The artist Ai Weiwei has now been missing for 40 days, silenced and unseen since he was arrested at Beijing Airport, trying to leave China. If that treatment continues it raises the question of how Edinburgh's festivals, which pride themselves on being a global flagship for the arts, will respond.
A LEGEND was born when theatre director, singer and songwriter Victor Jara was arrested, tortured and killed in Chile's 1973 military coup.
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THE Philadelphia Orchestra, which comes to Edinburgh this August, is famous as America's "Orchestra of Firsts".
THE Syrian musician Abu Hawash is billed as "the new sound of the Syrian desert". Playing the mijwiz, a double-tuned reed flute, he creates a frenzied "Dabke" dance sound accompanied by synthesizers, singers and an enormous drum. (Dabke is derived from the Arabic for "stamping feet".)
An exhibition to mark the 300th anniversary of David Hume's birth gives a side to the great philosopher never before put on public display
The arts sector clamours to be taken seriously in politics, constantly fearful of being shouldered out by the big guns like health or education.
THE ultimate curly mop contest beckons. With the Berlin Philharmonic being screened in Scottish cinemas in 3D next month, can conductor Sir Simon Rattle's swinging grey locks outdo tousle-headed locals Stéphane Denève and Robin Ticciati?
The new politics of spending that is tying gallery purchases in knots
Guy Masterson's show Shylock got strong reviews at the Adelaide Fringe last month - four and a half stars from the Adelaide Advertiser, no less - and he's bringing it to the Edinburgh Fringe this summer.
Fifty years later, Australian multi-millionaire Harold Mitchell vividly remembers his Stendhal moment. Aged 18, as an office boy in an advertising agency, he used half his week's wage to buy a ticket for the back row at the opera.
They're animals, but are they art? Featuring everything from Scottish terriers to flamingos and elephants, the second Animal Art Fair opens in London's Fulham Palace early next month, with 44 exhibitors. In its inaugural year in 2010, the event sold £500,000 worth of art to 3,000 visitors.
The International Festivals organised by director Jonathan Mills since he took over in 2006 have always had a theme – this year's cultural jamboree aims to build bridges to Asia. But is his approach causing divisions here at home?
The arts cuts in England this week have induced a state of shock. The Arts Council of England (ACE) moved to implement cuts of about 15 per cent, slicing spending by £100 million.
IT MIGHT have been easy for the Edinburgh International Festival director, Jonathan Mills, to pull in his horns in the current funding climate and settle for the tried and true - a popular repertoire of familiar classics, say, spiced up with a few big names.
On the advice of a friend, I'm looking at a tomb guardian. It dates from the Chu kingdom, and is made of lacquered wood. It was placed in tombs to keep evil spirits away from souls on the way to paradise, and is doubled-headed - two grumpy faces surmounted by antlers. "They are real antlers, lacquered," says a helpful man on the Priestley & Ferraro stand, specialising in early Chinese art. "It's got a tribal shamanistic power, a sort of anti-demon."
The Hanging Shed BY GORDON FERRIS Corvus , 320pp, £15.99
At the world's largest art fair, Maastricht, the prices are high and the sellers are looking to the East
In 1947, the then Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret sang along with Auld Lang Syne at the closing concert of the first Edinburgh International Festival. Let's have Festival by royal appointment
Jura malt whisky has named the winner of its contest to find an author to follow in the footsteps of George Orwell, who famously penned his masterpiece Nineteen Eighty-Four on the island.
BAD boy artist Kevin Harman made his name by nicking Morningside doormats for an Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) project, tidying skips and smashing the window of an art gallery. He opens his new show at an old ambulance depot in Edinburgh on Friday.