The Mo Yan Effect on China’s Literary Scene

Mo Yan

“There’s a disease of the ‘great China novel’ that’s attacking Chinese writers. They feel they have to produce these enormous things that explain all of Chinese society and are filled with philosophy and ideas and thoughts. And they tend to believe that’s more important than story or character.”

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Dancing About Cardiology? Yup.

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Jody Oberfelder Dance Projects’ 4Chambers “is a kind of hybrid of a dance piece and a science project, with videos about the heart – including the choreographer Ismael Houston-Jones describing his own heart attack” – and a sequence depicting cardiac arrest and CPR (which can be quite a violent process). (audio)

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Teju Cole Tweets a 4,000-Word Essay

Teju Cole

“On March 13, author Teju Cole published ‘A Piece Of The Wall’ entirely on Twitter, a first-of-its-kind essay on Arizona and immigration comprised of approximately 250 tweets that were tweeted out over the span of seven hours.” In a Q-&-A, Cole explains what he was up to and how he pulled it off.

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March Madness Comes to Scrabble

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Sports journalist Stefan Fatsis reports on Hasbro’s public tournament – complete with a Sweet-16 bracket – to pick a new word to be added to the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

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Protests As Detroit Gallery Plans To Sell Famous Banksy Mural After “Saving” It

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“Artists and commentators are decrying the move by leaders of the 555 Nonprofit Gallery and Studios to profit from the work by the anonymous British graffiti artist. The 555 artists excavated the 1,500-pound piece from the crumbling Packard Plant four years ago in the name of preserving it and putting it on public display. They pledged they had no interest in selling it.”

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Why Is Hollywood So Obsessed With Doppelgängers Lately?

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“Our active pursuit of our own doppelgängers, though, would strike many throughout history as odd, if not suicidal: Encountering your match has long been considered a harbinger of death, or at least very bad luck. We all have a double in the world, the mythology goes, and most of us will never meet that person. But if we do, the universe only has space for one.”

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Wait, What If Uptalk Is Just A Normal Way For Millennials To Speak Now?

Holly L. Derr

“Young women — surrounded in every other part of their lives by women who talk just like they do — are increasingly responding to mentors, teachers, and bosses who try to help them overcome these vocal habits by, as Ratner did, arguing that they shouldn’t have to change for society. Society should change for them. People should learn that asking questions and using uptalk is a sign of caring what the other person thinks, not of submissiveness.”

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Heirs Of Peggy Guggenheim Sue New York Foundation

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“They are calling for the revocation of Peggy Guggenheim’s donation to the foundation because of the organisation’s ‘failure to comply with the conditions under which it was granted'” – not to mention the accusation that the foundation is desecrating her grave.

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Science Says: To Be Happy, Shed Your Obsession With Owning Things

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Duh? “People can get caught in a negative spiral in which they have unrealistic expectations of how happy material goods will make them. When their experience falls short of those expectations, their instinct is to seek out something new to purchase, putting them in an endless loop of anticipation and disappointment that does not leave room for gratitude.”

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Dudamel And Gergiev – Of Art And Politics (It’s Complicated)

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“Dudamel has stopped short of taking a political stand; Gergiev, to Western eyes, has taken the wrong one. How much condemnation do they deserve? And is it reasonable to expect them to take a stand at all? Do we have the same expectations of leading figures in other fields — athletes, actors, dancers, poets?”

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Today’s Top AJBlog Posts 03.14.14

How You View the Pie
AJBlog: Audience Wanted | Published 2014-03-14

Can arts organizations be both art-focused and community-focused?
AJBlog: Jumper | Published 2014-03-14

Picasso Museum: Reopening With What?
AJBlog: Real Clear Arts | Published 2014-03-14

Will Gentrification Kill Music Scenes?
AJBlog: CultureCrash | Published 2014-03-13

Respecting the craft
AJBlog: The Artful Manager | Published 2014-03-13

Pavarotti estate takes action to stop illicit child duet
AJBlog: Slipped Disc | Published 2014-03-13

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Can El Sistema Navigate Venezuela’s Roiling Politics?

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El Sistema was founded in 1975 by Jose Antonio Abreu, a musician and economist, and it has flourished under eight different governments while aiming to keep many impoverished kids on the straight and narrow. “Ultimately, we have no idea how Dudamel, maestro Abreu and others are functioning in El Sistema. Abreu’s way of working has always been to try and influence the politics subtly from the inside. The second he takes a public stand, he can’t do that anymore.”

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The Value Of Original Cast Recordings

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“What it does do is give the listener—as well as actors and directors—a snapshot of what the play sounded like when it was new. Such snapshots can serve as invaluable points of departure for the present-day performer, a benchmark against which to measure subsequent interpretative developments.”

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Voice Over (Literally) Hal Douglas Dies At 89

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His dramatic range, from Olympian-thunderous to comic-goofy, suited him for trailers for movies as diverse as “Philadelphia,” “Forrest Gump,” “Coneheads,” “Meet the Parents” and “Lethal Weapon.” (“Under 17 not admitted without a parent.”)

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Report: $66 Billion Of Art Sold Last Year

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“International art and antique market sales totaled €47.4 billion ($66 billion) last year, their highest sum since the pre-recession days of 2007, according to the European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF)’s annual art market report, released yesterday.”

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“Noah” Movie Banned In Three Countries

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“Director of media content at the National Media Center in the UAE, Juma Al-Leem, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the movie will not be allowed in cinemas because it contradicts a generally agreed upon taboo in Islam of depicting a prophet.”

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Ceci N’est Pas ‘Swan Lake’

ceci nest pas Swan Lake Maillot

“It’s not a rereading of Swan Lake, it’s another thing, which is why I’ve called it Lac,” says choreographer Jean-Christophe Maillot of his rereading of Swan Lake more primal take on the Tchaikovsky score, which he created for his company, the reborn Ballets de Monte Carlo.

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