TIF Scandal Spurs Phony Tax Bills - Add Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown to growing roster of those unmasking one of the Daley administrations dirtiest secrets: the way TIF's are eviscerating the city's tax base to funnel increasingly large and questionable subsidies to connected institutions and developers. Brown's Sunday column exposes the basic fraudulence of tax bills sent to property owners in TIF districts, using the bill for the Mayor's own home as an example. Brown discovers that more 89% of the $13,056 bill is diverted to the TIF. While the tax bill lists $6,641 as going to the Chicago Board Education, the actual figure is more like $713. Read the column here.
Romeo and Juliet - Happily Ever After - If you think putting a smiley face on tragic tales began with Disney, catch this article by Patricia Cohen in the Sunday New York Times. Sergei Prokofiev's ballet score after Shakespeare has long been one of the most popular compositions in classical music, but the composer's original was much different than the one to which we've become accustomed.
In addition to the aforementioned matter of Juliet waking up in the tomb and walking off into the sunset with her Romeo, there was at least 20 minutes more music, but the same Stalinist pressure that had produced the 1936 denunciation of Dmitri Shostakovich resulted in five years of delays for the premiere of Prokofiev's new ballet, during which the most dissonant and difficult passages were cut, the orchestration thickened, and the drama recast as a battle between, according to Cohen, "arrogant old aristocrats and youthful progressives." Oh, and the principals again died.
Prokofiev's original score remained secreted in the Russian archives until it was uncovered by musicologist Simon Morrison in 2006. Now it's being painstakingly reconstructed, and the original score, with choreography by the amazing Mark Morris, is set to debut at Bard College next July, followed by a world tour. Read the story here.