The Week in Review: September 17
In our new series, we bring you the weekly highlights of cultural conversations and news from the arts world.
RUSHDIE CELEBRATES INDEPENDENT BOOKSELLERS
Author Salman Rushdie impressed and touched us with a tribute to the independent booksellers of North America, who supported his award-winning yet controversial 1988 book The Satanic Verses amidst international protests and death threats. The letter coincides with the release of Rushdie’s new memoir, Joseph Anton, which documents a decade spent in hiding following Verses‘ publication. The letter is both a smart marketing move, encouraging prominent book display, but more importantly, a heartfelt, articulate celebration of the importance of booksellers, nowadays all too forgotten.
Click here to read Rushdie’s letter.
CRITICS ASK: CAN ART STILL SHOCK?
The New York Times is hosting a month-long online series of articles and discussions, exploring shock in art. This week, a reporter, art critic, and theatre critic all answered in the affirmative that art can still shock – and must continue to do so. Chief theatre critic, Ben Brantley, was one of the experts to weight in on the question: “Shock happens, still, and it’s usually a good thing, in that it forces us to rearrange our thoughts and reconsider conditioned responses. At its best and rarest, this occurs when you realize that an artist is speaking in a new language that is uniquely his or hers.”
ONLINE MUSIC INDUSTRY DEMANDS PAY FOR PERFORMERS
Amanda Palmer, singer and performer of The Dresden Dolls, faced outcry from the music industry at her request for local musicians to volunteer their time and join her on stage during part of a national tour. The request came despite Palmer receiving more than $1 million from the public as part of a Kickstarter campaign to support such a project. After much scrutiny from the community, Palmer announced that she would indeed pay anyone who contributed to the performances, while music blogs reiterated the importance of paying people for their work.
THE ROYAL SHAKESPEARE COMPANY DOUBLES ITS TAKINGS
UK and international patrons have awarded The Royal Shakespeare Company’s season with record attendance. The 2011/12 audience totaled 708,022 people – almost twice that of the previous season. The result was also a doubling of box office takings.
CANADIAN POETRY FINDS STAUNCH SUPPORTERS
Canada’s poetry cannon is superlative, including work from award-winners such as Margaret Atwood, Gary Geddes and Lorna Crozier. The Globe and Mail investigated how the online world and new creative talents are helping to promote the art form. Publications such as The Walrus, and an editor/curator called Carmine Starnino are responsible for sharing poetry to a large audience through smart contests and anthologies of intellectual, detailed work. Starnino recently guest-edited the annual anthology, Best Canadian Poetry 2012 (Tightrope Books), and his upcoming book of essays about poetry, Lazy Bastardism, is already receiving online buzz.