“Why is the universe so well suited to our existence? The weakest answer is that it’s just a brute fact. If the constants of nature were any different, then we wouldn’t be here to ask why we’re here. The strongest answer verges on theism: The cosmological constant is so improbably small that a godlike fine-tuner must have fashioned it into existence.”
One line of experimentation has involved electronic shadows on the stage floor, an effect that can be hard to see from the seats of many conventional theaters. That’s not a problem at the Guggenheim, where the audience is above the dancers. Here’s how it works: An infrared camera scans the dancers’ outlines, 60 frames per second, even as they move, and transmits that information to a computer, which then projects images around the dancers. As Mr. Simkin explained during a recent rehearsal, the speed of the computer processing is crucial. “If there is a lag, the brain sees it as a technological trick,” he said. “If there is no lag, as we can do it now, it is like magic, giving another layer to the movement — like a big dress, my father says.”
In a new project titled Fireflies, Cai Guo-Qiang, the artist known for (literal) fireworks such as Fallen Blossoms on the front steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, will send a fleet of pedicabs swathed in colorful lamps to perform synchronized maneuvers on the city’s grand avenue and then pick up passengers for an evening ride.
In which Time Out London‘s theatre editor books a room in Edinburgh via Airbnb, has a minor disagreement with his host, and finds himself on the receiving end of a 500-word “screed”. “As I proceeded to moan about it on Twitter, I heard the faint sound of a very distant penny dropping …”
“Jeffrey Herbst, president and chief executive of the Newseum, stepped down suddenly on Monday as the museum’ board announced a full-blown review of its long-troubled finances. The review could result in the sale of [its] landmark building on Pennsylvania Avenue,” to which it moved in 2008.
“Imagine a nearly ceaseless stream of digital imagery, beginning with unusual shadows. Computer-generated projections envelop the performers with auras as elastic as bubbles, shimmering and rippling at the edges like the hot air of a mirage. Sometimes the shadows linger after bodies exit, like the quick-fading imprint of fingers pressed on pale skin, or maybe like the soul after death.”
The downtown area that’s home to the city’s flagship performing arts organizations is adjacent to Buffalo Bayou and has seen severe flooding. Here are preliminary damage reports from the Alley Theatre and the venues that house the Houston Ballet, Houston Symphony, and Houston Grand Opera.
The Menil Collection, Museum of Fine Art Houston, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and Houston Center for Photography report no damage to their collections and relatively little to their buildings – so far. The Rockport Center for the Arts in Corpus Christi, alas, hasn’t been so lucky.
Hurricane Harvey & Museums: Houston MFA, Menil Collection in Relatively Good Shape
This just in from Gary Tinterow, director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in response to my query about how his institution has been weathering the Hurricane Harvey maelstrom: … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2017-08-28
Brahms and Blood
A few months ago, I wrote about the music that concludes the film A Quiet Passion, and that brought to mind one of the most frustrating endings, musically speaking, that I’ve experienced in a film … read more
AJBlog: Infinite Curves Published 2017-08-28
Jazz/Improv Chicago: Wide-ranging talents, free fests, PoKempner pix
Chicago’s jazz/improvised music scene contains multitudes, last week ranging from the wild yet earnest Liberation Music Collective to veteran piano sophisticate Michael Weiss in trio, as two of Marc PoKempner‘s photos document … read more
AJBlog: Jazz Beyond Jazz Published 2017-08-28
Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple—Europeans refer to the group simply as gafa—didn’t eliminate the gatekeepers; they took their place. Instead of becoming more egalitarian, the country has become less so: the gap between America’s rich and poor grows ever wider. Meanwhile, politically, the nation has lurched to the right. In Franklin Foer’s telling, it would be a lot easier to fix an election these days than it was in 1876, and a lot harder for anyone to know about it. All the Big Tech firms would have to do is tinker with some algorithms. They have become, Foer writes, “the most imposing gatekeepers in human history.”