Issues

Mexico Repeatedly Slashes Arts Funding As Economy Falters

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“As the US economy has picked up steam in the last few years, falling oil prices and a stronger dollar have left the peso floundering. Last month, the Mexican currency hit its lowest value since 1993 … The tumble has the federal government here drawing blood from public funds, especially the arts and culture sector.”

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Three Major Cultural Leaders Have Stepped Down In London. They Leave A Legacy Of Achievements

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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.”

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Wallace Foundation Makes Major Investment In Building New Audiences For Arts

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“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.”

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Man Buys Building In Town Of Lecce. Man Digs To Fix Toilet. Man Discovers 2000-Year-Old City

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“His search for a sewage pipe, which began in 2000, became one family’s tale of obsession and discovery. He found a subterranean world tracing back before the birth of Jesus: a Messapian tomb, a Roman granary, a Franciscan chapel and even etchings from the Knights Templar. His trattoria instead became a museum, where relics still turn up today.”

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Michael Kaiser: What’s Dragging Down American Arts

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“When you say I can watch something online for free or for a modest amount, or pay $100 to go to a live performance, that’s become a very difficult choice for a lot of people,” Kaiser says. For most in the post-great recession era of income stagnation and a shrinking middle class, it’s no choice at all.”

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Berlin Cracks Down On Vacation Rentals As City Is Overrun With Tourists

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“The ban was imposed to prevent the city from becoming victim to property owners who would rather rent their apartments for €700 per week to tourists rather than offer them to normal residents for much less. The law is also meant to show that city officials in Berlin are taking the fight against gentrification seriously.”

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Get Real: Philosophy Looks To The Real World

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“Where for decades or even centuries, philosophy has focused on our representations and descriptions of the world, on human consciousness and cultural systems, many are now turning to the external features of the world that constitute the content of our experiences and the context of our social practices.”

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Making Rape Jokes That Are Actually Funny (Well, Maybe)

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“The punch lines of [Adrienne Truscott’s] jokes are never the victims themselves. Instead she is aiming at the targets like the onstage antics of Mr. Tosh and the sexual assault accusations leveled against Bill Cosby, as well as politicians like Todd Akin, who made an infamous comment about ‘legitimate rape.'”

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Garry Trudeau Explains Why Satire – And Charlie Hebdo – Shouldn’t ‘Punch Downward’

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“Satire punches up, against authority of all kinds, the little guy against the powerful. Great French satirists like Molière and Daumier always punched up. … Ridiculing the non-privileged is almost never funny — it’s just mean. By punching downward, by attacking a powerless, disenfranchised minority with crude, vulgar drawings closer to graffiti than cartoons, Charlie wandered into the realm of hate speech.”

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Yale Art Dean Robert Storr Rips Critics For What They’ve Become

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“Critics have gotten confused about the issue of what their role is…. this is about instant response. It’s about the number of likes you get on your Facebook page. It’s all about the ego popularity presence of the critic. And frankly, none of these people, are interesting enough to really merit being a presence overall… I can’t imagine most of this stuff will people read 10 years from now.”

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New York Attorney General Investigating Cooper Union’s Finances

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The inquiry will examine the handling of the school’s endowment, management of its largest asset (the Chrysler Building), the terms of the $175 million in debt the board took on for a new starchitect-designed building, and how things came to the point that a lavishly endowed insitution created to be tuition-free had to begin charging students last year.

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This Female Comedian Does An Hour Of Rape Jokes Every Night (With No Pants On)

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Adrienne (“I do wear a jacket and heels – I’m not ridiculous”) Truscott: “And what is my right to do it – because I’m a woman? A comedian? Journalists ask me if I’ve been raped. A fair question in a way, or does it reveal an assumption based on my material: that I couldn’t simply be a comedian doing an hour of pointed observational comedy. Would being raped give me the right to joke about rape? No, anyone has the right to do it, but it could make my observational comedy about it more incisive.”

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California’s Next Bohemian Hot Spot – In A City You’d Never Expect

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James Fallows reports: “‘The Tower District is the bohemia of Fresno, and Fresno is the bohemia of California,’ a Fresnan named Heather Parish told us recently. If she were editing in real time, she probably would have said: Fresno should be the bohemia of our most populous and creative state. Here is what she is talking about and why she could dare say such a thing.”

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Brooklyn Academy Of Music Chooses New President

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“[BAM] hasn’t had to search for a new president in a very long time. Since the impresario Harvey Lichtenstein stepped down in 1999, Karen Brooks Hopkins has held the position, becoming a fund-raising powerhouse and building the institution into an anchor for a cultural renaissance in Downtown Brooklyn.”

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Why We Should Let Prisoners Take College Courses

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“Education was once an integral part of prison life. In the early 1980s, there were 350 college degree programs for prisoners nationwide. It was part of the “rehabilitative era.” School buildings in prisons were like satellite campuses of colleges, and federal and state grants paid prisoners’ tuitions. But the following years brought unemployment, crack cocaine, the Willie Horton debacle and tough-on-crime rhetoric.”

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‘Satirized For Your Consumption’ – Joking Becomes Integral To Public Policy

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The CIA launched its Twitter account with self-mockery; the U.S. State Dept. vetted The Interview; Obama’s best promotion of the new healthcare law as with Zack Galafianikis, and he was funnier than the pro comedian at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner – on the night Navy SEALs got Osama Bin Laden, no less. “Comedy [has been] stolen from the professional jokesters by their traditional targets and became, unexpectedly, the new language of power, policy, and politics.”

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Teaching Evolution To Students Who Tell Me They’ll Pray For My Soul

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James J. Krupa, biology professor at the University of Kentucky: “Where I live, many believe evolution to be synonymous with atheism, and there are those who strongly feel I am teaching heresy to thousands of students. A local pastor, whom I’ve never met, wrote an article in the University Christian complaining that, not only was I teaching evolution and ignoring creationism, I was teaching it as a non-Christian, alternative religion.”

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Can This Man #SaveNewYork?

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“His personal ire is frequently directed at what he calls Yunnies, or young urban narcissists. Yunnies are, by his account, the silent accomplices of hyper-gentrification: de-cultured millennials who actively like to shop at Target and could not care less if a quirky shrine like Bill’s Gay Nineties, which is the tavern where Tallulah Bankhead used to drink and which closed three years ago, is turned into a garish, high-end restaurant.”

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Why Did Maria Altmann Fight For ‘The Woman In Gold’?

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“If they would have once come and said, ‘We know these paintings are not ours, but, look, they are national treasures for us. Can you sit down and negotiate?’ Not once did they even attempt it or answer a letter of mine. … They feel they got away with and they (feel they) will get away with it, and they will pat themselves on their back, and this is what makes me so angry.”

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Humanities Profs Get No Respect (Even From Other Humanities Profs)

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It’s pretty shocking that humanities scholars, alleged proponents of what Germans call the “science of the spirit” (Geisteswissenschaften), believe some facets of the spirit are worthier of science than others—often using, by the way, the same soulless determinants of “market value” that those outside the academy use to deride the entire professoriate altogether.

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How One English City’s Arts Venues Survived Savage Cuts

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“There were howls of protest in 2012 when Newcastle City Council said it would be the first British city to scrap funding for theatres, galleries and other arts venues. A compromise was found, and venues are now finding new ways to survive.”

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Forward To The Past: Soviet-Style Censorship Returns To Russia

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The day after the director of Novosibirsk’s opera house was fired over a controversial production of Tannhäuser, a top Kremlin official “proposed that theatrical productions be subject to ‘inspections’ before they are presented to the public. Though [he] did not use the word ‘censorship’ (which is explicitly prohibited by the Russian constitution), this would represent a return to the Soviet system of preliminary censorship, in which no work of literature, theatre, or film could appear without the approval of government censors.”

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Arts Needs Spaces. Churches Have A Space Surplus. 1+1+…

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“The arts need their space. For the roughly 2,000 arts organizations in Philadelphia, whether fledgling or established, space is typically one of the greatest expenses and most critical needs, second only to personnel. At the same time, some two-thirds of Center City Philadelphia sacred places report having space that could potentially be available for sharing with the community.”

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