Archive for December, 2007

A New Year’s Greeting for 2008

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

From the world of KadmusArts in 2008:

This slideshow is also available as a high-quality MP4 file, suitable for download to an iPod.

We look forward to what you will create next year!

From all of us at KadmusArts
Wishing you a great 2008!

Radio Plays - America Drinks and Prays

Monday, December 17th, 2007

Devils Juice

Photo by elventear — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

Want a quick snapshot of a nation? Want a quick and easy way to define a people and their time period?

Think about the sculpture of ancient Greece; architecture of the Roman empire; the library of Alexandria; the literature of Mitteleurope; tango in Argentina; or, the poetry of Russia.

On our daily feed of culture news, an item posted this week might be the best snapshot, the quickest and easiest way to define today’s America: radio play.

According to Inside Radio, from M Street publications, Country Music and Talk Radio dominate the number of radio stations in the country.

Of course, country music and talk radio play essentially the same song, a tale of woe: my woman left me and it’s the fault of the Democrats in Congress.

What is most startling, though, about the M Street list is the order of popularity of America’s music stations.

Even though American pop music would appear to be the biggest international business, the biggest players in U.S. radio stations are Country and Christian music. Country and Christian music dominate the radio stations in the U.S.

This year, twenty-three new Christian music stations came on the air. Spanish stations grew the most, with ninety-seven new stations.

There are now three times more Christian music stations than there are Rock stations.

The list of radio station genres, sorted by number of music stations:

Country 2,054
News/Talk 2,026
Religion (Teaching, Variety) 1,219
Contemporary Christian 920
Spanish 917
Oldies 744
Variety 671
Adult Contemporary 666*
Sports 571
Top 40 495
Classic Hits 494
Classic Rock 456
Hot AC 392
Alternative Rock 385
Adult Standards 378
Southern Gospel 316
Rock 300
Black Gospel 270
Soft Adult Contemporary 243
Classical 176
Modern Rock 175
Urban AC 161
R&B 157
Jazz 153
Ethnic 133
Pre-Teen 57
R&B Adult/Oldies 41
Gospel 40
Easy Listening 29
Rhythmic AC 27
Modern AC 20

Talk radio has 2,026 stations, a number which has increased by 500 over the last ten years. (Bill Clinton was obviously not only good for the economy, but also for talk radio.)

Don’t you think these numbers provide a clear understanding of America today?

Want to learn about America? Forget Hollywood, listen to the Radio.

- Bill Reichblum

* Note here the connection between this number of stations and the fact that some still call this the “devil’s music.” Conspiracy or coincidence, you decide.

Interview: Lawrence Towers

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

Photo: Lawrence TowersLawrence Towers is the director of S.A.P.A., the South American Piping Association, which works to promote and spread Scottish culture and traditions, and is made up of pipers, drummers and dancers. In 2007 S.A.P.A. celebrated its 40th anniversary, releasing its first CD and participating in November’s Buenos Aires Celtic Festival.

In this interview Lawrence talks about his career as director and drum major in S.A.P.A., and discusses the different approaches of Irish and Scottish dance and music. He also talks about S.A.P.A.’s first CD and the group’s plans for 2008, which include participating in Oktoberfest in Córdoba, Argentina, and in the South American Pipe Band Gathering in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

 Interview: Lawrence Towers [26:12m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

News Flash: A Politician Helped Others

Monday, December 10th, 2007

Fulbright Statue

Photo by Matt Peoples — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

If you want the perks of power — go into politics. If you want the action of achievement — go into the arts.

Politicians talk about their devotion to helping people, but time and again they prove that their most important issue is to help themselves — to stay in power. Quick: name a politician. Now, try to convince us that they didn’t do everything they could to stay in office.

In the United States, politicians often refer to the financial sacrifice they make to serve the nation — even if the members of congress earn more than 90% of their constituents. Remember the Politburo? Not exactly a group who offered to serve for a bit and then go back to the communal farm — by choice. (When they left, many bought the farm, as it were.)

While political systems may be different from one country to another, politicians are remarkably the same: their main goal is to attain and maintain power.

All the more reason to remember a politician who broke the mold. As posted in our Fest News feed on festivals, arts and culture in a story from The Australian this week, the widow of Senator J. William Fulbright has continued his mission to genuinely help others, and to sustain the world’s arts and culture.

In reaction to the United States’ use of atomic bombs, Senator Fulbright wanted to ensure that another world war would never take place. His brilliant idea was to combine the funds from selling surplus war property with a program that would promote international good will through the educational and cultural exchange of artists, academics, and future government officials.

The Fulbright Program’s calling card was written by the Senator himself:

The Fulbright Program aims to bring a little more knowledge, a little more reason, and a little more compassion into world affairs, and thereby to increase the chance that nations will learn at last to live in peace and friendship.

The program has now helped more than 250,000 participants from 140 countries exchange ideas and opportunities, and contribute to the world’s political, economic, and most definitely, cultural institutions.

Unlike politicians and politics, artists and arts institutions have a record of authentic accomplishment, an honest commitment to helping their communities understand the world we live in, and inspire ways to make each other, if not the world, better.

When a politico puts a cause ahead of him or herself, we should be sure to send a thank you note.

Thank you Senator and Mrs. Fulbright!

- Bill Reichblum

Live On Screen v. Live On Stage

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

Nutcracker Suite

Photo by Kevin Trotman — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

The Nutcracker is not known for causing controversies, but in Canada there is a bit of Prince v. Mouse King battle of consequences.

As posted this week in our Fest News feed, the National Ballet of Canada will be streaming, in high def, a live performance of The Nutcracker to sixty-nine movie theatres across Canada on December 22. The live performance will take place from the National’s season at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto.

The National’s production received rave reviews last year from Toronto’s Globe and Mail. Following on New York’s Met Opera initiative, the National hopes to introduce new audiences to the company, to ballet, and to the season’s sweetest seller.

However, where there is sweet, there is sour.

Jean Grand-Maître, the highly regarded artistic director of the Alberta Ballet, questions the timing, choice, and impact on his company. December 22 is the last Saturday before Christmas, which has been a well sold night for Alberta Ballet’s season in Calgary. Alberta Ballet, as with so many ballet companies, plays its own version of The Nutcracker during the holiday season. Grand-Maître fears that the National is going to take audiences away from his and other ballet companies who present Nutcracker on the same night.

Perhaps, to make matters a bit worse, what’s the tag line for Alberta Ballet’s season? “Like Nothing You’ve Seen Before.” Maybe they should change it to, “Like Nothing You Could Be Seeing At The Same Time.”

Still, the original tag line reveals both the problem and the opportunity.

The problem is that every ballet feels compelled to offer The Nutcracker during this holiday — a traditional choice that is as much about the work’s seasonal connection as it about boosting ticket sales. The opportunity, though, arrives in the variety of the productions.

Only in dreary school assembly halls are any two nutcrackers similar. Choreographers have been putting their own unique stamp on productions for as long as Clara’s been dreaming.

Is it possible Alberta will lose a few audience members to the movieplex? Sure. It’s also possible that Grand-Maître has built a loyal following from his work, ingenuity, and community connections.

Surely, we all need to get behind any initiative that helps new audiences discover the arts, culture, and live entertainment.

Moreover, why not begin to help audiences discover the gains to be had from seeing the same material through different lenses/productions?

We know audiences love repeat exposure to their favorites: think video rentals, pop radio playlist, and, god knows, television syndication.

We also know that audiences love repeat exposure to the same material, but with differences of approach, angle, or time: think car chase + movies, the porn business, and the Rolling Stones in concert.

If they sell so well, maybe there’s no such thing as too many Nutcrackers, after all.

- Bill Reichblum

Interview: Lára Stefánsdóttir

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

Photo: Lara SteffansdottirDancer and choreographer Lára Stefánsdóttir began her career as a permanent member of the Icelandic Ballet from 1980 to 2004, dancing many leading and solo roles as part of the troupe. Simultaneously, she developed her own work as a choreographer, with pieces such as Motions (1997), Minha Maria Bonita (winner of the first prize for the Choreographer’s Competition in 1998), Elsa (winner of the first prize at the International Dance Competition in Helsinki in 2001), and Lúna, for which she received the Icelandic Dance Award and Best Dance Piece in 2004. In that same year, Lára left the Icelandic Ballet to create her own dance company, Pars Pro Toto. At the 2007 Nordwind Festival in Berlin, Lára presented two solo pieces: Langbrók and Joi — the first piece was performed by Lára herself, while the second was performed by Canadian dancer Brad Sykes.

In this KadmusArts interview she talks with us about the process of creating her dance pieces, and the sources she draws her inspiration from. She also presents a detailed picture of the dance world in Iceland, with its challenges and recent achievements.

 Interview: Lara Stefansdottir [31:27m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download