Around the Nation, Friday Roundup

BY Arts Desk  January 8, 2010 at 2:45 PM EDT

What has the first week of the new decade produced in the world of public media? Here’s a selection of art and culture reports from local public broadcasting stations and national producers:

The Year's Work In Lebowski Studies- Michigan will join seven other states in May as part of the Cultural Data Project. With a budget of $855,000 over the three years, the state will track the economic impact the arts and culture sector through an online database, Michigan Radio reported this week from Ann Arbor.

- Indiana academics tackle “the discourse of the Dude” in a new book called “The Year’s Work In Lebowski Studies.” English professor and book co-editor Ed Comentale tells WFIU’s Josephine McRobbie that the idea was to put together an academic work that “spoke to the fans of the film and respected both their pleasure, their enjoyment of the film, as well as their intelligence.”

- If you’re in Southern California and want to join a book club without leaving your house, check out the KCET Online Book Club for a new twist on a book discussion. In January, the book is Jane Austen’s “Emma”. (Want to cheat? ‘Emma’ airs on Masterpiece Classic in late January. Check your local listings for broadcast times.)

- The Art of Action is an effort by the Vermont Arts Council to commission artworks that address issues that are critical to the state’s future. Vermont Public Radio interviews one of the artists, painter Janet McKenzie, about the role visual artists play in the conversation.

- Go behind the scenes of Sunday’s episode of “Nature,” Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air. Filmmaker Ann Prum describes how the crew captured images of one of the smallest and fastest warm-blooded creatures on the planet. If their web exclusive video doesn’t answer your questions, she’ll be online on Sunday Jan. 10 at 9 p.m. ET for a live chat.