People

“Hard To Overstate His Significance In Italian Culture” Dante Turns 750

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“I teach Dante to American undergraduates, and I struggle to convey to them his place in Italian culture. The obvious comparison is to Shakespeare, but this is like trying to make sense of Mozart by means of Coltrane: the number of centuries that divide Dante from Shakespeare is practically as large as the number that separates Shakespeare from us.”

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Why The New Shakespeare “Portrait” Is So Not Him

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By the time we get to Shakespeare, a lot of logic has been sidestepped. And now we really do enter Dan Brown territory. Starting from the heraldic tradition of the “sign of 4”, he embarks on a series of elaborate moves involving Latin and coats of arms to produce the name “Shakespeare.”

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Jerry Saltz: How Kim Kardashian Is Achieving Art World Cred

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“I think that we may be turning a corner away from what I think of as takedown culture. It all comes from cynicism, the feeling that the system is corrupt and that everything is rigged and nothing is what it seems. We all love a good critical catfight, but somehow, with these catfights and cynical demonizations becoming the way of mainstream media, I perceive the wider culture and the art world slowly trying to separate out and isolate this behavior for what it is: Headline-grabbing, grandstanding, gasbags, people scared of change, or afraid of going deeper.”

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Maria Abramovic Complains Jay Z Took Advantage Of Her. But Who Took Advantage Of Whom?

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Maria Abramović has crossed a line that even Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst are wary of. Someone was bound to do it eventually. She has not just taken art out of the gallery but into a realm of rock concert hysteria and teen adulation. To put it kindly, you can say her fans resemble the star-struck kids in old films of the Beatles. But what is the cultural price of mass intoxication? Is it a good thing?

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Bruce Lundvall, 79, Influential Jazz Recording Exec

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Mr. Lundvall’s career in the recording industry encompassed more than half a century, with success across multiple genres. Blue Note had been an important jazz label for decades but had been dormant for years when he revived it under the umbrella of EMI Records in 1984, intent on celebrating its legacy while moving forward.

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Artist: We Should Prescribe Drugs For Creativity

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“Basically what I’m proposing is the idea of using performance-enhancing drugs in education,” Leon Ewing told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Wednesday. “We already prescribe amphetamine-like medication for focus and docility. What if we medicated for creativity?”

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B.B. King, 89

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“The singer and guitarist … put the blues in a three-piece suit and took the musical genre from the barrooms and back porches of the Mississippi Delta to Carnegie Hall and the world’s toniest concert stages with a signature style emulated by generations of blues and rock musicians.”

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Rachel Rosenthal, 88, Doyenne Of L.A. Performance Artists

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“She had hot wax poured over her shaved head, buried herself in artificial snow, read alternately from the ancient Kabbalah and car magazines, and shared the stage with more than 40 animals, including her beloved pet rat, who could often be found perched on her shoulder when she was off-stage.”

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National Theatre Wales Founder Leaving To Direct Manchester International Festival

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“The biennial event specialises in staging premieres by international cultural figures. This year’s festival, which takes place in July, will feature the likes of singer Bjork, artist Gerhard Richter and children’s TV star Justin Fletcher. Mr McGrath will take over from the festival’s founding artistic director Alex Poots, who is leaving to run New York’s new Culture Shed.”

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Yoko Ono And The Myth That Deserves To Die

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“Why is it such a perennial youthful rite of passage to misunderstand, to underestimate, even to hate Yoko Ono? What is this strange power she continues to wield? … Beginning to love Yoko Ono is a dangerous experience, because then you wonder: If Yoko Ono was something more than the woman who broke up the Beatles, then what other lies have I been told?”

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A Philosophy Of Philosophy That Has Left Women Philosophers Out Of The Canon

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“Overlooking these women’s contributions doesn’t just misrepresent the era, it’s also helped solidify philosophy’s status as a white men’s club. About 35 percent of U.S. philosophy faculty members in 2009, the most recent year for which reliable data is available, were women, and just 30 percent of the doctorates awarded that year went to women, according to data from Humanities Indicators, a project of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. The numbers are similar across the globe, including in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada.”

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Elizabeth Wilson, 94, Character Actress With Six-Decade Career

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“As much as any actor of her generation, Ms. Wilson was the epitome of the redoubtable trouper: always working; good in almost any role; roundly respected by her peers; yet never rising to the level of star.” Her best-known roles were the mother of Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) in The Graduate and Roz the office snitch in 9 to 5.

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I Was David Letterman’s Animal Handler

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“I never could have imagined that my career would involve sitting beside sloths and snakes on a late-night TV couch.’ “Jungle” Jack Hanna writes about the baby hippo he brought to his first appearance on Dave’s show, the camels that took out all the ceiling panels, the hyena that drank from Dave’s mug, the armadillos that mated on his desk, and the beaver that bit him on set. (includes video clips)

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Natalie Portman’s Directorial Debut Is A Movie Shot In Israel And Entirely In Hebrew

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“She’s been fearless in proclaiming her Jewishness, even though she now lives in a country where anti-Semitism is terrifyingly on the rise. I ask if Portman feels nervous about being Jewish in Paris. ‘Yes,’ she says, ‘but I’d feel nervous being a black man in this country. I’d feel nervous being a Muslim in many places.'”

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Artist Chris Burden Has Died

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“Paul Schimmel, a close friend of the artist and the former chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art who had organized Burden’s first retrospective exhibition in 1988, said the cause was malignant melanoma. Burden had been diagnosed with the illness 18 months ago, Schimmel said, but kept the information private.”

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How Did A Jeopardy Champion Become The Face Of Decent U.S. Male Nerds?

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“In Chu’s view, nerd-dom has a toxic, intolerant fringe, one that has gone unchecked in large part because nerds are awful at policing their own subculture, especially online. In an era when the nerds are increasingly ascendant, Chu wants to make nerd culture better — and to stop more of his fellow nerds from getting drawn into the worst of it.”

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