Pamela Paul and Maria Russo of The New York Times Book Review say that “raising a reader is fun, rewarding and relatively easy” – and explain how. (First key hint is not to wait to get started: “Baby books are a necessity. … Read out loud, every day. Any book. … The content doesn’t matter.” And audiobooks don’t count.)
Watch the oddly compelling video of neural circuitries made by neuroscientist Greg Dunn, his colleagues, and some computer algorithms that tossed in randomization. “As LEDs scan across the surface, they reflect off the varying depths and angles of the gold leaf grooves to make each neurological pathway shimmer like it is truly alive with electrical firings.”
There are several phases of construction planned, but “perhaps the most striking feature of the planned expansion is the creation of a vast, light-filled entry hall where the current courtyard and Bunshaft galleries exist. Renderings show the space as a glass-walled public plaza with an elevated walkway providing access to the existing auditorium on the south side and a new restaurant that will spill onto the east lawn of the gallery in the summer months.”
The Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation survey of nearly 1,700 Americans — including more than 1,000 adults living in rural areas and small towns — finds deep-seated kinship in rural America, coupled with a stark sense of estrangement from people who live in urban areas. Nearly 7 in 10 rural residents say their values differ from those of people who live in big cities, including about 4 in 10 who say their values are “very different.”
Notwithstanding our horror-movie headline, this is a serious issue. “These tiny invaders” – bacteria, fungi, even algae – “have wrought catastrophic damage on historic sites like the Lascaux cave paintings in France and the Titanic – [which] is being devoured by a tenacious species of metal-hungry bacteria. That’s why scientists and conservators are working to identify what kinds of bacteria are colonizing an artifact, purge them, and make sure they cannot return. Some are even enlisting bacteria to help protect historic sites.” (The good
guys germs to the rescue!)
Some observers question whether free or low-cost opera tickets really are reaching new audiences, as opposed to being giveaways to fans who’d come anyway. Here, the general director of Opera Holland Park in London describes the several different programs of the sort his company offers, explains the philosophy behind the schemes, and describes the experience OHP has had with them.
“Digital broadcasts of dance generally fall into two categories: behind-the-scenes glimpses into rehearsals, like those offered by ballet companies around the globe on World Ballet Day, and live streams of in-demand theatrical performances, like those presented by the Guggenheim for its Works & Process performance series. In these latter cases, the broadcast usually supplements the live event; even without people tuning in remotely, the show would go on. “Marfa Dance Episodes,” directed by Benjamin Millepied, with choreography by him as well as several company members, differ in that the broadcast itself was the event; the series was created exclusively for an online audience, and the episodes, ranging from about seven to twenty minutes, were choreographed for—and with—the camera.”
“Jerry Springer — The Opera was supposed to come to Broadway more than 10 years ago after its [Olivier] award-winning premiere in London. That didn’t happen for a variety of reasons, but that brazen musical will finally have a proper run in New York as part of the Off Broadway troupe New Group’s 2017-18 season, the company announced on Wednesday.”
“[There’s] a national movement to turn K-12 librarians into indispensable digital mavens who can help classroom teachers craft tech-savvy lesson plans, teach kids to think critically about online research, and remake libraries into lively, high-tech hubs of collaborative learning – while still helping kids get books.”
“While women, people of color, LGBTQ folk and other historically marginalized communities in Hollywood continue to insist ‘diversity pays,’ the box office success of films with diverse casts such as Hidden Figures ($230.1 million worldwide) and Get Out ($251.2 million worldwide) is inevitably deemed a ‘surprise.’ A new study and database crafted by Creative Artists Agency, however, is aiming to take some of the surprise out of box office performance, noting that across every budget level a film with a diverse cast outperforms a release not so diversified.”
“The takes are scorchingly hot, the opinions often on point. And yet the pronounced progressiveness of opinionated pop culture writing stands in direct contrast to the increasingly regressive nature of America’s actual politics. What accounts for the discrepancy?” Shaun Scott explains what.
“The average culture vulture in the US spends an additional $31.47 whenever she attends an arts event: almost $17 on food, about $4.50 on souvenirs and gifts, over $3 on local transportation – it all adds up. This is the micro level of the $166.3 billion in economic activity that the nonprofit arts sector contributed to the US economy in 2015, according to a study released on Saturday by Americans for the Arts.”
“The idea was not to create an icon,” avers the director of the Centro Botín in Santander. “The building is not trying to show off or give the impression that Santander is more than it is.” “I suppose our strategy was the opposite of the Guggenheim,” says architect Renzo Piano, who designed the building not to be visible from the city center. “How many Bilbao effects can you have after all?”
“The World Monuments Fund is launching a £500,000 scheme to train Syrian refugees living in and around the Zaatari camp on the Jordanian border in traditional stone masonry. The aim is to develop skills so that cultural heritage sites that have been caught in crossfire or destroyed by [ISIS] can be rebuilt once peace is restored to Syria.”
José Eduardo Agualusa and translator Daniel Hahn share the International Dublin Literary Award 2017 for A General Theory of Oblivion, which was a finalist for this year’s Man Booker International Prize. Candidates for the IDLA are nominated by librarians and library readers all over the world.
Philippe Auguin, 56, will have completed eight seasons with WNO by the time he steps down from his post. Having made his company debut in 2009 as an 11th-hour replacement for his ailing predecessor, Heinz Fricke, in a concert version of Wagner’s “Twilight of the Gods,” he has particularly excelled in Wagner, leading “Tristan and Isolde” in 2013 and Francesca Zambello’s “Ring” cycle in 2016, which counts as one of the company’s great triumphs.
“In a small-scale study, a research team led by Francesco Walker of Vrije University presents evidence that children and adults look at works of art quite differently, with kids focusing first on visually stimulating elements. Adults, in contrast, try to make sense of the thing from the get-go.”
“People who enjoy a lot of respect — like Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk — warn of a coming artificial intelligence apocalypse. Others say the conversation has become alarmist — either that general AI is unlikely, or that even if it arrives, it will be here to help, not harm us.”
“As far as I know, Weiss has never bothered with political correctness. If a chorus line breaks with tradition by incorporating a variety of body types, she notices—as does everyone in the audience. If a play for young audiences glorifies vandalism in the form of graffiti, she objects. I’d argue that’s her greatest strength as a critic: she’s taking on the subject matter of the work, as any critic worth his or her salt should, and she’s not afraid to go out on a limb. You might not share her perspective, and that can make her a lightning rod, but it doesn’t automatically make her a bigot.”