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  • Dance

    Osipova And Goddard Make History At Britain’s National Dance Awards

    “The Royal Ballet principal Natalia Osipova and contemporary dancer Jonathan Goddard become the first to win in both major dancer categories, while Carlos Acosta takes home the lifetime achievement honours.”

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    Scientists Have Discovered What Makes Someone A Good Dancer

    “Northumbria University conducted a study about the male dance moves that are attractive to women. Now you won’t have to think twice the next time you go to a wedding. Just take a look at the science.” (video)

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    Ballet Dancers Say It Would Be Easy To Improve Australia

    “The pair do not subscribe to Australia’s old ‘cultural cringe'; they are living proof of what the country is capable of artistically. But asked how they would improve Australia, they answer immediately and in unison: ‘More money to the arts.'”

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    Ballet Dancers Take To The Air – The Rock-Climbing Air, That Is, For An Aerial Ballet

    “This is not choreography for the faint of heart. Tethered by harnesses and ropes, belayed by riggers from above, the dancers engage in constant risk management, watching for jagged surfaces, crumbling sandstone beneath their feet and the ever-present threat of rope snarls.”

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  • Ideas

    Learning How To Sound Like A Woman After You’ve Become One

    ‘The hormones used in male-to-female transitions have no effect on the vocal cords, meaning that even after a cosmetic and surgical transition into women, the male-sounding voice often keeps transgender people tied to their old identities.” So a small group of voice specialists have developed techniques to teach transgender women how to make their speech patterns match their gender expression.

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    As New York Faces A Monster Snowstorm, The Times Gives The City A Guide To The Arts From Their Apartments

    “Your stereo is searching for something better than what you’re listening to now? You need a new book? We hear you. Here are our recommendations for what’s streaming on TV, what should be rocking your apartment and great reads to curl up with.”

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    We Know (And Care) So Much About The Short-Lived Tudor Dynasty Because They Spent Lavishly On Important Buildings

    “Henry VIII has lost some of his palaces and our chances of dining with him on venison and his beloved marzipan sweets are gone – but we can still find the spirit of the Tudors in what they’ve left behind.”

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    Turns Out Bilingualism Might Not Be *That* Much Of An Advantage – Until You Get Old

    “Adults who speak multiple languages seem to resist the effects of dementia far better than monolinguals do.”

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  • Issues

    Is There TOO Much Arts Journalism?

    It’s uncomfortable to think that more arts writing is creating less substantive engagement with the arts, but the arts are not the only field wrestling with this issue. As Alice Robb reported (ironically, in The New Republic, last September), “Science has never been so democratic. It’s just not clear whether democracy is what science needs.” There may be no correlation between current arts participation numbers and the increase in arts journalism, but arts journalism played a significant role in audience development during the 20th century.

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    The World Has Some Remarkably Dark ‘Tourist Attractions’

    “Everywhere Tézenas went, he saw examples of the oblivious, sometimes offensive behavior one might expect of tourists at any popular attraction. In a torture cell in Cambodia, he saw that a tourist had written ‘I was here’ on a wall.”

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    The Perks At The Top Of The Nonprofit Arts World

    “Such special payouts can put directors at odds with colleagues who do not receive similar perks, nonprofit specialists said. They can also appear out of step at a time when such add-ons have come under greater scrutiny in the corporate world.”

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    This Russian Movie Was Nominated For A Foreign Film Oscar, But Might Be Censored In Russia

    “The film, which paints a dark picture of corrupt provincial life in the country, has been denounced as anti-Russian by public figures ranging from politicians to clerics. The culture minister, Vladimir Medinsky, has said he doesn’t like the film’s depressing story and foul language.”

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  • Media

    The Comcast/Time Warner Mega-Merger Once Seemed Inevitable. Now It Isn’t

    “The landscape has changed dramatically since the Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal was announced last February.”

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    Why TV Is the Perfect Place for Indie Filmmakers

    James Poniewozik: “There is, arguably, richer potential in landing a TV deal than making an independent movie, shopping it around, and trying to get it attention in theaters. … But I’d also argue that TV is a good match for indie filmmakers for other than economic and practical reasons.”

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    Is Disney Diluting Its Brand As Animator of Classic Children’s Tales?

    “A crucial part of the Disney magic has always been its total control over ‘the vault,’ its 80-year-old catalog of animated features that are only released for sale for a limited time before becoming artificially scarce again.” But the studio has been busy remaking many of its classic animated titles – Sleeping Beauty (as Maleficent), Cinderella, The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast (not to mention the 1996 101 Dalmatians) – in live action. Why?

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    North Koreans Risk Everything To Import Illegal Soap Operas

    “The decidedly lowbrow dramas — with names like ‘Bad Housewife’ and ‘Red Bean Bread’ — have, in fact, become something of a cultural Trojan horse, sneaking visions of the bustling South into the tightly controlled, impoverished North alongside the usual sudsy fare of betrayals, bouts of ill-timed amnesia and, at least once, a love affair with an alien.”

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    Is Clint Eastwood’s Newest Film Causing A Rise In Anti-Islamic Violence?

    “The organisation, which describes itself as the largest Arab civil rights organisation in the US, said it had collected ‘hundreds of violent messages targeting Arab and Muslim Americans from movie-goers,’ mainly from Facebook and Twitter.”

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  • Music

    San Diego Opera’s Joyful Return To The Stage

    “The company survived the drama of its board leadership and longtime director trying to kill it and opened its 50th season Saturday night … with La Bohème. There’s nothing like a near-death experience to wake you up, and if the company had an elitist identity before its near-death experience, it now promises to become the community’s opera company.”

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    What Do Conductors Really Do? Two Of Them (Both Women) Tell Us

    Rising young Mexican conductor Alondra de la Parra and mid-career Australian maestra Simone Young discuss learning and shaping a score, keeping your head about you on and off the podium, and why they’d rather not have to deal with the woman-conductor thing. (audio)

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    Buying Music – From *Any* Source – Is So Over

    “Today the disruption is being disrupted: Digital track sales are falling at nearly the same rate as CD sales, as music fans are turning to streaming—on iTunes, SoundCloud, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and music blogs.”

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    Composers: Rugged Individualists – Or A Community Of Hardworking Musicians?

    “Living mostly in Europe these days and having to play the role of explaining just what is going on in contemporary American music to my composer colleagues there, I’ve run up against the opinion that seemingly everything is probably minimalist and if not, it’s loud and ambiguously tonal with orchestral tutti upon orchestral tutti, European orchestral music is taut, lean, precise, sophisticated, timbral, and we can go on.”

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    In Michigan, Protestors Host A Die-In Against A Conductor Who Supports Putin

    “Gergiev is known to have close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Gergiev not only voiced his support for Putin after the leader passed anti-gay legislation, he also recently offered a quote to The New York Times Magazine regarding Russia’s annexation of Crimea.”

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  • People

    She Won Two Oscars But Facing Moving Out Of Her Apartment For Lack Of Work

    Dianne Weist “earned Oscars for best supporting actress for 1986’s Hannah and Her Sisters and 1994’s Bullets Over Broadway, both directed by Woody Allen. But after that, she found she was only getting offered roles to play “a nice mom, and that’s it. That’s all that ever came, except in theater.”

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    Reconsidering The Maria Callas Phenomenon

    “Callas wasn’t perfect, to be sure. (And perfect can be boring, as some of her successors have demonstrated.) But she was something more: even when she falls short of her best, she gives an intimation of what an ideal performance might sound like. Few more perfect singers have managed to do that.”

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    A Charlie Hebdo Survivor’s Testimony

    Philippe Lançon: “I thought about Bernard, Cabu, and the others in my narrow field of view, all dead now, and I wondered, with no idea of how seriously I was hurt, what determined life or death … The only difference between us was a couple of inches’ variation in the paths of the bullets and our respective locations when the black-legged men came in.”

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    Henri Matisse – The Lost Interview

    “On August 5th 1946, two years after Paris was liberated from the Germans, a young American soldier named Jerome Seckler visited Henri Matisse. … Until now this interview has never been published.”

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  • Theatre

    Which Show Pioneered Race-Blind Casting On Broadway? (Hint: It Was In 1944)

    “Bucking Broadway’s trend,” the musical’s creators – all children of Jewish immigrants, and so no strangers to discrimination themselves – “cast African-Americans to play ‘full-fledged citizens who were portrayed equitably with their white colleagues’.” And they cast a Japanese-American as the ingenue – in 1944.

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    The Show Must Go On: Blizzards Don’t Shut Down Broadway (Well, Almost Never)

    Playbill looks at two decades worth of big storms, and has to go back to 1996 to find one that closed more than a very few shows. (Except for Sandy, which didn’t have any snow.)

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    But This Snowstorm IS Shutting Down Broadway (Blame Gov. Cuomo)

    “Broadway theatres will go dark the evening of Jan. 26 as a major winter weather system bears down on the Northeast, with anywhere from 18 to 24 inches of snow forecast to fall across the New York City area in the next 24 hours. Several productions have already canceled Tuesday performances.”

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    Apparently, Coloradans Love The Arts More Than The Rest Of Us Do

    “‘Once you recite a line of Shakespeare, you are hooked for life,’ said Jeremy Shamos, board chair for Curious Theatre Company, which has an aggressive youth outreach program that includes a workshop for aspiring teen playwrights.”

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  • Visual

    Smithsonian Considers Opening A London Outpost

    “The institution announced today that it is considering opening an exhibition space in east London’s planned cultural quarter in Olympic Park. The 40,000-sq.-foot gallery would feature rotating and permanent exhibitions drawn from across the Smithsonian’s collection of 138 million objects, which range from Dorothy’s ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz to the space shuttle Discovery.”

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    UK Museums Are Hiding Away Artworks Depicting Muhammad

    “The Victoria and Albert museum has attempted to conceal its ownership of a devotional image of the prophet Muhammad, citing security concerns, in what is part of a wider pattern of apparent self-censorship by British institutions that scholars fear could undermine public understanding of Islamic art and the diversity of Muslim traditions.”

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    Iconic Air And Space Museum Needs A Major Overhaul

    “The window walls are outdated, skylights leak, the mechanical systems are dying, and the terraces are leaking into the basement car storage. But much worse than that, the stones that clad the building are bowing and cracking, which threaten to make it uninhabitable.”

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    Dozens Of Artworks Missing From Irish Parliament Feared Stolen

    “There are concerns that some may have been stolen. It is feared that others may have been moved amid the upheaval within Leinster House following the largest ever changeover of TDs following the 2011 General Election.”

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    Old Master Paintings Are Almost Cheap These Days

    “That $3 million Caravaggio is looking like a bargain compared to an $81.9 million Andy Warhol.”

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  • Words

    An Ambitious Plan To Bring Out-Of-Print Academic Books Back To Life

    “Over the past 100 years, tens of thousands of academic books have been published in the humanities, including many remarkable works on history, literature, philosophy, art, music, law, and the history and philosophy of science. But the majority of these books are currently out of print and largely out of reach for teachers, students, and the public. The Humanities Open Book pilot grant program aims to “unlock” these books by republishing them as high-quality electronic books that anyone in the world can download and read on computers, tablets, or mobile phones at no charge.”

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    The Many (English-Speaking) Lives Of “Anna Karenina”

    “Why does a novel that already has at least six or seven English-language editions need yet another update? Journalist and author Masha Gessen discusses the difficulty of translating a literary masterpiece and argues the more the better.” (podcast)

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    The Art of Literary Expletive Avoidance

    “Swearwords pepper modern novels, not least in genres like detective fiction where they lend colour and authenticity to hard-boiled dialogue. But there are times when a writer can say more by not saying them.”

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    Writers Have To Talk About Money, Or Nothing Will Ever Change

    “Those with privilege and luck don’t want the riffraff knowing the details. After all, if ‘those people’ understood the differences in our lives, they might revolt. Or, God forbid, not see us as somehow more special, talented and/or deserving than them. There’s a special version of this masquerade that we writers put on.”

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    Possibly The Best Copyright Quirk Ever Makes James Bond Public Domain In Canada

    “Some Canadian writers, mindful of the 2015 copyright changes, are musing about the prospect of taking 007 for a spin” – especially if they could sell their books outside of their genre-loathing country.

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