Hemingway Biopic ‘Papa’ Is First Hollywood Feature Film Shot In Cuba Since Revolution

Giovanni Ribisi as Denne Bart Petitclerc in Papa

Papa came to Cuba under a U.S. Treasury Department license exempting it from most embargo restrictions. … For licensing purposes the movie qualified as a documentary, since it depicts a firsthand account of real events that took place here. So it’s unlikely just any Hollywood blockbuster would get the same permission in the future.”

American TV Shows Can Be Popular Or Written About, But Not Both


“[With] television, the world of criticism and the world of viewership aren’t merely askew; they’re mostly on different planets. No self-respecting TV critic writes about NCIS: Los Angeles, ever – ever – even though the all-time most-popular episode of Game of Thrones (which is, itself, the all-time most-popular HBO show) got fewer viewers than an NCIS: LA rerun.”

Senior Showgirls Strut Their Stuff Again At Palm Springs Follies

palm springs follies a

“The Palm Springs Follies is an old-fashioned musical revue designed for an audience who remembers when this sort of entertainment wasn’t old fashioned. But it’s not only for older people – it’s by older people. The dancers range in age from 55 to 84.”

Singers’ Union Withdraws Suit Against San Diego Opera

sdopera theater

“The American Guild of Musical Artists, which represents solo singers, chorus singers and stage management personnel at the opera, filed the claim with the National Labor Relations Board on March 26, accusing the opera company of failing to honor year-long contracts with 35 singers.” The union now promises to work with the new board to put up a 2015 season.

Jennifer Weiner Wants Critics To Take Female Genre Authors Seriously – So Laura Miller Gives Her A Serious Review


“[Weiner] doesn’t need the New York Times; she doesn’t respect its literary standards; her readers don’t care about it; and yet she craves its validation. … An obsession with prestige and exclusion haunts her characters and her fictional universe, but as much as they (and Weiner herself) resent all the people they imagine to be looking down on them, they can be dismayingly ready to turn the tables and partake of the same arrogance themselves.”

Daily Mail Pays Damages To J.K. Rowling Over False Story


“Rowling sued the [British tabloid] newspaper for libel in January over the piece which suggested she had told a false ‘sob story’ about being stigmatised by churchgoers” because she was a single mother at the time. The Mail has published an apology and retraction and paid “substantial damages”.

Supertaskers (Some People Really Can Multitask)


For years, researchers have reported that humans cannot truly multitask and that performance suffers when they try. Yet there seems to be “a tiny but persistent subset of the population – about two per cent – whose performance does not deteriorate, and can even improve, when multiple demands are placed on their attention.”

A Stage ‘1984’ For The WikiLeaks-Facebook-NSA Era


Co-adapter and -director Robert Icke: “[Orwell] thought that we would be reporting on ourselves, which is now obviously very true with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and the fact that our phones now know exactly where we are … We are all completely self-reporting, which prompted us to switch round the words ‘Big Brother is watching you’ into ‘Big Brother is you watching’, which we’ve incorporated into our script.”

Why Atom Egoyan Is So Frustrated Over His West Memphis Three Film

egoyan divils knot

Critics have suggested that, with three or four documentaries on the case already out there, Devil’s Knot didn’t need to be made. Says Egoyan, “Journalists forget people haven’t seen the documentaries and don’t need the documentaries. … For people who don’t know the case, it’s a powerful experience. And it’s a huge risk dramatically, using a huge number of genres to tell the story – murder mystery, courtroom drama, procedural … It’s all over the map.”

No One Ever Directs Ellen Burstyn

Ellen Burstyn

“Directors tend to kind of let me do what I want to do. As a matter of fact, when I was doing Law & Order: Special Victims Unit … the director came up and he gave me a direction. … But as he walked away, he said, ‘You don’t mind me saying that to you, do you?’ And I said, ‘Mind? It’s the first piece of direction I’ve gotten in ten years! I love it!'”

Is This The Future Of Ballet Photography?

Brugge ballet photo

Ingrid Brugge spent a two-season residency with the Royal Danish Ballet creating collages and manipulated images. “These have been collected within Bugge’s print book The Essence of Ballet. But they’ve been given an alternative life in a complementary interactive ibook in which Bugge both records and re-enacts aspects of her working process.”

Poisoned Gift? Cornelius Gurlitt Leaves Entire Art Hoard To Swiss Museum

Gurlitt art

The Bern Art Museum’s director says he’s thrilled but mystified by the gift, since Gurlitt, a reclusive Munich resident, had no connection at all to the museum or city. The collection, estimated to be worth roughly $1 billion, includes many works thought to have been looted from Jewish owners during World War II, so sorting out ownership issues will be long and messy.

The Importance Of Staging Noël Coward

Noel Coward

“Michael Blakemore, aged 85, is directing Angela Lansbury in … Blithe Spirit in the West End. Meanwhile the director Blanche McIntyre, 33, is staging Coward’s Tonight at 8.30, a series of nine one-act plays, on tour. Here, they swap ideas about his plays and his politics.”

Top Posts From AJBlogs 05.07.14

First, Believe
AJBlog: Engaging Matters | Published 2014-05-07

Magazines in the Digital Age, and Artist Documentaries
AJBlog: CultureCrash | Published 2014-05-07

Impressionist/Modern Fizzle: Painful Sale Caps Sotheby’s Difficult Week
AJBlog: CultureGrrl | Published 2014-05-08

The Word Is Out From Delaware Art Museum
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$15.7-Million Cost in Losing Battle with Loeb?!? My Storify on Sotheby’s Earnings Call
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Author And Environmentalist Farley Mowat, 92

Farley Mowat

“Mowat, author of dozens of works including Lost in the Barrens and Never Cry Wolf, introduced Canada to readers around the world and shared everything from his time abroad during the Second World War, to his travels in the North and his concern for the deteriorating environment. More than 17 million copies of his books … have been sold worldwide.”

George Christie, Longtime Chief Of Glyndebourne Festival, Dead At 80

george christie

“Having assumed responsibility for Glyndebourne while still in his twenties (several years before his father’s death in 1962), Christie transformed it from an exclusive summer pursuit into a year-round business and a force on the international opera scene. And he did so, without a penny of taxpayers’ money for the festival.”

When Neuropsychology Meets Urban Design

dumbo brain scan

Columbia University’s Cloud Lab and a company called NeuroSky have been fitting out volunteers with brain-scanner headsets and having them walk around Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood; the headsets record second-by-second brain scans of the wearers’ responses to the cityscape. Is this science? (For now, they’re claiming it’s art.)

YES! Boulder Rises Up Against Bad Public Art


A piece commissioned from Miami-based R & R Studios, meant for the front of the main branch of the city’s public library, consists entirely of the word Y E S ! in bright red capital letters. “But this week, facing an onslaught of criticism, City Manager Jane Brautigam said the wheels of Boulder’s bureaucracy had spun a little too quickly.”

Gut Reaction: Book Celebrating Digestive Tract Is Bestseller In Germany

darm mit charme

Darm mit Charme (‘Charming Bowels’) – which has sat atop the German paperback charts for the last eight weeks and shifted more than 200,000 copies in the process – may deal with defecation, constipation and other bowel movements, but its message is far from flippant: our gastrointestinal tract is not only the body’s most under-appreciated organ, but ‘the brain’s most important adviser’.”

Nul Points: The Eurovision Song Contest’s Greatest Train Wrecks

eurovision hall of shame

“Since Eurovision adopted its current voting system, where dozens of countries assign between one and 12 points to the competition’s entries via telephone voting, only 14 songs out of thousands have received the most dreaded rating of all: ‘Nul points’. … Its rarity is partly because of the competition’s scale: with so many countries voting, and so many geographical allegiances at play, your song has to be truly putrid to fail to collect one point from anyone.” (includes video hall of shame)