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Arts Management by Derek Chong November 26, 2008

Posted by goldblatt in English Department.
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51bxq50txwl_bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-arrow-clicktopright35-76_aa240_sh20_ou02_Wow, now HERE is a book on arts management. A perfect compliment to William Byrne’s Arts Management introductory textbook, this is your next step in looking at some of the contemporary issues in the industry. Chong writes with an acid wit, combining provocative issues with a deconstructionist analysis to give the reader a truly entertaining ride through the world of the arts as we manage them today.

How would I compare Chong to Byrnes in terms of their books on arts management? Byrnes is a Milwaukee businessman with a wife, 2.5 kids and a dog. Chong is a divorced chain-smoking Buddhist living in a loft in Greenwich Village. Byrnes is Ted Koppel, Chong is Jon Stewart. Byrnes is the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, Chong is the Kronos Quartet. Byrnes is the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Chong is the Saatchi Gallery.

The book’s attraction and also its usefullness lie in the combination of hip references (including, but not limited to Black Flag with Henry Rollins, De La Guarda, LL Cool J and White Cube) which are paralleled with intelligent business case studies (such as McDonalds, McKinsey, KPGM, Starbucks, Exxon Mobil and more). Although occassionally bogged down in theoretical analysis, these easy reference points keep the issues accessible to Joe Six-Pack.

Often Chong takes the French approach and over-analyses or deconstructs organisational practices without offering an alternative solution. Such snobbery makes for delectable if occassionally impractical reading.

Management and the Arts November 10, 2008

Posted by goldblatt in Academy of Ballet, Conservatory of Music, English Department, Theatre Department.
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management-and-the-artsThis is essential reading for anyone who wants to be a modern arts producer. An easy-to-read, step-by-step guide to the business of producing art in America. The book offers a thorough foundation of business skills to shepherd any artist into the world of managing an organisation. At the same time, the author maintains a steady recognition of the art world’s glorious peculiarities. Art is not business, rather, business is the vehicle to deliver great art to great audiences. The book is splendidly interactive, with many real news clippings from exciting and relevant current events and a series of assignments for the reader to engage with the concepts.

As the American touchstone in this topic, the book espouses the American system of arts administration, which, like it or not, has pervaded large arts organisations around the world. There is little time spent on those peculiar arts companies from other countries that stray from the American model.

The Russian Debutante’s Handbook September 28, 2008

Posted by goldblatt in English Department.
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Another triumph by Gary Shteyngart.

So delighted was I by Absurdistan that I promptly secured Shteyngart’s first novel, The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, and proceeded to ravish the 456 pages. Delightful. This first novel, winner of the Steven Crane prize, shows a momentous output by Shteyngart and contains the seeds which grew Absurdistan into a tale for our time.

Debutante is set in the retro feel-good land of 1993, where a Russian-Born Slacker (like Misha Vainberg in Absurdistan) seeks the American Dream in New York through drink, women, and quaint adoration of all things American. Also like Misha, his marriage to the US is not perfect and he finds himself instead in an allegorical post-Soviet Eastern European crazyland country. This time, it’s not Absurdistan (read: Turkemenistan? or similar?). No, he’s landed in Prava, which is most certainly meant to read Prague. And let me tell you, Prague in 1993 has never been so well documented/fictionalized.

This novel is a brilliant farce on international diplomacy as well as a gripping touchstone for generation x-ers who want to relive the 90’s (who doesn’t?)

I laughed, I cried, I kvelled, I ate my bagel and raised a glass of vodka to say to Shteyngart: L’Chaim! And also: Mazel Tov.

Absurdistan September 28, 2008

Posted by goldblatt in English Department.
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Go out and read this book right now. I eyed Walter Kirn’s initial NY Times review with some interest, and then found that the Times rated it as a top 10 of 2006, but didn’t get to read it until this summer.

Wow! What a hilarious knockout book, in the tradition of A Confederacy of Dunces and The Master and Margarita, Absurdistan follows a fat but lovable fool as he bribes and stumbles his way around the newly globalized planet. Misha Vainberg is an endearing, unforgettable character; author Gary Shteyngart has given us a poster-child for international 20-somethings coming of age in the new millennium.

The story is of Misha’s quest to get on the good side of US Immigration and preserve his relationship with his Brooklyn shorty, overcoming the obstacles of his Russian mob ties and the shifting waters of international immigration. It takes place in early September of 2001 and ends on September 10.

Read this book, you won’t regret it. It’s hilarious. It’s moving.

The Golden Compass November 16, 2007

Posted by goldblatt in English Department.
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compass.jpg
so happy i read this before the movie comes out.

what a book! i never got into the harry potter thing but i think this is a good alternative. this book is so scary and dark and violent for a children’s book. i love the anachronisms. There are zeppelins, air conditioning vents, machine guns and other crazy anachronistic elements thrown into this fantasy world.

and so dark and spooky. people are cruel, the little girl is constantly faced with mortal danger and even worse–horrifying atrocities are threatened at children. crazy. very good book. i really want to read the other 2 in the series.

Silk October 25, 2007

Posted by goldblatt in English Department.
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silk.jpgwow, book club really tends to pick the hot and steamy ones! this is a sexy little novel that could only have been written by an italian. very short read, i would call it a novella. choice little one-page chapters add up to create a nifty little epic tale. man from south of france journeys to Japan to smuggle silk back and sell it. He finds himself caught up in the Japanese war of the time and runs into a beautiful woman there, which bothers his wife. and then at the end he reads an erotic letter.

don’t really know what to say. it was short and fun. i would recommend it.

spam October 16, 2007

Posted by goldblatt in English Department.
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so there is slam poetry and there is spam poetry. this was in an email i received that advertised VIAGRA! VIAGRA! VIAGRA! here is what the ghostwriter slipped in:

Palladio who beckons from the other shore,
Appear to lift up from the lake;
Seems reflected in the infinite of the lamps.
will be penciled on the coffeeshop menus.
wonders if she’d ever be brave enough
A salamander scuttles across the quiet
That only you and I can know. Les deux
on their own little seat cushions, wearing soft caps
Hoarfrost is in his bones and on his head,
Is the moon to grow
Unreadable from behind—they are well down
on their own little seat cushions, wearing soft caps
Pallid waste where no radiant fathomers,
Only a fox whose den I cannot find.
Between the high and the low, in this night.
Stars, the last day, endless and centerless,
They tear apart the mist, it is as though,
Alberti, Brunelleschi, Sangallo,
Onto my frozen fingers.

The All of It August 31, 2007

Posted by goldblatt in English Department.
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all.jpgNifty little novella by Jeanette Haien. Nothing too innovative or jawdropping, but a really sweet, swift tale woven by a gifted amateur author. Haien is actually a concert pianist who summers in Ireland (where this neat little tale takes place). Certain prose passages are enchanting and reveal a gifted musicality with language. She does a great job of capturing the sonic beauty of irish dialect.

Love in the Time of Cholera August 28, 2007

Posted by goldblatt in English Department.
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cholera.jpgnot even sure how to review this one. seems like words cannot even describe the ethereal beauty that Gabriel Garcia-Marquez conjures here. A truly otherworldly piece of art grounded in the gritty, bittersweet realism of three average humans whose lives are made epic in the poetry used here. Brilliant, captivating, absorbing. The characters are made incredibly real, so that you feel you know them.

spam August 15, 2007

Posted by goldblatt in English Department.
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wow. seriously? this was a spam email i received today:

Snow haze gleams like sand.
Out of the road into a way across
And all at once it is the meadow I walked in at ten, I bring down a bit of its light Glimmering of light:
Sphinx of questioning substance, or a sort Across the heavens’ gray.
Preface to the 1948 Edition
By bloody pool—rattling, gasping his last.
End of the comedy.
wonders if she’d ever be brave enough
Against which we have been projected? What . . .
Sculpting each tree to fit your ghostly form Seems reflected in the infinite of the lamps.
there’s a pulpy orange-y smell from juice factories….
To reach out into its own vanishing
And trumpet at his lips; nor does he cast Only a whiter absence to my mind, What? What can you do?