Results tagged “news” from ARTicles

Yes they still exist. For the past several years the NEA has sponsored three arts journalism fellowship programs: classical music at Columbia University in New York, theatre at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and dance at the American Dance Festival at Duke University in North Carolina.

There's still time to apply for the dance critics institute, which runs from June 20-July 11. And this year the NEA has added a fourth institute in visual arts, to be held at American University in Washington, DC June 12-26th. Deadline for both applications is April 10. Oddly, there's no website for the visual art institute. Applicants should send "a brief cover letter explaining their experience in the arts, a resume, and a published writing sample" to The State Department is teaming up with the NEA for this program and 24 journalists will be chosen, half from the US and half from the Middle East, Northern Africa, Asia and "other countries" (does that leave anyone out?).

In the meantime,this year's edition of the theatre institute (directed by ARTicles-blogger Sasha Anawalt) gets underway April 14. To give you an idea of the kinds of journalists the institutes are looking at, the 23 chosen as fellows this year include:

Teresa Annas, arts writer, The Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk, Va.; Marilyn Bauer, entertainment editor, Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers, Stuart, Fla.; Marcos Cabrera, features reporter, Monterey County Herald, Calif.; Colin Dabkowski, arts writer, The Buffalo News, N.Y.; Keli Dailey, content producer, San Diego Union-Tribune and, Calif.; Kathi Scrizzi Driscoll, feature writer/editor, Cape Cod Times, Hyannis, Mass.; Alicia Grega, current events editor, electric city/diamond city & the published by The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa.; Rebecca Haithcoat, affiliated freelancer, Leo Weekly, Louisville, Ky.; Bob Hoover, book editor and theater critic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pa.; Daphne Howland, freelancer and contributing editor, Port City Life, Portland, Maine.; MiChelle Jones, freelance visual arts writer, The Tennessean, Nashville, Tenn.; Chris Klimek, affiliated freelancer, The Washington Post and, D.C.; John Kuebler, affiliated freelancer, Cairn Magazine, Denver, Colo.; David Lefkowitz, publisher and editor-in-chief,, Hewlett, N.Y.; Evelyn McDonnell, freelance writer/editor, Miami Beach, Fla.; Manny Mendoza, affiliated freelancer, KERA Art&Seek, Dallas, Texas.; Michael Merschel, assistant arts editor, Dallas Morning News, Texas.; Roxana Orellana, theater writer, Salt Lake Tribune, Utah.; Laura Pieper, affiliated freelancer, The Tribune, Ames, Iowa.; Steve Rowland, independent documentary radio producer, Seattle, Wash.; Jim Rutter, freelance arts critic, The Broad Street Review, Philadelphia, Pa.; Alan Scherstuhl, freelance columnist, The Pitch, Kansas City, Mo.; Glen Weldon, affiliated freelancer, Washington City Paper, D.C.
April 2, 2009 5:33 AM |
Those of us who write for a living tend to think of the current crisis in journalism in terms of writers. There is, of course, a lot more to the story, as Jerry Condit's email reminds. Jerry until recently was employed by MediaNews' L.A. Daily News.

"I've been meaning to get back to you. I was 're-assigned' right out the door a month ago. With all of the layoffs and 200 more to come, I knew it was only a matter of time before they got around to me. Many have gone before me. The Daily News is going to outsource its printing operations to a private printing company in Gardena so everybody that's been connected with the printing end of things in Valencia is getting the boot, about 200 of them. I know that there has been more re-organizing in my classified department, which was Automotive.

"I left in good standing, was given some OK severance with an eligibility for rehire. I'd been with the paper for nine years but, quite frankly, because of the work I did (Sales Coordinator) I don't miss the job itself, just the paycheck, benefits, and some of my colleagues. Not sure what direction I'm heading. Unemployment insurance is good for 26 weeks but I know the stimulus package has a provision for a twenty week extension, which a few million of us are probably going to need. I have nothing to fall back on and I'm trying to figure things out. I'm studying for the CBEST exam which I failed miserably on ten years ago but back then I didn't prepare either.  I used to substitute teach in a private school years ago. I'm 59 years old and that is making the job hunt even more difficult.

"So, that's where I am, just another American statistic in these troubled times. Things ain't going to get any better soon and all papers in the country are hanging by a thread. The LA Times is in miserable shape too ... I'm sure the Mercury News isn't doing well, either. Be glad you had your teaching to fall back on."

March 10, 2009 7:58 PM |
In L.A. at the moment for the American Cinematheque's John Sturges retrospective. I've been asked to sign copies of my biography "Escape Artist" and say a few words about the scheduled films, including "The Magnificent Seven," "Bad Day at Black Rock" and "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral," which, in burnished deep-focus VistaVision, has never looked better.

The event is a homecoming of sorts for Sturges, who died in 1992: Several of his films, including "BDABR" and "Marooned" had early previews or were premiered at this weekend's venue, the wonderfully gauche Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Blvd.

Friday night's screening of "Mag 7" was well-attended by -- surprise, surprise -- a mostly male audience, some sporting black Stetsons. Eli Wallach, who was so memorable as the bandit Calvera, didn't attend, but he sent someone to collect a book. Nice. Jon Gregory, the British editor of "In Bruges" and the upcoming Cormac McCarthy adaptation "The Road," shared his boyhood memories of Sturges sightings. Fascinating. Another Sturges fan arrived with pages of notes on the book, which he said he had read twice. Scary.

Sturges is back in the news with the sad passings this week of Ricardo Montalban and Patrick McGoohan.

Though clearly ailing at the time, Montalban, one of Hollywood's true class acts, consented to a book interview, maybe his last. Sturges had cast him in "Mystery Street" (as a non-race-specific cop) and as a boxer in "Right Cross" who's romantically involved with Hollywood's Girl Next Door, June Allyson.

Recalling his days as an MGM contract player, Montalban told me, "I had something of a following in those days, but I was still playing Hispanic characters. The Sturges film ('Mystery Street') was a definite breakthrough for me. It was a well-written scenario that just told it like it was and made no apologies for my character having an accent. It was the first time that had happened for me, and, I think, one of the first times it had been done in a Hollywood movie."

About "Right Cross" he added: "We were dealing head-on with racial issues, and my self-hating (boxer) was controversial to a certain extent. But the movie was considered a step in the right direction."

Patrick McGoohan, aka Secret Agent Man and The Prisoner, starred as a James Bond
manque in Sturges' "Ice Station Zebra," Howard Hughes' favorite sick-room diversion.

January 17, 2009 1:02 PM |
Could it be that in gauging the worth of journalists readers take their cue from the cavalier way in which we treat one another? 
How many times have you misspelled a colleague's name in an e-mail because you were too lazy to look it up? How many times have you guarded your beat -- and Rolodex -- from a fellow reporter whose coverage dared to butt up against yours? 
How many times have you reached for the phone or keyboard to find out how a laid-off associate is faring in his/her new life away from daily newspaper-ing? 
To one degree or another, we're all full of ourselves. It comes with the turf, no? J-school instilled that. Taught us to be driven, persistent ... self-obsessed in the pursuit of the scoop. 
The word "collegial" surfaces occasionally, but it comes off as flat, foreign-sounding when uttered by an editor. It's usually reserved for the dreaded performance review. 
These sentiments were sparked by the passing of a dear friend named Eirik Knutzen. Eirik, 64, was one of the brave ones. While the rest of us needed the security of a weekly salary and benefits, Eirik, being a singularly independent fellow, flew without a net. He freelanced for almost his entire career. 
At one time, he occupied an office in the old Bank of America building in Westwood. That's where I visited him when in town covering this or that press junket. Among his clients, the Copley News Service and Toronto Star, which published his TV dispatches and columns for 17 years. His celebrity profiles -- of everyone from Johnny Carson to Jim Carrey -- ran in most of the papers in this country and, before the advent of Internet thievery, many overseas. 
Like most of us in this business, Eirik wasn't a "name," but he was a respected writer who never took himself or the entertainment scene too seriously. It repaid him in full. When he died last month in Rancho Mirage of complications from a long battle with heart disease, his passing went all but ignored by colleagues. (Life partner Lani Young published a lovely remembrance in The Desert Sun.)
The Toronto Star -- which dropped his byline when he needed the paper most -- assigned someone to the obit who obviously didn't know, or care. The story was about a longtime Star fixture named Eirik Knudsen. A setrec on the misspelled surname ran a day later. 
"I was very embarrassed by this particular error," said entertainment editor Douglas Cudmore. "We've spoken to those involved and run a correction. Thanks for writing." 
Eirik, one of the great iconoclasts, would have managed a pained smile, and then remarked, "You can't fault them for being inconsistent."
December 21, 2008 4:23 PM |

Before we let this bone go, indulge another posting on the Ramiro Burr-Douglas Shannon affair.

For the sake of accuracy, we must acknowledge that our profession has had a long, sad history of publishing ghost-written columns.

Consider a parenthetical before a 1949 entertainment column in the L.A. Times:

("While Hedda Hopper is in Europe her column is being compiled and written by her Hollywood staff.")

Might Mr. Burr have been better served by sharing a byline ... or by warning in parens "When I'm blocked or too lazy to come up with my own prose this column will be compiled and written by someone I rely on and respect but would just as soon not identify"?

Contact Lovell at
June 28, 2008 3:44 PM |
San Francisco author Frank Robinson ("Waiting," "The Power") sends along this dispatch from the just-wrapped "Milk," the Harvey Milk biopic directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Sean Penn as the SF supervisor and Josh Brolin as his assassin, Dan White. Robinson worked (sort of) as Milk's speech writer and was asked to play himself.

"I was living on Red Rock Way, on a hill above Castro, working on 'The Glass Inferno' (which became 'The Towering Inferno' as a film). Used to walk down to the Castro for breakfast. Harvey had his camera shop and 'Kid,' his black mutt who would be outside humping anything that was warm and wiggled. I'd stop to pet the dog and fell into conversation with Harvey. I found out he was running for supervisor (a major political office in a major city! The guy was charming but obviously nuts). He found out I was a writer and invited me to join in some speech writing for him. 'It'll be a hoot, we'll stir a lot of shit.' We managed to 'stir a lot of shit' but it didn't become a hoot until they started filming the movie. Now, THAT was a 'hoot'!

"The first chance I got, I ad-libbed a dirty joke on camera and they made me a member of SAG. I have something like 17 scenes, including marches. Have no idea what will end up on screen. I ad-libbed my way through it, except for my one word -- "dogshit!" -- in my last scene. A great crew and literally thousands of extras (open call for the funeral march, etc.). Penn, Brolin, James Franco, Emile Hirsch ('Into the Wild'), Joseph Cross ("Running with Scissors"), etc.

"I read the script by (Dustin) Lance Black twice -- great script, story-teller's script.  Should be out in late October. They consider it a political film.  My last day, Van Sant gave a little thank-you speech and it was hugs and kisses all around.  Penn a love to work with, ditto Franco.  I'll really miss it. 

"Summary: Van Sant's biggest film and you'll have seen nothing like it. Penn looks EXACTLY like Harvey, slightly shorter and voice somewhat lower.  All of us who knew Harvey did a double take.  Ditto actor playing Mayor Moscone and actor playing Senator Briggs.  Doppelgangers ... ."

Speaking of Portland's own Van Sant: Check out his latest,"Paranoid Park." It's his best work since the Columbine-inspired "Elephant." Mesmerizing, disturbing, deeply felt.

Contact Lovell at
March 24, 2008 3:17 PM |
Heard 'round the water cooler: An intern at the L.A. Times says the paper is looking to hire budget Woodsteins straight from J-school. This, after they offered -- and accepted -- buyouts from several of their most seasoned employees. Anyone care to advance?

Contact Lovell at
March 21, 2008 7:41 PM |
While investigating Gov. Spitzer's possible financial improprieties, federal authorities decided to have a look at his Netflix queue.

Wedged between "Live Free or Die Hard" and "The Good Shepherd," according to one source, were numerous "Pretty Woman" rentals, plus:

"Hustle," with Burt Reynold's cop and Catherine Deneuve's high-priced hooker speaking the langweege of love.

"Blaze," with Paul Newman as Louisiana Gov. Earl K. Long and Lolita Davidovich as his ballsy consort.

"Jefferson in Paris," about a pre-email politician who avoided scandal.

"Klute," with Jane Fonda as Bree Daniels, a pricey but conflicted New York hooker.

"Elmer Gantry," with the Oscar'd Shirley Jones as the evangelist's cat-house contributor.

"Primary Colors," with John Travolta making a reckless run up to the White House.

Fellini's "La Dolce Vita" -- a.k.a. the art-film defense.

And -- tagged "research??" -- "The Fortune," a Prohibition farce with Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty transporting Stockard Channing across states lines for immoral purposes.

Contact Lovell at
March 13, 2008 9:40 AM |
We in the media tend to think the world revolves around our every studied sigh.

Not so we're reminded again by Alexander Payne, the talented director of "Citizen Ruth," "Election," "About Schmidt" and "Sideways."

I can't think of many indie filmmakers who have benefited more from favorable press to help launch that next quirky, low-concept vehicle.

And yet, when asked about his take on film critics being downsized out of existence at many dailies, the L.A.-based Payne stifled a yawn and replied, "Sorry, but I have no comment on that; it's never occurred to me. I still read the New York Times and the New Yorker."

Contact Lovell at

February 25, 2008 11:51 AM |

As fun and immediate as blogs are for covering awards shows, there's nothing like being at the Oscars -- seated  backstage in VIP steerage, following Hollywood's Night of Nights on closed-circuit monitors, filing duplicates of a story that's old news by 9:30.

I datelined from the Oscars 14 times and it lived up to its reputation as a grubby, humiliating affair. (The way up to the old press room at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion was a service elevator -- the perfect metaphor.)

And why shouldn't it be unpleasant? It's the movie world's chance to get even with us groveling pundits of the media, and it doesn't take the opportunity lightly.

Though the boots-on-the-ground reporters -- I'm not counting Richard Roeper -- aren't on TV, there's a strict dress code. Tux for men; formal gowns and appropriate accessories for women. Everyone looks their best as they shove and elbow their way through security ... to the edge of the red carpet ... into their designated cubby in the press room.

At one show Roger Ebert was forced back to the refreshment room because he had dared take a paper plate of finger food to his laptop. "Now, now, Roger -- you know the rules," chastised an Academy flack, savoring the moment.

At another show a harried journalist from Frankfurt arrived straight from LAX only to be shown the door. She was told her formal wear -- a long black evening dress -- "wasn't formal enough." (Love to have heard her explanation to accounting back home.)

"Shit -- this is the worst," shouted a veteran South Florida journalist new to the ritual. "How do you work under these conditions? I'd rather have my eyes gouged out ... Never again."

Not that she would be invited back. It's damn-near impossible to crack the press list. Hollywood saves such exquisite torture for its very favorite people.
February 24, 2008 2:13 PM |
No Depression is a magazine I expect few people outside the music world have heard of. With its "roots," "Americana" focus (if I'm not mistaken, and I may be, it avoided the "alt-country" tag), it was always a touch corny for my taste. But it was a serious, professinally edited magazine that covered a sector of semi-popular music that gets far less ink in the general music press than its achievement deserves even if you think you hear too much of it on NPR. It lasted 13 years. And now it's shutting down. After the jump, an email from publicist Traci Thomas that includes both her kind words and the magazine's own account of its history and current dilemma. Both are informative and eminently sane. This is a portrait of arts journalism in a field where foundation support and status-conscious individual backers are basically not a factor.
February 19, 2008 9:31 AM |
The New York Press has a fascinating look at reporting of the Hollywood writers strike by New York Times' movie editor Michael Cieply.
February 13, 2008 9:51 AM |

The Wall Street Journal is considering adding an expanded culture section:

If given the green light, the culture section would be another move toward Murdoch's stated goal of competing with The New York Times. As Journal managing editor Marcus Brauchli told The Times on Monday: "In the news department here, we believe there is no reason that people should have to go to another news source beyond The Journal to find news of consequence to them in any sphere -- politics, economics, even culture and the arts."

February 13, 2008 8:32 AM |


 "Artists in Exile: How Refugees from Twentieth Century War and Revolution Transformed the American Performing Arts," will be published by HarperCollins this week. There are chapters on dance, film, theater, music.

A central theme of Joseph Horowitz's study is that Russians uprooted from St. Petersburg became "Americans"--they adapted. Representatives of Germanic culture, by comparison, preached a German cultural bible--they colonized.

Joe writes:

My various speaking gigs include Barnes and Noble (Lincoln Center) Feb. 25 at 7 pm, and Politices and Prose (DC) March 12, 7 pm.
February 3, 2008 8:10 AM |

We've been reading a lot lately about the diminishing pool of film critics at such dailies as the San Diego Union-Tribune, Dallas Morning News, Detroit Free Press, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel and Tampa Tribune. Most everyone in the entertainment media thinks it's a bad thing.

But what of the studios? Are fewer critical voices a boon or a bother? I'm going to be checking in with various producers I know in the coming weeks to gauge their feelings.

Meanwhile, film critic Jack Mathews, who just announced his retirement at the New York Daily News, weighs in.

"I think the studios must be delighted," he e-mailed. "There's more publicity for their movies now -- puff interviews mostly -- and less credible criticism.

"Consider the increase in the number of movies being opened without critic screenings. Makes perfect sense: they rely on advertising and publicity and get an undisturbed opening.

"I think newspapers should begin running movie reviews as soon as they can -- to be competitive with the Internet outlets -- and force the studios to either drop their embargo demands or stop holding early screenings that Internet critics attend. I've raised this issue with my editors and they won't even allow me to comment critically on movies I've seen until my review is published. It's nuts."

That was my experience as well. My editors usually played nice with studio reps, instead of using their power to push for earlier screenings and hard-to-snag exclusive interviews. It was almost as if the newspapers and the studios were in business together. Maybe this has had something to do with print's lack of competitiveness in the time of the unfettered cyber-critic.

Contact Lovell at

February 2, 2008 10:44 AM |
Another example of why film critics pack less punch these days:

I saw the grim Romanian import "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" on IFC's pay-per-view channel five days before it "opened" in the Bay Area to rave reviews. Admission: less than $7.

Local exhibitors must be quaking in their boots over this home-delivery system. As the middle man rendered redundant, they're dangerously close to being written out of the equation ... like critics commenting on a film that's been available a week before they're allowed to weigh in.  

I can remember George Lucas holding forth 10 years ago on a L.A.-based satellite delivery system that would ensure "quality control." At the time, I thought it sounded so exciting.

Contact Lovell at
February 1, 2008 9:23 AM |


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