“The subversive genius of the B-52s isn’t quite acknowledged as much as it could be – even though the band invented new wave-wacky and was mindful about keeping ahead of the stylistic curve. … You can chalk up a lack of respect to the group’s kitschy veneer (and, more specifically, its penchant for making kitsch cool) unfairly superseding the music itself. That’s perhaps most galling: After all, the B-52s’ early LPs are gloriously weird without sounding forced or self-conscious.”
“Instead of donning jackets and evening dresses, ticket holders are turning up as if dressed for the beach, as temperatures reach 95F or more during one of Italy’s hottest summers for years. The worst culprits are normally foreign tourists but even Italians, who are normally renowned for their stylish dress, are not averse to arriving in shorts, mini-skirts and sandals.”
Elizabeth King looks at the worries over the new Netflix production To the Bone and the (none-too-encouraging) previous attempts to deal with anorexia and bulimia onscreen.
Psychology professor Lisa Feldman Barrett does make a distinction between speech that’s abusive and bullying (Milo) and speech that’s merely offensive (Charles Murray): “The former is a danger to a civil society (and to our health); the latter is the lifeblood of democracy. By all means, we should have open conversations and vigorous debate about controversial or offensive topics. But we must also halt speech that bullies and torments. From the perspective of our brain cells, the latter is literally a form of violence.”
“Enter the new National Center for Choreography at The University of Akron. Its mission: to support the research and development of new dance by providing choreographers, dance companies, arts administrators and dance writers access to [its] world-class facilities … seven dance studios, two black-box theaters and main-stage theaters of two different sizes.”
“[He was] best known for repurposing vintage golf bags by creating assemblages with their tempered plastic, steel, leather, vinyl, and hardware.”
“A range of Met-ophiles – artists and archaeologists, chefs and curators, designers and D.J.s, playwrights and performers – offer their own ideas and expectations for how a new director can rethink the world’s greatest museum for a new century. Some of these suggestions are bold, others more whimsical, but all of them come from people who want nothing more than to see the museum on solid ground.”
Dozens more men than women are acting on stage because of the continuing fascination by arts institutions and audiences with William Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies and histories – written during a time and in a place where women were legally prohibited from acting.
“So what do you do when you have the fever and work in a field more or less unrelated to your love for Friedrich Nietzsche and Emily Dickinson? Naturally, you spend your off hours reading books and talking about them with others who share the fever. There are legions of us, and in truth I’m one of the more dilettantish members of the tribe.”
Experts who look into such things say that while social networking has its benefits — professionally, personally, politically — it’s also dumbing down the ways people communicate with each other. Having so many channels of communication has overwhelmed our ability to thoughtfully interact online, encouraging cheap and easy forms of communication.
A week into a federal trial over whether a law preventing Tuscon from teaching elective ethnic studies classes was racially motivated, the former head of public instruction, one of the strongest supporters of the ban, “reaffirmed things like saying that Spanish language media should be banned from the United States with a limited exception of Mexican restaurant menus.”
“I realized that our paradigm of understanding how people experience their environments had radically shifted, and no one had really figured out what this meant. One of the things I found was that, basically, [given] what we now know about human cognition and perception, the built environments we inhabit are drastically more important than we ever thought they were.”
“The announcement comes a day before the one-year anniversary of a failed coup against the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In the wake of the coup, around 150,000 officials have been dismissed from their posts and more than 50,000 people have been jailed.”
At least, it’s hard in the United States. In France, no such problem. “If you sit for many hours and look down at a book and then up at a city and then down at the book again, eventually the two blend into one, and there is no longer any difference between them. This is how the collapse between literature and life happens.”
Praying hands and candle emojis were banned from Weibo, but artists found creative ways to post. “Some posted the works of Liu Xiaobo’s poet and artist widow Liu Xia, who remains under house arrest, depicting mutilated dolls positioned in bleak landscapes. Paintings of empty chairs referenced the empty seat at Liu Xiaobo’s 2010 ceremony for the Nobel Peace Prize, which the Chinese government refused to release him to receive.”
Katie Walsh: “When studios drive a wedge between the two groups, claiming certain blockbusters are for ‘fans, not critics,’ it’s drawing a divide that shouldn’t exist. Ultimately, critics are fans. We want to like movies and we want them to be good. Just think of us as your helpful neighborhood expectation managers.”
Perhaps you missed this, but “in her expansive set of prequels, concurrent fictions and sequels, published between 1984 and 2000, she is particularly adept at picking out the characters one would wonder about most, and writes them so well as almost to make Austen seem remiss for telling us only one side of the story.”
Uh-oh. If people can’t share passwords with their families, will they still want Hulu or Amazon? (Netflix seems safe.) “Companies say they accept some sharing as a way to promote their programming to potential customers, but they also take steps to curtail blatant freeloading.”
Wow, 2017, you do have some pleasant surprises: “It’s far more popular than the museum ever imagined, with people indulging in a long back-and-forth, binge texting. And it’s also revealed something surprising about its users — about how, and when, they want to interact with art, and how much they crave a personal connection with cultural authority.”
This is in addition to performances that reduce the sound volume and turn up the lights – so-called “relaxed” performances – and are aimed at slightly different audiences, for “people who feel more at ease knowing they are able to leave the auditorium at any time. These include people with dementia and people with babes in arms.”
One of the wildly cool tools available at Empac, at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: “The wave system, a modular array of more than 500 speakers, uses acoustical trickery to reproduce organic sounds with unusually high fidelity. It can also “place” (and seem to move, quickly) those eerily lifelike tones at specific coordinates. Any but the most superficial kind of explanation of how this is possible tends to involve high math (like Bessel functions). But if you had to describe the effect, you might go for trippy and exciting.”
Hmmmm. “Sometimes a story can sit completed for hours — or, like in this case, weeks — just waiting for that official word. It’s crucial for us to remember that when a story is published by The Times it becomes part of the historical record, so giving in to the knee-jerk impulse to go for the clicks or be part of the conversation is unwise.”
Whoops. Very, very much whoops, at a gallery in Los Angeles.
Perhaps the power of prestige TV is waning, or else network TV is stepping up: For the first time since 2011, a broadcast show broke through the cable and streaming noise.
Apparently, opera sounds better at the Proms? “The amazing thing about opera at the Proms is it’s like lifting the lid on the engine of opera, because you can see into the orchestra all the time. It’s like you’re enmeshed in it.”
John Bernecker, a 33-year-old stuntman for the popular zombie show, “reportedly fell more than 20 feet from a balcony onto a concrete floor, suffering a head injury.”
Yep, it’s the Bard. “Dozens more men than women are acting on stage because of the continuing fascination by arts institutions and audiences with William Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies and histories – written during a time and in a place where women were legally prohibited from acting.”
“As a business, MasterClass seems primed to capitalize on this era of self-betterment, when thousands flock to Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop newsletter for advice on wellness and self-care has become a millennial mantra. But just how effective are the classes, which range between three to six hours? Does watching an acting course taught by Kevin Spacey actually give aspiring stars a leg up in Hollywood?”