Jerome Weeks has a good blog entry from last week about what's happened to arts coverage in newspapers around the country. His usual beat is books but what he says has a lot of relevance to other arts columns that are also getting cut back and consolidated in many places. More specifically, these columns are being farmed out from other outlets that will stand to serve several communities (just like Clear Channel centralizes stations to serve several cities). As Weeks notes, one place picking up the slack are the blogs themselves but why has print media given up on this? A: it doesn't bring in ad dollars.
Speaking of things you better not blink or you'll miss, Nas and Mos Def came out with new records at the end of December. Don't feel too bad if this is news to you- fact is, the holiday rush time is a crappy time to put anything out because you're not to get noticed too well then (prime time is usally March or September).
In the case of Nas, that's too bad. History aside (which favors his first two albums), Hip Hop is Dead is probably his best record (and FYI, he means the title figuratively). In Mos Def's case, sad to say, it's not much of a loss. True Magic sounds like a retreat after his ambitious agenda of his last album, 2004's The New Danger (which was a wonderful kaleidescope of styles that worked almost as well as Speakerboxxx/The Love Below). Oh, well... he's still got the movies, plays, the inevitable Black Star reunion and I wouldn't count him out on future releases.