A neurologist examines the remarkable effects of music

While the authors of the study have tended to focus on discrete musical phenomena — musical savants or child prodigies — Oliver Sacks has tried to account for a full range: music and blindness, music and epilepsy, music and dementia, music and aging. Sacks affirms again and again the unique power of music to help and to heal. And if his scientific explanations threaten to make music seem less mysterious, be assured: They also make it appear more human.

News Observer, Jan. 13, 2008

Coconut Grove Playhouse is preparing to share its vision for rebirth

Twenty months after South Florida’s oldest regional theater abruptly shut down during its 50th anniversary season, the company’s board has crafted a vision for a reborn Coconut Grove Playhouse. Working with Miami-Dade County’s Department of Cultural Affairs and consultants at Connecticut-based AMS Planning and Research, board leaders have a draft plan that they will take to theater ”stakeholders” — former subscribers and patrons, business and government leaders, members of the theater community, Coconut Grove activists, historic preservationists and the public — in a series of meetings aimed at getting reaction and sharpening the proposal.

Miami Herald, Jan. 13, 2008

Cash-Strapped Atlanta Symphony Working On Huge Expansion

“The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra will become the first orchestra in America to operate three venues, with Encore Park as inventory” added to the 6,000-seat Chastain Park Amphitheater in Buckhead and the 1,750-seat Symphony Hall in Midtown. The result is that we’re becoming the largest music broker in the Southeast, with 20,000 total seats to fill and a year-round schedule of performances.”

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jan. 13, 2008 (Thanks to Artsjournal)

South Carolina is Home of the Third Feature Film in a Year

South Carolinians could be seeing a lot more of themselves and their home state in new film productions that have been in the state in the past year. In the highly competitive field of drawing filmmakers to a state, South Carolina’s incentive packages are designed not just to get the companies here, but to get them to hire more local production workers and suppliers. From 1997 through last year, 32 feature films, 10 made-for-TV movies and a television series were filmed in South Carolina, according to the South Carolina Film Commission. Three of those movies, a romantic comedy with George Clooney, a political drama starring Danny Glover and a thriller featuring Kevin Costner, have come in just one year.

The State, Jan. 12, 2008

Miami Performing Arts Center – New Money, New Name, New Hopes

Managers hope that Adrienne Arsht’s $30 million gift to the troubled Miami Performing Arts Center will help put some of those troubles behind. Carnival Cruise Lines, the center’s naming patron has agreed to take its name off the building.

Miami Herald, Jan. 11, 2008 (Thanks to Artsjournal)

Orlando dinner theaters battling Mickey Mouse

“Today’s dinner theaters are big on action, replete with simulated combat, roaring audio tracks and racing horses. Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, which closed last week after it was bought by shopping-center developer Chelsea Properties, fit the genre. Although its management said the decision to sell was all about the real estate, the disappearance of one of the region’s largest dinner-and-a-show venues raised questions about dinner theaters’ place in the increasingly crowded evening-entertainment niche. … Dinner theaters are fighting back with aggressive promotional efforts. They work closely with hotel concierges and time-share operators, distributing discount coupons to tourists looking for alternative activities.”

Orlando Sentinel, Jan. 14, 2008