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  • Since We’re Talking Civil War, Where *Are* All Of The Monuments?

    “The animated map shows how Union and Confederate markers accumulated over time and where. It also allows you to compare and contrast the language with which the two sections valorized their respective causes. As time progresses, monuments dot the map, accelerating at certain historical moments.”

    If You Think Most Theatre Is Overrated, Perhaps You’re … Right

    “The truth is that with any art form you have to wade through a lot of less good stuff to find the gems, and there is a purpose in the less good stuff because that’s how artists, novelists, film-makers and theatre-makers learn. And for the reader or the audience there is a real pleasure in going on a journey with an author or a theatre-maker and seeing them develop over a period of time. If everything was astonishing it would be very dull.”

    Maybe London, And Its Architecture, And Its Character, Aren’t Actually In Trouble?

    “I am not a Londonphobe. I don’t hate the city. I am not planning to leave. I do not oppose all building – I don’t think we are building enough, or in the best ways.”

    Apple Music Is Actually A Return To Radio, Right?

    Apple Music, or at least part of it, is “a simple but radical disruption of the individualized listening experience we’ve become accustomed to online. It’s in essence the opposite of what Apple Music’s predecessor, the iTunes Store, did more than a decade ago.”

    London’s Antiquities Buyers Are Making ISIS A Cash-Rich Terror Group

    “Buyers are not getting the message that the purchase of such antiquities is enabling war and terror in the Middle East. ‘These are blood antiquities,’ says Altaweel, adding that attempts to make the cultural-heritage case for more action to stop trade in looted goods have not yielded results. ‘What might work more is to say that this is funding death.'”

    The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain Wins Its Battle With A German ‘Copycat’

    “The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (UOGB) – the longest-running group of its kind – took action against The United Kingdom Ukulele Orchestra (TUKUO), which played its first gig just four years ago, complaining it was a ‘copycat’ group and could lead to fans booking for the wrong event.”

    The Brother-Sister Dancing Duo Starring On Broadway This Year

    City Ballet dancers Megan Fairchild – who’s starring in On the Town – and Robbie Fairchild – nominated for a Tony for An American in Paris – are used to dancing together, but now they’re on Broadway, they have to FaceTime to see each other. Megan: “This is connecting us and bringing us closer in a different way. When we go back to the ballet, we’ll have this experience that we can only talk about with each other.”

    What In The Heck Happened To The Suddenly Closed Gene Autry Museum?

    “The museum, which opened in 1991 under the same roof as the town’s post office, contained movie posters, record albums, storybook covers, coloring books, tin lunchboxes, cereal boxes and other memorabilia and trinkets featuring images of the late actor and recording artist.” But is any of that left? Not even the director is talking.

    Is AirBnB A Threat To Urban Artist Spaces?

    “The end result of an AirBnB’d neighborhood is not a profitable artist collective. Rather, it’s an international bedroom community of “post-tourist” upwardly mobile workers, an intermittently empty complex of condos for creatives who can parachute in, patronize local cafes, and then escape as quickly as they arrived.”

    Five Things Classical Musicians Need To Do To Survive

    “People can always tell when they are being patronised, and the only way classical music will manage to survive is to reach wider audiences by believing in what it has to offer, and not by trying to change what it is.”

    China’s Great Wall Endangered

    “Citing a recent report from the Great Wall of China Society, the newspaper claims that more than 30% of the original structure has disappeared. Approximately 74.1% is poorly preserved, and only 8.2% is in good condition. While concerns about the wall’s condition have deepened in recent years, the study appears to be the first to actually quantify the problem.”

    Why Do We Use Four-Letter Words?

    “The use of offensive, obscene or taboo language is a linguistic feature in most human cultures, from the English “f**k off” to the French merde (sh**), and from the Indian sala (brother-in-law) to the Arabic yil’an abu ommak (curse your grandfather). While people tend to think of the “four-letter words” as modern phenomena, the reality is that the earliest recorded uses of these words date from 1,000 years ago (“f**k” is one of the most recent, from 1503).”

    What Is Lincoln Center’s Place In The Arts World?

    “If a new generation of middle-class Americans chooses to move back into the inner cities, large-scale performing-arts centers might start to make fiscal and artistic sense. But even if that should happen, Lincoln Center will never again be culturally influential in the way that it was in the ’70s and ’80s.”

    Flip: Turns Out Casting A Strong Female Movie Lead Is Good For Box Office

    “New mid-year figures suggest that not only do movies with women in lead roles sell well, but there might even be a link between female leads and overall attendance boosts.”

    Top AJBlogs Posts for July 2, 2015

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    Measuring Hispanic Audience Clout In America

    “The Hispanic market has grown from $1 trillion in buying power in 2010 to $1.5 trillion this year, according to Nielsen data. And Nielsen and Google surveys find members of that audience to be among both the heaviest viewers of TV and the earliest and most active users of new media technology.”

    BBC Slashes 1000 Jobs As Britons Migrate Away From TV To The Internet

    “Some Britons have discarded their televisions — the main source of home viewing for half a century — in favour of tablets which many younger people use to watch programmes over a wireless Internet connection. The BBC’s Head of News, James Harding, last month predicted that by 2025, most people in the United Kingdom would probably get their television programmes over the Internet.”

    Are Too Many Movies Being Made?

    “Let’s talk about this supposed crisis of overchoice in the film business. In the past couple of years, there have been a lot more movies released. Depending on where you live, there may be twice as many movies being released in theatres each week as there were in 2000.”

    Amazon’s New Pay-Per-Page Scheme Offers Shockingly Tiny Share To Authors

    “In other words, for an author to make $1.30 on an ebook rental, he or she would have to write at least 220 pages, and the reader would have to flip through every page. As a literary editor told The Guardian, this could hit nonfiction writers and children’s book authors particularly hard, since their books tend to fall on the shorter side.”

    Music Consumption Up 14 Percent In 2015

    “Nielsen Music’s 2015 U.S. mid-year report, released Thursday, shows a 14% increase in music consumption over the first six months of last year. What’s driving the increase? For one thing, on-demand streaming, which nearly doubled year over year, rising 92%.”

    Curtis Student Wins Top Tchaikovsky Violin Prize

    “Yu-Chien “Benny” Tseng won the silver medal, second prize, in the Moscow competition, whose results were announced Wednesday. No gold award was given this year, which is not unusual. The Taipei-born violinist came to Curtis in 2008, and the following summer, at age 14, played Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Mann Center.”

    A Contradictory Story About When (And How) Harper Lee’s Novel Was Found

    “The discrepancy between the two accounts raises questions about whether the book was lost and accidentally recovered, and about why Ms. Lee would not have sought to publish it earlier.”

    In Its Most Challenging Year, Whitworth Museum Wins £100,00 Art Fund Prize As UK Museum Of The Year

    “The Whitworth underwent the largest physical transformation in its 125-year history in 2014. The project doubled its size and connected the building with its surrounding park. During its redevelopment the Whitworth continued to offer pop-up projects all over the city, maintaining established audiences and building new ones ahead of its February reopening.”

    Young Minimalist – The Disappearing La Monte Young

    “Yet none of his major compositions are in print, he rarely performs, and he places such extensive restrictions on performances of his music that it’s rarely heard. He has all but disappeared, by his own hand.”

    The Curious Remaking Of David Foster Wallace

    “He has become a character, an icon, and in some circles a saint. A writer who courted contradiction and paradox, who could come on as a curmudgeon and a scold, who emerged from an avant-garde tradition and never retreated into conventional realism, he has been reduced to a wisdom-dispensing sage on the one hand and shorthand for the Writer As Tortured Soul on the other.”

    Did Smooth Jazz Die On The Radio Because Of Bad Ratings Data?

    “Smooth jazz was at the edge of a cliff. The Portable People Meter could have helped pull the format back or push it over. It turns out PPM gave it a swift kick right over the edge.”

    Can A Theatre Critic Be A Good Playwright?

    “Does writing regularly about theatre make you a stronger playwright? I feel I’ve benefited from soaking up others’ work for years; I’m in a constant state of inspiration. (Sometimes I have to tell my own characters to pipe down so I can focus on the show.) My defense has always been that I was an artist—acting and directing Off-Off Broadway—before I became a critic. But there has to be some level of talent to nurture in the first place. If you have an ear for dialogue, an eye for structure, a feel for storytelling, reviewing can sharpen those gifts.”

    Network Bans “Dukes Of Hazzard” Reruns. Why?

    “The flag will remain charged whether publicly visible or not, and so TV Land banning The Dukes of Hazzard is a banal gesture of how little we are prepared to confront the horror of Charleston, the continuing gritty day-to-day horror of all kinds of hatred aimed at all kinds of minorities.”

    Misty Copeland’s Promotion At ABT Signals New Era For Company

    “Along with Ms. Copeland’s ascendance, the company’s other, less-heralded promotions announced Tuesday suggest a new era at Ballet Theatre—one with a stronger emphasis on promoting dancers who have made a commitment to the company, especially in the early stages of their training.”

    Sotheby’s Just Had Its Biggest Ever Sale Of Contemporary Art

    “Warhol’s ‘One Dollar Bill (Silver Certificate)’ fetched £20.9m, smashing its pre-sale estimate of £13-18m. This was Warhol’s first such work of a dollar, painted by hand in 1962. A bidding frenzy powered Lucien Freud’s 2002 work ‘Four Eggs on a Plate’, which was originally a gift to the late Duchess of Devonshire, to sell for £989,000, nearly ten times the pre-sale estimate of £100-£150,000.”

    Big Changes Ahead For American Public Media? (An Ominous Memo Leaks)

    “Some inside the public-radio walls are speculating that the reason for the siren has to do with the struggle to get institutional funding, a fairly common problem these days. An APM spokesperson denies that is the case. In fact, this person says, APM is growing and is working under a balanced budget.”

    Greece Needs Money. Britain Wants The Parthenon Marbles. A Deal To Be Made?

    “For the last few years, amidst her financial crisis, Greece has flirted with the idea of selling off state historical assets. Since Greek independence, Graeco-British relations have been shadowed by the Elgin marbles: relief panels from the Parthenon, along with major pediment sculptures, which were purchased by the 7th Earl of Elgin in 1798.”

    Paris Okays Its First Skyscraper In 40 Years – A Giant Pyramid

    “A common sight in most major capitals, skyscrapers have faced deep opposition in Paris ever since the 300-metre high Eiffel Tower was built for the 1889 Universal Exposition. Paris’s socialist mayor, Anne Hidalgo, diluted opposition to the new Tour Triangle last November after some of its planned office space was sacrificed for childcare and cultural centres.”

    The Smithsonian’s Air And Space Museum Is Falling Apart (Here’s Why)

    “The Air and Space Museum, designed by Hellmuth Obata and Kassabaum Architects (HOK), is marked by its four marble-clad pavilions, separated by three recessed steel-and-glass atria. Construction started in 1972 and continued until the museum opened on July 1, 1976. It has undergone basic repairs since, but the systems and materials are running on borrowed time in part because certain building components were “downgraded” as part of the original construction to reduce cost and hit the stunningly low $40 million budget.”

    So This Is The End Of iTunes

    “Apple still makes billions per year on iTunes downloads. But Spotify, Pandora, and other startups have eroded that business, first with their free streaming services and more recently with a paid subscription model. It’s been clear for a while now that streaming is the music industry’s future: iTunes Store sales dropped an alarming 14 percent in 2014 while revenue in the streaming sector jumped 28 percent. So Apple had a choice: Hold fast to a fading business model, or hasten the transition by getting out in front of it. It made the only sensible call.”

    Russian Wins Tchaikovsky Piano Competition

    “Russian Dmitry Masleyev on Wednesday won first prize for the piano at the prestigious Tchaikovsky international music competition in Moscow.”

    Are The Arts Dying Because Of Indifference?

    “For while the fine arts can survive a hostile or ignorant public, or even a fanatically prudish one, they cannot long survive an indifferent one. And that is the nature of the present Western response to art, visual and otherwise: indifference.”

    Book Subscription Service Stops Offering Romance And Erotica Titles Because Its Readers Read Them Too Much

    “Scribd appears to have slightly underestimated just how much can be consumed at their all-you-can-eat literary buffet – especially by fans of romance. Because Scribd has to pay the authors of the books they make available on their site, it is now shelling out more money than it can make back in subscriptions, thanks to the voracious appetites of romance and erotica readers.”

    The 12 Most Controversial Opera Productions

    Opera has never been a stranger to controversy. It’s part of its allure. Here are twelve opera productions that shocked…

    Is It Time To get Rid Of Computers In Education?

    “If we want schools to be democratizing, then we need to stop and consider how computers are likely to entrench the very opposite. Unless we stop them.”

    Most Expensive West End Theatre Ticket Tops £200 (A Complete List Of Ticket Prices)

    “Top price seats for The Book of Mormon have reached a record-high of £202.25. This is an increase of a third on last year’s most expensive seat in the survey, which came in at £152.25 and was also The Book of Mormon.”

    The Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto We All Know And Love? Turns Out It’s Not The Version The Composer Intended

    “You can hear the differences immediately. Those massive chords we’re all so used to at the start of the piano part? They’re supposed to be arpeggiated as lyrical, harp-like consecrations of the harmony, not bashed out like military hammer-blows, and they were marked to be played at a lower dynamic than they are in the Siloti version, and they’re also an octave lower.”

    Remembering Gunther Schuller

    “Although he coined the expression “third stream” in the late 1950s as a suitable epithet for his own amalgam of classical and jazz forms, his music was technically complex and demanding. Hence it never secured a wide and sympathetic audience in his lifetime.”

    How Your Personality Affects Your Creativity

    Researchers “found that focused attention generally decreased people’s creative performance, but focused individuals still did better than mind-wanderers when both personality types tried to solve problems analytically.”

    Why Does The Work Of Great Artists Get Destroyed?

    The motivation for destroying an artist’s work is often shadowy, and always riven with questions of ownership.

    There’s Almost Never A Good Reason To Include A Rape Scene In Art

    “Because rape is widely acknowledged as a Very Serious Topic, there’s also a tendency to treat rape scenes as a means to be edgy or shocking. You know, as a way of creating really serious, mature content. Most of the time, however, this approach radiates nothing so much as ignorance and immaturity.”

    Why Do Songwriters Use The Same Titles Over And Over Again?

    Copyright law doesn’t stop songwriters picking song titles that have already been used, unless that title has acquired a “secondary meaning”. So, if you decided to publish a song called “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, a court would probably rule that you were trying to cause deliberate confusion.

    James Patterson Gives Money For Books To 127 Schools

    “In March, Patterson invited librarians, teachers and principals to apply for $1,000 to $10,000 grants. Scholastic Reading Club, a division of children’s publisher Scholastic, pledged to match each grant with bonus points that can be used for books and classroom materials. More than 28,000 applications came pouring in.”

    Misty Copeland Talks About Being Promoted To Principal At ABT

    Ms. Copeland said she had been pleased to see more racially diverse audiences turn out at some of her performances in the past year. “From the day that I met my manager, Gilda Squire, she asked me, ‘What do you want to do?’ ” she recalled. “And I said, besides continue dancing at A.B.T., I want to bring more people to ballet, I want to see more people that look like me on the stage, in the school, and in the audience — on the board.”

    The Day Columbia Records Dumped Four Of The Jazz Greats

    “There are different versions of how Ornette Coleman, Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, and Charles Mingus were let go by Columbia, over the years tending to crystallize in a single-day narrative that’s sometimes been referred to as “Bad Day at Black Rock,” a nickname for Columbia’s midtown Manhattan headquarters that also evoked a noir film of the 1950s.”

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