Dudamel And Gergiev – Of Art And Politics (It’s Complicated)

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“Dudamel has stopped short of taking a political stand; Gergiev, to Western eyes, has taken the wrong one. How much condemnation do they deserve? And is it reasonable to expect them to take a stand at all? Do we have the same expectations of leading figures in other fields — athletes, actors, dancers, poets?”

Today’s Top AJBlog Posts 03.14.14

How You View the Pie
AJBlog: Audience Wanted | Published 2014-03-14

Can arts organizations be both art-focused and community-focused?
AJBlog: Jumper | Published 2014-03-14

Picasso Museum: Reopening With What?
AJBlog: Real Clear Arts | Published 2014-03-14

Will Gentrification Kill Music Scenes?
AJBlog: CultureCrash | Published 2014-03-13

Respecting the craft
AJBlog: The Artful Manager | Published 2014-03-13

Pavarotti estate takes action to stop illicit child duet
AJBlog: Slipped Disc | Published 2014-03-13


Can El Sistema Navigate Venezuela’s Roiling Politics?


El Sistema was founded in 1975 by Jose Antonio Abreu, a musician and economist, and it has flourished under eight different governments while aiming to keep many impoverished kids on the straight and narrow. “Ultimately, we have no idea how Dudamel, maestro Abreu and others are functioning in El Sistema. Abreu’s way of working has always been to try and influence the politics subtly from the inside. The second he takes a public stand, he can’t do that anymore.”

The Value Of Original Cast Recordings


“What it does do is give the listener—as well as actors and directors—a snapshot of what the play sounded like when it was new. Such snapshots can serve as invaluable points of departure for the present-day performer, a benchmark against which to measure subsequent interpretative developments.”

Voice Over (Literally) Hal Douglas Dies At 89


His dramatic range, from Olympian-thunderous to comic-goofy, suited him for trailers for movies as diverse as “Philadelphia,” “Forrest Gump,” “Coneheads,” “Meet the Parents” and “Lethal Weapon.” (“Under 17 not admitted without a parent.”)

Report: $66 Billion Of Art Sold Last Year


“International art and antique market sales totaled €47.4 billion ($66 billion) last year, their highest sum since the pre-recession days of 2007, according to the European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF)’s annual art market report, released yesterday.”

Decline Of The Public Intellectual


“A generation ago, political scientists were public intellectuals. We wrote lucid prose. We spoke to the issues of the day. We advised President John F. Kennedy. But now all we care about is math, jargon and one another.”

The Problem With Movie Reviews Today


“If critics want to avoid irrelevance, they might relinquish their duties made redundant by the internet, and focus on reviewing film in terms that draw from their deep knowledge of film as a unique artform. Almost every review—whether in newspapers, magazines or websites—currently follows a similar blueprint: plot synopsis, recap of director’s work, brief appraisal of the acting and/or writing, cursory sentence about the camera work and/or score, and then a long dissection of the narrative and themes.”

“Noah” Movie Banned In Three Countries


“Director of media content at the National Media Center in the UAE, Juma Al-Leem, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the movie will not be allowed in cinemas because it contradicts a generally agreed upon taboo in Islam of depicting a prophet.”

Killing Books? It’s Ridiculous To Think So


“Library bureaucrats aren’t books. A single author isn’t the written word. We in the book business are paid poorly for our work, so we tend to inflate the importance of our jobs to the point where any negativity aimed at us becomes an assault on the worthy cause to which we’ve fed large and juicy chunks of our lives: literature, and books, and ideas.”

Saudi Book Fair Yanks Mahmoud Darwish’s ‘Blasphemous’ Poetry

Saudis yank Darwish

“The publications administration at the [Riyadh International] book fair, one of the biggest of its kind in the Arab world, ordered the removal of all books containing [the Palestinian poet’s] work after youths from the religious police complained about the content of the books. … Darwish, who died in 2008, is considered a modern Arab literary giant.”

Amazon Publishing Makes a Move Into Germany

Amazon Publishing logo

“Amazon Publishing is starting a new German-language publishing program that will be based in Munich … Many of the titles first released in Germany will [subsequently] be published in English-language editions by AmazonCrossings.”

How Did the Stakes for TV Series Finales Get So High?

series finale True Detective

“When I heard pleas from several friends in the week leading up to the last episode that True Detective would ‘stick the landing,’ it wasn’t just out of a hope that the narrative would tie up in a satisfying catharsis. The statement was filled with more anxiety than that – the need for a tangible return on obsessive investment.”

It’s Awkward to Be Writing a Novel Set in Present-Day Crimea


David Bezmozgis: “As I was writing the book, I kept changing when the action was set, constantly pushing the date ahead by another year … I closely followed the news to see if real events had yet outpaced my inventions. I expected this to happen at any moment in Israel, … [not in] Ukraine and Crimea, places I’d believed to be locked in a dismal kleptocratic stasis.”

Being a Paparazzo

being a paparazzo

As part of its series “You Hate My Job”, Marketplace sends a correspondent to work with guerrilla celebrity photographer and photo agency head Giles Harrison. (includes video and audio)