“Mr. Ekuan was a prolific and widely lauded designer whose work shaped products closely associated with modern Japan, including Yamaha motorcycles and a bullet train used in the country’s Shinkansen high-speed rail network. He was also an evangelist for a potent national ethos, combining pacifism and materialism, which Japan embraced after the devastation of World War II.”
“Strate was a charter member of the National Ballet of Canada in 1951 and later its first resident choreographer. … In 1970, Strate went on to found York University’s department of dance, the first of its kind in Canada. Rejecting preconceived notions, he forged a vision focused on creative research and the concept of the ‘thinking dancer.'”
Odin Biron, a wholesome young man from Minnesota who went to study at the Moscow Art Theater, is now a hugely popular actor who co-stars in one of Russia’s most-watched sitcoms and is playing the lead in an acclaimed staging of Gogol’s Dead Souls. Now he’s going public with a fact that could end his career in Russia.
“The 79-year-old author, perhaps best known for his 1979 novel A Dry White Season which focused on the death in detention of a black activist and was filmed with Marlon Brando, was a literature professor at the University of Cape Town and had just received an honorary doctorate from the Université Catholique de Louvain.”
“Given that Bollywood films are watched by a global three billion people, Amitabh Bachchan has a good claim to be the most famous actor in the world. In India, he has long transcended his day job to become a national institution, Brando, Pacino and De Niro rolled into one. Across Asia and the Middle East, [he] gets mobbed in the streets.”
His own case – undiagnosed at the time – of the learning disability was so severe that he just barely managed to complete high school; he only discovered the reason when his son was diagnosed with the same condition. Since then, he has traveled the world as advocate – and co-written 28 children’s books (so far) about a boy struggling with dyslexia.
“Does she understand what’s going on? If you make her hear, she can understand what’s going on. Can she give informed consent? Absolutely, she can give informed consent. She knows what she likes, who she likes, what she doesn’t like. Mainly, she doesn’t like people to disturb her and interrupt her privacy and probe in her personal business.”
The extraordinary career – or perhaps non-career – of Harper Lee bears witness to a quite different way of conducting a writing life. She wrote one novel, an immediate classic and perhaps the best-selling novel of the 20th century, To Kill a Mockingbird. Since its publication in 1960, Lee has published no other book.
“The Huntington Library in California has acquired 52 unpublished letters, poems and other material from six generations of the Leigh family. Austen’s mother was Cassandra Leigh, and the novelist visited her Leigh family in Adlestrop several times, with some believing that the setting of Mansfield Park is partly drawn from the Gloucestershire village.”
He died Friday morning. “By the afternoon, newspapers in Latin America and Spain teemed with tributes. In his native Santiago, hundreds gathered for his funeral on Saturday, and celebrities and politicians competed to offer the most extravagant praise. … This is a surreal end for a writer who called himself a ‘queen’ (una loca) and ‘a poor old faggot’ (un marica pobre y viejo).”
“Patner’s sharp commentary and criticism, found in two weekly WFMT programs, ranged widely, from classical music and opera to theater, dance, visual art, books and films. He also contributed articles to numerous publications, including Art & Antiques, The New Yorker, Christian Science Monitor and New Art Examiner.”
The actress – whose death at age 82 trended on Twitter – had a career that “spanned decades on the small screen and in theatre and films, including box office hits such as Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves starring as the witch Mortiana. She won a Bafta for best actress in 1991 for her role in the TV serial of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.”
Jonathan Jones: “Why does Wolf Hall demonise one of the most brilliant and forward-looking of all Renaissance people? Its caricature of Thomas More as a charmless prig, a humourless alienating nasty piece of work, is incredibly unfair. You only have to consider one of Hans Holbein’s greatest works to see this.”
“The Thorn Birds, which has never been out of print, has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide and been translated into more than 20 languages. In hardcover, it spent more than a year on the New York Times best-seller list; the paperback rights were sold at auction for $1.9 million, a record at the time.”
“Even in imperial Rome, matricide was, apparently, bad P.R. … And so Nero turned to the man he had always relied on … The letter ‘explaining’ Agrippina’s murder is just one of the ways Seneca propped up Nero’s regime – a regime that the average Julius, let alone the author of De Ira, surely realized was thoroughly corrupt. How to explain the philosopher-tutor’s sticking by his monstrous pupil?”