“Humans rarely think for themselves. Rather, we think in groups. Just as it takes a tribe to raise a child, it also takes a tribe to invent a tool, solve a conflict or cure a disease. No individual knows everything it takes to build a cathedral, an atom bomb or an aircraft. What gave Homo sapiens an edge over all other animals and turned us into the masters of the planet was not our individual rationality, but our unparalleled ability to think together in large groups.”
“In this way, Wikipedia understands something that most philosophers after Socrates didn’t – definitions are not static, and cannot be perfected and finalized. They must be constantly challenged, updated, reverted, and discussed. Wikipedia is like a Socratic dialogue on a massive scale.” Nikhil Sonnad did a deep dive into the 14 years of edits (some of them pretty ugly) that led to the impressive entry the site has now.
Director Kevin Smith says, “The weird thing about it is, you know, when you look at it now – to borrow a term from the present – it was very woke for 1997.” Queer critics didn’t agree: as Shannon Keating sums it up here, “Ultimately, the film assumes that a lesbian can go straight, even if just for a little while, as soon as the right guy comes along.” But then, Keating continues, “Questions about how to define different queer identities, the possibilities and limits of sexual fluidity, and what mysterious chemistry drives attraction are as much a part of the contemporary queer conversation as they were in the mid-’90s. Chasing Amy was, in many ways, ahead of its time.”
“The sounds frequently referred to as elevator music are, at least officially, no more; over five years ago the company folded in a deal with its new owner, Mood Music. Muzak often amounted to the sonic equivalent of a Pan-Am smile, inspiring the listener to a bland, blinkered contentedness. In part, its reputation has obscured much of what made the company viable, and the extent to which its style fed others in its wake.”
Also among the winners of 2016 Peabody Awards in the documentary category were 13th, Zero Days, and MAVIS!.
Lindsay Kemp visits Kobe to talk with the founder/director of the Bach Collegium Japan about the extraordinary (and excellent) 55-CD, 18-year project that Suzuki didn’t expect he’d be undertaking when he started it.
“[San Antonio] Symphony CEO David Gross says they offered Ballet San Antonio a reduced rate of $150,000 for a 2-week multi-show run, but the ballet company couldn’t commit.”
After being in this field for a hot second, there are just some things that I think are impeding our ability, as an industry, to become more self-sustaining, attract new and younger audiences, and make the arts experience much better for the audience and/or consumer. These are ideas, traditions, thoughts – or “institutional traditions” – that have somehow become the “norm” in our industry and create an environment where we value the tradition over the audience experience – our “user interface”.
In this Lexicon Valley podcast, “John McWhorter [talks about] the evolution from ‘crippled’ to ‘handicapped’ to ‘differently abled’ – and why no such term is likely to stick around long.” (audio)
“Many podcast trends continue to rise, from the percentage of the 12+ population that has heard the term podcasting (60 percent, up from 55 percent last year) to the percentage that has listened to a podcast (40 percent, up from 36 percent last year) to the percentage that has listened in the last month (24 percent, up from 21 percent last year) or last week (15 percent, up from 13 percent). And the term “listened to” isn’t a loose one. And overwhelming majority of listeners get through either all of a podcast (42 percent) or most of it (44 percent).”
“I was their second choice for Usual Suspects, fourth choice for American Beauty and 15th choice to host this year’s Tony Awards. I think my career is definitely going in the right direction,” said Kevin Spacey. “Maybe I can get shortlisted to host the Oscars if everyone else turns it down.”
Much of the response to Samuel L. Jackson’s complaint about the wave of black British actors playing high-profile African-American roles has been along the lines of Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya’s “I resent that I have to prove that I’m black.” Angelica Jade Bastién argues that this is not the issue: for one thing, “the black experience throughout the diaspora isn’t an interchangeable one,” and for another, there’s a group of black American actors as highly trained as any from Britain that still have trouble getting work.
“For one thing, … our attitudes toward television have yet to catch up to the age of peak TV. In fact, … as shows have become increasingly complex in recent years, watching TV has become a more cognitively stimulating activity.”
Zachary Woolfe: “As it prepares to celebrate its centennial in 2019, the Philharmonic puts more energy into new work than any other orchestra. It presents a greater sense of the diversity of today’s music and its creators than any other orchestra. It ties its mission to education and social justice in its city more than any other orchestra. And, yes, more than any other orchestra, it combines a commitment to the future with a fresh eye on the past.”
“Even more astounding than Hendricks’s astute color sense, and his intricate handling of his subjects’ sartorial choices, was the almost-preternatural skill he had for crafting portraits that exude psychic states.”
According to a statement on the company’s website, Aleksandar Marković “is currently on extended leave and it has been mutually agreed that he will not return to the Company for the remainder of the season.” He was to conduct a production of Turandot that opens in ten days.
The 28-year-old Florida native was the youngest winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the Marilyn Horne Foundation Vocal Competition. Among her predecessors as Tucker Award winners are Renée Fleming, Christine Goerke, Joyce DiDonato, Matthew Polenzani, Lawrence Brownlee, Michael Fabiano, and Jamie Barton. (includes video)
“The billionaire Campbell Soup Co. heiress … has given support, much of it quite substantial, to the University of the Arts, the Zoological Society of Philadelphia, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Main Line Health, the Morris Arboretum, WHYY, the Philadelphia Museum of Art,” and numerous educational endeavors.
Doin’ It: Performing Arts
In my last three posts I have been exploring participatory experiences as being an important element in the work of arts organizations. This week I want to talk about participatory experiences in the performing arts. … read more
AJBlog: Engaging Matters Published 2017-04-18
Butch Morris’s workbook for spontaneous composition published
The deathbed wish of composer-cornetist Lawrence Douglas “Butch” Morris (1947-2013) was that his detailed documentation of Conduction®, the method he devised to enable spontaneous composition for ensembles of literally any type employing codified hand-signals, be published … read more
AJBlog: Jazz Beyond Jazz Published 2017-04-18
Amidst Villar Rojas’ Chaotic Ruins on Met’s Roof Garden, Dan Weiss Sets Me Straight (with video)
“Barratt’s Back,” I announced in the erroneous headline of a recent post. It seems that she never left. … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2017-04-18
“I miss art terribly. I’ve never really talked about my work to anyone. In my writing, I’ve occasionally mentioned bygone times of once being an artist, usually laughingly. Whenever I think of that time, I feel stabs of regret. But once I quit, I quit; I never made art again and never even looked at the work I had made. Until last month, when my editors suggested that I write about my life as a young artist.”
“A strike would have serious implications. When writers walked out a decade ago, the impasse cost the Los Angeles economy an estimated $2.5 billion. As production halted, income dried up not only for writers but also for set decorators, caterers, limo drivers and florists. Fans were not thrilled, either, as television schedules became a sea of reruns.”