie Johnston Chase, she of the Globe's new Flip Side blog, has a report from the front lines of the theater world.


"If you've been wondering what WBUR's Robin Young looks like, go see the ART's new stage adaptation of Wim Wenders's "Wings of Desire." The host of "Here and Now" reads the news (and sometimes silently mouths it) onstage during the bizarre and at times hard-to-follow production. She wears heels and has a swept-up hairdo -- and looks much different than the long-haired hippie I imagined would be attached to that soothing voice.

And if you've been wondering what it's like to watch a trapeze artist soar high above a stage in a thong, the show's got that covered too.

Check out the review in tomorrow's Weekend section for a more intellectual analysis."

Photo by Andre Costantini

Berlin Philharmonic Coming To Boston

Posted by Geoff Edgers November 30, 2006 02:58 PM

A birdie told us that the Berlin Philharmonic will be coming to Boston next year. The Bank of America Celebrity Series confirms the Symphony Hall date - Nov. 19 - with Simon Rattle (below). As far as I can tell, the Berlin Phil. hasn't played Symphony Hall since 2001, when Claudio Abbado led the orchestra in Beethoven's Fifth and Sixth symphonies.


Wang Center's Name Change, BSO Tour

Posted by Geoff Edgers November 30, 2006 10:39 AM

As we report today, the Wang Center for the Performing Arts will be hereby known as the Citi Performing Arts Center. And we've got the logo to prove it.


The Boston Symphony Orchestra confirms the dates on its 2007 European tour. James Levine, who called me before a meeting he had with BSO Managing Director Mark Volpe, generally doesn't speak in soundbytes. That means I couldn't use a lot of what he said in our 350-word story. So here's more.

On whether the BSO wants to show-off itself under Levine: "I think that's never really my motivation. Anything that suggests that we're proving or exhibiting is really not the case is true the world over that orchestras, great orchestras, travel to other places."

On the focus a tour brings to the players: "If you're playing concerts most nights, then it isn't as if you had all the other things that are the spectrum of your life in Boston. You're away from some of it. And therefore your own relationship to the work and the audience and the pieces is different. It helps develop a lot of qualities, not least of which is playing the music more than the number of times we played the music in Boston."

On the repertoire for the tour: "It's nice that there are two works by Bartok. That's something they wanted and we were very happy to do. To be able to take the chorus and be able to do a big major piece by Berlioz, and also one of the things the orchestra has known and had for a long time. And a piece like the Brahms First Symphony, that's a very logical one for us. We played that together even before I was musical director. The Ives is a piece that other European orchestras who discover that I did that piece asked me to program and they didn't have much chance to play it."

Lieberson-BSO Album Cover

Posted by Geoff Edgers November 29, 2006 02:00 PM

Here's the Amazon link.


Epilogue: Come on, Eirene

Posted by Geoff Edgers November 29, 2006 11:00 AM

Some of the Globe's readers may have seen the fabulous Michele McDonald photo on the front page, meant to tease to our story. But