A Wide Open Race This Year For Tonys’ Bet Musical

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“The 12 shows are such a mixed bag that this year’s race for the top prize, the Tony Award for best musical, is wide open for the first time in recent memory. In question is not just that award, but also (and this is truly rare) the four or five nominations for that category, which will be announced on April 29.”

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Study: Some Parts Of Our Brains Deteriorate Significantly After Age 24

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“Using a piecewise regression analysis, we find that age-related slowing of within-game, self-initiated response times begins at 24 years of age,” the authors write. In other words, older players took longer to respond to new visual playing conditions before taking action. And, according to the study, it was “a significant performance deficit,” which likely has consequences even outside abstruse digital space wars.

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Study: What Country Music Says About Our Economy

country-music

In an analysis of the most popular country songs over six decades, Jason Eastman and Terry Pettijohn II of Coastal Carolina University finds top hits are “lyrically more positive, musically upbeat, and use more happy-sounding major chords during difficult socioeconomic times.”

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Close San Diego Opera? It Might Not Be As Simple As That

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“They may need the buy-in of more than 800 members of the opera association, people who donate at least $100 to be part of the company.”

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Man Crowbars A Banksy Out Of A Wall, Sets Off Storm Of Protest

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“It was removed by crowbar by the leader of a nearby youth club within hours of being found. Dennis Stinchcombe said he hoped to raise £100,000 for the struggling Broad Plain Boys’ Club by auctioning it. But Bristol mayor George Ferguson asked for the work to be put back on the city council-owned wall.”

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Music As Collectible (One In Ten Young People Are Buying Cassette Tapes)

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“There’s definitely a novelty value with cassettes at the moment, particularly as we suspect a high proportion of them are collectibles sitting on a shelf and never played.”

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How Do You Archive The Entire Internet? (That’s Our History We’re Talking About)

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“The potential is vast. But the pitfalls are significant too. Not only could it change the way history is told but there are wider questions about who has the rights to guard the web’s past and, inevitably in these post-Snowden leak times, what the availability of this data means for individual privacy. So what is the best way to make history from the internet?”

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A Fund For Public Art In Los Angeles That Has Been Locked Up Tight

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“Los Angeles officials are starting to get serious about freeing up $7.5 million or more in city government funds that are earmarked for visual art, performances or other cultural events, but have been wrapped tightly for years in legal red tape.”

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How Can You Be Against World Literature?

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What does a critic oppose, exactly, when she takes a stand “against world literature”?

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Jeff Dinsmore, 42, Singer Who Died Preparing For L.A. Debut Of Choir He Co-Founded

Jeff Dinsmore

In addition to being a busy ensemble singer and marketing professional (as well as custodian of a magnificent moustache), Dinsmore co-created and administered The Crossing, a professional chamber choir which, over only eight years, has become one of Philadelphia’s best ensembles of any kind.

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There IS A Plan To Save San Diego Opera

San Diego Opera logo

“A sharply reduced budget, innovative programming and a list of donors who will step up if San Diego Opera’s current leaders are replaced might be enough to rescue the company from shutdown in two weeks, … [said] Carol Lazier, the San Diego Opera board member who pledged $1 million to save the company.”

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Reopening Of Paris’s Picasso Museum Delayed Again

Picasso Museum Paris

The Musée Picasso has been closed for renovations for more than four years. “The building site is all but ready, the lights for the art works are in place and except for a few minor technical items, everything is done,” according to the museum’s spokesperson, who gave neither an explanation for the delay nor a revised opening date.

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West End’s ‘War Horse’ Won’t Have To Rehire Fired Musicians (Yet)

War Horse

“Musicians who were made redundant from the National Theatre’s West End production of War Horse have failed to secure an interim injunction which they had hoped would allow them to return to work.”

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Two-On-One: A Novelist And Her Editors

Two-On-One A Novelist And Her Editors

“As is the case with many novelists with an international profile, Emma Donoghue has more than one editor. … The Canadian novelist and her two editors [form Canada and the U.S.] talk about sharing responsibilities, resolving disputes, and the long list of ideas Donoghue has waiting for the novels to express them.”

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‘Mad Men’ and the Sexual Revolution, According To Gay Talese

Mad Men and the Sexual Revolution

Who better to take on this subject than the author of Thy Neighbor’s Wife?

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Staging The Stories Of Bangladesh’s Shamed And Forgotten ‘War Heroines’

A scene from Birangona: Women of War

The birangona (Bengali for “brave woman” or “war heroine”) were ordinary Bengalis, hundreds of thousands of them, who were abducted and raped by Pakistani soldiers during the Bangladeshi War of Independence – only to be rejected by their families and communities afterward. Leesa Gazi has used their testimony to create a theatre piece now touring England.

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What Do You Do When The Story You Have To Write Has No Real Plot?

Akhil Sharma New Yorker

“A truly traumatic thing occurs to the family and then the family begins to unravel. The misery of this family’s daily life takes a slow toll. Real life is plotless, but the experience of reading books that replicate this can be irritating.” Akhil Sharma explains how he approached this “technical problem” of writing his autobiographical novel Family Life.

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Repetition In Music: We’re Hard-Wired To Respond To It

repetition in music

Music psychologist Elizabeth Margulis found that she could make ordinary listeners respond positively even to Berio by simply adding repeats to it. Why did that work? (includes audio)

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What The Heck Are Dance Critics Looking For, Anyway? A Choreographer-Turned-Critic Explains

dance critic Lauren Warnecke

“Love us or hate us, we need each other.” Lauren Warnecke (who’s still a bit surprised to hear herself called a critic) understands where choreographers and dancers are coming from – and explains for them her new point of view. (She really is on your side. Most critics are.)

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In Defense Of Aerial Dance

Fidget Feet aerial dance theatre

Lindsey Butcher, artistic director of Gravity & Levity: “Audiences don’t quite know what it is. Circus aficionados tend to think it waters down aerial skills and feel excluded because it is contemporary dance, but equally I’ve had dance buffs tell me I’m ‘selling out’ to circus. The truth is that aerial dance borrows from both disciplines but aims to forge its own artistic identity.”

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Religion Vs. Science: The Battle America Just Can’t Get Past

religion vs science

Andrew O’Hehir: “We already had this debate, which occupied a great deal of the intellectual life of Western civilization in the 18th and 19th centuries, and it was a whole lot less stupid the first time around.”

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The Kept Women Of 18th-Century Paris, And The Police Who Kept Tabs On Them

kept women of Paris - Pompadour

Europe’s first vice squad “compiled vast dossiers of information on the city’s elite sex workers and their patrons. But they rarely acted on that information. To this day, it remains a mystery why the Parisian police spent so much time and effort observing an underground economy it apparently had no interest in curtailing. But their files are an historian’s dream.”

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Japan’s Big Pop Star Of The Moment Is A Hologram

Hatsune Miku

“Even by the standards of pop stars, Hatsune Miku is eccentric and protean, her mystique elusive. Her eyes are too round and blue to be real. She can be buxom or boyish, and almost painfully sultry – all in a droid-ish, understated way. … And yet she never fails to elude the paparazzi.”

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The Rise of Japan’s Creepy-Cute Craze

creepy-cute in Japan

“Long considered the global capital of cute, Japan is currently experiencing a boom in less-than-cuddly characters … Called kimo-kawaii, translated as ‘gross cute,’ the phenomenon … is part cultural backlash to Japan’s decades-long adorability binge, and part smart marketing tactic.”

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Finland Is Actually Issuing Tom Of Finland Stamps

Tom of Finland stamp

Yes, that Tom of Finland, the one world-famous for line-drawings of rough gay erotica. (The stamps will be self-adhesive, so there will be no need to lick them.)

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