“Unlike the other greats of his generation, he was not a figure affected by the media. The genius emperor Boulez, the sensuous artist-prince Henze, the galactic Stockhausen, had all already cut their own paths as Klaus Huber continued to teach 40 violin students per week, and only pursued a vocation he’d long known in the mornings.” (Huber was also a highly-regarded composition teacher; among his students were Brian Ferneyhough, Wolfgang Rihm and Kaija Saariaho.)
The late novelist Anthony Powell was an important mentor and supporter of Naipaul during the latter’s early years as a young Trinidadian writer in London. Years later, Naipaul included in his own memoir a harsh dismissal of Powell’s writing. Now Powell’s biographer has discovered evidence that Naipaul’s remarks about Powell were quite possibly based on a lie and definitely different from what Naipaul had told Powell personally.
Barthes was a rock star of the writing world when he died suddenly in 1980 and, as with all rock stars, his death only led to a new lease of life. “Lately”, one commentator observed in 2012, “the posthumous corpus of Roland Barthes has been growing at a rate that rivals Tupac Shakur’s.
The body of Nicholas of Myra, the beloved fourth-century bishop whose figure morphed over the centuries into the jolly old Santa Claus seen everywhere each December, was long thought to have been disinterred in 1087 and taken to the Italian city of Bari, where his shrine was built and remains to this day. But it seems that the Crusader merchants who took the remains away 930 years ago got the wrong guy: a team of archaeologists says they believe they’ve found the tomb of the real St. Nicholas under his old church in Myra, now Demre on Turkey’s southern coast.
“Through his treatment of celebrities – among them entertainers John Lennon, Yoko Ono and James Earl Jones – Dr. Janov became a celebrity in his own right beginning in the 1970s. In a best-selling book, and in appearances on television programs such as The Dick Cavett Show, he converted curious onlookers to committed followers with an enticingly simple explanation of psychological ailments, and what he billed as a near surefire way of resolving them.”
When reporter Sam Anderson called the New Yorker legend for directions to his Princeton home, McPhee said of Anderson’s tiny hometown, “I’ve been there,” and proceeded to recount the story of his mountaintop picnic there decades ago with (of all people) convicted spy Alger Hiss. McPhee remembered the name of the manufacturer of the little incline railway up the mountain (Otis Elevator) and the slope of the incline (60 degrees).
Renate Langer, a former child actress from Germany, claims that she travelled to the filmmaker’s house in the Swiss resort town of Gstaad in 1972, when she was 15, and that he raped her there.
The Berggruen Prize for philosophy and culture, inaugurated last year as a sort of Nobel equivalent, goes this year to University of Cambridge professor Onora O’Neill, known for her work in international justice, human rights, and bioethics.
“Jesse Jackson hailed him as a strong supporter of the civil rights movement, while Larry King called him ‘a GIANT’ of free speech. Others noted that while Hefner loved to excoriate feminists in the pages of Playboy, he was a supporter of some of their causes, including abortion rights and the Equal Rights Amendment. … But how well does the idea of Hef the liberator of women really hold up? The New York Times Culture writers Amanda Hess, Wesley Morris and Taffy Brodesser-Akner joined [Jennifer Schuessler] in a discussion of Hefner’s social and cultural legacy.”
Still a fugitive in the case of the 1977 drugging and rape of a 13-year-old girl (Polanski pled guilty and served 42 days, but fled the U.S. when told the judge was going to disregard his plea deal), the filmmaker said, “As you know, [victim] Samantha Geimer has been asking for over 30 years for this thing to end. But, I’m sorry the judges who dealt with it the last 40 years were corrupted, one covering for the other. So I don’t maybe one of them will [eventually] stop doing it.”
“Here, after all, was a man who had worked with those American folk legends Woody Guthrie and Lead Belly, had influenced Bob Dylan, and taught both Ry Cooder and Jerry Garcia. A passionate enthusiast for folk music and a performer with a wicked and often outrageous sense of humour, he continued to perform – and to record – for as long as he could. His final album, recorded with his son Ben, was released two years ago.”
“Mr. Petty and his band, the Heartbreakers, released their self-titled debut in 1976 and soon drew comparisons to the bluesy, guitar-heavy rock of the Rolling Stones and the Byrds. Their music was unabashedly sentimental, seeming to speak to striving, everyday Americans no less than the songs of fellow rocker Bruce Springsteen … The group toured seemingly nonstop for decades, leading boisterous shows as recently as last week.”
Alexandre Dumas’ life included more than a hundred mistresses, fleeing regime change in France, and much more – for instance, “In 1846, Dumas used the money he earned from his wildly successful The Count Of Monte Cristo to build a palatial estate he named Château De Monte-Cristo, which included a writing studio elsewhere on the grounds. However, Dumas only lived there for two years. Having blown through his money, as was his custom, he had to sell the place.”
David Remnick: “He owned the operation, paying the salaries and the rent, but he did not touch the magazine’s pages; he never suggested a story, he never revealed his political inclinations, he never gave advance instructions or retrospective criticism of an issue. When he mentioned that he had liked something in The New Yorker, he did so shyly, reluctantly, as if he were overstepping.”
In more than 5000 airings of Let’s Make a Deal, Mr. Hall had quite a few jobs – traffic cop, smooth-talking salesman and more. “‘Monty had to be a very likable con man; he had to convince people to give up a bird in the hand for what’s in the box,’ David Schwartz, the author, with Fred Wostbrock and Steve Ryan, of ‘The Encyclopedia of TV Game Shows,’ said in an interview.”
At the age of 41 (he turns 42 on Saturday), Mr. Coates has become one of the most influential black intellectuals of his generation, joining predecessors including Ms. Morrison, Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., and Dr. Cornel West. “He’s a rock star,” said Dr. Nell Irvin Painter, professor emeritus of American history at Princeton University, adding that Mr. Coates is asking questions that even “other historians have not been asking.”
Despite suffering damage to her hands during her Nazi ordeal as well as discrimination from Czech Communist authorities who considered her instrument a feudal and bourgeois relic, she went on to become a celebrated international soloist and the first musician to record J.S. Bach’s complete keyboard music on harpsichord.
His biggest hit, the 1976-77 play Gemini, is still one of the longest-running straight plays ever to have appeared on Broadway, where it played for more than four years. He was also well-known, or perhaps notorious, as an extremely knowledgeable and often ferocious critic of opera, under both his own byline and the screenname of Mrs. John Claggart.
“From the first issue of Playboy in 1953, which featured a photograph of a nude Marilyn Monroe lounging on a red sheet, Mr. Hefner sought to overturn what he considered the puritanical moral code of Middle America. His magazine was shocking at the time, but it quickly found a large and receptive audience and was a principal force behind the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Mr. Hefner brought nudity out from under the counter, but he was more than the emperor of a land with no clothes. From the beginning, he had literary aspirations for Playboy, hiring top writers to give his magazine cultural credibility.”
Daughter of conductor Henri Casadesus and harpist Marie-Louise Beetz, mother of conductor Jean-Claude, composer Dominique, painter Béatrice, and actress Martine Casadesus, Gisèle joined the Comédie-Française in 1934 at age 20, where she played 120 roles over almost three decades. Afterwards, she had an extensive career in both theater and film; her final screen performance, at age 96, was with Gérard Depardieu in the 2010 film La Tête en friche. (in French; Google Translate version here)
In the late 1920s, “Calder’s figure sculptures had already gained him a reputation as a troubadour of the giddy high spirits of the Roaring Twenties on both sides of the Atlantic.” (For example, the pictured sculpture of Josephine Baker from 1929.) “What changed? In the years 1930 and 1931 Calder made two life-changing decisions: He became a married man and an abstract artist.”
Kyle Swenson reports on “the Russian reaction that greeted a two-minute online video [Freeman] recorded recently for a group hoping to keep alive concerns over Kremlin meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Freeman is being portrayed as a tool of the U.S. establishment trying to bring down Trump” – and as everything from a silly, high-strung thespian to a marijuana-addled old man to someone with a “Messianic complex.”
Her first musical, “Mod Donna,” had its opening at the Public in 1970. One Lamb supporter: “I was at opening night with my then-boyfriend, … a deceptively mild-mannered man who rose out of his chair at the curtain and began to shout that feminism was a sham and that he would tell the awful truth about what wretched liars, manipulators, fakes and so on we in the movement were. I had never seen him in such a rage. Many men in the audience around us were nodding approval at his outburst.”
Without saying “Brexit,” the actor says Brexit, as his wife gets British citizenship too: “We never really thought much about our different passports. But now, with some of the uncertainty around, we thought it sensible that we should all get the same.”
Bradley’s first album, on the ’60s sound revival label Daptone, was released when he was 62, and his James-Brown-evoking performances became legendary. Daptone’s Gabriel Roth: “Charles was somehow one of the meekest and strongest people I’ve ever known. His pain was a cry for universal love and humanity.”
She specialized in Odissi, a form of temple dance from the eastern Indian state of Odisha. “By the 1940s and ’50s, Odissi had fallen out of favor in India. But Ms. Devi, who began studying it in 1964, helped revive it through worldwide tours in the 1970s and as a professor in New York University’s dance department from 1972 to 1982.”
The former editor of Dance Magazine, Horosko “was the only dancer who carried an old-fashioned typewriter with her on tour.”
Not really, but he’s OK with that. “I come to make room for the ones coming after. Because these people coming after are going to deliver us something. We just need to watch out. Just look at the luscious, juicy deliciousness that is black art right now. I just feel like we’re only scratching the surface.”
“MoDo: You love embroidering rude cushions with bawdy language and giving them to your famous friends.
JuDe: I used to do that a lot, but my eyesight doesn’t let me anymore. I found someone to make the cushions for me.”
“The genial architect in wire-rimmed glasses planned and designed soccer stadiums in Qatar, sweeping roadways in China and entire cities in Algeria, and in a five-decade career was described as one of the finest urban planners in Germany. For all the acclaim, he received few commissions in the German capital. Clients, he said, probably feared the inevitable headline: that Albert Speer – ‘the devil’s architect,’ Hitler’s master builder – was again building in Berlin. Never mind that the builder was in this case his son.”