“When Zoe Lister-Jones decided to direct her first movie, ‘Band Aid,’ she embraced her power as the director-producer and focused on results instead of promises. She hired an all-female crew, from the cinematographer to the boom operator to the grip.”
“The question comes back to who the city is for. … Today, the measure of ‘success’ in urban development should be the rate at which democracy rather than money predominates in determining what a city is and what it should become. Activist groups around New York meet on a regular basis to insist on this. But mainstream newspaper accounts cynically reduce real estate coverage to tales about treasure hunts by a lucky few.”
The not-for-profit organization was established in 2003, “dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of magic and its allied arts.” It was started by William Kalush, who developed a love of magic from the card tricks shown to him by his father, a Marine wounded in World War II. This love of card magic turned to a love of collecting magic books, which now form a wondrous collection of over 15,000 books—some dating to over 600 years old—housed in this hidden location.
Greg Miller, who has worked at the theater for 27 years, said he was blindsided by the decision. But in retrospect, he should have have predicted changes were afoot — especially after he was told he no longer had to attend the annual board retreat. “I found it that odd since I’m the head artistic officer in an arts organization [and] I was no longer required to come speak at board meetings when my job description states that that’s required of me.”
“In today’s America of drastically reduced civic expectations, Snøhetta’s quietly brilliant reconfiguration of Times Square is an exemplar of how much can be achieved in city planning without the gigantic financial outlays and dire social displacements that typified American postwar urban renewal projects.”
It was different from the calls for “resistance” art we have been seeing in other Western countries because, this time, the existential threat being responded to was not part of out own culture; it was from outside. One could talk of a difference between “protest art” (aimed at Western-generated political problems) and “solidarity art” (designed to lift morale in the face of terrorism). And although the solidarity art is not a complaint directed at any particular state or policy, it nevertheless serves a uniting and inspiring function.
Joanna Walters visits a choreographer in Ohio who created dances based on ailing seniors’ life stories, the director of a literary center in Idaho that gives writing classes and workshops to low-income kids, an award-winning poet and novelist in New Mexico whose early-career NEA grant kept her and her husband off food stamps, and the community arts center in Florida that taught the writer of the Oscar-winning film Moonlight.
“In a surprise move, both the Conservative and Labour parties have made manifesto pledges to create a new funding stream for the arts.”
As Philip Kennicott argues forcefully that money from the arch-conservative, climate change-denying Koch brothers is by now irredeemably tainted, Lyn Gardner looks at the ongoing arguments over arts sponsorship by BP: “Whenever the cultural sector is benefiting from cash injections, the question must be asked: although it may bring benefits to our theatre and audience, is there a price for this sponsorship that is being paid by someone else, somewhere else?”
“Alameda County prosecutors capped a six-month investigation into the deadly blaze on Monday when they charged [Derick] Almena and [Max] Harris with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter, saying their management of the Ghost Ship was not simply negligent, but criminal.”
“The concept of cultural appropriation is nothing less than an intellectual fence: Keep out. If it had been adhered to, then Richard Fariña would not have written “Birmingham Sunday” after the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963 that took the lives of four girls. (The song was recorded by Joan Baez.) Bob Dylan could not have written about Hattie Carroll, the black barmaid who was killed by a drunk white patron in 1963. “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” speaks to both race and class. It is as much “An American Tragedy” as Theodore Dreiser’s classic novel.”
Barry Diller – backed by pretty much every politician with jurisdiction over the spot – wants to replace, at his own expense, a crumbling pier at 13th St. in Manhattan with “an undulating platform featuring pathways, lush lawns and three venues for dance, theater and musical performances.” Real-estate mogul Douglas Durst is leading the (seemingly rather small) opposition to the project.
Yes, Charles and David Koch “have given hundreds of millions of dollars to institutions such as Lincoln Center and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art,” but they’ve also “used their fortune to sow doubt about climate science and undermine the nation’s faith in basic science. … They have undermined a critical set of our most important human capacities, and some of the same ones that the arts are often thought to enhance. These include things such as critical thinking and deference to reason and evidence, but also empathy and fellow feeling, and a sense that we are connected to other people.”
The trend is likely to alarm humanities professors and many others in academe. Many humanities departments have found themselves struggling to maintain tenure-track faculty lines and, in some cases, to continue departments. Humanities professors are quick to note that their departments play crucial roles in general education for students from a range of majors.
“While a University affiliated Think Tank, with research fellows and a management staff, has to have income and a budget, it may be possible with today’s technology to run a tighter ship with more volunteer input. It may not be necessary for a bricks and mortar home base, but rather operate as a virtual entity, and it may not have to re-invent the wheel of all the activity already going on. Whereas the model for an Arts Think Tank has changed, so too has the model for its funding.”
The paper states that using indicators and benchmarks to assess cultural activities, “which exhibit no obvious capacity for scalar measurement”, is a “political act”. The “ostensible neutrality” of this approach is, they say, “a trick of the light trying to launder responsibility for judgment in the competition for scarce resources”.
Of course, “the real currency in Hollywood is less principle than success. And that’s why there’s so much hope attached to the ‘Wonder Woman’ premiere — that its success with audiences of all genders and ages would bring the ‘knockout punch’ persuading Hollywood to give more female directors a break.”
While the first superhero movie directed by and starring a woman soars to a début weekend that beats Iron Man‘s first outing, one FOX News host said, “Some are calling it less American, Dion, because, well, her outfit isn’t red, white, and blue.”
With “Still Star-Crossed,” a new, multicultural tale of lovers (and power) set in Romeo and Juliet’s Verona, Rhimes has done the research – and it’s a choice she’s had to defend. “There’s racist casting and there is normal casting. … Normal casting to me is a process that strives for representation and in many cases, strives to simply portray the world as it actually is instead of as falsely non-inclusive. And sadly, sometimes that involves removing the whitewash that exists on history.”
“Labour will create a £1 billion Cultural Capital Fund to invest in and upgrade the UK’s cultural facilities. It will be among the biggest ever arts infrastructure funds to boost arts, music, theatre, literature and more. We’ll create an arts pupil premium worth £160 million a year, to allow every primary school child in England the chance to learn an instrument, take part in drama and dance and have regular access to a theatre, gallery or museum.”
“In reality, the NEA has an outsized impact in rural communities and less densely populated states, where funding from private foundations and wealthy philanthropists is harder to obtain.” What’s more, “the NEA’s outsized impact on rural areas and less densely populated regions is reinforced by the way it distributes the funding it provides directly to states.”
“Eat a sandwich on the steps of our cathedral and we’ll turn a hose on you. That’s the warning from Florence this week, where Mayor Dario Nardella is sick of visitors picnicking on the steps the Cathedral of Santa Maria Dei Fiore.”
The precipitously departed theater critic of The New York Times resurfaces in the pages of Town & Country: “History isn’t a flawless guide, but periods of economic and political dislocation can actually inspire an efflorescence of culture.”
On Wednesday, some visitors to the National Museum of African-American History and Culture “found the noose on the floor in front of a display titled, ‘Democracy Abroad. Injustice at Home.'” It was the second noose found on Smithsonian grounds this week.
“In Western Europe, support for the arts is in great part the result of centuries of patronage culture. Cultural policy there is as much the product of longe durée tradition as it is about the post-war concept of welfare. And for countries like France, the arts inform its self-conception as a great nation. In the 1980s, the French government appointed a minister for Rock and Roll, to try to fix the country’s flagging presence in that field. By contrast, private interest has always had a large stake in the cultural policy of the United States.”
The Libra Foundation has since October spent $750,000 buying a dozen houses, a community center and a general store along Monson’s main drag — as well as a farm on North Guilford Road, said Erik K. Hayward, Libra’s senior vice president. The plan is to convert the houses into artist residences and the center into studio space. The store would sell art and produce from farms in Piscataquis County, which the U.S. Census Bureau rated as Maine’s poorest in 2015.
Basically, the fear is the same as that of public speaking – except, as Christine Ro explains, that one of the best tools for combating the fear of public speaking isn’t available for audience participation.
Nina Stoller-Lindsey tries another angle in defense of the NEA: “At first glance, eradicating this cultural hub may seem to have little to do with the military – but giving soldiers access to the arts is one of the most effective ways we can help them both prepare and recover from the demands of their duty. In eliminating this agency, Trump would be doing a huge disservice to them and to the veterans he promised to support.”
Books such as Edgar Lee Masters’s “Spoon River Anthology,” Sherwood Anderson’s “Winesburg, Ohio” and Sinclair Lewis’s “Main Street” quickly exemplified what has been called “the revolt from the village.” City slickers like H.L. Mencken and magazines such as the New Yorker further ridiculed the Midwest as a backward, second-class culture of yokels and rednecks who lacked a dedication to the intellect, let alone sensitivity to the arts.
“In this edited oral history, he reminisces how he battled deficits, rebuilt a shaken campus, opened a downtown performance outpost and contended with the student who showed up at graduation wearing nothing but a snake.”