Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Drama Drop -

* It seems that New York City Opera's first season under George Steel may result in a strike... who didn't see THIS coming? It would seem, according to Erica Orden at New York magazine, that Steel and members of the board want to re-open contracts in order to re-negotiate fees. You gotta see this to check out a little of the slung mud.

* Whoever said "No one cares about the arts..." should get a load of this: A war erupted last week over L.A.'s new downtown arts high school. Some of its biggest supporters have given up on the Los Angeles Unified School District and want the $242-million campus turned into a charter school. In response to the critics, who included philanthropist Eli Broad, Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines shot back: "There is not a for-sale sign on it." According to the LA Times, The tension had been building for months, fueled in part by the district's plan to reserve most of the school's seats for students from the surrounding neighborhood rather than open it up to the most talented students district-wide. It bubbled over after two star principals from the East Coast turned down offers to take charge, leaving the school leaderless less than six months before it opens in September. You think that's the end of this dramatic tale? I'm afraid not.

* American orchestras, like other types of arts groups, have been turned upside down. Some endowments are worth half what they were a year or two ago, but the operations they underwrite have not reduced in the same manner. Unless the economy soars in the next few years, which seems highly unlikely, American orchestras are going to have to invent a new business plan. Peter Dobrin, the Philadelphia Inquirer classical music critic, says maybe it's a good thing.

* In a final story, it seems that the Associate Press says it will "take action" against web researchers who don't pay fees for linking to AP stories. Fellow blogger Douglas McLennan at Arts Journal has some fantastic things to say about this subject. It's a must read for anyone who associated with blogs and that's all of us, right?

[Photo: A worker shows the view from a classroom at L.A. Unified’s $242-million downtown arts high school. By Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times]

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