This isn’t just a problem in composition – but, as other arts start to figure out how to support primary caregivers and their creativity, new music can get it together too.
Archives for April 2017
Black Eye Porn
“Normally The Guardian publishes all of Rowson’s cartoons, but I don’t think this one. He mailed it to Heathcote who forwarded it to me. Heathcote wrote the lines when I asked him.” — Gerard … read more
AJBlog: Straight|UpPublished 2017-04-28
On charging admission at the Met
The New York Times reported that the Metropolitan Museum of Art is looking at options to make its “suggested” entry fee into something a little stronger than a hint, at least for people who live … read more
AJBlog: For What it’s WorthPublished 2017-04-28
Nora and the mansplainer
In today’s Wall Street Journal I review the Broadway premiere of A Doll’s House, Part 2. Here’s an excerpt. * * * Hugh Kenner defined conceptual art as that which, once described, need not be … read more
AJBlog: About Last NightPublished 2017-04-28
How did it get so far in the first place? “Varnished with a Kevlar coating of celebrity sparkle, Bullingdon Club backing and architectural fairy dust, the garden bridge has always seemed capable of surviving every missile of common sense thrown at it. For three years it has been fiercely opposed by supporters of gardens and bridges alike, of which this vanity project was clearly never either.”
Why don’t we know more about Giacomo Meyerbeer? “Few things could be further from the same old arias than Meyerbeer (1791-1864). Hardly a corner of the repertory has grown mustier, a puzzling development given the composer’s prominence during his lifetime. In his heyday, Meyerbeer was a uniquely powerful hitmaker, as well as an innovator who brought opera to new levels of orchestral color, dramatic scale, choral mass, historical richness and theatrical dazzle.”
His move from performance artist (his most famous piece, “Seedbed,” included him lying beneath a false floor in a gallery, masturbating and speaking to gallery visitors over a hidden mic) to architect “confused his peers and caused his profile in the art world to recede, to the point where many younger artists who were indirectly influenced by his work had little idea who had created it. In his later years, Mr. Acconci sometimes agonized over this situation, but he said he had no choice but to follow his interests where they took him.”
Irina Dvorovenko plays a Russian woman who finds herself depressed and lonely in the U.S. It’s a big difference from being a principal for American Ballet Theatre, but not so different from her youth: “Ms. Dvorovenko, born in 1973, grew up in Ukraine with dancer parents and studied gymnastics before entering ballet school at 10. For her, the show’s time period has brought back a flood of memories. Many have to do with hunting for food. (In the transcript of our interview, that word comes up 21 times.)”
Turn to a 19th-century cookbook by a princess, of course: Princess Barbare Jorjadze’s book, Georgian Cuisine and Tried Housekeeping Notes, “has long been a prized household possession. … Georgian chefs now increasingly consult Jorjadze’s book for forgotten flavors, many of them obliterated by the Soviet Union’s homogenizing influence.”
Of course, Calais only became a lacemaking capital after some British skulduggery: “Lace-making began to flourish here in the early 19th century, after three British weavers smuggled giant looms, called Leavers machines, across the English Channel to evade English restrictions on selling lace to the French. They set up in the textile-making town of Calais. The new industry blossomed, and the metallic click of the Leavers looms vibrated in Calais’s narrow streets day and night.” (Narrator voice: This prosperity was not to last.)
Emma Donoghue says, “My publishers initially choked when I offered them a novel about eight children, with four parents. One editor suggested I trim this down to a ‘big family of five kids.’ But by my standards (having grown up in an Irish Catholic clan in the 1970s), five was a puny total. Also, I needed the kids to outnumber the parents, to create enough pleasurable havoc. So we compromised: I culled the kids to seven.”
A promised selfie paradise turned pretty grim (generating an immeasurable amount of schadenfreude on Twitter and Instagram): “When guests arrived on the island of Great Exuma for the inaugural weekend, they found something closer to ‘Survivor’: grounds that were woefully lacking in the promised amenities, replaced instead by dirt fields, soggy tents and folding chairs.”
Whoops, and OITNB isn’t alone (nor is Netflix). “Rumors of a massive leak of Hollywood films and TV episodes have been circulating online for months, fed by purported screenshots of the footage and a copy of a proposed deal to delete the stolen material in return for tens of thousands of dollars in electronic currency.”
David Cote: “Nobody seems able to answer the question of how you can make theatre criticism more appealing, more clickworthy. One answer is to be a goddamn flamethrower every week, be a bomb thrower, to write scorched-earth reviews. Just be completely hedonistic and ego-driven in your criticism, become a master stylist, and treat everything in front of you onstage as fodder for your most delicious and vicious language. That’s one road. And people may enjoy your writing. The thing that’s sacrificed is any sense of a larger responsibility, and any aesthetic consistency.”
It’s … weird. “Does this game want us to consider ourselves, the soldiers, as conquerors? Or sufferers? And what of the casualties? There are minimal depictions of civilians getting killed (except a notable sequence involving a bombing raid from afar), so the game left me with the feeling that I was a hero for having killed all those brown men. I, after all, endured.”
The country has been undergoing a financial crisis for most of the past year and had to get a $5.5 billion IMF bailout in February. So the Mongolian government can no longer afford its portion of the expense of a visit by the full Philadelphia Orchestra (which would have been the first U.S. orchestra ever to perform there). A reduced contingent of musicians might travel to Mongolia, though even that isn’t certain. David Patrick Stearns has details.
If something is the best in the world, it ought not to depend on government subsidy or favourable regulation or legislation that discriminates against competitors. It ought to be able to stand on its own two feet, as Google has had to do since it was a start-up in September 1998 and as all surviving US media businesses have over the decades. But in the 21st century, just as in the mid-20th, the BBC seems not to understand the meaning of market forces.
“What we’re fighting for is for studios and networks not to be able to hold writers for six straight months [between seasons without pay]. You’re just in career limbo. The companies are making more money than ever before, and it just feels like the writers who are creating all this content are becoming less and less valuable.”
The madness began after I received a phone call from my brother, Christien, who worked for a luxury travel agency. “Great news,” he said. “I may have a client for the villa for New Year’s week. How’s the project coming?” My heart sank. More than two years in, and we were nearly out of money. We really could have benefited from a holiday rental. But there was no way we could be ready in time, I told him. “But it’s apparently a famous person,” my brother added. “Some architect,” he told me. “His name is I. M. Pei. Ever heard of him?” My brother was not a student of architecture, so the significance of this was lost on him.
One hundred separate versions have been published online by Editions at Play, a digital publisher that specialises in “books that cannot be printed”. You can read any of the 100 editions for free – but if you’re lucky enough to own one, prepare yourself for some creative destruction: each version can only be passed on to a new owner after it has been modified. Owners must add one word and remove two from each of the story’s 21 pages and are stopped from moving forward through the book until they’ve made the required interventions.
According to eHarmony, women who listed The Hunger Games among their favourite books saw the biggest boost to their popularity, while men who read Richard Branson’s business books were approached most often. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was a hit for both genders. But crucially, reading anything is a winning move; men who list reading on their dating profiles receive 19% more messages, and women 3% more.
“These days, the opera field itself is effectively sabotaging the argument that voice type comes first. Opera is increasingly trying to present itself as just another form of drama, a musical equivalent of spoken theater or film, with its cinematic broadcasts and emphasis on younger, more attractive performers. That argument is problematic: Opera isn’t, in fact, equivalent to a TV show and doesn’t hold up well in the comparison; its strengths lie elsewhere. But if you’re going to make that argument…”
We’ve always had gaps in our education, and I think it’s a little disingenuous to say, “Well, what about Schubert?” What about Tony Conrad? I teach the survey now, and I have never pretended to “cover” things. You don’t cover things when you do a survey, and I tell the students that: we’re going to talk about things that interest me – that’s one thing we’re going to do – and the other thing we’re going to do is learn some music that you might find interesting or appealing – or not. But coverage cannot be the goal, and was never the goal.
Despite a relative slowdown in the global art market, the online art market grew by 15 percent, to $3.75 billion, last year, according to Robert Read, head of art and private clients for Hiscox. The online art market’s share of the total art market also grew last year, from 7.4 percent in 2015 to 8.4 percent. While that may seem small, it is roughly equivalent to e-commerce sales’ share of the total retail market, which reached 8.3 percent last year, according to the U.S. census.
The arts assessment measured students’ knowledge based on their ability to understand and interpret historical pieces of art and music. One question, for example, asked eighth graders to identify the instrument at the beginning of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” (It’s a clarinet.) The report also looked at their creative abilities. In one exercise, students were asked to draw a self-portrait, which was then scored for attention to detail, composition and use of materials.
“Since our members are funding these films, they should be the first to see them,” the company said. “But we are also open to supporting the large theater chains, such as AMC and Regal in the US, if they want to offer our films, such as our upcoming Will Smith film Bright, in theaters simultaneous to Netflix. Let consumers choose.” At first glance, this might seem like a reversal: Netflix is open to putting its movies in theaters! Theaters win! When you look at it more closely, though, it’s clear that nothing’s changed. “We are also open to supporting the large theater chains,” the company says, and it’s hard not to note that word choice; it doesn’t exactly suggest the kind of partnership with distributors that exhibitors would like to have.