Harper Lee’s Attorney Takes Over Another Piece Of The ‘Mockingbird’ Brand: The Annual Play In Monroeville


Tonja Carter, who rediscovered the manuscript of Go Set a Watchman and sued the local museum over its gift shop’s Mockingbird-themed merchandise, has formed a company to produce the stage adaptation of the novel in the town’s historic courthouse – taking the rights away from the museum, which had presented the play for years.

Shigeko Kubota, Pioneering Video Artist And Fluxus Member, Dead At 77


“Today, Kubota … [is] better remembered for her 1965 performance Vagina Painting, in which Kubota attached a paintbrush to her skirt, squatted, and moved around over a canvas.” More notable was her work, by herself and with husband Nam June Paik, developing the genre of video art in general and combining video and sculpture in particular.

Vic Firth, 85, The ‘Stradivari Of Drumsticks’

vic firth

Besides spending four decades as the Boston Symphony’s principal tympanist (Seiji Ozawa called him “the single greatest percussionist anywhere in the world”), he decided in the 1960s to design and build his own sticks, feeling that what was on the market was inadequate for the subtleties of serious symphonic and ensemble music. Little did he know then that he was setting the gold standard for percussionists in all genres all over the world.

Actress Natasha Parry, 84, Wife And Collaborator Of Peter Brook


“Her career was inescapably defined by her marriage, at the age of 20, to the director Peter Brook, with whom she worked many times in productions of Shakespeare, Chekhov, Anouilh and Beckett. She was also a vital part of Brook’s experimental, theatrical work in Paris, Persia (as Iran then was) and the villages of Africa. But Parry also had an independent career in films that marked her out as a fine screen actor.”

Bayreuth’s New Wagner Museum Finally Faces Composer’s Anti-Semitism Openly

A visitor takes a picture of a bust of German composer Richard Wagner at the Richard Wagner Museum in Bayreuth, Germany, July 24, 2015. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. REUTERS/Michael Roddy

“Revamped and doubled in size at a cost of 20 million euros ($21.92 million), the museum for the first time displays Wagner’s anti-Semitic screeds, which he published in his youth anonymously, then under his own name before he died in 1883. It also depicts the close ties his widow Cosima, who died in 1930, and his descendants forged with Hitler.”

True Crime Writer Ann Rule, 83


The woman credited by her publisher with reinventing the previously male-dominated true crime genre by focusing on the victims has died at age 83. Rule wrote more than 30 books, including “The Stranger Beside Me,” which profiled Bundy. Rule and Bundy met in 1971 and their relationship was mostly a grim coincidence, except that he later confessed to eight murders in the state of Washington.

Pianist Ivan Moravec Dead At 84

ivan moravec

“A noted Chopin interpreter, Moravec focused on the ‘central’ Romantic repertoire as well as music by Czech composers. … [He] enjoyed a loyal following among piano buffs thanks to his recordings and relatively rare concert appearances.” (includes video)

Watch Picasso’s 80th Birthday Party


A clip titled “Still Young at Eighty” – part of the enormous trove of historical video that AP is posting on YouTube – “shows the fresh octogenarian in 1961 at his French Riviera home surrounded by a swarm of guests … [and later] enjoying himself at a bullfight. … Fast-forward to 1973, and one can witness the funerary procession following the artist’s death at the age of 91.”

Ingrid Sischy, Editor And Cultural Maven, Dead At 63


“For nearly 40 years, Ms. Sischy (pronounced SEE-shee) was an influential chronicler of the cultural orbit — in particular the avant-garde orbit — of New York, the country and the world. A fixture at fashion shows and gallery openings around the globe, she knew seemingly everyone on the cutting edge of creative life and was considered a formidable handicapper of talent.”

EL Doctorow And The Difficulties Of Historical Fiction


Fiction, unlike history, explores what might have happened, not what actually has happened. “Doctorow’s way with historical characters is in line with this idea. He gets to know Henry Ford or Emma Goldman through their recorded actions and then wonders what those characters might have done in a fictional situation.”

Vera Stern, 88, Helped Save Carnegie Hall


“When Carnegie Hall was threatened with demolition, to make way for an office tower, Isaac Stern served as the public face of the campaign to save it, but his wife worked furiously behind the scenes, proselytizing and persuading. Eventually, the city agreed to buy the hall for $5 million and spend another $100,000 to improve it. In recognition of Mrs. Stern’s efforts, Box 44 was named for her.”

Conductor Paul Freeman, 79


The December 2000 issue of Fanfare magazine proclaimed Maestro Freeman “one of the finest conductors our nation has produced.” Freeman led several recordings by both the Chicago Sinfonietta and Czech National Symphony, including his landmark three volume African Heritage Symphonic Series for Cedille Records.

The Biggest American Radio Star Most Americans Never Heard – And Perhaps The US’s Greatest Cultural Ambassador

willis conover

“For 40 years, … [his broadcasts] constituted one of his country’s most effective instruments of cultural diplomacy.” He once said, “Jazz tells more about America than any American can realize. It bespeaks vitality, strength, social mobility; it’s a free music with its own discipline, but not an imposed, inhibiting discipline.”

How Joan Didion Went From Writer To Literary Celebrity


“Although she started to take on more political subjects in the late ’70s, the interest in her personal life – and her personal belongings – only grew. In the crossover of feminism, fashion, and literary interests, there is a whole swathe of the internet where Didion is a staple reference. Her borscht recipe can be found on the website Brain Pickings.”

Ai Weiwei Gets His Passport Back


He said on Wednesday that the authorities had given him no indication of why he had received his passport now. “I only can say why not? They have promised for the past four years to give it back. Now finally they gave it to me,” he said in a telephone interview. “They always say it’s in the process but I just need to be patient.”

Composer Oliver Knussen’s Performance At Tanglewood Canceled Because of Visa (Or Lack Of One)


Visa problems have resulted in the cancellation of another artist’s visit to Tanglewood. Earlier this season it was tenor Gwyn Hughes Jones, who had been slated to perform in Act I of “Tosca.” Now, the composer and conductor Oliver Knussen has been forced to cancel his appearance at the Festival of Contemporary Music, where he was to conduct a keenly anticipated memorial program in honor of the composer Gunther Schuller, featuring premieres by Schuller and Charles Wuorinen, on Thursday evening.

E.L. Doctorow, 84, ‘One Of Contemporary Fiction’s Most Restless Experimenters’


“Subtly subversive in his fiction – less so in his left-wing political writing – he consistently upended expectations with a cocktail of fiction and fact, remixed in book after book; with clever and substantive manipulations of popular genres like the Western and the detective story; and with his myriad storytelling strategies.”

Theodore Bikel, Actor, Singer, And Social Activist, Dead At 91


“In a protean acting career, he played King Lear and other Shakespearean roles and appeared in countless television shows, from The Twilight Zone to Gunsmoke to Dynasty” – to say nothing of giving more than 2,000 performances as Tevye and creating the role of Captain von Trapp. “[He] could speak nine languages and sing in 21 … [and] helped found the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island.”

Garrison Keillor: This Time I Mean It – I’m Retiring

Garrison Keillor, creator and host of "A Prairie Home Companion," said in an interview with The Associated Press, Monday, July 20, 2015, in St. Paul, Minn., that he plans to step down after next season and retire such popular sketches as “Guy Noir, Private Eye.” (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

In an interview Monday with The Associated Press, Keillor said he plans to step down as host after next season, following four decades of entertaining listeners with his baritone voice and folksy comedy sketches about Lake Wobegon, his mythical Minnesota hometown “where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.”

The Movie Composer Having An Excellent Summer


“One of the first things I ask [a filmmaker] is, ‘What is the saddest moment in the story to you?’ That is important for me. I want to know if I felt the same way. When I ask the question, I’ll know emotionally if we are going to be in the same place.”

Alex Rocco, Whose Scene-Stealing Moments In ‘The Godfather’ Left An Indelible Impression, Dead At 79


“Mr. Rocco had fairly limited screen time in ‘The Godfather’ (1972), but he emerged from that film with a collection of signature lines, including ‘You don’t buy me out. I buy you out’ and ‘Do you know who I am?’ (both spoken to the Godfather-in-waiting, played by Al Pacino), and a Hollywood reputation for stealing scenes with little more than a Boston attitude and his eyebrows.”

Alan Curtis, 80, Leader Of Baroque Music Revival

alan curtis

As a harpsichordist, scholar, conductor, and founder-director of the ensemble Il Complesso Barocco, Curtis brought an enormous amount of neglected music – opera and vocal works in particular – from the 17th and 18th centuries to modern ears. In recent years he was known for a series of Handel opera recordings funded by mystery author Donna Leon.