Thursday, November 20, 2008

A future for newspapers? or Deathwatch?

Well, if you believe Hustler publisher Larry Flynt, newspapers will do just fine. In an interview this week, Flynt claimed that newsprint isn't obsolete and won't be obliterated by the great dinosaur-killer that crashed to Earth, the Internet. Instead, Flynt suggested that newspapers need to learn how to just get along with their newer media neighbors.

On the other hand, there's a blog on with an open-minded heading: "Newspaper Deathwatch." In today's entry, mediabistro bemoans the possibility that newspapers will go the way of Public Radio or Public Television, that is, listener/viewer- and now reader-supported media. Here's a bit of the idea that mediabistro downloaded from the online source, Spot.Us:

Spot.Us is a nonprofit project to pioneer "community funded reporting." Through Spot.Us the public can commission investigations with tax deductible donations for important and perhaps overlooked stories.


Dance critic Clive Barnes has died

We've all read his work. To those of us who love dance, Clive Barnes was the writer who's opinion mattered most. His all-embracing enthusiasm for dance, especially American modern dance, drew us like a magnet to his byline. His decades-long career at the New York Times and the New York Post spanned a golden age of dance in America. He caught its illusive newness and greatness, and distilled it for us.

Mr. Barnes died Wednesday, Nov. 19, in Manhattan at the age of 81.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Schubert -- by Austrian pianist Paul Badura-Skoda

Today is the Todestag (death date) of Austrian composer Franz Schubert (died Nov. 19, 1828, at the age of 31).
I can remember a time -- it seems more like an era ago -- when the date signaled a flurry of performances honoring Schubert. An especially inspired concert of "Winterreise" (the song cycle "Winter Journey")in Rochester, NY, a decade ago cannot be erased.

But tonight, I'm humbled again listening to Schubert on this 180th Todestag. This time, the source of humility and inspiration is Austrian pianist Paul Badura-Skoda (pictured right).

As luck would have it, Vienna's Badura-Skoda played here in Florida in November 2007, an all-Schubert-and-Beethoven program at Lake Worth's Duncan Theatre as part of the pianist's 80th anniversary tour. The performance of Schubert was so sublimely spiritual that my friends still talk about it a year afterward.
Badura-Skoda is one of the great pianists of the century. For years, he had the largest number of recordings on store shelves compared to other artists. Among his 200 recordings are the complete piano works of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert - some of the most gripping Schubert imaginable. And in his 80s, he is still releasing new CDs in Europe.

(To preview audio, visit