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  • Dance

    Angel Corella Named Pensylvania Ballet’s Artistic Director

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    The 38-year-old Spaniard, a former star at ABT, “is slated to start part-time in September, then full-time in January.” Earlier this year he announced that he would close his company in Barcelona and leave Spain.

    This Dancing-Kim-Jong-Un Video Has Made North Korea Very, Very Angry

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    “North Korea has asked China to stop the spread of a video clip lampooning leader Kim Jong-un. … [The DPRK government] feels the clip, which shows Kim dancing and Kung-Fu fighting [with various world leaders], ‘seriously compromises Kim’s dignity and authority’. Beijing was unable to oblige.” (includes video)

    New $30,000 Choreography Competition In Australia Has Its First Winner

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    “Melbourne-based artist Atlanta Eke has taken out the inaugural Keir Choreographic award , the first major national prize of its kind in Australia.” (includes video of all four finalists)

    Choreographing For A “Cathedral Of Trees”

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    The provincial English town of Milton Keynes is known for a long stand of arching trees planted to roughly match the footprint of Norwich Cathedral. Choreographer Rosemary Lee writes about creating Under the Vaulted Sky, a site-specific dance for the spot. (includes video)

    The Dance World Has To Do More To Keep Merce Cunningham’s Work Alive

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    “It’s always a pleasure to see Cunningham choreography these days. No choreography is a keener tonic to the dancegoer’s palate, and what once felt difficult now looks both absorbing and natural.”

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  • Ideas

    Whatever Happened To The Idea That The Internet Would Unleash Creativity?

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    “Free culture, like cheap food, incurs hidden costs.” Instead of serving as the great equalizer, the web has created an abhorrent cultural feudalism. The creative masses connect, create and labor, while Google, Facebook and Amazon collect the cash.

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    Happiness is… (How Can We Be It If We Can’t Define It?)

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    “What is unhappiness? Your intuition might be that it is simply the opposite of happiness, just as darkness is the absence of light. That is not correct. Happiness and unhappiness are certainly related, but they are not actually opposites. Images of the brain show that parts of the left cerebral cortex are more active than the right when we are experiencing happiness, while the right side becomes more active when we are unhappy.”

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    The Way Kids, Um, Talk Is, You Know, Like, Actually Conscientious

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    “Often enough, something we propose as a serious idea turns out to be more or less a joke. It’s much rarer that something proposed as a joke – or, at least, proposed as a semi-serious conceit, offered in the spirit of what’s often called, grimly, ‘tongue in cheek’ – turns out to be, or to have the germ of, a serious idea.” But Adam Gopnik has one.

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    How The Moon Became A Real Place

    man in the moon

    “In popular imagination, the moon vivid, expansive, and fantastic. There was talk of winged creatures, moon elephants, scalding heat, and deep oceans. Newspapers were filled with stories—fictional, scientific, and artistic. In 1902, The San Francisco Call had an actual man act out the various faces of the man in the moon.”

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  • Issues

    Boycott An Israeli Theatre Company Over Politics? Where’s The Logic?

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    “The demands for censorship speak to the illiberal tendencies of much of the art world and their self-important overestimation of the impact of cultural boycotts. They are the kind of artists who call for artistic freedom for themselves, and for those whose opinions they approve of, but deny it to those who they disapprove of, or, in this case, those whose countries they disapprove of.”

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    Stop Trying To Get Our Kids Into The Ivy League: The Stress Is Wrecking Them, And The Schools Are Overrated

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    “Our system of elite education manufactures young people who are smart and talented and driven, yes, but also anxious, timid, and lost, with little intellectual curiosity and a stunted sense of purpose: trapped in a bubble of privilege, heading meekly in the same direction, great at what they’re doing but with no idea why they’re doing it.”

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    When The White People In MFA Workshops Seriously Do Not Get It

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    “A similar but different criticism occurs when a writer is told that her portrayal of minority characters isn’t different enough. A woman in my program has been told that her stories need to be more ethnic, that readers should be able to smell the food.”

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    A Fight Against Censorship And For The Right To Read Heidegger

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    “If canonical philosophers were blacklisted based on their prejudices and political engagements, then there wouldn’t be all that many left in the Western tradition.”

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  • Media

    The Physicists Who Are Redefining The Art Of Animation

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    There is “an expanding cadre of high-level physicists, engineers and other scientists, including many former NASA employees, who have left careers in aerospace and academia to work in the movie business. Demand for their services has grown as animated movies, once created by hand, push the boundaries of what can be created on a computer screen.”

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    Rome’s Cinecittà Opens A Theme Park

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    “In its nearly 80-year history, the Cinecittà film studio lured the world’s greatest directors and biggest movie stars to this Italian capital, earning it the title of Hollywood on the Tiber. Now the studio, its fortunes in decline and its edges fraying, is hoping to attract some less famous visitors when Cinecittà World, a new theme park dedicated to its golden era, opens on Thursday.”

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    Fending Off Murdoch, Time Warner Strips Shareholders Of Right To Call Meetings

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    “The move gives shareholders – and 21st Century Fox – fewer avenues to press the company into a potential deal with Fox, which recently made an unsolicited $80 billion offer to combine the companies.”

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    Have Computer Special Effects Stolen The Magic From Movies?

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    “Special effects, key components of what historically made movies magical, have lost most of their magic because they have become so realistic and commonplace.”

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    Why Crowdfunding Doesn’t Necessarily Create A Successful Movie

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    “If everyone who wants to see your movie is part of the pool of people who gave you money online and you were able to raise $1 million or $2 million, that’s a fantastic story. But if those are the only people who are interested in your movie, that’s a big disaster.”

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  • Music

    The Next Big Musical Tool – Your Phone

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    “Your phone is now a recording studio, a music school, and a Guitar Center. Thousands of music apps enable you to do everything from autotune your voicemail greeting to compose a symphony.”

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    How Can Classical Music Save Itself?

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    Alex Ross, Greg Sandow, pianist and educator Orli Shaham, and Peabody Institute dean/former St. Louis Symphony CEO Fred Bronstein talk issues and strategies with public radio host Diane Rehm. (audio)

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    The Stradivarius Investment Company

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    “The way we look at this violin, from an investment point of view, is that this is a store of value,” Allain said. “We are big investors in gold. That’s a store of value, to the extent that someone is saying it’s worth something, just as we think bitcoin is worth something. This Stradivarius—it’s a finite supply. It’s musical gold.”

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    Queen Elizabeth Appoints First Woman Master Of The Queen’s Music (It Only Took 388 Years)

    Judith Weir

    Judith Weir says there is still a sneaking suspicion that the world of classical music is carved up by a few big institutions and a handful of powerful cultural leaders. That really is an establishment; but Weir does not need the role of the master for access to classical music’s top table. The opportunity of the role, she says, “is to avoid all that – and go and meet the other people”.

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    How Classical And Jazz Are Getting Screwed By Streaming

    U.S. musician David Byrne attends a conference with public before screening his movie "True Stories" at the Estoril Film Festival

    “Between low royalties, opaque payout rates, declining record sales and suspicion that the major labels have cut deals with the streamers that leave musicians out of the equation, anger from the music business’s artier edges is slow[ly] growing. … The shift to digital is also helping to isolate these already marginalized genres: It has a decisive effect on what listeners can find, and on whether or not an artist can earn a living from his work.”

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  • People

    This Year’s National Medal Of Arts Winners

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    It’s a “diverse roster of big names in the arts, literature and entertainment – including Linda Ronstadt, dancer-choreographer Bill T. Jones, author Maxine Hong Kingston, Broadway composer John Kander and L.A.-nurtured visual artist James Turrell — will receive the National Medal of Arts from President Obama.”

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    At A Woody Allen Press Conference, Avoiding The Only Questions People Really Want To Ask

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    “The problem is, the only thing newsworthy about Magic in the Moonlight – an unexceptional, oddly slack late-period Allen picture – is that it’s his first release after decades-old allegations of sexual abuse resurfaced last winter … And now we were all being told to pretend like this ubiquitous scandal never happened.” Jason Bailey eased up to the issue, sort of, and Allen answered like a practiced politician.

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    My Buddy Picasso

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    “Lucien Clergue befriended Pablo Picasso in 1953. Over the next 20 years, he took intimate portraits of the artist in his studio, at bullfights and on the beach.”

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    The Man Who Created Bugs Bunny

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    “Charles M. Jones (1912-2002) was, in fact, easily one of the greatest comedy directors in the history of motion pictures, indisputably on a par with Preston Sturges, Billy Wilder, Mel Brooks or Woody Allen.”

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  • Theatre

    Ian McKellen Calls For Living Wage For Actors

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    “Most actors are not rich – they are very poor indeed. … The one thing you can ask, I think, is that actors get paid a living wage. I would like it if all the repertory theatres that currently exist could do that. It would make a huge difference.”

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    In Defense Of The Jukebox Musical

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    “Done well, jukebox musicals, which are by nature about popular music, can have great music and dramatic insight, too. I propose that we stop being embarrassed by them, and I hope that producers and librettists continue to make the genre better. Great pop music can be celebrated well and enjoyably.” Sarah Lawson explains how, with examples.

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    Keeping Kabuki Populist – And Funny

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    “Compared with some other forms of Japanese theatre – Noh, for example – Kabuki had humble beginnings. It was made by common people for common people. … Other forms of Japanese theatre, such as Noh and Bunraku, subsist on government funding. Kabuki lives on ticket sales.”

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    So Why Was Julie Crosby Unceremoniously Dumped From the Women’s Project Theatre?

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    “The way it was handled has created a situation we fear is damaging to the Women’s Project’s reputation, especially as it typifies the very thing we are committed to fighting — the lack of acknowledgment of the contribution of women to the American theater”

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    True Open-Air Theatre Has Been Rare In Britain – But Now, Bring On The Picnics During ‘Timon Of Athens’

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    “‘It’s a different experience, that appeals to people who are not necessary theatergoers,’ said Mr Jackson. ‘We see people just sit and relax into the atmosphere, and feel more included in the whole experience.’”

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  • Visual

    Scaling Back Plans For New York’s Museum Of African Art

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    “After years of outsize promises and repeated postponements, officials now acknowledge that fund-raising travails have compelled them to scale back the grand design for the museum’s new home on Fifth Avenue.”

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    Japanese “Vagina Artist” Released From Jail Following Arrest On Obscenity Charges

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    Megumi Igarishi, a 42-year-old sculptor and illustrator who uses the professional name Rokudenashiko (roughly “little good-for-nothing”), spent a week in custody after being arrested for distributing obscene materials. She had sent contributors to a crowdfunding campaign a file for 3D printer that would produce a replica of her vagina.

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    When Will Scholars Get Around To Actually Studying Tutankhamun’s Tomb?

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    “‘The real curse is that too few scholars have devoted attention to the contents of the tomb,’ says [curator] Paul Collins, … [who] believes that specialists have shied away from serious study of the boy king’s tomb because he ‘so quickly became imbued with glamour and mystery’ in the public imagination.”

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    The Strangest Temple In Thailand

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    “Wat Rong Khun, or the White Temple, is one of over 33,000 Buddhist temples in Thailand. But it’s the only one that features a mural depicting a plane hitting the Twin Towers as Spiderman and an Angry Bird look on.”

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    Save The Corcoran Group Granted Standing To Oppose Merger In Court

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    “Judge Robert Okun ruled that nine members of the advocacy group Save the Corcoran must be admitted as intervening parties in a proceeding launched by the Corcoran last month to revise its 1869 charter” to allow a merger with the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University.

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  • Words

    What We Lose Of Books In E-Readers

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    “Regardless of their printed contents, books tell their own alternative stories, whether this be from smudges on the pages, or edges crinkled from a spilt drink; corners curled or margins dotted with sneaky annotations. Before self-service check-out systems, you could always tell how popular a library book was by how many pages were glued to the inside page, stamped with a list of past loan due dates.”

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    This Year’s Book Prize Nominees (Americans Included)

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    “Thirteen novels were named on the longlist for the prize which for more than 40 years has rewarded only Commonwealth writers. The rules changed last year, sparking fears that it would quickly be dominated by Americans.”

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    Why Don’t We Have Alternative “Director’s Cut” Versions Of Books?

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    “While the film industry eventually embraced the notion of a director’s cut and ran with it – ran, in fact, with the idea of releasing multiple versions of films, each definitive in its own, idiosyncratic way –publishing did not. Despite a few exceptions, there seems to be very little enthusiasm today for multiple editions of the same contemporary book.”

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    The Great English Novel Is Being Reinvented

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    “Fiction isn’t dying – but it is changing. The delivery mechanisms might change but we cannot get on without stories, especially not in an age and time when all the old certainties of God and State and Family and Capital are collapsing around us.”

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    Why Do Writers Have To Sound So Constipated When They Read Their Poetry?

    Gregory Orr

    “Poet Voice,” is the pejorative, informal name given to this soft, airy reading style that many poets use for reasons that are unclear to me. The voice flattens the musicality and tonal drama inherent within the language of the poem, and it also sounds overly stuffy and learned. In this way, Poet Voice does a disservice to the poem, the poet and poetry. It must be stopped.”

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    More Words

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