Tweet Seats, and other 17th century trends now trending

The rise of Tweet Seats, where one can tweet an in-progress theatre or musical event with the sanction of venue management, is not disturbing in and of itself.  In the past, going to a theatre or concert was considered a social event (that could any moment become a brawl, political rally or . . . . you name it). People spoke, threw food, and generally thought of the entertainment (and entertainers) as “peripheral” to themselves and what they felt like doing.

With the rise of tweeting and other social media, we again see the rise of . . . well, it’s difficult to say what. Is it narcissistic to ignore a play to tweet?  Is it self-centered? Is it a case of I paid to be here, I can do what I want?  It’s quite difficult to tell.

And then of course there is the recordablity of the performance, in audio or video, violating copyright and artist’s right to make a living.  So there may also be an “I’ll get back to it” mentality at play (and with fractured attention spans, that’s too a growing trend.)

With a book, one can read  the story or not (by putting the book down) but one never has the option of mentally removing from the story while in fact reading it. One must read it (unless of course you listen to it, but most books are meant to be read privately not audibly — pity that, but a discussion for another day) and therefore focus all attention on it.

The rise of tweeting in real time at an event in actuality means that viewers/patrons consider something more important than paying attention– themselves. And if that’s so, why bother to be there?

It does make one question the future of live events, and of respect in general for the Arts. If we are going back to 17th century behavior at live events, then are we going back to 17th century levels of respect for the Arts, and for those who keep them alive? One can only hope not.

Published in: on December 6, 2011 at 12:52 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Books: Art, Culture, Entertainment, or not even a blip on your radar?

In London’s Guardian you find Books listed under Culture. Just after Art & design, but before Film, Music, Stage, and TV & radio

In the NY Times, you’ll find Books listed under Arts. And following Books in the same group Art & Design, Dance, Movies, Music, Television, Theater and Video Games.

In the LA Times, you’ll find Books listed under Entertainment, at the very end of a list that begins with Movies, TV, Celebrity (really, that’s a category) . . . and continues on with Arts & Culture, Industry (the entertainment industry), Awards, and Calendar.

Alternatively, you can find Books under the LA Times category Living as well, after Home, Food, and Image (you  read the correctly) but before Parenting (we kid you not).

In Seattle‘s Times, a very bookish place, Books reside in the Entertainment section at the very bottom of a list that begins Restaurants, Movies, Music & Nightlife, The Arts, Books.

And CNN? Doesn’t even recognize Books, unless you count Facebook. The section called Entertainment is strictly of the Movie/TV/Celebrity gossip variety.

We want to point up that there are people who are passionate about books everywhere, but that not every area values books equally. A place can be amazingly rich in culture, just not extremely bookish. That’s cool. But take a moment today to ask yourself, where would you place Books?

Are Books first on your list? As in NY, where they’re Arts. Or last as in LA or Seattle, where their low-rent entertainment. Are Books part and parcel of your Culture, as in London, or something you don’t even think about (CNN!)?

Published in: on November 16, 2011 at 5:05 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Inspire your heart with cover art

Today is Inspire Your Heart with Art Day, and so today, wherever you maybe, get out and see some inspiring art.  Most cities have public art, or galleries, but a well-kept garden is also art.  So too, are book covers, music and magazine covers. Or at least they used to be.  Granted there is marketing going on, but take a wander through your local bookstore or library and check out the art of the cover.

For anyone interested in Classic American covers, check out Richard Minsky’s book published in Oct of 2010. It sold out its first run of 2000 copies immediately, but they have since reprinted.  Chock full of beautiful covers from the late 19th and early 20th century.  Really, does it get any better than this . . . .

Published in: on January 31, 2011 at 8:23 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Print is beauty bound – even in a digital age

“The printing press democratised knowledge, and with democracy came spite, libel, destruction and violence. But it also brought a new beauty into the world, and every book that has ever been published, every sheet of a newspaper blown along the street, is part of that beauty.”

–Jonathan Jones

Take from the “On Art” blog

Published in: on March 15, 2010 at 8:10 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Nice Cover

UK VersionUS Versions

These are 2 different versions of AS BYATT’s recent release: The Children’s Book. It’s new from Knopf. ISBN 9780307272096.  The price is $26.95, but for a 688 page hardback? Worth it.

The more ornamental one on the left is for the UK market.  The less ornamental one on the right is for the US market.

We think the US version is more in keeping with the book’s timeframe (1895-1919).  The UK version seems overly fussy.  It’s trying too hard. It’s certainly not a good reproduction of an actual turn of century bookcover.

The US version on the other hand does look like a cover from that time period.  It was that instant recognition of a style that made us stop and say “Ah, that looks interesting. At least worth picking up and finding out more about the book.” And that’s the goal of every bookcover.

The cover has to be about the content inside in someway, but it has to express that content in a visual way that attracts the person most likely to read it.  Irrelevant covers will get people to pick a book up, but not buy it.

A good cover helps a reader find a book they actually want to read.

Published in: on October 27, 2009 at 5:30 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Mondays with William

Artist and painter William Laga is a wonderful story. Last spring, he was a homeless scihizophrenic who liked to paint. Today, he’s in Paris, with a studio, and representation, and a place to sleep and shower.

You can see his story here:  Just key in “William Laga” for the search term and watch some of the tapes. Or read about him here:

Diagnosed with Schizophrenia at 16, he spent 30 years on the streets of Westwood. For about 27 years, he’s been walking 16 miles down to Pierce College to attend art classes.  The professors let him sit in and paint.

A French transplant, Marcelle Danan, living in California recognized Laga’s brilliance, and began to spend time with him and buy him paint and canvas.  Then she took him and his art to Paris.  And Paris loved his work.

There are jewels hidden in everywhere, in everyone.  But you have to be willing to look, and really see.

Published in: on September 8, 2009 at 6:16 PM  Leave a Comment  
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