“J. California Cooper, an award-winning writer whose black female characters confront a world of indifference and betrayal, but find kinship there in unexpected places, died on Saturday in Seattle. She was 82.”
“I like to consider the intersection between subverting personal style, fashion-as-branding and artistry. Technically speaking I work with a lot of color and patterns — mostly that’s a personal preference — but I also think that color and humor are great tools for sticking it to the man; which is ultimately what I’m trying to do.”
“It turns out Lenny was truly great after all: one of the biggest, most colorful, most popular and recognizable figures in American classical music. And posterity shows no signs of abandoning him. Recording catalogues and publishers’ lists are as full as ever of his recordings, DVDs and Bernstein-related publications.”
“Lest Americans think we have cornered the market on boneheaded, reductive and entirely symbolic political arguments, the British are currently discussing whether Hilary Mantel – the two-time Booker Prize-winning author of Wolf Hall – ought to be investigated for fantasizing about killing a dead woman.”
“Hogwood’s scholarship, symbiotically related to his performances, is just as important as his music-making, and he leaves an outstanding legacy of books, articles, and lectures that are required reading and listening for anyone interested in Handel, Haydn, or the wider story of how music relates to social and cultural contexts from the baroque to the 21st century. To talk to Hogwood was to encounter a mind and personality of inspirational perspicacity, intellectual clarity, and delicately mischievous wit.”
“Over the course of nearly forty years, [Leon] Botstein – a historian, writer, and conductor – has built Bard in his own polymath image,” revamping the curriculum, packing the faculty with well-known intellectuals, founding alternative high schools, operating degree programs in prisons … Everything but running sports programs and hitting alumni up for money, the way normal college presidents do.
“A brunette beauty with a warm, sultry singing voice, Bergen was a household name from her 20s onward. She made albums and played leading roles in films, stage musicals and TV dramas. She also hosted her own variety series, was a popular game show panelist, and founded a thriving beauty products company that bore her name.”
“It isn’t only that Wonder Woman’s backstory is taken from feminist utopian fiction. It’s that, in creating Wonder Woman, William Moulton Marston was profoundly influenced by early-twentieth-century suffragists, feminists, and birth-control advocates and that, shockingly, Wonder Woman was inspired by Margaret Sanger, who, hidden from the world, was a member of Marston’s family.”
She got a fellowship to an artists’ retreat in Italy; the play based on her memoir Fun Home won rafts of award nominations, was a Pulitzer finalist, and became a minor cause célèbre in South Carolina; the “Bechdel test” became common currency in movie circles – and then she got a MacArthur award. (includes video)
Cartoonist/graphic memoirist Bechdel (Fun Home), Oscar-nominated documentarian Oppenheimer (The Act of Killing), playwright Hunter (The Whale), poet Hayes (Lighthead, Arabic poetry translator Khaled Mattawa, jazz saxophonist/composer Steve Coleman, artist/Project Row Houses founder Rick Lowe, nd their fellow “geniuses” win five-year, $625,000 grants.
The former opera singer and Holocaust survivor “made a name for himself in the United States by bringing Las Vegas-style brio to performances by highbrow artists. He presented the New York Philharmonic in an Atlantic City casino and produced large outdoor concerts for other classical artists at the Eiffel Tower, the Sydney Super Dome and other unconventional venues.”
Just for instance, when he played Hamlet for Liviu Ciulei, he recounts, “The first day’s rehearsal, I picked up a chair and moved it a few feet, and he said, ‘No, no, Hamlet would never do that, he’d never move a chair himself, because he’s a prince.’ I said, ‘I’m the prince, I can do whatever I want.'” The next time he played Hamlet, he directed himself.
“Can I just say, very loudly, bollocks. If you look after yourself and you’re healthy, then you’ll have the energy to do things. But not to recognise getting older for what it is? I do think the infantilisation of our generation is one of the huge issues of our time. People wanting to be 35 when they’re 50 makes me think: why? Why don’t you be 50 and be good at that?”
Adam Gopnik: “Second acts there may or may not be, but American epilogues go on forever. Scott and Zelda’s friends from the Jazz Age would doubtless have spit up into their morning coffee – or, more likely, into teacups filled with bathtub gin – to find the pair, almost a century after their meeting, not a poignant footnote to an ill-named time but an enduring legend of the West, a subject adaptable for movies and novels and probably paper dolls and ice shows.”
“The Jazz Crusaders, who played the muscular, bluesy variation on bebop known as hard bop, had their roots in Houston, where Mr. Sample, the tenor saxophonist Wilton Felder and the drummer Nesbert Hooper (better known by the self-explanatory first name Stix) began performing together as the Swingsters while in high school.”
“Her characters often serve to ‘hold up the wall’ of the narrative, she said, like the empathetic best friend in ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ or the kindly stranger in ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.’ Or the kindly mental-institution psychiatrist in ‘It’s Kind of a Funny Story,’ the kindly rape-treatment counselor in ‘Trust’ or the kindly medium in ‘Beautiful Creatures.'”