Laura Bush, headhunter! While she was on a trip to Pakistan in March, President Pervez Musharraf bemoaned the neglected state of culture in his country. "We need to send you Michael Kaiser," suggested the first lady, who describes the whirlwind Kennedy Center president as a "get-things-done kind of person."
Who could say no? Kaiser, who also serves as a cultural ambassador for the State Department, was on a plane to Islamabad two weeks ago to "help out." That kind of request "is music to my ears," said Kaiser, nicknamed the "turnaround king" in the arts world for saving ailing institutions -- notably the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, American Ballet Theatre and Britain's Royal Opera House. Analyzing an entire nation's array of arts organizations is turning into a sideline. Mexico and China are already in his portfolio.
In Pakistan, "there's a love of theater, a love of music, a love of poetry," Kaiser told The Post's Jacqueline Trescott. He attended concerts of Sufi music, visited small theaters and toured the country's half-built National Gallery of Art. His next trip to Pakistan? A lecture series in the oven-hot summer. "They took that as a measure of my seriousness that I would come back in August," he said.