Out Front, Atlanta’s new LGBTQetc. theater company, was preparing its upcoming production of Paul Rudnick’s The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told when it began receiving messages and a petition from an organization called American Needs Fatima thundering that “this blasphemous play is a vile insult to the Mother of God!”
Philip Kennicott: “This exhibition highlights problems far deeper than those raised by the all-too-successful blockbuster shows of the past. This isn’t about managing success and finding the right balance between access for crowds and the integrity of the individual aesthetic experience. Rather, this is about the nature of experience itself, and whether museums want to reinforce an understanding of existence that is fractured, competitive, capitalistic and ultimately alienated from art.”
“Because one essential feature of the contemporary art world is artificial scarcity,” Philip Kennicott writes. “Theoretically, the Hirshhorn could line its ringed galleries with four or five versions of each room. More people could see them, and more people could experience the effect for longer periods. Except that Kusama has defined her rooms as ‘unique art works,’ and that ultimately diminishes their reach and impact.”
“Both Peck and Copeland are established names in their art forms, but handing them the reins for a major event on the Kennedy Center’s ballet subscription series is a risk. Why did the center decide on guest curators, and on these artists?” Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter has an answer.
Certainly there are other companies at work developing young dancemaking talent, but DNB artistic director Ted Brandsen has a unique four-pronged approach.
“Fearless Girl” was meant to be up for only one week, and had it remained so, it may not have given rise to so much protest and analysis about what such a sculpture means for feminism, public art, and Wall Street. Those a big topics for one sculpture to take on, but if Fearless Girl ends up staying for good, it will be because she’s raised questions about female empowerment and representation well beyond Wall Street.
The artist Okwui Okpokwasili blurs boundaries, hates talking about genres, and collaborates both with her husband and a variety of other performers. “Nearly six feet tall, with a hypnotic voice and limbs that swallow up space, she pushes herself to the edge as a performer, playing with extremes of ecstasy, sadness or rage with almost dangerous intensity.”
And that’s partly because of money: “The runaway success of the Elbphilharmonie — every event this season is sold out, largely because of fascination with the architecture — gives Mr. Lieben-Seutter a rare degree of freedom. ‘The public is generally skeptical when it comes to contemporary music,’ he said. ‘But from a building like this people expect new experiences. Whenever we have played contemporary music we have had a very positive, focused public.'”
Seriously: All 40 theatres were full (the 41st is under renovation right now). How rare is this? (And what’s doing well, or less than well?)
Here’s some of how a $25,000 NEA grant broke down for L.A.’s Craft and Folk Museum to mount Chapters: Book Arts in Southern California: “Security for the show cost $1,200. Postcard printing and mailing cost $150. Three advertising spots on a local NPR station totaled $1,500. Lighting and painting supplies were $1,140. Insurance for the show was $1,200. The most expensive item on the list: $8,000 for labels and wall text fabrication for the exhibition. Artist fees for all commissioned work totaled only $6,000.”
Read Gertrude Stein carefully, and tenaciously, and you’ll see how she teaches writing with every rigorous sentence. (No, she was not a famous teacher of composition, of course.) “To Gertrude Stein, the arrangement and creation of sentences and paragraphs was always paramount, no matter the origin.”
In 2008, the ballet dissolved its artistic partnership with the Eugene Ballet and struck out on its own with Peter Anastos at its head. “Starting a new company from scratch is certainly not for sissies,” he says now, as he prepares to finish up his decade with the reinvented company.
And what’s the deal with art historians who have failed to use primary sources while talking about them? “A modest exhibition of slate paintings will not be the grandest tribute paid to Sidney Nolan in his centenary year. But it is perhaps the most poignant. Australia’s greatest 20th-century artist painted them in the early 1940s while in the early throes of his decade-long affair with Sunday Reed, and living in a decidedly modern menage with Sunday and her husband John.”
But films – especially documentaries after the recent rule change at the Academy – on Netflix are shut out of Oscars consideration next year. Still, “for filmmakers like Mr. Leon, the flexibility of the Netflix option is an artistic lifesaver.”
Seriously, why? “The ‘St. John’ problem has become ever more troubling in the decades since World War II and the Holocaust. With the horrible potential latent in anti-Semitism ever more apparent, any performance or hearing of this work must be cause for sober reflection, not mere mindless pleasure.”
Ukraine banned Russia’s entry from competing because the singer had once visited Crimea, the part of Ukraine that Russia “annexed” in 2014. That comes after Ukraine’s singer won the 2016 competition with a song that appeared to explicitly discuss some of Stalin’s misdeeds in Crimea during WWII. That’s a lot of meaning for a pop song contest to carry.
Of course, the program is called “Disney Musicals in the Schools,” and the kids produce and perform a “Disney KIDS” musical during the year they get funding and support, but hey: “Teachers will learn how to create all parts of a show, including building a rehearsal schedule, developing and maintaining a budget, choreographing a number, teaching the music and directing a show.”
Shooting car chases, for instance, “is way more dangerous than you’re used to,” says the director of the newest installment of the Fast and the Furious franchise. “There are so many fans of the franchise in Cuba. We had to hire 100 locals to lock down a 20-block straightaway, because there were over 10,000 people watching us shoot. That’s phenomenal energy that you can feed off of to create, but there’s also safety considerations.”
Lakeith Stanfield, who had a very creepy role to play in Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” and is a star on the series “Atlanta,” says it’s time for Black culture to be recognized in Hollywood. “Hollywood’s been racist since its inception. But now it’s opening up. Now it’s becoming much more real, inclusive.”
Using CGI to “reanimate” or recreate an actor for a movie is wrong…
Kenyatta Hinkle, who made a name for herself as a young artist in a 2012 Hammer Museum show, has a new show making waves in L.A. She “would play hip-hop, including Kanye West, and then draw on acid-free, recycled paper, dipping Spanish moss into India ink while dancing, which creates the nebulous and sporadic nature of her work.”
“U.S. pay-TV providers lost around 1.9 million subscribers last year, according to the latest research from Kagan, a unit of S&P Global Market Intelligence. Meanwhile, “virtual” pay-TV services delivered over the internet like Dish’s Sling TV and AT&T’s DirecTV Now didn’t help stop the overall sector from shrinking in 2016.”
“Combined takings from streaming, downloads, physical sales and licensing for use in films, TV and computer games rose 5.1% to £926m. The main contributor to growth was streaming, but vinyl revenues rose by more than two thirds.”
“The report, compiled by Frédéric Julien of CAPACOA and research consultant Inga Petri, argues that non-profit groups will need to consider their own versions of vertical integration, with presenters making strategic alliances with producers or co-operating with private industry to build networks large enough to draw the audiences they will need. As a model it points to Radioplayer Canada, a single app implemented by 400 public, private, community and campus radio stations. For the performing arts, the details are still hazy, but the message is clear: Go digital or go home.”
“The paper, issued last month by the National Bureau of Economic Research and written by economics professors from Stanford and Brown Universities, found that the growth in political polarization was most significant among older Americans, who were least likely to use the internet between 1996 and 2012, the years for which data was available when the paper was written.”
Declan Donnellan: “Plays without ideas are boring. But all ideas are dead until someone gives them flesh. Angels is full of ideas – bursting with them – but they land in our laps only because they have been vomited up by the living situation.”