“Eventually, the library says it hopes to make available online all its 82,000 manuscripts. The manuscripts that will be digitised extend from pre-Columbian America to China and Japan in the Far East, passing through all the languages and cultures that have marked the culture of Europe.”
New “smart cities”, built from scratch, are sprouting across the planet and traditional actors like governments, urban planners and real estate developers, are, for the first time, working alongside large IT firms — the likes of IBM, Cisco, and Microsoft. The resulting cities are based on the idea of becoming “living labs” for new technologies at the urban scale, blurring the boundary between bits and atoms, habitation and telemetry.
Where have they all gone ? Today’s music scene seems to be all about being “real”, wearing your heart on your sleeve – Adele, Frank Ocean, Plan B, Drake, Elbow, Emeli Sandé et al would all rather “be themselves” on stage. “I’m like you,” they seem to say, “so buy my records.” But this overly cautious stance is akin to Prince Harry’s efforts to be “one of the lads”. Where’s the drama? The style? Have we lost the art of pretentious performance?
“To illustrate the confusion ahead, experts gave the example of what would happen under the new regulations if someone attempted the interstate sale of a 100-year-old Steinway piano with ivory keys. Such a sale has long been permissible, because the piano qualified as an antique that contained ivory imported long before the mid-1970s, when officials began proscribing the material. But the new regulations would prohibit such a sale unless the owner could prove the ivory in the keys had entered the country through one of 13 American ports authorized to sanction ivory goods.”
“We in the art world were not very clear about our moral imperative around freedom of expression. When I think about it, nobody won that culture war. But we lost it… Last year, the NEA Four were in residence at the New Museum in New York… I’ve been thinking about why is it now—Are the body fluids dry enough? Is the blood purged enough?—that 20 years later, suddenly people are looking back at these artists?”
“In the post-historical period,” Fukuyama continues, “there will be neither art nor philosophy, just the perpetual caretaking of the museum of human history. I can feel in myself, and see in others around me, a powerful nostalgia for the time when history existed.” Doesn’t this vision seem exactly right?
“Viewed from Franco Moretti’s statistical mountaintop, traditional literary criticism, with its idiosyncratic, personal focus on individual works, can seem self-indulgent, even frivolous. What’s the point, his graphs seem to ask, of continuing to interpret individual books—especially books that have already been interpreted over and over?”
“In the United States, the number of nonprofit organizations grew by approximately 25 percent between 2001 and 2011, from 1.3 million to 1.6 million, compared with profit-making enterprises, which grew by a mere one-half of 1 percent. In the United States, Canada and Britain, employment in the nonprofit sector currently exceeds 10 percent of the work force.”
And not just productions, but also scripts. “If you’re sitting anywhere else on planet earth, you know that this country is the country that produces. Wherever you are, you’ll see more British plays than anything else – apart from maybe Neil Simon. On the whole, British plays have a better build quality.”
“In one scene from a Cleveland-area high-school production of Grease, the character Kenickie … carried a pizza box from Guys Pizza, a local place, though the script calls for a bag lunch. Later the restaurant owner’s father briefly appeared as a burger restaurant worker who happens to be wearing a large button with a Guys Pizza logo.” (The fee: $500.)
A reporter shares the secrets of the lighting at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse: what types of candle provide the right light, how to keep them from going out while actors walk, how to prevent drips and pools of wax – and how the company’s management convinced their insurers and the London fire department to go along with the whole thing.
Best known for a wicked sense of humor and a (manufactured) persona as a dirty old man, Khushwant edited three of India’s top English-language periodicals, penned countless columns, and wrote or compiled more than 80 books, from a multi-volume history of the Sikhs to a famously irreverent memoir to the great novel of partition, Train to Pakistan.