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  • Dance

    Pittsburgh’s New Burst Of Dance Activity

    Pittsburgh is helping to pen a new chapter to this “A Chorus Line”-esque experience that’s colored many dancers’ early careers. Rather than fleeing here after school for the likes of Manhattan or Los Angeles to find a gig, lots of aspiring artists are choosing to stay and start their own dance groups or collaborate with some of Pittsburgh’s already established ones.

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    One Last Convo With American Ballet Theatre’s Three Retiring Stars

    “Each recognizes that it’s time. But that doesn’t make it easy. As Ms. Reyes pointed out, ‘It’s a heartbreak, don’t get me wrong.'”

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    The English National Ballet Prepares To Move To Its New Home In East London

    “The aim is to ‘create a new space that allows us to produce and rehearse amazing work,’ said the ENB’s artistic director, Tamara Rojo, adding that the facilities could also be used by other organisations. She said: ‘I want the space to echo to the sound of creative Britain.'”

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    So You Think Dance Emigrated Out Of The Old Soviet Union? Here Are The Treasures That Stayed

    “For the past decade or so, the Russians have been rehabilitating works from the Stalinist era that brilliantly debunk the notion that Soviet ballet slept out the 20th century. And Yakobson is the ideal figure on whom to focus a corrected and expanded ballet history.”

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  • Ideas

    Is Fear Of Death Behind All Of Our Accomplishments?

    “The terror of death has guided the development of art, religion, language, economics, and science. It raised the pyramids in Egypt and razed the Twin Towers in Manhattan. It contributes to conflicts around the globe. At a more personal level, recognition of our mortality leads us to love fancy cars, tan ourselves to an unhealthy crisp, max out our credit cards, drive like lunatics, itch for a fight with a perceived enemy, and crave fame, however ephemeral, even if we have to drink yak urine on Survivor to get it.”

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    What This Professor Has Learned From Five Years Of Arts And Culture Blogging

    “When I started, I had absolutely no idea that I was capable of writing so much or so often. Blogging has been a huge surprise for me: It has been a life-transforming experience and a door-opener.”

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    What Robert DeNiro Told Graduating Arts Students At NYU

    “You made it … and you’re fucked.”

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    Using OpenTable To Book And Pay For Your Meals Out Means An End To Anonymity

    “Restaurants have always doled out preferential treatment to the ‘best’ customers — but now, they’ll be able to brand them with a specific dollar sign the second they walk in the door.”

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  • Issues

    Ranked: America’s Most “Inspirational” Cities For Artists?

    “The educational website WorldWideLearn recently culled data from the American Community Survey and the Local Arts Index to rank the 15 most creatively inspiring cities in the United States for aspiring young artists and art students. “

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    USC Dean Refuses To Accept MFA Class’s Withdrawal From Program

    “Most notably, the Dean refused to acknowledge that the students were even dropping out, saying “we have not recorded your withdrawal. Instead, we have granted each of you a two-year leave of absence.” Given the clear sense of betrayal felt by the USC7, it seems unlikely that they would choose to return to the program.”

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    How To Reinvent A Big Performing Arts Center (With An Interim Director, No Less)

    Toronto’s Sony Centre “has been buzzing this season with many events and lots of community engagement. In 2014, the centre presented 23 events plus 59 rentals by other presenters; that grew to 36 Sony events and 74 rentals in 2015 plus many corporate events.”

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    This Is Why Palmyra Is Important To World History

    “It would be folly to believe that the survival of archaeological reports and photographs could in any way compensate for the destruction or looting of the ancient remains. The preservation of buildings and objects that managed to survive for two thousand years of Palmyra’s history has to be a priority wherever civilization is cherished.”

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  • Media

    Can The ACLU Prove Hollywood Discriminates In Hiring Women? (Doubtful)

    “Attacks on industry-wide practices are harder than on a single, outlier company, since an outlier exists against a backdrop that shows its possible to do better. In industry-wide cases, it becomes more challenging to prove that there is an adequate supply of qualified and interested candidates to begin with.”

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    Memorial Day Weekend Movie Box Office Worst Since 2001

    “This year, the industry’s estimated take between Friday and Monday in the U.S. and Canada was $190 million, according to Rentrak. That is the lowest since 2001—particularly bad when considering that average ticket prices have risen 44% over that time, according to the National Association of Theatre Owners.”

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    How YouTube Is Redefining Celebrity

    “In its 10-years of existence, YouTube has evolved from a playground for kitty videos to a $20 billion visual menagerie. Along the way, it’s also become an incubator for a new type of celebrity — a digital Brat Pack that’s leveraging smartphone stardom to write books, drop albums, design products and break into Hollywood.”

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    ACF: (After Comcast) Time-Warner To Be Bought By Charter Communications?

    “Charter plans to announce on Tuesday a $55 billion deal for its larger rival and an approximately $10 billion takeover of a smaller competitor, Bright House Networks, people with direct knowledge of the matter said on Monday.”

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    Here’s How Hollywood Keeps Women From Powerful Jobs

    “Women are not tapped for power jobs in Hollywood. Their numbers trail far behind the percentage of females in executive positions in other heavily male-dominated endeavors, including the military, tech, finance, government, science and engineering. In 2013, 1.9 percent of the directors of Hollywood’s 100 top-grossing films were female, according to a study conducted by USC researcher Stacy L. Smith. In 2011, women held 7.1 percent of U.S. military general and admiral posts, 20 percent of U.S. Senate seats and more than 20 percent of leadership roles at Twitter and Facebook — and both companies now face gender-discrimination lawsuits.”

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  • Music

    More On The “Radical” New Barenboim Piano Design

    “Designed by the Belgian instrument maker Chris Maene, the Barenboim has straight parallel strings instead of the diagonal-crossed ones of a contemporary piano. The wooden soundboard veins go in different directions. The bridges, ribs and bracings are specially-designed and the hammers and strings (yellow brass rather than red brass) have been repositioned.”

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    Choice Of New Director For The Proms Is A Surprise

    David Pickard is “bound to face challenges. The BBC licence fee is due for a rethink next year; any changes to the funding model can scarcely not affect the Proms. At Glyndebourne, he presided over an institution that receives public funding only for educationwork and touring – the opera festival relies entirely on private money. He will now need to apply the diplomatic skills honed dealing with sponsors, donors and patrons to fighting the Proms’ corner in the boardrooms of the BBC.”

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    Why There Are So Few Women Rock Critics

    “The problem for women is that our role in popular music was codified long ago. And it was codified, in part, by the early music press. In the effort to prove the burgeoning rock scene of the sixties a worthy subject of critical inquiry, rock needed to be established as both serious and authentic. One result of these arguments—the Rolling Stones vs. Muddy Waters, Motown vs. Stax, Bob Dylan vs. the world—was that women came out on the losing side, as frivolous and phony.”

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    How To Fix Opera In New York (Ask The Germans)

    “New York is great. Opera is great. They deserve each other. So what can we do to get them together? Who can show us how it’s done? We need to ask the Germans, as a recent opera-intensive visit to their country confirmed.”

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    Daniel Barenboim Designs A New Piano (With “Improvements”)

    Barenboim was inspired to experiment with the design after playing Franz Liszt’s restored grand piano during a trip to Siena, Italy in September 2011. “The warmth and tonal characteristics of the traditional straight-strung instruments is so different from the homogenous tone produced by the modern piano across its entire range,” he said.

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  • People

    Photographer Mary Ellen Mark, 75

    “Her portraits of celebrities, street people, and prom-goers are familiar to many Americans who saw her work in Life, National Geographic, Vogue, the New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, or one of her 18 published photo collections.”

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    Playwright Sam Shepard Arrested In New Mexico

    “Shepard was arrested on a charge of aggravated driving while intoxicated outside La Choza restaurant in downtown. The restaurant’s security called police about 7:45 p.m. Monday concerned about an intoxicated driver, Dobyns said. The man was trying to leave in the pickup, but the vehicle’s emergency brake was engaged.”

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    Pianist James Rhodes Talks About His Controversial Memoir And The Courts Who Ruled On What He Could Write

    He says the hardest thing about the court case – apart from one preposterous moment in the trial when his behaviour was likened to that of a man who had knowingly infected his wife with HIV – was the 19th-century tort it was brought under, “intentional harm”.

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    Philip Roth Said He Was Retiring. But He Hasn’t. Is This His Failure?

    “No, Roth’s announcement that he would leave the literary stage, followed by his conspicuous failure to do so in favor of a series of curtain calls, is about us—Roth’s audience, a community of readers. We’re the ones endlessly fascinated by Roth’s penchant to pontificate about himself in public.”

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  • Theatre

    Numbers Are In: Broadway Had A Great Year At The Box Office

    “The Broadway League said Tuesday that box offices reported a record total gross of $1.36 billion — up from $1.27 billion from the previous season. The trade association for theater owners, operators and producers said attendance was up 7.3 percent to 13.1 million.”

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    Ahhhh. So Macbeth Had PTSD?

    “We know from soldiers today coming back from Iraq or Afghanistan that they have these hallucinations,” Michael Fassbender said. “You could be walking down the Croisette here and then it’s Basra. All of a sudden it’s Basra”.

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    Australia’s Backward Progress In Indigenous Theatre

    “The use of on-stage tropes to represent colonial oppression has been written about extensively by many scholars in my field of Theatre Studies. The over-arching theme is that non-Indigenous playwrights appear consumed by the desire to exhume, revise, critique or, perhaps, correct a national narrative in which colonial violence, massacre and dispossession has remained concealed in official accounts of history.”

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    Dealing With Bad Reviews

    “The poison of a bad review is not the public shame, although that doesn’t feel great. And it’s not the fact that an expert believes you may be an untalented writer or a horrible mother or a sub-standard teacher. It’s that a bad review can confirm your worst suspicions about yourself.”

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  • Visual

    Zaha Hadid’s Library Design For Oxford Shocks Planners

    “Hadid’s building is the most radically designed modern college building in Oxford since the love-it-or-hate-it cliff face of James Stirling’s Florey building at Queen’s College. This is undoubtedly Hadid’s most intriguing small building, one that she originally described as “a soft bridge”.”

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    London’s National Gallery Suggests Priceless Paintings Might Belong To Ireland

    “The 39 paintings, including some of the most celebrated works of the French artists Renoir, Monet and Manet, were left to the gallery by the art collector Sir Hugh Lane, who was killed on the Lusitania when it was hit by a German torpedo 100 years ago this month. In a codicil to his will, Lane made it clear that he wanted the paintings to go to Dublin, but because the amendment was unwitnessed the collection stayed in London.”

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    Sexism In The Art World: Here Are The Numbers

    “The more closely one examines art-world statistics, the more glaringly obvious it becomes that, despite decades of postcolonial, feminist, anti-racist, and queer activism and theorizing, the majority continues to be defined as white, Euro-American, heterosexual, privileged, and, above all, male. Sexism is still so insidiously woven into the institutional fabric, language, and logic of the mainstream art world that it often goes undetected.”

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    Feminism In Art – We Were Making Progress And Then…

    “We are now once again hard put to find at the big institutions feminist shows or exhibitions of works addressing gender, sexual, and other interrelated social inequities.”

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    Listing And Ranking Women Artists Doesn’t Help The Cause Of Women Artists

    “Where notions of gender and success are concerned, the list, by virtue of its very format, embodies the crux of the problem: a litany of names and capsule bios, peppered with personal anecdotes and external endorsements, in lieu of analysis of enduring inequities and systemic biases.”

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  • Words

    Librarian: Here’s Why Libraries Will Outlive The Internet

    “Our commercial partners in the information delivery space do wonderful things and we couldn’t live our lives without them. But the time frame we think on, centuries back and centuries into the future, allows us to think about trust in its highest sense, and authentication and provenance of information, and digital information in particular. Those are hard-won privileges and values and they’re worth defending.”

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    Boom Times For Independent Bookstores?

    “Core membership of the American Booksellers Association grew from 1,664 companies last spring to 1,712 this year, the trade group told The Associated Press on Tuesday, the day before the BookExpo America publishing convention and trade show begins in Manhattan. The association also benefited from the recent trend of sellers opening new branches, with ABA members now in 2,227 locations compared with 2,094 in 2014 and 1,651 in 2009.”

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    Poetry As Essential Medicine

    “Indeed, he used his writing to keep himself alive, to soothe himself when spinning out of control, and even to fuel his psychosis when he drifted into madness. Most of all, however, poetry kept him connected to others.”

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    Raymond Carver’s Work Finally Makes The Leap To Ebooks

    “Vintage, a paperback imprint under Penguin Random House, has a catalog of almost 6,000 backlisted books. Nearly 4,900 of those have been converted into e-books. The publisher held off on publishing digital editions of Mr. Carver’s books because early e-book technology often mangled lines of poetry, mashing it into undifferentiated blocks of text.”

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    Mary Renault And The Drug-Fueled Sensuality Of The Ancient World

    “Cutting-edge science now tells us ancient warriors would indeed consume vast vats of liquid opiates and a ferocious honey-mead, retsina and wine cocktail. There was cannibalism. Girls and boys did oil one another with rose and saffron-scented olive oil. Renault heard and smelt the ancient world many millennia after it had died and decades before it was resurrected by contemporary technology.”

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