Power outages hit Japan's cinemas; box office halved following Friday's quake
Tokyo Electric Power will start rolling blackouts on Monday to compensate for the power shortfall caused by the failure of two nuclear plants in Japan following Friday's earthquake -- a further blow to the local biz. The blackouts will extend to five areas in nine prefectures, including sections of Tokyo and surrounding suburbs where many multiplexes are sited. The length of the daily outages will range from three hours and 40 minutes to seven hours and 20 minutes total. The blackouts are expected to continue until the end of April, with possible resumption in the summer when power needs surge. Theaters in the designated areas will be dark, dealing another blow to box office earnings already hit hard by the devastating 8.9 earthquake and subsequent tsunamis. According to television reports, weekend theater attendance was down by one-half in Tokyo. Exact figures will not be available until Tuesday at the earliest.
In Tokyo, a music group closes down its theater after earthquake
FROM TC: Wikipedia notes AKB48 is an all-female Japanese singing group which currently holds the Guinness World Record for being the "Pop group with the greatest number of members" (48). Unlike other "idol" groups in Japan, AKB48 is based at a theater. The group's name derives from a Romanized representation of 'Akihabara,' the district in Tokyo where its theater is located.
It was announced on AKB48's official blog that the AKB Theater will be momentarily closing due to the devastating earthquake and tsunami: "At the moment, we are unable to safely repair and inspect the theater. As you, the fans, all know, the there is equipment like hanging spotlights, moving lights, and trapdoors in the AKB48 theater. How many days will it take to assess the operation and security of these devices? When will we be able to call in contractors to check the building? We are uncertain. Until we are able to offer fans a safe environment to watch the shows, we will temporarily close the theater. Since aftershocks are still occurring, we have no way of telling when the theater will be running, but we will announce details as soon as we know. Moreover, to everyone worried about the members' safety: we have managed to contact all members. Lastly, we wish the safety of everyone that lives in areas greatly affected by this earthquake.... During these times, let us group together and support each other!"
BBC Philharmonic cuts short its 17-day tour of Japan
BBC News, 3/13/11
A BBC orchestra caught up in the Japanese earthquake is cutting short its 17 day tour of the country. Ninety musicians with the Manchester-based BBC Philharmonic experienced the tremor travelling on a coach from Tokyo to Yokohama. A message on its Twitter page said: "We have booked the orchestra on early flights home, the rest of our concerts have been cancelled." It was scheduled to perform 10 concerts but cancelled its last four. The orchestra's coach was crossing a suspension bridge when a powerful earthquake rocked the east side of the country.
VIDEO: A musician with the BBC Philharmonic captures the moment the earthquake struck.
In New York, a festival of Japan's culture proceeds
The New York Times, 3/14/11
When Carnegie Hall announced Japan as the focus of this season's big festival, it did not seem a particularly pathbreaking subject. Now it seems prescient. As Japan struggles with a woeful trail of disaster, Carnegie is about to plunge into a 40-event exploration of that country's culture -- its music, films, visual arts, design and drama -- in the second installment of its citywide festival JapanNYC. The hall's programmers and managers face challenges on two fronts: the practical problem of bringing in performers from a devastated country and the more nebulous issue of how to recast what was planned as a cultural celebration in a time of tragedy. As of Sunday no performers had withdrawn, and all but one event was scheduled to go forward. The only event struck from the agenda was a panel discussion, "Innovating and Profiting in Contemporary Japan." Festival organizers felt that "to talk about money" on the first day of the festival after the earthquake and tsunami was inappropriate, Clive Gillinson, Carnegie's executive and artistic director, said. "The show goes on," Mr. Gillinson said. "One thing in music and all the performing arts, nobody ever feels they won't find a solution. Everybody makes things happen....If you think of every place where there's wars going on, where there are terrible times, where people are suffering, they always look to music and culture. These are the things they look to for solace."
Japanese arts center in New York sets up quake relief fund
Japan Society, New York's premier institution dedicated to Japanese culture, established a relief fund Friday to assist victims of that country's catastrophic earthquake and tsunamis, just hours after the carnage was broadcast worldwide on the Internet. If you would like to contribute to the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund, Japan Society promises that "100% of your generous tax-deductible contributions will go to organization(s) that directly help victims recover from the devastating effects of the earthquake and tsunamis." Japan Society has posted a list of resources on its website for contacting and finding people in Japan, [urging] everyone not to make phone calls to Japan so emergency calls can get through. Instead, try to transmit messages via Twitter, Skype, Facebook and email, as much as possible.
A call to use the art of origami to give support to Japan
In response to the massive earthquake and devastating resulting tsunami that hit Japan, we at DoSomething.org are appealing to young people throughout the world to share their love and support for the Japanese people with "Paper Cranes for Japan." The task is simple: Find and upload a photo of an origami paper crane OR Make your own and take a quick pic of it THEN upload that photo along with a message of support to [our] Facebook page. Why cranes? Cranes are sacred creatures in Japanese culture. According to ancient legend, anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish -- like long life or recovery from illness -- by a crane. We're looking to collect 100,000 photos of origami cranes from young people to represent 100 wishes for relief and healing to all who affected by this tragic natural disaster.