The New York Philharmonic is going to perform in the Hermit Kingdom. Yes, the orchestra is off for North Korea, for what the AP calls a "cultural breakthrough." Plans are apparently far advanced: the orchestra president spent six days in country looking for venues. Mr. Mehta could have saved himself the trouble -- because wherever the orchestra plays it's still gonna be the same place -- some hall named after Kim Jong Il.
Can't wait to see the Internet version of the Pyongyang Daily Bugle's review of this performance: "The Running-Dog Imperialist Orchestra (of course much inferior to the People's Democratic Republic of Korea Philharmonic), gave a tepid rendition of The Nuclear Sun Rises and Never Sets on You, Dear Leader, and a spiritless performance of the Heroic Dear Leader Symphony." Since the object here is a "cultural breakthrough," surely, in the name of sensitivity, there will be no performance of this little number from Team America, World Police.
Post-show, the orchestra's members, and their secret police minders, will no doubt enjoy themselves out on the town, at one of Pyongyang's celebrated restaurants, such as "Dear Leader's Commissary No. 4," before calling it a night at "Dear Leader's Foreigners Only Night Club No. 2." Come to think of it, the orchestra members would probably be wise to bring their own food and drink, the North Koreans seem to be better at making nukes than at growing crops.
Finally, don't worry folks, whatever happens in Pyongyang, stays in Pyongyang, unless the recording gear in your hotel rooms, in the bathroom, on the street, or wherever, picks it up.