Mike Ashman looks at the extraordinary number of key events that happened that year – events whose effects we still feel today.
The Origen Festival has built a red tower, housing a 250-seat in-the-round theater lit by windows on all sides, on a 7,500-foot-high pass in the Swiss Alps. “Built at a cost of two million francs, it weighs 410 tons and can withstand winds of up to 240km/hr.” The plan is to present world theater and other forms there year-round (though they need another million francs to winterize the building).
“We are a professional theatre company who happens to perform in alternative spaces. Just because our shows are free does not mean we are inferior in quality. Just because we aren’t playing at the Boston Center for the Arts doesn’t mean we are unprofessional, or underfinanced. We have been around for seven years, and we pay our artists decent wages. We are working very hard to redefine fringe and redefine what it means to be a professional theatre company.”
The animatronic arachnid, called Kumo, was created by French street theater company La Machine and brought to Ottawa for the Canada 150 celebrations. Late last week, it was was installed on the side of the capital’s Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica – for a visual juxtaposition with Louise Bourgeois’s bronze spider, Maman, just across the street in front of the the National Gallery of Canada. But not all believers thought the sight was cool.
“All of this points to a process that sociologist Saskia Sassen calls “deurbanisation”. Numerically, this means haemorrhaging residents, while metaphorically it relates to the increasing hollowing out of the social and cultural vibrancy of the city. The very things that make up its fabric – the messiness, unpredictability and diversity of urban life – are stripped away. All that’s left is Costa Coffee, Pret-a-Manger and hoardings advertising buy-to-let investments, illustrated by white couples laughing and sipping champagne.”
The Brown Box Theatre’s Kyler Taustin says, “We believe theatre needs to be seen by everyone. The best way for it to be accessible is to place the work in people’s backyards. … This choice gives the experience a physical and emotional impact. The idea of pop-up art allows us to become an exhibit in people’s lives. It’s a different type of public art. We have sculptures and murals that people walk by every day, and now we are turning the theatre into an experience that can have an influence on our daily life.”
That is, when the #StarringJohnCho movement bears fruit, and he actually gets to star in a movie. “I’ve struggled with this in the last few years. Is it important for me to express my own culture, or…to be a cultureless character in a fictional America that exists only in movies and on TV? When I’m playing a character that doesn’t have an Asian surname and you don’t see their family, that’s okay, too. “
Jeremy Denk: “His whole achievement depended on a catlike understanding of which notes hold on and which let go; on delicate traceries between chords, suspending dangerously on a single note or pair of notes, and then, once a foothold is established, leaping to a new harmony as if it were nothing.”
This massive profile concerns whether Boyden is Indigenous or not, but “the real difficulty of answering the question rests with the essential thorniness of coming to grips with Indigenous identity in a country that has spent centuries trying to warp and misconstrue the very concept.”
Oh, and that “criticism” is created by fans instead of critics. For instance, there are the guys who run New Rockstars. “They are superfans — sophisticated ones — using visual aids to break down shows and movies for superfans. And their handiwork makes the audience for these pop-culture spectacles even bigger and more engaged.”
In 2003, the Identity School opened in London as the first school for Black actors. “Identity’s founder and principal, Femi Oguns, wanted to create a drama school that reflected modern society. ‘Rather than join a chorus of complaint I decided to do something about it,’ he says.”
Using artificial intelligence, researchers at USC analyzed about 1,000 popular film scripts. Aside from the fact that men talk a lot, they found “that the language used by female characters tended to be more positive, emotional and related to family values, while the language used by male characters was more closely linked to achievement. African-American characters were more likely to use swear words, and Latino characters were more apt to use words related to sexuality. Older characters, meanwhile, were more likely to discuss religion.”
He joined the orchestra in 1953. “Mr. Dreyfus was ‘at the center of the players’ labor activism during contentious years of disputes’ in the 1960s, his son said, which resulted in a long strike and, eventually, a 52-week contract. By the time of his retirement, he’d played under Stokowski, Ormandy, Muti, and his ‘personal favorite,’ Wolfgang Sawallisch.”
Salon Los Angeles has seen Frida Kahlo dance with Leon Trotsky, Che Guevara and Fidel Castro with dance hall regulars and revolutionaries, and a lot more. And so, “Miguel Nieto, whose grandfather opened Salon Los Angeles 80 years ago this week, refuses to quit, even as his gray-haired regulars dwindle, even as developers dream about turning the nightclub into condominiums like the concrete apartment tower going up across the street.”
Three weeks ago, Congress proposed a global, centralized music database to ensure that artists get paid on every streaming platform. Then, performance rights organizations (PROs) ASCAP and BMI announced that they had started work on a joint authoritative music database one year ago. Now, the RIAA and the NMPA have started discussions on a possible shared music rights database.
“In the wake of much discussion about the chronic underrepresentation of female composers on American concert programs, I came up with my own best-of list. Since I was responding to a list of recordings, I confined myself to artists active in the recorded music era, the 20th and 21st centuries”