Commentary: Can music predict the Super Bowl winner?

From NPR's Morning Edition, February 4, 2011

The Green Bay Packers are a slight favorite over the Pittsburgh Steelers in this Sunday's Super Bowl [according to NPR] music commentator Miles Hoffman, [who] has broken down the game by weighing the musical talents of the teams and their home cities.  Green Bay would seem like the underdog:  "Pittsburgh is one of the great musical cities -- not just of the country, but of the world, [but] Green Bay has its own excellent musical institutions [including] the Green Bay Symphony which is 97 years old."  To truly support a team, a city needs a fight song. Both the Packers and the Steelers have official fight songs, but "both are pretty bad, and neither one of them is exactly Mozart, so I don't know if we can judge there."  On the teams' lineups, though, the winner is clear. Several Steelers have held positions on the board of the Pittsburgh Symphony. But "there are a whole bunch of Packers who have taken piano lessons in Green Bay," Hoffman says. "There's [quarterback] Aaron Rodgers, who also plays the guitar and is very interested in music theory. He has his own record label, so he's really into music. Safety Nick Collins, cornerback Jarrett Bush, safety Charlie Peprah, quarterback Matt Flynn, linebacker Brad Jones -- they've all taken group piano lessons in Green Bay."  The players loved it and took it seriously.  "When they play their pieces together, they kid each other about how bad they are, and then they play absolutely as well as they can".  And on the field?  "I think I have to go with the Packers."


Museums wager Impressionist paintings in Super Bowl bet

From CNN, February 4, 2011

Impressionist painting and football are words you don't often hear in the same sentence.  But the Carnegie Museum of Art and Milwaukee Art Museum are bridging the gap by wagering temporary loans of major Impressionist artworks from their collections on the outcome of the Super Bowl on Sunday.  The stakes are as follows: if the Green Bay Packers win, the Carnegie Art Museum in Pittsburgh will loan Pierre-Auguste Renoir's "Bathers With Crab" to the Milwaukee Art Museum.  But if the Pittsburgh Steelers steal victory, the Milwaukee Art Museum stands to temporarily lose to the Carnegie its prized "Boating on the Yerres" by Gustave Caillebotte.  "Our art director is from Green Bay, so this is personal," said Kristin Settle, head of PR for the Milwaukee Art Museum.  Wagering a loan of art on the outcome of the Super Bowl is now something of a tradition.  Last year, art blogger Tyler Green dared the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the New Orleans Museum of Art to wager the loan of an important artwork on the outcome of the match between the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts.  Lynn Zelevansky, director of the Carnegie Museum, said the art wager is a way of showing that "the museum is also part of the community, it's a way of doing our part."  Settle, in Milwaukee, echoed this sentiment: "We just could not be more thrilled to be representing Wisconsin as the cultural icon for the state in this wager."


In Super Bowl's host city of Dallas, sports-related art exhibitions abound

Posted on, February 2, 2011

Like everyone else in Dallas, local art professionals are preparing for an inundation of football fans come Super Bowl Sunday, when the Pittsburgh Steelers go up against the Green Bay Packers. And like any good American, they intend to make a profit from it.   Over half a dozen local galleries and museums are mounting sports-related exhibitions. Some shows are only marginally art-relevant: American Airlines's C.R. Smith Museum's "Century in the Making" promises a showcase of the top 100 moments in Texas football history (read: jerseys, helmets, and trophies). Other exhibits, on the other hand, are only marginally sports-relevant. Dunn and Brown Contemporary's "Ball Game" presents artists' sometimes-abstract interpretations of balls and games, from Damien Hirst's polka-dot etchings to a globular sculpture by Tara Donovan.  While art and football might seem like an odd couple, it's not the first time they've come together. In fact, the Super Bowl has its very own licensed artist, 3-D pop painter Charles Fazzino. More famously, the Dallas Cowboys launched an ambitious initiative last year to bring high-profile acquisitions and commissions to their stadium, including work by blue chip art stars Olafur Eliasson, Lawrence Weiner, and Mel Bochner.


It's game day, even backstage at New York theaters

From this Sunday's Arts and Leisure section of The New York Times, February 6, 2011

With Lombardi a surprise hit, and the new revival of That Championship Season, sports has an unusually prominent place on the Broadway stage this Super Bowl week. It's an odd twist since people often presume that sports and theater exist in mutually exclusive universes. Not so, many actors, playwrights and directors insist. "Sports fans are not as pervasive in terms of quantity in the theater world," said Thomas Sadoski, a co-star of Other Desert Cities, now at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater. "But we make up for that with the depth of our fanaticism."   Here's a lineup of some of the theater world's biggest fans:

         Dan Lauria, [who] plays the title character in Lombardi, worked as a linebacker coach while waiting to enter the University of Connecticut's graduate playwriting program and was offered an assistant coaching job at the University of Iowa.

         Carole Rothman, artistic director of Second Stage. There aren't a lot of female sports fans in the theater, but nearly all have two things in common: "They are rabid, rabid fans, and they all seem to be from Pittsburgh and are Steelers fans."

         Greg Jbara (Jackie in Billy Elliot) and other cast members follow football games in their dressing room. "It's almost problematic.  There have almost been entrances missed. Sometimes the music is just eight bars from our cue, and we're still there."

         J. Bernard Calloway (Delray in Memphis) entered Alabama State University on a football scholarship and dreamed of reaching the N.F.L. Before his senior year he needed surgery for a knee injury. By the time he graduated, football was in his past and he was Broadway bound.  "Being onstage gives me the adrenaline rush of football."


Super Bowl's sky-high sales a sign people are spending again on entertainment?

From, February 3, 2011

Demand has helped make a Super Bowl XLV ticket far more expensive than a ticket to Super Bowl XLIV. The average price of a ticket purchased from the NFL TicketExchange, as of Wednesday, was $4,118. The most expensive ticket sold thus far went for $15,946. Last year's average ticket price was $3,208 and the most expensive ducat was $11,942.58.'s figures were even higher: The average ticket price there for a ticket to Super Bowl XLV was $5,376.  Premium Seats USA president and CEO Jimmy Siegendorf said the active market is a good sign for the industry and the economy in general. "People are spending money on entertainment.  These high-profile events are definitely more driven by the corporate market and we've seen strong prices for the Super Bowl throughout the last couple weeks. I think it's a sign of the economy bouncing back and I think people should be optimistic about that [and] could read into that things are turning for the better."

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