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  • Spielberg’s Dreamworks Splits From Disney

    “A new deal could mean a fresh start for DreamWorks, which has faced struggles from the inception of the Disney relationship. Sources say the DreamWorks team felt something of a strain from the start because its deal was negotiated with Dick Cook, then chairman of the studio, with the understanding that Disney would invest in DreamWorks’ films and invite DreamWorks to participate in some of its projects. But soon after the deal was made, Cook was ousted and Disney CEO Bob Iger set a strategy of fully financing Disney movies.”

    Why Dreamworks Is Leaving Disney

    “Although several studios are discussing the possibility of bringing DreamWorks into the fold, insiders say that Universal has the best shot at becoming DreamWorks’ new distribution partner when the previous deal runs its course next August.”

    Chailly To Quit Leipzig Gewandhausorchester Four Years Early

    What prompted the change of plan is not clear, though a statement issued by the orchestra implies it didn’t want him to leave. The city’s mayor Burkhard Jung is quoted as saying he ‘has conceded’ to Chailly’s desire to leave ‘in recognition of the exceptional accomplishments of Riccardo Chailly in furthering the artistic and international reputation of the Gewandhausorchester.’

    Report: Match Funding Is Ineffective At Spurring Donations

    Match funding schemes, often used by arts organisations to boost income, were tested in several field experiments as part of the survey, which also assessed how effective these were at encouraging donors to give more. The report said that the match funding experiments carried out found the method had “no significant effects… on donation behaviour”.

    Hacking Used To Be Cool (Until It Got Hacked)

    “Unlike the open uprising of the liberation leader, the hacker impulse expresses itself via a constellation of minor acts of insurrection, often undertaken by individuals, creatively disguised to deprive authorities of the opportunity to retaliate. Once you’re attuned to this, you see hacks everywhere.”

    Google’s Robots Have Been Hallucinating In Images. What’s THAT About?

    “The computer-made images feature scrolls of color, swirling lines, stretched faces, floating eyeballs, and uneasy waves of shadow and light. The machines seemed to be hallucinating, and in a way that appeared uncannily human.”

    We Are The Stories We Tell? Don’t Believe It

    “We story ourselves and we are our stories. There’s a remarkably robust consensus about this claim, not only in the humanities but also in psychotherapy. It’s standardly linked with the idea that self-narration is a good thing, necessary for a full human life.” But it isn’t true.

    The Oregon Shakespeare Festival Has Been Focused On Diversity. Here’s How It’s Going…

    “Once settled in your seat, I suspect the first thing you’d notice would be the unusual ethnic and racial diversity onstage.”

    We Asked Music Critics Who Are The World’s Best Orchestras And Conductors…

    Five of the world’s greatest orchestras, as collectively ranked, are German….

    Dean Jones, The Go-To Leading Man Of Disney’s Golden Age, Dead At 84

    “Precocious and multitalented as a youth, the boyishly handsome Mr. Jones began his career as a teenage radio host and performer in amateur musical revues. He became a stage actor, and he and Jane Fonda made their Broadway debuts together. But it was not until the mid-1960s that he found his niche, as the affable, hapless, clean-cut Everyman in a series of genial family comedies produced by the Walt Disney Company, beginning in 1965 with That Darn Cat!

    Carbuncle Cup 2015: The Worst Building Of The Year In Britain Is –

    – just awful. “It has singed shopfronts, melted cars and caused great gusts of wind to sweep pedestrians off their feet. … Responsible for a catalogue of catastrophes, it is hard to imagine a building causing more damage if it tried.”

    The Kids In Brooklyn Who’ve Really Got Opera Figured Out

    James Jorden: “It’s not easy to pin down exactly what makes LoftOpera so unlike the myriad other small opera companies that dot New York, but whatever that disparity might be, it makes all the difference.”

    Cooper Union Reaches Settlement With NYS Attorney General And Alumni

    The agreement doesn’t provide for the return of free tuition – yet – but it does end the current litigation over that issue and provide for outside financial oversight.

    Oliver Sacks’s Final Article

    “Walter, previously a moderate eater, developed a ravenous appetite. ‘He started to gain weight,’ his wife later told me, ‘and his pants changed three sizes in six months.’ … He was also prone to getting ‘stuck’ in various activities – playing the piano, for example, for eight or nine hours at a time. Even more disquieting was the development of an insatiable sexual appetite.”

    The One Interview Elena Ferrante Gave To An American Outlet

    At least it was long and meaty enough to be made into a two-part Q&A.

    Wadsworth Atheneum In Hartford Puts Final Touches On A Comeback

    “On Sept. 19, after a five-year, relatively humble $33 million renovation, the Wadsworth is finally reopening the Morgan Memorial Building … and its European galleries, which have been mostly closed since 2009. … For the first time in 50 years all the Wadsworth’s galleries will be open at once.”

    For Whom Should (Or Shouldn’t) Broadway Dim Its Lights? It’s Less Simple A Question Than Ever

    “For at least 50 years, New York has honored the passing of lifelong theater-industry participants by briefly dimming the lights of Broadway marquees. But in the social-media era, the decision over whose legacy merits the tradition is kicking up painful public controversy.”

    The Sharpest Comedy On Television Aired On HBO This Summer, And You Probably Never Knew It Was There

    Francine Prose: “Offhandedly mocking our inadequate, improvisatory foreign policy in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, The Brink is so funny, so inventive – and so fearless in what it has to say about geopolitics – that watching it would be pure pleasure were the events it depicts not so uncomfortably close to the perilous reality of the world in which we live.”

    Julie Kent’s New Jobs At ABT

    “Julie Kent, the star ballerina who retired as a principal dancer with American Ballet Theater in June, is taking on several new roles with the company, including as the artistic director of its summer intensive programs for young dancers.”

    Ambiguity – How Did It Get To Be So Valued In Art?

    “Above all, how did it come to take on, at least for some, a cloak of liberal righteousness, to shift from being an aesthetic to a moral virtue, as if the text that wasn’t clear, that didn’t state its preferences clearly, were ethically superior to the text that does. In every other sphere of expression ambiguity is a flaw. Clarity is prized.”

    Italo Calvino Remembers His Youthful Obsession With Hollywood Movies

    “Italian spectators barbarously made entering after the film already started a widespread habit, and it still applies today. We can say that back then we already anticipated the most sophisticated of modern narrative techniques, interrupting the temporal thread of the story and transforming it into a puzzle to put back together piece by piece or to accept in the form of a fragmentary body.”

    ‘Leathery Authenticity And Baked-In Americana’: Harold Bloom, Rock Critic

    On The Band’s “The Weight”: “The song’s chorus centers on removing a spiritual load and the narrator’s charitable offer of assuming responsibility for it: ‘Take a load off Fanny, and you put the load right on me.’ Here, you also have the double entendre of ‘fanny’ in the vernacular sense and a rather loose lady. The ‘load’ is the weight of earthliness, of mortality.”

    Rock Legends Are Lining Up To Write The Spongebob Squarepants Musical

    David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, Aerosmith, Jonathan Coulton, The Flaming Lips, Panic! At the Disco, and They Might Be Giants are just a few of the folks headed to that pineapple under the sea …

    Where Did Soviet Architects Get To Have Fun With Their Designs? Bus Stops

    “Just as 18th-century English follies were often try-outs for new architectural styles, some of these roadside pavilions may have been experiments for bigger things. As such, they were opportunities for local sculptors, architects and builders to flex their creative muscles – and boy did they let rip.”

    Top Posts From AJBlogs 09.02.15

    By The Numbers, Good Museum News in Virginia
    AJBlog: Real Clear Arts Published 2015-09-02

    Politics and music
    AJBlog: Infinite Curves Published 2015-09-02

    Hamilton‘s Universal Appeal: A Writer’s Writer, Immigrant’s Immigrant (and a Christie’s Market Tie-In)
    AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2015-09-02

    I’m Weird
    AJBlog: PostClassic Published 2015-09-02


    The Composer Behind That Difficult Opera (And Why He’s Difficult To Know)

    “At its best a new production of a well-known opera will provide some marvelous insight into what the work should mean to us. The trouble is, we can’t know in advance how much sense the production is going to make and therefore don’t know how much effort we should put into deciphering what is going on onstage.”

    What Place Do The Arts Play In Wellbeing?

    “Most indicator systems and other initiatives rooted in wellbeing have historically overlooked the role of arts and culture, and continue to do so.”

    Edinburgh Festivals Post (Yet Another) Record Year At The Box Office

    “The fringe broke the 2 million barrier for the second year in a row, recording a rise of 5.24% on last year’s figures to 2,298,080, on an increase in productions of 3.79% to 3,314. The Edinburgh International Festival posted ticket sales valued at a record £3.8 million. The number of tickets issued passed 163,500, the highest since 2003.”

    The TV Ratings Hit Of Summer 2015? Why Donald Trump, Of Course

    “Based on that performance, the Sept. 16 GOP debate with Trump and his competitors at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library in Simi Valley is expected to be the most watched event ever on CNN. And the network is cashing in on the anticipation.”

    Los Angeles Philharmonic Ups Its Innovation Cred Hiring Opera Director Yuval Sharon

    “The L.A. Philharmonic is expected to announced on Wednesday that Sharon will be named as the orchestra’s artist-collaborator, a newly created post that will involve curating projects for the orchestra, with the assistance of the Industry. The projects are expected to embrace multiple artistic genres and will take place at Walt Disney Concert Hall as well as other venues around L.A.”

    What Should The Arts Be Doing That They Aren’t?

    Barry Hessenius: “Sometimes I look around at what we’re NOT doing, especially when compared to other sectors, and I just don’t get it.”

    So Who Needs Professional Writers? (Well…)

    “Self-publishing, print-on-demand and the fan-fiction phenomenon have eroded the distinction between amateurs and professionals in the literary industries, but every so often you get a small reminder that sometimes you need to send in a pro.”

    Technologists Race To Save 3D Images Of Ancient Historical Sites Before ISIS Smashes Them

    “As ancient sites across Syria and Iraq crumble under bombs and mortar from the region’s battles, archaeologists and technologists are racing to be able to one day reproduce them. In the coming months, they will be distributing thousands of low-cost, high-quality 3D cameras across the Middle East that will hopefully capture these ancient sites before they disappear.”

    What’s With All These Punctuation-Challenged Dance Company Names?

    “Sure, it’s fun to play around with the punctuation marks on your keyboard. But invented punctuation doesn’t guarantee inventive choreography. It’s just punctuation run amok.”

    Six Questions About The Future Of Television

    With ever more material out there, how do viewers find what’s good? How do you get people to keep paying for what they watch instead of getting it from torrent sites and/or blocking ads? And what will and won’t constitute success?

    Five Television Shows They’ll Never Stop Making

    “What about the things that come back year after year, with slight variations, sometimes to great acclaim and sometimes to quick cancellation? Let’s take a tour of some of the conceptual habits that seem hardest to break” – such as item one, “The Adventures Of Mr. Superabilities And Detective Ladyskeptic.”

    Blondell Cummings, Who Made Dance From Floor-Scrubbing And Shirt-Folding, Dead At 70

    “[Her] work, which fused dance, theater, mime, spoken word and video into small quasi-narrative worlds, … mined quotidian experiences like washing, cooking and building to yield works celebrated for their rich characterizations and dramatic momentum.”

    The 101 Greatest Plays (Chosen By The Guardian’s Theatre Critic)

    Michael Billington’s list, though it limits itself to the western tradition, runs all the way back to Aeschylus (The Persians) and right up to last season (King Charles III). Of course, there’s lots to argue over.

    Here’s How To Revitalize Classical Music, Says Wunderkind Music Director Of Louisville Orchestra

    Teddy Abrams: “All major arts organizations should not only have musicians on staff but there should also be a department of composition; people who are composing for the moment. In Bach’s time there was a department of composition in every church and state office; there was a constant need for new music. … Granted that might be a huge expense. But think of the effect.”

    There Is No Third Harper Lee Novel In That Safe-Deposit Box

    “That’s the finding of James S. Jaffe, a rare-books expert brought in to review the contents of the safe-deposit box at a bank in Ms. Lee’s hometown of Monroeville, Ala.”

    Should Galleries Be Paying Artists Less? Five Voices From The Noisy Debate

    “A Twitterstorm erupted in the US last month over the findings of survey of 8,000 art galleries based in the US, UK and Germany.” Magnus Resch recommended “that most artists should be paid only 30% of sales not the traditional 50/50 split of most galleries (superstar artists aside). It probably hasn’t helped that he divides artists into some all-too-pithy categories.”

    Royal Shakespeare’s Company’s New App Puts A Hip-Hop Spin On ‘Much Ado’

    RSC education director Jacqui O’Hanlon says that the app, designed for students aged 11 to 16, “would act as a ‘trail of breadcrumbs’ to the original work. The app’s rap lyrics are derived from Shakespeare’s insults, and his characters’ amorous exchanges. It challenges users to spot the difference between the Shakespeare rap and those of modern hip-hop artists.”

    New Brian Friel Festival Lights Up Ireland – On Both Sides Of The Border

    The Lughnasa International Friel Festival – created and directed (on a tiny budget) by Seán Doran, who also founded the Happy Days Festival focused on Beckett – is the first large-scale arts event to be shared between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

    Philip Glass’s Children’s Opera (Yes, He Wrote One)

    The Witches of Venice, an opera-ballet based on the children’s book by Beni Montresor, had its premiere at La Scala 20 years ago. It will finally have its U.S. premiere next summer, in a production directed and choreographed by Karole Armitage.

    When Disaster Strikes, Museums Call In The A-Team Of Conservation

    “You’ve got a muddy 18th century chest of drawers. Who you gonna call? The American Institute for Conservation Collections Emergency Response Team, also known as AIC-CERT. Okay, it’s not quite as catchy as Ghostbusters. But for workers at cultural institutions, the AIC-CERT is a disaster relief A-Team, solving problems ranging from a a burst pipe to a tsunami.”

    With Misty Copeland On Board, Broadway’s ‘On The Town’ More Than Doubles Its Box Office Take

    “The first African-American woman to be named a principal in the 75-year history of American Ballet Theater provided a jolt to On the Town during her first week in the musical. The show, which is closing on Sunday, immediately went from a laggard to a leader: It grossed $914,434 in the week that ended Sunday, up from $395,379 the week before.”

    Lucinda Childs Revives Her Legendary 1983 Collaboration With Frank Gehry And John Adams

    The choreographer originally created Available Light, now seen as a Minimalist milestone in both dance and music, as a site-specific piece for Gehry’s Temporary Contemporary at Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art. This past spring at MASS MoCA, she and Gehry revised Available Light for a proscenium stage; the work was just presented in Berlin and (finally!) makes its East Coast premiere this week at the Philly Fringe Festival.

    Maybe Jonathan Franzen Isn’t Quite As Weird As His Public Statements Make Him Seem

    “Franzen, whose writing tends to be very careful, has a gift for putting his foot in his mouth when he speaks publicly. … But if you look at Franzen’s taste in writing, it’s clear that he isn’t quite as one-dimensional as his bad press would lead readers to believe.” Scott Timberg reviews the evidence.

    New Broad Museum’s Online Reservation System Crashes On First Day

    “The public’s enthusiasm was apparent – maybe a little too apparent – on Monday when the Broad Museum began booking online reservations for its Sept. 20 opening and beyond. By midafternoon, the Web page for reservations to the new contemporary art museum in downtown Los Angeles carried an announcement in red type: ‘Due to overwhelming demand, our ticketing system is currently down.'”

    A 70-Year-Old Grandmother Is China’s Pole-Dancing Champion (And An Internet Sensation)

    “The woman, called Dai Dali, first learned to pole dance at a gym four years ago and is now able to pull of moves that most people half her age couldn’t accomplish.”

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