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  • Dance

    Alexei Ratmansky Goes Forward To The Past For ABT’s New “Sleeping Beauty”

    “This production is not an occasion for him to express his bold originality as is the case with his Nutcracker … Rather, his approach to Sleeping Beauty is to re-create as closely as possible the 1890 choreography by Marius Petipa,” notation for which has survived.

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    Carlos Acosta Says Dance Education Should Be Free

    “[Dance education] should not have a cost or price. … When you put a price on [access], then you divide into two camps those who can and those who cannot. In the camp of those who cannot I bet there is a lot of talent there, a lot of Nureyev … I think we should demand at the highest level that these things should happen. It is a fight to take to the government.”

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    The Great Dissident Soviet Choreographer You’ve Never Heard Of

    “How miraculous that amid all that suffocating tulle, a ballet flame-thrower named Leonid Yakobson emerged. … Dancers hungry for a challenge loved the odd body shapes, sexiness and wit of his choreography. Among his disciples were the young Natalia Makarova and Mikhail Baryshnikov” as well as Maya Plisetskaya. Even Richard Nixon was a fan.

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    New Website Monitors Ballet Dancers’ Pay And Conditions Worldwide

    “Former dancer and ballet teacher Ian Knowles created the site – balletposition.com – which he claims is the first of its type, to compare useful data for dancers looking to join ballet companies in the UK, Western and Eastern Europe and the US.”

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  • Ideas

    Can God Lie? The Scientific Revolution Changed The Answer To That Question

    “‘Can God lie?’ proved an important question for more than 1,000 years because it compelled theologians to consider in the starkest terms the nature of God’s relationship to the world. … These are important questions, but they also proved difficult to answer because the evidence seemed to contradict itself. … Far from being a mere curiosity of the past, concerns about God’s deceptions proved central to the Scientific Revolution and therefore to the modern world.”

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    Artifical Intelligence Conquers The Video Game Arcade (This Is Actually A Big Deal)

    “Whipping humanity’s ass at Fishing Derby may not seem like a particularly noteworthy achievement for artificial intelligence” – think of Deep Blue beating Garry Kasparov at chess and Watson walloping Ken Jennings on Jeopardy! – “but according to Zachary Mason, a novelist and computer scientist, it actually is.”

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    Hard Feelings: Science’s Struggle To Define Emotions

    “The debate over the nature of emotion has been reinvigorated in recent years. While it would be easy to paint the argument as two-sided – pro-universality versus anti-universality, or Ekman’s cronies versus his critics – I found that everyone I spoke to for this article thinks about emotion a little differently.”

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    Early To Bed And Early To Rise Does Not Make You More Moral (Take That, Ben Franklin!)

    “Early birds aren’t ethically superior. And, to the extent that other research suggests that they are, it may just be that they are luckier: modern society, for the most part, is built around their preferences.”

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  • Issues

    How A Radical Idea To Transform Public Spaces Failed In San Diego

    “The concept behind the Lab — a cadre of designers embedded in the mayor’s office, with the power to revive public spaces around the city and launch a broad campaign of civic engagement — was unique in North America, and almost unimaginable in conservative San Diego. It seemed to answer the long-held desire of architects, especially, for designers to play a role in the decision-making that shapes cities.”

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    FCC Approves Strict Net Neutrality Rules, Declares Broadband A Public Utility

    “Following one of the most intense – and bizarre – lobbying battles in the history of modern Washington politics, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed strict new rules that give the body its greatest power over the cable industry since the Internet went mainstream.” Said the FCC chairman, “This is no more a plan to regulate the Internet than the First Amendment is a plan to regulate free speech.”

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    The New Net-Neutrality Policy, In Three Simple Phrases

    “There are three major principles that Internet-service providers – like Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon – have to follow when sending data from their networks to your computer:”

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    Who Should Decide How Students Learn About America’s Past?

    “This school year, the fury is over the new U.S. History Advanced Placement course – in particular, whether its perspective is overly cynical about the country’s past. The controversy raises significant questions about the role of revisionism in education: How should students learn about oppression and exploitation alongside the great achievements of their country? And who decides which events become part of the national narrative as more information comes to light?”

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  • Media

    Hollywood Cheers New Net Neutrality Rules

    “This is clearly a victory for everyone — not just Hollywood, but everyone who uses the Internet,” said Chris Keyser, president of the Writers Guild of America, West. “It is a critical moment in the ongoing fight for free expression and robust competition.”

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    “The Brother From Another Planet”: J. Hoberman on Godard

    “Taken with cinema, but not taken in by it, … [Godard] is also the brother from another planet, at once straightforward and cryptic, an epistemologist of cinema, wondering why the film frame became a square and why lenses are round. … What to make of the Godardian mind? You might say that, as prolific as he is, Godard suffers from the attention-deficit disorder of genius.”

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    BBC Will Have To Give Up Licence Fee, Say Lawmakers

    “The BBC should reduce its output and the television licence fee should eventually be scrapped, a parliamentary committee has said after considering the role of the publicly funded broadcaster in the wake of a string of scandals and industry changes.”

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    Stop The Licence Fee? Shut Down The BBC Trust? Drop A TV Channel? What-All Is In This Committee’s Report, Anyway?

    The Guardian read the 164-page House of Commons culture, media and sport select committee report on the future of the BBC so you don’t have to.”

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    Why British Political Satire On TV Stops Being Satirical When It’s Adapted By Americans

    “Failure is a wellspring of British comedy, but its American counterpart rewards ‘optimism [and] a refusal to see oneself in a bad light’.” Christopher Orr looks at how Game of Thrones changed from savage political parody to dramatic thriller as it crossed the Atlantic, and how The Thick of It morphed into the farce of Veep.

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  • Music

    Memphis Symphony To Lose Music Director Mei-Ann Chen After Next Season

    “Roland Valliere, MSO’s president and CEO, said it was no surprise. … Her decision comes at a time when the orchestra has been struggling financially. The MSO announced in January of last year that it was deep fiscal trouble, and it cut staff and expenses to survive the 2013-14 season. It drastically reduced offerings for this season, and musicians took a 38 percent pay cut.”

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    Opera House Boss Resigns After 53 Days On The Job

    Ye-jin (Regina) Han, a 44-year-old soprano, faced opposition from the day she was appointed general director of the Korean National Opera: local organizations argued that she lacked the experience and qualifications to lead the country’s flagship company. Han’s departure comes two months after the CEO of the Seoul Philharmonic was forced to resign following the open rebellion of her staff.

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    Toronto’s Massey Hall Begins $135M Renovation

    “For all its past glories, the hall has a shopworn feel, with those odd reclining seats and scuffed brass railings. The goal of the expensive facelift, paid for largely by corporate and government cash, is to do some sprucing up without sanding away the antique beauty of the place.”

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    “Amadeus” The Movie At 30 – And Everything It Got Wrong About Mozart And Salieri

    BBC Radio 3 presenter Clemency Burton-Hill reviews the liberties writer Peter Shaffer and director Milos Forman took with the historical record (and the device they used to get away with it) – and nevertheless finds that Amadeus is “arguably the finest movie ever made about the process of artistic creation and the unbridgeable gap between human genius and mediocrity.” (text-only)

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    Where Beethoven Is A Star: Violent Video Games

    “The spirit of Beethoven has come back to life in first-person shooter games. Over-the-top Romanticism, in all its most extravagant manifestations, is now the preferred musical accompaniment to virtual killing.”

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  • People

    The Designer Who Became Apple’s Biggest Asset

    Jonathan Ive “establish[ed] the build and the finish of the iMac, the MacBook, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad. He is now one of the two most powerful people in the world’s most valuable company” – on whom 100,000 employees and a not-insignificant chunk of the stock market depend. Says Steve jobs’s widow, “Jony’s an artist with an artist’s temperament, and he’d be the first to tell you artists aren’t supposed to be responsible for this kind of thing.”

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    Louis Jourdan, 93, Suave French Film Star

    “Lithe, debonair and exceedingly handsome, with a tide of dark, wavy hair, Louis Jourdan became Hollywood’s ideal of Gallic charm and seduction in the late 1940s and 1950s. His peak came in the Oscar-winning musical Gigi (1958), which cemented him in the popular imagination as a debonair playboy.”

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    Henry VIII’s Arguments For Divorcing Catherine Of Aragon Found In Old Mansion

    “A book which helped changed the course of English history, part of the evidence Henry VIII and his lawyers gathered in the 1530s to help win an annulment from Catherine of Aragon and ultimately to break with Rome, has turned up on the shelves of the magnificent library at Lanhydrock, a National Trust mansion in Cornwall.”

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    The Man Who Saved Impressionism

    The story of Paul Durand-Ruel, who repeatedly risked bankruptcy to support Monet, Degas, Manet, Pissarro, and their fellows – and created a market for their work, especially in the United States.

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  • Theatre

    How Women Playwrights Are Marginalized

    “Of course the heightened visibility of plays written by women is welcome. But all over the country, even at venues which are attempting to make female playwrights’ voices heard, there is often a gendering of theatre spaces when it comes to writers and directors.”

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    Tonya Pinkins Remembers “Jelly’s Last Jam,” The Show That Won Her Her First Tony

    Jelly’s Last Jam was the first musical written and directed by an African American that was not simply a toe-tapping entertainment with happy, singing people of color. … [It] was akin to a Brancusi sculpture of 50 years in the life of an arrogant, racist, braggadocio genius.”

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    Unknown Harold Pinter Script To Premiere, 33 Years After It Was Written

    “The work, discarded by Pinter when plans to make it into a film fell through, has been adapted for radio by the film and stage director Sir Richard Eyre.”

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    Thai Actors Jailed For Insulting Monarchy With Student Play

    “Student Patiwat Saraiyaem, 23, and activist Porntip Mankong, 26, had pleaded guilty to defamation” under Thailand’s lèse-majesté law, the world’s strictest, “following their arrests last August, nearly a year after The Wolf Bride – a satire set in a fictional kingdom – was performed.”

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  • Visual

    Stedelijk Museum Makes A Startling Public Admission

    “The Stedelijk Museum in the Second World War” recounts the daring ways in which the museum’s employees fought Nazi censors after Germany conquered the Netherlands in May 1940. But the show also features 16 works in the permanent collection by artists including Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky and Henri Matisse that the museum says it might not rightfully own.

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    ISIS Destroys Ancient Statues At Mosul Museum – Or So They Think

    Just days after the extremists burned the rare books in Mosul’s library, they went rampaging through the city museum’s collection of Akkadian and Assyrian statues, smashing the works with sledgehammers and drills. It seems, though, that many of the destroyed pieces weren’t originals. (includes video)

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    Stolen Picasso Found In FedEx Shipment At EWR

    “A Picasso painting missing from Paris for more than a decade resurfaced in the United States, where it had been shipped under false pretenses as a $37 holiday-themed ‘art craft.'”

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    Getty Museum’s Top Curator To Retire After 35 Years

    Thomas Kren, the associate director for collections (not to be confused with Thomas Krens, the controversial longtime director of the Guggenheim), will depart in October. He’ll be replaced by Richard Rand, senior curator of paintings and sculpture at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass.”

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    Westminster Abbey To Add First New Tower In 270 Years

    The addition “will create public access to a museum of treasures and curiosities housed in the triforium, the church’s attic gallery. At present, the public can get only a distant glimpse of the spectacular and shadowy space through the stone arches 70ft up at the top of the walls above the high altar.”

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  • Words

    The Immortality Of The Written Word (Yeah, All That Is Changing…)

    “In making the transition from an age of scarcity to an age of glut, the nature of fame itself undergoes a change. One sign of the difference is that it would be hard to find a poet, in the 21st century, who openly claims to write for glory, fame, or immortality. Yet the idea that great poetry was the surest way to achieve fame and outwit death has been very long-lived.”

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    Writing On The Web, A Deeply Cynical Take

    “Remember that first question: What is web writing in 2015? Is it still based on the author model? If you enjoy watching a writer’s mind work over time (or you enjoy having that freedom as a writer), is there still a way to do that? Or is the writer’s-voice-driven Internet over, forever, everything’s atomistic now and it’s no longer possible to scrape an audience together that way even if you want to?”

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    How A Book Club Is Helping To Keep Ex-Offenders From Going Back To Jail

    “They were all teenagers then, charged as adults for their violent crimes. At the D.C. jail, they found solace in a book club, reading memoirs and reciting poems they had written. Over the past year, they finally came home. They see themselves as reformed men who did dumb things as kids but who know that others may have trouble forgiving.”

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    “The Little Prince” Goes Out Of Copyright, And Turkish Publishers Go Nuts

    “In the first two weeks of January, more than thirty Turkish publishers released translations of the 1943 novella. … In a newspaper books supplement the other week, almost half the adverts were for The Little Prince. One publisher put out a mandarine-flavoured edition. Another released three different versions, to show the differences in translation trends. There is a 3D pop-up edition.”

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    “Obscene” Poet Wins £40,000 David Cohen Prize For Literature

    “[Tony] Harrison, 77, wrote his first poems 70 years ago, and has since written a number of films and plays. V., which describes the offensive language graffitied on Harrison’s parents’ grave, contains 25 uses of the word ‘f***’ and 17 uses of the word ‘c***’.”

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