Vatican To Digitize Its Treasured Manuscripts


“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 Reimagine How We Interact


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.

Have Today’s Pop Music Stars Lost The Art Of Theatre?

Brighton Centre

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?

New US Laws Banning Sale Of Ivory Snares Owners Of Pianos, Guitars, Art…


“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.”

Why We Like Art That Doesn’t Take Much Time


“On a prosaic level, short art frees up precious time. The vexed problem of whether to eat before or after the show evaporates when the thing wraps up after an hour or so. Scheduling becomes easier, and the workweek less of a barrier, if you can make it home by 10.”

Twenty Years After The Culture Wars (What Went Wrong?)


“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?”

Study: Violent Video Games Shape Racist Beliefs


“Our research suggests that people who play violent video games as violent black characters are more likely to believe that blacks are violent people,” concludes a research team led by Grace Yang of the University of Michigan and Brad Bushman of the Ohio State University.

25 Years After Fukuyama’s “End Of History” Argument

People on phones

“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?

The Science Of Analyzing Literature (Or Is It?)


“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?”

Will Non-Profits Take Over The World? (It Increasingly Looks That Way)


“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.”

Los Angeles, A (Thriving) Theatre Town


“Actors may move to Los Angeles with the hope to make money in movies and television. What they find, however, may surprise them and save their artistic lives: a thriving Los Angeles theater scene of generous, talented artists.”

Distributor Drops ‘This American Life’

This American Life

Said a Public Radio International exec, “During our most recent negotiation, it became clear that our organizations’ expectations regarding our futures were different.” (Ira Glass and his crew hasten to assure us that they’re not ending the show.)

Here’s Why to Fund UK Theatre: Plays Are a Major Export

Nick Payne's Constellations

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.”

High-School Theaters Turn to Product Placement

high school theater produc placement

“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.)

Holding a Candle to It – 100 of Them, In Fact: Lighting at Shakespeare’s Globe’s New Indoor Theatre

Sam Wanamaker candles

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.

Dolora Zajick Gives Terry Gross a Singing Lesson

Dolora Zajick NPR

Okay, Terry doesn’t sing on the air, but the dramatic mezzo teaches the Fresh Air host about Italian pronunciation, head resonance, placing the voice to project, and the importance of the tongue. (audio)

Khushwant Singh, One of India’s Most Beloved Writers, Dead at 99

Khushwant singh

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.