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  • Dance

    A Dance Critic Takes On ‘So You Think You Can Dance’

    dance critic

    “While I may be impressed by the calibre of these performances, being ‘impressed’ has little to do with what I expect or want from dance. Imagine if critical engagement with literature centred on its ability to impress, rather than its ability to provoke thought and feeling, to trouble and inspire, to mitigate the disjuncture between […]

    You Should Know The Work Of These 12 Choreographers


    “From the early days of the Great White Way to the greatest hits of the past ten years, here are 12 legendary choreographers who have (literally) given shape to Broadway as we know it.”

    A Major New Dance School Rises In Los Angeles


    The Kaufman school, which started classes this week, is unusual in embedding a conservatory-style bachelor of fine arts program within a private research university of some academic rigor. It’s also distinctive in curricular focus; its motto — “the New Movement” — connotes revolution, and Jody Gates speaks of “reimagining dance education for the 21st century.”

    Sylvie Guillem On Nureyev And Being ‘Mademoiselle Non’

    sylvie guillem

    “I trusted my instincts. It is a very short career [and] I didn’t have time to cope with the management of the company.”

    Twyla Tharp Rehearses Her 50th Anniversary Tour: Day Eight


    “But today the ones in this room are tired. This is no surprise as last week was a hard one finishing the entire show, which is nearly 90 minutes of dancing. I always push the first week of a rehearsal period so that we can all see what we actually have.”

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  • Ideas

    Small Villages In Turkey Use Whistles To Talk From Town To Town – And That Changes Their Brains

    Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 07.34.56

    “Researchers in Current Biology discovered an interesting effect whistled Turkish has on the brain: since it’s composed of auditory features like frequency, pitch, and melody, it lights up the whistler’s right brain in addition to their left brain.”

    The Science Behind Why Some People Are Selfish


    “What is interesting, then, is that when you show calculating people what they expect — that you are ready to exploit their vulnerabilities for self-gain — there is no sign of surprise. When you respond to their selfish behavior with kindness, their brains immediately start planning how to best take advantage of you. They are, in fact, selfish jerks.”

    Time To Abolish The Idea That Social Interaction Is A “Science”?


    “Social science was — it is best to speak in the past tense — a mistake. The dream of a comprehensive science of society, which would elucidate “laws of history” or “social laws” comparable to the physical determinants or “laws” of nature, was one of the great delusions of the 19th century.”

    Dangerous Satire? Americans Know Nothing Of Dangerous Satire


    “America simply never had a Werner Finck, and we certainly don’t have a Bassem Youssef, even though we’d like to think we do. It is far safer and easier to canonize Chaplin’s ballet performance [in The Great Dictator] while forgetting the unsafe, uneasy provocations of Finck [and Youssef]. Americans tolerate bullshit even when we know – we know – it’s bullshit. At the best of times, there is something luxurious about this.”

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  • Issues

    Inside The Persistent Boys’ Club Of Animation


    “Animation professionals interviewed for this article knew the conventional wisdom: ‘Boys’ shows are general audience and girls’ shows are niche.'”

    Measuring The Creative Economy: Can We Measure How The Artists Are Doing?


    “Interestingly, in all the responses to the article, no one so far has been able to suggest a data source that suggests that mean or median incomes for musicians have declined since 1999, adjusted for inflation. Everything that I have uncovered in many months of researching this article suggests that the story of music since 1999 is one of steady but small growth for musicians. Not some glorious renaissance, but certainly not a crisis.”

    Is “Teach For America” An Idea Whose Time Has Passed?


    “As TFA’s applicant pool shrinks and recruitment dips, its critics are claiming that alumni horror stories and ideological critiques of the organization are finally starting to take their toll. TFA, on the other hand, maintains that ongoing economic recovery is impacting their recruitment by driving top-tier applicants away from teaching.”

    Cultural Appropriation – A Weapon Of Mass Destruction?


    “I worry that if we reach a place where a charge of cultural appropriation becomes a trump card, instantly condemning a work of art, a fashion line or a fitness craze, we won’t delve deeper on the important questions raised by cultural exchange.”

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  • Media

    Is British TV Dying?

    british bake off

    “On the face of it seems to be in rude health. America has been buying up British production companies, British TV formats continue to spread around the world and the global market for quality drama is growing. However, there is also anxiety about the Government’s attitude towards the BBC and the questions it is asking about reducing its size and scope.”

    Stop Calling It ‘The Bechdel Test,’ Says Alison Bechdel

    alison bechdel

    After all, as she’s been saying for years, she wasn’t the one who came up with the idea. She simply put it in a comic strip, where it was eventually noticed.

    When A Snuff Film Becomes Unavoidable: Social Media And The Virginia TV Shootings


    This is why Twitter and Facebook shouldn’t make video play automatically.

    How To Structure A Radio Narrative, Explained In Comic-Book Form (Starring Ira Glass)

    Out-on-the-Wire ira glass

    A portion of the “Keep or Kill” chapter from Jessica Abel’s graphic non-fiction book Out on the Wire.

    The Cat Video And The Essence Of Art

    Cat Video And The Essence Of Art

    “Cats have purposiveness without a knowable purpose (Immanuel Kant’s much-cited criterion for true art). Cats are mysteries; their agendas, beyond food and sleep and sunlight, may constitute a kind of knowledge endlessly deferred. (They are born aesthetes, but also born deconstructionists.)”

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  • Music

    Former NYT Music Critic Allan Kozinn Is Now Looking For New Music Concerts In Maine


    “Leaving the Times was not easy, but I began considering the prospect in 2012, when the paper’s culture editor thought it would be interesting to redefine my job, transforming me into a general culture reporter.”

    Israel And Iran Are United – Against Daniel Barenboim


    “The conductor Daniel Barenboim’s efforts to lead the Berlin Staatskapelle at a concert in Tehran drew criticism this week from the Israeli culture minister, who called the performance anti-Israel, and a rebuff from Iranian officials, who said on Friday that they would block the concert because of Mr. Barenboim’s Israeli citizenship.”

    Remembering German Opera Director Nikolaus Lehnhoff


    Alex Ross: “Lavishly cultured and innately musical, Lehnhoff occupied a middle ground between traditional and radical approaches to directing opera.”

    Can The Internet Crowdsource The “Perfect” Song?

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    ‘This is an experiment in crowd-sourced songwriting. A melody is currently being generated, note by note, in real-time, using the popular vote of the crowd,’ says

    Israel Protests Plans By Daniel Barenboim To Perform In Iran


    “News of the proposed concert drew an angry reaction from Israel’s minister of culture and sport, Miri Regev, who denounced it this week on her Facebook page and said that she would that she would write German officials and urge them to cancel the concert.”

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  • People

    Johan Renvall, Former Principal At American Ballet Theatre, Dead At 55


    “As a temple statue come to life and near-naked in gold body paint, he erupted into sensational airborne bravura with perfect form. Yet as critics across the country noted, Mr. Renvall’s gifts went far beyond pyrotechnics.”

    Dr. Oliver Sacks, Author Of ‘The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat’ And So Much More, Dies At 82


    “Describing his patients’ struggles and sometimes uncanny gifts, Dr. Sacks helped introduce syndromes like Tourette’s or Asperger’s to a general audience. But he illuminated their characters as much as their conditions; he humanized and demystified them. In his emphasis on case histories, Dr. Sacks modeled himself after a questing breed of 19th-century physicians.”

    What Ursula Le Guin Still Has To Teach – And Learn – In Her 80s

    Ursula K Le Guin

    “In telling a story, you’ve got to leap, you’ve got to leave out so much. And you’ve got to know which crag to leap to.”

    First African American Actor To Play Jean Valjean On Broadway, 21, Dies In Fall From Brooklyn Fire Escape


    “‘The tragic loss of Kyle to our company, just as he was on the threshold of a brilliant career, is a numbing reminder of how precious life is,’ said Cameron Mackintosh, the producer of Les Misérables, in a statement. ‘His spirit was infinite and his voice from God.'”

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  • Theatre

    Who Sets Cell Phone Etiquette In Theatres – And Who Should?


    “Theater as a whole desperately needs to keep attracting younger audiences, and yet it doesn’t seem particularly able or willing to educate newer playgoers or accommodate their differing ideas on how culture should be consumed.”

    How A Theatre Season Can Come Together To Support – Or Ignore – Diversity


    “There are hundreds of priorities to balance in the process of planning a season. The decisions we make reveal the hierarchy of those priorities. It is the season, not the mission statement, that expresses what we believe in, what we fight for, what we privilege right now, in this moment. A season is an expression of our values, both personally (as leaders) and institutionally. Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, this is the bottom line. A season does not ‘just come together.'”

    Director Accuses Theatre Of “Setting A Dangerous Precedent” By Cancelling ISIS Play


    “If a single company gets scared and it is willing to pull work that it has invested time and money and love into… that is a very dangerous precedent.”

    Fire Destroys Second City’s Chicago Offices

    2nd city

    Second City CEO Andrew Alexander: “It has gutted our two levels of offices. But we’ll fix it. … The theaters are fine. The most important thing is that no one is hurt. Thank the Lord.”

    Cancelled Play About Radicalisation Of British Muslim Girls Gets Lots Of Offers For Stagings


    “The playwright behind Homegrown, the controversial play exploring radicalisation and jihadi brides that was shut down less than a fortnight before its opening, … has been approached by numerous figures and organisations offering to put the play back on and discussions are currently underway.”

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  • Visual

    The Dissident Artist Who Was Detained For Eight Months In Cuba Speaks


    “Until the last minute they want to mess with your head. They want to make you paranoid. At one point he said, ‘Someone close to you works for us.’ I said, ‘You’re not going to make me a paranoiac. I’ve been here for eight months and I am not a paranoiac.’ I understood they were watching me. But I would not let them make me a paranoiac. That’s what they do, they make you paranoid, they isolate you.”

    What Happened To Phnom Penh’s Historic Artists’ Building?


    “With poor sanitation, a decaying structure and no ventilation, this once-historic building is facing demolition – yet grocery shops, hair salons, cafés and even a school have sprung up to cater for the thousands of residents in this sprawling community.”

    Frank Lloyd Wright House Picked Up And Moved To Arkansas

    flw house

    “The Bachman-Wilson House, a New Jersey home originally designed in 1954 by world-famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright for Abraham Wilson and Gloria Bachman, was being threatened by repeated flooding at its original location along the Millstone River.” So the Crystal Bridges Museum bought it and moved it, and “the house is scheduled to open to the public on November 11, 2015, the museum’s four-year anniversary.”

    The Complete MoMA Art Collection – All Of It – Available To See Right Now


    “For each piece, the database tells us the work’s title, some brief biographical information about the artist, the year of creation, the medium and dimensions, and how and when MoMA acquired it. These aren’t exactly trade secrets: It’s basically the data printed on the placards posted next to each painting. But, in MoMA’s case, it’s assembled in one place, comprehensive, easy to use, and recent. The museum made the database freely available online last month.”

    Director Of Russian Museum Fired Amid Charges Of Theft And Forgery


    “Patrons and employees of the museum — also known as the Karakalpak State Museum of Art — vociferously protested her dismissal. They defended Marinika Babanazarova, the granddaughter of a former ruler of the region, as the collection’s stalwart protector.”

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  • Words

    The Reading Is So Hard – But That Doesn’t Make It Brilliant (Or Does It?)


    “The reader who assumes that abstruse prose is clever prose, or that there is a reliable correlation between opacity and depth, is bound to waste a lot of time on writing that doesn’t deserve it. She is also liable to end up praising works that confound her, for fear of being revealed as a dimwit if she confesses her perplexity.”

    Frustrated: Editor Blasts Critics Complaining About Lack of Diversity And Transparency at Writers Conference


    Editor Kate Gale took aim at the charges in a blog post at Huffington Post in a plea for members to stop questioning (attacking) the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP).

    Editor’s Rant About Diversity Complaints Brings Down Wrath Of The Internet


    The language in Kate Gale’s piece has set off a firestorm. Discussing a complaint that AWP is not inclusive of various ethnic groups–and responding directly to a charge that the organization has been dismissive of Native Americans–Gale writes of trying to find the potential “Indian hater” in the organization. Then, speaking about issues of diversity around gender and sexuality, Gale asks, rhetorically, ” How gay is AWP?,” before stating that she feels she is “30% gay” because of “all the time with girls before I started dating guys.”

    Stephen King: Does Being A Prolific Writer Make You A Bad Writer?


    No one in his or her right mind would argue that quantity guarantees quality, but to suggest that quantity never produces quality strikes me as snobbish, inane and demonstrably untrue.

    Judge Orders $10 Million Of “50 Shades” Royalties To Be Set Aside For Defrauded Woman


    “A jury decided in February that Jennifer Pedroza had been conned when the rights were sold to Random House. It found that Amanda Hayward, who signed the deal on behalf of their firm The Writers Coffee Shop, tricked Ms Pedroza into signing a restructuring contract that cut her out of royalties rights.”

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