Bobbi Jene Smith of Batsheva spends the entire length of Naharin’s Last Work trotting away on a treadmill upstage. Here she tells Jen Peters how she manages to do it.
The “genderless” young hipster types in Tokyo and Osaka who’ve been getting press coverage lately are by no means a new phenomenon there. Anthropologist Jennifer Robertson, who has spent much of her life in Japan, gives the history, from cross-dressing eighth-century women to bisexual aristocrats in classical literature to foppish 19th-century “high-collar” men to the very popular Takarazuka Revue, considered avant-garde when it opened in 1914.
The current model — big-name writers sharing wealth with unknown counterparts who enjoy the prospect of MFA employment — is a more cooperative arrangement that, while not ideal, has a better chance of ushering into existence quality literature by writers who have a shot at being able to change our lives with words.
“The radical potential of aesthetic negotiation relies, I think, on total freedom. Decoupled from government politics, cultural politics knows no bounds. But tweeting about an issue can encourage the critic (and her reader) to pick a stance, thereby helping to shore up the big pile of social-media meaning. Our space for aesthetic negotiation ends up laden with binaristic thought after all.”
“Early cultures heavily emphasized the importance of communal bonding and obligation, urging the sacrifice of the self to the greater good. But while such bonding is necessary to keep civilizations alive, we’ve always prized those who rejected this: Outcasts like Socrates, Lao Tzu, and Jesus. And while the latter would become a fisher of men, his time alone in the desert would also in time inspire his followers: By the fifth century, the deserts of Syria were pockmarked with hermits, each looking for a little desolate wasteland of his (and occasionally her) own.”
“The really important thing is that the musical ideas come out of the sound we collect. But the piece has a to tell a story; it has to exist for some reason.” Typical urban noise, like the revving of a car engine, the ringing of a bicycle bell, or the pitter-patter of pedestrian footsteps, can be found in virtually any city. So how do you make an audio portrait feel particular to the town it’s supposed to reflect?
First, yes, there are still plenty of gay bars in Manhattan, hookup apps notwithstanding. And while there have always been a few piano bars where the crowd sings show tunes, they were always considered rather dowdy; now even the hippest bars have Broadway nights, and major stars show up to sing at them. Legendary nightlife reporter Michael Musto surveys the scene.
Turns out soldiers really did read it for the articles. (Well, not only the articles.) “In fact, it’s hard to overstate how profound a role Playboy played among the millions of American soldiers and civilians stationed in Vietnam throughout the war: as entertainment, yes, but more important as news and, through its extensive letters section, as a sounding board and confessional.”
“‘He’s either going to be fantastic – or dead.’ That was the verdict of some of opera’s keenest vocal judges a decade ago when they awarded Michael Fabiano … a career-making win at the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. [Now] he is one of the most exciting, sought-after singers in the world – but the fatalistic warning was still ringing in my ears a few Sundays ago when Mr. Fabiano, who likes to pilot planes on his days off, took me for a flight.” Michael Cooper white-knuckles it for us.
“[The John Adams opera] is usually staged as an array of physicists and military generals standing around the New Mexico landscape, wondering if the first atomic bomb will ignite the entire planet – and looking worried. ‘But who wants to watch that?’ said R.B. Schlather.” David Patrick Stearns talks to the director about the staging he’s helming this week in Philadelphia. (Oh, and the singer playing Oppenheimer is a barihunk.)
Last year, the Federal Republic’s supreme court ruled that publishing houses weren’t entitled to up to €300 million in copyright payments they had kept since 2012, and the houses are scrambling madly to get together the cash they must now pay to their authors. The general counsel of Germany’s Publishers and Booksellers Association explains the situation.
When Free Is Insufficient
They won’t even come when it’s free! That lament from an arts administrator, with eyes rolled and hands thrown up, demonstrates a profound lack of connection with the subject of the exclamation. It is usually … read more
AJBlog: Engaging Matters Published 2017-02-28
Who Should Lead the Met? Tom Campbell Decamps
Ever since he was named to the Metropolitan Museum’s directorship, I’ve had serious qualms about whether Tom Campbell embodied The Peter Principle … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2017-02-28
Propwatch: the watches in Hamlet
The insanely awaited production starring Andrew Scott is so very sold-out that buying even one ticket felt like a triumph. … There’s lots to say about the genius line-readings and surprising additions. But I just want to think about the watches for a bit. … read more
AJBlog: Performance Monkey Published 2017-02-28
Recent Listening (And Viewing) In Brief
The incoming albums that pack my big mailbox several times a week belie frequent claims in the press and on the air that jazz is dying. … read more
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2017-02-28
Speaking at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Agit Pai said that it has become “evident that the FCC made a mistake” in its passage of net neutrality rules in 2015, in which the agency reclassified internet service as a common carrier. Pai, along with other critics of the move, consider the approach “last-century, utility-style regulation to today’s broadband networks. Our new approach injected tremendous uncertainty into the broadband market. And uncertainty is the enemy of growth. After the FCC embraced utility-style regulation, the United States experienced the first-ever decline in broadband investment outside of a recession.”
“The evolution of music must be a complex, multi-step process, with different features developing for different reasons,” says Samuel Mehr, who co-authored the paper with psychologist Max Krasnow. “Our theory raises the possibility that infant-directed song is the starting point for all that.”
“Though I couldn’t quite bring myself to believe it, I was morbidly fascinated by the idea that we might be on the verge of creating a machine that could wipe out the entire species, and by the notion that capitalism’s great philosopher kings—Musk, Thiel, Gates—were so publicly exercised about the Promethean dangers of that ideology’s most cherished ideal. These dire warnings about A.I. were coming from what seemed to be the most unlikely of sources: not from Luddites or religious catastrophists, that is, but from the very people who personify our culture’s reverence for machines.”
“Both of these bizarre events put one in mind of a simple but arresting thesis: that we are living in the Matrix, and something has gone wrong with the controllers. This idea was, I’m told, put forward first and most forcibly by the N.Y.U. philosopher David Chalmers: what is happening lately, he says, is proof that we are living in a computer simulation and that something has recently gone haywire within it. The people or machines or aliens who are supposed to be running our lives are having some kind of breakdown. There’s a glitch, and we are in it.”