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  • Dance

    What Does Dance Have To Do With Video Games?

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    “How do games and dances both incorporate four characteristics that demonstrate the realm of possibility, the realm of predictability, and hard work? These themes — simplicity, surprise, transformation, and repetition — became clear to me when, as a choreographer, I began working in the field of computer game design.”

    Dance And Technology Meld To Explore Movement

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    Digital environments can come alive in ways physical sets cannot.

    Keeping Alvin Ailey’s Company Vital, 25 Years After His Death

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    Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director Robert Battle, only the third person to head the company in its history (and the first not to be an original member of the company) talks about keeping Mr. Ailey’s technique and works alive as well as adding other choreographers’ work to the repertoire. (audio)

    Casting, And Wrangling, The Kids In NY City Ballet’s “Nutcracker”

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    It’s a tricky process, says the company’s children’s ballet master: “You want the best kids for the part, but they have to be the right size. So much is based on the look of it, and they have to fit together.

    A Dance Critic Looks At The Physicality Of Wrestling

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    “The intensity of wrestling is so airless and complete—body on body, the skeleton being pulled and twisted more than it seems possible to withstand, every muscle driving for that inch, or a fraction of an inch, that allows one set of shoulders to be pinned or another to resist. Wrestlers are so crushingly close they […]

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  • Ideas

    Our Growing Forces Against Innovation

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    “Bad procurement policy is just one reason the United States has begun to lose its technological edge. Indeed, the multibillion-dollar valuations in Silicon Valley have obscured underlying problems in the way the United States develops and adopts technology.”

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    Why Guilt-Prone People Aren’t “Team Players”

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    “A lot of us know someone who is a bit more guilt-prone than they should be, liable to nose-dive into a shame spiral over seemingly minor incidents. A new study hints at some of the effects this trait could have in the workplace or the classroom: Guilt-prone people may be less likely to want to team up on projects out of fear they will disappoint their colleagues.”

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    On Fame: Why Would Anyone Care If They’re Remembered After They’re Dead?

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    “The idea that fame is a kind of immortality is an ancient one that shows no sign of losing its attraction. But why? What good does it do the dead to be famous?”

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    Yes, Virginia, We Can Resist Utilitarian Rationality: The Philosophical Case For Believing In Santa Claus

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    Why did Francis P. Church, in his famous editorial responding to young Virginia O’Hanlon, “argue for making the leap to Santa belief, rather than standing pat with Santa agnosticism?” Eric Kaplan writes that “it’s worth restating his point about the benefits of a belief in Santa in more modern, prosaic terms.”

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  • Issues

    Now Trending: Artists Exploring The Environment

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    “Artists and scholars are quick to pay lip service to the environmental catastrophe underway, but what’s needed is a response to E.O. Wilson’s clarion call in their work — a greening if you will of arts and letters. This is the goal of the burgeoning eco-arts and eco-criticism movement, which has slowly been gaining respectability in the academy.”

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    The Iconic Italy Is Being Sold Off Piece By Piece

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    “Globalization is hardly unique to Italy. And yet the gobbling up of so many of our beloved and time-tested consumer brands is noteworthy, and a bit unsettling.”

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    Why American Jews Eat Chinese Food on Christmas

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    “For many Jewish Americans, the night before Christmas conjures up visions, not of sugar plums, but plum sauce slathered over roast duck … The story begins during the halcyon days of the Lower East Side where … Jews and Chinese were the two largest non-Christian immigrant groups at the turn of the [20th] century.”

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    Forget Standing In Line At The Mall: Today’s Kids Talk To Santa By Video Chat

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    “With children glued to screens at ever-earlier ages – the average age of initial interaction is 11 months, according to one study – a raft of digital services have emerged to put Santa in the palm of their little hands.”

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  • Media

    “The Interview”: It’s A Hit In China

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    “In one sign of the enthusiasm for the film, whose theatrical release was initially held up after a hacking attack on the studio, “The Interview” scored an 8.0 rating on the Chinese Internet movie database Douban, with more than 10,000 people posting reviews.”

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    “The Interview” Makes A Million Dollars On Its First Day

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    “The film made just over $1 million in ticket sales from 331 locations for an impressive $3,142 per theater average, according to distributor Sony Pictures. Many theaters reported selling out showings.”

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    How Sony’s “Interview” Problem Has Turned Into An Opportunity

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    “This is the first time a major studio film has embarked on what the industry calls a day-and-date release — that is, available for home viewing at the same time as it opens in theaters. Sony, which often seemed to be reacting as much as plotting a strategy while the hacking crisis blew up, has created opportunity out of disaster.”

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    Here’s Why Classic Directing Endures

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    “In critical circles it’s fashionable to mock the discipline and caution of these less-obtrusive directors, but I would like to cheer the artisans and chameleons who quietly pursue their craft in the shadow of more sacred monsters.”

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    Yikes! America’s Radio Dial Has Gone All-Christmas

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    “No less than 529 stations have gone all-holiday this year, an increase of 8.4 percent from last year and the largest number of such stations ever recorded, according to Inside Radio, a trade publication that tracks the holiday format.”

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  • Music

    India’s Traditional Brass Bands Facing A Difficult Future

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    “As the tastes of young, wealthier Indians shift to more modern music, young couples increasingly choose DJs playing electronic music instead of live bands. The shift is leaving band owners and musicians struggling to find gigs, exacerbating an already difficult existence.”

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    Google Starts To Publish Song Lyrics Online

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    “According to reports, Google has begun including lyrics in the results pages for certain search terms . When US-based users search for phrases like “stairway to heaven lyrics” or “comfortably numb lyrics”, the words to these songs appear at the top of the page, above the corresponding listings for third-party sources.”

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    Daniel Barenboim Latest To Interrupt Performance To Scold Audience

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    “Madam, I am trying to give you my best, but you have no respect for it! Those who take photographs during concerts are badly educated. I have asked at every concert. The first time nicely, but now it’s serious.”

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    “Almost Gleefully Flaunting Its Utter Ignorance Of The Field”: Anne Midgette On Netflix’s “Mozart In The Jungle”

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    “The factual errors are so great that it would be as though someone set out to dramatize the reality show Deadliest Catch by showing a group of fishermen sitting on a dock in Alaska trying to catch crabs with fishing rods.”

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    One Man’s Journey To Reinvent The Piano For A Digital Age

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    “I started thinking about taking the next step of actually converting a player piano into a full MIDI instrument, with the ability to read key presses and accept MIDI input.”

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  • People

    Jazz Great Buddy DeFranco,

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    “Buddy DeFranco almost single-handedly was the clarinetist who moved the harmonic and rhythmic language forward from where Benny Goodman left off into the much more adventurous territory of bebop and beyond, while never forgetting his roots in swing music. He was also unfailingly kind and supportive to every other clarinetist who came after him,” said leading jazz clarinetist Ken Peplowski.

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    Conductor Jerzy Semkow, 86

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    “Semkow’s idiosyncratic and somewhat imperial personality didn’t always mesh well with American orchestras; this was a man sometimes seen strutting around backstage at Orchestra Hall wearing a cape. Semkow favored broad tempos, fleshy textures and flowing phrases that sighed with lyricism. He knew what he wanted, and it was usually a kind of clarified spiritualism, beauty and understanding.”

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    Documents Shed New Light On Louis Armstrong’s Childhood

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    “There have been countless Armstrong biographies based on exhaustive research. More than 40 years after his death, you might think there would be nothing left to learn about the man. And yet there is.”

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    Jeremy Lloyd, 84, Writer Of Cult BBC Comedies

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    He and colleague David Croft co-created the series ‘Allo ‘Allo! and Are You Being Served?.

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  • Theatre

    How A Popular Fringe Theatre Show Got Around Tricky Copyright Issues

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    “Seen by multitudes, Potted Potter is testament to the resilience of Fringe comedy, to the power of the Potter brand – and to some unusually sensible attitudes toward copyright.”

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    The Recently-Fired Ari Roth Talks About The Role Of Theatre And Politics

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    “Civil society has a role to play in bringing political actors together. It is all intertwined. The work that theater people do and the work that journalists do and people to people initiatives outside of the political sphere have in moving society forward toward reconciliation, or any type of coexistence is critical.”

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    “Legit” Theatre Versus Religion (The Great Divide)

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    “Art and religion share the psychological state of transportation—being transported. We all love being taken out of ourselves, temporarily. So why in fields that are both devoted to awe and transport, does the norm seem to be an unspoken separation between church and stage?”

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    60 American Theatre Directors Protest Firing Of Theater J Artistic Director For “Political Reasons”

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    Saying in an open letter that they were “outraged” by the dismissal, the directors called on the JCC’s governing board to renounce the decision and the nationwide theater community to protest “in all possible ways.”

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    British Theatre Unions Working On New Agreements For Non-West End Houses

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    “Industry body UK Theatre is working with unions Equity, BECTU and the Musicians’ Union on a joint initiative to overhaul its existing collective agreements for performers, backstage staff and musicians working outside the West End.”

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  • Visual

    The Art Market Is In Record Territory. Here’s Why We Should Worry

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    “The market has been eating the art,” says Robert Storr, the dean of the Yale University School of Art. “There are still good dealers who understand the danger, and artists who can say no. But we’re in a perilous position and we need to talk about it.”

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    The 20 Most Powerless People In The Art World In 2014

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    “While other art publications sing the praises of the rich and powerful, we like to look at those who are largely overlooked (or worse, exploited) in order to understand the real state of the art world and its discontents. So, here you have our annual assessment of those below the most powerful.”

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    Earthquake-Proofing Michelangelo’s “David”

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    “The Italian government is to spend €200,000 (£160,000) on a new plinth to support Michelangelo’s statue of David after hundreds of earth tremors shook Florence and the surrounding region in recent days.”

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    Window Pains: The Stained-Glass Industry Is Showing Cracks

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    “Declining church attendance is playing a role, as is the growth of nondenominational congregations … that pine for a more modern aesthetic. … To attract business, some artisans are even steering clear of using the term ‘stained glass’ because it carries connotations of fusty old churches … [and are] targeting projects without religious overtones.”

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    How To Thwart Art Thieves? A Security Expert’s How-To

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    “The key is to make objects slow or complicated to physically remove, while at the same time making it difficult to ascertain the way objects on display are secured, for those engaged in hostile surveillance.”

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  • Words

    Report: UK Libraries Need To Be Rebranded For The 21st Century

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    “The 21st century librarian will need to be more of a community impresario with digital and commercial expertise who can champion their communities’ needs and generate new business and audiences for the library.”

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    One Man’s Guide To Reading Better

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    “We all read from different places, different backgrounds, and my meeting with Proust or Woolf, or Lydia Davis or J. M. Coetzee, will not be yours, nor should it be. On the other hand I do believe reading is an active skill, an art even, certainly not a question of passive absorption.”

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    Why A 1930s Detective Story Has Become A Surprise Christmas Hit

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    “Mystery in White: A Christmas Crime Story by J Jefferson Farjeon is selling in “astonishing numbers”, according to the Waterstones book chain. It has outsold rival paperbacks Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn, and Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch on the high street, while Amazon temporarily ran out of stock last week due to surging demand.”

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    The (Useful) Role Of Cliches In Our Lives

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    “Consider, for example, the common phrases that are typically exchanged in friendly greetings. How are you? How’s it going? How are you keeping? What’s up? In most cases we do not regard these questions, or the typical answers to them, as clichés; instead they are formulas, a stock of frozen expressions whose purpose probably has less to do with encoding information than with the maintenance of smooth relations. They are unoriginal, surely, perhaps overused, but certainly not ineffective.”

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    How To Write: A Year In Advice From People Who Really Know

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    Favorite suggestions from David Mitchell, Jane Smiley, Claire Messud, William Gibson, Billy Collins, and other contributors to The Atlantic‘s “By Heart” series.

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