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  • Dance

    Peter Sellars To Stage His First Dance Work

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    “[He] has directed operas and theater, collaborated with Toni Morrison and staged St. Matthew’s [sic] Passion with the Berlin Philharmonic. Now, he will turn his attention to Flex, a Brooklyn-born form of street dance, in a commission from the Park Avenue Armory [in New York].”

    How’s Modern Dance Doing In Vietnam?

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    “We have a history of war, but we are not trying to promote that, but rather bring the feeling of what we have through contemporary dance, through the eyes of a young generation.”

    When Bill T. Jones Met John Cage

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    “[Cage] literally represented for me everything cool and removed and sophisticated at a time when I was trying to wend my way into the art world.” The choreographer talks about the genesis of his dance-theater work Story/Time.

    “Dance Is An Intellectual Art Form”: Wayne McGregor On Choreography, Creativity, And Cognition

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    “We have this idea, partly because of the past, of choreographers just coming and dancers just doing as if they’re not thinking. We know that dance is as much a cognitive act as it is a physical act. That’s why I’ve been very interested in physical thinking. If it’s a cognitive act, how is it […]

    This 83-Year-Old Dancer Is Still Onstage

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    “‘Eat your heart out, Beyonce,’ she says watching herself do moves that are strikingly similar to the pop diva’s.”

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  • Ideas

    The Strange History Of The Ouija Board

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    It started with a pair of spiritualists in post-Civil-War New York; became a ubiquitous family pastime that was considered good, clean fun (and great for a date); and had its reputation ruined by The Exorcist. (It also told its first manufacturers what it wanted to be called.) (includes podcast)

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    How Do We Revive A Language When There Are No Native Speakers Left?

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    “It’s hard to find information on Tongva. There are no audio recordings of people speaking the language, just a few scratchy wax cylinder recordings of Tongva songs. There are additional word lists from scholars, explorers, and others dating from 1838 to 1903.”

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    Are Some People Hard-Wired For Bravery And Others For Cowardice?

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    “Which trait increases my chances of survival or my chances to reproduce? What would be most adaptive is switching from one response to the other, depending the situation, but our underlying biology cannot switch back and forth that quickly”

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    Mindfulness, Shmindfulness – Zoning Out Is Good For You (Within Reason)

    Mindfulness Shmindfulness

    “One of the biggest misconceptions people have about mindfulness is that you can train yourself to stay in this mindful state all of the time. … Even if you spent 20 years in a Tibetan monastery, you would not be able to stay in a mindful state. We are not, evolutionarily, designed to stay in this blissful, present-moment awareness state.”

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  • Issues

    Smithsonian Picks An Interim Leader

    Horvath, Albert (Acting Secy)

    “The Smithsonian Institution has appointed Albert G. Horvath, its current senior finance official, as its acting leader for the first half of next year, until the incoming secretary, David J. Skorton, can take up his position in July.”

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    The Town That’s Discovering It’s Built Out Of Jewish Tombstones

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    “Back in May, construction work for a new supermarket began in the center of Brest, a city in Belarus on the border with Poland. In a turn of events that wouldn’t seem out of place in a horror film, more than 450 Jewish gravestones have since been discovered in the foundations of the houses that have been demolished to make way for the store.”

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    New York’s Latest Graffiti Crackdown May Be Backfiring

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    “Busting graffiti artists distracts the local cops from fighting serious crime, like robberies or homicides, which have increased in Long Island City’s 114th Precinct, where 5Pointz is located, over the past year.”

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    U.S. Fails In Roman Polanski Extradition Attempt

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    “He has been wanted by US police since 1977 after fleeing the country before he could be sentenced for having sex with a 13-year-old girl.”

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  • Media

    A New Golden Age Of Storytelling

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    “This is the opportunity we all have in front of us: to redefine storytelling for an always-on world. It is a new Golden Age with an ever-changing set of disruptive technologies that offer creative talent the opportunity to try new things and figure out what works.”

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    A Kashmiri “Hamlet” Becomes Bollywood’s Most Praised, And Most Attacked, Movie Of The Year

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    Haider, an adaptation of the Shakespeare play set amid the bloody 1990s conflict in Kashmir, has won rapturous praise from Indian cinephiles and film critics – and has enraged Hindu nationalists, who accuse the movie of glorifying terrorists and justifying ethnic cleansing. (Hmm, where have we heard that sort of thing before?)

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    Stan Lee, Creator Of ‘X-Men’ And ‘Spider-Man’ And Other Comics, Beats His Namesake Company In Court

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    “The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals finds Stan Lee Media Inc.’s claim of owning Spider-Man, the X-Men and other characters to be ‘implausible'”

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    Movie Theatres Ban Google Glass

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    “If it can record, the new guidelines say, shut it off and put it away.”

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    Fandango, The Movie Ticket Seller, Joins The Content Producer Race

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    “The deal is part of Fandango’s ongoing effort to expand its offerings as a one-stop-shop for moviegoers. The site now offers reviews, commentary, celebrity interviews, trailers, guidance for families, and of course, their well-known ticket purchasing service.”

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  • Music

    Turmoil At West Australia Opera

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    “The company was recently heavily criticised for proposing a two year embargo on staging Bizet’s Carmen due to its depictions of smoking in an ill-judged attempt to curry favour with their new corporate sponsor, Healthway. Now it has been announced that the company’s Artistic Director Joseph Colaneri and Chorus Master Joseph Nolan will both no longer be working with the company.”

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    Carnegie Hall To Offer Free Livestream Of Recitals

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    “Starting next week, Carnegie Hall will go global, partnering with the six-year-old classical-music portal medici.tv to stream [four] concerts … All will be streamed live and remain available for 90 days. And all of them will be free.”

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    A School Behaves Like An Orchestra, And An Orchestra Behaves Like A School

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    “Both initiatives underscored the extent to which the difficulties facing classical music in the 21st century are forcing venerable institutions to adapt, if not reinvent themselves.”

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    Does Going On A World Tour Make A Symphony World Class?

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    “In Chicago Symphony lore, it was the orchestra’s first-ever overseas tour — a massive six-week, nine-country, 15-venue, 25-concert trip led by music director Georg Solti in 1971 — that vaulted it to world-class status while changing cultural perceptions of Chicago, with the orchestra greeted by a ticker-tape parade upon its return home.”

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    What American Orchestras Are Playing This Season: Crunching The Numbers

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    “[We] gathered data on the 2014-15 seasons that have been programmed by 21 major American orchestras … [and] created a database.” Here are some early stats on how much music by female composers and American composers are being performed and which composers (living and dead) the orchestras are playing most.

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  • People

    Ten Years On, Theo Van Gogh’s Murder Still Haunts The Netherlands

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    A decade ago Sunday, the filmmaker, media figure and right-wing provocateur was shot and had his throat slit by a young Moroccan Dutchman who claimed he was defending the name of Allah. “In this tidy country of 17 million, which prides itself on tolerance, the murder opened a raw and polarizing debate … which is still raging.”

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    Crisis Management, PR Firm, Speakers Bureaus Drop Jian Ghomeshi

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    With a second woman coming forward by name to accuse him of assault and a former Q producer giving details of sexual harassment, both Ghomeshi’s longtime PR reps and top crisis-management firm Navigator have dropped him as a client, as have two firms who booked him for speaking engagements.

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    One Woman Defends Jian Ghomeshi, Saying Everything He Did With Her Was Consensual

    jian again

    “I do want people to know how thorough our consent talks were.” So (naturally) she contacted Dan Savage. Dan offers a transcript of his interview with her and offers his attempt to square her account with those of his accusers.

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    Galway Kinnell, Poet Of Nature, Religion And Human Rights, Dead At 87

    galway kinnell

    “He also wrote frequently about death. ‘The Book of Nightmares’ was inspired by the horrors of the Vietnam War. But as angry as he could be, he sometimes considered mortality more gently and wistfully.”

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  • Theatre

    Bradley Cooper Plays A Man Who’s Haunted Him For Decades

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    Starring in The Elephant Man on Broadway “is serious business for the actor: a scoop of earth following his gradual but precipitous soar into the showbiz stratosphere, with its thinner, giddy-making air.” It’s also a role he’s been fixated on since age 12.

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    Theaters Are (Finally?) Recovering From The Recession, Says Report

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    “Earned income was up an impressive 40.8 percent (adjusted for inflation), although total attendance was up only 0.4 percent.”

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    Australian Playwright Says It’s Time For The Return Of Radio Plays

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    “The internet means a lot of people can listen to the [BBC] World Service online. No writer is going to turn up their nose at a potential 40 million listeners.”

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    Last Ditch Efforts To Prevent Strikes In London’s West End

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    “The union is seeking London living wage – £8.80 – for workers on three pay grades below that rate, and a 6% rise for all other members.”

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    Philadelphia’s Prince Music Theater Calls It Quits

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    “Having received no offers for a takeover, the organization that occupies the Prince Music Theater on Friday terminated its lease with the owners of the building on Chestnut Street just west of Broad Street. American Music Theater Festival, founded in 1984, also intends to dissolve. The future of the building is uncertain.”

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  • Visual

    750-Year-Old City From Genghis Khan Era Discovered

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    “Archaeologists with the Saratov Regional Museum of Local Lore have discovered the Christian quarter of Ukek, shedding light on the Christian people who lived under the Khan’s rule. Ukek was a multicultural city, where a variety of religious beliefs were practiced including Islam, Christianity and Shamanism.”

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    What Ancient Greek And Roman Statues Look(ed) Like In Color

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    Most people assume that classical statuary was mostly of pure white marble, a sort of pure source of Western civilization. But scholars have known for at least a century that most Greek and Roman statues were brightly painted – and now an exhibition in Copenhagen is trying to reconstruct their original appearance.

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    D.C. Isn’t That Exciting A Town, But The Hirshhorn Museum’s New Director Has Big Plans

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    “I hope this means we are able to come up with another kind of new bold vision that has the potential to be a real game-changer in terms of contemporary art and the way technology impacts contemporary art.”

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    A ‘Nasty, Glorious, Freewheeling’ Alternative Art History For The U.S.

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    “It’s possible to create a neat and tidy map tracing the progress of American art over the last 50 years. Yes, you can draw some sort of shape connecting Pop Art to Minimalism to Conceptual Art, highlighting the famed (often white and male) artists associated with each. … But it’s a stagnant, small portrait.”

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    Italy Hid This Leonardo Self-Portrait From The Nazis So It Wouldn’t Give Hitler Magical Powers

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    “It is said that just before taking an exam, students would do their last-minute revision in the Royal Library above the vault. Legend has it that studying near Leonardo’s genius can somehow rub off.”

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  • Words

    Weird Fiction, Weird Writers

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    “For a fiction writer, editing an anthology offers multiple lessons. You learn directly from the stories, but also from the lives of the writers and from the process of acquiring the stories. The information you gather seems more like intelligence, because you’re often a detective trying to solve an inexplicable case.”

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    The History of Gay Publishing in One Career

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    An interview with Michael Denneny, who co-founded the pathbreaking literary magazine Christopher Street and was the first man to make a career out of editing and publishing serious gay novels.

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    Bookstore MFA

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    “At some point, it’s just you and the poems. You haven’t been told to read a poem, you haven’t been assigned a poem to critique, you haven’t been told a book’s really great, so you’re just picking up books that either speak to you or don’t. You’re just looking through book after book after book trying to find something engaging.”

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    American Lit’s Superagent Lets Loose

    Andrew-Wylie

    At the International Festival of Authors in Toronto, Andrew Wylie “call[ed] Amazon ‘the equivalent of ISIS,’ 50 Shades of Grey ‘one of the most embarrassing moments in Western culture,’ and self-publishing ‘the aesthetic equivalent of telling everyone who sings in the shower they deserve to be in La Scala’.”

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    Enhanced Ebooks Won’t Go Away Just Because Atavist Books Closed Up

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    “What does this mean for authors? Should we give up on interactive fiction? No, I don’t think so, but I do think we need to be aware from the outset it that it may have to be limber enough to straddle several mediums and formats.”

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