All you folks out on the West Coast are missing some spectacular weather acrobatics this fall/winter. On Thursday morning we had heavy rain and winds so fierce that a tree branch got knocked off the trunk, bounced onto the garage and finally came to rest on the hood of my girlfriend’s car (which miraculously escaped major damage). This was followed by sun and high temperatures in the 60s later that day, which quickly turned to snow and sleet by the weekend. Be honest, LA and San Diego: don’t all those gorgeous days get boring after a while?

  • How’s this for a creative fundraising strategy: Seth Godin has a new book and many thousands of fans. Seth, who’s built his career on defining and exploiting viral marketing, decides fan enthusiasm will do much more to promote his book than agents or press will ever do. So he “gives” out promotional copies to the first 3000 people who request them–but with a catch: they first have to donate at least $30 to the Acumen Fund. Result? Seth gets his citizen marketers, the fans get their books, and 100 large was raised in no time.
  • The Knight Foundation is pumping $3.7 million in to the South Florida arts scene via the Knight Arts Challenge, a contest of sorts to find the most innovative ideas for advancing the arts in the region. The 20 winners were selected from some 1500 applicants. And the Victor Pinchuk Foundation has a new $100k biennial award for visual artists under the age of 35.
  • Here’s a head-scratcher: European cultural institutions are actually looking to America for fundraising inspiration. As the era of government footing the bill for the arts slowly drifts into the sunset over there, though, it’s probably inevitable. I’d just like to think that a rapprochement between the two systems is possible, rather than an inexorable drive toward more and more privatization.
  • Hear, hear:

    Whether they explicitly acknowledge themselves as leaders or not, artists often move others to follow them — into neighborhoods, into a new a social movement, or even just a dialogue. They do it through the skills that are inherent in their work as professional “inspirers” and provocateurs. Sure, some artists might be introverts and some extroverts, but through their art, they act as creative leaders in their boldness to often express a point of view as the naked truth.

    We’ve all seen the business world increasingly crave an approach that balances values with profits. One natural way to do this is to adopt an artist’s point of view; the honesty and integrity that artists naturally bring to their work will be increasingly relevant.

  • This reflection on the differences and similarities between the culinary and performing arts from the founder of Conni’s Avant Garde Restaurant, an experimental theater troupe, is the best blog find of the week. Totally fascinating read.
  • There are some great conversations on diversity going on in the theatrosphere this week. Check out Mission Paradox, 99 Seats, Isaac (and later, The Prof) for the full scoop.
  • I’ve been asleep at the wheel with regard to this New York Times group composers’ blog, The Score, but it’s pretty interesting – especially when you include the comments. Who knew there were so many random new music fans out there? Annie Gosfield has a great column out on what it means to be a “young composer” and shares some hard-won wisdom with her fresh-faced colleagues.
  • The What Capital When? conversation over at Blueprint R+D, Lucy Bernholz’s consulting shop, is getting off to a promising start. Tony “Superstar” Wang (can they add that to your blog signature?) has posted a helpful literature review of social investing theory and practice as well as a first stab at framing the choice between commercial, below-market, and charitable investments. Pretty graphs and diagrams abound. Meanwhile, Bernholz herself has published version 2.0 of her “Disrupting Philanthropy” white paper looking at the impact of data platforms on giving, which looks to be an important new document.
  • Bernholz’s frequent assertion that “data are the new platform for change” seems borne out by the increasing readiness of local governments to share vast stores of information with technology developers in the name of cool websites, as the New York Times reports.
  • We’re always hearing complaints that the research that’s out there needs to be communicated to a wider audience. In that light, IssueLab’s ResearchRemix contest looks pretty brilliant: contestants “will be asked to remix facts from one or more of the 300+ Creative Commons licensed reports on IssueLab with video footage, images and/or music.” (h/t @artfulmanager)
  • Ever wonder whatever happened to Myspace? The Financial Times has an excellent autopsy of the onetime social media king’s staggering fall from coolness. A culture clash with the leadership of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, shocker of shockers, is largely to blame.
  • So does this explain why men are assholes?

    The researchers, two California economists, studied the effects of the sex hormone testosterone on the generosity of male university students. Higher levels of testosterone, they found, made the students both more reluctant to give to others and more demanding that others give to them.

  • Hilarious.