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  • Dance

    Venezuela Presents A Hugo Chávez Ballet

    “The state-sponsored work, Ballet of the Spider-Seller to Liberator, is to show at a Caracas theater on Saturday in homage to Chávez’s life from poor boy selling homemade spider-shaped sweets in his rural hometown to president for 14 years.”

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    Do Choreographers Need Editors?

    Judith Mackrell: “In dance, however, there’s no real equivalent, no institutional version of an outside eye to spot a weak narrative, a slack structure or an idea that’s not quite working. … Nor is it even clear who that figure might be. … [Even so,] I think the art form is suffering needlessly from this lack of systematic editorial input.”

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    Ballet Has A Lot Of Rules – Including Precisely How, And To Whom, To Present Flowers Onstage

    “At the Royal Opera House, however, there are flowers delivered onstage at almost every ballet performance, most provided by loyal fans who can spend hundreds of dollars each month to keep their favorite ballerinas supplied with floral tributes.”

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    How Mikhail Baryshnikov Reinvented Himself As An Actor And A Photographer

    “‘This one is my little nod to Picasso,’ he says, showing me a picture of a flamenco dancer in Madrid.”

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  • Ideas

    Inside The Secret Culture Of Our Passwords

    “In our authorship of them, in the fact that we construct them so that we (and only we) will remember them, they take on secret lives. Many of our passwords are suffused with pathos, mischief, sometimes even poetry. Often they have rich back stories.”

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    Artificial Intelligence, Really, Is Pseudo-Intelligence

    “Commentator Alva Noë argues that we don’t need to be alarmed that our machines are rapidly outstripping natural-born human cognitive power: We’ve got a millions-of-years head start.”

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    Happy People Aren’t Always Great At Empathy

    “Recent research … suggests that people who are generally cheerful are not so great at reading other people’s negative emotions, though what’s especially interesting is that they think they’re very good at it.”

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    How Much Can People Really Change After Age 30?

    “‘You’re doomed! What you’ve got now – that’s it,’ is the answer [psychology professor] Brian Little … gave me, and he was only half-joking.” And he was half-joking because that answer is about half-true.

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  • Issues

    NY Subway Performers Being Arrested By Police

    “Although performing on the platform and mezzanine is legal (there is no permit or permission needed), subway performers have experienced an unprecedented amount of harassment from NYPD officers this year.”

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    Legendary London Cabaret Shut Down After Bouncers’ Baseball Bat Attack

    “Madame Jojo’s – home to some of London’s most diverse nightlife for more than half a century” – has had its license revoked by the local council of Westminster. Some activists say that it’s an attempt by the council to gentrify Soho; the council says it’s because of “an organised assault with injury” by the club’s staff.

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    Alex Poots Named To Lead NYC’s New Culture Shed (So What Is Culture Shed?)

    “The center plans to commission, program and present innovative work from around the world, across the arts and the creative industries, including film, fashion, video, performing arts, culinary arts, music and publishing. It is expected to become the new home of Fashion Week and a possible anchor for the Tribeca Film Festival.”

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    A History Of Highbrow Versus Lowbrow

    “The antagonisms between highbrow and lowbrow aren’t new, and have arguably even diminished somewhat in comparison with the Astor Place riot. Highbrow has long sneered at lowbrow, and lowbrow has long sneered right back. What’s different is not the conflict, but the fact that the antagonism occurs in a landscape where highbrow and lowbrow have split into more clearly defined camps.”

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  • Media

    Study: Children Are Watching Half As Much TV As Adults

    “Ofcom’s Children’s Digital Day research shows that children aged 11 to 15 are watching one hour and 32 minutes of live TV per day. Adults watch two hours and 58 minutes per day, the survey revealed.”

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    How Has “Star Wars” Made $37 Billion??

    “The Star Wars universe now comprises a vast array of products, from movies and TV shows to videogames and toys. But it all started with one movie, Star Wars (later Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope), whose modest $11 million budget was less than the average studio comedy at the time.”

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    Bollywood Actresses Are Big Box Office. So Why Aren’t They Getting Paid Like It?

    “Top male stars, such as the three Khans — Salman, Shah Rukh and Aamir — and action star Akshay Kumar, earn around 400 million rupees ($6.7 million) per film on average, apart from a share of the profits, according to industry experts. A-list actresses such as Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif get paid a tenth of that per film.”

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    Why Are Public Figures Suing Video Game Makers?

    “A number of states have passed specific statutes regulating the right of publicity; others just have common law rights (meaning precedent established by case law); some have both; and a handful have neither.”

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    Aereo Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

    The company that streamed broadcast television over the Web “filed for voluntary bankruptcy on Thursday, a move the company says will allow it to ‘maximize the value of its business and assets’ without being dragged down by ongoing [intellectual property] lawsuits in several states.”

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  • Music

    What Data Sets Can Tell Us About The Arts

    “Data may be big and getting bigger, but it’s not exactly thick on the ground in the performing arts. There is no IMDB for string quartets, composers, ballets, or even plays (though in theater there are some who are trying to make one). Where clear data sets exist, there’s a lot we can learn from them, and we should definitely encourage our big institutions to make more of their data transparently available to the public.”

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    Study: Link Between Mental Sharpness And Cultural Activities In Seniors

    “Internet use and engagement in various social activities, in particular cultural activities, appear to help older adults maintain the literary skills required to self-manage health.”

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    Spotify’s Revenue Is Soaring, But It’s Still Losing Millions

    The streaming-music service’s revenue last year was more than $1 billion, up 74% from a year before, but it posted an $80 million net loss. (At least that was 30% smaller than the loss in 2012.)

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    Teetering Ulster Orchestra Gets A Lifeline (A Short One)

    “Belfast City Council has agreed to give £100,000 to the Ulster Orchestra, to help it out of its financial problems. However, the offer is conditional on other funders also contributing to the orchestra’s £500,000 shortfall.”

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    Judge Denies NY City Opera An Extension For Bankruptcy Reorganization

    “The ramped up pressure on City Opera came from Gene Kaufman, an architect and businessman who has been angling to buy the company’s assets, which consist primarily of a $5 million endowment, currently controlled by the State Attorney General. Kaufman argues that the company has been stalling and has failed to “pull the trigger” on a sale proposal.”

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  • People

    Jian Ghomeshi Arrested And Charged With Sexual Assault

    “Former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi will plead not guilty to charges of sexual assault and choking, his lawyer says. Ghomeshi was released on $100,000 bail after he was arrested and appeared in a downtown courtroom Wednesday. The 47-year-old has been charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcome resistance – choking.”

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    David Hockney On What Artists Do

    “When I’m actually painting, I feel like I’m 30 again. It’s only when I stop painting that I realize I’m not anymore.”

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    So Why Did Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Archives Go To Texas?

    “The Ransom Center already has extensive archives on writers Jorge Luis Borges, William Faulkner and James Joyce. Other Nobel laureates included in its collection are Samuel Beckett, T.S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck. Monday’s announcement had raised eyebrows in Colombia.”

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    Janice Price Named CEO Of The Banff Center

    “Luminato has an annual budget of $11 million. The Banff Centre, one of Canada’s largest arts organizations, has an annual budget of over $50 million. That includes major funding from the Alberta government. And Banff is hungry for expansion to enhance its profile way beyond the Rocky Mountains.”

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  • Theatre

    Shakespeare First Folio Discovered In Small-Town French Library

    “The book – one of only 230 believed to still exist – had lain undisturbed in the library at Saint-Omer in the north of France for 200 years.”

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    The Theatre Installation That’s Horrifying All Europe

    South African playwright Brett Bailey’s Exhibit B mimics the “human zoo” exhibits of colonial “natives” seen in Europe in the 19th and early 20th centuries. After four years of touring without much controversy, this year Exhibit B has seen “loud debates and furious demonstrations in Europe about the boundaries between artistic freedom and exploitation, censorship and political incorrectness.”

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    Equity Tries Campaign To Warn Audiences Away From Non-Union Touring Shows

    “The 50,000-member Equity has spent a low five-figure sum on the campaign, chiefly to buy online ads that encourage people to ask ticket sellers and others if productions are Equity tours.”

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    Broadway Box Office Up, But New Musicals Fail To Connect With Audiences So Far

    “Over all, Broadway musicals and plays grossed $26.7 million last week, compared to $23.4 million for the same week last season. Attendance was 262,452 for 36 productions, compared to 233,393 for 32 productions last year.”

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  • Visual

    Giant Public Art Commission Collapses In Charges, Resignation

    “An irregularity in the awarding of one of the most significant local art commissions in years has resulted in the resignation of a Houston Arts Alliance executive and stunned a sculptor who was preparing to create the biggest project of his career.”

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    Chris Ofili’s “Holy Virgin Mary” Doesn’t Seem So Shocking Anymore – Why?

    You may remember that when the Nigerian-British artist’s rendition of the Madonna was exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum in 1999, following uneventful showings in Europe, all hell broke loose (as it were). Now the piece is back in New York, attracting no particular controversy. Alastair Sooke considers what’s changed over the past 15 years.

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    Barnes Foundation Thriving In Philadelphia, Despite Empty Leadership Posts

    “As 2014 winds down, the Barnes has no permanent director. There’s no permanent chief curator. The spotlight is hot and unblinking. So how’s it going after 2½ years?” Rather well, it seems – for several reasons.

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    An Artist Finds Out What It’s Like To Be A Nude Figure Model

    Tanis Taylor: “I’ve been on the other side of the easel for more than 20 years. I know that where I’m standing is hallowed ground. Sacred. A life drawing discipline is non-judgemental; no body fascism here.” Nevertheless, she experiences a mix of British bashfulness and body shame – at first.

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    Marrakech Is About To Get One Of The Biggest Photography Galleries In The World. But…

    “Marrakech is not a city known for the arts. For most local people, photography means one thing: the often intrusive presence of tourists with digital cameras in search of local colour.”

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  • Words

    Rare Shakespeare Folio Discovered In France

    “The book was discovered this fall by librarians at a public library in St.-Omer, near Calais, who were sifting through its collections for an exhibition on English-language literature. The title page and other introductory material were torn off.”

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    How New York’s Iconic Strand Bookstore Survives In The Internet Age

    “Though there are signs of life in the independent-bookseller business — consider the success of McNally-Jackson — few secondhand-book stores are left in Manhattan. Only two survive in midtown, and the necrology is long. Skyline on West 18th Street, New York Bound Bookshop in Rockefeller Center, the Gotham Book Mart on West 47th — closed. Academy Books is now Academy Records & CDs. So, then: Why is there still a Strand Book Store?”

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    “Books Aren’t Just Commodities” – Ursula K. LeGuin’s Speech At The National Book Awards

    “Right now, we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. … Yet I see sales departments given control over editorial. … And I see a lot of us, the producers, who write the books and make the books, accepting this – letting commodity profiteers sell us like deodorant, and tell us what to publish, what to write.”

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    A New National Newspaper Starts Up In UK (And People Are Buying It!)

    “Richard Walker, editor of The National, said the first day’s 60,000 print run was a sell-out, and digital subscribers were joining up on Sunday at the rate of 20 a minute.”

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    A Working Formula For Selling Books In LA

    “We used to sell books,” Cecilia Ng says. “Now we’re more like 7-Eleven for Chinese people.”

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    More Words

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