Study: How Music Can Manipulate You – And In The Wrong Hands…

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The researchers report in the online journal PLoS One that, compared to silence, the sound of their favorite songs increased risk-taking, while disliked music decreased it. Specifically, they write, “the frequency for accepting a gamble is 54.1 percent for favorite music, vs. 47.4 percent for disliked music. When no music was playing, the acceptance rate is 51.4 percent.”

Digital Program Books – Is Something Essential Lost When You Abandon Paper?

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“We’re bringing the audience closer than ever before through new innovations like interactive program books. We are also going green by cutting back on all paper, ink and waste as a result of traditional methods. … Removing the wasted paper of printed books is the first step in our relationship with the opera-goers of the future.”

Has Our Culture Become Too Sensitive To Offense?

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Who wouldn’t be stressed by this culture? The children of the West have created for themselves an echo chamber. The more obsessed they become with outlawing offence, the more hyper-alert for it they are, ‘triggered’ by every passing comment.

38-Year-Old Concert Pianist Beaten To Death; Husband Arrested

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“The husband of Russian pianist Natalia Strelchenko has been arrested after the musician was found murdered at their home in Newton Heath, Manchester. John Martin, 48, is understood to be the man police arrested on 30 August on suspicion of murdering the prodigious pianist and remains in police custody for questioning. He is a double bass player who also acted as the victim’s manager.”

Bloomberg Arts Editor Manuela Hoelterhoff Retires

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“Manuela Hoelterhoff has decided to retire after 11 years during which she has written, edited and presided over more than 20,000 stories, weekend TV shows and radio segment on the arts, architecture, books and music, science, the Nazis and Hamlette … Manuela is one of the most versatile writers we’ve ever had and we will miss her wit and sharp pen.”

ISIS Destroys Yet Another 2,000-Year-Old Temple In Syria

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“After a day of conflicting reports about the extent of damage that Islamic State militants had inflicted on the Temple of Baal in the ancient city of Palmyra, Syria, a United Nations agency said late Monday that satellite images confirmed that the structure had been largely destroyed. The primary temple building, nearly 2,000 years old, was flattened.”

Sculpture Of Chaliapin As Mephistopheles Vandalized By Russian Orthodox Radicals; Protesters Demand Restoration And Cossacks Fight Each Other

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“Hundreds of St. Petersburg residents and cultural preservationists gathered on Sunday to protest the destruction of [the] bas-relief … The sculpture is offensive to Russian Orthodox believers according to a letter sent to Russian media by a Cossack who initially took credit for the removal. Another Cossack leader denounced him as a quasi-Cossack and said he would take revenge for the sculpture’s destruction.”

International Ballet Festival Of Miami Turns 20

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“Festival founder and director Pedro Pablo Peña emphasizes the daunting nature of his enterprise. ‘Fulfilling my dream of bringing ballet from all over the world to Miami has been a task worthy of Don Quixote,’ he says in Spanish. ‘It’s taken quite a bit of inspired madness.'”

A Field Guide To Dwelling On Your Failures

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“When something doesn’t go right, the usual, understandable instinct is often to forget it, as quickly as possible. Move on, we advise each other. Don’t look back. … And yet, as tempting as it is to think of stoically soldiering on as the smart approach to dealing with failure, there’s also a solid case for wallowing in your mistakes, at least for a time.”

Unpacking The Call For Diverse Books

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“Sometimes it seems that what publishing is looking for, when they look to the Market to sell books by marginalized writers, is a single story. It is: this writer is *the* Dominican writer, or *the* Japanese writer, or *the* Sudanese writer that you should read right now. After all, we live in a culture that sells books with the tagline, if you read only one book this year.”

The True Value Of Contemporary Music

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“Musical performances are among the few that demand you sit still and turn off your phone, and in the realm of the avant-garde, where there is rarely a narrative structure or a song, those can sometimes seem long. But art that forces you to sit and experience something, even if it makes you impatient, can be valuable in the same way that meditation and quiet spaces (churches, libraries) are valuable, in the same way that any inactivity is valuable.”

Netflix Film Premieres At Venice Film Festival

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“When it is commercially released in October, Beasts of No Nation will be immediately available to see not only in selected cinemas but also to subscribers to the Netflix home entertainment service – which now boasts more than 50 million international subscribers.”

How Art Helps New Orleans Students Deal With Their Post-Katrina PTSD

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“Trauma is all about details. Trauma renders itself in certain songs, in the quality of the air against the sky, in colors of socks, in flavors of alcohol. When the human brain encounters a trauma, it makes quick decisions about what to remember, and it often remembers otherwise mundane details: the timbre of birdsong, or the specific shake of a tree’s shoulders. Sometimes the brain gets kind of obsessive about trauma.”

What British Dramaturgs Do

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“While every major theatre in Germany has a whole department devoted to the function and a practitioner assigned to every production, in British theatre the dramaturg has been a comparatively rare beast. Until recently.”

Is The Symphony Over?

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“A genre once aimed at vast crowds—Mahler imagined his symphonies being played in stadiums, for tens of thousands of people—now leads a more subdued, solitary existence. Much of its legacy is ignored in concert halls and can be encountered only on recordings.”

Some Oliver Sacks Reading Lists

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“Over the course of his life’s work, Sacks approached his many questions with rigorous intellect and, above all, empathy. The best word for this, maybe, is grace. And it’s everywhere in the elegant body of work he left behind—his many books, but also his shorter essays and interviews.”

(Also, here’s a link to all of Sacks’ work for the New Yorker.)

Apparently, European Cinema Is About To Be Destroyed

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First, there’s Netflix (and HBO, Amazon, iTunes, etc.); and now “this sense of threat has been made more urgent by the proposals tabled by the European Union’s executive branch, the European Commission, to sweep away territorial copyright barriers in the movie and TV business in order to create a single European market.”

One Of China’s Biggest Peking Opera Stars Makes Her U.S. Debut At The Met

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“Ms. Zhang, a lithe, delicate woman of 44, is a megastar in Beijing. She has performed for sold-out crowds here and in Shanghai, captivating audiences, including legions of young fans, with her sorrowful eyes, deep vocal intonations and graceful displays of martial arts. In 2007, she was the first star of the Peking Opera genre to perform solo at the Great Hall of the People, the seat of China’s central government.”

Social Media: To Blame For Literary Mediocrity?

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“A middlebrow cult of the popular is holding literature to ransom. Thus, if you judge by the emotional outpourings over their deaths, the greatest writers of recent times were Pratchett and Ray Bradbury. There was far less of an internet splurge when Gabriel García Márquez died in 2014 and Günter Grass this spring. Yet they were true titans of the novel.”