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  • Dance

    ABT’s Not Just Wringing Its Hands About Lack Of Diversity In Ballet, It’s Going Out To Develop More Dancers

    “Classical ballet in the United States has an image problem, as dancers at the top companies are almost entirely white. … In an attempt to make ballet more diverse, the American Ballet Theatre has launched a new programme to search for talents from the excluded communities. Al Jazeera’s Daniel Lak reports from New York.” (video)

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    Dancers Are Taking Over Beijing

    There are “thousands of so-called square dancing troupes of Chinese seniors that have sprung up in the last few years, descending on public plazas, parks and other urban open spaces across the country daily for nostalgia-infused light cardio workouts. The phenomenon has grown so widespread that it’s causing social friction, with multiple groups battling for pavement space and sonic supremacy in many parks, much to the annoyance of often younger nearby residents.”

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    Girls From Brazil’s Favelas Find Escape In Ballet

    “Growing up amid drug dealers and addicts, … girls from a rough neighborhood known as a ‘cracolandia,’ or crackland, are learning the graceful art courtesy of a local church group that also offers them food, counseling and Bible studies.”

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    You Have No Excuse: More (And More And More) Ballet On The Internet

    “The quantity of ballet performance history currently available to us on YouTube alone is staggering. No ballet illustrates this better than ‘Giselle.’”

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  • Ideas

    Science’s Problem With Big Data

    “As the rest of the society, from business and economics to journalism and art, wakes up to the power of big data, the world of research is, ironically, not doing nearly enough to embrace the power of information. A big-data mindset involves more than having a lot of petabytes on your hard drive, and science is falling short in three main areas.”

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    Knowledge Versus Information

    “The Internet does make it easier to gather – aggregate, as the jargon goes – information, but not necessarily to make sense of it. An overabundance of raw information devoid of context and interpretation can actually be detrimental to knowledge. Knowledge springs from the act – the art – of interpreting, digesting, and integrating new information with our existing understanding of the world.”

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    Sleep Drunkenness – We’ve All Experienced It, And It Has A Name

    “Your alarm goes off on your phone, and instead of turning it off or hitting snooze, you pick it up and stupidly say, ‘Hello?’ You are, to use the technical term, in the throes of sleep drunkenness.”

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    Why People Walk

    Adam Gopnik looks at walking to be alone, walking to be with others, “contemplative country hikers and argumentative city schleppers” and flâneurs – and looks back to a time when endurance walking was a wildly popular spectator sport.

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  • Issues

    Generous Cincinnati Funder Shuts Its Doors After An Amazing Run

    The Corbett Foundation – which gave more than $70 million to arts and education in the region over the last 60 years – is shutting its doors, effective immediately.

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    No Copyright For Works Not Created By Humans, Says U.S. Copyright Office

    “Marking an end to the controversy surrounding the ‘monkey selfie,’ a self-portrait snapped by a particularly photogenic macaque in Indonesia in 2011, the US Copyright Office” has ruled that it “will register an original work of authorship, provided that the work was created by a human being … the Office will not register works produced by nature, animals, or plants.”

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    Burning Man Shut Because Of Heavy Rain (This Is The Desert, Right?)

    “Organisers said the gate to the temporary desert city would be closed until at least midday on Tuesday as the Black Rock desert playa turned to mud. Police were turning people around at the entrance to avoid stuck vehicles.”

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    No, We Are Not In A Golden Age Of Journalism, Whatever Techie Utopians May Say

    “A true golden age of journalism, if it is to last more than a few ephemeral years subsidized by check-writing billionaires and venture-capital speculation, will require that publishers make a profit and writers and reporters can make a decent living. … If you are lucky, you might be able to command a freelance pay rate that hasn’t budged in 30 years. But more people than ever work for nothing.”

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  • Media

    Video Games – The New Spectator Sport

    “Fans watch for the same reasons ancient Romans flocked to the Colosseum: to witness extraordinary displays of agility and skill.”

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    A Director’s Medium: It’s Not Just The Writers Who Make This A Golden Age Of TV

    “The prevailing sentiment is that TV is a writer’s medium, and film is a director’s medium. … But that doesn’t mean TV can’t be a director’s medium, too – many ‘golden age’ shows have also had fantastic directing. In fact, many respected movie directors are taking notice and flocking to the small screen.”

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    How Hollywood Manipulates You To See What It Wants You To Imagine

    “We’re constantly calculating where we think the audience’s eye is going to be, and how to attract it to that area and prioritize within a shot what you can fake,” Favreau said. “The best visual effects tool is the brains of the audience,” he said. “They will stitch things together so they make sense.”

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    Emmys 2014: “Breaking Bad” Rules, Netflix Loses

    Breaking Bad went out in a blaze of glory on Emmy night, taking down a slew of major operators in the process – including a complete shutout of Netflix.”

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    Emmys 2014: The Winners, The Losers And Everything in Between

    A review of the evening’s notable categories – which does not necessarily mean categories for which the Academy gives awards (e.g., Best Intro, Best Product Placement, Best Show-Stealer, and Best Mashup Opportunity).

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  • Music

    This Year’s Opera Olympics

    “From over 1,000 applications, 40 singers from 17 nations, including the United States, Russia and China, made it through to the main competition, which began on August 25. Following two days of preliminary rounds, 20 singers enter the semi-finals. Ten singers will reach the final round on August 30, which is presented as a Gala Finals Concert with an orchestra conducted by Domingo.”

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    Julian Lloyd Webber: Here’s How To Make It As A Young Musician

    “To succeed in today’s music business the aspiring musician needs to give almost as much time and thought to business-related matters as they give to practising their art. They need to find their unique space in the market place. They need to find out what they have to offer that is different to everybody else.”

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    New Trend: The Office That Sings Together Works Better Together

    “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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    Paavo Järvi Won’t Renew Contract With Orchestre De Paris

    The conductor announced on his Facebook page that, “with a heavy heart”, he has decided to step down from the orchestra’s music directorship after the 2015-16 season. He gave no reason other than his desire to devote time to his new post at Tokyo’s NHK Symphony (beginning in fall 2015) as well as his ongoing work with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. (in French)

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    James Conlon To Leave Ravinia Festival After Next Summer

    “Increased commitments abroad and at home, where Conlon has served as music director of the Los Angeles Opera since 2006 and music director of the Cincinnati May Festival since 1979, have caused him to weigh his personal and professional priorities, he added.”

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  • People

    Former Jasper Johns Assistant Pleads Guilty To Stealing Art

    “The assistant, James Meyer, was indicted in 2013 on charges connected to a scheme that prosecutors said involved the theft of at least 22 artworks over about six years. Mr. Meyer removed the works from Mr. Johns’s studio in Sharon, Conn., prosecutors said, and delivered them to an art gallery in Lower Manhattan, where they were sold for about $6.5 million.”

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    Final Acts: Doris Lessing Left 3000 Books To Public Library In Zimbabwe

    “The bequest includes biographies, histories, reference books, poetry and fiction. It has been welcomed by public services strained by years of neglect and underfunding; many libraries in Zimbabwe have no budget to buy new books.”

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    How A Latin Scholar Became A Public Intellectual, TV Star And (Actual) Poster Girl

    Once, Mary Beard was just an unusually prolific Oxbridge don. Now she’s a popular historian with multiple television sows to her credit, something of a heroine to middle-aged and older women (and more than a few of their daughters), and a skilled slayer of Internet trolls. (Sometimes she even reforms them.)

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    Sam Hunter, 91, Curator, Art Critic, Founder of Rose Museum

    “Over six decades, Sam Hunter could usually be found at the center of some of the most exciting times for art in New York and beyond. He was an art historian (an authority on 20th-century art), a museum director, a curator, an art critic and an art adviser to museums, corporations and private collectors” – not to mention author or co-author of some 50 books.

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  • Theatre

    ShakesBEER – This May Be Taking Pub Theater A Little Too Far

    Yes, ShakesBEER is actually the name of a theater project: It’s Shakespeare-meets-pub-crawl. Then there’s Shotspeare: Shakespeare-meets-drinking-game. And there’s Drunk Shakespeare (the actors get drunk as they perform), a New York version of Scotland’s S—faced Shakespeare. They’re putting the bar back in Bard. (Sorry.)

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    Harvey Weinstein Feuds With NY Post Columnist Over “Finding Neverland” Musical

    Post theater columnist Michael Riedel, based on two reviews of the pre-Broadway run in Cambridge, Mass., pronounced the show “dead in the water” and said of the critics that “if you’re going to review the baby in the cradle, strangle it.” One of those critics, Jeremy Gerard, reports on the brouhaha and Weinstein’s predictable response.

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    Edinburgh Fringe Posts Another Attendance Record

    “The festival, which is drawing to a close on Monday night, said it issued an estimated 2.18 million tickets across 299 venues over 25 days. That is a 12% increase on the same point last year, which was itself a record.”

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    Student Actors In Ramallah Use Theatre To Tell Their Stories As Palestinians

    “Festival participants included Palestinian students from the West Bank, a group of 12th-graders from Tromsø, Norway, actors from the UK, and trainers from Germany, Egypt and Romania who gave workshops in dance, drama, comedy and performance art. The final group performance included a movement piece reflecting the dynamics of street protest, a sketch about Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons, Commedia dell’Arte scenes and monologues about self-image and harassment.”

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  • Visual

    Is Banksy Over?

    Is “Banksy, arguably the most well-known and successful graffiti artist in the world, now over? In other words, was his production permanently slowing down? Could he now be considered part of art history? Or would he start to mean less to the general public and the street art community?”

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    Devastating Destruction Of Islamic Culture

    “While the destruction in Gaza, the Ukraine, and other conflict zones may be as harrowing, the recent rise of the Islamic State (IS), formerly ISIS or ISIL, is particularly worrying to the art world since it is taking place in an area rich with important archeological sites.”

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    Gothic Church Frescoes Destroyed In “Restoration”

    “Just three patches of fresco remain in St Catherine’s, following restoration work carried out after the church was handed over to the Russian Orthodox Church by local legislators in 2010.”

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    Boom In Chinese Art Causing A Run On Chinese Art Catalogs

    “Book collectors and dealers in Hong Kong and Europe have been quietly doing a thriving business in catalogues for exhibitions and auctions of Chinese arts and antiques. While China has always had a black market for imported art publications that cost a few dollars each, in-demand catalogues command prices in the thousands of dollars.”

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    Zaha Hadid Sues Critic For Defamation

    “Zaha Hadid has filed a law suit against the New York Review of Books and architecture critic Martin Filler … claiming that Filler had falsely implied that she did not care about the working conditions of migrant workers on her projects in the Middle East.”

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  • Words

    Robert Hass Wins $100,000 Poetry Prize

    The UC-Berkeley professor and former MacArthur Fellow, “who served as poet laureate of the United States in the mid-1990s, and won a National Book Award in 2007 and a Pulitzer Prize in 2008, has now also won the Wallace Stevens Award, a $100,000 cash stipend given by the Academy of American Poets, an organization founded in 1934 to foster an appreciation for American poetry.”

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    $3.2 Million – Bet You Wish You’d Kept That Comic Book Collection!

    “Superman made his debut in Action Comics #1, which cost 10 cents in 1938. Only around 50 unrestored originals are thought to have survived, and this was described as the most immaculate.”

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    Google Wins Dismissal Of German Publishers’ Suit

    “A German regulator handed Google Inc a victory on Friday as it said it would not pursue a complaint brought against the internet search engine operator by a group of publishers for giving users access to their news articles.”

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    What Makes The (Wildly Popular) New Tom Hanks Typewriter App Click

    “Last week, the actor, who signs his tweets ‘Hanx,’ released the ‘Hanx Writer,’ an iPad app that he helped to create with the company Hitcents. It simulates a typewriter keyboard – clacks, clangs, and all.”

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    Menus, Language, And Price

    “‘Every increase of one letter in the average length of words describing a dish is associated with an increase of 69 cents in the price of that dish.’ Compared with inexpensive restaurants, the expensive ones are ‘three times less likely to talk about the diner’s choice’ (your way, etc.) and ‘seven times more likely to talk about the chef’s choice’.”

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