“Old houses, inns, farmhouses, monasteries and ancient castles are all up for grabs – and you won’t have to pay a penny.” And yes, there’s a catch: “Those who take up the offer will have to commit to restoring and transforming the sites into tourist facilities, such as hotels, restaurants, or spas.”
“Jesse Engel is playing an instrument that’s somewhere between a clavichord and a Hammond organ – 18th-century classical crossed with 20th-century rhythm and blues. Then he drags a marker across his laptop screen. Suddenly, the instrument is somewhere else between a clavichord and a Hammond. ..Then he drags the marker back and forth as quickly as he can, careening though all the sounds between these two very different instruments.” Cade Metz checks out this new – what is it, exactly? – called NSynth.
“It was composer pitted against composer: uptown vs. downtown, tonal vs. atonal, left brain vs right brain, and these musicians were NOT pulling any punches. Composers were antagonizing each other, questioning each other’s validity, and bad-mouthing one another; it was like the second half of the 20th century was when Western Music went through middle school, and it was brutal! … On this episode of Meet the Composer, we unravel one of the most contentious periods in classical music’s history.” (podcast)
“After 16 years of conservation, the 1644-56 Life of Christ tapestries by Giovanni Francesco Romanelli that crown the art collection of the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine [in New York] have returned to view. Unlike their previous positions high above parishioners’ heads, they’re temporarily installed in the Chapel of St. James, wrapping around the room at eye-level, as they would have been in the 17th century.”
A good editor’s work is generally invisible to the reader, as most good editors think it ought to be. Here Colin Dickey writes about a lengthy back and forth between a writer and the editor who (heavily) edited his first novel (including cutting it by a third) – this 15 years later, when the novelist published his original 900-page version himself.
“Everyone from Kate McKinnon to Chris Rock gives THR backstage access to a historic season as they reveal how Melissa McCarthy became Sean Spicer (with help from Kristen Stewart), the joke Aziz Ansari had to cut, and how D.C. chaos is fueling the highest ratings in decades: ‘You almost feel like a war profiteer.'”
“Hirshhorn officials said about 475,000 visitors came to the [D.C.] museum and sculpture garden during the exhibition’s 11-week run. The crowds were double the normal attendance for that time of year … Still, two-thirds of those visitors were shut out of the show that they probably had come to see” – and those who got in had to wait in very long lines.
FLEXN, created by opera and theatre director Peter Sellars and flex pioneer Reggie “Regg Roc” Gray, has grown and changed a lot in the two years since its premiere. Courtney Escoyne talks with Regg Roc about flexing as a dance form and how social justice messages were integrated into the piece.
Founder and longtime director of the DanceAfrica festival in Brooklyn and the African American Dance Ensemble in Durham, NC, Davis “was known both for his re-creations of traditional dances from throughout the African world and for his contemporary choreographed pieces that fused African traditions with modern dance.”
By the time he left, Sir Nicholas had overseen the staging of 100 plays and established many of the features that people now take for granted, among them cheap tickets and live-cinema relays. He had also helped to produce some of modern theatre’s triumphs: “War Horse”, “One Man, Two Guvnors”, “The History Boys”, “His Dark Materials” and “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”. Annual turnover in 2015 had climbed to £117m, of which just 15% came from the public purse.
Coupland gave Gen X its name and identified what are still seen as its signal traits: cynicism; irony; a melancholic sense of having been sidelined by the major forces in social history; and, above all, a mistrust of corporate culture in all its forms. (One of the novel’s chapters is titled “I Am Not a Target Market.”) “We live small lives on the periphery,” the novel’s narrator explains; “we are marginalized and there’s a great deal in which we choose not to participate.” On a revisit nothing stands out quite so painfully as the book’s ambient self-pity and whininess.
“The plaintiff, Alex Kaseberg, claimed in a lawsuit filed in July 2015 that writers from Conan … lifted five monologue jokes from his blog over the course of more than a year. … Judge Janis Sammartino on Friday dismissed the claims for two of the jokes, but said Mr. O’Brien must face the allegations for the other three.”
After seeing New York City Ballet this weekend, Siobhan Burke posted a photo of her annoyed self on Instagram with the caption, “No more gang rape scenes in ballets, please.” Among the first responses she got: “Did you see Odessa?” As a matter of fact, she did – and, she argues, that new work by Alexei Ratmansky is but one part of a long pattern in contemporary ballet choreography.
“Orchestras can no longer rely on old-fashioned subscription models. Music education is not guaranteed in public schools, and in a positive sense the entire history of classical music can all be streamed online for free. So the world I knew, and have worked in, and will continue to work in will not be the one you move through in your careers. … Together we have to forge a more profound and timely connection between our music, the music that we love, and the rest of the world.”
“[He] lent his burly frame and Texas drawl to numerous TV series beginning in the late 1970s. In addition to the acclaimed HBO series Deadwood, he was seen on shows including Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Nashville and 24, on which he played the vice president of the United States. Among the movies in which he appeared were Red Dawn (1984) … Oliver Stone’s Nixon (1995), in which he played Alexander Haig. He won an Emmy in 1980 … for his performance as the leader of the Jonestown cult in the mini-series Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones.”
“Described by many residents as a property grab akin to the forced collectivisation of property under Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin,” the plan to demolish up to 4,500 buildings and relocate up to 1.6 million residents targets “Constructivist complexes built in the early Soviet years and still used as residential housing.”
“Tourists at Tel Shiloh face ‘dissonance’, [the plaintiffs’ lawyer] says, because labels in Hebrew and English primarily underscore the Jewish biblical history about Israelites and the Tabernacle, while many of the ancient buildings and artefacts on display date from the Muslim and Byzantine periods.”
Circles of Life
Tamar Rogoff’s Grand Rounds at La MaMa, April 27 through May 14. … read more
AJBlog: Dancebeat Published 2017-05-14
Suspension of Suspense: Christie’s Tops Sotheby’s in Relying on Pre-Arranged Bids for Major Auctions
After Sotheby’s public disclosure last Wednesday of how much it is relying on guarantees in general and irrevocable bids in particular, Christie’s on Friday responded to my question about its own guarantee portfolio. … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2017-05-15
The missing question in A Quiet Passion
I was surprised to identify, in the placid strings that conclude the extraordinary film A Quiet Passion, a bit of decomposed Ives: the action dissolves into The Unanswered Question, stripped of trumpet and winds. … read more
AJBlog: Infinite Curves Published 2017-05-15
In praise of drabness
In 2008 I wrote an essay for National Review about Dragnet. It’s never been reprinted and isn’t available on line, and since I happen to like it a lot, I decided to post it here. … read more
AJBlog: About Last Night Published 2017-05-15
In the 2015-16 season, the Met took in 66 percent of its potential capacity. Some numbers are improving a bit more substantially: The company’s paid attendance rate, which includes discounted tickets, rose to 75 percent this season from 72 percent in 2015-16. And the company said it attracted 80,000 new ticket buyers this season, up from 74,000 the year before. The challenge is turning those newcomers into regulars.
David Ivers was artistic director of the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City from 2011 until stepping down earlier this month to accept the same title with Arizona’s leading producer of live theater. He takes over on July 1 from David Ira Goldstein, who has led the company for 25 seasons — including the current one, which was nearly canceled in the midst of a financial crisis.
“One problem is that all of those organizations that have their own individual brand within our sphere, very few, if any at all, spend any concerted or coordinated effort at pushing for the overall sector brand change. What is needed is consideration by every organization, that in addition to marketing itself as valuable, is the simultaneous marking of the value of the overall arts. And not just in times of defending the arts against specific attacks such as the recent NEA issue. And, of course, countless of our organizations unable to do much about their own brand.”
“Almost 2,500 years before the current vogue for behavioural economics, Plato was identifying and seeking to understand the predictable irrationalities of the human mind. He did not verify them with the techniques of modern experimental psychology, but many of his insights are remarkably similar to the descriptions of the cognitive biases found by Kahneman and Tversky. Seminal papers in behavioural economics are highly cited everywhere from business and medical schools to the social sciences and the corporate world. But the earlier explorations of the same phenomenon by Greek philosophy are rarely appreciated.”
This is not the same thing as saying, “Ratings don’t matter anymore.” We’re not in a post-ratings world — at least not yet. As long as revenue from advertisers remains part of the network TV business model, ratings will matter. Broadcasters aren’t Netflix or HBO. They still want to live up to their name and find shows with a broad appeal, like This Is Us or The Big Bang Theory. But after a decade of audience erosion, including double-digit declines for the vast majority of shows this season, networks have finally accepted reality: People aren’t watching the TV the way they used to, and selling commercials isn’t enough to pay the bills (and make a big profit).
Projected to open officially in August next year, it will contain the world’s largest production facility: 400 acres, 45 sound stages, one a record-breaking 10,000 sq metres. It’s an attempt by Wang Jianlin – China’s richest man and the founder of the overarching Dalian Wanda group – to steal some of Hollywood’s thunder.
Why this building? What about its design, its location and the implicit social messages embedded in its architecture have made it so successful? Carsten Brosda, a senator in Hamburg’s state government and head of its cultural authority, says location is a primary factor in its success. “I was never a fan of iconic buildings because so many of them are rather generic,” he says. But Elbphilharmonie is exceptional, located in the geographical heart of the city, on a site that demanded some exceptional public use. “There were architects saying this is on the verge of being unbuildable, but that is what makes it unique.”
Ravi’s daughter Anushka Shankar: “Here he was aged 90, not yet content to rest on his laurels but still wanting to push the boundaries to further horizons. It was simply another area in which my father was able to imagine something that hadn’t been done yet – an Indian opera. Such a thing had incredible scope for creating bridges between two wonderful traditions from the east and west.”