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  • Dance

    “I Always Say Bill Is Balanchine On Steroids”: Dancer Thomas McManus On William Forsythe

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    “We’d take his moves and deconstruct them for six hours a day … Bill’s methods were so codified he could use them on stage as improvisations. We would be real-time choreographing, making decisions about timing and phrasing and spacing. There was a lot to be aware of.”

    Ballet San Jose Warns It Might Have To Shut Down

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    “Ballet officials quietly began a fundraising drive in January and have thus far tallied half a million dollars. Now they must match that figure to keep the company afloat. Company officials also estimate they will need to have raised $3.5 million by October to be able to fully reinvent the company’s business model and ensure […]

    The San Jose Ballet Problem

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    “You might think of Silicon Valley as awash in youthful exuberance and money, enough to keep a medium-size ballet company afloat. Indeed, the challenge of getting young techies excited about works by Twyla Tharp, Jerome Robbins and George Balanchine was what lured Jose Manuel Carreno, 46, to San Jose.”

    David Hallberg Pulls Out Of ABT Spring Season

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    “David Hallberg, the American Ballet Theater principal dancer, is injured and will not perform during the company’s Metropolitan Opera House season … Mr. Hallberg, who is also a principal dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet, had foot surgery last fall.”

    Controversy Over Twerking Exposes Dance Hierarchy

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    The whole conversation around twerking unwittingly exposed a dance-world hierarchy, whereby some styles are ignored while others are bestowed with the status of art. “[That debate] raised a question about why some dances become very well-funded, and other dances just remain in the dark.”

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  • Ideas

    Technology Is Changing Our Lives. How We Control That Technology Is Getting To Be A Bigger Issue

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    “Just as the change from hand work to mass production dramatically changed our society over 100 years ago, the digital revolution isn’t just altering specific sectors of the economy, it is changing the way we think and live. This time, though, the transformation is different. This time, it is being driven by just a few hundred people.”

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    Common Experience, Different Impact: Why Are People Affected Differently By Trauma?

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    “A strange fact of human nature is that two people can experience exactly the same seemingly traumatic event and respond completely differently. One might face years of struggles as a result of suffering from the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological fallout, while the other, after an initial period of being shaken up, bounces back completely.”

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    Will Virtual Reality Help Heal People?

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    “For years, virtual reality has made inroads in helping to treat serious phobias, post-traumatic stress, and burn victims’ pain. Now, as the price of VR tech plummets, this therapeutic tech is advancing—and could soon become available to many more people who need it.”

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    Prediction: A New Industrial Revolution Will Transform Our Culture

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    “White-collar service industries are currently witnessing a huge increase in automation. Artificial intelligence, analytics and voice-recognition technologies are taking over more and more tasks employees used to do. Retailing is another example: we’re moving from physical to virtual retailing. Even lawyers, accountants or radiologists are afraid of the prospect of losing their job to a machine or algorithm.”

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  • Issues

    Six Questions About The Future Of American Culture

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    Scott Timberg, author of the recent book Culture Crash and of the ArtsJournal blog of the same title, lays out the half-dozen issues he’s left wondering about after writing the book and traveling to country to promote it.

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    What’s In A Name? LA Wrestles With Selling Naming Rights To Its Major Cultural Buildings

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    “Several Los Angeles arts organizations are in fundraising mode now, or expect to be, including the Music Center, which is L.A.’s performing arts equivalent of Lincoln Center.”

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    Travels With My Censor: An American Author’s Book Tour Through China

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    “Recently, there have been a number of articles in the foreign press about Chinese censorship, with the tone highly critical of American authors who accept changes to their manuscripts in order to publish in mainland China. The articles tend to take a narrowly Western perspective: they rarely examine how such books are read by Chinese, and editors like Zhang are portrayed crudely, as Communist Party hacks. This was one reason I went on the tour – I figured that the best way to understand censorship is to spend a week with your censor.”

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    The Double-Edged Sword Of Nostalgia

    Broadway Box Office

    “I try to support what few record and book stores survive, and I still mourn the closing of Driggs Pizza in Williamsburg, where on our first date, my wife and I shared a few of the most exquisite pesto-enhanced grandma slices Brooklyn ever conceived. But I also like living in a city that moves to the beat of what Joseph Schumpeter referred to as “creative destruction,” one that innovates, evolves and experiences cultural ebbs and flows.”

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  • Media

    “An Otherworldly Experience Not Quite Like Anything Else In The History Of Cinema”: The Maysles Brothers’ Masterpiece, “Grey Gardens”

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    Andrew O’Hehir: “The world it captures, with its mother-daughter pair of aristocratic castoffs and their crumbling, weed-choked East Hampton mansion infested with cats and raccoons, is now so utterly vanished as to seem fantastic, an allegorical dream concocted by Scott Fitzgerald and Flannery O’Connor more than real people who existed within living memory.”

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    “Fifty Shades Of Grey” Blocked In India By Censors

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    “The theme of the movie is such that it could not be cleared in the first viewing. In the second step, a wider committee will review the film.”

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    Documentary On Delhi Gang Rape Banned In India Following Media Outrage

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    “An Indian court blocked the broadcast of a documentary about a 2012 gang rape and murder that sparked national outrage and tarnished the country’s reputation, saying an interview in the film with one of the perpetrators could ’cause huge public outcry’.” (The BBC went ahead with a UK broadcast.)

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    Report: Women And Minority Writers Losing Ground In Hollywood

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    “In a new report, the guild said women writers’ share of TV staff jobs was 29% in the most recent season, down from 30.5% in the previous season. Meanwhile, minorities accounted for 13.7% of employment, compared with 15.6% during the 2011-12 season.”

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    A-List Stars Used To Sell Movies. Now, Not So Much

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    “The shelf-lives of A-listers are just much shorter. Basically, you find a lot more actors having that spark of an A-list spark. The ability to structure a career almost as completely and militantly as someone like Tom Cruise” — who conquered Hollywood hit by hit — “is very tough.”

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  • Music

    Are These The Ten Best Concert Halls In The World?

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    What, no Disney?

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    The Most Shocking Thing About MoMA’s Bjork Show? The Music

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    “I can’t remember the last time I saw an excerpt of actual music—with ledger lines, key signatures, rests and notes—in a mainstream book about classical music, or in a program note at a symphonic concert or almost any other context where classical musicians actually make music. This has all been banished. The visual presence of music—except rarely as a fuzzy decorative background over which something else has been printed—is seen as off- putting, even terrifying to newcomers.”

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    Oklahoma City Philharmonic’s Founding Music Director To Step Down

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    “Tracing its roots to the city’s first professional orchestra created in 1924, the Oklahoma City Philharmonic was formed in 1988 under the musical direction of Joel Levine and with the strategic vision and guidance of many civic and corporate leaders, committed to its future.”

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    Women Composers: Genius Is Gender-Blind – And So Should We Be

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    Sara Mohr-Pietsch of BBC Radio 3: “Someone asked me the other day if the reason there are fewer women composers represented at the highest level was that male composers were simply better. My response was unrepeatably rude. Frankly, it’s too ludicrous a question to validate with a polite answer. My litmus test for those kinds of comments is this: replace ‘female’ with ‘black’, and ‘male’ with ‘white’. Now put the question to me again, and see how comfortable you feel asking it.”

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    How Brass Bands Have Shaped The Culture Of New Orleans

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    “Musically, these bands helped shape and were in turn influenced by jazz’s development through the early decades of the 20th century. Brass-band tradition has evolved in the decades since to embrace other styles, such as funk, R&B and hip-hop, irritating purists while enticing new fans. Still, the form’s communal function has never waned.”

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  • People

    Albert Maysles, 88, Dean Of Documentary Filmmakers

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    Often working with his late brother David, Maysles was known for such popular and influential nonfiction films as Gimme Shelter, Grey Gardens, Salesman, When We Were Kings, studies of Vladimir Horowitz and Mstislav Rostropovich (the latter on his return to Russia), and five films about the work of artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude.

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    Winner Of Germany’s Eurovision Song Competition Declines To Compete

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    Andreas Kuemmert, whose voice had wowed national audiences, told German television viewers that “I’m overwhelmed by your affection” before adding: “I’m not really in the right state to accept this.” Instead, he handed the title to 24-year-old runner-up Ann Sophie, who tearfully accepted.

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    Harper Lee Gives Direct Response To Journalist: “Go Away!”

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    “It appears that Nelle, as her friends call her, is very much with it, that she is still lucid and that her acerbic, press-averse side is fully intact.”

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    Neil Patrick Harris On The Difficulty Of Hosting The Oscars

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    “It’s so difficult for one who’s simply watching the show to realize just how much time and concession and compromise and explanation has gone into almost every single thing. Every joke. Wording of joke. Placement of joke. Canceling of joke. Embellishment for just one line.”

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  • Theatre

    Performers And The Art Of “Physical Leakage”

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    “We all carry a physical signature in our bodies. When we’re under any kind of stress, our bodies behave in their usual habits – it’s called “physical leakage”. Your real personality starts to come out. Often, actors and dancers aren’t aware of what those habits are. Having someone who can look at them, and suggest ways of avoiding them, helps them to find a proper physicality for the character they’re playing.”

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    Inside The Theatre – Immersive Experience Taking Hold Of Audiences

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    “Immersive theater takes place without a stage of any kind, in deserted industrial spaces, nightclubs, hospitals, hotels and more. It invites audience members to explore the action at their own pace by following performers around. Guests can roam the site at will, experiencing it as an interactive art installation.”

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    Theatre Folk – Performers And Audiences – Should Stop Being So Uptight About Viewers Making Noise Or Moving Around

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    Maddy Costa: “For an art form so dedicated to thinking about human behaviour and interactions, theatre is remarkably bad at allowing its audiences to be human beings once they take their seats.”

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    Can Theatre Really Work As Treatment For Mental Illness?

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    “Theatre provides a rare stimulus for psychotic, schizophrenic and depressed patients, giving them an opportunity to communicate and interact constructively with others.” Beth McLoughlin looks at a program in Rio de Janeiro that’s giving it a serious try.

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    UK Finally Overhauls Child Labor Laws For Performers

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    “A 10-year campaign to overhaul child licensing and performance regulations is celebrating success after the introduction of a new act marked the biggest change in legislation in more than 40 years.”

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  • Visual

    Why Graphic Design Gets No Respect?

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    “Graphic design has always been the poor relation to its more lordly cousins… But graphic designers? If they’re lucky, they can pay through the nose for the chance to win a novelty yellow pencil.”

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    ISIS Takes Bulldozers To Destroy Ancient Site At Nimrud

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    “Many of the massive Nimrud statues remain buried at the site. But the ISIS video from the Mosul Museum clearly shows at least one statue from Nimrud being defaced. And the site has many areas that archaeologists have not yet explored.”

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    MoMA’s Björk Show Is A “Disaster”, Says Jerry Saltz

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    “I wanted to be surprised and proven wrong about the Björk show. Alas, I haven’t been. … It’s a discombobulated mess.”

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    “Little Short Of Hostile”: Roberta Smith On MoMA’s Björk Show

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    “She probably should have trusted her first response – No thanks – when the Museum of Modern Art came calling … not because her work isn’t museum-worthy but because, as proved here, the Modern is not up to the task..” What’s more, “given the number of Björk fans it will probably attract, the show’s future as a logistical nightmare seems clear.”

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    The Reds In Van Gogh’s Paintings Are Turning White (And Now We Know Why)

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    “Van Gogh loved the vibrant lead pigment colors, and the red in “Wheat Stack” turned out to contain a rare mineral lead called plumbonacrite that through light exposure was gradually coated in carbonates that were causing the discoloration. Or, in less science speak, the paint particles are now like if you had a gobstopper with the red core inside and a light blue layer and then gray layer on the outside of the particle mass.”

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  • Words

    Why That “Things I Can Say About MFAs” Essay Struck Such A Nerve With Writers

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    Laura Miller: “Not much of ‘Things I Can Say‘ offers a fresh take on the endless MFA debate. More at issue is the swashbuckling, bridge-burning and sometimes contemptuous tone Boudinot adopts and the implication that, as a one-time MFA instructor, he is speaking the secret thoughts of every creative writing teacher to whom a student has entrusted her fledgling work.”

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    Kazuo Ishiguro Thinks His Fantasy Novel Is Not A Fantasy Novel – Does That Matter?

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    “Another day, another argument about whether a book about dragons is fantasy or not. … Well, if it walks like an orc, quacks like an orc, and generally behaves like an orc, it’s fantasy, right? The author isn’t so sure. … It is an argument that resurfaces every time an author with ‘literary chops dips a toe into the waters of SFF.”

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    The 1906 Novel That Imagined New York In 2015

    1906 Novel That Imagined Present-Day New York

    “Set ninety years after the cataclysmic Terror of 1925, Sutphen’s book imagines that the world of 2015 has devolved into three tribes: the Painted People, the House People, and the marauding Doomsmen. Keeps, drawbridges, archery, and Sirs and Ladies have grown back as thickly as vines over the ruins of American civilization. At the center of it all is the city of Doom, ‘gigantic, threatening, omnipotent,’ and ruled by the post-apocalyptic godfather Dom Gillian.”

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    Wordnesia: When You Forget How To Spell Or Pronounce The Simplest Of Werds

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    In the 1996 movie Black Sheep David Spade, “glances at a fold-up map and realizes he somehow has become unfamiliar with the name for paved driving surfaces. ‘Robes? Rouges? Rudes?‘ Nothing seems right. … ‘Rowds. Row-ads.‘ … Row-ad-type word wig outs similar to the one portrayed in that movie are things that actually happen, in real life, to people with full and total control over their mental capacities.”

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    Biggest Selling Book Last Week? Workers Of The World Unite!

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    “More than 1,700 bargain copies of The Communist Manifesto have sold in the last week, in the form of an 80p edition of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’s call to the working classes to revolt.”

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