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Broadway Composers Unite to Stop Sheet Music Piracy
Sheet music piracy is a big problem for composers, although the problem gets little attention. Last night Broadway composers gathered in New York City for the Dramatists Guild Anti-Piracy event. Stephen Schwartz, Jason Robert Brown, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Amanda Green, Stephen Flaherty, Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman and other Broadway composers attended the event to raise awareness of sheet music piracy. The composers were shocked to find that their sheet music was being traded online for free. So they decided to take action and write the downloaders personal emails explaining why it is wrong to steal sheet music and asking them to stop. Certainly young songwriters would be shocked to get a personal email from Schwartz, the creator of the score for the hit show Wicked, for example. Schwartz said, "You wouldn't walk into a music store and walk out with a piece of music under your arm. So why would it be acceptable to do it online? "I just went to the first of the Web sites that I'm going to be emailing, and I typed my name in to see how many individual pieces of sheet music that were available for free of mine — over 11,000."
The campaign was started by Georgia Stitt who found out from students that her husband's sheet music was being illegally downloaded online. Stitt's husband is
Jaon Robert Brown, who composed the score for Bridges of Madison County. So she decided to start writing songwriting students explaining how the theft hurts composers, who rely on their work to make a living and don't make big incomes like top recording artists. At the event, the composers emailed the owners of the websites that were offering the illegal downloads. They even took an Oscars-style selfie to publicize the event. The AP reports:
Posted on April 23, 2014
George R.R. Martin Discusses His Inspiration for Game of Thrones
ABC News interviewed George R.R. Martin, author of the Fire and Ice series, which was made into the HBO hit series Game of Thrones. Martin talks about growing up very poor in a housing project in New Jersey. He says that they were so poor they never went anywhere, but he had a great view over the water of Staten Island. At night he would see the lights and imagine a magical world. This became King's Landing, home of the Iron Throne.
Martin said he new a lot of little punks who were just like King Joffrey when he grew up. He was very shy in school and had a terrible time being bullied. When asked what character he would choose to be in the story he said Jon Snow because he is a classic hero. But his favorite character is Tyrion Lannister, who is played by Peter Dinklage on the show. Martin also revealed that he will appear in a cameo role sometime in the future, as his only cameo was left on the cutting room floor when casting changes were made to the pilot.
Take a look:
Posted on April 19, 2014
Gabriel Garcia Marquez Has Died at the Age of 87
CNN reports that Nobel Prize winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez has died at the age of 87. The author died in a hospital in Mexico City, where he was being treated for pneumonia and dehydration. Colombia's ambassador to Mexico, José Gabriel Ortiz, confirmed the death to CNN this afternoon.
The Columbian born literary icon was best known for his novels
One Hundred Years of Solitude, which has sold more than 20 million copies, and Love in the Time of Cholera. He is credited for popularizing, the genre of magical realism. Garcia Marquez was a strong defender of Fidel Castro and was generally not allowed to visit the United States until President Bill Clinton granted him a travel visa after reading One Hundred Years of Solitude.
The Nobel Committee granted the author the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982,
"for his novels and short stories, in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent's life and conflicts."
Posted on April 17, 2014
Boston Getting Life Size Bronze Sculpture of Edgar Allan Poe
The city of Boston is getting an amazing, life-size bronze statue of Edgar Allan Poe this fall. The Edgar Allan Poe Foundation of Boston has raised funds and secured all the permissions needed for the commission of artwork to commemorate Poe's work. WBUR reports that sculptor Stefanie Rocknak has won the commission, beating out 265 other applicants. Her sculpture is titled "Poe Returning to Boston" is being created now at New England Sculpture Services in Chelsea.
Here is her description of the work:
I propose to cast a life-size figure of Poe in bronze. Just off the train, the figure would be walking south towards his place of birth, where his mother and father once lived. Poe, with a trunk full of ideas -- and worldwide success -- is finally coming home. His expression is complex. He is determined and his stride is decisive. His face reflects a mixture of pain, anger and sadness, and from some angles, a subtle sense of hope. As he walks towards Carver Street, he openly dismisses what is behind him with his left hand; the Frogpondians to the north. Boston is not claiming Poe, Poe is claiming Boston. To punctuate this, he leaves a literal paper trail behind him. He has not only left his mark on the world, he has left it on the city of his birth. His ideas are jumping off the page and cascading out of his trunk; a heart lies just behind him, and an oversized Raven explodes to the south. The Raven, which has become symbolic of Poe's brooding creative spirit, visually reflects Poe; his coat mimics the raven's wing, and, like a bird, Poe is slightly pigeon-toed. They are one, heading up-wind towards their final resting place."
My Modern Met reports that the sculpture is life-sized at around
5’ 8” tall. The sculpture will be unveiled on October 5, 2014, which is two days before the 165th anniversary of Poe's death. The sculpture will be installed at the corner of Boylston Street and Charles Street South which is two blocks north of where Poe was born in 1809.
Stephen King and his wife Tabitha have donated to the project, which has a budget of $200,000. It's a fantastic piece of artwork which will be an asset to the city of Boston. This is the clay sculpture that is being forged in bronze.
Photos: Stefanie Rocknak
Posted on April 16, 2014
James Patterson Wins Chicago Tribune Young Adult Literary Award
Internationally bestselling author James Patterson has won The Chicago Tribune 2014 Young Adult Literary Award. The Chicago Tribune announced that Patterson will receive the award in recognition of his efforts to encourage, inspire and motivate children to read. The annual award acknowledges the power of literacy in the lives of young adults specifically.
Gerould Kern, senior vice president and editor of the Chicago Tribune said in a statement, “The Tribune carries on a great literary tradition, and we believe that the written word can transform lives. In celebration of that cause, we recognize James Patterson for his extraordinary efforts to reach a wide range of young readers, many of whom have not had the opportunity to savor a book. We applaud James Patterson for his determination to connect with readers and convince them of the rewards of books."
Patterson is the author of the Alex Cross detective series, as well as many young adult series such as Maximum Ride, Witch & Wizard and Daniel X. His books have sold more than 300 million copies worldwide. The author has numerous initiatives to encourage children to read and to love books, such as the James Patterson Pageturner Awards program, website ReadKiddoRead.com, and the College Book Bucks scholarship program. He also regularly donates
hundreds of thousands of books to schools.
The award will be presented at the Chicago Tribune's 2014 Printers Row Lit Fest, which takes place June 7 – 8, The Lit Fest is just one part of the Tribune's Printers Row literary program, which has events year round. This year's festival will be the 30th anniversary of the event, which is the largest free outdoor literary event in the Midwest. You can find more information about the festival here.
Image: Chicago Tribune
Posted on April 15, 2014