Mark Shenton considers both an Edinburgh Fringe show “in which three comedians use a device of talking out of their arses (literally) to quote from some of the negative reviews they’ve received” and the directors of L.A. theatres who publicly protested when critics in the city were laid off.
Hey, it’s the end of the summer, and people are traveling (if they’re not already back in school): “Whenever I’m visiting a new place, and particularly if I’m going to spend a good deal of time there, I like to find my way in with a book—either a book about the history of the area or one that’s simply set there, so that I can get a feel for its rhythms, the cadences and locations that will soon become familiar to me. That is, I’m looking for a kind of recognition. A reference point, if you will.”
“On what would have been his 105th birthday, [a] national hotel chain is partnering with the John Cage Trust in what the hotel describes as a ‘listening event’ curated by Mode Records called ‘Untouchable Numbers.’ For 24 hours, Ace Hotel locations across the country … will fill their spaces with music by the late American composer.”
“A number of emerging artists are … bypassing their dealers in a quest for a greater share of the earnings, a need for quick pocket-change, or the desire to test their e-commerce earning potential. These artists often position their sales as a critique of how the art market functions; taken together, they suggest a growing dissatisfaction with the traditional gallery sales model.”
“Artsy analyzed two sample cohorts of the world’s top collectors to see how the industry make-up behind the most elite collectors has changed over the last two decades. The big takeaways? Finance is in, really in. ‘Other’ – a designation we used for lawyers, doctors, architects, and individuals who didn’t fit into the most highly represented categories – is out.”
“With [American Studies] and the three [books] that followed, Mr. Merlis was widely praised for the sensitivity with which he addressed such themes as the corrosive effect of shame and the intersecting paths of past and present.” His An Arrow’s Flight was voted by the LGBT industry organization Publishing Triangle as one of the best gay novels of all time.
It’s a trick that’s been tried twice in recent days. First members of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities spelled out “RESIST” with the first letter of each paragraph in their joint resignation letter. Then Daniel Kammen, formerly the science envoy at the State Department, resigned in a letter that contained the acrostic “IMPEACH.”
For four years Kirill Serebrennikov’s Gogol Center has played an important role in Moscow’s cultural life. It was funded by the state but it was Serebrennikov, the theater’s artistic director, who managed this unique venue that provided a platform for political thought and that many fans called “a new place of power.”
“On a large plaza in the city last week, company staff diligently set up more than one thousand of the 18-inch robots to attempt the dancing record. You’ll be pleased to know that the team achieved the feat, with a total of 1,069 Dobi robots strutting their stuff in sync with one another, and as a consequence delighting the Guinness World Record officials who had traveled to Guangzhou to verify the effort.”
The shortage of smart, professional digital newsgathering in smaller American cities is a real problem with no immediate solution on the horizon; sadly, the number of eyeballs likely to land before a local story online isn’t enough to generate the income that would justify making it. In the longer term we probably can’t crowdfund our way out of that.
“The magazine’s paper subscription slips have long carried a tagline: ‘The best writing, anywhere.’ It follows that the source of the best writing, anywhere, must also be the finest available authority on grammar, usage, and punctuation. But regular readers know that The New Yorker’s signature is not standard usage, but its opposite.”
“Just as the cable revolution overturned broadcast, the net is destined to become the dominant mode of video, both in terms of transit and programming. The cable industry is seemingly protected by its built-in local monopolies, but as broadband connections proliferate—by now rendering the copper cable connection almost obsolete—the only thing propping up the status quo is a business arrangement that bundles channels together for a steep price. As more people cut the cord—and as smaller bundles become more popular—we will reach a tipping point that sees the collapse of cable.”
Storied alt-weeklies like Philadelphia City Paper, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, the Boston Phoenix, Knoxville, Tennessee’s Metro Pulse and its replacement may have shut down. But last week, Local Independent Online News Publishers reported that it added 19 new members in 15 states. LION now has 160 local news publishers as members in 39 states. So are alt-weeklies dying? Or are they finding a kind of new life online?
The school will emphasise the study of art in the US and Americas, says the university’s chancellor, Joseph Steinmetz, and administrators hope that the art school will attract a greater number of out-of-state and international students. Around 6% of the current student body is from outside of the US, representing 112 countries, according to the university’s website.
“Sensibility? Aesthetic? Identity? Netflix ain’t got time for that. Its story started out as one of revolution, which has instead been overtaken by a case of quantity over quality. Now, rather than being known for a house style or a tastemaking effect on popular culture, it is becoming known for its raw desire to win the race, bragging about its latest deals (Shonda Rhimes! David Letterman!) and conquests.”
Laura Collins-Hughes travels to western North Dakota to see The Medora Musical, “a spangled summertime revue performed in an amphitheater carved into the side of a butte, with the Badlands as its backdrop. Part country music jamboree, part variety show, it’s a wholesome cousin to the loosely scripted entertainment you find at theme parks … The crowds have been coming since 1965, and when this season wraps up on Sept. 9, the producers expect attendance for 2017 to have passed 116,000.”
Alexis Soloski: “Though [Denzel] Washington’s first Broadway outing, as Brutus in Julius Caesar, generated tepid reviews, he has since become a heavy hitter, winning a Tony for Fences in 2010 and warm notices for A Raisin in the Sun in 2014. But some celebrities haven’t gained the same applause. Here are ten Hollywood luminaries and pop sensations who made lesser appearances on the Great White Way.”
The International Foundation for Art Research has identified four forgeries that were alleged to have come from the estate of an American collector who apparently never existed. “This scam is not aimed at the super-rich in major art centers. It targets modest collectors and so far is unfolding in the Mountain States and along the East Coast.”
“Mr. Liggett’s idiosyncratic scrap-metal gallery – conceived, shaped and welded in his shop nearby – stood on farmland in tiny Mullinville [Kansas], where a stiff prairie wind kept the whirligigs spinning, lending kinetic energy to his hodgepodge of installations. His clownish, abstract, cartoonish and grotesque works reflected his bent for provocation.”
“Abercrombie was a confident but unassuming artist, whose abundant gifts did not include the knack for self-promotion. He emerged in the immediate wake of electric-guitar trailblazers like Sonny Sharrock and John McLaughlin but, at least temperamentally, he belonged more to the generation a decade or so his junior: cheerful omnivores like Pat Metheny, John Scofield and Bill Frisell.”
The fact that in many places more than the lion’s share of public arts funding goes to organizations focused on the cultural tradition of upper class European whites is a center that will not hold. … read more
AJBlog: Engaging Matters Published 2017-08-22
Voyeurism At The Balenciaga Exhibition
Summer has simply sped by and I haven’t even really gone on vacation yet (that’s coming up at the end of September). … read more
AJBlog: Real Clear Arts Published 2017-08-23
John Abercrombie And Bea Wain, RIP
John Abercrombie, a guitarist of stylistic flexibility and uncompromising musical vision, died today in a hospital in New York’s Hudson River Valley. He was 72. … Bea Wain, who achieved popularity in the late 1930s when she sang with Larry Clinton’s band, died today in Los Angeles. She was 100. … read more
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2017-08-23
When asked what he looks for in the people he entrusts to interpret his work, Stephen Sondheim said In London This week: “Mostly it’s the directors you have to be careful of. Many, many directors, particularly in musicals, are more interested in serving themselves rather than serving the text, because musicals invite a lot of invention. Even if that director is inventive, he or she should be serving the piece, and you don’t always get that. That’s the thing I look for.”
“The public owns the painting, along with all the rest scheduled to go on the block, starting in November. Trustees and staff are stewards of the art collection, charged with taking whatever measures are best for it. Yet this museum’s leaders are behaving as if they are stewards of the institution, not the art. Absurdly, museum standards are being vandalized to protect the museum.”
In his 27-page complaint filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court (read it here), Randall Arney who was the theater’s artistic director for 17 years before leaving in February, claims that Geffen Playhouse board co-chairs Pamela Henderson and Martha Robinson “abruptly and without explanation changed the terms of his employment” shortly after he turned 55 in 2012, “presenting him with a contract limiting his employment to two years” with a Geffen option for a third.
A $70 million infusion is key to the project: The money comes from a combination of donors, including Murphy Oil Corporation, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and the Walton Family Foundation. The first phase of the initiative, the $54 million, six-block Murphy Arts District in downtown El Dorado, is making its debut on Sept. 27. The district’s five-day opening celebration will have performances by artists like Brad Paisley, Smokey Robinson, Ludacris and the hip-hop trio Migos.