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  • Dance

    Coming Back To Ballet After Beating Thyroid Trouble And Weight Gain

    Kathryn Morgan had been dancing with New York City Ballet for four years when she was diagnosed with an under-functioning thyroid – complete with exhaustion, hair loss, migraines, and, of course, weight gain – at age 21. After two years trying to dance through it and then two years off, she’s ready to relaunch her career. (includes video)

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    Family Of Ballet Stars Make Their Move To Broadway

    Siblings Megan and Robert Fairchild and wife/sister-in-law Tiler Peck, all principal dancers at New York City Ballet, chat with Playbill.com about their upcoming leading roles in On the Town, An American in Paris, and Little Dancer.

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    ABT To Lose Three Star Principals

    “Paloma Herrera, Julie Kent and Xiomara Reyes will retire this spring near the end of Ballet Theater’s 2015 season at the Metropolitan Opera House.”

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    Brooklyn Bar Sues City For The Right Of Patrons to Dance

    “Andrew Muchmore​, owner of ​Muchmore’s Cafe ​in Williamsburg, filed suit in Brooklyn federal court to challenge New York’s ​cabaret laws ​– which prohibit danci​​ng ​by more than three people at one time unless the venue has a cabaret license. In the suit, he cites the first and 14th amendments and claims the tight restrictions against patrons shaking their money makers have forced him to play ​sedate if not ​dreary tunes at his nightspot​ and coffeehouse.”

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  • Ideas

    How Exactly Does The Human Brain Pay Attention To Something?

    “Every moment, our brains are bombarded with information, from without and within. The eyes alone convey more than a hundred billion signals to the brain every second. … How do our brains select the relevant data? How do we decide to pay attention to the turn of a doorknob and ignore the drip of a leaky faucet? How do we become conscious of a certain stimulus, or indeed ‘conscious’ at all?”

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    Perfectionism Can Be Really, Really Bad For You

    “Perfectionism is a trait many of us cop to coyly, maybe even a little proudly. … But real perfectionism can be devastatingly destructive, leading to crippling anxiety or depression, and it may even be an overlooked risk factor for suicide, argues a new paper.”

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    What Does It Mean That We Seem To Want To Document Everything Now?

    “What if the omnipresence of cameras and the act of recording helps some people to be more firmly in the moment than if they weren’t documenting it? Maybe it isn’t so much about the result of that documentation – the arguably inflationary numbers of selfies, time-lapses and photos – but about the mere act of consciously documenting?”

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    How Our Sense Of Humor Changes As We Age

    Researchers describe it as a progression from aggressive humor to affiliative humor – but it’s clearer and more understandable than those two terms may sound.

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  • Issues

    Where Are The Real Debates In The Arts?

    “I don’t see a lot of honest debate going on in our field – at least not public debate. Maybe it’s happening somewhere, but it isn’t highly visible and readily apparent to me. I wonder if that kind of challenging of assumptions and holding people accountable for their positions is going on out of the public window in our organizations – from funders to researchers to service groups to academia. I wonder if the kind of serious debate that is healthy for arriving at well thought out conclusions on which to base decision making is happening behind closed doors – because I don’t see it happening much in our public arenas.”

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    No, Practice Doesn’t Make Us Experts (But Here’s Why That’s Okay)

    “If we acknowledge that people differ in what they have to contribute, then we have an argument for a society in which all human beings are entitled to a life that includes access to decent housing, health care, and education, simply because they are human. Our abilities might not be identical, and our needs surely differ, but our basic human rights are universal.”

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    Fighting Our Addiction To Being Connected At All Times

    Michael Harris: “I think that we’ve gone through this very giddy ride of absorbing new communication technologies, and what we’re hitting now is a point where we have to start becoming intelligent about our media diets in the same way that we had to become intelligent about our food diets after we got a super abundance of sugar and fats at our disposal.”

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    As Corporate Arts Sponsorships Decline, Lincoln Center Doubles Down

    “Lincoln Center’s move comes as overall corporate philanthropy is dwindling and big companies’ support of the arts is eroding. Corporate giving fell nearly 2% in 2013, according to Giving USA. Meanwhile, the share of corporate philanthropy dedicated to the arts fell to 5.3% in 2012 from 8.8% in 2007, according to CECP, a coalition of chief executives working to improve society.”

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  • Media

    Georgian Cinema Emerges From The Shadows

    “The story of Georgian cinema stretches back more than a century and is filled with remarkable achievements, from silent films featuring stunning landscapes and dynamic editing to subtle anti-Soviet critiques and startlingly inventive poetic narratives. … It’s an aesthetically diverse but often daring cinema that has been internationally acclaimed, and yet some of its filmmakers have been underappreciated and many films have long been unavailable.”

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    Netflix To Release Movie In Theatres And Online At Same Time (How Significant Is This?)

    “Certainly a high-profile movie that would go into theaters and online at the same time is noteworthy. But is it a game-changer –‎ something that, in success, will hint at and even hasten a very different future? Here are a number of questions that inform that answer.”

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    Two Cinema Chains Refuse To Screen “Crouching Tiger” Sequel Because It’s Also Being Released On Netflix

    Regal Cinemas and Cinemark declared that they won’t show Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend, the first major release to appear on Imax and an online streaming service on the same date. Said one exec: “At Regal we will not participate in an experiment where you can see the same product on screens varying from three stories tall to 3 inches wide on a smartphone.”

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    The Attractions Of Slow TV

    “A slow-TV program is like a great view you encounter on vacation: it’s always there, impervious, but it gains meaning and a story depending on what it conjures in your head. … As entertainment, it is backward: it appears to do its job by casting viewers into their own minds.”

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    The Problem With Protecting Canadian Content

    “The problem facing the Canadian TV industry – from the big three commercial outfits to the guilds, unions and lobby groups representing the creators – is that cultural protectionism is a very, very hard sell. And it’s a hard sell because there is so little Canadian programming that is truly cherished and admired by the public. In this, everyone, from the top executives to the creative end of the industry, must face blame.”

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  • Music

    Met Opera Faces Possible Downgrade Of Credit Rating

    “Moody’s, which rates the Met’s $100 million of debt A3, seventh-highest, said the review ‘reflects softening in earned and gift revenue’ … Moody’s may lower the rating by several steps if deficits continue to limit the Met’s liquidity.”

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    Atlanta Symphony Musicians Say Departed CEO Wasn’t The Problem

    When he resigned this week, Stanley Romanstein wrote that his continued presence would be “an impediment” to ending the lockout. But, says the leader of the musicians’ union, “Stanley was never empowered to negotiate an agreement with the Musicians of the ASO; neither this negotiation nor in 2012.”

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    Manuscript Of Important Mozart Sonata Found

    “The head of the Hungarian National Szechenyi Library’s music collection has stumbled across a rare discovery.
    As he looked through a folder of unidentified music scores, among the many copies and unremarkable scores he suddenly noticed a page that made his heart jump.”

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    Gunther Schuller Talks About Composing

    “The thing about composing, nobody can tell — even Beethoven couldn’t tell until he had composed quite a bit of music and it got better and better — the degree of talent. You can’t get up one day [and say], ‘I’m going to be talented today and write a great piece.’ The only thing you can do is start composing and work your buns off working on it and studying the great music of the past and learning from it and then try to create sort of your own language.”

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    How I Came To Play Pablo Casals’ 1733 Cello (And What It Was Like)

    “I was shaking when the door was opened and Marta handed the case to me. Should I open it myself? What if it breaks when I touch it? The cello was calmly asleep when I took it over, as if an old man was peacefully enjoying a deep rest. Moreover, I couldn’t resist the strong smell of Casals’s famous pipe emerging from the cello as I settled down to play the first notes.”

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  • People

    America’s Most Pliable, Pernicious, Persistent Myth: The Self-Made Man, From Ben Franklin To Nasty Gal

    “The self-made mythology has evolved in its 200 years: from an exuberant celebration of opportunity in the young republic to a stern admonition against excess in the antebellum years; from a naive story of pluck rewarded in the post-Civil War-era, to a brazen defense of money-getting in the Gilded Age; from a beacon to the great wave’s huddled masses, to a pep talk for the young women of the digital age.”

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    My Life With Doris Lessing (Words Can’t Describe…)

    “When she died last November at the age of 94, I’d known Doris for fifty years. In all that time, I’ve never managed to figure out a designation for her that properly and succinctly describes her role in my life, let alone my role in hers. We have the handy set of words to describe our nearest relations: mother, father, daughter, son, uncle, aunt, cousin, although that’s as far as it goes usually in contemporary Western society.”

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    Jessye Norman On How To Deal With Critics

    “Oh, they might write it, but, darling, I don’t read it. I don’t need it. I know whether or not I have done onstage what I intended to do that night. … And if it doesn’t suit somebody who is sitting there, not having paid for their ticket to be there, and they find it not to their liking – what does it matter? Who are they?” (video)

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    U. Srinivas, South India’s Master Of The Mandolin, Dead At 45

    “Bringing the mandolin into Carnatic music was still a new – and later, frequently criticized – endeavor when U. Srinivas picked it up at age 5. … He brought a liquid sound to his instrument that is arguably untouched by mandolinists working in any genre. Along the way, he became one of the most globally beloved South Indian musicians.” (includes video and audio)

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  • Theatre

    “Crime And Punishment” Musical Coming To Moscow

    Director Andrei Konchalovsky (known for the Russian film epic Siberiade and the Hollywood movies Runaway Train and Tango and Cash) will be staging an updated version of a rock-opera from 30 years ago that was based on Dostoevsky’s novel.

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    UK Theatres Becoming Important Venues For Standup Comedy

    “Regional theatres are playing an increasingly important role in hosting stand-up comics, with the number of comedy events in venues around the UK up 46% since 2009.”

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    Turning An Audience Into Asylum-Seekers Trying To Sneak Across A Border

    Bordergame, the latest site-specific production by National Theatre Wales, will have live audience members on a train trying to cross illegally from England into “the Autonomous Republic of Cymru” – as online audience members decide their fate in real time.

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    UK Stage Directors Form Their Own Union

    “Increasing fees in the sector is one of Stage Directors UK’s first priorities. It will also represent directors on issues such as royalties, contracts, digital rights and copyright, as well as leading on training initiatives.”

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  • Visual

    Child Porn Charges Against Australian Artist Dismissed

    “Paul Yore was charged after his large-scale installation, Everything is F—ed, was shown at [a Melbourne-area gallery] last year. The collage featured children’s faces superimposed on images of male bodies performing sex acts.”

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    Watch Matisse’s “The Swimming Pool” Get Restored

    “After a five-year conservation effort to restore its original colour balance, height, and spatial configuration, Henri Matisse’s The Swimming Pool returns to view at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art … This video takes viewers behind the scenes of MoMA’s ambitious conservation effort and reveals the process behind bringing this iconic work back to life.”

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    One Architect’s Lifelong Struggle Against The Tyranny Of Straight Lines

    The story of Austrian designer Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser (which means “Realm-of-Peace Rainy-Day Dark-Colored Hundred-Waters”), Friedrich Stowasser. (includes podcast)

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    Kennicott: How To Visit A Museum

    “After years of spending time in art museums, I’ve come to accept that I believe wildly contradictory and incompatible things about art. The usual cliché about this realization would be that by forcing us to confront contradiction, art makes us more human. But never trust anyone who says that last part: “art makes us more human.” That’s meaningless.”

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    Guggenheim Museum Plans Expansion

    “The expansion plan comes just over 60 years after the Guggenheim commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design its original space and more than a decade after it abandoned a scheme for a second, Frank Gehry-designed museum downtown.”

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  • Words

    Moscow’s Ferocious Literary Feud Over Solzhenitsyn (Who’s Been Dead For Six Years)

    It all started when the editor of Literaturnaya Gazeta and Kultura suggested that Solzhenitsyn voluntarily left the Soviet Union (he was expelled in 1974) and that he “essentially appealed to the Americans to begin a war” against the USSR.

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    Come Enter The Poetry Brothel (Yes, It’s A Thing)

    Founder Stephanie Berger: “Poetry and prostitution are two of the oldest professions in the world and, in my opinion, were always destined to be bedfellows. Both poetry and sex feed the human need for intimacy, fantasy, desire, violence, and freedom.”

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    The Unexpected Rise Of Indie Bookstores

    “In 2009, the number of independent bookstores in the nation stabilized at around 1,400, and then slowly began to grow. As of last May, the number of indie bookshops in the U.S. was 1,664. Why the turnaround?”

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    The Fight To Save Paris’s Oldest Bookstore

    “It’s difficult to imagine the shuttering of a bookstore causing a similar outcry anywhere else—not to mention direct government involvement in the matter of a private lease. This has something to do with what the French call l’exception culturelle.”

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    Why Is Academic Writing So Dreadful?

    “The familiarity of bad academic writing raises a puzzle. Why should a profession that trades in words and dedicates itself to the transmission of knowledge so often turn out prose that is turgid, soggy, wooden, bloated, clumsy, obscure, unpleasant to read, and impossible to understand?”

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