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December 6, 2013
Nelson Mandela's Legacy To The Arts
"Many people know that Nelson Mandela's life inspired novels, poems, plays and films, but few people know how powerful his effect on the theater was and how powerful the theater's effect was on him." A tribute from playwright Emily Mann, director of Princeton's McCarter Theater.
Los Angeles Times 12/05/13
Actor Christopher Evan Welch, 48
"Recognizable to many by his unruly mop of brown hair, ... [Welch was] an in-demand character actor who appeared in everything from Shakespeare to The Sopranos
, including films by Woody Allen, Steven Spielberg and Charlie Kaufman."
The New York Times 12/06/13
Egypt's "People's Poet", Ahmad Fouad Negm, Dead At 84
"[He] was one of Egypt's best colloquial Arabic poets of the second half of the twentieth century, and was known [as] ... one of the main voices of opposition since 1967, when he wrote his famous poems on the Six Day War. His fiery words expressed Egyptians' and Arabs' anger towards milestone events such as the 1967 defeat against Israel and the 1979 peace treaty with Israel."
Time 12/05/13 (includes video)
December 5, 2013
The Christian Science Monitor 12/04/13
The Guardian (Rock's Backpages) 12/04/13
Sam Shepard On Why He Writes
"I couldn't do anything else but drive a tractor. I felt like this is the only thing I had. ... I don't do it to get a message across. I'm writing just because there are certain kinds of raw material. The material may be very strange, but it takes shape in the course of writing. Whether that has a message or not is not my concern."
The Observer (UK) 12/01/13
December 4, 2013
The Blonde American Who's Amazing Arabs By Singing Their Music
Jennifer Grout, a 23-year-old from Boston who speaks almost no Arabic, sings it so well that she's now a finalist on this year's Arabs Got Talent
- the only one performing the classical repertoire in which Umm Kulthum and Fairouz became famous but which most younger Arabs neglect.
The New York Times 12/04/13
Bob Dylan Charged With 'Inciting Hate' Under French Law
"To people who follow the pronouncements of Bob Dylan, his comment in a Rolling Stone interview in September 2012 suggesting that American blacks could sense whether whites had slave-master blood 'just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood' may have seemed just the sort of vaporously impressionistic, emotionally pointed kind of thing that Mr. Dylan has been known to say for decades." Some Croatians in France beg to differ.
The New York Times 12/03/13
December 3, 2013
Critic Marion Lignana Rosenberg, 51
"A multilingual writer of wide-ranging interests - from Italian art and literature to the life of Maria Callas - Rosenberg's feature stories and music criticism appeared frequently in Time Out New York, as well as Newsday, Forward, Capital New York, Opera News, Salon, the Classical Review and La Voce di New York."
Angela Lansbury To Make West End Return At 88
"Angela Lansbury is to appear on the London stage for the first time in almost 40 years in a new production of Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit
. She will reprise the role of Madame Arcati, which she first played on Broadway in 2009, winning a Tony Award."
For Maria Callas's Birthday, Five Great Rumors
"In the decades since her death, rumors continue to persist about Callas' colorful career and personal life. Here are five of the most famous anecdotes, their veracity never confirmed nor completely discounted." (What, you never heard about the tapeworm?)
Los Angeles Times 12/02/13
December 1, 2013
The Hollywood Reporter 12/01/13
The Guardian (UK) 12/01/13
The Guardian (UK) 12/01/13
André Schiffrin, 78, A Force In Literary And Cultural Publishing
"Taking risks, running losses, resisting financial pressures and compromises, Mr. Schiffrin championed the work of Jean-Paul Sartre, Günter Grass, Studs Terkel, Michel Foucault, Simone de Beauvoir, Noam Chomsky, Julio Cortázar, Marguerite Duras, Roy Medvedev, Gunnar Myrdal, George Kennan, Anita Brookner, R. D. Laing and many others."
The New York Times 12/01/13
Los Angeles Times 11/30/13
Peter Kaplan, 59, Legendary Editor Of The New York Observer
"There are few publications in New York City--either extant or extinct--that do not bear at least some of his influence. Writers talk about the old Observer as if it were a sacred religious text. Under Kaplan's tenure, the paper became nothing short of the best kept secret in New York."
New York Observer 11/30/13
The Observer (UK) 11/30/13
November 27, 2013
The Guardian (UK) 11/27/13
Peter Lewis, Arts Philanthropist, 80
"Lewis played a key role in the career of Gehry, the world famous Los Angeles architect. By spending more than $5 million over a dozen years on plans for a house by Gehry that he decided not to build, Lewis bankrolled experiments with computer technology that enabled Gehry to design the widely acclaimed Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain."
The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 11/25/13
Meet The Woman Who Knew Mahler And Kafka
Alex Ross recounts a visit with 110-year-old Alice Herz-Sommer, a former pianist who is the world's oldest living Holocaust survivor, who met Gustav Mahler as a child, and who played Beethoven for Franz Kafka after a family Seder.
The New Yorker 11/26/13 (includes video)
Georges Lautner, 86, Popular French Filmmaker
"[His] illustrious career took off in the 1960s with the crime comedy Monsieur Gangster
(Les tontons flingueurs
) ... His films were generally commercial hits in France" - and are still frequently shown on French television - "so outside the country he wasnt as well known as the [art-house] auteurs."
November 26, 2013
Jazz Drummer Chico Hamilton, 92
"Saluted by the Kennedy Center as a "Living Jazz Legend", and appointed to the President's Council on the Arts, this recipient of a NEA Jazz Master fellowship was considered one of the most important jazz artists and composers, creating vivid, positive, uplifting, engaging & relevant music until the end of his life."
The New Yorker 12/02/13
Russian Government Looks To Buy Rachmaninoff Estate
"President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has ordered his government to look into buying the archive and Swiss estate of the émigré composer and pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff, continuing an effort to reclaim and repatriate Russian cultural legacy."
The New York Times 11/25/13
Composer Conrad Susa, 78
Best known for his operas Transformations
(set to Anne Sexton's retellings of fairy tales) and The Dangerous Liaisons
, Susa's oeuvre "also included more than 200 theatrical scores and a wealth of choral music ... [It] was marked by a combination of tonal harmonies, judicious dissonances and a gift for the well-turned vocal phrase."
San Francisco Chronicle 11/23/13
November 25, 2013
What's Wrong With Malcolm Gladwell's Fairy Tales
"Pretending to present daringly counterintuitive views to his readers, he actually strengthens the hold on them of a view of things that they have long taken for granted. This is, perhaps, the essence of the genre that Gladwell has pioneered: while reinforcing beliefs that everyone avows, he evokes in the reader a satisfying sensation of intellectual non-conformity."
The New Republic 11/21/13
Kid Gets Concussion And Develops Musical Talent
"When Lachlan got out of the hospital, doctors said he shouldn't play contact sports anymore. That was a heartbreaker for Connors, but in the wake of that disappointment Connors found that he suddenly could play music almost effortlessly."
CBS Denver 11/22/13
November 24, 2013
Los Angeles Review of Books, 11/24/13
The New York Times 11/24/13
Los Angeles Times 11/23/13
How Wanda Coleman Redefined Los Angeles And Its Literature
"When she began to write, as a member of the Watts Writers Workshop that sprang up after the 1965 riots, L.A. literature was largely a literature of exile, produced primarily by those from elsewhere, who lingered briefly along the city's glittering surfaces and did not invest the place with any depth."
Los Angeles Times 11/23/13
November 22, 2013
Louis D. Rubin Jr., 89, Founder Of Algonquin Books
"He wrote three novels himself, which drew on his own upbringing as a Jew in the South ... But in a life of prolific production - he wrote or edited more than 30 books - his greatest contribution was as a cultural historian and critic who became ... 'perhaps the person most responsible for the emergence of Southern literature as a field of scholarly inquiry'."
The New York Times 11/22/13
The New York Times 11/21/13
November 21, 2013
Björk Explains Television (As Only Björk Could)
"So all that's on TV, it just goes directly into your brain and you stop judging it's right or not. You just swallow and swallow. This is what an Icelandic poet told me. And I became so scared to television that I always got headaches when I watched it. Then, later on, when I got my Danish book on television, I stopped being afraid because I read the truth, the scientifical truth and it was much better."
The Atlantic 11/18/13 (includes video and transcript)
November 20, 2013
The Time J Edgar Hoover Had Sartre And Camus Investigated
"Hoover needed to know if Existentialism and Absurdism were some kind of front for Communism. To him, everything was potentially a coded re-write of the Communist Manifesto. That was the thing about the Manifesto--it was not manifest: more often it was, as Freud would say, latent. Thus FBI agents were forced to become psychoanalysts and hermeneuts... Thus we find intelligence agents studying scholarly works and attending lectures."
November 19, 2013
Peter Maxwell Davies: Our Culture Is In Grave Danger
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies said the situation has reached a "serious tipping point" whereby centuries of great works could be lost to future generations more interested in "vacuous celebrity culture and inane talent shows."
The Telegraph (UK) 11/19/13
Remembering Doris Lessing (Making The World A Better Place)
"Not many people would describe her as a greater writer than John Updike or Philip Roth. Harold Pinter said, as he received his award, that he wrote in order "to force entry into oppression's dark rooms"; this was also almost exactly what Doris Lessing did."
The Telegraph (UK) 11/18/13
Syd Field, 77, Author Of Screenwriters' Bible
has sold millions of copies; been translated into more than a dozen languages; served as a reference for James Cameron, Judd Apatow, Tina Fey, Frank Darabont and scores of other successful screenwriters; and inspired plenty of sneers from those who insist that art is born of inspiration, not what Mr. Field, ... [argued] is the crucial stuff of a good screenplay: plot points."
The New York Times 11/19/13