“Excellent Sheep”: What’s Become Of Students at Elite Colleges Today

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William Deresiewicz: “They’re ‘excellent’ because they have fulfilled all the requirements for getting into an elite college, but it’s very narrow excellence. These are kids who will perform to the specifications you define, and they will do that without particularly thinking about why they’re doing it. They just know that they will jump the next hoop.”

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Joffrey To Live-Stream Rehearsal Of New Wheeldon “Swan Lake” Thursday

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The YouTube stream – 11:30 am to 3:00 pm U.S. Central Time – will feature artistic director Ashley Wheater as moderator and will include interviews with Christopher Wheeldon and (after they’ve caught their breath) company members.

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One Thousand Choreographed Robots (Or, Flo Ziegfeld Meets The Roombas)

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“There’s something unsettling about watching 1,000 robots execute a perfectly choreographed routine. … And yet, these machines – tiny $20 robots that take five minutes each to assemble, for a total of 83 hours – are actually completely banal. In fact, according to the researchers, their capabilities are pretty abysmal.” (video)

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Head Of Korea’s Gwangju Biennale Resigns After Censoring Mural

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“Earlier this month, a painting by the artist Hong Seong-dam was removed from an exhibition … following pressure by the Gwangju city government … The picture depicts the South Korean president Park Geun-hye being assailed by the families of children who died in the country’s MV Sewol ferry disaster last April.”

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Another Russian Censorship Row, This Time Over Cultural Policy Paper

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“A controversial document on Russian cultural policy, commissioned by President Vladimir Putin and backed by the culture minister Vladimir Medinsky, has drawn criticism – even within the Kremlin.” Its objective is to set cultural “norms” for all media; a leaked early draft included such phrases as “cultural projects that impose values that are alien to society” and “Russia is not Europe”.

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Major Art Basel Sponsorship Deal Could Go Up In Smoke Under Proposed Law

VIP Opening Of Art Basel 2013

“A powerful lobby has supported [Swiss] legislation that would prevent tobacco companies” – such as Oettinger Davidoff – “from sponsoring major events, such as Art Basel. A similar law is already in effect across the European Union, and Swiss interior minister Alain Berset is a a powerful backer of this new one.”

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Margaret Atwood Would Totally Fit In At Comic-Con

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“I designed some costume events for these doctors … The male doctor was a kidney surgeon, and he wanted the magic power to immediately implant kidneys in people, so his alter ego was named Kidney Boy, and the female doctor was Dr. Snit, and she had pain issues. And I gave them some little flying kidney helpers, because you have to have helpers. And Dr. Snit got a magic wand with a little halo of Tylenols.”

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Met Opera: The Labor Crisis Is Over, The Spiritual Crisis Goes On

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Justin Davidson: “Can an opera company indefinitely support thousands of practitioners of arcane crafts? Must a costly large-scale art form inevitably be a luxury product, or can technology help it reach a wider public than ever? Do the new rich even have any interest? More immediately, can the company put on good-enough shows to fill its yawning house?”

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Australia Council For The Arts Transforms Funding Model

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“Artists will no longer be forced into such square holes as music, theatre and literature under a radical overhaul of arts funding announced by the Australia Council for the Arts. More than 90 grants will be reduced to just five common categories next year,” and application procedures have been streamlined.

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What Brought Justin Peck, Shepard Fairey, And Miami City Ballet Together? Graffiti

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More specifically, it was a visit Peck – who’s making a piece for MCB to premiere next March – made to Wynwood Walls, an outdoor gallery featuring spray-painted murals in an old Miami warehouse district.

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Met Opera Reaches Agreement With Stagehands’ Union, Drops Lockout Threat

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“Once the deal was reached at 3:15 a.m. after a marathon bargaining session, the Met dropped its threat of a lockout and announced that its season would open on schedule on Sept. 22… But while there was a palpable sense of relief that the Met had pulled back from the brink of a serious crisis, challenges remained.”

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“Artless In Every Sense” – Philly Museum Of Art’s Next Expansion Plan (Per Critic)

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The “Core Project” is the first of three stages of the museum’s Frank Gehry-designed expansion. “[It] involves tearing out the existing auditorium, which sits directly beneath the Great Stair Hall, and replacing it with a space labeled the Forum.” Thomas Hine argues that the Forum, as planned, misses every opportunity it has – and it forgets “the whisper”.

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Madrid’s Reina Sofía Museum To Expand (Again)

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“[The capital's] main Modern and contemporary art museum will expand its permanent exhibition space by a total of 3,000 sq. m by the end of 2015. … The project will ‘finally’ join the Francisco Sabatini-designed building, which fully opened as an art museum in 1992, with the extension by Jean Nouvel, completed in 2005.”

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In Praise Of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Midwestern Immoderation

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Justin Davidson, who recently completed a Wright tour through Pennsylvania and Wisconsin: “This processional of midwestern masterpieces reminds us that great architecture is not always the most sensible solution, or the most frugal, or the sturdiest. Sometimes it’s brilliantly insane.”

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The Unusual (Quaint?) Way San Diego County Distributes Arts Funding

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There’s no longer an arts council to assess grant requests; that was eliminated in 1993. Now cultural groups compete – often in person, during two-day-long pitch sessions – with libraries, health-care organizations, wildlife conservancies, and other non-profits for pieces of each county council member’s discretionary funds.

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Could An Arts Council Work In San Diego County?

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“[Advocates say] it’s time for the county to look for a new, more transparent, professional and equitable option for funding the arts.” And there’s no reason an arts council (like the one in, say, the city of San Diego) couldn’t work. But it probably won’t.

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Michigan Town Disbands Arts Commission Because There’s Too Much “Drama”

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“The [Rockford] City Council voted Aug. 11 to dissolve the Rockford Arts Commission, including releasing the remaining seven board members from their volunteer functions with the city.” Four of the 11 members “had recently resigned ‘because they didn’t like the drama’ of the conflict between the city and the members of the group.”

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Why Did Samuel Beckett Abandon His Mother Tongue (Only To Translate His Work Back Into It)?

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Because he needed to. “It is becoming more and more difficult, even senseless, for me to write an official English. And more and more my own language appears to me like a veil that must be torn apart in order to get at the things (or the Nothing-ness) behind it.”

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Does Creative Ability Really Run In Families?

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People have been arguing about this for a long time. Researchers have been studying it for almost as long. Maria Konnikova takes a brief look at the history.

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Do The Particulars Of A Language Shape The Way Its Speakers Think? Try Translating Poetry To Find Out

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Drew Calvert recounts the year he spent in an informal English-Chinese poetry study and translation group in Beijing – and what it taught him about the natures, strengths and deficits of the two tongues.

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David Hallberg Cancels Performances Through End Of 2014

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The ABT and Bolshoi Ballet principal has been advised to have ankle surgery.

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TV Networks, Having Defeated Aereo, Seek Injunction To Squash It Forever

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“If Aereo’s legal battle were a round of Mortal Kombat, someone would be shouting ‘finish him!’ right now.” The June Supreme Court decision forced it to suspend operations, but it still hopes to obtain a legal ruling that would classify it with cable companies. “But the broadcasters are determined to shut that effort down before it even gets started.”

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Frank Gehry’s New Parisian Palais

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“Despite its echoes of Paris’s architectural past, Frank Gehry’s latest museum project – the Fondation Louis Vuitton, opening this fall in the Bois de Boulogne – is like nothing the city has seen before … Paul Goldberger looks at the genesis of LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault’s partnership with Gehry, and the triumphant result.”

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The Day I Broke Into James Baldwin’s House On The French Riviera

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“I had been told that it was derelict and vacant; that after Baldwin’s death in 1987 there had been legal disputes about who in fact owned the eighteenth-century Provençal building (Baldwin thought he did). The rusty padlock on the austere gates and the broken buzzer confirmed that the house was unoccupied. I glanced furtively around to check that no one was watching and prepared to scale the wall.”

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If We Can’t Censor Our Summer Reading List, We’ll Have No List At All, Says School Board

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“The Cape Henlopen [Delaware] School Board nuked its entire summer reading list to keep kids from reading The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Emily M Danforth’s acclaimed YA novel about a gay teenager coming of age in Montana.”

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Radio Disney Gives Up On Over-The-Air Transmission

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After finding out that only 18% of its listeners tune in via AM or FM radio, the network’s execs have decided to sell all but one of its 24 U.S. stations. (Radio Disney will keep its L.A.-based flagship station, which will produce and distribute the national digital and satellite feed.)

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Does The World Need Another Classical Music Nonprofit? (Well, It Needs This One)

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“[The American Music Project's] goal is simple: to broaden the exposure of American classical composers to the public at large. But does the world really need another classical music nonprofit? AMP’s founder Johnson clearly thinks so, and his reasons for feeling this way are compelling.”

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The Two Things Students Really Want From Teachers

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William Deresiewicz: Not, as people commonly believe, to entertain them in class and hand out easy A’s. That’s what they retreat to, once they see that nothing better is on offer. … They don’t want fun and games; they want the real thing.”

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So What’s In The New Met Opera Labor Agreement? A Few Surprises

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“The unions representing the orchestra and chorus recognized the financial fragility of the opera house and agreed to their first pay cut in decades, while management abandoned its toughest demands and agreed to make significant reductions of its own, with independent oversight.” (emphasis added)

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