Plath’s whole family figured she’d return to the U.S. after her marriage to Ted Hughes fell apart. She didn’t. Her reasons were several: not disrupting her children’s lives, getting child support out of Hughes, the work she was getting in London. Above them all: the experiences (and expense) she had had with the American medical system versus Britain’s National Health Service.
“The music flowing out of the record player sounds distant, muffled, surrounded by whispers. The singer’s voice alternates moments of clarity with crackly sputters– as if coming out of a wormhole from a windy day in the Fifties. You can get the sense that what is being played is no ordinary vintage record: indeed, on the platter, instead of a vinyl, is the X-Ray of some guy’s skull, cut in the shape of a disc.”
“Since its start in 2008, SoundCloud has been a digital space for diverse music cultures to flourish, far beyond the influence of mainstream label trends. For lesser-known artists, it has been a place where you can attract the attention of fans and the record industry without having to work the usual channels. There is now a huge roster of successful artists who first emerged on SoundCloud, including the R.&B. singer Kehlani, the electronic musician Ta-Ha, the pop musician Dylan Brady and the rapper Lil Yachty, to name just a few.”
When he was a young man in Macon, Georgia, “it was clear he had a good ear and the passion, but for a while, the furthest point he imagined going in his musical career was becoming a band director. And then his worldview opened up” – thanks to Victor Yampolsky at Northwestern University. “Now two years into his role as associate conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra, he’s come a long way from leading a convocation of action figures.”
“According to a 2008 survey, 85% percent of employers looking to hire creative employees reported were “difficulty finding qualified applicants.” Yet the same survey found 57% of respondents citing arts degrees as being reflective of creativity. More recent research from IBM found that CEOs think creativity will be the most valuable skill around the office. But that begs the question: if there is a purported interest on the part of companies, why aren’t there more arts majors actually working in offices?”
“Google queries about suicide rose by almost 20 percent in 19 days after the show came out, representing between 900,000 and 1.5 million more searches than usual regarding the subject.’ And yes, there is typically a correlation between searches and attempts; also, “searches for precise suicide methods increased after the series’ release.”
“Workshopping 14 reviews of the same show is enlightening and frustrating. We learn so much from each other. Different lenses, different voices, different strengths. There’s a critic who talks about music in ways that make us all jealous. We recognize each other’s paragraphs and fonts instinctually by now. As my admiration for the others grows, my self-confidence breaks apart. Every point my fellow critics makes is just another point I missed. I don’t know if I’m getting better at this.”
“Classical hipsters don’t try to be hip. They just are. Attempted hipsterism is often geared towards reaching the younger audience member. There have been some notable successes, but not in the numbers we hoped to achieve. Audiences young and “old” recognize a strong, committed performance of the music we create on stage. Let’s always start there.”
“Performing and visual arts high schools like New World inspire a fierce devotion among students and graduates. It is no wonder. Many serve as springboards to the professional world. Just as important, graduation and college attendance rates are typically high (100 and 96 percent for New World), particularly impressive considering the schools’ urban setting. The best of these schools offer a conservatory-style training ground that helps budding artists win admission to an undergraduate arts program — training that is expensive, requiring a cadre of specialized teachers and money for student performances.”
“As an expert on language and literacy development in children, I’ve talked to many immigrant parents who expect their children to grow up bilingual, only to be surprised that they end up as monolingual English speakers. Meanwhile, foreign language learning opportunities for English speakers are limited. Why is the U.S. so bad at producing bilinguals?” Harvard education professor Catherine Snow suggests three reasons, and argues that it doesn’t have to be this way.
Condo developer Uri Vaknin: “Already a world-renowned dining, entertainment and shopping capital, our city is now becoming a cultural hub. The openings of The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, The Mob Museum and the Neon Museum signals a clear move in that direction. Yet, I remain dumbfounded that Las Vegas lacks a world-class art museum.”
“Going over a passage describing the Western landscape, he suddenly looked up and said, ‘I’m sorry I can’t take you there.’ I just smiled, for somehow he had already done just that. Without a word, eyes closed, we tramped through the American desert that rolled out a carpet of many colors – saffron dust, then russet, even the color of green glass, golden greens, and then, suddenly, an almost inhuman blue. Blue sand, I said, filled with wonder. Blue everything, he said, and the songs we sang had a color of their own.”
“The voguing balls of Harlem, the hoochie koochie dances of rural America, the elaborate, prancing gait of runway models – these aren’t influences that routinely feature in contemporary dance. Yet for the American choreographer Trajal Harrell they’ve proved extraordinarily fertile. … His pieces might feature a man posing semi-naked in a pair of Hermès scarves, a woman encased in a small black cube meticulously removing her swimsuit, or a man in a gaudy oriental skirt, gravely shaking his booty.”
Seph Rodney sees a music-and-video project about the late Julius Eastman at the Sharjah Biennial.
Rita Felski asks what might happen if we looked not “behind the text” but “in front of the text, reflecting on what it unfurls, calls forth, makes possible.” In doing so, she seeks to rehabilitate the validity and importance of what we might call “literary desire”: the force that drives you to reread your favorite book yet again; or to finish that work of genre fiction even when you know the ending; or to press a beloved book awkwardly into a distant acquaintance’s hands in hopes that she, too, will come to love what you love and might one day talk with you about it.
“In vaudeville you had one show and that was it. You changed it whenever you felt like it,” Benny said, years later. But, in radio, “when you realized that every week you needed a new show, this got a little bit frightening.” In another interview, he recalled, “The first show was a cinch—I used about half of all the gags I knew. The second show consumed all the rest, and I faced the third absolutely dry.”
While Instagram has become a go-to forum for dancers recording themselves in class and rehearsal, Marlee Grace has managed to stand out, though it’s hard to pinpoint why. Maybe it’s her musical selections, which range from Justin Bieber to wind and waves; her playful, impulsive choices as a mover and iPhone videographer; or the sense that she’s not working toward anything in particular, just dancing for herself and anyone who happens to cross her virtual path.
Justin Davidson: “Most of us can imagine only what we already know, and even the fantasies of visionary filmmakers can be astonishingly earthbound. The inventors of nonexistent cities don’t have to worry about building codes, zoning, financing regulations, or even the need to make their structures stand up. Rather than use that freedom to unleash radical design or dream up darkly beautiful architecture, they simply recycle the present and make it bigger, and worse.”
“The idea: Provide students with real-world professional experience at cultural nonprofits small and large, be it the Center for the Study of Political Graphics or the Museum of Contemporary Art. The first crop of 89 interns completed sessions at 80 arts organizations around Los Angeles in summer 1993. Twenty-five years later, the Multicultural Internship Program is still going strong. Over that period, the Getty Foundation has funded more than 3,200 internships at an estimated 160 Los Angeles arts organizations — including 120 internships this summer. That amounts to an investment of more than $12 million over a quarter century.”
A couple of weeks ago, HBO announced a series called Confederate, depicting an independent 21st-century Confederacy (the South won) where slavery is still legal. (There’s been a lot of queasiness and worse about this project on social media, not least because the producers, the Game of Throines guys, are white, although the head writers are black.) Meanwhile, Amazon has been developing a series titled Black America, in which ex-slaves were given Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama and created the nation of New Colonia, which has been the United States’ neighbor and frenemy for 150 years.
“Manhattan prosecutors have taken custody of an ancient bull’s head that was on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art because of concerns that the antiquity was looted from a Lebanese storage area in the 1980s during Lebanon’s civil war. … Last week, the Met surrendered an ancient vase that it bought at auction in 1989 because of concerns that it might have been looted from Italy.”