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"Get your news weakly"SM 10 April 2006

Jean-Claude & Christo's Longest-running Installation Almost Complete

The artistic pairing of Jean-Claude & Christo, who brought us The Gates in New York's Central Park, are reportedly almost finished with their longest-running and, by all accounts, most ambitious project to date.

Early in their career, they conceived of a complicated ribbon of performance art, surrounding the nation's capital, like a belt. Work on the first phases reportedly began as early as the 1960s. "With a project of this magnitude, it is important to start planning and constructing the elements you need early", said Christo, in a recent interview.

For this installation, they intend to involve the public in a more direct way, where the average person actually contributes to the beauty and effect of the piece. "We imagined soaring arcs of red lights in one direction, paired with a soaring arc of white lights in the opposite direction", explained Jean-Claude.

While most of the pair's installations are silent, this installation is expected to involve honking and the sounds of gridlock.

"The best part about the project is how it is an artwork always in the act of creating itself", said Christo. "Part of the triumph of the work is it's reliance on our signature orange color to channel the energy of the daily active participants in artistic co-creation", continued Christo, referring to the use of orange road cones, barrels, and construction signs around the Beltway.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) denied reports that the pair was intimately involved in the design of the critical Springfield Interchange on the Capital Beltway, linking the Beltway with I-95, the major North-South transit link on the East Coast. However, unnamed officials in the Federal Government confirmed suspicions that, despite their your age, Jean-Claude and Christo were artistic consultants during early stages of the "Circumferential Highway", as the Capital Beltway was originally known. Said one anonymous official, "we recognized the purity of their vision and only regret the inability to realize their goal of concentric circles of color, light, and sound surrounding the Capital, echoing the writing of Dante".


Fox To Debut American President

Tapping into the success and audience participation found in Fox's hit series American Idol, series producers have announced plans for American President. The show will feature the same basic format as Idol, beginning with a nationwide talent search, a series of elimination rounds, and a final series, where the public actually has the opportunity to vote directly for the president. Producer Simon Fuller hopes that some viewers will be attracted by the shear novelty of voting directly for the president. If that is not enough of a hook, the general talent call is likely to result in a host of ridiculous antics that will capture viewers early.

The show will try to remain true to the Idol formula, using a panel of judges for the early screening, carrying the panel through the later episodes of the talent competition, where the public will have voting power. First season judges are likely to be Jesse Jackson, Barbara Walters, and Simon Cowell. When asked how the panel had been selected, producer Fuller said, "It was simple really, we needed a black guy who speaks in riddles, a crazy little woman who acts like she is high as a kite, and a cocksure pain in the arse. Cowell may not know much about the American political system, but audiences love to hate him".

Early screenings for the pilot show Simon telling contestant John Kerry, "I don't mean to be rude, but you're just not believable".

When the show reaches the final stages, the public will be able to vote for their favorite candidate following live performances. The favored candidate is identified with a specific toll-free number, following the format 1-866-PREZ-01.

While the format is clearly that of American Idol success, the series hopes to inject some sense of the gravity of the decision with a nod to American political tradition. In this vein, the final four will only be shown on pay-per-view and the toll-free numbers will be replaced with numbers following the format 1-900-PREZ-01. ($1.99 for the first vote, $5,000.00 for each additional vote. Visa, MasterCard, and American Express accepted.)

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© 2006 Lea Ann Mawler & Stuart Mawler