“It was once said of Voltaire, by his friend the Marquis d’Argenson, that ‘our great poet forever has one foot on Mount Parnassus and the other in the rue Quincampoix. The rue Quincampoix was the Wall Street of eighteenth-century Paris … By the time d’Argenson made his remark, in 1751, Voltaire had amassed a fortune. He owed it all to a lottery win. Or, to be more precise, to several wins.”
“Here’s Teen Vogue on another photo of Jaden Smith in a skirt suit: ‘The midi skirt set sends up a poignant rejection of heteronormativity.’ What sage could have predicted that heteronormativity would eventually make its way into the vocabulary of teen magazines and shareable web content? Only, perhaps, the queer theorist Judith Butler.”
“Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead once called him ‘the most perfect singer alive.’ It was a plaintive, nimble and haunting voice that blended elements of Primitive Baptist church choirs and the Grand Ole Opry, music on which Mr. Stanley was weaned in far southwestern Virginia.”
“Actor Al Pacino, musician James Taylor, gospel and blues singer Mavis Staples, Argentine pianist Martha Argerich and rockers the Eagles will receive the 2016 Kennedy Center Honors, the arts center announced Thursday.”
“One of Pakistan’s most famous and respected musicians, celebrated for devotional songs from [the] centuries-old mystic tradition [of qawwali], has been shot dead by Taliban gunmen in Karachi.”
Harvard professor Karen L. King, following an exposé by The Atlantic on the provenance of the papyrus fragment and the man who presented it to King, said, “It appears now that all the material Fritz gave to me concerning the provenance of the papyrus … were fabrications.”
“Peeling away the myths that Fuller and his acolytes applied to his life like so many layers of fertilizer is no easy task. It’s not for a lack of historical sources. Fuller consciously, even obsessively, documented his own existence, referring to himself as an experiment.”
In addition to his 27 years with the pink paper, “Murray worked as a lecturer in philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London, into his 60s. In philosophy, as in music, he would easily become immersed in his subject. One student later recalled how they had met at his house and continued to talk even when the fire brigade arrived to put out a blaze in the apartment downstairs.”
“At 84, the man considered by many to be the world’s greatest living painter—and its priciest, too, at least at auction, where his record stands at $46.4 million for 1986’s Abstraktes Bild, just behind Jeff Koons’s $58.4 million sculpture Balloon Dog (Orange)—is still vigorously creating work. But before he created these paintings, he had barely put brush to canvas in four years.”
“Two thousand sixteen marks the 100-year anniversary of my father, Leroy Mosley’s, birth. He was and is my inspiration, the man who taught me to bob and weave in life and art. I came into being shaped by the stories about his childhood in Louisiana and the grinding poverty he endured there, the bloodletting and laughter in the Fifth Ward in Houston and the harsh enlightenment he received in the Army.”
Asked to sum up her life, she said: “I haven’t any imagination – but I was lucky to spend my life among fascinating people.” She couldn’t be more wrong. At 100, as those of us lucky enough to celebrate with her today are thrilled to attest, Olivier remains as original, stylish and clever as ever.
“Performers often cultivate alternate personas, but with Mr. Keillor the difference is startling. … ‘Garrison in person is quite different,’ said his longtime friend, the writer Mark Singer. ‘Garrison does not express emotion in interpersonal conversations the way the rest of us do.'” (And if you think of him as kindly, remember what he wrote about Bernard-Henri Lévy: “a French writer with a spatter-paint prose style and the grandiosity of a college sophomore.”)
Simon Hattenstone: “I have never met somebody who can go from wilfully cantankerous to heartstoppingly tender so quickly; who can make me want to scream with frustration and move me to tears in the same sentence.”
“Melville fell in love with the dashingly handsome older author the first time they met, and his forbidden passion drove him to create the symbol of impossible longing that now represents American literature to the rest of the world: the white whale. Moby-Dick has never before been considered a work of romantic longing, but here are five reasons to believe that Melville’s masterpiece is a profound statement of love denied.”
Perhaps the greatest tribute to Rabassa, whose work brought (among others) Mario Vargas Llosa, Octavio Paz, Jorge Amado, and Clarice Lispector to the English-speaking world, came from Gabriel García Márquez, who called Rabassa “the best Latin American writer in the English language” and said that his translation of One Hundred Years of Solitude was a better book than the original.
“[Fred] Caruso, who was openly gay, wrote or produced – and often directed — several LGBT-themed films, including Go Go Crazy and A Four Letter Word, and he produced the off-Broadway news spoof hit Newsical. But [he] was best known for The Big Gay Musical, a film which follows two gay actors starring in a (fictional) off-Broadway musical titled Adam and Steve Just the Way God Made ‘Em.”
Lab tests did show that the papyrus fiber is ancient, and that the ink could be as well. But journalist Ariel Sabar wanted to investigate the fragment’s chain of ownership – and he “uncovered more than I’d ever expected – a warren of secrets and lies that spanned from the industrial districts of Berlin to the swingers scene of southwest Florida, and from the halls of Harvard and the Vatican to the headquarters of the East German Stasi.”
“Could sensory processing help explain the personalities of people we might otherwise just think of as ‘sensitive’? Might people with Sensory Processing Disorder even be at the extreme end of a spectrum of sensitivity that developed as an evolutionary advantage?”
“He made his name in Reginald Goodall’s highly acclaimed Ring Cycle with English National Opera in the late 1960s and went on to work with many of the leading singers of the day, including Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarotti and Montserrat Caballé. It was a remarkable journey, comparable in many ways with Jon Vickers’s transformation from Canadian lumberjack to acclaimed Heldentenor.”
With her 1918 book Married Love (Downton Abbey fans may recognize the title) “prompting a tidal wave of correspondence,” Marie Stopes became “the closest thing to an expert on sexual equality that the early 20th century ever had – despite, as all evidence suggests, her being a virgin herself.”
“‘I’m honored by the award and by its timing,’ Murray said in a statement. ‘I believe Mark Twain has rolled over in his grave so much for so long, that this news won’t disturb his peace.'”
The New York Society Library, founded in 1754, “not only still keeps records of all the books that Burr and Hamilton borrowed (and, mostly, returned) but also has many of the books themselves – not merely the same titles, but the exact same books that Hamilton and Burr handled and thumbed and read and learned from. What’s more, it turns out that, by a series of benevolent bequests, the library also has a few choice and telling letters from Burr and Hamilton and even from Eliza Hamilton.”
“Ebullient, multitalented, warm and open to a fault, Reilly, 71, was a key figure on the Washington music scene for decades: the leader of the Cathedral Choral Society as well as the founder and leader of the Washington Bach Consort, and a crack organist to boot.”
And no wins. “Greenwood received her first nomination back in 1965,” and her most recent this year for “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.”
“Most of the year, Montana presents a nearly monochromatic landscape: white in winter, brown in summer, with a bright green moment in late spring. Raised on that sober palette, Harry Koyama is wanton in his use of color. His bears are red. His bison glow golden.”
“How do you celebrate one of the 20th century’s most sophisticated artists in a place where his brand of sophistication and artistry is not generally valued?” Cathy Day – like Porter, a native of Peru, IN – looks at Hoosiers’ ambivalent (if that’s the word) attitudes toward the great songwriter and other high achievers who leave the state.
“Iranian American comic Negin Farsad doesn’t always feel the love when she’s doing her stand-up routine. And some of the toughest reactions to her comedy have come from fellow Muslims.”
“Byron’s memoirs – which might have finally provided the “truth” about his life – were destroyed soon after his death. The story goes that three of his closest friends (his publisher, John Murray; his fellow celebrity poet, Thomas Moore; and his companion since his Cambridge days, John Cam Hobhouse), together with lawyers representing Byron’s half-sister and his widow, decided that the manuscript was so scandalous, so unsuitable for public consumption, that it would ruin Byron’s reputation forever… What was the damning secret his friends needed to protect? Domestic abuse? Sodomy? Incest? Probably all three, we imagine.”
Yes, the late television newsman, notorious in the art world for his supremely snarky 1993 60 Minutes segment “Yes, But Is It Art?”, was himself a painter, and just last year he sent a package of his work to a famously uninhibited art critic.
“When it came to selling copy, Hemingway was one of America’s most versatile leading men, and certainly one of the country’s most fascinating entertainers. By then, everyone had long forgotten one of his earliest roles: unpublished nobody. It was one of the few Hemingway personas that never really suited him. In fact, in the early 1920s – strapped for cash, ravenous for recognition – he was frantic to rid himself of it.”