Artists Outnumber Athletes at Olympic Games

As Rob and I prepare to sit down tomorrow night to watch what could possibly be one of the most extraordinary Opening Ceremonies ever, I was intrigued by this article in Bloomberg about the massive volume of arts events scheduled to take place in Beijing over the next few weeks.

The Chinese Ministry of Culture reports that more than 20,000 artists from 80 countries have come to present more than 300 exhibits and performances as part of the international spectacle -- and that's twice as many artists as athletes scheduled to compete in the Games. This figure, as far as I can tell, doesn't include the thousands of children and other citizens who will be performing and in various pageants and ceremonies "on-site" at the Olympics; the commitment here seems to be around featuring the city's new and established museums, theaters, concert halls and parks. Perhaps most intriguing, Beijing has just completed construction of their new National Center for the Performing Arts at a cost of $438 million, and it opens this month with a massive collaboration of dance, music, and other artistic disciplines all wrapped up in a billing entitled "Divas in Beijing."

The egg-shaped National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing. Photo by Bernardo De Niz/Bloomberg News.

Divas and The Olympics. Two of my favorite things! And speaking of this unlikely combo, did you know that if you were to travel to the Gay Games (Cologne 2010), you would actually find singing, dancing, and monologues (!!!) to be among the competitions you can enter and win medals for? Now THAT sounds hilarious, and wonderful, and frightening all at once!

1 comment:

MightyToyCannon said...

Wow. This got me thinking all kinds of thoughts* about public investment in cultural infrastructure. Then my mind went to the drive toward privatization of the public good (from schools to military). That, in turn ... more later!

* Bringing to mind the poetic lyrics from the Bonnie "Prince" Billy tune "I See a Darkness" (often attributed to Johnny Cash, who did a great cover version).

Well, you're my friend
And can you see
Many times we've been out drinking
Many times we've shared our thoughts
Did you ever, ever notice, the kind of thoughts I got?