A top five list balanced by a worst five list.
Archives for December 27, 2013
“With the current domestic box-office tally nearly 1 percent ahead of last year at this time, 2013 could surpass 2012’s overall haul of $10.8 billion by more than $100 million, according to box-office tracker Rentrak.”
“I really wish MusicMetric had advised Iron Maiden on how to make millions of dollars from music pirates. It’s such a good story. Too good, evidently, to be true.”
“A federal judge has issued a declarative judgment stating that Holmes, Watson, 221B Baker Street, the dastardly Professor Moriarty and other elements included in the 50 Holmes works Arthur Conan Doyle published before Jan. 1, 1923, are no longer covered by United States copyright law and can be freely used by creators without paying any licensing fee to the Conan Doyle estate.”
Anne Midgette, classical music critic of the Washington Post; Justin Davidson, classical music and architecture critic for New York magazine; and Heidi Waleson talk about the best of classical music in 2013.
“After such crimes against our built environment as an office tower that burns its neighbours with a solar “death ray”, and prison-like student flats that look out directly on to a brick wall, architects risk earning the same contempt as bankers and politicians.”
Under the scheme, inheritance tax can be deferred if an owner commits to keeping significant works in the country and makes them available for the public to view. But it “is an incredibly small obligation”, with owners having to make an item available for no more than 28 days a year.
“The internet behemoth boasts 30 million articles written in more than 285 languages, tweaked by 70,000 active editors and viewed by 530 million visitors worldwide each month. As mountains of information go, it’s Everest. Teasing out trends from the open source encyclopedia’s archives is a task few would even attempt.”
The question of whether teens will abandon Facebook has fascinated observers for at least four years (ever since the hysteria over teen Facebook addiction passed). But all that really matters to the service is what happens after teens go off to college and enter “the real world.”
“While a certain modern classicism predominated in 2013, there was another strain of smart buildings that aimed for a contemporary sensibility more concerned with sustainability, landscape, the vernacular and even geology.”
“Doubtless because of regional theater’s cautious bent, it was in New York that I saw the best new shows of 2013.”
“Most music worldwide has been tuned to A=440 Hz since the International Standards Organization (ISO) promoted it in 1953. However, studies regarding the vibratory nature of the universe indicate that this pitch is disharmonious with the natural resonance of nature and may generate negative effects on human behaviour and consciousness.”
“This is a particularly bad year for critics. Not a single entry on the Power 100, while print media keeps firing their full-time art critics. It’s so bad, some critics don’t even bother putting their names on scathing takedowns of multi-million-dollar shows since it really doesn’t matter.”
“With Strand’s announcement, it appears that literature lovers have proved with their wallets — that the good, old-fashioned print book has not yet gone the way of the scrolls and tablets.”
It was a full year, as critic Mary Louise Shumacher chronicles.
“Having an accurate real time snapshop of key data streams is all about helping inform people’s decision making. If you know what drives engagement you can maximize the value of your fan base. Artists could say ‘we’re getting pirated here, let’s do something about it’, or ‘we’re popular here, let’s play a show’.”
“The last casualty of the devastating Florence flood of 1966 has been reassembled, raising hopes of a full restoration before the 50th anniversary of one of the greatest cultural disasters of modern times.”
“Only three Italian opera houses are currently able to pay their bills within two months.”
Social psychologist Chris Cocking looks at the impressively orderly response of the people in the Apollo Theatre when the ceiling collapsed – and sees more evidence of what his profession calls “social attachment theory”.
Lyn Gardner: “It was once said that it would be impossible to modernise football grounds but that has happened, in some cases through updating and in some instances through re-building. Like football, West End theatre is a business, and one that last year posted record revenues.”
Fans “are so eager for the murder, villainy, depravity and wedding banquets gone horribly wrong depicted on that series that they don’t mind engaging in a little piracy to see the show.”
Well, the New York Times video game critic would say that, wouldn’t he? But Chris Suellentrop may have a point.
“In a fast-paced digital age, an MIT psychologist tries to slow us down” – with the help of the age-old technique of eavesdropping.
In The Railway Man, the Oscar-winning actress portrays the wife of Eric Lomax, who wrote a best-selling memoir of his time as a prisoner-of-war in a World War II Japanese labor camp in Thailand. In a three-way phone interview, Kidman and Lomax talk about getting to know each other and what they have in common.
Queen of the Night, produced by the man who brought New York Sleep No More and The Donkey Show, “is presented as a ‘dark debutante ball’ given by the Marchesa, a potently ambiguous figure … who blends aspects of Mozart’s queen, the 1920s muse and dandy Luisa Casati, and the performance artist Marina Abramovic.”
Surprisingly (or not?), amateur troupes all over the U.S. have taken to this dysfunctional-family extravaganza.
“The Romans celebrated the winter festival of Sigillaria on 23rd of December, part of their Saturnalia festivities. Just like on Christmas Day, Sigillaria saw presents exchanged. So how does Sigillaria compare to a modern day Christmas? And can we say that the Roman’s invented Christmas?”
Elizabeth Crane, Lauren Groff, Peter Orner, Kate Milliken, Matthew Specktor and 29 other writers offer sad, amusing, paradoxical, wicked, very brief tales of the season.
Guardian Weekend magazine offers original chilling short stories by Lionel Shriver, Jeanette Winterson, Penelope Lively, Ned Beauman and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.”