INAUGURATION OVERLOAD: As you could probably guess, every publication worth its salt has some story that fits somewhere in the Obama-Inauguration-Arts triangle.
— Yo-Yo Ma and other performers today are leaving their prized instruments at home in favor of carbon-fiber models that can better withstand the cold. It may be a big day, but they;re not taking a chance with cellos and violins that are hundreds of years old and worth more than a million dollars. When I talked to Brad Leali, director of UNT’s Three O’Clock Lab Band, about his experience playing in the “We are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial” on Sunday, he said his saxophone shut down during outdoor rehearsals earlier in the week but made it through the freezing temperatures for the show.
— The Chicago Reader asks just how committed is Obama to the arts? It’s the question that has been on the art community’s mind since the election, and the answer at the moment seems to be: He supports them, but other issues will take priority early on in his presidency.
— The BBC wonders aloud about the point of having a poet at the inauguration. Yale professor Elizabeth Alexander will deliver an original poem after Obama makes his speech.
— Greg Kot, the great music critic for the Chicago Tribune, has a roundup of songs about past presidents on his blog.
— Cary Darling over at DFW.com has an insightful think piece focused on how Obama’s election might change hip-hop. The idea from those quoted in the story is that more social responsibility and less rapping about party excess and/or violence might come about. Stay tuned.