“While iconic movie props make us laugh, gasp, scream, and/or sit in absolute silence, they rarely start iconic; as a property master will tell you, the best on-screen objects go unnoticed, silently winning you over with truth. Well, call us obsessives, but we couldn’t help but notice. At a time in history when details go painfully overlooked, we slid movie history under a microscope to honor the simple joy of a perfect prop.”
Since the Santa Fe-based art collective Meow Wolf opened its permanent installation, the House of Eternal Return, in March 2016, the project has been an unmitigated success in terms of viewership and profits. Housed in a 20,000-square-foot former bowling alley, the sprawling interactive artwork welcomed 400,000 visitors in its first year—nearly four times as many as expected—and brought in $6 million in revenue for the collective’s more than 100 members.
The problem, writes Matthew Zapruder, is that “in school we are taught that poetry is inherently ‘difficult,’ and that by its very nature it somehow makes meaning by hiding meaning. … Good poets do not deliberately complicate something just to make it harder for a reader to understand. Unfortunately, young readers, and young poets too, are taught to think that this is exactly what poets do. This has, in turn, created certain habits in the writing of contemporary poetry. Bad information about poetry in, bad poetry out, a kind of poetic obscurity feedback loop.”
“Two weeks ago I moved from Scotland to Germany to start a new job as an iOS engineer at SoundCloud. On Monday of last week I started that job. By Thursday evening I, along with 172 of my new colleagues, was officially being laid off. And then, on Friday, I received somewhere in the region of sixty emails about potential new jobs.”
“Researchers examined the inner walls of ceramic jars they thought were associated with alcohol serving and production in two [ancient] tombs … They derived evidence of mold-based saccharification, a Chinese-bred brewing technique that converts starch in rice to sugar. They also found indications of ingredients including hemp seeds.”
Josh Walker, 26, traveled to Syrian Kurdistan to volunteer with the People’s Protection Units, a secular, social democratic group fighting ISIS. Upon returning to Britain, he was detained at the airport and later released without charge. Then police searched his apartment in Wales. “The authorities have not alleged that he was involved in any kind of terror plot; rather, they claim that because he obtained parts of the Cookbook – which is freely available in its entirety on the internet – he collected information ‘of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.'”
The Hellicon Collective releases a new study on funding in the cultural sector: “Despite important efforts by many leading foundations, funding overall has gotten less equitable, not more. This means that cultural philanthropy is not effectively — or equitably — supporting our evolving cultural landscape.”
For many cognitive scientists these days, “the idea that there is a substantive self is passé. When cognitive scientists aim to provide an empirical account of the self, it is simply an account of our sense of self – why it is that we think we have a self. What we don’t find is an account of a self with independent powers, responsible for directing attention and resolving conflicts of will. … So what is a substantive self?” Philosopher/cognitive scientist Carolyn Dicey Jennings offers an answer.
“Fey is an alum of Upper Darby Summer Stage, a recreation program at the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center that has exposed countless kids to musical theater since 1976. Founded by musician, director, and educator Harry Dietzler and administered by Upper Darby Township” – just across the city line from West Philadelphia – “Summer Stage gives practical experience to would-be actors and singers, directors, lighting designers, and set builders, who mount six children’s shows and a main-stage musical each season. They are guided by teachers, voice coaches, and directors, many of whom grew up in the program.”
“The cube-shaped building, scheduled to open in 2020, will be the first major UK commission for Rem Koolhaas’s OMA architectural practice. The centre for art, theatre, dance and music events” – known as The Factory – “will form part of the new St John’s neighbourhood, to be built on the site of the former Granada TV studios in the city centre.”
Art, particularly avant-gardist art, has long been the target of conservatives in all countries. Art is part of the great fraud that is being perpetrated on ordinary people: It is an extension of the media and therefore always fake news. The speech is explicit about the role of art in the hoax: “They use their singers and comedy stars and award shows to repeat their narrative over and over again.”
Nadia Sirota: “When I got to Juilliard in 2000, I encountered a pretty sad, fatalistic attitude: We’re teaching you something we all love and believe in but we don’t know how to get you employed.” She and her friends were energized by that depression, convinced that a) classical music couldn’t possibly be dying since it felt so intense and essential to them, and b) the only way to save it was to sell it to their uninitiated peers.
“Waxing nostalgic about card catalogs or being an advocate for the importance of libraries is a mug’s game. You can practically feel people glancing up from their iPhones to smile tolerantly at your eccentricity. My response to this, after an initial burst of profanity, is to explain (again) why libraries are essential to narrowing the inequality gap, and why the Internet is not an adequate substitute for books or libraries.”
Anthony Roth Costanzo has ” pushed beyond the old-music limitations of traditional countertenors, performing new works written for him by composers including Nico Muhly, Jake Heggie, Suzanne Farrin, Steven Mackey and Matthew Aucoin.” New music star Claire Chase says, “what Anthony is doing is making that tool [the countertenor voice], with its range and its versatility, viable for composers in the 21st century.”
Sophia Kishkovsky looks into the history of Soviet ceramicist Oksana Zhnikrup and the Kiev workshop-factory where she created the figurines – to which, by the way, Koons did, in fact, purchase rights.
Chris Campbell, literary manager of London’s Royal Court Theatre: “Diversity [in terms of] men and women has improved so drastically during my time working in theatre it is almost laughable. … I can’t remember the last time we sat down and talked about gender diversity in theatre. And that’s quite often because I’m the only man in the room.”
A.J. Campbell wrote and staged Constructive Fictions at the Capital Fringe Festival without actually interviewing either Rabbi Barry Freundel – who was arrested in in 2014 for secretly filming women undressing and preparing for the mikvah at his Georgetown synagogue – or those he spied on. Said one victim, “Our pain is there for public consumption in a way that no one had any say in”; says the playwright, “I would totally love to meet with them. It didn’t occur to me.”
The new production by director David McVicar, which opens at the Met’s New Year’s Eve gala, has already lost its original star tenor (Jonas Kaufmann) and soprano (Kristine Opolais). Now its planned conductor, Andris Nelsons (Opolais’s husband), has withdrawn as well – and he’s being replaced by a maestro who is certainly available and knows his way around the house and the score. (But with Levine’s fragile health and this production’s bad luck, we can only hope he actually makes it.)
“The orchestra announced Monday morning that the longtime music director has signed a new, three-year contract through its 2021-22 season. The extension came early – Vänskä’s current contract expires at the end of the 2018-19 season. … The new contract would extend his total tenure to 19 years, matching the orchestra’s two longest-serving music directors, Emil Oberhoffer and Stanislaw Skrowaczewski.”
“In an acting career that shifted between Europe and Hollywood and peaked in the 1960s, Ms. Martinelli won the Silver Bear for best actress at the 1956 Berlin International Film Festival for the Italian comedy Donatella. Directors she worked for included Orson Welles (The Trial), Roger Vadim (Blood and Roses) and Elio Petri (The 10th Victim).” Yet the role for which she’s best remembered in the U.S. was as the love interest of Kirk Douglas’s character in The Indian Hunter.
The problem with ranking cities’ cultural vibrancy
Two recent publications derive indices to rank different cities according to their cultural vibrancy … The problem is not with the quality of the data. Many of the raw data series will be of interest. The problem is in the very nature of the exercise. … read more
AJBlog: For What It’s Worth Published 2017-07-10
Shifting Power in American Orchestras
I have become more worried about what happens when [our students in Play On Philly] leave our “bubble” that is filled with peers, teachers, administrators and board members that truly understand their circumstances and enter a field that is dominated by white supremacy and unconscious bias. … read more
AJBlog: Orchestras Everywhere Published 2017-07-10
How To Create An Art-Lover
While at the Guggenheim Museum yesterday, seeing Visionaries: Creating A Modern Guggenheim, I witnessed an awesome sight – but it wasn’t the art. It was a little girl, still in a stroller, with a sketchbook in hand, … read more
AJBlog: Real Clear Arts Published 2017-07-10
Monday Recommendation: Another Bill Evans Discovery
Bill Evans, Another Time (Resonance)
For years, it was thought that drummer Jack DeJohnette’s only recorded appearance with the Bill Evans trio was at the 1968 Montreux Jazz Festival. Then, in 2013, … read more
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2017-07-10