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  • New Musical Loses Half Its Cast Amid Delays And Dissension

    Five actors and four dancers will be leaving the 19-person cast of Dusty, a new show about the singer Dusty Springfield, by the end of August. The producers of the show, which began performances in an Off-West End theatre in late May, keep postponing the press night.

    Is The Next Bolaño A Middle-Class Brazilian Housewife Who Died Almost 40 Years Ago?

    “No one converts the uninitiated into devout believers as suddenly and as vertiginously as Clarice Lispector, the Latin American visionary, Ukrainian-Jewish mystic, and middle-class housewife and mother so revered by her Brazilian fans … She writes like a medieval saint who time-traveled to a high-rise apartment building in Rio and took up chain-smoking and visiting fortune-tellers.”

    Ernest Hemingway, Godfather Of Long-Form Journalism

    “Unlike Joyce’s innovations, Hemingway’s experimental fusion of fiction and nonfiction [in Green Hills of Africa] remained largely at the level of theory – but it has proven to be even more enduringly influential. Hemingway’s stream has become hard to recognize and to distinguish, because it has become the mainstream.”

    Archaeology Frauds – They’re A Lot Of Trouble, So Why Would Scientists, Even Crooked Ones, Go To The Bother Of Perpetrating Them?

    “There is a reason that we keep buying into hoaxes such as the ‘Shroud of Turin’ or the ‘Wife of Jesus’ fragment.” (Note: This article begins with an actual three-archaeologists-walk-into-a-bar joke – it’s a recently excavated prehistoric bar, of course.)

    Republics Of Letters: How Medieval Scribes Fashioned Modern Writing

    A millennium after the Greeks created European civilization’s first written culture, the scholar Alcuin and his monks at Charlemagne’s court fused Roman and Celtic scripts to create the alphabet we use today – and established standards and rules such as leaving a space between words and beginning sentences with a capital letter.

    Motels, Marrakech, And Mouths: From The Travel Journals Of Lawrence Ferlinghetti

    “I find a variety store-bar called the Sans-Souci. Inside is a drunk loudmouth of about 50 and a platinum blonde who looks like she’s been thru all the mills and talks tough. The drunk is saying: Well, if you waz ever in a war, you’d see something. She says: I ain’t gettin near no war! I’m not thinkin of wars, I’m thinkin of prisons!”

    Top Posts From AJBlogs 07.30.15

    Peter Brant’s Brands: Whither ARTnews and Art in America?
    AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2015-07-30

    The Whole-Tone Hypothesis
    AJBlog: PostClassic Published 2015-07-30

    So you want to see a show?
    AJBlog: About Last Night Published 2015-07-30


    Behind The Merger Of ArtNews and Art In America

    “Whatever happens with the merged magazines, it looks bad. You can read it as another chapter in the sad decline of print. But scrutinizing the tea leaves, you can also see it as another augury that the discourse of art is more and more subordinate to fashion-obsessed celebrity and short-term finance.”

    Why Are So Many Companies Giving Away Their Intellectual Property? (Hint: It’s Not Charity)

    “It’s not happening for altruistic reasons. In his keynote at the O’Reilly Open Source Conference in Portland, Oregon last week, Cloud Foundry Foundation CEO Sam Ramji argued that the shift is being driven by economics.”

    Atlanta’s High Museum Gets A New Director

    At the Philbrook, Randall Suffolk boosted attendance by 63 percent and almost tripled participation in educational programs. “We’ve tried to reinvent our relationship with our community,” he said. Suffolk spearheaded the planning for Philbrook Downtown, a 30,000-square-foot satellite facility that opened in 2013.

    Our Culture Is Dead. (No, Really)

    Thanks to the “massification” or “democratization” of culture, we can all claim to be cultured even if we have never read a book, listened to a symphony, or attended an art gallery. Eliot said that “higher culture” is the domain of an elite. Vargas Llosa is in favor of putting an end to “morally repugnant” elites which are at variance with our egalitarian ideals. In doing so, however, we achieve “a pyrrhic victory” whereby we dumb down and become too all-inclusive: “everything is culture and nothing is.”

    What’s The Job Of Philosophy? To Make You Happy? Or…

    “It is an oft-repeated idea that philosophy in its modern, professional form has become detached from what was, in ancient times, a founding ideal: to teach people how to live well. In today’s university, the emphasis is on the search for the truth about whichever subject lies at hand, regardless of how, if at all, such truths change what you do when you leave the classroom. So while students often report finding philosophy “therapeutic,” they do so in passing, somewhat guiltily.”

    Violette Verdy On What Makes A Great Dancer

    A musical dancer helps you to see and feel the music in your own body; a dancer with a superior musicality goes even further, playing against the music, entering into a conversation with it, bending it to her own wishes. This is the kind of dancer Verdy was. Such musicality is innate.

    Music So Intense You Get “Skin Orgasms”?

    “We normally only respond like this to experiences that might ensure or endanger our survival – food, reproduction, or the terrifying plummet of a rollercoaster. How can music – hardly a life-or-death pursuit – move the mind and the body as powerfully as sex?”

    Disabled Characters And The Theatre – Some Considerations

    “Why is one considered a beacon of acting talent for playing a disabled character convincingly? Why is it a common expectation that these actors will transform into characters whose experiences they can never truly understand? And, perhaps the most important question: if able-bodied actors continue to be cast in these roles, what opportunities are left for disabled actors?”

    Why Charging Admission Might Be A Good Idea For UK Museums

    “Sometimes you have to think the unthinkable. If we want museums to prosper and thrive in a harsh economic climate with central government talking about 40% cuts, an entrance fee may be the best way forward. And it may have a good side.”

    Billionaire Starts International Art Fair In Seattle, Gets Top Galleries To Come

    “I’ve been going to the Venice Biennale for at least a decade and always enjoy the stimulation of seeing the work of new and up-and-coming artists,” Allen, who co-founded Microsoft Corp. with Bill Gates, said in a telephone interview. “In 2013 I started thinking, ‘what’s keeping us from doing this in Seattle?’”

    Why Do People Dress Like Slobs To Go To The Theatre?

    “When people were invited onstage at a recent performance of “Penn & Teller on Broadway,” many women looked as if they had stepped out of a jazzercise class, while men ambled around in hideous cargo shorts.”

    Stage Fright – What Exactly Is It, And What’s Behind It?

    “Stage fright has been aptly described as ‘self-poisoning by adrenaline'” – the fight-or-flight response. “But what Cro-Magnon man needed upon finding a bear in his cave is not what a modern person needs in order to play King Lear. Without the release of abrupt action, the hyperactivation becomes, basically, a panic attack.”

    How A Stolen Rodin Was Tracked Down And Recovered After 24 Years

    The bronze cast of Young Girl with Serpent was taken from a Beverly Hills home in 1991. The story of its discovery and restitution features an ace investigator, a sharp-eyed Rodin scholar, a recalcitrant dealer, and a filing mistake.

    The 100 Best Movies Of All Time, As Chosen By Actors

    The number-one film may come as something of a surprise …

    Now That Americans Are Eligible For The Booker Prize, There Are Five Of Them On This Year’s Longlist

    That’s five out of 13 in total. (The Brits only got three.) One of those five is a literary agent, and another – possibly the least famous of the group – is the bookmakers’ early favorite to win.

    Dramatizing Egypt’s Political And Social Issues With A Bedroom Farce

    Threesome, by Yussef El Guindi, “begins as a bawdy bedroom comedy whose main characters, a heterosexual Egyptian-American couple, invite a white American man into their bed. Over two acts it transforms into something darker, as all three grapple with the fallout of sexual assault, infidelity, war and the pain of lost hope, both political and personal.”

    Can Arabic Literature Ever Be Fully Understood In English?

    “In some ways, reading all this Arabic literature in English has been like listening in on a foreign-language recording when one understands the words’ meanings, but not the allusions, nor the jokes, nor the underlying rhythms. Some of this woodenness can be blamed on inadequate translations. But some of it falls to our historical blind spots.”

    ‘I Would Have Jumped Off A Roof For Mao': Li Cunxin, ‘Mao’s Last Dancer’, From The Cultural Revolution To The 21st-Century West

    “Forced into ballet as a child in Mao’s China, Li Cunxin defected to the US and had to work as a stockbroker to support his family back home. But he never quit dancing. As he brings the Queensland Ballet to Britain, he talks about his traumas and triumphs – and shock at seeing people take their privileged lives for granted.”

    Harper Lee’s Attorney Takes Over Another Piece Of The ‘Mockingbird’ Brand: The Annual Play In Monroeville

    Tonja Carter, who rediscovered the manuscript of Go Set a Watchman and sued the local museum over its gift shop’s Mockingbird-themed merchandise, has formed a company to produce the stage adaptation of the novel in the town’s historic courthouse – taking the rights away from the museum, which had presented the play for years.

    Shigeko Kubota, Pioneering Video Artist And Fluxus Member, Dead At 77

    “Today, Kubota … [is] better remembered for her 1965 performance Vagina Painting, in which Kubota attached a paintbrush to her skirt, squatted, and moved around over a canvas.” More notable was her work, by herself and with husband Nam June Paik, developing the genre of video art in general and combining video and sculpture in particular.

    Philadelphia’s Other Opera Company Reinvents Itself (Again)

    After a two-year hiatus, the erstwhile Center City Opera has re-emerged with a new name (that doesn’t include the word opera) and mission, a four-shows-in-18-days summer festival format, a new home (the Prince Music Theater, itself recently brought back from the dead), a world premiere, two local premieres, and the musical version of Heathers.

    Vic Firth, 85, The ‘Stradivari Of Drumsticks’

    Besides spending four decades as the Boston Symphony’s principal tympanist (Seiji Ozawa called him “the single greatest percussionist anywhere in the world”), he decided in the 1960s to design and build his own sticks, feeling that what was on the market was inadequate for the subtleties of serious symphonic and ensemble music. Little did he know then that he was setting the gold standard for percussionists in all genres all over the world.

    ‘The Book Of Mormon’ Is Finally Playing Utah – Where They Seem To Love It

    “The biting satirical musical that mocks Mormons has finally come to the heart of Mormonlandia, starting a sold-out, two-week run Tuesday at a Salt Lake City theater two blocks from the church’s flagship temple and headquarters.”

    More Football Players Are Trying Ballet – And Liking It

    Today’s exhibit: the Fighting Gamecocks of the University of South Carolina. (includes video)

    Top Posts From AJBlogs 07.29.15

    AftA Thoughts 2015: Self-Perpetuating Boards
    AJBlog: Engaging Matters Published 2015-07-29

    Now This, For A Big Museum, Would Be Experimental
    AJBlog: Real Clear Arts Published 2015-07-29

    Philbrook Museum Director Randall Suffolk Gets High (Museum, that is)
    AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2015-07-29

    An Oxymoronically Postminimalist Improviser
    AJBlog: PostClassic Published 2015-07-29

    An indefatigable operagoer
    AJBlog: OperaSleuth Published 2015-07-29<

    Art In America Magazine Sold To ARTnews

    Peter Brant has sold his 100% ownership interest in Art in America magazine, founded in 1913, to the company that publishes rival Artnews, and he will in turn become the majority shareholder in that company.

    Stunning Reversal: Cincinnati Piano Competition Reinstates Its Fired Artistic Director

    “Awadagin Pratt, who was dismissed by executive director and CEO Mark Ernster on July 8, will continue in the role of artistic director. The competition also announced on Wednesday that Ernster resigned from his position on July 20. Board chair Jack Rouse, who had resigned on July 8, returned as chairman on July 26.”

    Tate Britain Names New Director

    Alex Farquharson is the choice. “The 45-year-old founded the £20m Nottingham Contemporary in 2009 with an exhibition of David Hockney’s work from the 1960s. That same year he was on the selection committee for the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, where the UK was represented by 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen. In its first five years, Nottingham Contemporary has attracted more than a million visitors.”

    Dr. Seuss’s New Book As Important Cultural Criticism

    “Even the most skeptical reader will surely admire What Pet Should I Get?, in its initial printing of one million copies, as a text on the front lines of the revolution – and as a satire of old forms, perhaps, and at the very least an attempt at parody.”

    Is Silicon Valley’s Creativity In Danger Of Stunting Itself?

    “The enormous, disruptive creativity of Silicon Valley is unlike anything since the genius of the great 19th-century inventors. Its triumph is to be celebrated. But the accumulation of so much wealth so fast comes with risks. The 1990s saw a financial bubble that ended in a spectacular bust. This time the danger is insularity. The geeks live in a bubble that seals off their empire from the world they are doing so much to change.”

    Study: Link Between Ideas and Creativity

    “How do you make the leap from a hazy notion to one that is spelled out in practical details? Newly published research points to one simple technique that may do the trick.”

    How The Smithsonian Used Kickstarter To Save Neil Armstrong’s Spacesuit

    “The platform allows government institutions,museums and other philanthropic projects to reach a global audience of donors who can give a small amount to support big, historic projects that otherwise might not get the money needed to go forward.”

    Netflix Will Soon Be The Largest “Network” Producer Of Original Programming

    “Netflix next year is poised to expand its lineup to more than two dozen series, blowing past both HBO and TV’s most prolific basic-cable programmer, FX/FXX. A service until recently known mostly for repurposing other people’s movies and TV shows will thus achieve a major milestone: It will boast the biggest collection of first-run scripted content of any other subscription-based network in America, cable or streaming.”

    The Profound Effect Funding Cuts Will Have On Regional UK Theatre

    “The subsidised sector is without doubt the research and development arm of the commercial sector, where new productions, new work and new talent are developed. Ultimately, cuts of this magnitude would see the demise of the West End and regional touring as we know it, with far-reaching social, reputational, tourism and economic consequences.”

    Oakland’s Cultural Renaissance Has Been Epic. But Development Threatens To Crush It

    “The cumulative impact of all these developments could strike a crushing blow to Oakland’s cultural arts community, confirming its worst fears about gentrification and displacement and creating a leadership void at the already short-staffed Cultural Arts Department.”

    A New (Important) Role For Libraries?

    “Public libraries are becoming a one-stop shop for manufacturing in the digital age. Because libraries are investing in machines like 3-D printers, someday soon everyone with access to a public library could become an inventor or create something.”

    What Should Music “Look” Like? (Linking Music With Its Album Art)

    “I had been working on this graphic idea of a wind-flow diagram. I started to change the volume of the lines — in a kind of random but controlled way — and I thought that this would be a suitable minimalist motif to use on the CD.”

    Scientists Are Teaching A Computer How To Improvise Jazz

    “Jazz musician and computer scientist Kelland Thomas is building an AI program that can learn to play jazz and jam with the best of them, under a DARPA-funded project that aims to improve how we communicate with computers.”

    National Gallery In London Faces All-Out Strike

    “[The museum] has already been disrupted by more than 50 days of walkouts by staff since plans to [privatise] visitor services and security were first revealed. The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union said it had served notice of four more separate days of industrial action, with a continuous, all-out strike starting on Aug. 17.”

    Peter Brook Returns To Mahabharata For New Theatre Piece

    The director and his colleagues who wrote and staged the nine-hour production that toured the world in the 1980s have returned to the ancient Indian epic for a work titled Battlefield. The four-actor staging opens in September at Brook’s longtime venue, the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord in Paris, and will tour to London, three cities in Italy, Amiens in France, Singapore, Tokyo, and Hong Kong.

    Actress Natasha Parry, 84, Wife And Collaborator Of Peter Brook

    “Her career was inescapably defined by her marriage, at the age of 20, to the director Peter Brook, with whom she worked many times in productions of Shakespeare, Chekhov, Anouilh and Beckett. She was also a vital part of Brook’s experimental, theatrical work in Paris, Persia (as Iran then was) and the villages of Africa. But Parry also had an independent career in films that marked her out as a fine screen actor.”

    The Tragedy Of iTunes And Classical Music

    “When the developer Erik Kemp designed the first metadata system for MP3s in 1996, he provided only three options for attaching text to the music. Every audio file could be labeled with only an artist, song name, and album title. Kemp’s system has since been augmented and improved upon, but never replaced.” Robinson Meyer explains why Apple’s music software is such a disaster at handling classical (and other kinds of) music.

    Here Are Five Classical Music Gems From The AP’s Massive New YouTube Archive

    From the Philadelphia Orchestra arriving for its first tour of Britain to the inimitable Thomas Beecham introducing a concert to Maria Callas’s notorious walkout from the Rome Opera’s Norma. (video)

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