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  • Rethinking How Technology Can Help Students Learn

    “We’ve seen that technology can do a lot of stuff to support students, but the real driver is: Do they actually want to learn something? If they do, kids will go through a lot of barriers to learn it. Creating the conditions that turn on that drive has become the major function of our work.”

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    Biggest Selling Book Last Week? Workers Of The World Unite!

    “More than 1,700 bargain copies of The Communist Manifesto have sold in the last week, in the form of an 80p edition of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’s call to the working classes to revolt.”

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    Controversy Over Twerking Exposes Dance Hierarchy

    The whole conversation around twerking unwittingly exposed a dance-world hierarchy, whereby some styles are ignored while others are bestowed with the status of art. “[That debate] raised a question about why some dances become very well-funded, and other dances just remain in the dark.”

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    Remake Of Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall Will Be Named For Geffen

    “David Geffen, the entertainment magnate who has shaped cultural tastes in music and movies and holds one of the world’s leading art collections, is extending his reach into classical music with a $100 million gift that will renovate — and rename — Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center.”

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    Logical: Canadians Are Turning Their $5 Bill Into Tributes To Mr. Spock

    “For years, Canadians have been wielding pens to draw Spock’s pointy Vulcan ears, sharp eyebrows and signature bowl haircut on the fiver’s image of Laurier. Contrary to what many believe, the Bank of Canada said Monday it’s not illegal to deface or even mutilate banknotes, although there are laws that prohibit reproducing both sides of a current bill electronically.”

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    Big Final Push To Finish Abu Dhabi’s Louvre Museum In 2015

    The 5,000-strong workforce is expected to swell to 7,500 over the coming months. “We shall deliver the building at the end of 2015,” its architect Jean Nouvel tells The Art Newspaper. “Then a few months will be needed to set up the inner structures and hang the works,” he says. The museum’s official opening date, which has not yet been set, will be in 2016.

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    Report: Women And Minority Writers Losing Ground In Hollywood

    “In a new report, the guild said women writers’ share of TV staff jobs was 29% in the most recent season, down from 30.5% in the previous season. Meanwhile, minorities accounted for 13.7% of employment, compared with 15.6% during the 2011-12 season.”

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    A-List Stars Used To Sell Movies. Now, Not So Much

    “The shelf-lives of A-listers are just much shorter. Basically, you find a lot more actors having that spark of an A-list spark. The ability to structure a career almost as completely and militantly as someone like Tom Cruise” — who conquered Hollywood hit by hit — “is very tough.”

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    The Sad, Sorry Story Behind The Fraudster “Japanese Beethoven”

    “The irony is that Mamoru Samuragochi didn’t have to lie. His story was compelling without embellishment. He was the child of Hiroshima survivors; he did have hearing problems; his brother did die young. If he and Niigaki had simply billed themselves as a team, they might have still shared fortune and fame. Instead, Samuragochi cultivated the image of a solitary genius.”

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    The Great Pianist Who Keeled Over Dead Performing In Carnegie Hall

    “In the 1950s world of classical music, Simon Barere was mentioned in the same breath as other superpianists of the era – Georgy Cziffra, Ignatz Friedman, Vladimir Horowitz and Josef Lhevinne. But his most ardent admirers say he was actually in a class by himself. Barere had given frequent solo recitals, sometimes twice a year, at Carnegie Hall to packed houses, with such musical giants as Sergei Rachmaninoff, Leopold Godowsky and Vladimir Horowitz often in the attendance.”

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    Dubai Unveils Plans For Futuristic “Museum Of The Future”

    The latest in innovation. “The $136 million project is expected to open in 2017. The curving, oblong — and of course futuristic-looking — building will feature poetry written by the Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is also the Emirati prime minister.”

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    ISIS Smashed Priceless Artifacts? They Might Not Have Been Real

    “If you watch the video – which is, of course, what the Islamic State wants you to do – you’ll notice that several of the pieces disintegrate into a cloud of white powder as they hit the ground. That is plaster not stone, the experts say: Those statues are modern replicas. At one point, you can also see metal rods sticking up through the broken legs of a standing figure, another clue that piece is modern.”

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    The Double-Edged Sword Of Nostalgia

    “I try to support what few record and book stores survive, and I still mourn the closing of Driggs Pizza in Williamsburg, where on our first date, my wife and I shared a few of the most exquisite pesto-enhanced grandma slices Brooklyn ever conceived. But I also like living in a city that moves to the beat of what Joseph Schumpeter referred to as “creative destruction,” one that innovates, evolves and experiences cultural ebbs and flows.”

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    Big Plans For Transforming Milwaukee’s Waterfront

    The project is described as “catalytic” for downtown and is intended to create public plazas, improve pedestrian access from downtown to the lakefront, calm traffic, create a sense of arrival to the city and enhance Milwaukee’s sense of civic identity.

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    ASCAP Pulled In More Than $1 Billion In 2014

    “ASCAP, the music licensing agency, is in one sense fighting for its survival, seeking to change decades-old rules to fit the economics of online music. In another, it is finding ways to distribute more money than ever to its thousands of songwriters. … [Last year was] the first time that ASCAP or any organization like it has raised so much.”

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    Here’s How The Egyptian Museum Is Responding To The Tutankhamun’s Beard Debacle

    “The embattled Egyptian Museum says it has begun to log every act of conservation it makes, as it attempts to restore its reputation following the furore over Tutankhamun’s botched beard.”

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    There Will Be No Oprah “‘Night, Mother” On Broadway (“Too Depressing”)

    “Last February, The New York Times reported that talk show queen Oprah Winfrey was in talks to make her long-awaited Broadway debut in a revival of Marsha Norman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play ‘night, Mother opposite five-time Tony-Award winner Audra McDonald. Winfrey was reportedly interested in portraying the role of a mother who desperately tries to prevent her daughter from killing herself.”

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    “Saturday Night Live” Is Going To China

    “After 40 years as a weekend staple on U.S. television screens, Saturday Night Live will start a Chinese version in partnership with Sohu.com Inc., operator of an online search engine and video streaming sites.”

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    Workers Of The Word Unite! – Language And Class At The Copy Desk

    “The truth is that the work of the copy editor is largely disdained. And because their work is so undervalued, copy editors (and fact checkers) routinely work significantly longer hours for much less money … The popular image of the copy editor as a usefully malfunctioning person justifies the natural order of things: In the Calvinistic world of magazines, maladjusted grammar weirdos simply fall to their natural station.”

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    “Relying On Private Sector Funding Makes Me Uneasy,” Says Top British Stage Director

    Rupert Goold, artistic director of the Almeida Theatre: “The arts have to be very uncomfortable and provocative at times, that is their function, it is their function to really serve you. Inevitably, people who are bringing people to see the work in a corporate climate may be resistant to that kind of work being made.”

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    How Much Do Britain’s Top Arts Institutions Get From Corporate Sponsors? And What Do The Sponsors Get For Their Money?

    “Details of specific deals are usually secret, because neither arts organisations nor sponsors want their rivals to know exactly what is changing hands. So we looked at the accounts of 10 top arts organisations – Royal Opera, English National Opera, National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Southbank Centre, British Museum, Science Museum Group, Victoria and Albert Museum, Natural History Museum and National Gallery – and asked them how much money they get from sponsors overall.”

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    Director Luca Ronconi, 81, “One Of The Great Theatrical Innovators Of The 20th Century”

    “[His] most revolutionary production, and the one which brought him international renown, was in 1969, a stage adaptation of Ariosto’s mammoth epic poem Orlando Furioso.”

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    Man’s Law or God’s Law? Sophocles’s Antigone: Heroine Or Criminal?

    “It is this tension that is at the heart of the play: which law trumps all others? For Creon, obeying the law of the land is the single most important thing we must do, as citizens. … It is this tension that is at the heart of the play: which law trumps all others? For Creon, obeying the law of the land is the single most important thing we must do, as citizens.”

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    Zoë Wanamaker: “I Had A Lot To Live Up To”

    “As she prepares to play poet Stevie Smith, Zoë Wanamaker talks to Lyn Gardner about acting through grief, finding her voice – and why she has never performed in the theatre that bears her father’s name.”

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    Understanding the Two Types of Extroversion (Yes, There Seem To Be Two)

    “Agentic extraversion is about sensitivity to reward, engagement with goals and achievement, persistence, and taking a leadership position when you have an opportunity to do that. In other words, being comfortable in the limelight. … Affiliative extraversion is also a really great trait – it’s a dimension of social warmth. People who are high on the trait, close social relationships mean a lot to them, … they tend to have a very large group of meaningful friendships.”

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    Burlesque Dancer Fired For Being Too Curvy, Sparks Online Uprising

    When the Bourbon Street burlesque club Lucky Pierre’s dismissed performer Ruby Rage – over the objections of the show’s producer – “word spread quickly and social media did what it does best, dumping voluminous righteous outrage on every conceivable target: the club, its owners, its employees, [producer] Bella Blue, the traditions of burlesque itself.”

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    Who Was THE Original Manic Pixie Dream Girl? (Hint: You Saw Her On The Oscars)

    “[She] is one of the earliest examples of an affected and oft-debated cinematic trope … that fictional bearer of quirky fun and madcap outings and ultimate lifelong happiness once emotional walls have been dismantled, brick by brick.”

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    Top Posts From AJBlogs 03.03.15

    On the return to public investments in museums
    AJBlog: For What It’s Worth Published 2015-03-03

    Music Schools in Transition, Part V
    AJBlog: State of the Art Published 2015-03-03

    The horse’s mouth
    AJBlog: About Last Night Published 2015-03-03

    Thirteen, My Lucky Number
    AJBlog: PostClassic Published 2015-03-03

    Why Net Neutrality Ruling Might Not Be All It’s Cracked Up To Be

    “Competition on the internet is constantly evolving and poorly understood. AOL was a has-been before the ink was dry on the relentless complaints about its unassailable monopoly; cable content is suddenly challenged by streaming video; DSL, once thought dead, now offers 25-75 Mbps service. Yet the FCC’s rules ignore this complexity, insisting on a one-dimensional conception of internet competition that’s never actually existed.”

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    And Then There Were None (New York’s Last Sheet Music Store Closing)

    Frank Music has been struggling for years, as music became readily available online, said Heidi Rogers, the shop’s owner. “We went from seeing 15 to 20 people per day to seeing two or three,” Ms. Rogers said on Monday. “I went from feeling like I was at the center of the world to feeling invisible.”

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    Survey: What Men Are Reading (And Why)

    The “survey showed that 39 per cent of adult fiction works and 56 per cent of non-fiction were for males, suggesting men are not so keen on keeping up-to-date with storytelling, but slightly ahead of women when it comes to reading history, politics and biography.”

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    Mass Exodus? Why Nearly Half Of Miami’s Art Museums Don’t Have Directors

    “Four museums in Miami are currently searching for new directors. In a city that has transformed itself into one of the top destinations for contemporary art in the US over the past decade and boasts perhaps ten significant art institutions, nearly half are now leaderless.”

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    Simon Rattle Appointed Music Director Of London Symphony Orchestra

    “The conductor will take up the appointment in September 2017, following in the footsteps of principal conductors including André Previn, Michael Tilson Thomas, Sir Colin Davis and the current incumbent, Valery Gergiev, who is heading to the Munich Philharmonic.”

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    Here’s What It’s Like To Run NY City Ballet

    “I think the thing that’s changed the most over the years is that it just becomes more and more and more difficult to sustain organizations and to sustain the art itself. The funding climate has changed over the years: it’s much more difficult and much more competitive. And the nature of the audience has changed as well. There is just so much more competition for people’s time especially with what’s available online, in new media, and on demand.”

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    Are These The Five Best Bookstores In America?

    “Before the winner is announced in early April, each of the five finalists will submit a portfolio to impress the judges. The reward — publicity in Publishers Weekly and at the Book Expo convention in May — is certainly valuable, but this is a distinctly cordial competition.”

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    The Conflicting Values Of Self-Criticism

    “We may not be able to imagine a life in which we don’t spend a large amount of our time criticising ourselves and others; but we should keep in mind the self-love that is always in play. Self-criticism can be our most unpleasant – our most sadomasochistic – way of loving ourselves.”

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    Here’s A Provocative Essay About Reasons For Decline Of Classical Music

    “To gain a proper and complete understanding of what we call “classical” music is to appreciate that it was all written within the context of societies which were predominantly Christian in nature, and where celebrations of traditional national attributes were not seen as old-fashioned or backward-looking as they often are today.”

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    Why The Internet Isn’t Going To Solve Our Problems

    “Do our computer pundits lack all common sense? The truth in no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works.”

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    In St. Paul: How A New Hall Redefines An Orchestra

    “It’s the sound equivalent of what happens when curators at museums do that very careful cleaning process of old masters’ paintings and the colors become more vibrant and you can see all sorts of detail.”

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    Have We Just Found The Next Terrific Woman Conductor?

    Mark Swed: “Word was out. The hall sold out. Presenters from Chicago, New York and elsewhere came to check her out. Managers who didn’t were simply not paying attention. The debut was a preview. Mirga mania can now officially begin.” (What’s more, “[she] was the third exceptional woman to conduct the L.A. Phil in a week.”)

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    ISIS And Its Sophisticated Cinema Of Terror

    “The cinematography is as crisp and chilling as a horror movie. Men in orange jumpsuits kneel on a beach beneath a sky of broken clouds. Executioners hover over them, dressed in black, knives aglint. … This and other recent execution videos released by Islamic State are slickly produced narratives of multiple camera angles, eerie tension and polished editing that suggest the filmmakers are versed in Hollywood aesthetics.”

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    Was ISIS’s Attack On Mosul Museum Staged? Just Another Of Its “Cinema Of Terror” Pieces?

    Christopher Knight, observing that several of the statues destroyed were obviously modern copies: “Earlier snuff videos … show the beheading of soldiers, journalists and humanitarian aid workers. The new video purports to show nothing less than the beheading of an entire civilization. The question is: Does it really? Or is the video, instead, a grotesque perversion of performance art, cynically designed to inflate the image of Islamic State power?”

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    Iraq’s National Museum Reopens, In Gesture Of Defiance To ISIS

    “In response to the destruction of antiquities in Mosul last week by Islamic State militants, the Iraqi government reopened the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad this weekend, with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi speaking out against the terrorist group at the ribbon cutting.”

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    The Show That’s Turning Islamophobia Into A Laugh Riot

    “What do you do if your inbox is clogged up with anti-Muslim hate mail? Turn it into a cabaret show. Daryl Lindsey reports from Berlin on a strangely joyful evening of horrendous abuse.”

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    Maggie Smith Will Do No More Theatre – “It’s So Exhausting”

    “I just don’t think I could cope with it. Almost every Wednesday and Saturday I wake up relieved it’s not a matinee.. … It’s hard enough doing film and television, but at least you know it’s not day, after day, after day. I just found it so exhausting.” (By the way, what she actually said about Downton Abbey is less definitive than you think.)

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    Stolen 400-Year-Old Books on Their Way Home To Italy

    “This is the odyssey of two rare books that were taken from an Italian library and wound up in the hands of a Bay Area rare-book collector. The books are safe and sound, the Homeland Security Department said, and heading home to their rightful owner.”

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    Should The NYPD Be Deciding When Busking Counts As Art And When As Begging?

    “Recently, a busking video went viral. In it a police officer, armed with a gun and club, passed judgment on a busker, who protested by reading out the law covering art in public. He got a loitering charge. Boos are bad, hisses worse and an audience unsatisfied enough to pelt is humiliating. But a criminal record? Does society want such severity?”

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    The Economics Of Arthur Miller’s Plays

    “But it was really his view of the crash of 1929 and the Great Depression: even more than an economic crash, it was a national emotional collapse, ‘like all the winds had stopped, gone dead’ … That sense of existential and economic desperation carries across all his plays.”

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    Concertgoers Start Yelling At Each Other Over When (Not) To Applaud

    “The moment of shame came as the Staatskapelle Dresden, one of the world’s best orchestras, opened the 43rd Hong Kong Arts Festival with a performance of Richard Strauss’ Metamorphosen. … But just as the 20-minute masterpiece faded out into intense C minor chords, an audience member began to clap.” And then – well, not all hell, but some hell broke loose.

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    L.A. Phil’s Deborah Borda Is Going To Harvard (Temporarily)

    “Deborah Borda will take a four-month sabbatical from her role as president and chief executive of the Los Angeles Philharmonic so that she can assume a residency at the Harvard Kennedy School at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.”

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