This week, a groundbreaking deal for Broadway actors and dancers, James Levine finally decides to retire from the Met Opera, a debacle at the National Ballet of Romania that quickly escalated to involve the country’s Prime Minister, a warning about fetishizing “creativity” as the key to success, and a cautionary question about what machine intelligence might look like.
- James Levine finally resigned from the Metropolitan Opera this week. It’s “finally” because he has been an outsized presence there for decades, as Alex Ross writes, completely remaking the orchestra into one of the country’s best. But he’s been ill for years, and, as Anne Midgette notes: “It wasn’t just the illnesses, but the constant alternation between concealment and an excess of revelation that kept so much attention focused on them and away from the music.” Almost overlooked in the Levine announcement was another major Lincoln Center departure with the abrupt resignation of President Jed Bernstein, who had been in the job for only two years.
- Groundbreaking “Hamilton” Broadway Deal: Investing in Broadway has always been a risky bet, not the least for performers who help workshop and develop shows. This week the producers of “Hamilton” agreed to include actors and dancers who helped create the show in profit sharing (which should be considerable). “The deal, which was announced by a lawyer representing more than two dozen actors and dancers who were part of the show’s development and first productions, is a major victory for the cast and could have ripple effects in the theater industry, where the huge success of “Hamilton,” and the lack of profit-sharing, catalyzed a growing debate about actor compensation.”
- What on earth is happening at Romania’s National Ballet? The company’s director removed the artistic director, the company’s two biggest stars quit and the tumult exploded in public. Then star ballerina Alina Cojocaru erupted in tears, 30 dancers threatened to quit, and staffers screamed ‘foreigners out of the country!’ By late in the week Romania’s Prime Minister and Culture Minister threatened to intervene. But by the end of the week, productions and a gala had been canceled, and the company was in shambles.
- Why should we assume that machine intelligence will work like human intelligence? Thus the fears of some who work with machines. “The entire discourse around A.I. implicitly presupposes the superiority of E.I.” – evolved intelligence, i.e., the human and animal kind. “Much of the dystopian hysteria around A.I. reflects the fear that it will act as humans act (which is to say violently, selfishly, emotionally, and at times irrationally) – only it will have more capacity. In essence, much of what we fear is a much more competent E.I.”
- “Creativity” Is Being Packaged Up As A Path To Success. We Should Be Dubious When so much of the academy is given over to the study of creative minds; when revolutionary movements are so easily transformed into management lessons; and when liberals abase themselves before “innovators” and the “creative class”, one starts to understand why inequality is increasing at a gallop and why our leftish party seems uninterested in doing anything about it.