“Local and national holidays are being celebrated with new vigour. … State media are boosting the use of Chinese medicine when people fall ill, wearing Han robes when they get married, and keeping fit by practising tai chi and other ancient sports. … By presenting himself as the defender of traditional values, [President Xi Jinping] hopes to harness the conservative forces in society. He also seeks to divert attention from the party’s own culpability in creating the supposed spiritual vacuum.”
“Trisha Brown’s dance made a singular impression, but it’s hard to remember specifically what she did. Most photos of her show her aiming in several directions at once, but they’re deceptive. They make her dancing look static when she never was still. I’ve never seen such a fluent body. Yet she didn’t look as if she was just flinging herself around.”
“The unusual instrument is a hybrid of elements from a harpsichord, an organ and a viola da gamba. It looks like a harpsichord and has a set of strings, but rather than being plucked, the strings press against rotating wheels covered in horse hair – the same mechanism that produces sound in string instruments.”
The man who produced and/or directed more than 21 Broadway musicals and brought now-classics to the Great White Way had some issues getting his own story to the stage. “A shortage of investors was at one point an issue, astonishingly – or perhaps not so, given the proliferation of jukebox musicals and movie and brand adaptations that have attracted latter-day Broadway producers. Prince, now 89, was never fazed. ‘So many of the shows I’ve done were met with cynicism, initially,’ he says.”
It’s not the only tech company trying to remove the influence of actively racist groups from its site. “The existence of racist music on music platforms isn’t a new phenomenon. Nearly three years ago, the Southern Poverty Law Center pointed out to Apple and the iTunes Store that they were selling, and thereby profiting from, openly racist, neo-fascist musicians, like the hardcore band Skrewdriver.”
For Santiago Ramón y Cajal the brain was a beautiful, inconceivably complex, and self-regulating ecosystem, and he set out to write the field guide to its flora and fauna: “Like the entomologist in pursuit of brightly colored butterflies, my attention hunted, in the flower garden of the gray matter, cells with delicate and elegant forms, the mysterious butterflies of the soul, the beating of whose wings may someday—who knows?—clarify the secret of mental life.”
“In the wake of the controversy over removing American monuments to the Cult of the Lost Cause of the Confederacy, Memento Park is not a bad model for us to consider following now — although certainly there are others. The dispute, which exploded into bloodshed, death and grinding national shame in recent days, demands hard thought. Decisions need to be made. Unlike sculpture, civic monuments are less the product of an individual artist than they are collaborations of entire societies. Civic monuments solicit a collective moral response. They invite an audience to affirm and applaud what it sees.”
“AMC has come out guns blazing, even going so far as to include a solid alchemy burn in its press release trashing the company’s plan. As AMC points out, MoviePass — which buys tickets directly from the exhibitors, then redistributes them to its subscribers by way of a MoviePass-specific debit card — will lose money on every customer who sees more than one movie a month. So what’s MoviePass’s angle here? Is this a strange form of cinematic philanthropy? Or do they have a plan?”
“Mr. Guidall is the undisputed king of audiobooks: more than 1,300 so far, with a stack of new prospects beside his bed awaiting his attention. … He’s a bit disdainful of some of his competition in the audiobook world. ‘They’re just reading out loud,’ he said. ‘They don’t have an emotional underpinning. There’s a rhythm to speech in terms of what’s implied. If it’s raining in the book, there’s got to be something about the voice that evokes the rain.'”
“The alt-right’s Tiki-torch, khaki-pants parade on Friday night has birthed many a ‘Hitler luau’ joke.” Yet, explains Rebecca Onion, white supremacist groups in the US, especially the two incarnations of the Ku Klux Klan, have a long history of deliberately making their physical appearance silly and using that silliness to help them get away with mayhem and murder.
In a much-discussed Twitter thread, Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo reminds us that online news consumers, including Millennials, prefer their news in print (otherwise, why would so many sites resort to autoplay?) and explains why media company after media company is ignoring that preference (and laying off countless journalists in the process).
“If this year’s Academy Award nominees for best score are any indication, new blood is beginning to course. Justin Hurwitz, who won the Oscar, is only 32 – and La La Land was his third score for a feature film. Mica Levi, 30, was nominated for her second feature, Jackie. Moonlight composer Nicholas Britell, 36, scored his first major film in 2015. But it’s not just the relative youth and wetness-behind-the-ears that are noteworthy. These composers, and several others, are shaking up the sound of Hollywood. Film scores are starting to have personality again.”
“On Thursday, the International Criminal Court ruled that former rebel Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi, the man convicted of ordering the attack on the ancient landmarks in Timbuktu, was required to pay ‘individual, collective and symbolic’ reparations of up to $3.2 million (2.7 million euros). Al-Mahdi was jailed last September for nine years by the Hague-based court after he pleaded guilty to ‘intentionally’ directing attacks on nine historic Timbuktu mausoleums and its Sidi Yahia mosque.” He is the first person to be convicted of cultural war crimes by the ICC.
“Dancer Carmen de Lavallade said on Thursday that she would be honored to attend the Dec. 3 ceremony at the Kennedy Center, buuuut … ‘In light of the socially divisive and morally caustic narrative that our current leadership is choosing to engage in, and in keeping with the principles that I and so many others have fought for, I will be declining the invitation to attend the reception at the White House.'” Norman Lear is sitting out the party as well, and Lionel Richie is, for now, on the fence.
Resistance Insistence: Museums (& CultureGrrl) Grapple with Political Turmoil
Even before Saturday’s horrific game-changer, some art museums — including major “establishment” institutions — had begun dropping their guard, casting aside their habitual reluctance to risk offending the more conservative members of their culture-loving base and taking political stands. … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2017-08-17
“I came up with the idea after reading some detective novels and watching crime shows and movies,” Mr. Liu wrote at the time. “The working title is: ‘The Beautiful Writer Who Killed.’” But what was assumed to be a fictional crime story took a turn into reality last week when Mr. Liu, 53, was arrested on accusations of bludgeoning four people to death 22 years ago.
Alan Iverson: “Ellington could connect all the dots—the social, the modernist, the intellectual, the populist, the personally poetic—for a vision of American music truly epic in scope. As great as Evans was, he didn’t have that kind of command. Fifty years ago, the basic connection to a larger audience was slipping away. The integrity of the song was getting diluted by the scale. A kind of darker and mysterious undercurrent was giving way to something lighter in affect.”
“Throughout the major U.S. tech hubs, whether Silicon Valley or Seattle, Boston or Austin, Tex., software companies are discovering that liberal arts thinking makes them stronger. Engineers may still command the biggest salaries, but at disruptive juggernauts such as Facebook and Uber, the war for talent has moved to nontechnical jobs, particularly sales and marketing. The more that audacious coders dream of changing the world, the more they need to fill their companies with social alchemists who can connect with customers–and make progress seem pleasant.”
Academicians warned decades ago that “the restrictive control of the master’s archives for a quarter-century after his death in 1959 by his widow, Olgivanna (who died in 1985), would set back Wright studies for a full generation, if not longer. Dissertation advisers prudently steered doctoral candidates away from Wright topics because of the extortionate research and reproduction fees demanded by his foundation, as well as the editorial approval it demanded for publications that used material from the Taliesin archive. The rise of poststructuralist criticism further eroded younger scholars’ interest in an architect whose uniquely personal approach to architecture had little to do with the period’s fascination with literary theory.”