“Under the eaves of a hospice for Syrian refugees in Amman, Jordan, a wounded young Romeo reaches out to the blurred image of a girl on a screen. From the besieged and bombed-out city of Homs, Syria, Juliet gazes back. Her head is covered because of her religion; her face is masked to protect her identity from the watchful regime of Bashar al-Assad. This is Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, performed by young people separated by war and reunited, in real time, via Skype.”
“Picture this. Visitors to the Vatican arrive in St Peter’s Square … After looking at a display on Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes, they are filtered into a full-scale replica, with a ceiling that is a giant photograph of the famous artwork. Perhaps one day this may come about, as the Vatican worries about preserving its artistic treasures. But I suspect no one would be very happy to visit a substitute Sistine Chapel. What would be the point? … Why then is it considered perfectly reasonable to offer fake ice age art as a cultural attraction?”
“Vintage/Anchor Books is now experimenting with selling short stories à la carte, through its Vintage Shorts digital imprint. Throughout May, to mark Short Story Month, Vintage will release a digital short story each day for 99 cents, the price of many iTunes singles.” The range is wide, form Poe, Chekhov, and Cather to Alice Munro, Jhumpa Lahiri and Junot Diaz.
“The problem has been that as orchestras are involved in more and more areas, it is often not clear why they are doing what they are doing, When it does not connect to the core of the organization, you start to wonder what the point is. This has led to an industry-wide existential soul-searching in which at least some forces have pushed back, not wanting to see their beloved old-world musical traditions altered.”
Neil MacGregor at the British Museum, Nicholas Hytner at the National Theatre and Kevin Spacey at the Old Vic Theatre. “As the three men all took up their posts between 2002-4, their incumbencies have overlapped for a decade and all faced a very similar challenge: how to attract larger and broader audiences at a time when, in the case of Hytner and MacGregor, their public funding was diminishing in real terms and, for Spacey, was non-existent.”
“The grants announced Wednesday total $10.2 million. They cover a 12- to 22-month “cycle” in which each recipient will conduct research needed to solidify a plan that might involve different kinds of performances, taking shows to different kinds of venues, using different marketing approaches and providing educational add-ons to help audiences connect more deeply with what they’re seeing.”
Lyn Gardner: “Ditching the label ‘fringe’ would put all theatre-makers on an equal footing, wherever they work and in whatever form. It would stop the segmentation of audiences into those who do fringe and those who don’t. It would prevent grant-makers and funders from taking refuge in the labels, and saying ‘Well we don’t fund that kind of theatre, we only fund this kind of theatre’.”
The author of One Day and Us also says, “the debate between digital and physical has had a kind of gladiatorial flavour … Cavaliers versus Roundheads, or perhaps more accurately, for someone of my age at least, Betamax versus VHS, with only one survivor allowed. All too often in this debate I’ve felt like the proud owner of a vast collection of Betamax.”
“We have on the one side Ukraine, whose situation is not improving; in Israel and Palestine things are getting worse; the disaster the Americans left in Iraq, the atrocities of Islamic state and the problem of Syria. There is war everywhere; we run the risk of committing the same mistakes as before; so without realising it we can get into a world war as if we were sleepwalking.”
In response to serious criticism from three major choreographers of the quality of UK-trained contemporary dancers, Judith Mackrell considers the nature and purpose of the dance education on offer – and allows as how British dance is healthy enough that lots of artists from elsewhere want to be part of it.
“Celebrity profiles are infamous, at this point, for their distinctive combination of erudition and ennui. Their adjective-happy explorations of hot-lady celebrities … treat their subjects like ‘irreducible mysteries, floating so high above the mortal (male) writers that they can only be described in terms of their effects.’ … Celebritized food profiles – celebrations of, among other things, actual rump roasts – treat their own subjects with a similar mingling of mysticism and frustrated desire.”
David Patrick Stearns meets Stéphane Denève: “I used to have my hair short, but then I neglected my hair, and that’s how it came to be longer. Later, I wanted to cut my hair, but my agent said, ‘No, no, no. It’s now a recognizable package, and I’m selling the whole package.’ … There’s a study to be done on conductors and hair.”
Thirlwell: “In [my novels] Politics and The Escape, these grand themes of history and politics were mischievously seen as equivalent to more apparently minor problems like sleeping arrangements in a threesome, or premature ejaculation.
Shteyngart: “But premature ejaculation and politics intersect quite a bit.”
Thirlwell: “Well that’s certainly true.”
AJBlog: Engaging Matters Published 2015-04-15
‘One-Way Ticket’s’ Missed Connection: Lawrence’s ‘Migration’ Show at MoMA Bypasses a Crucial Stop
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2015-04-15
Not Since Robbins
AJBlog: About Last Night Published 2015-04-15
Just Because: Dave Frishberg And Friends
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2015-04-15