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  • Dance

    New $30,000 Choreography Competition In Australia Has Its First Winner

    “Melbourne-based artist Atlanta Eke has taken out the inaugural Keir Choreographic award , the first major national prize of its kind in Australia.” (includes video of all four finalists)

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    Choreographing For A “Cathedral Of Trees”

    The provincial English town of Milton Keynes is known for a long stand of arching trees planted to roughly match the footprint of Norwich Cathedral. Choreographer Rosemary Lee writes about creating Under the Vaulted Sky, a site-specific dance for the spot. (includes video)

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    The Dance World Has To Do More To Keep Merce Cunningham’s Work Alive

    “It’s always a pleasure to see Cunningham choreography these days. No choreography is a keener tonic to the dancegoer’s palate, and what once felt difficult now looks both absorbing and natural.”

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    Dancing While The Bombs Are Falling

    “The audience was in ‘the hole’ when the siren went off about 9:15. They evacuated to the safe room downstairs in the costume department, as did the dancers. We sat. The atmosphere was both rational (what are the chances of a rockets hitting right here?) and fearful (what if?), experienced and fresh, trying to keep the morale positive and alert; selfies were taken….We heard a few loud booms outside, presumably the iron dome intercepting the projectiles, and the sirens stopped.”

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  • Ideas

    Whatever Happened To The Idea That The Internet Would Unleash Creativity?

    “Free culture, like cheap food, incurs hidden costs.” Instead of serving as the great equalizer, the web has created an abhorrent cultural feudalism. The creative masses connect, create and labor, while Google, Facebook and Amazon collect the cash.

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    Happiness is… (How Can We Be It If We Can’t Define It?)

    “What is unhappiness? Your intuition might be that it is simply the opposite of happiness, just as darkness is the absence of light. That is not correct. Happiness and unhappiness are certainly related, but they are not actually opposites. Images of the brain show that parts of the left cerebral cortex are more active than the right when we are experiencing happiness, while the right side becomes more active when we are unhappy.”

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    The Way Kids, Um, Talk Is, You Know, Like, Actually Conscientious

    “Often enough, something we propose as a serious idea turns out to be more or less a joke. It’s much rarer that something proposed as a joke – or, at least, proposed as a semi-serious conceit, offered in the spirit of what’s often called, grimly, ‘tongue in cheek’ – turns out to be, or to have the germ of, a serious idea.” But Adam Gopnik has one.

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    How The Moon Became A Real Place

    “In popular imagination, the moon vivid, expansive, and fantastic. There was talk of winged creatures, moon elephants, scalding heat, and deep oceans. Newspapers were filled with stories—fictional, scientific, and artistic. In 1902, The San Francisco Call had an actual man act out the various faces of the man in the moon.”

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  • Issues

    When The White People In MFA Workshops Seriously Do Not Get It

    “A similar but different criticism occurs when a writer is told that her portrayal of minority characters isn’t different enough. A woman in my program has been told that her stories need to be more ethnic, that readers should be able to smell the food.”

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    A Fight Against Censorship And For The Right To Read Heidegger

    “If canonical philosophers were blacklisted based on their prejudices and political engagements, then there wouldn’t be all that many left in the Western tradition.”

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    Can The Arts Help Revive This Chicago Neighborhood?

    “I don’t think many people see arts and cultural as economic engines, but they are. As the ward has become more vibrant, that has not only energized the residents but attracted new businesses, homeowners.”

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    42,000 People Singing For Freedom In Estonia

    With Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the conflict along its Ukrainian border, Estonia’s Laulupidu festival of traditional song and dance took on even more national import than usual (and that’s a lot.

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  • Media

    Have Computer Special Effects Stolen The Magic From Movies?

    “Special effects, key components of what historically made movies magical, have lost most of their magic because they have become so realistic and commonplace.”

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    Why Crowdfunding Doesn’t Necessarily Create A Successful Movie

    “If everyone who wants to see your movie is part of the pool of people who gave you money online and you were able to raise $1 million or $2 million, that’s a fantastic story. But if those are the only people who are interested in your movie, that’s a big disaster.”

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    Netflix Profits Double

    “The company said revenue from its streaming content service rose nearly 50% to $1.2bn, compared to $837m a year earlier. Netflix said it added 1.69 million users during the period from March to June. The streaming video firm now has 50 million users in over 40 countries.”

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    The Way TV Is Currently Programmed Is Anachronistic (It Soon Won’t Be)

    “The current way TV is packaged, divided into hours and half-hours and series (or as we now call them “seasons”), is a product of the linear channel age. Online delivery opens the way for exploring new forms of TV.”

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    The Surprisingly Savvy Weird Al Internet Machine

    “So as we try to make sense of Mandatory Fun, Al’s fourteenth studio album – and as we round into the fourth decade of his career – it’s becoming clear that his old-school/new-school media business playbook is a little genius. In many corners of the English-language Internet, this week has been Al-saturated, his new music videos and songs unavoidable. How does he do it? Where will it lead? And will this be his media strategy forever?”

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  • Music

    The Stradivarius Investment Company

    “The way we look at this violin, from an investment point of view, is that this is a store of value,” Allain said. “We are big investors in gold. That’s a store of value, to the extent that someone is saying it’s worth something, just as we think bitcoin is worth something. This Stradivarius—it’s a finite supply. It’s musical gold.”

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    Queen Elizabeth Appoints First Woman Master Of The Queen’s Music (It Only Took 388 Years)

    Judith Weir says there is still a sneaking suspicion that the world of classical music is carved up by a few big institutions and a handful of powerful cultural leaders. That really is an establishment; but Weir does not need the role of the master for access to classical music’s top table. The opportunity of the role, she says, “is to avoid all that – and go and meet the other people”.

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    How Classical And Jazz Are Getting Screwed By Streaming

    “Between low royalties, opaque payout rates, declining record sales and suspicion that the major labels have cut deals with the streamers that leave musicians out of the equation, anger from the music business’s artier edges is slow[ly] growing. … The shift to digital is also helping to isolate these already marginalized genres: It has a decisive effect on what listeners can find, and on whether or not an artist can earn a living from his work.”

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    David Zinman Says His Farewell To Zurich’s Tonhalle Orchestra

    “The American conductor David Zinman is a small man, physically – conductors often seem to be – but with a giant profile in the Swiss city of Zurich. People recognize him on the sidewalk. Waiters hover. Strangers wave.”

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    Top Opera Director Says Sydney Opera House’s Problems Are “Extreme”

    David McVicar, in town to rehearse a new staging of Don Giovanni: “I think they thought about the outside before they thought about the inside. The problems of the Joan Sutherland [Opera Theatre] are extreme. It’s a very quirky space, it is inadequate for opera, it just simply is.”

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  • People

    The Man Who Created Bugs Bunny

    “Charles M. Jones (1912-2002) was, in fact, easily one of the greatest comedy directors in the history of motion pictures, indisputably on a par with Preston Sturges, Billy Wilder, Mel Brooks or Woody Allen.”

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    The Decline Of Harper Lee

    Boris Kachka offers a notably sympathetic account of how the 88-year-old author of To Kill a Mockingbird, so feisty – and so beloved by her friends and neighbors – for so many years, came to her enfeebled, embattled, litigious current state.

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    Novelist Thomas Berger, 89

    “The reclusive and bitingly satirical novelist … explored the myths of the American West in Little Big Man and the mores of 20th-century middle-class society in a shelf of other well-received books.”

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    The Man Who Turned Paper Dolls Into An Art Form For Adults Dies At 85

    “Meticulously drawn and colored, and annotated with historical information, Mr. Tierney’s paper-doll books are not just for children — and some are not for children at all. His aim, he often said, was to contribute to the visual literature of costume history.”

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  • Theatre

    So Why Was Julie Crosby Unceremoniously Dumped From the Women’s Project Theatre?

    “The way it was handled has created a situation we fear is damaging to the Women’s Project’s reputation, especially as it typifies the very thing we are committed to fighting — the lack of acknowledgment of the contribution of women to the American theater”

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    True Open-Air Theatre Has Been Rare In Britain – But Now, Bring On The Picnics During ‘Timon Of Athens’

    “‘It’s a different experience, that appeals to people who are not necessary theatergoers,’ said Mr Jackson. ‘We see people just sit and relax into the atmosphere, and feel more included in the whole experience.’”

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    How Theatre Is Finally Making A Borderless Future

    “This conference was what many of us in el movimiento have been waiting for: that moment when the next generation of amazing young artists, scholars, producers, and administrators are not only ready to step it up, but have also been trained through mentorship programs, internships, and good old theater jobs.”

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    Should Playwrights Be Worried About Piracy If They Digitize Their New Plays?

    “Since theater is a live art form, to me there’s nothing about digitization that intrinsically makes piracy easier. Unlike the music and film industries, where digitization (and the attendant problem of piracy) has had a vast and industry shaking effect, I don’t anticipate the same thing for theater. As a friend once said, the worst piracy tool of the century is the photocopier.”

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  • Visual

    Save The Corcoran Group Granted Standing To Oppose Merger In Court

    “Judge Robert Okun ruled that nine members of the advocacy group Save the Corcoran must be admitted as intervening parties in a proceeding launched by the Corcoran last month to revise its 1869 charter” to allow a merger with the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University.

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    The Getty Research Institute Gets Permanent Records Of Ephemeral ‘Happenings’

    “The conundrum of how best to preserve the history of midcentury American performance art — art created before phones had video cameras — lies at the center of the Getty Research Institute’s recently announced acquisition of [photographer] Robert McElroy’s archive.”

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    Have You Heard Of This Amazing New Contemporary Art Space … In Jersey City?

    “The complex occupies almost a million square feet — more than five Walmarts — and growing. It includes studios, galleries, a rehearsal space, a Middle Eastern art center and a museum of Richard Meier’s architectural models.”

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    So, How Much Do Curators Get Paid?

    “Freelance biennial curating is highly visible but relatively new as a paid occupation. Remuneration is shrouded in secrecy: most of the biennials mentioned in this article refused to comment on our findings.”

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    Which Building Will Win Architecture’s Stirling Prize – And Which Building *Should* Win

    “This year’s Stirling prize shortlist sets out to compare what can’t be compared – as if one had to decide what is better between, say, a shirt, a piece of cheese, an app, some nice music or a chair. … The underlying absurdity is part of the fascination.”

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  • Words

    The Great English Novel Is Being Reinvented

    “Fiction isn’t dying – but it is changing. The delivery mechanisms might change but we cannot get on without stories, especially not in an age and time when all the old certainties of God and State and Family and Capital are collapsing around us.”

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    Why Do Writers Have To Sound So Constipated When They Read Their Poetry?

    “Poet Voice,” is the pejorative, informal name given to this soft, airy reading style that many poets use for reasons that are unclear to me. The voice flattens the musicality and tonal drama inherent within the language of the poem, and it also sounds overly stuffy and learned. In this way, Poet Voice does a disservice to the poem, the poet and poetry. It must be stopped.”

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    When Brigham Young Got A Mormon Alphabet

    “In 1853, after [George D.] Watt taught shorthand to Brigham Young, the Mormon leader commissioned the British clerk to create a 38-character ‘Deseret alphabet.’ The phonetic alphabet was meant to simplify the spelling of English words. Watt said … ‘An alphabet should contain just as many letters as there are simple-pure atoms of sound.’”

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    When Crime Writers Mix Historical Fact With Their Fertile Imaginations

    “If a child of mine had just been murdered I would find it hateful if somebody saw that as a means of making money.”

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    OK, World, J.K. Rowling Plans To Produce More Mysteries Than She Did Harry Potter Books

    “One of the things I absolutely love about this genre is that, unlike Harry, where there was an overarching story, a beginning and an end, you’re talking about discrete stories. So while a detective lives, you can keep giving him cases.”

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