Bad News For Barnes & Noble’s Nook


Seriously bad news: The Nook division over the holidays saw “a 60.5 percent drop compared with the nine-week holiday period a year earlier. Barnes & Noble executives said their total share of the e-book market had fallen to 20 percent.”

The Demographic That’s Leaving Facebook


“A number of studies have found people feel worse after scrolling Facebook – more envious, lonely, even angry. In one German study, people were particularly unhappy after viewing vacation photos. They were also more envious when browsing Facebook instead of actively using it by posting comments and photos of themselves.”

California Governor Proposes $8000 (Yes Thousand!) Cut In State Arts Funding

California Science Center

Governor Jerry Brown’s budget plan calls for “an overall 8.5% spending increase, including major boosts to education, but envisions a $9,000 cut for the state’s arts-grant agency, the California Arts Council — from a projected $5.058 million in the current fiscal year to $5.049 million in the 2014-15 budget year that begins July 1.”

Is It Right To Destroy An Architectural Icon (Even If Flawed) To House More Art?


Tearing down New York’s Folk Art Museum: “Mine is not necessarily a view that everyone can accept: to many observers, the Folk Art building seems, like all too many museums these days, to be a grand-scale sculpture that fails to showcase the art it was built to house. But if that is MoMA’s opinion, then it should say so, which could help stimulate a worthwhile public discussion on the aesthetic of architecture.”

Amiri Baraka, 79, Poet and Firebrand


“One of the most influential African American writers of his generation, [he] courted controversy as a poet, playwright and provocateur and who was a primary intellectual architect of the Black Arts movement of the 1960s.”

How Egypt’s Most Popular Novelist Came to Support the Military Government


Alaa Al-Aswany (The Yacoubian Building) was a strong opponent of the Mubarak regime and champion of the Arab Spring, and he cheered his homeland’s first democratic elections. A year later, he cheered the military’s overthrow of Presdient Morsi and the elected Muslim Brotherhood government – and most of Egypt’s intelligentsia (and a quite a lot of the public) cheered right along with him. What happened?

Freed From Prison, Pussy Rioters Begin a New Movement

Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (R) and Mariya Alekhina in a

Since their release, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova have begun using their new-found fame, connections and energy for the cause of prison reform. Masha Gessen describes the horrific conditions they faced in their penal colonies and explains why this new work could have far more resonance within Russia than singing about Putin in a Moscow cathedral did.

Reading a Novel Rewires Your Brain, Says Study


Today in neuropsychological research performed on undergraduates: fMRIs indicated that students who read a particular novel developed “heightened connectivity in the left temporal cortex” (one of the brain’s language centers) for at least five days after finishing the book.

The Accordion Is Cool Again? Hell Yeah!


They Might Be Giants aren’t outliers anymore. There’s Arcade Fire, Mumford and Sons — heck, there’s now an accordionist in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (And by the way, Hallie Golden reminds us, a hundred years ago the accordion was positively glamorous.)

Goodspeed Theater’s Director to Retire After 45 Years


“Michael Price, who has led Goodspeed Musicals in Connecticut since 1968, producing more than 200 shows and sending 19 of them to Broadway” – including Annie, By Jeeves and Shenandoah – “will retire at the end of the year, the theater company’s board of trustees announced on Thursday.”

Three Days of Drinking Vodka With Gary Shteyngart


“And then [Gary] raises a glass to the fish: ‘Here’s to herring … It’s really kept Russia going all these years.’ I didn’t know we were going to keep going with the toasts. ‘Endless toasts,’ he says. ‘It’s so annoying, but it has to be done.'”

Top Posts From AJBlogs 01-09-14

Vancouver Art Gallery Moves A Step Ahead
Source: Real Clear Arts | Published on 2014-01-09

A Wagner heir has died, at 71
Source: Slipped Disc | Published on 2014-01-09

A Canadian Opera Company Shuts Down


“We simply do not have the financial resources to continue. We had hoped a large donation from an individual would arrive in time, but regrettably it did not materialize, and in the absence of any other funding, the board had no choice but to cancel the rest of the season and cease operations.”

MoMA Reveals Its Grand Redesign Plans


“The Museum of Modern Art unveiled on Wednesday a sweeping redesign of its Midtown building, featuring a retractable glass wall, new gallery space and the opening of its entire first floor, including the beloved sculpture garden, free to the public.”

Edward Albee, Bessie Smith and Saving a Dying Hospital


A Brooklyn theater company is mounting a site-specific production of Albee’s The Death of Bessie Smith – “which by most evidence is based on an apocryphal account of how Smith, the black, early-20th-century blues singer, was denied treatment at a whites-only hospital” – at a struggling community medical center.