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  • Dance

    A Major New Dance School Rises In Los Angeles

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    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’

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    “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

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    “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.”

    Can You Crowdsource Choreography?

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    Giving up some artistic control to an audience untrained in choreography does pose unique problems, but “some of the challenges are the same that we face as dancers working with professional choreographers.”

    Dance Is A Visual Art, Right? (So Maybe That’s Where It Should Be)

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    Dance is finding an audience among visual artists, who are completely comfortable with abstraction and don’t need to annoy choreographers with the dreaded, “What was that about? question.

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  • Ideas

    The Science Behind Why Some People Are Selfish

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    “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”?

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    “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

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    “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.”

    Do Neuroticism And Creativity Go Hand In Hand?

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    Think of it this way: Reacting to an ambiguous remark from your boss by coming up with crazy, unrealistic scenarios in which you are likely to get fired is, in a very real sense, creative.

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  • Issues

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

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    “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?

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    “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?

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    “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.”

    How The Biggest Explosion In Recorded History Changed Culture All Over The World

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    The eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815 did more than just cause the “Year Without Summer” and lead to months on end of storms, crop failures and epidemics. The aftermath of that catastrophe changed the course of painting and literature (though the participants didn’t know it at the time), and arguably led to the birth of an entire branch of popular culture.

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  • Media

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

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    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

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    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)

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    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

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    “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.)”

    Why The BBC Needs To Be Saved

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    “When the media, communications and information industries make up nearly 8% our GDP, larger than the car and oil and gas industries put together, we need to be heard, as those industries are heard. But when I see the panel of experts who’ve been asked by the culture secretary to take a root and branch look at the BBC, I don’t see anyone who is a part of that cast and crew list. I see executives, media owners, industry gurus, all talented people – but not a single person who’s made a classic and enduring television show.”

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  • Music

    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 crowdsound.net.

    Israel Protests Plans By Daniel Barenboim To Perform In Iran

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    “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.”

    Lost Generation: Middle-Aged Classical Musicians

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    “This is the art-form that reveres the aged master, but it’s no less enamoured of youth. The problem is that between charmed youth and revered old age comes the ‘awkward age’. To be musically talented and middle-aged is nowadays deemed worthy of no more than polite attention. Whereas to be musically talented and young is to be treated as a veritable god.”

    Stories From The Front Lines: Women Tell Their Stories Of Abuse In The Music Industry

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    “Various tropes are repeated over and over again, like a riff you’ve heard too many times before: an aspiring bassist being told by a music teacher that bass is for boys, or a teenager being asked by her dubious male classmates to recite a band’s entire discography in order to prove her fan cred. The narrative gets even more disturbing and specific when you start charting the testimonials of women who pursued careers as musicians, sound engineers, executives, and journalists.”

    ‘Born To Run’ At 40: Bruce Springsteen And The Fading Of The American Dream

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    “Lost amid popular memories of kitsch – of waterbeds and pet rocks, mood rings and self-help books – is the story of a more complicated decade. The enduring sway of Born to Run isn’t just thanks to the music, which stands up strongly, four decades later. It stems also from the unique time and place in which Americans first came to know Bruce Springsteen.”

    More Music

  • People

    The Red-Baiting Of Lena Horne – And How She Overcame It

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    “Over the course of her long life, Lena Horne became a star of film, music, television, and stage, as well as a formidable force for civil rights. … Yet there was a brief period in the early 1950s when Horne’s career seemed to be over. … She continued to perform at nightclubs, but nobody in the TV or film industries would hire her.”

    Can You Picture Josephine Baker As A Senior Citizen?

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    From the Guardian archives, a visit with the toast of 1920s Paris – and decorated veteran of the French Resistance – in France they year before she died.

    All The Stephen Colbert Stuff That Didn’t Make It Into The Time Cover Story

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    On why he had to leave The Colbert Report: “I still enjoyed it, but to model behavior, you have to consume that behavior on a regular basis. It became very hard to watch punditry of any kind, of whatever political stripe. … To change that expectation from an audience, or to change that need for me to be steeped in cable news and punditry, I had to actually leave. I had to change.” (includes plenty of video clips)

    How Jonathan Franzen Became America’s Leading Public Moralist

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    “Do you love Jonathan Franzen? Does America? Does the world? These questions sound ridiculous, but they’re the ones Franzen has been posing over the past two decades, as he has, against long odds, made himself the kind of public figure about whom they aren’t entirely ridiculous or even unusual.”

    More People

  • Theatre

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

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    “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

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    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

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    “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.”

    How (And Why) I Chose My 101 Greatest Plays (And Why I Left Out ‘King Lear’)

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    Michael Billington: “Why do it? Why put my head on the chopping-block by writing a book hubristically entitled The 101 Greatest Plays? The answers are many and complex.”

    Fire-Eating, Projectile Weapons, A Mandy Patinkin Impression – Offbeat Skills That Have Gotten Actors Work

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    Stage fighting? Lots of people can do that. Accents? Standard. Foreign languages? No longer uncommon. Here are seven actors talking about the really unusual gifts they have.

    More Theatre

  • Visual

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

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    “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

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    “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.”

    Photography As A Weapon

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    “The weaponization of photography is a partial reflection of a modern culture that is willing to consume and interpret imagery without analysis or concern for who might be victimized by the image. And the rate at which photos and video can spread online feeds this insatiable consumption. It wasn’t always like this.”

    A Revolution In Photography? Maybe, But Not The Way You Think

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    “The number of people armed with cameras today has never been greater – in the past 10 years the act has become utterly ubiquitous. But it isn’t the first time this kind of thing has happened. It’s the second.”

    Sometimes You End Up Having To Paint Your Castle Yellow: The Perils Of Historical Restoration

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    “The story of how the restoration of the Great Hall of Stirling Castle led to it being painted bright yellow illustrates the unexpected complexity … It comes down to this question: When you choose to restore something, at which moment in time are you restoring it to?” (podcast with transcription)

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  • Words

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

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    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

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    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?

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    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

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    “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.”

    Duke Freshmen Refuse To Read ‘Fun Home’ Because It’s ‘Pornographic’

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    Said one of the scandalized young fellas, “the nature of Fun Home means that content that I might have consented to read in print now violates my conscience due to its pornographic nature.” Explained another, “I would [also] not have read the book if the pictures were of heterosexual intercourse.”

    More Words

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