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In The Limelight For January 24, 2011: National Arts News

Success Of Autobiography Sparks Rise In Twainmania

Since"The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1," by Harriet Elinor Smith, was published by Berkeley University Press in November, Twain impersonators have seen a rise in popularity. In an article in Sunday's New York Times, Malia Wollan writes, "Long consigned to the dustbin of historical-society meetings and elementary school classrooms, Twain impersonators are now selling out shows, entertaining at fancy parties, presenting at conferences, making real money and adding new members to their ranks." The rise in ‘Twainmania' can be partly attributed to the unexpected success of Smith's exhaustive book, which despite being over seven hundred pages has remained on the New York Times bestseller list for thirteen weeks-since even before its publication.

New Home For The New World

A new home for the New World Symphony opens Tuesday in Miami. Director of the symphony Michael Tilson Thomas recruited his friend, legendary architect Frank Gehry, to design the hall, which seats seven hundred and fifty-six, with additional space available outdoors for those who can't afford tickets to set up chairs and watch live feeds of performances that will be projected on the outside of the building. Interior windows allow concert-goers to watch performers rehearse before a concert begins, and balconies scattered among the seats allow musicians to play from among the audience itself. Gehry and Thomas hope this integration of the audience and performers will make for a more communal musical experience.

Coachella Names Headliners

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which takes place annually in southern California every April, has announced its 2011 lineup. Heavy hitters include Cee-Lo Green, whose single "Forget You" has been on the American Top Forty list for a hundred ninety-three weeks, and Kanye West, who hot on the tail of his most recent LP, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, has just announced that he will release a new album this summer, which he's calling Watch the Throne. Other Coachella artists to look forward to this year? Lauryn Hill, Flogging Molly, and Duran Duran will be there, as well as the Black Keys, the Arcade Fire, Bright Eyes, Broken Social Scene, Gogol Bordello, Ratatat, The National, and the New Pornographers, to name just a few.

  • View a full list of performers and find out more about Coachella.

Music And The Brain

Science writer Philip Ball released a new book last week, "The Music Instinct: How Music Works and Why We Can't Do Without It." In a review in The Globe and Mail, David Rothenberg writes that Ball's book is "the most accessible, comprehensive, and provocative investigation of the science of music – and its limits – yet to be written." The book is published by Oxford University Press.

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