What Alain de Botton Doesn’t Understand About Art

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“If Alain ruled the world – let’s say he were one of Plato’s philosopher-kings (never mind that Plato distrusted art and wished to banish it) – museum captions would offer more than bland, neutral facts like name and date, but moral instructions ‘appropriate’ to the work of art, prompting us to, for example, ‘remember to be patient’.”

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Dolora Zajick Gives Terry Gross a Singing Lesson

Dolora Zajick NPR

Okay, Terry doesn’t sing on the air, but the dramatic mezzo teaches the Fresh Air host about Italian pronunciation, head resonance, placing the voice to project, and the importance of the tongue. (audio)

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Barack Obama, Patent Troll Slayer?

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“Even now, a perfect storm of patent reform is brewing in all three branches of government. Over time, it could reshape intellectual property law to turn the sue-and-settle troll mentality into a thing of the past.”

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San Diego Opera to Shut Down

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Said executive director Ian Campbell, “Over the last several years, we have lost a number of prominent contributors, frequently because of death, but especially during the recent economic downturn … The demand for opera in this city isn’t high enough.”

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Why the Unplugging Movement Doesn’t Really Make Sense

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“But how quickly the digital age turned into the age of technological anxiety, with our beloved devices becoming something to fear, not enjoy. What sex was for the Puritans, technology has become for us. We’ve focussed our collective anxiety on digital excess, and reconnecting with the ‘real’ world around us represents one effort to control it. … [Yet] is it any less real when we fall in love and break up over Gchat than when we get fired over e-mail and then find a new job on LinkedIn?”

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Cinema Needs Short Films – And We Need More Places to See Them

Cinema Needs More Short Films

Richard Brody: “The classic device for releasing short films – the compilation film, for which filmmakers are brought together to make new work on a unifying theme – is, despite its noble pedigree, almost dead. … Good short films don’t get the attention that they deserve, which is all the more grievous as there are some terrific short films being made.”

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Sundance Institute Branches Into TV

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“The nonprofit Sundance Institute on Wednesday said it would begin an episodic storytelling workshop (or ‘lab’ in Sundance parlance) for writers and creators of programs for television and online platforms.”

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J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘Beowulf’ Translation Will Finally See Print

JRR Tolkien 1955

“Although the author completed his own translation in 1926, he ‘seems never to have considered its publication’, said Christopher Tolkien … The book, edited by Christopher Tolkien, will also include the series of lectures Tolkien gave at Oxford about the poem in the 1930s, as well as the author’s ‘marvellous tale’, Sellic Spell.”

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Joseph Kerman, Musicologist and Critic, Dead at 89

Joseph Kerman

Best known for his dismissal of Tosca as a “shabby little shocker” in his 1956 book Opera as Drama, Kerman “was a man of many parts: a scholar whose work on such topics as Beethoven and the Renaissance madrigal reflected deep research and study; a disciplinary gadfly who almost single-handedly changed the direction of academic musicology; a powerful and influential teacher; and a prolific public intellectual.”

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