New Route Chosen To Keep Cruise Ships Out Of Historic Venice (This Isn’t As Good News As You Think)

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The decision is “to use a channel in the lagoon called the Canale Contorta Sant’Angelo to bring the vast cruise ships into the port of Venice instead of sending them through the city. … It is like stopping juggernauts from travelling along the London Embankment by rerouting the same traffic and more down a new highway across Hyde Park.”

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And The Smithsonian’s Most Iconic Item Is … (It’s Not The Original “Star-Spangled Banner” Flag!)

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The flag that flew at Fort McHenry only came in a distant second, with Woody Guthrie’s original recording of “This Land is Your Land” placing third and the “Lansdowne” portrait of George Washington in fourth.” And the winner isn’t even the Smithsonian’s property, technically.

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Monty Python Reunion Live Broadcast Investigated For Using Naughty Words

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“The live screening of Monty Python’s farewell show has prompted an Ofcom investigation over bad language. The broadcasting regulator said the O2 concert had generated complaints ‘about the broadcast of the most offensive language’ before the 21.00 watershed.’

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India’s Top Film Censor Arrested For Soliciting Bribes

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“The head of India’s Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has been arrested on suspicion of soliciting a bribe from a film producer. Rakesh Kumar was arrested on Monday in Mumbai for allegedly seeking 70,000 rupees (£692) to approve a film from the central state of Chhattisgarh.”

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German Authors Join In Publishers’ Battle With Amazon

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“Taking a page from their colleagues across the Atlantic, more than 1,000 writers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland have united to vent their frustration over the tactics Amazon is using against the Bonnier Group and the authors who are published under its name.”

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Is This The Most Powerful Man In Publishing? (Some Would Say He’s Satan’s Top Lieutenant)

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The Observer meets Amazon’s Russell Grandinetti.

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The Library Is Ferguson, Missouri’s One Oasis Of Calm

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“[The staff] has used Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to offer residents a place of respite for them to get bottled water, check their emails, and avoid the unrest developing on Ferguson’s streets.” (includes video)

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This Soprano Is Morphing Into A Maestro (And She’s Serious About It)

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At age 43, Barbara Hannigan “is developing a second career, as a conductor, and she seems to be stealing shows around Europe with some regularity.” Simon Rattle is such a fan that he sent her to legendary teacher Jorma Panula, who came out of retirement to coach her.

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The Other Wagner Great-Granddaughter

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Nike Wagner, Wieland’s daughter, pretty much knew that she’d never lead the Bayreuth Festival once her uncle Wolfgang took over. (The job went to his daughters, Eva and Katharina; Eva is now retiring.) So she’s made her own way as a writer (including a predictably dirt-filled family tell-all) and dramaturg, and now she’s directing the world’s top Beethoven festival.

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North Carolina Ends Tax Breaks For Movie Production

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“North Carolina has been offering producers a 25% refundable tax credit, which meant, state legislators note, that taxpayers offset about 25 cents of each dollar spent. Refundable credits reimburse a company for its investments, even if it doesn’t owe state taxes.”

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Why Isn’t The Edinburgh Int’l Festival Pulling In Any Of The Huge Fringe Audience? Asks Incoming Head

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Fergus Linehan “pointed out that the EIF has the biggest theatre audience in the world on its doorstep, but struggles to exploit it. … ‘Why do we struggle to deliver an audience that looks like even a cross section of the people in this room, or even more, a cross section of people walking down the street?’”

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Clobberation: How Four Unwary Grad Students Created A Touring Show For Teens Without (Quite) Ripping Each Other’s Throats Out

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“We set out to create and establish roles to try and mitigate power conflicts. This worked for a short while, but we found that although we had divided ourselves into the traditional roles of Playwright, Set Designer, Sound Designer, Teaching Artist, Director, Stage Manager, and Education Director, those titles meant different things to each of us. Our roles became accusations.”

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Why Some People Really Grieve Over Celebrity Deaths

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“They’ve been a part of our lives. We see them on TV, they’re in our living rooms, we feel we know them, and we incorporate them almost as though they’re part of our families, though most of us recognize that they’re not. [But] there are some people whose reactions to celebrity deaths are so obsessional and extreme that it can literally make them sick.”

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Why People Fall For Fake News Stories (It’s Not Just Irony Impairment)

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“‘This isn’t about shortened attention spans. This is about an overabundance of decontextualized snippets of info.’ Facebook headlines and Tweets simply don’t consistently provide the cues one would need to distinguish weird news from fake news, ‘unless the http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2014/08/why-facebooks-satire-tag-is-necessary.html is consistently ironic’.”

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Fluttering Passion: Vladimir Nabokov, Lifelong Lepidopterist

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“The pleasures and rewards of literary inspiration are nothing beside the rapture of discovering a new organ under the microscope or an undescribed species on a mountainside in Iran or Peru. It is not improbable that had there been no revolution in Russia, I would have devoted myself entirely to lepidopterology and never written any novels at all.”

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Emperor Augustus’s Stables To Be Reburied Because There’s No Money To Restore Them

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“The reinterring of the stables, which once hosted horses raced at the Circus Maximus, is another blow to anniversary plans after Rome failed to find funds in time to restore Augustus’ mausoleum, a city block-sized monument which has been used as a toilet by tramps since falling into disrepair, and now stands mouldering behind fences in the centre of Rome.”

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“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

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“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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