As well as the obligatory fMRI-based neuroanatomy, all contemporary meditations on empathy contain earnest accounts of mirror neurons, described as “the most hyped concept in neuroscience”. These cells were first described in the 1990s by the Italian neuroscientist Giacomo Rizzolatti, who studied macaque monkeys. He found that some motor cells (involved in the control of movement) are activated by the sight of the same movement in others (humans and monkeys). Since then, outlandish claims have been made for these neurons
“There is little in the way of a narrative arc – just a steadily growing pile of bodies. … There is no one to root for, but there is little to root against, and the play just gets subsumed in a not particularly interesting form of misery. … And yet however much I scorn Macbeth, I’ll keep going back.” Jane Howard explains why (and, in the process, gives a critic’s credo).
Haring painted We the Youth on the side of a South Philadelphia row house in 1987 after his first plan – to paint a city garbage truck – didn’t pan out. The mural faced a vacant lot, and both Haring and his sponsors always expected another house to be built on it eventually. Then, of course, Haring became famous, and the mural is still there.
“Neapolis is believed to have been submerged after a tsunami in the 4th century AD destroyed most of it, as recorded by Roman soldier and historian Ammien Marcellin. The natural disaster also badly damaged Alexandria in modern Egypt and the Greek island of Crete.”
“Ten million people in South Korea, one-fifth of the population, have watched Jang Hoon’s movie A Taxi Driver (Taeksi Woonjunsa) since it was released on 2 August. … The film is set in May 1980, during the mass democratic uprising – and ensuing military crackdown – in the southwestern city of Gwangju.”
“In the back corner of the shed were two big X [Google: ‘the thing you bang on in a band to make the beat’ :::: drums] full of what looked like broken-up pieces of metal about the size of cheese snack X [Google: ‘cheese square snack’ :::: crackers].”
“He played alto sax in orchestras led by Tommy Dorsey, Woody Herman, Red Norvo and Charlie Spivak, some of the biggest-name outfits of the day, and was an adventurous-minded player who also helped compose ballet scores and musical tone poems. … [He later] formed a popular big band with his older brother, Les, co-wrote the theme song to American Bandstand, and had his biggest hit album in 1982, a disco-pulsing medley of 1940s standards called Hooked on Swing.”
“It’s the archetypal IKEA product. It was dreamed up in 1978 by an IKEA designer named Gillis Lundgren. He sketched it on the back of a napkin, worried that he’d forget it. Now there are sixty-odd million in the world, nearly one for every hundred people.”
“Though all Shakespearean characters may bleed, at [DC’s] Shakespeare Theatre Company, they don’t all bleed the same blood – or at least, not the same fake blood. Chris Young, the theater’s properties director, mixes a unique version of the vital fluid for every gory scene in every show. No ketchup or red food dye here: Young’s complex recipes vary depending on the color and fabric of the actor’s clothes, the nature of the stage lighting and the type of theatrical injury at hand (or leg, or heart).”
The Berkshire Museum wouldn’t need to sell some of its most prized works of art to remain operational if it grew its endowment by $4.5 million, according to an expert on nonprofits. “I continue to believe that they have overstated how much of an emergency they are in,” said Stephen C. Sheppard, “and I think there would exist a clear path to a sustainable, essentially status quo, outcome that would not require deaccession of the 40 artworks.”
Anne Midgette meets Retna (aka Marquis Lewis), who created the sets for Washington National Opera’s new staging of the Verdi evergreen (co-produced with San Francisco Opera).
The sculpture, which references the hanging of 38 men during the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, was greeted with protests when it was installed at the Walker Art Center this summer and was quickly removed. Chief and spiritual leader Arvol Looking Horse dissuaded his fellows from following the original plan to burn the disassembled work.
The new Duplass brothers anthology series, Room 104, just aired an episode that included no spoken text – only dance. Dance Magazine talks with choreographer Dayna Hanson, who created both the storyline and the movement of the episode.
“This is its most substantial renovation since Chartres was rebuilt between 1194 and 1225. In the intervening 800 years, the building has changed almost beyond recognition, as smoke from burning candles, oil lamps and fires darkened the walls, the statues and the exquisite stained glass. The restoration aims not only to clean and maintain the structure, but also to offer an insight into what the cathedral would have looked like in the 13th century. Its interior was designed to be a radiant vision, as close to heaven on earth as a pilgrim might come, although many modern visitors have responded more with shock than with awe.”
“[He] was among a group of comedians who emerged in the 1950s and early 1960s, including Mort Sahl, Bob Newhart and Elaine May and Mike Nichols, who built their humor around topical storytelling rather than the traditional setup and punchline. His routines about the frustrations of modern life, including pieces about airlines or about the difficulty of dealing with businesses and other institutions, were wildly popular and made him one of the first comedians with best-selling recordings. … [He also] had a late-career resurgence playing Larry David’s dotty father on Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
The theatre will become one of the most important cultural venues in the country. And the history of the Stratford Festival shows just how profoundly a place – and a building – can shape culture.
“The free institution is the newest addition to Los Angeles’ rapidly expanding museum landscape. The Broad opened in late 2015 across the street from downtown’s Museum of Contemporary Art. The Main Museum, also downtown, debuted quietly in October. The Marciano Art Foundation opened this May in a former Masonic temple on Wilshire Boulevard near Koreatown. And the future looks even more culturally crowded: In Exposition Park, George Lucas’ $1-billion Museum of Narrative Art is aiming for a 2021 debut. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s $600-million makeover is scheduled to break ground next year. And that doesn’t include the relatively new Hauser & Wirth gallery, which is museum-like in its size and ambition, or the Hammer Museum, which this year announced its own expansion on the Westside.”
“There were over 140 different record labels suggested by those polled, with the majority of labels receiving less than five votes. Not surprisingly, some of the larger “corporate” labels dominated thanks to the quantity and quality of their products, as well as their ubiquitous distribution, radio play and advertising.”
The catastrophic wake of Hurricane Harvey has stretched across East Texas and into Louisiana, taking lives and uprooting tens of thousands of others, while causing billions of dollars in damage and disruption. But the flooding in Houston has been a specific worry for that city’s jazz diaspora, which includes some of the most important artists of the present era.
What starts off as a sensation of the nose and throat soon turns into a full-body experience — a dizzying mixture of rotting wood, rotting paper, infested carpet, swamp-soaked chairs, sewage, bacteria and humidity. The lobby had been entirely submerged in slimy, green-blue-black water since Sunday, allowing the walls and ceilings to soften and melt. Pinch your nose and you can still smell the rot through your mouth. “As a managing director, you always think of the worst possible thing that can happen,” Gladden says. “This is the worst possible thing.”
Income for National Lottery Good Causes had grown consistently for years up until last year, when Lottery sales income fell by 8.8% and returns to good causes by 14.4%. This resulted in £227.4m for ACE, which was £40.9m less than 2015/16 and £21.6m lower than originally forecast.
“Perhaps the reason why philosophers have been conflicted about the imagination is that they haven’t grasped how limitations need to be tailored to circumstances. When we are writing fiction, or playing games of pretend, or making art, arguably we do our best imagining by setting the boundaries widely or removing the shackles entirely. In contrast, when we employ imagination in the context of scientific or technological discovery, or any other real-world problem-solving, we must allow our imaginations to be framed by the situation at hand.”
Terry Teachout: “Surprisingly few people outside Wisconsin know of APT’s existence, yet it is America’s finest classical theater festival, unrivaled for the unfailing excellence of its productions. Nowhere else—not even in New York or Chicago—will you see such plays done more stylishly or excitingly.”
“By the time Labor Day weekend wraps, summer box-office revenue is expected to finish at $3.78-billion [U.S.], down 15.7 per cent over summer 2016, according to comScore. That’s the steepest decline in modern times, eclipsing the 14.6 per cent dip in 2014. It will also be the first time since 2006 that revenue didn’t clear $4-billion.” Further, to no one’s surprise, the value of stock in companies that own theatre chains in the United States has collapsed – Regal Entertainment has seen shares plunge 28 per cent, while AMC Entertainment dropped 45 per cent. Meanwhile, television, even broadcast TV, is doing fine. It’s not a matter of across-the-board revival for the networks.
A curious group of six people lives above the theater. They are not ordinary tenants, but something like the cast of an eccentric, bohemian sitcom family. They are actors, authors and playwrights whom Ms. O’Hara offered lodging to years ago, and they never left. Mostly in their 60s and 70s now, they include a German man who smokes on the theater’s steps, a woman who wrote a memoir 20 years ago that inspired a television movie, and a man who was homeless before Ms. O’Hara offered him a crawl space above the lighting booth.