What Makes For A Good Theatre Date?

John Gielgud, Peter Brook and Anthony Quayle in the stalls in 1950

“The person in the next seat can also change your perspective on a performance both during it and after, and for better or worse, as much as the idiot using their mobile phone to take pictures down the row or the fidgetter in front of you.”

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Egypt Cracks Down On Dissenting Artists

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Sisi’s clampdown has now widened to include artists, satirists, film-makers and journalists. A tough new law banning “abusive” graffiti, which was drafted by Sisi in December, means street art is also at greater risk of censorship. Artists could face up to four years in jail if found guilty of creating anti-military murals.

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Your Sense Of ‘Now’ Is Really Just A Trick Of Your Brain

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Marcelo Gleiser: “We perceive nothing in the actual present. What we call ‘the present’ is built out of the integration of many past histories. The flow of time is the succession of these integrations, disjointed but appearing to be continuous, as if life were a grand movie.”

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Who Are They, These “Jazz Police”?

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“Notwithstanding that admittedly feeble attempt at humor, the belief in a jazz police has become very toxic these days… I want to add some harmony to the discord that exists between musicians and writers. I strongly feel that we need to deal with this myth of the jazz police; otherwise the future of our music will continue to dwindle in the coming years.”

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Study: Cynics Are At Greater Risk Of Dementia

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“A first-of-its kind study reports seniors expressing high levels of cynical distrust are at a higher risk of developing dementia. This finding, discovered in a population of elderly Finns, was not entirely explained by depressive symptoms, and remained robust after various risk factors were taken into account.”

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Why American Theatre Is Stale

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“It’s not for a lack of talent or ideas that the theatre is suffering, but rather from a business model that does not serve the interests of the artists, the institutions, or the audience.”

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Broadway’s Average Ticket Price… Isn’t That A Problem?

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“While articles may be trumpeting record revenues and record attendance, they’re either downplaying, avoiding or ignoring the true breaking of the $100 threshold, preferring to lead with the allure of numbers in the millions (attendance) or billions (dollars). That’s a shame, because in terms of what matters to the average audience member, the average ticket price seems much more essential news.”

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LeVar Burton Wants To Revive ‘Reading Rainbow’ Online

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“After new episodes of the show ended in 2006, and then reruns stopped airing in 2009, a team including LeVar Burton got to work on a new direction, and the Reading Rainbow iPad app debuted in 2012. Though it’s been a big success, the new goal is to expand Reading Rainbow‘s library and reach so it can accessible through any browser, instead of just on tablets.”

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At the 9/11 Memorial’s Gift Shop, People Explain What They’re Buying, And Why

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“‘Outrage over gift shop’ ran the headline on NBC News, while NPR opted for ‘Gift shop makes some cringe’, and Gizmodo went for the more familiar ‘kitsch’ as well as ‘tasteless crap’. The store’s commemorative cheese plates and earrings were widely derided, but is this media criticism fair? The Guardian asked visitors to the gift shop what mementos they bought, and what the items meant to them.”

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Maya Angelou: ‘I Thought Of Myself As A Giant Ear’

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From a 1986 interview with Terry Gross (in which she sings a mean hymn or two herself): “I thought of myself as a giant ear which could just absorb all sound, and I would go into a room and just eat up the sound. … I would listen to the accents, and I still love the way human beings sound. There is no human voice which is unbeautiful to me.” (audio)

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Bowing Out: When And Why Dancers Retire

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For classical ballet performers, who typically need to stop around (or before) age 40, it’s some version of, “I want to leave while I still love it, before my body is broken.” For contemporary dancers? Says one, “I thought I should retire and seek another profession when I was like 20. But then when I was 30, I was like, ‘Screw it.’ [I'll keep going] until I end up in a state-funded nursing home.”

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Broadway Scores Record Box-Office Week

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“Broadway shows grossed $30.9 million last week on sales from 299,090 audience members, the highest dollar amount and best attendance ever recorded for the week leading into Memorial Day … The comparable gross and attendance figures for the same period last year were $25.5 million and 240,878.”

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America’s Cultural Capital Has An Arts-Education Problem

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“A report from the New York City comptroller “has raised fresh questions about how art enhances learning and whether children will be better prepared for a 21st century economy if they have mastered the ‘soft’ skills that art teaches. In an increasingly ‘creative’ economy, the argument goes, students need original thinking to thrive – and then only wealthy New Yorkers are being set up to succeed.”

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Maya Angelou, 86

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“From her desperate early years, Ms. Angelou gradually moved into nightclub dancing and from there began a career in the arts that spanned more than 60 years. She sang cabaret and calypso, danced with Alvin Ailey, acted on Broadway, directed for film and television and wrote more than 30 books, including poetry, essays and, responding to the public’s appetite for her life story, six autobiographies.”

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