The Unusual (Quaint?) Way San Diego County Distributes Arts Funding

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There’s no longer an arts council to assess grant requests; that was eliminated in 1993. Now cultural groups compete – often in person, during two-day-long pitch sessions – with libraries, health-care organizations, wildlife conservancies, and other non-profits for pieces of each county council member’s discretionary funds.

Watch The Mariinsky Ballet Take Class

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“It is interesting to see any company in class, to glimpse behind the greasepaint and the glamour to see the sheer hard work and repetitive grind which makes onstage greatness possible. But it is particularly fascinating to watch the Mariinsky in action, partly because their dancers are so famous – but mainly because their style is so pure.” (includes video)

A Big Red Barn Or A Red Big Barn? The Secret Rules Of Adjective Order

big red barn

“An intuitive code governs the way English speakers order adjectives. The rules come so naturally to us that we rarely learn about them in school, but over the past few decades language nerds have been monitoring modifiers, grouping them into categories, and straining to find logic in how people instinctively rank those categories.”

Contemporary Choreography Is Hard, Says Natalia Osipova

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“In ballet, the muscles on the inside part of your legs work, but here you use the muscles on the outside of your legs. There’s a lot of pressure on the knees, which you don’t get in classical ballet, and you dance practically barefoot, which is also unusual. Lots of falling movements – when we were rehearsing we were covered in bruises, all beaten and battered!”

How Records Messed Up Classical Music (And The Digital Era Could Fix It)

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Tom Service: “The recording industry tried to fix in the collective imagination what individual musical works should be, like the totemic masterpieces of the Western canon (or rather, like those pieces of music that were turned into canonised totems, in part by the recording industry): a series of desirable, aspirational cultural and commercial objects, a collection of black-lacquer-magicked things that could be literally possessed.” Not any more …

“Fighting” Illness: The Trouble With Metaphors In Medicine

medical metaphors

“Metaphors are a fundamental mechanism through which our minds conceptualize the world around us, especially in the face of complexity. But evidence suggests they do more than explain similarities – they can invent them where they don’t exist, and blur the lines between the literal and the figurative.”

The Weird Prescience of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”

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“Of course, no parent walked out of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with their wound-up eight-year-old and thought, ‘That really captured our collective fear of being mugged by teenagers. Radical!’ But viewed today, it’s striking how much the [1990 film] encapsulated contemporary attitudes about delinquency and violence, and showed weird prescience about the decade to come.”

London’s Actors Unions Want 10 Percent Pay Bump


“It is now campaigning for a 10% increase to the minimum weekly rate for performers appearing in shows at West End venues with a capacity of less than 800, and an 8% increase for those performing at West End theatres with a capacity above 800. West End performers on Equity contracts currently earn between £518 and £633 per week, depending on the size of the venue.”

Cool – Virtual Reality Puts You Inside The Movie


“As opposed to being completely first person or being interactive in a video game fashion, it’s as if somebody could essentially step into the movie and have the ability to look 360 degrees all the way around to see the action.”

Rome Theater Evicts Squatter Theater Artists After Three Lively Years

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“The curtain will come down on Sunday on the three-year occupation of the Teatro Valle, putting an end to a self-management experiment that turned the storied theater here into a lively cultural hub. City officials have given the occupiers of the theater – a motley cast of actors, technicians, playwrights and sundry artists – until Aug. 10 to leave so that renovations can begin on the theater.”

How On Earth Did Robert Altman Get Away With Making Movies Like That?

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“In a sense, Altman radically democratized movies, upending the Hollywood hierarchy of star over supporting player, story over atmosphere, emotion over all. … His films were raucous parties, too: he would assemble crowds of actors, give them the hint of a story, encourage them to improvise in Babels of overlapping dialogue and let the canny chaos spill onto the screen.”

Amsterdam Is Out Of Control, Says Rijksmuseum Director; Chill Out, Reply Amsterdammers

amsterdam culture war

Wim Pjibes complains in an open letter that the city is “dirty, filthy, and too full”, with too many badly behaved visitors, hashish coffee shops, and whores in shop windows, not to mention a “medieval way of dealing with rubbish”. Opponents are not only calling Pijbes a killjoy, but suggesting that he’s in league with the forces “artwashing” the red-light districts for the sake of real estate interests.

Meet The Woman Who Keeps The Metropolitan Museum’s Old Clocks On Time


“Visitors wandering among the Met’s paintings, mummies and other treasures probably don’t notice that every European clock on exhibit not only still ticks but also tells the right time. That’s because for 40 years, [Claire] Vincent, who oversees the museum’s European timepieces, has been making sure they are wound like clockwork.” (includes slideshow)

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Canadian Ship’s Theatre Company Endangered By Bureaucratic Reclassification


“Since its launch in 1997, the Amara Zee has been designated a pleasure ship, which allowed for less-stringent regulations. But recently, the Canadian authorities notified the troupe that the vessel could no longer be classified as a pleasure craft. Mr. Kirby said the change would result in expenses the company cannot afford, including hiring a crew of professional mariners, meeting stricter and costlier regulations, and restricting travel routes.”

Et Tu, Porn Industry? (Industry Filming In LA Plummets)


“The number of permits issued for X-rated productions plummeted about 90% to just 40 permits last year compared with 2012, according to data from FilmL.A. Inc., the nonprofit group that handles film permits for the city and county. Only 20 permits have been issued so far this year.”