“Maybe the abolition of privacy will kill the novel. But more likely, as with the invention of trains or rockets or sex, it will make it new. One of a writer’s rewards is to find himself alive in the detail of his stories, and the age of the internet provides a whole new funfair of existential provocations. In my childhood, the visiting funfair was called “The Shows”, and that is what I found when I went looking for heroes in the fiction machine, carnivalesque people who are bent of shape – by their pasts, by their ambitions or by their illusions – under the internet’s big tent. In a world where everybody can be anybody, where being real is no big deal, some of us wish to work back to the human problems, driven by a certainty that our computers are not yet ourselves. In a hall of mirrors we only seem like someone else.”
“As home entertainment systems become ever more elaborate, allowing fans to watch the action from every conceivable angle in ultra-high-definition, the conventional football stadium is having to up its game to lure people from the comfort of their homes. The promise of a pie, a pint and a good singsong in the stands just is not enough.”
Interestingly, governments make little fuss about nationality when they hand out money to the interactive industries: various federal and provincial tax credits – and even some grants – are available to any company as long as the jobs go to Canadian workers and Canadian consumers have access to the content thus created. There it’s all about employment; on the publishing side, it’s all about “telling Canadian stories to Canadians.”
“I attended a small rally supporting the Public Theater at Astor Place on Thursday, and then headed uptown to see the production about which so much digital ink has been spilled. I left in a state of some dejection. As many critics and Eustis himself have naturally pointed out, “Julius Caesar” is hardly a play that advocates the assassination of overweening political leaders. In turning to violent means, the assassins destroy themselves, and Rome’s already endangered democracy. Blood begets blood, and, as in many Shakespeare plays, the stage ends up littered with corpses of Romans noble and otherwise. But there is a bit of sophistry involved in critics’ defending the production on the basis of the complexity of Shakespeare’s play and the ideas about rulership and politics it embodies.”
“The Dover Banksy is an iconic artwork. Our town is the gateway and guardian of the nation—and on the frontline of Brexit,” he said in reference to the mural’s highly significant location, adjacent to ferry terminal that connects the UK with continental Europe. “Dover is this Banksy’s rightful home,” he continued, “to demolish it would be a crime against culture.”
The artist’s concession has not been without controversy. At least one anti-censorship group described the decision as “hasty” and said that it “set an ominous precedent” that could put a chill on difficult, politically minded work.
Like all of the stories from those who died in the fire, Khadijah Saye’s is terrible – and the timing is also deeply awful: “Her work was being exhibited as part of a showcase of emerging artists at the Venice Biennale, and now an important gallery was offering to show her art. The director had wanted to meet at her studio, not knowing she worked out of the 20th-floor flat she shared with her mother.”
Germaine Acogny, who says dance is the mother of all the arts, “is best known for fusing West African and modern dance. She has been sharing her decades-old technique with young artists from across the continent at L’Ecole des Sables, French for the School of Sands, in a remote fishing village in Senegal.”
Direct talk from a critic: “What is India really like? British TV doesn’t really care. Instead, the point of India on telly is to serve as an exotic backdrop to western dramas of self-discovery.”
This time, it was by the National Gallery of Art. The first two were at the Hirshhorn and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
It means empire, basically: “The move takes it one step closer towards founder Jeff Bezos’ long-held ambition of becoming the ‘world’s store,’ and it is unquestionably the central actor in the remaking of American, and perhaps global, consumerism. What remains unclear is whether it is overall a force for good, or a destroyer of traditional retail that erodes jobs, ruins malls, and transforms a once-productive workforce into underemployed, couch-bound consumers.”
Turns out 12-year-olds may be the best-kept secret in the business. “I believe that middle schoolers want to do good theatre. I believe that middle schoolers want to do theatre that reflects their sensibilities. I believe middle schoolers want to do fun theatre. When given the opportunity to do something that hasn’t been done, middle schoolers want to do important theatre.”
Despite the contentious political rhetoric of our now, Smith is looking forward to taking up the post in September. “Poetry gives us a vocabulary for the feelings that don’t easily fit into language. And it’s not a static vocabulary because we as beings are constantly changing and contradicting ourselves and growing and coming up against problems that feel completely new or happinesses that feel completely new.”
The new Brendan Gleeson/Emma Thompson movie is based on a book that was anti-Nazi propaganda for Communist East Germany. (But is that a problem?)
We’re physical beings, so maybe we think our minds are more powerful than they are. “Is it possible that our experience of decision-making — the impression we have of making choices, indeed of having choices to make, sometimes hard ones — is entirely illusory? Is it possible that a chain of physical events in our bodies and brains must cause us to act in the way we do, whatever our experience of the process may be?”
Why? Because novels are about interiority. “One of the great fights of the 21st century will be the fight for privacy and self-ownership, which is also, to my mind, the struggle for literature as distinct from the dark babble of social media. Writers thrive on privacy, not on Twitter, and so do readers when the lights are low.”
One frustrated architect who’d like to have both more control of building materials and more control for fire officers: “The fire officer looked me straight in the eyes and told me that in his opinion this was a recipe for disaster.”
Senator Al Franken – author of “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them,” which is now 20 years old – and Olivia Wilde, about to star in “1984” on Broadway, talk lies, fake news, truth, and literature. Franken: “It’s adorable to think I made a living by pointing out that people were lying. And people seemed to care about it back then.”
First of all, he never stopped working. “‘He’s always had this incredible mind and drive and charisma,’ said Mike Kaplan, who met McDowell when he was a marketing executive on ‘Clockwork Orange.'” So playing a constantly on-the-go (and on the hunt) conductor on the Amazon show isn’t such a stretch.
“Mr. Cosby, 79, reacted calmly to the decision, rubbing his face at one point, while Ms. Constand stared straight ahead. After Mr. Cosby and his two lawyers filed out, Ms. Constand stood in the courtroom surrounded by four other women who had accused Mr. Cosby of assault. Ms. Constand looked calm as some of the other women wept, but her lawyer, Dolores Troiani, spoke for her, saying they were looking forward to a retrial. ‘We will get to do it again,’ she said.”
A woman jumped on stage to decry “normalization of political violence against the right,” and a collaborator, who was a player in the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, shouted, “You are all Goebbels.” Both were removed by security. “The show then resumed as a stage manager announced, ‘Pick up at ‘liberty and freedom,’’ referring to the lines in the play that came next.”