“The British Library has launched a preservation and access project which will save almost half a million rare and unique recordings which are threatened by physical degradation or stored on formats which can no longer be played. … Recordings include oral histories from WWI and WWII, Cornish brass bands, local dialect from the UK regions, drama and literature readings, regional radio, traditional music, pirate radio recordings, music from around the world and the sounds of rare and extinct species.”
Over the past couple of years, print pundits have wondered at the sizable female audience for new true-crime TV series such as The Jinx and Making a Murderer (not to mention the audio phenomenon that was Serial). American Studies scholar Melinda Lewis argues that the pundits shouldn’t have been surprised and unpacks the attraction to the genre.
America’s favorite orchestra CEO talks about arts funding, what she achieved in her 17 years in L.A., and what she hopes to achieve in New York. And Tavis (based in L.A.) literally gets on his knees and begs her not to go. (video)
Karan Vafadari and Afarin Nayssari, founders of the Aun Gallery in Tehran, were arrested last summer after Revolutionary Guards stormed the exhibition space, destroyed some art and carried away other pieces. “The couple has been incarcerated at [the] notorious Evin Prison … and has been denied access to legal counsel, interrogated extensively, and frequently placed in solitary confinement over a series of charges that human rights organizations have denounced as baseless.”
Conservation of art that was made with technology like old TVs, VCR tapes and floppy disks is breaking down and getting more and more difficult to conserve. How do you “restore” a cassette tape when it has started to decay? Museum conservators are resorting to buying up old technology on services like EBay to repair the materials.
“Where there’s truth to the idea of a television ‘golden age’ (ask me over a cup of coffee or a whiskey ginger someday), it’s in the fact that cable and streaming outlets have allowed shows to flourish when they appeal to more deeply invested but smaller audiences. This is what I have called in the past The Age Of Enthusiasm. It has also encouraged the proliferation of shows that are more idiosyncratic, personal, and experimental than television was before. Now, drama and comedy enthusiasts have daily exposure to stuff that’s weird and complicated and formally experimental. They are a good, prepared audience for interesting plays in a way that I, as a teenager in the late 1980s, was not.”
“The instrument sports a number of unusual features, like a banked fingerboard that fights strain by reducing supination in a player’s left arm. But what truly draws the eye—and drops the jaw—is the viola’s off-kilter layout: It has been stretched on the diagonal to some 20 inches to maximize the vibrating surface area. Because it has also been shortened from top to bottom, it feels like a ¾-size viola to the player’s left hand.”
“The successful completion of the [difficult and troubled] project was due in no small part to Morahan’s tenacity and dedication. Tall and commanding, on set his directorial cry of ‘why wasn’t this done earlier?’ could make the most hardened crew member tremble.”
McKissack and her husband wrote, “she said, ‘to tell a different story — one that has been marginalized by mainstream history; one that has been distorted, misrepresented or just plain forgotten,’ and she urged other blacks to write more, too.”
“What would be the impact if the Emmys, or the Academy Awards, totally did away with gender distinctions for its acting prizes (which, in both cases, have existed since their inception)? The Grammys long ago dropped this distinction (in 2011), but are helped by the fact that they hand out trophies to performers in 84 different categories. The Oscars only have four acting awards (lead and supporting, male and female), with five nominees for each category. In an industry still rife with institutional sexism, where male stars still dominate the amount of lead roles available, it’s easy to imagine wild gender imbalances from year to year, even if the lead and supporting categories were expanded to 10 nominees.”
“We had to pivot and say: What are we going to do with these books that were going to be anti-Hillary? Instead we developed new approaches that talked about the Trump agenda.”
“At the Birmingham Stage Company we recently went public about our decision to pull out of future presentations at Leeds Grand because of the £3 booking fee and £1 restoration fee that is levied on all tickets. This means that schoolchildren seeing our production of Gangsta Granny by David Walliams for £10 are then being asked to pay another £4 on top. This effectively amounts to a 40% surcharge on every ticket.”
“A new campaign out of Chattanooga, Tennessee dubs the city ‘Literally Perfect’ with a series of delightfully demented mini-musicals.” Laura Bliss explains why it’s “better than it ought to be.”
“Teachers Pay Teachers contends that it hit a milestone last year, when its 80,000 contributors earned more than $100 million, and that at least a dozen have become millionaires since the site launched a decade ago. Other major sites including Teachwise and Teacher’s Notebook, and recently such corporate players as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Amazon, have launched sites of their own. But some educators worry the increasing monetizing of lessons will stifle the longstanding practice of teachers freely sharing their ideas. And legal experts question whether teachers actually have ownership of the lessons they are selling.”
Slate‘s Marissa Martinelli talks with Julia Bascom, executive director of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.
The sculptor who created the iconic “Charging Bull” statue in New York City’s financial district says the city and an investment company violated his rights by installing the newly popular “Fearless Girl” statue near his creation without permission for what amounts to a commercial ad campaign.
“Function, a video series from Fractal NYC, outfitted two piano players with special glasses that track the movement of their eyes. … Insight pianists gain from eye tracking can be an excellent tool to help them perfect their playing. That is, if they can watch without getting dizzy.”
“Perhaps you didn’t know, but The Last Supper … is deteriorating rapidly, mostly due to the factors of time, humidity, wartime bombs, and the fact that it was once housed in a prison.” But Eataly, the upscale food purveyor, is paying for a high-tech contraption that may help save the decaying mural. Nate Freeman has the details (and a bit of snark).
The Exil Ensemble is “a group of seven performers from Syria, the Palestinian territories and Afghanistan who can’t pursue their art in their home countries and who are now in residency at the Maxim Gorki Theater” (whose house director, incidentally, is Israeli). “But how do you turn your own arrival into art so soon? How do you face the trauma? And express yourself in a new language?”
Plumbing Duchamp’s Urinal: How Erudite Art Historians Piss on Simplicity
When pondering the meaning of enigmatic artworks, critics and scholars often mix factual knowledge with leaps of interpretive imagination, conveyed through highfalutin verbiage. Thus it was when … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2017-04-12
“The phenomenon continues to be utterly fascinating to vision scientists like me, and for good reason. The very existence of ‘the dress’ challenged our entire understanding of color vision. Up until early 2015, a close reading of the literature could suggest that the entire field had gone somewhat stale—we thought we basically knew how color vision worked, more or less. The dress upended that idea.”
” ‘Bleaker House’ is as formalistically inventive as any postmodern, genre-subverting work of fiction—which made me wonder, as I was reading it, whether in fact it was a postmodern, genre-subverting work of fiction, and not a memoir at all. Had Stevens invented her stay on Bleaker Island? Had she invented the island itself? Or had she invented the premise that she went there to write a conventional novel, and all along intended to write something that subverted the very idea of a novel?”
“It can be hard to pin down what makes a personal letter, along with what makes for its individuality and authenticity. Connection is the most basic ‘reassurance that I am not floating out there alone in the universe’, as Nina Sankovitch writes in Signed, Sealed, Delivered. A letter links two particular persons, even when its words are handed round and read to others. And while we’re more connected than ever now, our connections can be less specific – we post a lot of ‘personal’ updates to a varied or unknown audience who has no responsibility to respond.”
A roundtable with Shonda Rhimes (Scandal), Barbara Hall (Madam Secretary), David Mandel (em>Veep), and Frank Pugliese and Melissa Jane Gibson (House of Cards).