June 22, 2007

LinkNews Digest [06/22/2007]

Tijuana Wants Its Salad Tossed

TIJUANA, Mexico (Reuters) - The Mexican border city of Tijuana, mired in drug violence, hopes to recall brighter days this summer by tossing three tonnes of Caesar salad, the dish invented in the town's U.S. prohibition-era glory days.

The salad was born in 1932 in the kitchen of chef Cesar Cardini, according to the current owners of Caesar's Hotel in Tijuana, a city that flourished as U.S. tipplers flooded its bars and casinos in search of legal alcohol.

While still drawing hordes of U.S. party-goers too young to drink across the border, Tijuana has been plagued by dozens of killings in recent years in a drug cartel war -- an image locals hope a record-breaking side dish will help shake off.

The salad of romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese and anchovies will be tossed on August 26 outside Tijuana city hall in a 40 metre-long (130 feet) container. Rodriguez said the current record was held by a 2.5-tonne Caesar salad made in New York in 2001.(LINK )

This Art *ISN'T* Crap!

LONDON, June 12 (Reuters) - Tins sold for thousands of dollars to collectors and museums as works of excremental art by famed Italian artist Piero Manzoni may not actually contain any of the artist's feces.

Comments by fellow artist Agostino Bonalumi, who told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera this week that the 90 tins of "Artist's Shit" had nothing in them but plaster, have provoked a response from a museum which paid more than 20,000 pounds for one of them.

A spokeswoman at the Tate museum in London insisted that the revelation did not invalidate the tin as a work of art. "Keeping the viewer in suspense is part of the work's subversive humour," she said.

Before his death in 1963, Manzoni said he hoped his work would "expose the gullibility of the art-buying public". The suggestion was that anything an artist made could be rendered as valuable, even if it was simply a series of re-labelled tin cans containing human excrement.

Manzoni produced the work in 1961, labelled each tin as "100 percent pure artist's shit" in Italian, French, German and English" and sold them for the price of their weight in gold.(LINK )

New Threat: French Winemaker Terrorists

A shadowy group in France has issued the French government with an unusual ultimatum: raise the price of wine or "blood will flow."

The group's name is the Crav, which stands for nothing more threatening than the Union for Viticultural Action in the Languedoc region in the south. The Crav's deadline to the government runs out this weekend, which marks exactly 100 years since wine-makers in the region led their last revolt. That ended with the French army shooting dead six demonstrators.

No wine-maker will publicly admit to being part of Crav but many sympathise with their demands, if not with their methods.

Grower Francois Thiebaud says "Some [growers] have even killed themselves because they couldn't feed their families on the money they earn." He says that he and many other wine-makers in this region are now fighting for survival. "We're working at a loss. We've lost between 40 and 50% of our income because of falling prices and the big cut taken by the middle-men. I can only afford to carry on working in the vineyards because my wife has another job."

Such frustration has now boiled over into the threats of violence by the Crav, made in a video message sent to France's new President, Nicolas Sarkozy. In the video - shot in a secret location late at night - seven wine-makers, their faces hidden by black balaclavas, read out the spine-chilling warning that "blood will flow" if Nicolas Sarkozy does not act fast to raise the price of wine.

The group has proved that it is prepared to use violence to achieve its aims. Already, several local supermarkets selling foreign wines have been attacked with small explosive devices, with others graffitied with the Crav's initials.

The group has also shot at and hijacked at least one lorry containing wine from abroad - and the fear is that the attacks could escalate unless the government responds to the group's demands, which it so far has not. (LINK )

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