“It’s part of what the New Yorker calls the ‘Peter Pan market’: a vogue for youthful things (coloring books, summer camps, even faux pre-school classes) rebooted for an adult audience. And while some may bristle at the conceit – which, fair enough, can occasionally seem ripe for a Portlandia parody – it’s worth considering the merits. For some, it might even be a fast-track to recover a lost creative impulse, all over the course of a long weekend.”
Astaire’s fate in the early fifties was something one suspects he’d never accounted for: his age was beginning to show. Of course, this was a time when elderly men still courted young women on-screen with stunning regularity, and had Astaire been a normal romantic lead, this might not have been a problem. But he was a dancer.
“The public won’t get in to Chicago Shakespeare’s $35 million, 33,000-square-foot one-of-a-kind new space until Sept. 19, when James Thierree’s The Toad Knew opens. But you don’t have to wait to see the Yard – a theater where the seats can literally float in midair and the stage can morph into just about any shape imaginable. Crain’s has obtained exclusive images of the Yard’s interior, designed by Chicago’s Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture and the UK’s Charcoalblue.”
I feel incredibly lucky to make a living as a writer, but today’s luck is very different than McPhee’s in the ‘60s. In his New Yorker contributor biography, McPhee is credited with bylines on “over 100 pieces.” I laughed out loud when I read it; it’s not uncommon today for even established writers to publish that many pieces a year. These stories are not 40,000-word epic sagas about colorful men and their long journeys by truck, boat, or sled; they are shorter, on the Internet, with smaller budgets, and they are more likely to be written by women. McPhee flashes back to 1966, when he spent nearly two weeks lying on a picnic table “staring up into branches and leaves” thinking about how to start an article.
“I’d much rather live in a Universe where we discover that today’s view of physics is comically naïve. If I am so lucky as to live to see deep new discoveries about the true nature of reality, I hope to find them bizarre and shocking. In 1,000 years, physics and mathematics will probably have progressed so far that the very nature of the questions will be incomprehensible to us. Researchers will have moved on to bigger, more mind-blowing questions that today’s deepest thinkers are not yet even equipped to ask.”
“For a first-time festival, the Newport Contemporary Music Series boasted a program that might make even Tanglewood blush: a star-studded lineup featuring appearances by Philip Glass, four-time Academy Award winner André Previn, and Lord of the Rings composer Howard Shore.” It ended up, alas, as what an official with the Boston musicians’ union described as “probably the greatest amateur act the union has ever seen.” A bass player contracted for that festival orchestra says it was a disaster “epic proportions that will go down in the Boston freelancing lore of nonpaying gigs.” Malcolm Gay explains how it all came crashing down.
DiDonato’s disc “In War and Peace” won the Gramophone Awards’ Recital category and was a favorite for the overall prize, but the winner was a period-instrument recording of Mozart’s violin concertos by Isabelle Faust and the orchestra Il Giardino Armonico. (Giardino also won the Orchestral category with a recording of Haydn symphonies; both discs competed in mainstream categories rather than those limited to period instruments.) Artist of the Year went to conductor Vasily Petrenko.
The show at the Santander Bank Cultural Center in Pôrto Alegre, titled “Queermuseu,” had been running for more than three weeks without incident when a self-styled “libertarian” group called the Free Brazil Movement (which was heavily involved in the movement to impeach former president Dilma Rouseff) began vehement protests of the exhibition on social media, argiung that the show promoted pedophilia, bestiality, and blasphemy. (There are no images in the show depicting sex with children or animals.) Santander Bank abruptly shut the show down, not even notifying the curator. Now protesters have been gathering to demand that “Queermuseu” reopen.
“In an industry financially dependent on an ever-smaller handful of films, studio executives are less willing to take chances and more willing to make big changes if needed, even if the moves generate ugly headlines or expensive reshoots. When hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake in ticket sales and ancillary businesses, no one is irreplaceable.”
“Ensuring these women were not portrayed, in any way, as broken, was crucial. ‘The female characters are fully rounded,’ says one of the show’s writers, Lisa Lutz. ‘They might make some bad choices, they might have some terrible experiences, but they are not silent victims.'” Says director Michelle MacLaren, “We want the 1971 version of this show, not the present-day one. We had to remember this is the pre-Aids era and certain things we take for granted now, attitudes towards women and sex, were not looked at as clearly in this time.'”
The founder/artistic director of the Pop-Up Globe was inspired when he read to his daughter about the original Globe and she asked if they could go there. It’s not an exact replica of the second Globe (1614) – it uses modern materials and electricity – but the shape and dimensions are similar and it can be erected and taken down in a matter of a few weeks; it’s already done two seasons in New Zealand and is just starting one in Melbourne.
“It has been busily pioneering new angles of engagement and outreach, even as it holds the line against broader artistic changes sweeping the jazz world. At a time when canon-busting is nearly the national consensus, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s founding artistic director, Wynton Marsalis, maintains that jazz is a classical music with a fixed roster of heroes, and a nonnegotiable rhythmic foundation.” Says Marsalis, “We are a music that is constantly asked to abandon its own identity to become another thing. Why? What’s wrong with our identity?”
“After years of toe-to-toe battling with a small band of critics and a fellow billionaire, Barry Diller said Wednesday that he was pulling the plug on his family’s commitment to build and operate a $250 million performance center on an undulating pier 186 feet off the Hudson River shoreline. It was a fizzling end to a grand scheme that aimed to create a bold new landmark along the Manhattan waterfront on par with the nearby High Line, which has become one of the top tourist draws in the city.”
“But a host of award-winning writers failed to make the cut, with former Booker winner Arundhati Roy missing out on a place, as well as Sebastian Barry, Kamila Shamsie and Mike McCormack. British authors Zadie Smith and Jon McGregor also dropped out. American author Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad was another high-profile casualty.”
“Vincent played Tony Soprano’s archenemy Phil Leotardo in The Sopranos, one of his many wiseguy roles. He was Billy Batts in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas – the ‘made man’ who famously told Joe Pesci’s Tommy DeVito to ‘Go home and get your f*ckin’ shinebox’ – and Frank Marino in the director’s Casino. His performance with Pesci in 1976’s The Death Collector caught the attention of Robert De Niro and Scorsese, and the director offered Vincent a supporting role in Raging Bull.”
One source says, “the management felt it could not tolerate a situation where the conductor refuses to attend a schedule event he is contractually obliged to attend. He also skipped a number of rehearsals.” The conductor himself, Brian Schembri, thundered, “Never in my life [have I] been treated so basely and disrespectfully by persons in authority who were supposed to support me in the job they themselves engaged me to do, that is to develop the orchestra to the levels that, by common consent, were hardly imaginable before.”
My previous post suggested a multi-layered view of our work in arts organizations, including attention to the nouns of our ‘products’ or ‘outcomes,’ the verbs of our ‘processes’ or ‘practices,’ but also the core ‘source’ … read more
AJBlog: The Artful Manager Published 2017-09-13
I am frequently asked about the rationales for community engagement. I have spent so much time with my head in the weeds about the subject that my responses have a tendency to go on for … read more
AJBlog: Engaging Matters Published 2017-09-12
Breaking: Metropolitan Museum’s Job Description for Its Next Director (contrasted with its last one)
This just in — the memo sent today to the Metropolitan Museum’s staff by president and CEO Dan Weiss, followed by the text of the job description for the new director. … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2017-09-13
“The Difference Between Quality Art and Crap” Take Two
My exchange with Vladimir Feltsman about “quality art” versus “crap” was posted on youtube and elicited this response: “Two oldies bemoaning that they have had their day and are confined to the dust bin … read more
AJBlog: Unanswered Question Published 2017-09-12
Recent Listening: Rigby And Eckemoff
Jason Rigby Detroit-Cleveland Trio, ONE (Fresh Sound New Talent)
The simplicity of the Rigby Trio’s cover design matches the uncomplicated instrumentation—saxophone, bass and drums. It is a configuration used to great effect … read more
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2017-09-13