“He was a powerfully individual composer, an amazingly talented conductor” – Balanchine thought he was the best ballet conductor out there – “and one of the most quotable critics ever to put pen to paper.” He was also Margot Fonteyn’s lover, and he was brilliant at dirty limericks. “[He] complicated posterity’s job by deliberately choosing not to specialize in a single line of creative endeavor.”
“Scythian gold and other rare artefacts from Crimea on loan to an Amsterdam museum are in legal limbo after Russia’s annexation of the peninsula. … The show features ancient jewellery and armour on loan from five Ukrainian museums, including four in the Crimea.”
“It has the makings of a great mystery: Artwork stolen from a prominent museum, plus the FBI, a beautiful woman and an intrepid reporter. But this isn’t fiction, it’s a strange, true tale of how a painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir has now safely returned home to Baltimore.”
The Golden Mask festival began in 1995 as Moscow’s equivalent of the Tonys. Now theater companies (and opera and dance troupes) from throughout Russia spend three weeks in March and April in the capital competing for awards in 34 categories – and that’s not even counting fringe fests and tours.
“Why do these thinkers’ personal lives and ideological compromises seem unusually relevant to their work, beyond the usual scandal-sheet Schadenfreude? It may have something to do with their distinctive views regarding the relevance (or, rather, irrelevance) of character and personality to the objects of their study.”
“I think it is under the pressure of desperation that extraordinary things can happen in a human life. And if ever there was a country oversupplied with desperation, it was South Africa in that time.” (audio)
“The BBC has axed long-running culture programme The Review Show, in the week director general Tony Hall promised the corporation’s ‘strongest commitment to the arts in a generation’.”
Retired city folks are cranking their boom boxes and boogie-ing in parks, squares and parking lots – and driving the neighbors nuts. The elders themselves – tens of millions of them – say it’s good for their physical and mental well-being (and digestion, too).
“I recall many people viewing it as handwaving nonsense meant to cover over reality. It was a laughingstock … but wasn’t [it] a brilliantly pithy piece of popular epistemology? Decoupled from its context, it seemed smart … and I’d wager most people couldn’t tell you what Rumsfeld was talking about when he said it.”
Bryan Cranston spends 45 minutes with Terry Gross. (audio)
Jasper Rees recounts the long and tortured genesis of Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood.
“The jewellery and luxury goods company Bulgari has responded to the Italian government’s appeal to restore the Spanish Steps in Rome, with a gift of €1.5m to finance the two-year project, due to start in 2015.”
“Tom Levine’s works are represented in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the National Gallery of Art in Washington. His paintings sell for between $10,000 and $25,000.”
“It’s hard to understand why self-portraits, as a genre, have until now been so little discussed. They include some of the greatest works of all time.”
“Do you realize that asking writers to pick favorite writers causes us physical pain — like asking a 5-year-old to name her bestest best friend while the rest of the class is listening?”
“After all, scalping—or price-gouging, if you prefer—already works for airlines and sports teams and hotels and Broadway shows and nobody seems to complain—at least, not those that can afford them. And furthermore, like it or not, pretty soon everybody will be doing it. So hey, why fight it?”
“Two of Canada’s highest profile magazines have been told by the Ontario Ministry of Labour to immediately end their internship programs after complaints about unfair labour practices.”
“It’s a book that respects and honors its source material, but it also provides a necessary correction to what is one of the more troubling aspects of the book, which is how the black characters are portrayed.”
Following up on an incisive analysis of what’s really wrong at the company, Dawn Fatale says the Met needs to be more exciting – and makes some intriguing and inventive suggestions for just how to do that.
“The company fosters an atmosphere that is the antithesis of intimidating: You can wander in and out without too much worry about losing your place in the story. Shouting during a favorite moment is hardly a breach of etiquette. And if you’re moved (or you pretend to be moved) by a power ballad, the rhythmic waving of a hand clutching a lighter is not out of place.”
“Is he a villain, or a tragic figure, compelled to shuttle secretly, with wads of cash, returning home to spend his life with inanimate works of art?”
“Cornelius Gurlitt, the octogenarian hoarder of art plundered by the Nazis, will return paintings in the trove his family kept secret for decades to their original Jewish owners or those owners’ descendants, starting with a well-known Matisse, his lawyers said on Wednesday.”
And the backstory the new book (due in October) will give us isn’t Scarlett’s. It’s Mammy’s.