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  • Sony Cancels “The Interview” Release After American Movie Chains Refuse To Show It

    “On Wednesday afternoon, AMC Theaters, citing “the overall confusion and uncertainty” around the film, joined Carmike Cinemas, Cinemark and Regal Entertainment in dropping the film. Together, those exhibitors control more than 19,200 screens across the United States. Smaller American chains and Canada’s Cineplex Entertainment also canceled the film.”

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    How Online Is Powering The Art Market

    “Far from competing with physical fairs such as Art Basel, digital and social media have become an integral part of the event. In addition to 73,000 visitors, Art Basel Miami has 300,000 Facebook followers, 150,000 Twitter followers and 100,000 on Instagram.”

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    The Frick Museum Has Been Evolving Since It Was Created (So Maybe A Little Historical Perspective Is In Order?)

    “Past behaviors offer little guidance when deciding what and what not to keep. Change is messy; preservation must be balanced against needs, but also against quality of experience.”

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    War, Peace And A Culture Of Exceptionalism

    “The most famous ceasefire was among British and German regiments around Christmas Eve. German soldiers actually decorated their trenches with Christmas trees and began singing carols. British forces began singing back, and in a matter of hours over 100,000 troops were unofficially crossing into disputed territory to sing, exchange gifts, and celebrate with one another. This all occurred, mind you, during the second bloodiest conflict in European history.”

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    A Proposition: I’ll Pay You What You Paid For Your African Art (And Nothing More)

    To encourage private collectors in the West to repatriate such pieces, Shindika Dokolo hopes to set up a war chest funded by Angolan businesses, including the State oil firm Sonangol, to reimburse buyers who purchased such items in good faith. “I want to organise a business club around the idea of heritage and start buying it back. I want to create an instrument that is effective,” Dokolo says.

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    The Essential Ballet? It’s About Generosity

    “Again and again among dancers and teachers, I saw examples of generosity that were not simply random, but intrinsic to this world. The real-life counterparts of the ballet teacher who nurtures Billy Elliot and his talent turn out not to be the exceptions but the rule. The die-for-your-art histrionics of The Black Swan and The Red Shoes mercifully exist mostly in the realm of fiction.”

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    ‘Tis The Season For Kitsch (So Here’s Why Kitsch Is Bad – And Good)

    “Kitsch, in other words, is not about the thing observed but about the observer. It does not invite you to feel moved by the doll you are dressing so tenderly, but by yourself dressing the doll. All sentimentality is like this – it redirects emotion from the object to the subject, so as to create a fantasy of emotion without the real cost of feeling it.”

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    OMG! Our City Is OVERRUN With Nutcrackers! WHY???

    “I would call our Nutcracker The Great American Way Nutcracker! You get your Nutcracker in a half an hour, you can sit with your family, enjoy coffee, bagels, muffins, a balloon twister and dancing with the Nutcracker characters. And… photos with Santa! No mall lines!”

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    Have You Ever Noticed How Violent Kids’ Cartoons Are?

    “Rather than being the innocuous form of entertainment they are assumed to be,” writes a research team led by Ian Colman, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Ottawa, “children’s animated films are rife with on-screen death and murder.”

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    Freer And Sackler Galleries Put Images Of All Their Art Online (Here’s Why)

    “The technology pushes the boundaries of what it means to be a museum because it allows for unrestricted study and enjoyment of the collection. Next month’s release will include at least one image of each work — the majority in high-resolution — and the collection will be searchable and largely downloadable for non-commercial use.”

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    The Problem With Academic Books (For Everyone Involved)

    “There are certainly university press books that sell 350 books and that’s a copy sold to literally everybody in that sub-field and some libraries. So, that’s 100 percent market saturation. I consider that a kind of victory for a book.”

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    “Scandalous Desecration”: Restorers Paint Walls Of Chartres Cathedral; Architecture Critic Flips Out

    “Looking upward we then saw panels of blue faux marbre, high above them gilded column capitals and bosses (the ornamental knobs where vault ribs intersect), and, nearby, floor-to-ceiling piers covered in glossy yellow trompe l’oeil marbling, like some funeral parlor in Little Italy. How could this be happening, and why had we heard nothing about it before?”

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    Oldest Surviving Example Of Polyphonic Music Discovered By Chance In British Library

    “The scrap of music, which would have lasted no more than a few seconds, was written on the bottom of a page of a portrait of a saint and has been dated to around AD900. Although there are very early treatises on such music, the discovery is the earliest practical example intended for use by singers.”

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    All The World Really Is A Stage: Shakespeare’s Globe Actors Report Back From “Hamlet” Tour To Every Country On Earth

    “On 23 April this year, to mark the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, a company of 12 actors … set sail on an epic journey. Their mission: to take the world’s most famous play – Hamlet to every country in the world … during [a] two-year-long tour … Here, in personal diary entries, the players reflect on some of their experiences so far.”

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    The Shakespeare Staging That Made Live Audiences Faint And Retch Will Induce Nausea At A Cinema Near You

    “The Shakespeare’s Globe production of Titus Andronicus, which was so bloody it caused more than 100 audience members to faint or leave during its theatre run, is to go global as it is screened in cinemas across the world.”

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    25 Women Who Drove The Culture In 2014

    “Whether they sent us into a collective tizzy with their scandalous album covers or had us pumping our fists in favor of their truthful testimony, these 25 women (plus a few honorable mentions at the end) were the ones who got us talking, thinking, re-thinking, and maybe, just maybe, planning a revolution of our own.”

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    Sony Hackers Threaten Theaters That Show Kim Jong-Un Spoof “The Interview”

    “The threat was made in rambling emails sent to various news outlets Tuesday morning. [One] said, in part: ‘Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)'” Both cinema chains and the studio are in a difficult position, and the New York premiere has already been cancelled.

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    An Interview About “The Interview”, With Seth Rogen And James Franco

    Rogen: “No one has officially told me our movie, 100 percent, has proven to be the cause of any of this stuff. We’re not the first people to shed light on how crazy North Korea is, the myths that exist there and the oddities of the regime.”

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    Janis Martin, Mezzo-Turned-Wagnerian-Soprano, Dead At 75

    “To most opera lovers worldwide, Ms. Martin is best remembered for her potent mastery of the challenging soprano parts in the works of Wagner and Richard Strauss. She was a regular at the Bayreuth Festival in Germany, dedicated to Wagner’s music, and she appeared at the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Covent Garden, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and other leading opera houses.”

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    Norman Bridwell, Author Of “Clifford The Big Red Dog” Books, Dead At 86

    “To hear Norman Bridwell tell the story – and hundreds of millions of children around the world have read his tales for more than 50 years – Clifford the Big Red Dog almost never came to be.”

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    Andrew Litton Named Music Director Of New York City Ballet

    “It is unusual for a symphony conductor of Mr. Litton’s stature to decide to lead a ballet company ensemble: He is the music director of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in Norway, and was formerly music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.”

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    Arts Council England’s New CEO: Boss Of UK’s Classic FM

    “Arts Council England has appointed the managing director of Classic FM, the music radio station, to be its next chief executive. Darren Henley will take over at the country’s main arts funding body in 2015, replacing Alan Davey, who leaves after seven years in the role” to become controller of the BBC’s classical network, Radio 3.

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    Thanks To The Nobel, Americans Are Finally Paying Attention To Patrick Modiano

    “One of his most famous works, Missing Person,” … had sold just 2,031 copies before the prize was announced in October, and has since sold more than 13,600 copies. … Now, a big commercial publishing house has acquired Mr. Modiano’s latest novel, with the hope of drawing more American readers to his work.”

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    Walking The Paris Of Patrick Modiano’s Novels

    “There is probably no other writer like Modiano who invites his readers on a tour. Give me your hand, he says, and I’ll take you to the streets of Paris. He returns to places he knew many years ago, and demonstrates that very little has changed. He gives us a clear, concise, amazingly accurate map with which we can walk around the city.”

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    Is “Gone With the Wind” America’s Strangest Film?

    “Far from being simple, wholesome family entertainment, the film is an admiring portrait of a conniving, lying, mercenary seductress. It’s a valentine to the slave-owning South, and a poison-pen letter to the anti-slavery North. … It’s a romance that puts the hero and heroine at each other’s throats. And it’s an episodic coming-of-age story that keeps going for nearly four hours before reaching its abrupt, unresolved ending. In short, Gone with the Wind is a preposterous, almost unclassifiable mix of highly questionable elements. The wonder is not just that it’s America’s most beloved film, but that it isn’t America’s most hated.”

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    Alexei Ratmansky Recreates One Of Petipa’s Classic Ballets

    Marius Petipa more or less created what we now think of as classical ballet, but very few of his works have survived intact. “Together with Doug Fullington, an expert in Stepanov notation, he[Ratmansky] has painstakingly pieced together this 1881 Petipa ballet [Paquita], created for the Mariinsky Ballet of St. Petersburg.”

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    Why Materialism Doesn’t Really Make People Happy

    In a new press release from the American Psychological Association, “psychology professor Tim Kasser gives an interesting perspective from his research on just why placing a high value on stuff is no good. In a recent meta-analysis he published with colleagues from the University of Sussex, he found that materialism seems to undermine some of our deepest human needs.”

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    Remember That Old Lady’s Botched Fresco Restoration in Spain? Best Thing That Ever Happened To That Town

    “Grief [at the damaged painting] has turned to gratitude for divine intervention – the blessing of free publicity – that has made Borja, a town of just 5,000, a magnet for thousands of curious tourists eager to see her[the hapless restorer’s] handiwork, resurrecting the local economy.”

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    Top Posts From AJBlogs 12.16.14

    Restoration Scandal At Chartres Cathedral
    AJBlog: Real Clear Arts Published 2014-12-16

    The Middle Class Gets Crushed
    AJBlog: CultureCrash Published 2014-12-16

    Perform or Die
    AJBlog: Fresh Pencil Published 2014-12-16

    Recent Listening, Vinyly: Broadbent, Lowe, Horvitz, Chemical Clock, Kanda
    AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2014-12-15

    Have We Been Trying To Understand Race In The Wrong Way?

    The authors argue that “quantitative researchers should acknowledge that any one person’s racial identity is more like a collection of many different factors — from skin color, to neighborhood, to language, to socioeconomic status. With this insight, it becomes possible to study race not as a single, unchanging variable, but rather as a “a bundle of sticks” that can be pulled apart and carefully examined one by one.”

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    This Museum Sold Off Art Works For Years And Replaced It With Fakes

    “Between 1999 and 2014, museum workers replaced several original works by Russian and Soviet avant-garde artists, including Alexander Nikolayev, Richard-Karl Sommer and Victor Ufimtsev, who had lived and worked in Uzbekistan last century.”

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    If You Don’t Buy This Art Today, We’ll Burn It

    “We’ll get a nice old-timey metal trash can . . . (the art) will be up until midnight, then we’ll take down all the works that are going to be destroyed.”

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    What If We Made College Free? (It Actually Wouldn’t Cost That Much)

    “According to the most-recent calculations of Strike Debt, the debt-resistance group I work with, the cost would be relatively modest. The federal loan program is propped up by a motley assortment of subsidies and tax exemptions that amount to tens of billions of dollars.”

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    University Of Iowa Removes An Anti-Hate-Speech Art Work For Being “Offensive”

    “Created by Serhat Tanyolacar, a UI visiting professor and printmaking fellow, the klansman sculpture was decoupaged in newspaper coverage of racial tension and violence throughout the past 100 years. The piece was meant to highlight how America’s history of race-based violence isn’t really history and “facilitate a dialgoue,” as Tanyolacar told university paper The Gazette.”

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    Opera Birmingham Gets A New General Director

    “Wolfe, 43, is leaving his post as executive director of Fort Worth Opera to succeed John D. Jones, who has directed Opera Birmingham for 16 years.”

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    How Architecture Became Disconnected From The People Who Use It

    “The question is, at what point does architecture’s potential to improve human life become lost because of its inability to connect with actual humans?”

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    The Dancer Who Conquered Autism Through Ballet

    “I was diagnosed with autism when I was three, and I was always obsessed with dance. Anything movement-related I loved. My mother tried to put me in sports when I was younger even though I said I wanted to dance; she wanted to see if I could do anything else besides dance, maybe so I wouldn’t get bullied. But when I was six, she finally let me do my first ballet class. I stuck with it ever since.”

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    A Reborn NY City Opera? (It Could Happen)

    “NYCO Renaissance is, in fact, one of several suitors who have been angling to take over the City Opera name and assets, and the group still has to win approval from a bankruptcy judge. But Capasso and Niederhoffer have raised $2.6 million in pledges, garnered support from former City Opera musicians, and have planned an all-star tribute gala to the late City Opera maestro Julius Rudel in March.”

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    Romancing The Audience (More Than Putting On A Good Show)

    “In my experience as a reviewer, one of the biggest mistakes that performers and presenters can make is not respecting their audience. They make it a show all about themselves instead of seeing themselves as a vehicle of interpretation.”

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    Everyone Is Dumping On Humanities Scholars. But Here’s Why Their Research Methods Matter

    “Nowadays specialists can’t teach the survey courses of yesteryear. They haven’t read widely or thought about the big themes of history or literature (which of course was easier back when most ideas that mattered emanated from two continents). Instead they offer seminars focused on tiny questions and single authors and artists. Charismatic in their intellect, these professors seduce the most gifted students into imitating them. The university thus becomes a machine—as the critics endlessly repeat—for producing teachers and students who know more and more about less and less.”

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    Report: Big Drop In Spending On UK TV Programming (And A Corresponding Drop In Viewers)

    “There was a 34% decrease in spend on first-run UK-originated drama programming, from £487 million in 2008 to £323 million in 2013. UK-originated shows are those commissioned by or for a public service broadcaster, with a view to their first showing being on UK TV.”

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    Olivier Awards Invite Civilians To Become Judges

    “Members of the public can now apply to become judges of the 2016 Olivier Awards, after the Society of London Theatre opened applications. Alongside professional panellists, members of the public are required to judge four different categories: theatre, affiliate – which covers smaller, non-West End theatres – opera and dance.”

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    Matthew Bourne’s Proudest Achievement? Following Up “Swan Lake”

    “It became this massive hit and everyone was saying, ‘How can you follow that?’ It did what dance shows don’t normally do. It went into the West End and Broadway. It was almost impossible to follow it up, to try and build on that audience that loved that piece and show we could do more.”

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    Hilary Mantel’s “Assassination Of Margaret Thatcher” Story Brouhaha Starts Up Again

    BBC Radio 4 announced that the historical fantasy would be read on the popular Book at Bedtime broadcast, and the folks who fussed when the story was published this fall have resumed fussing. Says Mantel, “You’d think they’d learn. I was bemused when Lord Bell suggested the police should interest themselves in the case of a fictional assassination of a person who was already dead.”

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    “Morally Treasonous And Spectacularly Dishonorable”: Sony Hackers Are Bad, But Media Who Report Info From Hack Are Worse

    Aaron Sorkin: “I understand that news outlets routinely use stolen information. That’s how we got the Pentagon Papers, to use an oft-used argument. But there is nothing in these documents remotely rising to the level of public interest of the information found in the Pentagon Papers. … Every news outlet that did the bidding of the Guardians of Peace is morally treasonous and spectacularly dishonorable.”

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    Sony Hack: “Variety” Editor Feels Qualms About Revealing Info, But Rationalizes Anyway

    Andrew Wallenstein: “Let’s get real: The hackers are playing the press as pawns. Journalists are essentially doing their bidding by taking the choicest data excerpts and waving them around for the world to see, maximizing their visibility. … While I found a lot to question about the rationales, ultimately I’ve arrived at an uneasy peace with why the leaks just can’t be ignored.”

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    Could Sony Sue Media Outlets For Reporting Hacked Info?

    Over the weekend, star attorney David Boies wrote numerous news outlets on Sony’s behalf to warn that any leaked Sony documents should be destroyed, not published. Could the entertainment giant win a lawsuit over this? Probably not, argues law professor Eugene Volokh – if the media respect certain boundaries.

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    Software Glitch Drops Amazon UK Marketplace Prices To One Penny; Sellers Panic

    “There were Christmas shopping bargains galore on Amazon’s website over the weekend … for about an hour. Because of a technical glitch, the prices of thousands of items crashed to 1p – giving eagle-eyed customers a pre-Christmas treat while leaving scores of small family-owned businesses nursing heavy losses, with some warning they could enter the new year facing closure.”

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    Mark O’Connor Vs. Suzuki: A Violin Teacher Responds

    In the wake of O’Connor’s sharp attack on both the Suzuki method of violin instruction (O’Connor has just published his own primer) and Shinichi Suzuki himself, longtime teacher Kate O’Brien, an ex-Suzuki instructor, weighs in candidly on the method’s strengths and weaknesses.

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    Philadelphia’s Largest Professional Chorus To Disband

    “The Philadelphia Singers’ board voted to shut down after learning in November that the William Penn Foundation had turned down a request for a three-year grant for general support; after its executive director resigned; and in view of $125,000 in debt, said Michael Martin Mills, board vice president.”

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