Fired Bay Area Music Director Has Warm (And Strained) Farewell


“Nothing in the organization’s history has roiled the Vallejo Symphony like the board’s decision last summer to fire music director David Ramadanoff, 71, at the end of the current season. He had served in the post for 31 years and was credited by many observers” – and most of the musicians – “with bringing a new level of professionalism to what had begun as a spirited but ragtag ensemble.”

Can The Earth Be Conscious? Have We Built Teilhard de Chardin’s ‘Noosphere’?


Evolution, he claimed, was taking us toward what he called the Noosphere (“nous” is greek for mind) – a global unity of consciousness, a ” ‘thinking’ sphere circling the Earth above the biosphere, which [would comprise all] human reflection, conscious souls, and love.” But “a funny thing happened on the way to the New Age. Humanity ended up building an actual Noosphere (or at least its first draft). It was called the Internet.”

Mexico Repeatedly Slashes Arts Funding As Economy Falters


“As the US economy has picked up steam in the last few years, falling oil prices and a stronger dollar have left the peso floundering. Last month, the Mexican currency hit its lowest value since 1993 … The tumble has the federal government here drawing blood from public funds, especially the arts and culture sector.”

A Syrian Civil War ‘Romeo And Juliet’, Performed Via Skype

syrian romeo

“Under the eaves of a hospice for Syrian refugees in Amman, Jordan, a wounded young Romeo reaches out to the blurred image of a girl on a screen. From the besieged and bombed-out city of Homs, Syria, Juliet gazes back. Her head is covered because of her religion; her face is masked to protect her identity from the watchful regime of Bashar al-Assad. This is Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, performed by young people separated by war and reunited, in real time, via Skype.”

Browsing In Bookstores And Then Buying Online Is A ‘Genteel Form Of Shoplifting’, Says David Nicholls

browsing bookshops

The author of One Day and Us also says, “the debate between digital and physical has had a kind of gladiatorial flavour … Cavaliers versus Roundheads, or perhaps more accurately, for someone of my age at least, Betamax versus VHS, with only one survivor allowed. All too often in this debate I’ve felt like the proud owner of a vast collection of Betamax.”

Günter Grass’s Final Interview: Humanity May Be ‘Sleepwalking’ Into World War

gunter grass

“We have on the one side Ukraine, whose situation is not improving; in Israel and Palestine things are getting worse; the disaster the Americans left in Iraq, the atrocities of Islamic state and the problem of Syria. There is war everywhere; we run the risk of committing the same mistakes as before; so without realising it we can get into a world war as if we were sleepwalking.”

‘I Do Bad Sex Very Well. In Life And In The Novel Form’: Gary Shteyngart Interviews Adam Thirlwell

shteyngart thirlwell 90

Thirlwell: “In [my novels] Politics and The Escape, these grand themes of history and politics were mischievously seen as equivalent to more apparently minor problems like sleeping arrangements in a threesome, or premature ejaculation.
Shteyngart: “But premature ejaculation and politics intersect quite a bit.”
Thirlwell: “Well that’s certainly true.”

ISIS Destruction Of Artifacts Has Museum World Rethinking Repatriation Of Artifacts


“The minute that these events in Iraq started, voices came about again saying that we should open up acquisition policies of museums, making it easier to purchase artifacts, just to get them out of the area of conflict. But what these people do not discuss is that these artifacts that you can buy on the market now … they have been looted.”

That Newly-Attributed Shakespeare Play? Kinda Bad, But Interesting


“In short, a mediocre play, at least by Shakespeare’s standards, and in this instance, mediocre is perfect: It’s hard to understand how good Shakespeare could be until you’ve seen him at his worst (and Shakespeare at his worst is still better than most). So imagine how much more some 11th-grader might appreciate Much Ado About Nothing after reading Double Falsehood.”

Man Buys Building In Town Of Lecce. Man Digs To Fix Toilet. Man Discovers 2000-Year-Old City


“His search for a sewage pipe, which began in 2000, became one family’s tale of obsession and discovery. He found a subterranean world tracing back before the birth of Jesus: a Messapian tomb, a Roman granary, a Franciscan chapel and even etchings from the Knights Templar. His trattoria instead became a museum, where relics still turn up today.”

Philip Glass Wins $100K Glenn Gould Prize


“Sometimes referred to as the ‘Nobel prize of the arts,’ the award is presented biennially to ‘an individual for a unique lifetime contribution that has enriched the human condition through the arts,’ according to the Glenn Gould Foundation.”

Santa Monica Museum Of Art Is Suspending Operations


Not that it’s shutting down, mind you: it’s simply leaving its longtime venue at the seaside city’s Bergamot Station. “The museum, which typically spends about $2 million a year, has the flexibility to consider a variety of new locations because it has no art collection tethering it to a permanent spot that is specially equipped to store and preserve art.”

Is This How To Spot Suicide Bombers Before They Bomb?

Is This How To Spot Suicide Bombers Before They Bomb

A team of Montreal researchers “identified the personality traits of those with a ‘psychological readiness to suffer and sacrifice’ his or her life for a cause. The result, a Self-Sacrifice scale, could be a boon to anti-terror operatives across the globe.”

The World’s First Transatlantic Performance With No Transmission Delay

worlds first transatlantic perf

Drama students from Weston College in England and UNLV “will perform the same piece simultaneously, with the overseas actors being broadcast on a screen behind the live action in both locations. The synchronised performance has been made possible by the development of two supercomputers, named ultra grids, which have removed the transatlantic time delay in broadcast.”

Top Posts From AJBlogs 04.14.15

‘One-Way Ticket’? Lawrence’s ‘Migration Series’ Should Remain Whole after MoMA’s Showing
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2015-04-14

Ann Meier Baker, NEA director of Music and Opera, on her new job and NEA Jazz Masters
AJBlog: Jazz Beyond Jazz Published 2015-04-14

Louis C.K. and the War Against Smugness
AJBlog: CultureCrash Published 2015-04-14

Room at the Table: Black female college professors tough it out in Idris Goodwin’s Blackademics
AJBlog: Lies Like Truth Published 2015-04-14


A New Generation Of Orchestras Is Rising. Great, But…

chamber orchs

“I attended both expecting to trumpet the virtues of a more collaborative and flexible model. But I was disappointed. Different though they were, the two performances had a few things in common: Both offered a lot of energy and emoting, but both fell short on the details, with too many moments of sloppiness and too much defaulting to the same general tempo, dynamics and emotional flavor.”

Resignation Exposes Debate About Quality Of UK Dance Training


“A quick glance at Dance UK’s website would suggest an art form that was in very good shape. It reports a dramatic increase in the number of professional dance companies over the past two decades, as well as pointing out that audiences have risen significantly, and students studying the subject at school have grown by more than 200%. But behind the scenes the situation appears less rosy.”

2014’s Biggest-Selling Album? A Movie Soundtrack


“The album – complete with two different versions of the hit song Let It Go – sold four million more than its nearest rival, Taylor Swift’s 1989, which sold six million according to music industry body the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).”

Dance Theatre Of Harlem’s Reinvention Is On A Rocky Road


“The pre-2004 company associated with these particular works, which call on a variety of leading, solo and ensemble dance forces, eventually numbered as many as 44 dancers. The one now under Ms. Johnson’s guidance has 18. She has stressed that in the years since it was reformed in 2012, Dance Theater of Harlem has evolved into a touring company.”

‘Literary Geography’ – Literally: Mapping The Emotions Of 19th-Century London

mapping the emotions of victorian london

“What lurks behind the literary landmarks of Victorian London? Fear? Joy? Ambiguity? In a new data mining project, a Stanford University research collective has sought to map the British capital’s ’emotional geography’ by categorizing what feelings or sensations common settings convey in the novels of Dickens, Thackeray, Austen and 738 [of their colleagues].”