Arts Briefs

The return of MacGyver

A movie-version of MacGyver, the long-running TV series about an extremely resourceful secret agent, is in the works, reported Mar. 16.

Played by Richard Dean Anderson, the titular character is notorious for his ability to get out of any situation with things as common as matchsticks and a ballpoint pen. The show ran for seven seasons and gained popularity all over the world.

“We think we’re a stick of chewing gum, a paper clip and an A-list writer away from a global franchise,” New Line Studio’s Richard Brener said.

I hope The Simpsons picks up on this.

Virgin loses appeal

I could make so many bad jokes about this one, but I’ll resist the temptation. I am of course referring to the planned closure of the Virgin Megastore chain, which, supposedly marks the end of the British music retail invasion.

HMV was the first to crossover to North America in 1990, but was soon followed by Virgin and W.H. Smith. Their fatal flaw, according to Ed Christman at, was “a failure to understand the U.S. real estate market” for British music retailers “had a history of overpaying for locations, which meant both chains usually had more unprofitable stores than profitable ones.”

At its peak, the Virgin Megastore chain had 23 stores and revenue of US$280 million annually, but at least 12 of its stores continually lost money. Of course, it doesn’t help that CD sales have continually declined for years.

The show must go on for Steve Martin

After being banned from a high school due to parental concerns, Steve Martin’s 1993 play, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, will be performed off-campus at Eastern Oregon University.

According to, Martin wrote in a letter to a newspaper that he would like to protect the play “from acquiring a reputation it does not deserve.”

Apparently, Martin first became aware of the controversy from reading about it online. The play explores a fictional meeting between Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein in a Parisian bar, before both figures achieve fame and success in the realms of art and science.
Martin has expressed frustration with the La Grande locals over the reigning conception of the play as a bunch of “people drinking in bars and treating women as sex objects.”

Clearly, Martin has never lived in a small town.

Make your own magazine

A customized magazine may be an act of desperation, but what choice does Time Inc. have? The Internet is crushing old-fashioned print across North America faster than you can say “obsolete.”

“Time Inc. is experimenting with a customized magazine that combines reader-selected sections from eight publications as it tries to mimic in printed form the personalized news feeds that have become popular on the Internet,” reported last week.
So how is this better than the Internet?

Readers can create their digest by choosing five out of the following eight titles: Time, Sports Illustrated, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Money, In Style, Golf and Travel + Leisure.

This five-issue, 10-week experiment goes by the name of “Mine.” But wait, it’s not as user-friendly as it sounds.

Editors will pre-select stories that make it into every biweekly issue and readers won’t have the option of changing their selections from issue to issue.

This amounts to a mere 56 possible magazine combinations, which, compared to the infinite possibilities of the information super-highway, doesn’t sound very impressive. Back to the drawing board!

Published in Volume 63, Number 25 of The Uniter (March 26, 2009)

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