“Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, for the last three-and-a-half decades, it’s been broadcasting a dull, monotonous tone. Every few seconds it’s joined by a second sound, like some ghostly ship sounding its foghorn. Then the drone continues. Once or twice a week, a man or woman will read out some words in Russian, such as ‘dinghy’ or ‘farming specialist’. And that’s it. Anyone, anywhere in the world can listen in, simply by tuning a radio to the frequency 4625 kHz.” Zaria Gorvett susses out some possible purposes of this Russian station – purposes that have their roots in the Cold War.
The notion that the metaphorical “court of public opinion” should be a truth-seeking body was chucked overboard long ago. Today, a peculiar, pluralistic ideology dominates the “free market(place) of ideas”—an ideology cast in the same mold as liberal multiculturalism. The noblest virtue of this ideology, we’re taught, is not the bare-knuckle struggle for truth, but the equal protection and representation of variegated perspectives and identities, especially those that have been historically excluded from the mainstream (or feel like they have been).
Things seemed amicable enough at Gilbert’s farewell concerts at Geffen Hall and in the New York City parks. But at a 70th anniversary concert for the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara last week, reports Mark Swed,”there was no acknowledgment of its music director from the orchestra during the bows – no tapping of bows on stands, practically no glances from the players at the conductor. … When [L.A.] Master Chorale Music Director Grant Gershon hugged Gilbert the stage suddenly became radiant, despite the orchestra musicians pointedly looking the other way.”
“Perhaps because of the successful staging of intimacy by some directors, many still struggle with the idea of needing special techniques for staging intimacy, even though they almost always recognize the need for other specialists, like fight choreographers. Onstage intimacy and fighting have a lot in common. In fact, many intimacy directors started in stage combat.”
But presenters need to consider accessibility. “Disability is the mother of invention. We have been cattle truck lifted onto an outdoor stage. In Siberia, we had to charge my wheelchair batteries by driving them around in a Fiat and swapping them out daily. Feral dogs chased us on the tarmac in Moscow because we could not be driven to the plane like others. In Germany, we changed in a broom closet with a skeleton”
The findings suggest “the arts provide an important vehicle for facilitating a cohesive and sustainable society,” psychologists Julie Van de Vyver of the University of Lincoln and Dominic Abrams of the University of Kent write in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science. “Fostering a society in which engagement in the arts is encouraged and accessible to all may provide an important counter to economic, cultural, and political fracture and division.”
“In reality, Cio-Cio San is a sex-trafficked 15-year-old Japanese teenager,” says Seattle Opera’s (Japanese-American) media-relations manager. “Why are we so comfortable with that, to the point of romanticizing it and telling the story over and over?” The company is, and has been, examining that question; Jason Victor Serinus reports on how.
“The King’s Head pub theatre in north London has announced plans to move to a £5.6 million purpose-built space. Widely recognised to be the first pub theatre since Shakespearean times, the King’s Head has submitted plans to build a 250-seat auditorium and an 85-seat studio on Upper Street, Islington.”
“If you arrive on a big ship, get off, you have two or three hours, follow someone holding a flag to Piazzale Roma, Ponte di Rialto and San Marco and turn around,” said Dario Franceschini, Italy’s culture minister, who lamented what he called an “Eat and Flee” brand of tourism that had brought the sinking city so low.
Angelyne had single-handedly created and then inhabited a modern myth of L.A.: the platinum blond bombshell in the bright pink Corvette forever circumnavigating the city, seeking to enchant by dint of her sheer superficial glamour. It had the aesthetic power and emotional resonance of genuine performance art, Marina Abramovic by way of John Waters, particularly as she kept on rambling around the city over the decades while she aged.
“Scientific evidence does link the creative process to certain patterns of brain activity – and it is possible to ‘train’ some of these these patterns the way you would build a muscle. So yes, you can learn to be more creative in certain ways. But that’s just one side of the neurological coin.”
“In Indecent, Vogel has made a piece of art that’s about nothing more or less than Art’s survival in a world a lot like our own: a historical test case of the possibility of representing the reality of human multiplicity in a culture filled with competing singularities. What’s more, she’s done this by following the experiences of the group for whom the stakes surrounding that possibility have historically been highest, secular Jews.”
“Three-quarters of both 12th and 8th graders lack proficiency in writing, according to the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress. And 40 percent of those who took the ACT writing exam in the high school class of 2016 lacked the reading and writing skills necessary to successfully complete a college-level English composition class.” The Common Core and No Child Left Behind were supposed to address this, and it hasn’t worked. Dana Goldstein looks at the reasons why – and at the argument over the two ways to teach writing now in use.
She launched her career by rescuing The Diary of Anne Frank from a reject pile in Paris and insisting to her boss that it must be published in English. While she worked on literary books throughout her decades at Knopf, overseeing works by Irving, Anne Tyler, and many others, she made her biggest impact on American life with cookbooks: she discovered and shepherded Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking as well as volumes by the likes of James Beard, Lidia Bastianich, Madhur Jaffrey, and Edna Lewis.
I don’t like spending money. I’m leery of signing up for ongoing contracts for service unless I really, really have to (want to). So when we bought a new “pre-owned” car that came with a three-month trial subscription to SiriusXM™ satellite radio I was not overwhelmed with joy. But here’s what happened. … read more
AJBlog: Engaging Matters Published 2017-08-01
Bard SummerScape’s latest operatic resurrection: Dvorak takes Boris Godunov many steps further
Dmitrij is an opera that keeps growing before your very ears. And growing. And growing, until you have some of the most dramatically apt music Dvorak ever wrote for the stage. … read more
AJBlog: Condemned to Music Published 2017-08-01
“There is a fine line in promoting artists’ work appropriately. All too often artists with disabilities are given empathetic reviews replete with that “inspiration porn” trope of heroism overcoming tribulations, but ultimately they are not taken seriously as artists. Aesthetic validation is far more important than sympathy.”