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  • Dance

    An Aboriginal Dance Company Explores Australia’s Cultural History

    Bangarra Dance Theatre is Australia’s most famous indigenous performing arts group, popular at home and overseas. Supporters argue that it gives today’s indigenous Australians an important way to retell and process their own history – not to mention providing all-too-scarce employment for aboriginal performers. “[But] some critics have described Bangarra’s liberal use of traditional indigenous dance spiced up with modern moves as a Disneyfication of aboriginal culture.”

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    Joffrey Ballet Creates Employee Training Videos For Marriott Hotels

    “Starting Saturday, employees throughout the luxury hotel chain’s properties will get tips from Joffrey dancers as well as its artistic director on the importance of warming up, proper breathing, flow of movement and connecting with the audience, delivered through a series of four short videos. The aim is to improve guests’ experience.”

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    You Dare To Arrive Late? We’re Dancing Here!

    “The curtain rose five minutes ago, the corps de ballet is building the atmosphere, the ballerina is about to enter, the audience is collecting itself in mounting excitement when — — “Excuse me, I’m so sorry.” Upheaval follows. Sometimes eight people have to rise or adjust themselves as the patrons claiming the ninth and 10th seats make their way past.”

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    Bloodbath At Pennsylvania Ballet

    “With a single swing of the ax, the new leadership of Pennsylvania Ballet has cleared out the longtime artistic pillars of the company” – the ballet master and mistress, both of whom were there for nearly 40 years; the director of the company’s school; and the assistant to the artistic director. Angel Corella was named the new artistic director last month.

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  • Ideas

    Will Our Digital Future Be Virtual – Or Integrated?

    “Interfaces will migrate away from our handheld devices to hard surfaces like walls, countertops or even products themselves, making it possible to access information through gestures or spoken commands.”

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    An 11-Year-Old Recreates David Foster Wallace’s ‘Infinite Jest’ – With LEGOs

    Let those who have not finished the 1,104-page book cast the first toy.

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    How The Brain Decides To Trust Another Human

    “Knowing whether or not to trust someone is so critically important that we can tell whether a face is trustworthy before we even consciously know it’s there.”

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    Have We Entered The World Of Vampire Boomers And Preyed-Upon Millennials?

    “No matter how much a culture congratulates itself on being science-minded, we wrestle with a deep-seated tendency towards magical thinking – in this case, sympathetic magic, the idea that one can exert magical influence through contact or kinship.”

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  • Issues

    In Our Era Of Digital Everything, Are We Losing Our Sense Of Touch?

    “Touch is the most intelligent sense, Aristotle explained, because it is the most sensitive. When we touch someone or something we are exposed to what we touch. We are responsive to others because we are constantly in touch with them.”

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    Can A Cartoon Muslim Princess Soothe China’s Ethnic Tensions?

    That seems to be what the government hopes, since it has commissioned a 104-episode series about a ten-year-old Uighur princess who works with her Han and Kazakh friends to free her captive father. Problem is, the folk character on which she’s based is seen very differently by Uighurs (who call her Iparhan) and Han Chinese (who know her as “the Fragrant Concubine”).

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    Is Graffitti Dying Out As Public Takes To Twitter?

    “Sir Stephen House, the Chief Constable of Police Scotland, suggested that disaffected members of the public are increasingly using services such as Twitter and Facebook to make angry or abusive comments instead of spray-painting buildings, leading to a decline in recorded vandalism.”

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    Festivals Have Become Big Business

    “Festivals are one of the biggest growth stories in live entertainment of the past two decades and they are still expanding, diversifying from pop, rock and electronic dance music into poetry and theatre. “

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  • Media

    The Academy Plans To Recognize Miyazaki, Whether Or Not He’s Really Quitting Films

    “Miyazaki is the first Japanese filmmaker to receive a lifetime achievement award from the organization since 1990.”

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    Arab Film Fests Get Bigger, And Highlight Local Talent

    “The fall festival slot, which includes the Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Cairo and the Marrakech film festivals, offers significant opportunities for Arab filmmakers to stump for financing and make crucial connections within the industry, as well as a portal in which to take their work beyond the region.”

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    Why Does France Dominate Film Festivals?

    “The danger is of French movies becoming just festival films. We’d like them to enjoy healthy commercial distribution as well.”

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    Hollywood’s ‘Brutal Summer’ Ends With Box Office Down 15 Percent

    Sorry, “Guardians of the Galaxy,” you tried SO HARD but couldn’t quite save this season for the money people.

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    In California, Legislators Plan To Triple Tax Credits For Hollywood

    The legislation “would increase funding for the state’s film incentives to $330 million a year for five years, a substantial boost from the $100 million a year currently allocated under the film program.”

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  • Music

    The San Diego Opera Downsizes, But, More Importantly, Survives

    “The rise-from-the-dead drama that has unfolded here is being applauded as a hopeful sign in what has otherwise been a decidedly dispiriting stretch for opera, what with the closing of New York City Opera and the bitter labor battle that was recently resolved at the Metropolitan Opera.”

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    Simon Rattle: Music Is Our Birthright

    “A free music education was one of the glories of the UK when I was a child. Too much has been sacrificed in the name of economic necessity. Learning music is a birthright. And you have to start young.”

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    When An Office Group Sings Together, Apparently It’s Good For Just About Everyone

    “London, long a choral capital, is setting the tone with law firms, banks, accountancy firms, tech firms, even cosmetics giant L’Oréal now featuring company-supported choirs. A number have set up Google-style music rooms, and some even offer music lessons during the workday.”

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    Salzburg’s Director Leaves A Lackluster Festival Behind As He Heads To La Scala

    Alexander Periera “was reflective about his struggles with the budget in Salzburg, where he arrived after more than 20 years at the Zurich Opera House to discover that the locked subsidies had created a large financial hole. ‘I was so charmed by being asked back into my home country that I didn’t do due diligence,’ he said. ‘And that was a big mistake.’”

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    Is Music Losing Regional Flavor, Thanks To Technology?

    “For those who don’t choose to make all their music on a chip, location still matters very much, though perhaps in different ways.”

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  • People

    When Author Ralph Ellison Met The Love Of His Life (For A While)

    “She had barely hit city limits when he telegrammed, YOUR SILENCE PREVENTING WORK. WIRE ME EVEN IF MIND CHANGED. Fanny replied, NOTHING HAS CHANGED. I AM THE SAME AND LOVE YOU.”

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    William Greaves, 87, Pioneering African-American Documentarian

    “Greaves made hundreds of movies, and in the 1960s, he served as co-host and executive producer of Black Journal, among the first TV news programs designed for a black audience.”

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    Sandy Wilson, Composer Of “The Boy Friend”, Dead At 90

    The “winsome, nostalgic and tuneful” 1953 musical, which made stars of Julie Andrews (on stage) and Twiggy (on screen), subsequently became a perennial favorite of school and comunity theaters all over the English-speaking world. “He would say that The Boy Friend always held a place in his heart because it gave him the economic means never to work again.”

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    How A Drag Queen Became A Major Star Of Mexican Wrestling

    “Being gay is a gift from God,” says Saúl Armendáriz, though that was hardly his experience as an abused and bullied youngster in El Paso and Ciudad Juárez.But he was quick and athletic and hardworking and had a sense of showmanship. Today, he’s Cassandro, one of lucha libre‘s biggest stars, kicking macho ass from Mexico City to L.A. to Tokyo.

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  • Theatre

    Why Isn’t Portland’s Diversity Reflected In Its Theatres?

    “A movement to create theater that reflects the changing demographics of Portland has been picking up steam for years now, and by some measure appears to be working. So is Portland theater in good shape? Does it have a ways to go? Where are culturally specific theater groups in the mix?”

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    Syrian Refugee Take On “The Trojan Women” Scuttled As U.S. Denies Performers Visas

    “It had the potential to be one of the most galvanizing cultural events of the season: a dozen Syrian women, refugees from that besieged country, performing in Washington a version of a 2,500-year-old Greek tragedy revised to include their own harrowing stories. But now the … State Department rejected the women’s applications for entertainers’ visas for the performances … because it is not convinced that the women would leave.”

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    So Many Theaters Try To Develop Promising Composers; This One Is Focusing On Lyricists

    The Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, PA is about to begin a one-year program “focusing on a musical’s lyrics as part of a push to incubate new shows and mentor fledgling lyricists.”

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    Statistician Creates Algorithm That Predicts Broadway Hits

    Suspecting there’s a golden ratio that might help explain “The Phantom of the Opera,” “The Lion King” or “Wicked,” mathematician Marc Hershberg gave it a go, crunching the numbers as part of his graduate studies in the Department of Organizational Behavior at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

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  • Visual

    Look, Great Art Belongs In The Capital, Not The Provinces

    “I didn’t invent London. It has dominated British culture since the 18th century and has never exerted more global cultural power than today. Tourists from all over the world are flocking, right now, to London for its renowned galleries. It is a stage on which artists are made and ruined.”

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    Nashville’s Music Row Has Some Ugly Buildings With Big History. Should They Be Preserved?

    “Veterans of Nashville’s commercial recording industry complain that a city that has branded itself over the last 50-plus years as ‘Music City’ is in danger of turning into a landscape of luxury apartments, mixed-use retail and other amenities.”

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    LA’s MoCA Seems To Be Turning Itself Around Under New Director

    “After five years of financial and managerial turmoil, the museum finally is poised on the brink of a bright new era, and community anticipation and goodwill are high.”

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    Stolen Matisse Returned To Venezuelan Museum

    “The Venezuelan museum, which had bought the Henri Matisse painting for about $500,000 from a New York gallery in 1981, reported that it had been stolen in December 2002 — apparently swapped for a forgery after it was lent to an exhibit in Spain. But a Miami FBI agent who has led the investigation to recover the work confirmed Wednesday that it was actually stolen sometime before September 2000, and spotted in Paris a year later.”

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    Six Steps To Restore People’s Faith In The (Divvied-Up) Corcoran Gallery

    “There’s no rescuing the institution known as the Corcoran from this final crisis. And neither the National Gallery nor George Washington is obligated to try, truthfully. But under the new dispensation, leaders at the college and gallery can restore and even improve upon the things that the old Corc got right. Here are six suggestions for ways that the National Gallery and GW can build stronger institutions for the District.”

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  • Words

    Will Self Declares George Orwell ‘A Literary Mediocrity’

    “It’s this prose style that has made Orwell the Supreme Mediocrity – and like all long-lasting leaders, he has an ideology to justify his rule.”

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    Nation’s Oldest LGBT Bookstore To Reopen As A ‘Camp, Kind Of Hipsterish’ Partial Bookstore

    Ed Hermance, the founder of Giovanni’s Room, “said the new operator had a good chance of succeeding because of the array of items the store will offer.”

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    A Book Reviewer’s Lament

    “I really resent being told by swathes and swathes of people – and not just people, but people who ostensibly like books and read them – that a book is good, only to obtain it and find myself confronted with free-market capitalism funneled into something completely unremarkable, and I also really resent the alienation that goes along with that.”

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    Hip Hop Star Wants To ‘De-Gentrify’ Publishing

    “He’s interested in titles that teach — books with a moral. And that grows in part out of the three years he spent in prison on a gun-possession charge.”

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    The Traveling Book Sales Van That’s Expanding From Portugal To All Of Europe

    “The vehicle, a gorgeous 1975 Renault Estafette, has character, but the soul of this literary omnibus is its driver, Francisco Antolin. He’s a 36-year-old Lisboner who loves books and talking about them with whomever stops by.”

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