Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince. Hemingway’s Cat in the Rain. Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie. “Fairies hid copies of these books and more in public places this past weekend as a local launch of The Book Fairies project, an international initiative in which people leave texts for others to discover in cities around the world. After readers finish a book, they are supposed to pass it on to others.”
Reporter Jacob Brogan talks with researcher Janelle Shane – who created a neural network to tell knock-knock jokes, only to have it become fixated on the Cow With No Lips joke – about “what’s going on under the hood, what her creations might teach us, and why it’s so funny when neural networks go bad.”
“They’re taking cues from some of fiction’s friendlier robots – think the droids in Star Wars, or Wall-E – and blending it with the latest thinking on how our own brains work to create real-life robots that may make us more inclined to accept these technologies into our lives…. This cottage industry of bot-makers are concerned with what the machines look like, how they sound, and what kind of personalities they have.”
Today, libraries are serving as essential civic places. Trusted by every part of American society, they’re the only noncommercial places other than city squares where people meet across genders and ages. They provide all kinds of services and programming—just visit the glorious Madison, WI Central Library, where a first-rate makerspace is under the same LEED-certified roof as local service agencies helping people sign up for health care and food assistance.
On the surface, it looks as if Disney is adopting the dual-distribution model HBO pioneered: It wants to sell retail OTT services directly to households, while continuing to sell wholesale TV programming through pay-TV operators. That “arguably reduces the consumer value of Netflix, which remains the biggest strategic challenge to linear networks in the expanded basic bundle long-term.”
“The biggest obstacle for the Leawood, Kan., company, which operates 1,000 cinemas and four of the nation’s top five grossing theaters, is the growing indifference from a new generation that has grown up with Netflix-style home entertainment. Millennials are eschewing the multiplex for movies and videos streamed to smartphones and other devices.”
There is a remarkable number of new works being commissioned. Some companies, such as Houston Grand Opera and San Francisco Opera, have long traditions of fostering new operas. There are indispensable groups you should know about, foremost among them Beth Morrison Projects and American Opera Projects that exist to create new opera. Visit their websites often.
“Could it be that the populist anger that put President Trump in the White House will trigger a 21st-century culture war? It’s certainly possible. But to ask that question is to overlook the fact that such a war is already being waged. The difference is that it’s a civil war—one that’s taking place not on the right, but on the left.”
“Elizabeth is a fascinating character, for one thing. She starts with nothing but a horrid upbringing and finds herself singing alongside the most famous music hall performer of the day. I loved the way the story moves around chronologically as well – not something often done in opera – and a particular challenge, especially since I could tell the pace of the piece needed to be very quick. Not to mention the quirky inclusion of historical characters like Karl Marx!”
Seventy-four parchments that had been scraped over and re-used by the monks of St. Catherine’s at Mt. Sinai during the Middle Ages are now being re-examined using cutting-edge spectrography. They’ve uncovered previously unknown Greek poems and treatises (including a pharmacological recipe by Hippocrates), some of the oldest Christian texts in Arabic, and writing in some ancient languages that had been thought unrecoverable.
Should Museums Compare and Contrast Cultures?
It seems to be a trend these days for art museums (and some galleries) to mix and match cultures and, sometimes, time periods. Sometimes, this is about breaking down so-called false hierarchies in art history … read more
AJBlog: Real Clear Arts Published 2017-08-09
“Disney’s latest move points toward a potential future in which every entertainment conglomerate has its own service. Maybe these services will umbrella a number of different properties — like how a Fox streaming bundle could potentially include the network, the studio, FX, and Fox Sports 1 — but consumers might need to start making some hard decisions about which providers they’re really willing to pay for, in a way they never had to in the days of all-inclusive cable packages.”
It is a big deal to hear the CEO of a giant, publicly traded media company say he’s going to fundamentally shift his business model: “Obviously, as you move product from … a licensed-to-third-party model to a self-distributed model, you’re foregoing the licensing revenue that you get for whatever revenues you generate by [selling it yourself].”
Just a week into his term as artistic director of the Hong Kong Ballet, Webre says he’s impressed with the dancers’ technical standards and classical rep, and wants to inject “a higher level of sophistication into the [new] work made for the company.” He wants to create dances reflecting the city’s culture, and says he’s being inspired by Hong Kong films and Cantonese opera.