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  • Dance

    Torvill and Dean: How We Made ‘Boléro’

    The legendary ice dancers recount how they created the program that won then the gold medal at the 1984 Winter Olympics – and that remains, 30 years later, one of the most storied performances in the history of the discipline. (Surprise: the Ravel piece was considered a radical choice back then.)

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    Kyle Abraham, Modern Dance’s It Boy

    “In the last two years, it seems, the 36-year-old dancer and choreographer has suddenly landed in the spotlight. Abraham’s strong social messages and hybrid style have made him the darling of the dance world establishment … Now, everyone is asking: What will Kyle Abraham do next?”

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    Gangs Of Non-Pros Dance Matthew Bourne’s ‘Lord of the Flies’

    “‘Why did we ever think this was a good idea?’ mutters choreographer Scott Ambler as a barrage of boys in trainers comes thundering across the room.” Why? Because every time Bourne and Ambler put out a call for local young men – regular blokes – to perform in this project, they get hundreds of responses.

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    The Battle For Ballet At The Bolshoi Rages On (And On)

    “Why does the Bolshoi matter outside Moscow? Many seasoned balletgoers ultimately prefer the styles of certain Western companies or that of the Mariinsky Ballet of St. Petersburg. Yet your knowledge of ballet is incomplete until you’ve witnessed how the Bolshoi can seem the most red-blooded, exuberant and viscerally stirring of ballet companies.”

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  • Ideas

    Our Transition To A Culture Of Lifelong Learning

    “After years of talking about lifelong education, the rhetoric has finally reached reality. Accessing education no longer requires months and years of planning, countless applications, tapping savings or taking out huge loans, and giving up months or years of your life to match some random institutional schedule.”

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    Gentrification – It’s Not Just About Real Estate

    “Distilling the gentrification problem, a tension exists between the inefficiencies of the labor market and the inefficiencies of the real estate market. The inefficiencies of the real estate market receive all the press. What little attention the inefficiencies of the labor market receive, nobody links it to gentrification.”

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    How Do We Explain The Evolution Of Religion?

    “In a new paper, biologists suggest that religion evolved in our prehistoric past through processes by which serving one’s family and larger social group become synonymous with serving God.”

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    If The Arts Could Just Commit To Professional Development (Wait! Don’t Yawn!)

    “We have to build a culture in our sector that recognizes and embraces the idea that continuing skills training and opportunities to gain more knowledge is critical to our survival and must be available to everyone at all levels of their careers – throughout their careers.”

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  • Issues

    Liverpool Arts Center Replaces Paid Staff With Volunteers

    “Those affected were all really upset. They were very angry. The advertising for the volunteers says they will pay travel expenses and people will get work experience out of it.”

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    Thomas Piketty’s Economic Argument Applies To Art, Too (And How)

    “The French economist’s new book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, is a historic survey of wealth concentration that has quickly become a go-to text for the gathering debate on income inequality. … It is worth considering how the unprecedented amounts of money the wealthy have recently been spending on trophy artworks might be a natural extension of his argument.”

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    Artist Accuses Turkish Government of Deliberately Dumbing Down Populace

    Ali Kazma: “Statistically, educated Turks do not vote for AKP … It seems like the interest of AKP lies in mobilizing the regressive parts of the society financially upwards while maintaining their low education levels, gender inequality and intellectual curiosity.”

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    NY Times Architecture Critic Dives Into Transit Policy: Build A Brooklyn-Queens Streetcar!

    Michael Kimmelman: “So while Mayor Bill de Blasio continues to refine his agenda, including that promise of 200,000 units of affordable housing, he might consider a streetcar connecting Red Hook to Astoria. … I’m not talking Ye Olde Trolley. This is transit for New Yorkers who can’t wait another half-century for the next subway station.”

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  • Media

    Not Your Imagination – Movie Quality Depends On What Time Of Year It’s Released (Here’s The Data)

    “In summation: January through April movies are terrible; summer movies are better; autumn movies are better than January movies but worse than summer movies; and holiday season movies are best of all.”

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    There’s a Lost Generation of ’90s Indie Filmmakers

    Richard Brody: “The paradox of independent filmmaking is that it often replicates, on a low budget and a small scale, the commercial mainstream’s production process and approach to acting. On the one hand, that’s why many independent filmmakers of that time turned out to be Hollywood-ready when things worked out right. On the other, that’s why, for some, it was tough to come up with a cinematic Plan B when they didn’t.”

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    Netflix Now Accounts For Half Of All Streamed Internet Video

    44 million people around the world have signed up to its video-on-demand service.

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    British Pathé Uploads Entire 85,000-Film Archive to YouTube

    “The collection, which spans 1896 to 1976, comprises some 3,500 hours of historical footage of major events, notable figures, fashion, travel, sports and culture. It includes extensive film from both World War I and World War II.” And it’s all now in HD, no less.

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    The Bizarre Magic Of The World’s Greatest Kids’ (Is It Just For Kids?) TV Show

    Adventure Time is a smash hit cartoon aimed primarily at kids age six to eleven. It’s also a deeply serious work of moral philosophy, a rip-roaring comic masterpiece, and a meditation on gender politics and love in the modern world.”

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  • Music

    How I Review Music (One Critic’s Roadmap)

    “Admittedly, no one actually bestowed upon me the ability to be a new music critic. Such is the greatness of the internet: anyone can hang out a shingle.”

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    The Nashville Symphony Seems To Be Recovering Slowly But Steadily

    “The Nashville Symphony has paid off $2.5 million of its restructured $25.3 million debt. … However, with $22.8 million of debt on its books and labor negotiations looming with musicians, there’s still work to be done, including reaching its fundraising goal.”

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    Houston Symphony Musicians Get a Raise

    “The symphony’s musicians will get a 2.85 percent annual raise under terms of the four-year deal, which will take their annual salary from $86,840 today to $97,240 during the 2017-18 season.”

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    Mariss Jansons To Leave Concertgebouw

    Mariss Jansons, who has been the chief conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra for nearly a decade, plans to resign his post there after the 2014-15 season, the orchestra announced on Tuesday.

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    How Much Is The Work Of A Met Opera Chorister Worth?

    “No one blinks when an experienced corporate manager earns a six-figure salary in this city. But an opera singer? We still romanticize the image of the starving artist. We like to think that talent will eventually fill dinner plates and checking accounts. But in real life, people who can’t pay their bills often put aside their passions, starved of the training, the attention and the resources they need to shine.”

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  • People

    Happy 450th Birthday Shakespeare (Here’s How He Became So Famous)

    “It is only Shakespeare whose language and characters have taken on a life of their own, enabling his work constantly to accommodate itself to the new. There is a quotation for every occasion, a character parallel for every figure in public life.”

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    ‘He Was The Greatest Of Us All’: Salman Rushdie on Gabriel García Márquez

    “I knew García Márquez’s colonels and generals, or at least their Indian and Pakistani counterparts; his bishops were my mullahs; his market streets were my bazaars. His world was mine, translated into Spanish. It’s little wonder I fell in love with it – not for its magic (although, as a writer reared on the fabulous ‘wonder tales’ of the East, that was appealing too) but for its realism.”

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    Andrei Konchalovsky, Director and Master Aphorist

    Says the man who went from co-scripting Andrei Rublev to making the Oscar-nominated Runaway Train to getting fired from Tango & Cash: “Freedom is not a guarantee of good art. The best art comes in the war or the plague.” “[Art] can help politics when politics are ready to be changed. Not before.” “Opera is much closer to circus than to cinema.” “Tango & Cash, like every real Hollywood film, is a film for people who cannot read.”

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    Meet The Philanthropist Who’s Saving San Diego Opera

    “She’s been described as gracious, thoughtful and reserved, someone who only speaks up when necessary. And 17 days ago, she reluctantly stepped into the spotlight in a last-ditch bid to save San Diego Opera from extinction.”

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  • Theatre

    The Real-Life Murder Case That Shakespeare (May Have) Helped Dramatise

    The darkly comic Arden of Faversham is (closely) based on an actual case: the 1551 murder of a wealthy provincial businessman by his wife and her lover.

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    Rethinking How You Sit In The Broadway Theatre

    “To deepen the sense of intimacy in the Palace Theatre, “Holler’s” creators decided to radically change its seating, spending $200,000 to reposition the ground-level orchestra seats into the kind of stadium seating common in movie theaters.”

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    Why Performance Art Is Stupid

    “Performance art is a joke. Taken terribly seriously by the art world, it is a litmus test of pretension and intellectual dishonesty. If you are wowed by it, you are either susceptible to pseudo-intellectual guff, or lying.”

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    Rupert Goold Wants To Create A Malaysia Airlines 370 Play

    “Metaphorically and theatrically, it captures something very potent about the anxieties of our age. It’s like a Rorschach test: people read their own thoughts and paranoia into it, whether that be about globalisation, technology, terrorism or insanity.”

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  • Visual

    How to Forge a Masterpiece (It’s in the Court Documents)

    “The indictment reads in places like a forger’s manual, laying out the materials needed to forge masterpieces and how to create a fraudulent history of a painting’s creation, ownership, custody and location, known as its provenance.”

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    The Damien Hirst Forgery Trial: A Juror Speaks

    “[Such trials] are fairly banal legal processes, cases settled by a jury of peers that considers the facts and comes to a conclusion. But these human beings also become, for a period of a few hours, days, or weeks, endowed with a unique power and perspective: critics with the force of law.” Hyperallergic offers a Q&A with a member of the panel that convicted a Florida pastor of selling fake Hirsts.

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    Can the Relics of the 1964 World’s Fair Be Saved? Should They Be?

    “You can see them from at least three highways in Queens, rising up like futuristic beacons: a giant metal circle on top of 16 concrete pillars and three towers stretching skyward, topped by flying saucer roofs. They look like heralds of a new space age. But they were built for the 1964 World’s Fair, as part of the New York State Pavilion.”

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    Scotland’s Massive New Public Art Project. It’s Bad

    “Scotland has unveiled the latest misbegotten “masterpiece” of public art. It is big. It is bold. And it is rotten.”

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    A Look Back At Edward Sozanski’s Art Criticism

    “Assessing his first year in Philadelphia, he wrote, ‘I have not been startled here as often as I would like to have been nor have I felt the energy that is generated by a city where art is important and in ferment.’ But he stayed, and over three decades observed ever-increasing energy, plenty of artistic ferment, and some startling developments.” (includes excerpts)

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  • Words

    We Found Shakespeare’s Personal Dictionary on eBay!, Say Book Dealers

    “For more than half a century, many scholars have believed that Shakespeare consulted a 1580 dictionary published in London called An Alvearie, or Quadruple Dictionarie.” Now a pair of antiquarians claim they’ve found that very volume, complete with Shakespeare’s own handwritten notes. Naturally, some scholars disagree. Robinson Meyer runs down the arguments for and against.

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    $50,000 Jackson Poetry Prize Goes To Claudia Rankine

    She said of the award, “Often a division is made between politics and poetry, and I like to think this is a moment when the intersection is recognized.”

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    The Difference Between Literary Fiction And Genre Fiction

    “A genre novel is governed by limitations, and the whole of the writer’s skill is directed towards creating the best possible novel within those limitations. A literary novel is governed by nothing – nothing I can think of, not even the requirement to be comprehensible – and the whole of the writer’s skill is directed towards creating the best possible novel.”

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    Literary Fiction? It’s Nothing But Snob Marketing

    “All books can be thrust into a genre, and lit fic is simply one of many. As a tag, it tells us nothing about the intrinsic value of any individual title.”

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    Want To Eradicate Misuse Of The Word “Literally”? Try This Plugin

    Built by a programmer named Mike Walker, it’s an extension for Google’s Chrome browser that replaces the word “literally” with “figuratively” on sites and articles across the Web, with deeply gratifying results.

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