Bennett Jr., whose best-known book was Before the Mayflower, “was both lyrical and outspoken in his writing, arguing that the history of black people in the United States had been ignored or told only through a white filter.”
Rachel Morrison, the director of photography for Dee Rees’ Mudbound, is the first woman ever nominated for cinematography. That’s embarrassing for a stupidly sexist Hollywood, but no slight to the great Morrison, who was also the first woman to shoot a comic book movie: She’s been walking the walk for two decades. “Now I’m seeing many more women getting calls to do bigger films,” she says.
After working in other careers and getting inspired by sculptures he saw through a window in Paris, “Mr. Harvey became a masterly sculptor of intricately detailed, realistic bronze figures whose works were exhibited by Tiffany & Company in its Fifth Avenue flagship store, have been collected by museums, and were purchased by Henry Fonda, Jamie Wyeth, Barry Manilow and Danielle Steel.”
Hundreds of millions of people with disabilities live in cities around the world. By 2050, they will number an estimated 940 million people, or 15% of what will be roughly 6.25 billion total urban dwellers, lending an urgency to the UN’s declaration that poor accessibility “presents a major challenge”.
Scott Beauchamp: “The spiritually inverted radicals of the Sixties who sacralized their politics and secularized their spirituality – blame Reich and Marcuse – read Kerouac with blinders on. They only saw what they wanted to see, and what they wanted to see was a celebration of the ‘freedoms’ of hedonism. … The truth is more complex and so much more interesting: Kerouac” – who described himself as a “strange solitary Catholic mystic” – “was one of the most humble and devoted American religious writers of the 20th century.”
“[He] was a short, pudgy comedian who found his greatest success from 1957 to 1968, when he teamed with [Steve] Rossi, a tall, handsome singer who set up his partner’s vaudeville-style, groan-worthy gags. … With the bulging eyes and innocence of a Harpo Marx-like fool, Mr. Allen ambled onstage with his trademark catchphrase, ‘Hello dere,’ and quickly waded into comic quicksand.”
“[She] epitomized the company’s early eclectic profile by excelling in roles that ranged from Billy the Kid’s Mexican sweetheart to the ‘Bluebird’ pas de deux from The Sleeping Beauty … Because of her lyrical style in ballets like Les Sylphides, Ms. Koesun was often cast as a Romantic ballerina. But she could also show dramatic ferocity, as the evil antiheroine Ate in Antony Tudor’s Undertow.”
Mr. Damone lacked the outsize personality of fellow Italian American pop singers Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, but he nonetheless flourished on a rung just below greatness. He made more than 2,000 recordings, as well as dozens of movie and TV appearances, and sold out live performances until he retired in the early 2000s after a stroke.
Once upon a time, not turning up for an awards ceremony held a kind of clout: “When a writer doesn’t show his face,” as DeLillo wrote in his 1991 novel, “Mao II,” about a reclusive novelist who becomes a prisoner of a terrorist organization, “he becomes a local symptom of God’s famous reluctance to appear.” Now it feels a little rude, like not showing up to a dinner party held in your honor.
Indeed, what did Jesus wear? He almost certainly didn’t dress as he is traditionally depicted, just as he almost certainly didn’t have long, light brown hair and blue eyes. He probably didn’t have a full beard, either. Scholar Joan Taylor gathers together the few clues we have from the New Testament, Roman commentary, and convention of the time and place to make an educated guess about Jesus’s sartorial style. (In a word, shabby.)
“Ms. Maxwell was a longtime favorite of critics. Ben Brantley of The New York Times, for one, praised her again and again. In 2005, when she played the world-weary Baroness of Vulgaria in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (the role led to her first Tony nomination and a Drama Desk award), he called her ‘the real heroine for anyone who demands wit and sophistication from a Broadway production.'”
“The Amis that Smith herself resembles is Martin. What they share is the predicament of the former wunderkind. Both burst to fame in their early 20s as truly funny comic novelists. Both are dedicated students of literature, as good as critics as they are as novelists. Both are transatlantic liberals who grew up in public and have been compelled to wear the mantle of the public intellectual. But public seriousness has never been a comfortable fit for either of them.”
Before she started curating architecture shows and taking on clients, she had jobs that supported artists in a variety of major ways: “In Peterborough, N.H., she was director of the MacDowell Colony, a prestigious artists’ retreat, and in Madison, Me., she directed the Skowhegan School for Painting and Sculpture. Back in New York City, she was a board member and chairman of the composer, singer and interdisciplinary artist Meredith Monk’s House Foundation for the Arts.”
David Simon, writer and creator of The Wire, announced Cathey’s death on social media. “Though he earned credits in dozens of television shows and movies, it was Mr. Cathey’s portrayal of Freddy Hayes — an empathetic, salt-of-the-earth barbecue pit owner whose restaurant provides a respite for Francis Underwood, the scheming politician in House of Cards — that earned him three Emmy nominations and one win for outstanding guest actor in a drama series.”
Daniel Kaluuya is nominated for an Academy Award, as is the movie, and now he’s in Black Panther as well. He’s glad to have his mom around to help him stay humble: “His mother finds acting too erratic a profession. ‘She calls me every time and says, ‘Have you got a job yet?’ And I haven’t. I can’t say to her, ‘You gotta wait – the nos mean something.’ I tell her I’m writing a script. She says, ‘Just type full stop.’’ [And] after the hype around Get Out, Kaluuya is more grateful than ever for his mother’s unhistrionic attitude. He calls this right-sizing.”
Elizabeth Alexander has been closely involved in one of the most important trends now shaping arts philanthropy: a growing focus on using arts and cultural grantmaking to advance social justice. You can bet that she’ll push Mellon to step up its own funding along these lines. It also seems likely that we’ll see a more powerful axis between Ford and Mellon that extends the influence of both institutions in the arts and cultural space.
Roxane Gay: “We can no longer worship at the altar of creative genius while ignoring the price all too often paid for that genius. In truth, we should have learned this lesson long ago, but we have a cultural fascination with creative and powerful men who are also “mercurial” or “volatile,” with men who behave badly. There are all kinds of creative people who are brilliant and original and enigmatic and capable of treating others with respect. There is no scarcity of creative genius, and that is the artistic work we can and should turn to instead.”
The effects are immediate: At first, people seem agitated and unsure of what to do with their hands. But then they adjust. “In line at the concession stand, you’ll overhear people talking about the artist and the show, and then about the fact that they’re having this conversation because they don’t have phones. You’ll see people fully engaged with each other talking, and the feel of it is radically different.”
“As a director, Ms. Jones won a Peabody Award for the four-hour documentary 180 Days: A Year Inside an American High School. … In 2005 Ms. Jones was appointed executive director of the National Black Programming Consortium, now called Black Public Media. Her work there included moving beyond the organization’s role supporting black filmmakers. During her tenure, the consortium created an online digital media project documenting the 2005 hurricanes that devastated New Orleans and neighboring Gulf states.”
“We found both a rapid increase in suicides in August 2014, and specifically suffocation suicides, that paralleled the time and method of Williams’ death,” a research team led by David Fink of Columbia University writes in the online journal PLoS One. “Although excess suicides were observed across gender and age groups, males and persons aged 30 to 44 had the greatest increase,” the researchers report. That presumably includes a lot of people who grew up with his movies.
Alexander, a renowned writer, poet, and scholar, is recognized as one of the nation’s leading voices in modern literature and a bold visionary in the academy. Over the course of a distinguished academic and artistic career, she has developed a number of complex, multi-arts and multi-disciplinary teams, departments and partnerships, and dedicated herself consistently to creating, building and sustaining highly successful institutions – from the Poetry Center at Smith College, to a major rebuilding of the African American Studies department at Yale University, from the poetry non-profit Cave Canem, to the Ford Foundation’s programs in journalism, arts and culture.
The point is that most of the really profound pieces of life advice are actually bloody obvious. It’s just that, sometimes, we need to be told. Which is why the idea behind Desperately Seeking Self-Improvementis so terrific. Two sceptical business school professors, André Spicer and Carl Cederström, devote a year to exploring what used to be known as the self-help industry but is now called the optimisation industry because it sounds cooler.
He was a champion student athlete (and occasional football pro), an NYU- and Columbia-trained lawyer, London socialite, and linguist. (He was also, for a time, a nude artists’ model.) Many know that he was a civil rights firebrand, but he became a committed Communist and Sovietophile (he had fluent Russian) – until, far too late, he came to understand what life was like in the USSR, and it wrecked him.
“I’ve made over 100 motion pictures, and some of them were even good. It’s nice to be reborn every few decades, because then you can have another career. The nice part about awards and being nominated is the fact that it wakes everybody up again, and makes them realize you’re alive and kicking and available.”
We cannot say that Rebekah Mercer and her family foundation are dictating museum exhibitions by virtue of her board seat, and the museum, in a statement, has said that she is not and that “its funders do not shape its curatorial decisions.” But that’s not really the issue. As a funder of climate-science disinformation, Ms. Mercer stands in direct contradiction to the museum’s mission “to discover, interpret, and disseminate — through scientific research and education — knowledge about human cultures, the natural world, and the universe.”
“I am guilty, for putting her in that car, but not the way that people are saying I am guilty of it,” Tarantino told me. “It’s the biggest regret of my life, getting her to do that stunt. There are certain things I can’t get too far into the weeds on, but I will any questions you have about it.”