Tuesday roundup: Bid for a night in Downton Abbey; critic pans PBS Arts Fest selections

By Current Staff

Highclere Castle, television home of Downton Abbey. (Photo: Courtesy of Lord and Lady Carnarvon for Pioneer Productions)

Highclere Castle, television home of Downton Abbey. (Photo: Courtesy of Lord and Lady Carnarvon for Pioneer Productions)

• Ever wanted to spend a night in the same castle as the Granthams? Auction house Christie’s is offering a selection of Downton Abbey–related prizes for bidding until Aug. 14, including an overnight stay in Highclere Castle, where most of the PBS program is shot. Other selections as part of the “Heroes at Highclere” event include Lady Mary’s necklace and a private table-setting lesson from Highclere’s butler. All proceeds support a selection of armed forces charities.

Wall Street Journal drama critic Terry Teachout skewers PBS’s choices for its upcoming Arts Fall Festival. He notes that the annual programming event “includes no ballet or modern dance, no classic theater, no real jazz, no opera save for ['Porgy and Bess'] and no classical music of any kind. Moreover, the nine programs barely hint at the nationwide scope of American art: Of the eight performance-based shows in the series, all but three were taped in New York.”

• The Marshall Project, a nonprofit criminal-justice news site founded by former hedge-fund manager Neil Barsky, launched last weekend with an investigation of a Texas execution of a possibly innocent man based on faulty informer testimony. The story was published in conjunction with the Washington Post. The Marshall Project is funded by donors and foundations.

• PBS will use OVEE, public media’s interactive social viewing platform, to announce winners of its annual Online Film Festival.The Most Watched and People’s Choice honors will be revealed Wednesday.

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