“A recent National Endowment for the Arts report claims that nationally, theater ticket sales are 6 percent lower than they were a decade ago. Yet our small, local companies, who routinely bring us work by provocative young playwrights — plays in which naked people appear, in which topical issues are discussed over coffee, and women exchange the occasional tongue kiss — are thriving.”
The garden bridge, proposed to cross the Thames from the South Bank to Temple, is nothing if not a landmark of the post-truth era. It has wrung tens of millions out of the public purse on the basis of deceptions, distortions and facts that proved to be fake. First sold as “a gift to the people of London”, entirely paid for by private sector donations, it is now due to cost a minimum of £60m in public money. Its estimated total cost has gone from £60m to “north of £200 million”. Its claims to fundraising prowess are exaggerated, its promised transport benefits minimal.
“Les Grands Ballets Canadiens will take over its new digs next month, after 37 years in a converted garage building that had no elevators, insufficient washrooms and studios where ballerinas had to take care not to bump their heads on the ceiling during lifts. The ballet will join two contemporary-dance companies – Agora de la danse and Tangente – as well as École de danse contemporaine de Montréal. All the companies are getting better and more versatile spaces than they had before. They’re also being challenged to think about how to relate to each other, and to their new environment in the Quartier des Spectacles.”
“For the greater good of theater criticism as a legitimate form of journalism and for the greater good of theater as an art form, yes, I’d have preferred that the Times authentically looked for, and found, a 30-year-old woman of color or a 34-year-old man of Asian ethnicity or even — in the spirit of a long tradition — pulled some 27-year-old reporter off the sports desk and provided them with a shot.”
Throughout the French countryside, especially in less visited rural areas of eastern and central France, some homes have fallen victim to speculators who strip their architectural treasures and sell them, often abroad, leaving once graceful historic structures little more than empty shells behind gaily painted facades. In other cases, the owners themselves sell the architectural elements to raise some cash.
“The green idyll of the village of Snape and its environs is under threat, menaced by the prospect of a giant car park to serve the increasing number of visitors to the area. As battle lines are drawn, a coalition of local people and music lovers has formed to see off the threat and tempers are becoming frayed.”
“According to David Marcus, the head of music at Ticketmaster, last year Ticketmaster’s platform successfully defended against 5 billion bot calls. For a company that sells 100 million tickets each year, that’s a staggering ratio—and it means that even a 1 percent failure rate would mean half of their tickets are sold to bots.”
“Reading what you hate helps you refine what it is you value, whether it’s a style, a story line or an argument. Because books are long-form, they require more of the writer and the reader than a talk show or Facebook link. You can finish watching a movie in two hours and forget about it; not so a novel. Sticking it out for 300 pages means immersing yourself in another person’s world and discovering how it feels. That’s part of what makes books you despise so hard to dismiss. Rather than toss the book aside, turn to the next page and wrestle with its ideas. What about them makes you so uncomfortable?”
From inside these communities, there is a clear, rich stream of storylines that are less concerned with the physical details and more with the interior life of LGBT characters. “Look, we know what straight, white men think, what their hopes, desires and fears are, because we’ve been told nothing but them on TV. Which is precisely why a younger generation no longer owns TV sets. Programme-makers have to catch up or they’ll make themselves extinct.”
AmazonCrossing, the publishing unit devoted to scouring the world for good tales, has in a short time become the most prominent interpreter of foreign fiction into English, accounting for 10 percent of all translations in 2016, more than any other publishing house in a field populated by small imprints.
“Now 47, and a new kind of public figure thanks to the Sugar Baby, Walker remains suspicious of herself, and of the world, however much it has come to celebrate her, expressing to me the bewilderment of a thinker for whom no level of success can stamp out a phobia of personal self-satisfaction — or, worse, infidelity to craft.”
As Thomas Campbell begins his exit, the museum resets: “The wing will wait while the museum conducts long-needed repairs. Exhibitions will be cut back by as much as a quarter. And just as crucially, the Met is revamping its money-losing gift shop — because, as it turns out, America’s greatest storehouse of treasures can’t balance its budget without selling nicer scarves.”
As any art historian from the pre-internet era would know, the Metropolitan Museum had thousands – and thousands and thousands – of slides it loaned out to teachers and professors for lectures. But the entire collection of slides was digitized, and the museum didn’t need them any longer. So, they found a new home.
Few shows have earned more ink of fascination and fury during their runs. “In addition to a magnificent deployment of Tracy Chapman’s ‘Fast Car,’ the episode (which is discussed further in this critical dialogue) offers up a glimpse of what growing up might look like for these characters.” [If you’re the kind of person who cares about Girls but didn’t have time to watch it, fair warning: The article contains many spoilers.]
That is one devoted audience member: “Using her free-flying privileges as a now-retired pilot, [Beverley Bass] has followed the musical’s developmental journey from La Jolla to Seattle to Washington to Gander to Toronto to New York, often with other female pilots in tow. Ms. Bass is both watching the show and reliving the events, clutching her husband’s hand as the emotions return.”
What We Learned About Audience This Week: Is Streaming Good For The Arts? How About The Death Of Retail?
This Week: Is streaming performances good for the arts?… Why Are we still allowing ticket surcharges?… Another study tells us how to build arts audiences… TV’s audience base is slipping away… How will the … read more
AJBlog: AJ Arts AudiencePublished 2017-04-16
Welcome to the Ride
Waaaaaay back in 2011, as communications and research VP of a newly re-launched arts funding organization old enough to be an antique, I devised (with friends and colleagues) a bike ride that we named … read more
AJBlog: The Bright RidePublished 2017-04-16
Weekend Extra: Bud Freeman With Art Hodes
Coleman Hawkins made the tenor saxophone a jazz instrument. Bud Freeman (1906-1991), two years younger than Hawkins, followed as another of the horn’s early masters. Freeman (pictured) started on C-melody saxophone and … read more
AJBlog: RiffTidesPublished 2017-04-15
Blogback: Francis Naumann on Duchamp’s Remakes of the “Fountain” Readymade
Art historian and gallerist Francis Naumann responds to Plumbing Duchamp’s Urinal: How Erudite Art Historians Piss on Simplicity: As you can well imagine, I took considerable offense in your remarks, as you go on to … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrlPublished 2017-04-15
The Late, Great Derek Walcott
Folks, This week CultureCrash guest columnist Lawrence Christon looks at the legacy of the Saint Lucia-born, US-residing poet Derek Walcott, who died March 17. I share Christon’s fondness for DW’s verse, and was pleased … read more
AJBlog: CultureCrashPublished 2017-04-14