“A research team led by neurologist Ulrike Willinger of the Medical University of Vienna reports appreciating black humor “seems to be a complex information-processing task,” one that is facilitated by high intelligence and inhibited by bad moods.”
“Although Republicans have ripped Obamacare as a disastrous form of taxing-the-rich socialism since it passed Congress in 2010, the act has given struggling Americans a lifeline for buying health insurance, often for the first time. Musicians have been an especially vulnerable segment of this group — just before the law took effect in 2013, the Future of Music Coalition estimated they were uninsured at a rate of almost three times more than the general population.”
Pinyin, the spelling system that Zhou and a Communist Party committee developed in the 1950s, revolutionized the learning of Chinese – and not only for foreigners. The illiteracy in China was nearly 85% before pinyin was introduced; it’s now in the low single digits. What’s surprising, given the time and place, was that Zhou had a past as a Wall Street banker and economist.
Ms. Peters, who would sing with the Met 515 times over 35 vigorous years, was internationally renowned for her high, silvery voice (in private, she could hit a high A, two and a half octaves above middle C); her clarion diction in a flurry of languages; her attractive stage presence; and, by virtue of the fact that she and television came to prominence at about the same time, her wide popular appeal.
The evidence is circumstantial, not direct, but it’s considerable – and until now, not a single one of the Virgin Queen’s famously lavish dresses was known to have survived.
“Holliday says it wasn’t until a Daily Beast article explicated why those in the LGBTQ community, a group that the singer credits with the success of her career, might find her decision to perform so devastating that she understood her responsibility to bow out.”
“It is a time-honored role for artist as designator, to point at the stuff of the physical world and revision it as art, harkening back to the readymade. But Gates’s decision to ‘bump off from art’ and live ‘in the sphere of dirt, the dirty, the stuff that we think is in the ground’ was revelatory, leading to invitations to Davos and a TED Talk, where he talked about how he revived a neighborhood with imagination and hard graft.”
The first African writer to win a Nobel, Soyinka had to sneak out of his homeland after dictator Sani Abacha confiscated his passport; he claimed asylum in the States when Abacha sentenced him to death. Though the playwright since moved back to Nigeria, he regularly took temporary gigs at American institutions. Now, in the face of you-know-what, he’s given up his green card.
News broke yesterday that Pyotr Pavlensky, Russia’s most notorious protest artist, had fled the country and sought political asylum in France due to allegations of sexual assault that he says are bogus and politically motivated. Rachel Donadio looks into the situation and finds that it’s not at all so clear-cut.
“The collections are of value to historians, but can self-aggrandizing presentations even be considered drafts of history? They are really ante-historical. Or anti-historical. They resemble the self-tributes that royalty once erected. Former presidents create monuments celebrating their own excellence, and the results are managed in perpetuity by the National Archives.”
He sold vacuum cleaners, drove a beer truck, joined the Air Force and USIA, and spent the ’60s writing comic novels and screenplays in L.A. before creating the book and film that changed the horror genre and conquered pop culture.
Pyotr Pavlensky – the protest artist who not only fastened his junk to the pavement in front of the Kremlin but also physically sewed his lips together while Pussy Riot was in prison and set fire to the front door of Russia’s secret service headquarters – has fled to France with his wife and children after an accusation of sexual assault (which he says was trumped up) and a seven-hour interrogation at Moscow’s airport.
“Meade had served since March 2015 as the Walker’s artistic director, a newly created role at the museum. Prior to that, he had served for ten months as the Walker’s senior curator of cross-disciplinary platforms, another newly created role. He effectively took over as chief curator after Darsie Alexander left the institution to become director of New York’s Katonah Art Museum.”
The star of Slumdog Millionaire and the new film Lion moved directly into acting from being a teenager in school. “Everything I’ve learned, I’ve learned from great directors and my co-stars. Acting is about honesty. When I began, I was trying to squeeze as much emotion out of roles as I could and get big laughs. Now it’s about doing less.”
The architect, who died suddenly last March, left money to relatives and her architecture firm’s partner, who has stoked controversy by speaking against public housing and art schools and advocating for building in Hyde Park. He’s also one of four partners in charge of the 60-million-pound trust that is her architecture firm.
Zhou Youguang didn’t create the first system to convert Chinese characters into another alphabet, but his Pinyin, which was adopted in 1958, not only made external communication easier but also helped Chinese people speaking widely varying dialects learn to communicate with each other.
In an open letter, provided exclusively to TheWrap, the “Dreamgirls” star apologized to the LGBT community, saying she was “uneducated on the issues that affect every American at this crucial time in history and for causing such dismay and heartbreak to my fans.”
“I’m singing on the mall for the people,” she said. “I don’t have a dog in this fight — I’m just a singer, and it’s a welcome concert for the people on the mall.”
“What do I know?” was Montaigne’s beloved motto, meaning: What do I really know? And what do we really know about him now? We may vaguely know that he was the first essayist, that he retreated from the world into a tower on the family estate to think and reflect, and that he wrote about cannibals (for them) and about cruelty (against it). He was considered by Claude Lévi-Strauss, no less, to be the first social scientist, and a pioneer of relativism—he thought that those cannibals were just as virtuous as the Europeans they offended, that customs vary equably from place to place.
When she was pursuing a Ph.D. at Columbia, she got a Guggenheim Fellowship to study obeah in Jamaica and (later) vodou in Haiti. Her goal was to write what she called “the proper voodoo book,” raising the understanding of Afro-Caribbean religion beyond the “black magic” and “devil worship” (her words) caricatures prevalent in the 1930s.
“From 1957, when Ms. Swope was invited by Jerome Robbins to shoot rehearsals of West Side Story, to 1994, when she shut down her Times Square studio and sold her archive, Ms. Swope produced hundreds of thousands of images of performers in action, capturing Gelsey Kirkland and Mikhail Baryshnikov in full flight, the cast of La Cage Aux Folles in full drag and John Travolta in full Saturday night fever.”
“Mr. Greco mixed talent, tenacity and a hot temper in a career that lasted more than 80 years. He was an oft-married ladies’ man and almost but not quite a member of the Rat Pack, the high-living gang of entertainers surrounding Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin that embodied the extravagance of Las Vegas in its glory days.”
“From clues to his cancer hidden in Blackstar‘s artwork to his mortal fear of Tina Turner, some astounding new Bowie facts have come to light over the last year.”
“Lucas’ personal collection of fine and popular art, including ephemera related to his “Star Wars” franchise, will fill a futuristic-looking new museum planned for L.A.’s Exposition Park, which beat out a competing design for Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. The rivalry had pitted the two cities in the competition not only for Lucas’ collection and the tourism it will bring, but also for the thousands of jobs that backers said the project will create.”
“This is a man who has always been obsessed with the entertainment industry—an aspiring A-lister, reality-TV show host, and Hollywood hanger-on. To mock the entertainment industry as out of touch with the will of the people, while praising a man who cared more about dating Salma Hayek than he’ll ever care about the average American, shows a fundamental lack of awareness.”
The longtime Village Voice writer earned this glorious paragraph in his NYT obit: “The Hentoff bibliotheca reads almost like an anthology: works by a jazz aficionado, a mystery writer, an eyewitness to history, an educational reformer, a political agitator, a foe of censors, a social critic. He was, indeed, like the jazz he loved — given to improvisations and permutations, a composer-performer who lived comfortably with his contradictions, though adversaries called him shallow and unscrupulous, and even his admirers sometimes found him infuriating, unrealistic and stubborn.”
The film Loving, about the court decision that struck down anti-micegenation laws in the United States, stars Ethiopian actor Ruth Negga, who says, “People like Richard and Mildred often are one of many untold stories. And we have a duty to revisit these stories and share them.”
He first made his mark in the art cinema that developed in India in the 1980s; later, he moved regularly back and forth between popular and indie movies in India (acting in at least three different languages) and film and television in the U.S. and Great Britain (The Jewel in the Crown, East Is East, City of Joy, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Charlie Wilson’s War).
“Throughout his life, Cage remained a cultural omnivore. Interwoven into Selected Letters are comments that reveal how his life and art were informed by his study of the I Ching and Zen Buddhism, his burgeoning interest in mushrooms (making him an amateur mycologist), and his embrace of a macrobiotic diet. He aspired to have “all distinctions between art and life removed.” His blending of Eastern and Western artistic traditions placed him at the center of the American avant-garde of the 1950s and ’60s.”
Sister Frances Carr, a resident of the sole remaining Shaker community, at Sabbathday Lake in Maine, passed on Monday at age 89. “Carr apparently didn’t like when people called her, 60-year-old [Brother Arnold] Hadd and 78-year-old Sister June Carpenter the ‘last’ Shakers – she was convinced others would eventually convert to the religious sect, something Hadd still hopes for.”