People

Mary Clarke, Doyenne Of London Dance Critics, Dead At 91

Mary Clarke in her office at the Dancing Times.

“An article in Dancing Times in December 1943 eventually led to her editing that journal for 45 years, and to serving as the Guardian‘s dance critic for 17 years. There were books, too, and she became one of the most influential writers on dance during the second half of the 20th century.”

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They Dug Up Richard III’s Bones – Why Not Shakespeare’s, Too? Here’s Why Not

HAMLET, Laurence Olivier, 1948

“Inspired by the revelations about Richard III, recently liberated from a car park in Leicester, professor Francis Thackeray of Wits University, in Johannesburg, claims he is ‘very interested by the possibility’ of subjecting Shakespeare to the same treatment.” Andrew Dickson explains why he thinks that wouldn’t be worthwhile. (And no, it’s not the curse.)

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America’s Most Prolific (And Generous) Art Forger

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“It obviously isn’t a crime to give a picture to a museum, and they treated me like royalty. One thing led to another, and I kept doing it for 30 years,” says Mark Landis, one of the most prolific art forgers in US history.

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Tony Award-Winning Director Gene Saks Dead At 93

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While his career in both theater and movies included such hits as Mame, Same Time Next Year and I Love My Wife, Saks was best known for a long series of collaborations (stage and screen) with Neil Simon, from Barefoot in the Park and The Odd Couple through to the “Brighton Beach Trilogy.”

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Court Orders Turkish President To Pay Damages For Insulting Artist’s Work

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Four years ago, when he was still prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan described a peace monument by sculptor Mehmet Aksoy near the Turkish-Armenian border as a “monstrosity.” Under libel laws that Erdoğan has been quick to use himself against critics, he was ordered to pay Aksoy 10,000 lire (about $3,800). The president is appealing.

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The Lawyer Who’s Preparing For Courts About, And Maybe In, Space

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“I began to see analogues between the founding of the United States and what we would need to do to go into space. I want to point out very, very strongly that this analogy between the founding of the US and space law is not a call for United States dominance or Manifest Destiny in space.”

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A Chinese-American Artist’s Pastels Inspired The Look Of Walt Disney’s ‘Bambi’

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“Inspired by Chinese landscape paintings, [Tyrus Wong] used watercolor and pastels to make sample sketches that evoked forest scenes with simple strokes of color and special attention to light and shadow. … Wong’s sketches caught Disney’s eye and became the guide for Bambi’s background artists, who were later trained to mimic his style.”

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Tomas Tranströmer, 83, Winner Of 2011 Nobel Prize For Literature

Tomas Transtromer

“He wrote in exceptionally pure, cold Swedish without frills. His descriptions of nature were as sparse and alive as a Japanese painting. … His sparse output was highly praised from the moment his first collection, 17 Poems, appeared in 1954 and he was acknowledged as Sweden’s greatest living poet long before he won the Nobel Prize. He was translated into more than 60 languages.”

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Booker Prize Mastermind Martyn Goff, 91

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Goff, who died on Wednesday after a long illness, masterminded the Booker for more than three decades. “The current health of English fiction can be explained in two words: Martyn Goff,” wrote John Sutherland, when the former bookseller announced he was stepping down from the prize in 2002.

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Richard III Finally Gets His State Funeral

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“For an English monarchy that has lasted more than 1,000 years, there can have been few more improbable occasions than the ceremony of remembrance here on Thursday for the reburial of one of the most bloodstained medieval sovereigns.”

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S**t Pierre Boulez Said

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“I don’t want my statements to be frozen in time. A date should always be attached to them. Certainly if you take a picture of yourself 30 years ago, that same picture cannot be used as a picture of yourself today.” His incendiary comments, whether directed at his contemporaries (he has described Duchamp as ‘a pompous bore’, Cage as ‘a performing monkey’, and Stockhausen, ‘a hippie’), or more general topics such as culture and history, however, suggest that he enjoys the controversy.

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JK Rowling’s Great Answer To A Question About Dumbledore’s Sexuality

Author JK Rowling

“When Rowling first told fans about Dumbledore’s sexuality, she shed light on the wizard’s confirmed single status by indicating that he was once in love with his childhood friend Gellert Grindelwald – who later went on to become an extremely dangerous dark wizard, and was defeated by Dumbledore prior to the events of the first Harry Potter book.”

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Pierre Boulez Turns 90: His Influence Is Undeniable

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“Boulez’s style is explosive. He detonates a germ of an idea and, like a seed, it grows a sonic forest. The common fallacy is that pieces as highly and intricately structured as these require technical understanding. But you don’t need to be a botanist to be stirred by a field of wild flowers.”

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Norman Scribner, 79, Founder Of D.C.’S Choral Arts Society

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“The late Washington Post music critic Paul Hume once called Mr. Scribner ‘one of Washington’s finest musicians and one of the most gifted choral conductors in the country.’ A skilled pianist, organist and composer, he spent nearly five decades at the helm of the Choral Arts Society.”

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What A Neuroscientist Says About Jon Stewart’s Brain

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Quick-witted would be the layman way to put it; he’ll be interviewing someone… and he’s just very quick, very quick at making these unexpected connections. But the term we would use for that is divergent thinking – that is, making novel connections between things that other people don’t put together, and finding the humor in that.”

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What A Forensic Psychiatrist Says About Gesualdo, The Wife-Murdering Composer

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Don Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa is even more famous for killing his wife and her lover in flagrante than he is for his surpassingly weird madrigals. But he didn’t simply dispatch the pair himself: he brought along three men armed with guns and double-headed axes and he energetically mutilated the dead bodies. Dr. Ruth McAllister considers what might have driven Gesualdo to such extremes (and then tortured himself over them for the rest of his life) when a couple of bullets or sword thrusts would have done the job.

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Two Opera Singers Among Passengers On Downed Airline

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“The singers were traveling to their homes in Düsseldorf from Barcelona, where they had played Alberich and Erda, respectively, in Wagner’s Siegfried at the Gran Teatre del Liceu. French officials said everyone aboard the Germanwings Airbus A320 died when the plane crashed on its way from Barcelona to Düsseldorf.”

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Hans Erni, Prolific Swiss Artist, Dead At 106

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“During his long career he produced murals, tapestries, mosaics, sculptures, ceramic art and medals, as well as designing stamps, hundreds of posters and illustrations for books. In 2009, at the age of 100, he completed a 60-metre-long ceramic fresco that decorates the entrance to the United Nations [compound] in Geneva.”

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Director Peter Sellars On Art, The Audience, And Controversy

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“For me, the art that’s made with the audience in mind is so numbing and insulting and demeaning – because it’s assuming that I don’t have a really interesting and complicated life, and somebody knows what I think. And nobody knows what I think because I’m still wrestling with what I think most days, so I hate it when somebody tells me what I think.”

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What’s The Deal With Mardi Gras Indians?

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“The inevitable first question, though, can always be answered with: ‘No, they’re not Native American.’ This is a purely African-American tradition. … Some suggest it was a way of honoring Native Americans who sheltered runaway slaves, and also a means of paying respect to a culture that fiercely resisted European domination. Others say it arose after Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show passed through New Orleans in 1884.”

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Performance Artist Ron Athey Looks Back On The Culture Wars Controversies

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“In 1994, I didn’t have information about arts funding. I didn’t belong to any group of artists, any art movement. I was not part of the NEA Four. I considered my performance work more elaborate than actionism, but not quite theater. It was a visual testimonial, an invitation to go beyond minor (or, to some, major) limitations and experience the sublime, or at least an attempt to reach the sublime. Usually it was an interesting exercise in symbolist bloat. I’m not glamorizing my status as an outsider, but to be attacked, to smell the attack coming, was unbelievable because I wasn’t participating in this system.”

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Samuel Charters, 85, The First Blues Musicologist

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“When [his] first book, The Country Blues, was published at the tail end of the 1950s, the rural Southern blues of the pre-World War II period was a largely ignored genre. His book immediately caused a sensation among college students and aspiring folk performers … [and] created a tradition of blues scholarship.”

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Jerry Saltz, The Art Internet Critic

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“In the hallowed halls of art criticism long dominated by self-serious arbiters of taste, Saltz will sometimes say he prefers to play the role of the hapless naïf. Saltz can look the part when he wants: he’s a petite man, with a receding hairline, bookish plastic frames, and a face that resembles a hybrid of J.K. Simmons and Larry David’s. But his boundary-pushing antics are serious business, a persona built over 25 years of hard work and self-questioning, and they’ve put him in a uniquely influential position in the New York art scene.”

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Could G.K. Chesterton Be Canonized By The Church?

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“If the Catholic Church makes G. K. Chesterton a saint – as an influential group of Catholics is proposing it should – the story of his enormous coffin may become rather significant. Symbolic, even parabolic. … In his vastness and mobility, Chesterton continues to elude definition: He was a Catholic convert and an oracular man of letters, a pneumatic cultural presence, an aphorist with the production rate of a pulp novelist.”

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The Two Things About Mark Rylance

Mark Rylance

“The first,” writes Catherine Shoard, “is that he’s the best actor of his generation. … [The second] is that he’s a bit of a fruitloop. A hippy – a pagan, even … Yet my bullshit detector never blips, even when he explains how the mind has two genders and is quite like a womb. Rather, Rylance just seems like one of the gentlest men I’ve met.”

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