It Takes A ‘Gentleman With Elbows’ To Run Chicago’s Field Museum


“When the Field Museum was searching for a new president in 2012, one of Richard W. Lariviere’s references called the Sanskrit scholar and Chicago-born son of a welder ‘not a rogue but a gentleman with elbows’ … Mr. Lariviere got the Field Museum job, and from day one has been confronted with massive problems that again require him to use his elbows.”

Why Do We (Or Should We) Stick To A Seven-Day Week?


The day, the month, and the year all have clear and obvious bases in nature, but the “pattern of living on a seven-day cycle – with one or two of those days set aside for rest – is a relative novelty. Only in the past few centuries, with Western colonization of most of the world, have the majority of human societies adopted it.”

‘Hedwig’ Composer Stephen Trask On The Show’s Long, Unlikely Road To Broadway


“We’ve been building momentum over years, with the movie and with smaller productions. It’s like a band that toured for fourteen years. Slowly the rock kids who didn’t like theater found it and the theater people who didn’t like rock found it and then a core grew. … Our opening night sold out in like an hour – we were a hit before we opened, just based on the core audience.”

How Heavy Metal Tracks With The Wealth Of Nations

heavy metal

Richard Florida (in his urbanism-meets-Freakonomics mode): “Though metal may be the music of choice for some alienated working-class males, it … holds less sway in the ravaged postindustrial places of its birth, but remains insanely popular in Scandinavian countries known for their relative wealth, robust social safety nets, and incredibly high quality of life. ”

Fundamentalists Haven’t Truly Abandoned The Enlightenment (Which Is Why They’re Flipping Out Over Neil deGrasse Tyson’s TV Show)


“The Christian right’s Cosmos agita actually indicates a far deeper problem in religious conservatism – the selective acceptance of Enlightenment values. Religious conservatives have selectively adopted the legacy of liberal Enlightenment, from free speech to science, and jettisoned it when it does not suit their narrow ideological aims.”

Esa-Pekka Salonen Makes An Ad For Apple

salonen apple ad

Alex Ross: “For anyone who has endured clichéd, condescending, uncomprehending, or otherwise aggravating depictions of classical music in American TV ads – the snobs at the symphony, the sopranos screaming under Valkyrie helmets, the badly edited bowdlerizations of the ‘Ode to Joy’ – a new ad for the Apple iPad featuring the conductor and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen may come as a pleasant shock.” (includes video)

Why Should Non-Fiction Theatre Get More Respect Than Regular (Made-Up) Plays?

London Road, play National Theatre

“One of the errors that verbatim theatre often makes is to conclude that because something is true, it is more interesting. Or rather, more interesting than something that has been made up. … Why should that give it any more currency than a story that has been entirely made up and yet feels as if it’s real – or more real than real?”

Carlos Acosta Makes It Official: He’s Retiring From Ballet

carlos acosta

“Two more years in classical. Next two seasons will be the final seasons. I will make a creation with the Royal Ballet, Carmen, and that will be my swan song. Then I probably will carry on doing some contemporary works. And then maybe I will employ a choreographer to choreography me sitting down.”

Herb Jeffries, 100, Hollywood’s First Black Singing Cowboy

Herb Jeffries

“With a towering physique and a square jaw,” not to mention musical chops honed with Duke Ellington’s band, “Mr. Jeffries was perfectly suited to capitalize on the singing-cowboy movie craze that Gene Autry and Roy Rogers popularized in the 1930s. Black performers … had appeared in silent westerns, but the Stetson-sporting, six-gun-toting Mr. Jeffries inaugurated the concept of a black singer riding in the saddle as the hero.”