Ms. Peters, who would sing with the Met 515 times over 35 vigorous years, was internationally renowned for her high, silvery voice (in private, she could hit a high A, two and a half octaves above middle C); her clarion diction in a flurry of languages; her attractive stage presence; and, by virtue of the fact that she and television came to prominence at about the same time, her wide popular appeal.
“In an announcement last week, the Education Department listed Harvard’s ART Institute among hundreds of college and university programs across the country that did not meet federal regulations governing the amount of debt students can accrue when measured against their expected earnings.”
It’s not only the Netflix reboots of One Day at a Time* and Full(er) House: after years of single-camera mockumentaries like The Office and Parks and Recreation, networks are turning back to multi-camera sitcoms – often driven by contemporary issues, Norman Lear-style. Elise Czajkowski looks at how the change is happening.
*Any excuse to watch Rita Moreno is a good one.
“From today’s perspective, Tchaikovsky’s musical ideas—whether in the guise of symphonic bombast, or as a buoyant backdrop for dancing fairies and frolicking snowflakes—can seem like quaint artifacts. Why, then, do audiences still clamor for this composer?”
Marie Mullen – star, then and now, of The Beauty Queen of Leenane – talks about what she did and didn’t borrow from her colleague, fellow Tony-winner and predecessor as Mag Folan, the late Anna Manahan.
“The Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be privatized,” the Hill’s Alexander Bolton reports, “while the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated entirely.” In total, the administration aims to cut spending by $10.5 trillion over the next decade.
“While the Rockettes are an American symbol — as much as Radio City Music Hall or Mr. Trump and his branded buildings — the group’s individual dancers remain fairly anonymous. They don’t speak unless deemed interview-appropriate by the Madison Square Garden Company, which has fiercely protected them against criticism surrounding the inauguration.”
The composer, Mohammed Fairouz, wanted to bring out every Trump similarity possible. The (in effect) executive producer, Francesca Zambello, insists, “It is not about the president-elect or his wife.” The librettist originally had in mind the late Pakistani dictator Zia ul-Haq. And director Ethan McSweeny said, “We were all joking among ourselves that if that guy Trump got elected, this would be the most politically prescient piece of opera ever produced in America. Well, that happened.”
“There were things South Park had always had trouble imagining: it was complex and dialectical on male anger and sadness, and able to gaze with empathy into the soul of a troll, but it couldn’t create a funny girl or a mother who wasn’t a nag. What it did get, however, was how dangerous it could be for voters to feel shamed and censored – and how quickly a liberating joke could corkscrew into a weapon.” A longread by Emily Nussbaum.
“The discussion around such efforts has shown some of the typical – if muddied – ways people talk about the arts intersecting with politics. On the right, a common theme is that celebrity protests are only going to ensure Trump’s re-election by making his supporters feel condescended to. On the left, cultural anti-Trump efforts are being taken as examples of the kind of bold truth-telling Democratic operatives should mimic. Both frames prize electoral impact – policy influence now, voter persuasion for 2018 or 2020 – over all else. Which is a strange way to think about art, a form of communication that exists to do what other forms – political, commercial, journalistic – can’t.”
“Even as one very visible portion of the art world becomes ever more soaked in money, artists like [A.L.] Steiner are picking up the ideas of first- and second-generation institutional critique and adapting them to the needs of the present … investigating, tweaking, and even striking out against the operation of museums, galleries, and the very market itself as an integral part of their larger practices.” Steiner, for instance, decreed for one gallery show that cutting in half the gallery’s opening hours was part of the artwork.
“In a two-part feature, we first hear from [board president Nancy] Garton about why the board has decided to move forward with retiring [artistic directors Ron] Cunningham and [Carinne] Binda. After that, the two will talk about what happened from their end and their next steps in life.” (audio)
“If there was one place where the Obama administration was consistently ahead of the curve, it was in the cultural sphere: over eight years, the White House served as a staging ground for countless artists, intellectuals and activists, especially those from communities of color, especially cultural producers from New York, long exiled from [institutional] Washington.” (includes audio)
Since Dutch football hooligans damaged the Bernini-designed fountain at the steps’ base in 2015, there’s been a lot of concern about keeping the landmark safe. Paolo Bulgari (of the jewelry house), who paid for the Steps’ most recent restoration, wants to ban sitting on them and to put in a Plexiglas barrier at night; art historian Vittorio Sgarbi says tourists should be charged a euro or two for access.
Cast Cate Blanchett.
A photo journal of a visit to the Kibera ballet school in Nairobi, where the best students get chances to perform at Kenya’s national theatre.
“Public cinemas in the country have been illegal since the 1980s, but a plan to reintroduce them has been mooted by the head of the General Authority for Entertainment.” Abdulaziz ibn Abdullah al-Sheikh, head of the Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Issuing Fatwas and the Kingdom’s top religious authority, loudly begs to differ.
“Compiled by collector Jack V. Lunzer over more than six decades, and stored at his home in London, it became known as the Valmadonna Trust Library” – and it’s been acquired by the National Library of Israel.
“I have been meeting with each of the musicians just to get to know the institution better, and they absolutely adore Dirk,” says CHOP executive director Bill Rhoads, “and I’ve been told there is this sense that the quality of the ensemble has gone up since Dirk has been there. That is obviously something we want to maintain.”
Context: Hollywood’s Political Bias? It’s Money
Unquestionably, a majority of the people who work in Hollywood lean politically left. More than lean, in many cases. But how much of their politics makes it onto the big screen? … read more
AJBlog: diacritical | Douglas McLennan Published 2017-01-17
Privilege/Encumbrance: Part I
For any person of color or member of another group discussed here, there is nothing surprising, nothing new in what follows. The same is true of a good number of whites who have given the topic some thought. … read more
AJBlog: Engaging Matters Published 2017-01-17
A New One on Me: What To Call Art
Branding is important, and language matters. Let’s start from that point. … Apparently, some people today don’t want to buy “Old” Masters. … read more
AJBlog: Real Clear Arts Published 2017-01-18
The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters
One of my favorite writers in any genre is the USC humanities professor Leo Braudy, justly celebrated for his Frenzy of Renown, a history of fame going back to Alexander the Great. … read more
AJBlog: CultureCrash Published 2017-01-18
Is NYC (still) capitol of jazz?
The early January concurrence of the Jazz Connect conference, the annual convention of APAP (Association of Performing Arts Presenters), Global Fest and Winter JazzFest makes a good case for Manhattan being the capitol of jazz-and-beyond. … read more
AJBlog: Jazz Beyond Jazz Published 2017-01-18
“Since speculation emerged last fall that Disney might be interested in getting its paws on Netflix, Wall Street has been split on whether such a tie-up would be a bold, smart move or an unnecessarily risky gambit.”
The advice to owners of permanent seats, seen by the Guardian, is that they can “significantly improve income from unwanted tickets” by using secondary sites, which have become a haven for touts exploiting the most in-demand events. The author of the document, a seat owner who asked to remain anonymous, said: “Seat owners are entitled to optimise their returns.
Dance has become a popular acquisition of museums in recent years. Immersive, participatory, and often silly, “The Museum Workout” could be seen as a cheeky response to the trend. But the work also tackles serious questions that dance artists have long been asking about the relationship between artists and audiences and about what constitutes dance.
“The editors who select the topics are “deeply aware of the social impacts of new technologies and of the role of real people in shaping those technologies. We don’t treat technology in a vacuum here. We talk about how people who use technology have a chance to take some responsibility for it, and to influence its future design and direction.”
“Embodiment” and “the intelligent body” are buzz terms both in dance and academia: the idea is that the brain doesn’t have dominion over human experience. “We still hugely privilege the mind over everything else,” says Siobhan Davies. “I think the mind is bloody wonderful, but the whole of us lives in the world, the whole of us communicates, the whole of us can fantasise and imagine. I’d like us to turn the world around.”
“On an otherwise quiet Sunday at the [L.A.] museum in early June, an Australian man is chuckling with two middle school-aged kids over a pair of fake breasts from Serbia that the donor says her ex-boyfriend required her to wear during sex. … Around the corner, in a corridor in which objects recall loved ones who died, fell ill, or were abusive, a couple is ranking objects by their level of misery.”
Luck is chance viewed through the spectacles of good or bad fortune. It’s really good news, at least for you, if you win the lottery, and it’s really bad news if you’re one of the passengers on the plane when it crashes. Chance, then, is the objective reality of random outcomes in the real world, while luck is a consequence of the subjective value you place on those random outcomes. Luck, we might say, is chance with a human face. Understanding this gives us a clearer view of reality, and a clearer view of reality means we can choose better courses of action.”
“To have one’s novel translated – on one hand, an honor. On the other – you might as well be trying to have sex using another person’s body.” Now imagine that that body used to be yours, and you remember it. Boris Fishman tells the story of reading from the Russian translation of his A Replacement Life at a book tour event in Estonia.
“Even as one very visible portion of the art world becomes ever more soaked in money, artists like A.L. Steiner are picking up the ideas of first- and second-generation institutional critique and adapting them to the needs of the present. With what feels like increasing frequency, they are investigating, tweaking, and even striking out against the operation of museums, galleries, and the very market itself as an integral part of their larger practices.”
The evidence is circumstantial, not direct, but it’s considerable – and until now, not a single one of the Virgin Queen’s famously lavish dresses was known to have survived.