Also, Diaz gives Atwood the idea to get Drake to cameo in Season 2 of Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu. But on an unfunny note, she says, “The real question is, if the United States were going to have a totalitarianism, what kind of totalitarianism would it be? We’ve had all kinds in the world, including atheist ones. But if the U.S. were ever going to go down that path, what would be the device under which they would do it?”
Joshua Dachs: “What at first looks like evolution – from campfires to hillsides to amphitheatres to courtyards to playhouses and onward into the future – is really the recapitulation of another kind of trajectory, from improvisation to formalization. As each new theatrical practice is improvised by a new culture or by restless, visionary (or hungry) artists using the materials at hand, its successes are repeated; standardized practices emerge, traditions and expectations are established.”
“Idiosyncratic and biased, obfuscatory and boastful, even unctuous and vain, the Hollywood memoir is not going to portray the past in a clear light. But like Sriracha on the table, it’s going to bring the heat and make the meal better. So much better.”
“Chaka Khan and Earth, Wind & Fire’s Maurice White studied with him. The globally influential Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) was co-founded by him. And generations of musicians drew inspiration from the pioneering work of Chicago composer and multi-instrumentalist Kelan Phil Cohran.”
“The history of computer chess is the history of artificial intelligence. After their disappointments in trying to reverse-engineer the brain, computer scientists narrowed their sights. Abandoning their pursuit of human-like intelligence, they began to concentrate on accomplishing sophisticated, but limited, analytical tasks by capitalizing on the inhuman speed of the modern computer’s calculations. This less ambitious but more pragmatic approach has paid off in areas ranging from medical diagnosis to self-driving cars. Computers are replicating the results of human thought without replicating thought itself.”
In the U.S., it gets played on the Fourth of July a lot. Wait, what? “We think of the 1812 Overture as this very American piece and we play it on the Fourth of July for whatever reason, which is just nutso for so many reasons. Last year, I watched a very grown man cry to this piece of music and I was like, ‘Are you sure?” Do you even know what it’s about? Have you just been assuming the ‘1812 Overture’ is about the American War of 1812. Guess what? It’s not!!'”
And what a future writer learned about writing: “Words can be used to make an idea more precise, or more vague, to make something clear or to blur its edges. Some writers are good at imagining people who don’t live a life exactly like their own, and others seem incapable.”
“The event, to be held from 28 September to 1 October, is Scandinavia’s largest book fair and draws around 100,000 visitors each year. On 21 April, more than 200 Swedish authors signed an article in the Dagens Nyheter newspaper saying they would boycott the book fair if Nya Tider is represented.” Now the Kenyan icon, tipped every year for the Nobel, has joined the boycott, withdrawing his attendance.
The illustrator of Eloise, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and so many more was inspired partly by his time in the Navy. “Perhaps his most important education, though, occurred in movie palaces and at the lushly outfitted live entertainments that used to be Broadway staples. Vitrines at the library contain collaged homages to a chorus line of showbiz muses like Liliane Montevecchi (‘the most remarkable person,’ said Mr. Knight, a connoisseur of the appreciative adjective), Ann Miller (‘like a steam engine’) and Dame Edna (‘extraordinary’).”
The thoughtful – if blunt – show will make people reimagine how we tell the story of U.S. history – and how we tell stories about each other.
A public art project – Prismatic Park – makes Madison Square Park an interactive dance experience. One of the choreographers: “I tell the dancers, ‘You’re going to be confronted by people, a squirrel is going to run by, you’re going to stop to say hello to your boyfriend — all of that is what we’re doing.'”
“Earlier folklorists had focused on black religious expression, the language of the church and pulpit. Mr. Abrahams described a new and vibrant verbal world, exuberant, profane and endlessly inventive. He explained the fine points of the dozens – a street-corner battle of wits in which participants traded insults … [as well as] jump-rope rhymes and counting rhymes.”
Used to be, you could go to a movie without having to rifle back through books, check out Wikipedia entries, and maybe do a rewatch of the whole canon so far. Not so now. “Sequels and remakes have been around for more than a century, but the past decade has seen their takeover of the multiplex (in most of America, the only kind of theater around) — and a corresponding rise in the exclusionary nature of mainstream film culture.”
The literary culture of al-Andalus, Arab-ruled Spain in the Middle Ages, was as splendid as its architecture – and much of the era’s poetry was destroyed when the Inquisition burned the library at Granada in 1499. But there were Jewish Andalusian writers in the 10th and 11th centuries who adopted the poetic forms and subjects used by their Arab colleagues, and much of that work survives. Benjamin Ramm tells us about the most admired of these writers and offers samples of their verse.
So the world’s largest living history museum is not doing well: “The foundation’s operating losses last year totaled $54 million, or $148,000 per day. It also borrowed heavily to improve its hospitality facilities and visitors center and ended 2016 with more than $300 million in debt, Reiss said.”
The data is public for the first time, and not surprisingly, directors and COOs make a lot, while security guards and entry-level curators make barely enough to live on, much less pay off student loans.
Two staffers at London dance hub The Place write about what they learned when they asked young (and older) men why they stopped dancing – and how to keep the guys coming to class.
“If readers are no longer paying for criticism by buying newspapers or paywall subscriptions, the Bitter Lemons and Edinburgh initiatives were an attempt to find someone else to pay for the review, namely the recipient of the opinion.” So the alternative, writes Mark Shenton, is (for now) to mostly have critics who can afford to work for free, with all that implies.
Arena Stage artistic director Molly Smith, choreographer Kyle Abraham, Washington National Opera artistic director Francesca Zambello, playwright James Ijames, and others from classical music, dance, and theater talk to Nelson Pressley about how they do and don’t work politics into their art.
Maria Marshall, whose work incorporated her children and treated many of parents’ deepest fears, was somehow discovered by the guy who runs the #Pizzagate YouTube channel – so now she has a pack of conspiracy theorists convinced she’s involved with pedophilia. Philip Kennicott talks to Marshall about the real intentions behind her videos and looks at how they get misinterpreted: “Marshall’s art may have succeeded all too well, agitating an anonymous art-phobic audience in almost the same way they are meant to agitate their intended audience in the cosmopolitan art world.”
“[He] came to the Montreal orchestra when it was emerging from shambles. The OSM had gone through four years of labour strife, money troubles and uncertainty after the sudden departure of legendary director Charles Dutoit in 2002 after nearly 25 years in the post [of music director]. Mr. Nagano leaves the orchestra in much better position with a new concert hall, a solid balance sheet and years of critical acclaim.”
Interview with Ceri Dingle, director of Every Cook Can Govern: The Life, Impact and Works of C.L.R. James
My column for June 28, 2017 at Inside Higher Ed The word went around a few years ago that someone in England was working on a documentary about the West Indian historian, revolutionary political theorist and pan-African eminence C. L. R. James (1901-1989). … read more
AJBlog: Quick Study Published 2017-06-29
French Band Air at the Greek Theatre
For reasons I can’t entirely figure out or explain, continental Europeans have not had much luck with rock music, not matter how you define the term. (And no, the Scorpions are not excepted.) … read more
AJBlog: CultureCrash Published 2017-06-29
Great new jazz photography: Geri Allen by Sánta István Csaba
Pianist-composer Geri Allen, at age 60 a cancer victim, was photographed several times recently by Sánta István Csaba. He caught glimpses of her spirit and mourns her deeply. … read more
AJBlog: Jazz Beyond Jazz Published 2017-06-29
The chords that bind
There will be times when you feel an overpowering, almost physical urge to listen to a specific piece of it. Such a feeling came over me last night: I felt that if I couldn’t listen to the first movement of Charles Ives’ Third Symphony right away, I would be reduced to abject despair. … read more
AJBlog: About Last Night Published 2017-06-29
Book clubs are turning their focus to nonfiction and political fiction. “Reading groups have long served as spaces for kindred spirits to gather and talk their way through weighty issues; they also skew female, older, and educated — a prime ‘resistance’ cohort. It is hard to overstate how thoroughly the anti-Trump movement is driven by the energy of women in general.”