Twan Baker – “an 18-inch-long, 10-pound (just a guess) blue-eyed doll with an alert expression” who has appeared in at least five Broadway shows and two “Encores!” productions as well as plays and musicals as far afield as Kansas City and Vermont – was born in the prop shop of Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, where the prop master figured out the secret that makes actors want to work with Twan.
“It is not just that it appears impossible to reach a consensus on important artists such as Modigliani. Nor is it the way the auction houses are discarding specialists at an alarming rate. Nor even the fact that key artistic Foundations (Warhol, Pollock and Lichtenstein) no longer provide an authenticating service. It is all this and more.”
What’s Korean for chutzpah?
“Whether it takes phonics, whole-language learning, all-singing, all-dancing teachers, or the gradual introduction of criminal penalties for illiteracy, something has to change. A national reading push would be the moonshot that makes all others possible. How many more studies will it take? We know that readers vote more and volunteer more, and that reading literature deepens empathy. And — as finally, categorically demonstrated in a landmark Yale study last year — that readers live longer.”
“If you, in 2012, watched Adam Driver on Girls – an unhinged, distasteful walking id, as magnetic as he was bizarre – and said to yourself, ‘This guy is going to be the cast’s biggest star,’ you should probably start betting on horses. … Especially considering that the only thing more obvious than Driver’s gifts might be his presumed limitations – that topographic map of a face, that woodwind voice – the actor’s ascent raises the question of how exactly he became Hollywood’s go-to young actor of excellence.”
David Galef, who wrote the book on flash fiction, and Len Kuntz, one of the form’s most singular practitioners, have a dialogue about where a genre that can range from a few hundred words to a single sentence is headed.
“Judging by the way several theatres have answered the question in recent and upcoming promotional copy, this is far from a settled matter.” Hailey Bachrach looks at that marketing copy and the approaches it takes.
His middle finger in particular. Kapoor strikes back on Instagram at the artist who dissed him with the pinkest-pink ban.
“The playing is beautiful, of course – Mr. Barenboim is one of the greatest pianists of his generation – but it’s the talk that matters. It turns out that in addition to being a great pianist, Mr. Barenboim also has a knack for getting straight to the point.”
“I heard someone say a black girl in a ballet is a distraction. If there are 25 white girls, everyone will look at the black girl. Everyone must be alike in a company, meaning everyone must be white.”
“We can read into this tragedy the disastrous head-on collision of two conflicting obligations that the ‘creative city’ imposes on itself and its residents.”
There’s a huge French bestseller just translated into English, a ferocious and hilarious satire of contemporary El Salvador, Jim Harrison’s final collection of poetry, the history of a New York apartment building through the AIDS crisis, a history of the coyote, and “the most literary book on bodybuilding and superbike racing you’ll ever read!” (There’s also Marina Abramović’s memoir, which we don’t think was exactly overlooked.)
David Denby: “Page by page, the book is less hearty than I remembered … and much funnier – really savage in many passages.”
The purchase was funded by the sale of visual art by some of Petronio’s famous collaborators.
Overbuilding of cultural facilities and ‘economic impact’
Followers of this blog are familiar with my thoughts on ‘economic impact‘ studies. But I think I have forgotten to mention yet another way in which these studies are not only useless, but positively harmful. … read more
AJBlog: For What It’s Worth Published 2016-12-28
12 Plays of Xmas: 2. Birth by TW Robertson
What does reality look like on stage? I’ll tell you what it doesn’t usually look like: a play that sets the finale in ivy-covered ruins on an aristocratic estate. … read more
AJBlog: Performance Monkey Published 2016-12-28
It’s Still the Christmas Season
When I wrote two recent seasonal posts here–about art-related Christmas/Chanukkah presents and about the Star Trail at the National Gallery – I had forgotten about an exhibition … read more
AJBlog: Real Clear Arts Published 2016-12-28
How do you calculate the value of art? In the TV and movie business, given the size of budgets involved and the number of tickets that need to be sold, the commercial business calculation is paramount. A worthy artistic project won’t get very far if the potential audience calculation isn’t right.
Of the many ways Netflix is changing the TV and movie business, calculating audience behavior might be the most revolutionary. Netflix uses an algorithm to calculate how viewers choose what to watch, what they’re watching, when, and for how long they’re tuning in.
When determining how cost-efficient a program is, Netflix analyzes its share of viewing relative to its share of the cost budget, and other factors like impact on acquisition, total raw viewing hours, critical acclaim, and awards performance.
Of course, Netflix doesn’t release audience viewership data, so competitors can’t tell which Netflix projects are doing well and which aren’t, which in itself upends the popularity charts that typically power pop culture and guides producers and studios in which projects get made.
This article suggests that Netflix is also using its viewer algorithms in negotiating how much it will offer producers for projects, though Netflix denies the practice:
Like other entertainment entities, it (Netflix) looks at things like the talent attached to a project and the audience for a particular genre to estimate how much a film or show might be viewed compared to its cost. Every project, Netflix said, is assessed differently.
But why, really? Any studio makes a series of calculations when deciding on what it will buy. Netflix, by virtue of the granular way in which it can chart audience behavior, undoubtedly has the data to be able to algorithmatize the process to its benefit. What does it say that Netflix feels the need to deny it about how we think about the artistic process?
Before she became known to a younger generation as Carrie Fisher‘s mother, Reynolds was one of America’s biggest stars – on stage, screen, and turntable – of the 1950s and ’60s. (Not to mention being the most famous of the women who lost their husbands to Elizabeth Taylor.)
Who, and what, will get nominated for Academy Awards – and what’s still in the running even as the discussion narrows?
The best collection of Western modern art outside of Europe and North America will not travel to Germany. The head of the Berlin museum authority says that as far as he knew, “Iran’s culture minister and foreign minister both backed the exhibition. All that was required was the signature of the president, Hassan Rouhani, for the export licenses to be granted, and that signature never came.”
You can blame the threat of lawsuits for just about all of the problems, including a contraction in the value of Old Masters. And without real experts, “There will be an even greater consolidation and reliance on a small number of powerful artist foundations and committees, who have the money to deter or fight litigation.”
The process involved in getting an emoji through the Unicode approval process is long and vast – and now brands are getting in on the act, including Taco Bell’s influencing the 2015 addition of (you guessed it) a taco emoji.
“A stage is a dangerous and threatening environment, one in which chaos and calamity are never more than a protruding nail or a malfunctioning revolver away.” Actor Michael Simkins shares some of his favorite (if that’s the word) calamities.
And old-school stylists are in pain: “Straight quotes appear as an abomination in a typeface, because their designers rarely love them; they’re included by necessity and often lack cohesion with other characters. The non-curly quote comes from the typewriting tradition, and arose from cost.”
“Bookshops have closed. Publishers have left. Authors have stopped writing. Books have been pulped. Printers are refusing political works. Translators have grown weary of being associated with certain topics. Readers have stopped buying. And the whole industry is wondering if hard-hitting books on Chinese politics still have a future in the former British colony.”