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  • Dance

    People Won’t Listen To Scientists ABout Climate Change? Fine, Then Let’s Dance Them To Undertsanding

    Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes

    “Scientists today believe that such critical information must be disseminated and quickly acted upon to avoid catastrophe. But that is not happening, as indicated by the ‘much talk, little action’ status of climate change. The central need is clearly not for more natural science research (although in many areas it would be very helpful). Rather, […]

    How Irish Step Dancing Left Irish Ethnicity Behind

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    “When it was whites who made up the majority of U.S. immigrants, it really mattered if you were Irish, Italian, or some other white ethnicity. … Once the distinctions no longer mattered and the stigma of being Irish had faded, then Irish dance could be something anyone did and others would want to do. And, […]

    The Hot New Dance In New York? A Dance From Jane Austen’s Time

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    “Derived from English country dancing—think of the long paired lines of couples crisscrossing and partner-swapping in all those Jane Austen country-manor balls, now press fast forward—contra offers young urbanites an inclusive atmosphere where they can work up a little sweat away from the gym and touch human beings instead of screens.”

    Whatever Happened To Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, It Doesn’t Mean Dance Is In Danger

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    “But even with no conclusive sign that Cedar Lake’s issue is one of funding, the dance community is positioned to jump on the ‘arts is dying’ bandwagon immediately. … Why do we chalk this up to just another financial failure? Perhaps because as a dance venture, we are used to being on a respirator, scraping […]

    Nederlands Dans Theater’s Do-It-Themselves Fundraiser For NGOs

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    “Switch is an evening conceived, choreographed and produced fully by the NDT performers … all profits from [which] go entirely to a community need the dancers hunt down themselves. … When they’ve targeted an organization, they look for ways to get involved beyond financial contribution. They volunteer their hours, they show up to teach free […]

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  • Ideas

    How Tech Criticism Is Failing Us

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    “That radical critique of technology in America has come to a halt is in no way surprising: it could only be as strong as the emancipatory political vision to which it is attached. No vision, no critique. Lacking any idea of how sensors, algorithms, and databanks could be deployed to serve a non-neoliberal agenda, radical technology critics face an unenviable choice.”

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    When Memory Stops Functioning, Where Does A Person’s Identity Reside?

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    “Dementia undermines all of our philosophical assumptions about the coherence of the self. … Everyone touched by the disease goes through a crash-course in the philosophy of mind. … If someone cannot remember not just where the milk bottle goes, but what a milk bottle is for, then the shared pre-suppositions on which communication, meaning and identity depend become badly strained.”

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    A More Complicated View Of What Makes Us Intelligent

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    “Increasingly, it makes less sense to think of genes and environments as independent causes,” writes a research team led by Penn State sociologist David Baker. Its examination of likely reasons for the gradual rise in IQ scores over the 20th century suggest more challenging curriculums, to a significant degree, create smarter students.

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    People Are Fighting Over Sand (And There’s A Shortage)

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    “Though the supply might seem endless, sand is a finite resource like any other. The worldwide construction boom of recent years—all those mushrooming megacities, from Lagos to Beijing—is devouring unprecedented quantities; extracting it is a $70 billion industry. In Dubai enormous land-reclamation projects and breakneck skyscraper-building have exhausted all the nearby sources. Exporters in Australia are literally selling sand to Arabs.”

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  • Issues

    Report On UK Creative Industries: Here’s What Needs Doing

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    “The welcome emergence of London as possibly the leading creative industry hub in the world has disguised the lack of equivalent growth outside London, and this situation should be addressed by government as a priority,” it concludes.

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    ‘Man-Seders’ – Matzoh With Steak And Scotch

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    “Unlike staid practice sessions of old, these promise flowing alcohol, macho food and male bonding along with some religious instruction, although that last one can get a bit lost at some of the events. … The goal is simple: to teach men about the Passover Seder, including how to run one, and engage them more in the Jewish faith.”

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    Was Early Civilization Driven By Agriculture Or By Religion?

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    “Some secularists dislike the idea that spiritual needs drove the rise of civilisation. They fret that it will reinforce or restore religion’s central place in society. But just because spirituality may have led to civilisation, it doesn’t follow that it should lead it now. If religion did have an early founding role, we must acknowledge this, learn from it – and move on.”

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    Here’s How Much Cultural Tourists Impact London’s Economy

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    “The report comes after the latest figures from the Society of London Theatre reported an 11th consecutive year of growth among West End theatre box office takings, measuring gross sales of more than £623 million in 2014. Similarly, attendances for the 53 theatres in full SOLT membership grew to 14.7 million in 2014, a 1% increase on the previous year.”

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  • Media

    On YouTube: A Battle Over Fair Use And Superfans

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    “If you’re video maker who’s had a video flagged and you want to dispute it, the process is Kafkaesque. The copyright holder alone decides the outcome: It can uphold its claim. It can agree that your video does not infringe its copyright. Or it can do nothing at all for 30 days, during which time all advertising is suspended. Most likely, your video eventually is returned to you—but by that point, the damage is done.”

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    CBC: Death By A Million Cuts

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    “The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation announced Thursday that it is cutting another 244 jobs over the next six months to save $15-million annually, as part of its five-year plan to eliminate up to 1,500 positions by 2020.”

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    The Revolution Is… Where Do Movies Go From Here?

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    “Cinema is gone—everyone agrees. And yet cinema also abides, if only so that Jean-Luc Godard can go on delivering valedictions to what it used to be. Like the history of which it’s a part, the moving image has not finished its work, nor is it likely to anytime soon. I think it’s just gotten a little too much into itself.”

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    Why New TV Comedies Are Choosing Plot Over Jokes

    tv comedy plot jokes

    Basically, because they can. Jason Zinoman explains how the huge changes over the past decade in the way television series are distributed and consumed have allowed the creators of comedies to break with what was always a fairly strict template.

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    Now The Season Of Minority Casting On TV. Too Much?

    Empire

    “As is the case with any sea change, the pendulum might have swung a bit too far in the opposite direction. Instead of opening the field for actors of any race to compete for any role in a color-blind manner, there has been a significant number of parts designated as ethnic this year, making them off-limits for Caucasian actors, some agents signal.”

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  • Music

    LA Philharmonic Extends Dudamel’s Contract For Three Years

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    “The extension means that Dudamel, who’s also music director of the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra in his home country of Venezuela, will lead the Phil for at least 13 seasons. The orchestra did not disclose financial terms; Dudamel earned $1.44 million in 2012, according to the Phil’s most recent public tax filing.”

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    Used Records Are Fueling A Vinyl Resurgence

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    “It’s what fuelled the beginning of the comeback, as not many classic albums were available on new pressings even five years ago. Even now that they are becoming available again, many new reissues of classic albums are quite costly or simply still haven’t even been reissued yet, so used vinyl fills the need.”

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    In Contract Battle, Orchestra Moves To Replace Up To Two-Thirds Of Its Players

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    “The KBS Symphony Orchestra moved to potentially replace 67 positions in its 100-strong orchestra on Monday, upping the ante against players in an intensifying labor dispute.” KBS, the state broadcaster of South Korea, spun off its orchestra in September 2012; many musicians, fearing for their job security, want to remain KBS employees and have been unwilling to sign contracts with the new management.

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    Apple Moves To Compete Directly With Spotify

    apple beats

    “Almost a year after agreeing to pay $3 billion for Beats, the maker of hip headphones and a streaming music service, Apple is working with Beats engineers and executives to introduce its own subscription streaming service. The company is also planning an enhanced iTunes Radio that may be tailored to listeners in regional markets.”

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    Last Week One Of Paris’s Top Orchestras Played To An Empty Hall

    orch phil de radio france

    When Radio France – in the middle of strikes, layoffs, financial troubles and general chaos – abruptly cancelled the Friday evening concert of the Orchestre philharmonique de Radio-France, they didn’t consult the musicians or conductor Myung-Whun Chung first. In protest, the furious orchestra went right over to the new Philharmonie de Paris (conveniently available that evening) and played its program to banks of empty seats – making headlines in the process. (in French)

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  • People

    Tomas Tranströmer, 83, Winner Of 2011 Nobel Prize For Literature

    Tomas Transtromer

    “He wrote in exceptionally pure, cold Swedish without frills. His descriptions of nature were as sparse and alive as a Japanese painting. … His sparse output was highly praised from the moment his first collection, 17 Poems, appeared in 1954 and he was acknowledged as Sweden’s greatest living poet long before he won the Nobel Prize. He was translated into more than 60 languages.”

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    Booker Prize Mastermind Martyn Goff, 91

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    Goff, who died on Wednesday after a long illness, masterminded the Booker for more than three decades. “The current health of English fiction can be explained in two words: Martyn Goff,” wrote John Sutherland, when the former bookseller announced he was stepping down from the prize in 2002.

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    Richard III Finally Gets His State Funeral

    richard iii funeral

    “For an English monarchy that has lasted more than 1,000 years, there can have been few more improbable occasions than the ceremony of remembrance here on Thursday for the reburial of one of the most bloodstained medieval sovereigns.”

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    S**t Pierre Boulez Said

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    “I don’t want my statements to be frozen in time. A date should always be attached to them. Certainly if you take a picture of yourself 30 years ago, that same picture cannot be used as a picture of yourself today.” His incendiary comments, whether directed at his contemporaries (he has described Duchamp as ‘a pompous bore’, Cage as ‘a performing monkey’, and Stockhausen, ‘a hippie’), or more general topics such as culture and history, however, suggest that he enjoys the controversy.

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  • Theatre

    Carey Perloff: The Big Challenges For American Theatre

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    She’s disturbed by the way “many large-scale institutional theaters today have become roadhouses to incubate commercial productions headed for Broadway,” alarmed at the “relative paucity of female voices rising to the top of our profession” and frustrated that funding sources are so heavily focused on new-play development that there is “virtually no support for the training of actors” and not all that much for new approaches to the classics.

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    The Best Night To See A Play Is The First Night Of Previews, Says NY Times Critic

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    Laura Collins-Hughes: “The energy in the room is high, and whatever surprises the performance holds won’t yet have been spoiled by reviews written by people like me. … [And] whatever ails a show, there is still – theoretically, anyway – time to fix it. To me, that feels hopeful. And dynamic.”

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    Cirque du Soleil To Be Sold?

    cirque-circular

    Renée-Claude Ménard, senior director of public relations for the circus, told CBC News the company is searching for a “strategic partner. This is a very long process and [founder and majority shareholder] Guy Laliberté will take the time necessary to evaluate all available options,” Ménard said.

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    What Shakespeare Knew About Robert Durst’s Confession-Or-Non-Confession

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    Adam Gopnik: “Many people have pointed out the eerie resemblance of Durst’s words to a Shakespearean soliloquy. Actually, only one kind of soliloquy – the villain’s kind – takes this form. Durst’s words are not at all Hamlet-like, as some have said. They recall, instead, the soliloquies of Iago, in Othello, and of Edmund, in King Lear – the moments when an evil man speaks out loud of his own capacity for evil, and then assures us that there’s nothing really shocking there.”

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    At Stanford, Musical Theater About The Birth Of Modern Computing

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    “In December 1968, the computer scientist Douglas Engelbart … brought together for the first time a mouse, word processing, multimedia communication and networking to demonstrate interactive computing before an audience of a thousand leading computer scientists. His presentation would become known as the Demo.” Ben Neill and Mikel Rouse have now made the Demo into a stage work .

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  • Visual

    UK Funders Will Blacklist Museums That Sell Art For Profit

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    In a joint statement, the organisations said they were “concerned that a growing number of organisations are considering selling items from their collections for financial gain. Museum collections… represent an extraordinary act of generosity from one generation to another. It is clear that even when legally owned by museum governing bodies, they are primarily held in trust as cultural, not financial, assets.”

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    The Curator Of MoMA’s Björk Disaster Should Be Fired

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    Christian Viveros-Fauné: “[Klaus] Biesenbach – the institution’s Übersocial, fame-obsessed, Chief Curator at Large – has seemingly finally come in for some in-house scrutiny. A growing consensus outside the institution says it’s about time.”

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    Who’s Really To Blame For MoMA’s Björkgate?

    moma hyper

    “This is obviously about the board members going to dinner parties and such, and being told by friends and associates that they should be embarrassed by the show. And they should be, I guess; the problem is that they refuse to accept any responsibility for fostering the conditions that allowed it to happen.”

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    LA County Museum Of Art Makes An Unprecedented Sponsorship Deal With Car-Maker

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    “In a deal that will be the longest corporate sponsorship in its history, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is expected to announce Thursday a partnership with Korean automaker Hyundai, a ten-year agreement that will put a spotlight on Korean art through exhibitions and provide support for the museum’s art and technology program.”

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    Now That The Met Has Sold This Painting, Turns Out It’s Really A Rubens

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    “A portrait of Rubens’ young daughter Clara Serena, recently deaccessioned by New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, is going on display at the Rubenshuis in Antwerp. In 2013, it was auctioned as by a ‘follower of Rubens’, with an estimate of $20,000-$30,000. … Ben van Beneden, the director of the Rubenshuis, has accepted the former Met painting – now cleaned – as authentic.”

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  • Words

    Why Would Anyone Start A New Literary Magazine? (But Then…)

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    “Demand isn’t fixed or finite; it has the opportunity to surprise us. In strict consumer terms, people can’t demand what they don’t know about. The introduction of a service​, a product or an idea is what ultimately drives demand. One of the things the LA Review of Books proved was that the demand for smart writing is larger than anyone expected, and what we’ve found in recent weeks is that there does seem to be demand for what we’re supplying.”

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    The Royal Poet Laureate’s Eulogy For Richard III

    richard iii eulogy

    Here’s the text of Carol Ann Duffy’s encomium, which was recited at the funeral by Benedict Cumberbatch.

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    Princeton Review Gives Taylor Swift An “F” For Bad Grammar (But…)

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    In a Princeton test paper, a section headed “Grammar in Real Life” told students: “Pop lyrics are a great source of bad grammar. See if you can find the error in each of the following.” Taylor Swift’s song Fifteen was then cited as containing the line “Somebody tells you they love you, you got to believe ’em.” A fan posted her sad reaction online: “I was just having an amazing time studying for the SAT and now I feel attacked.” Then Swift herself responded on Tumblr: “Not the right lyrics at all pssshhhh. You had one job, test people. One job.”

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    A Loss For Words: Can The Native Languages Of The Americas Be Saved – Or Even Resurrected?

    can dying languages be saved

    Judith Thurman looks at the people – in Chile, Manhattan, the New York-Ontario borderlands, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Ohio – who are trying.

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    Elena Ferrante And Karl Ove Knausgaard (And What Preferring One Or The Other Says About You)

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    “The meta-question, of course, is what these affinities mean. What’s at stake when we opt for snow over sun, anger over awkwardness, herring over prosciutto, women over men, the north over the south, 1955 over 1985? What does our preference for Knausgaard or Ferrante suggest about us?”

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