Sitting as it does, awkwardly at the intersection of commerce, culture and mandated nation-building role, it is dangerous for the public broadcaster to think of itself as defining the country and its culture. A good portion of the Canadian population is oblivious to what the CBC does. When CBC executives talk about “inclusiveness,” which they do a lot, they need to remember those who are oblivious.
Archives for May 2017
“In Western Europe, support for the arts is in great part the result of centuries of patronage culture. Cultural policy there is as much the product of longe durée tradition as it is about the post-war concept of welfare. And for countries like France, the arts inform its self-conception as a great nation. In the 1980s, the French government appointed a minister for Rock and Roll, to try to fix the country’s flagging presence in that field. By contrast, private interest has always had a large stake in the cultural policy of the United States.”
“It’s hard to spend an hour in this antiseptic and bewildering store, as I did last week, and see it as an existential threat to anything. At best, it’s a bland attempt at brick-and-mortar retail. At worst, it reflects a company that’s grown so large—and so insanely profitable—that it doesn’t know what to do with itself.”
“We submitted a 300-page document for the Chinese. That was the second document. The first document, I think, was 100 pages.” What’s in those fat documents? Responses to a seven-page “request for evidence” from USCIS.
“It’s not easy to make political theater when American politics itself has been twisted into the format of a daily reality show. Trump won the presidency by blurring the line between TV spectacle and politics, and he has governed the same way, with policy choices of tremendous impact unfurled in multiday cable TV dramas.”
“The soaring number of new ebooks published in the Spanish markets (more than 50,000 in 2016), the growing importance of digital reading in the region, and the increasing role of the Internet as a distribution and marketing tool for print books, as well as ebooks and audiobooks, all lead to the assumption that the rapid evolution of the digital market will be reality in most Latin American countries by 2020.”
“This notion of language as a cultural virus is interesting and provocative. And quite possibly true. Certainly, in the vicinity of a modern human mind, language has this character. Language doesn’t emerge spontaneously, like arms or breasts or hair. Those whose access to language is blocked—for example, deaf children who are surrounded by people who speak but don’t sign—usually grow up with little or no language. But when these same children spend their days with others like themselves, the smallest spark of signed language flares and catches through the group as if through dry grassland. Or, if you will, like the measles.”
“The self-esteem craze changed how countless organizations were run, how an entire generation — millenials — was educated, and how that generation went on to perceive itself (quite favorably). As it turned out, the central claim underlying the trend, that there’s a causal relationship between self-esteem and various positive outcomes, was almost certainly inaccurate.”
“As the spotlight fades, I’m seeing and hearing more and more agreement that it’s been a down year for the festival, in more ways than one. This is reassuring, but not very helpful: More than usual, I’m left wondering what to take away from all of it. What can I confidently tell people to look forward to? Is there a single new awards concern to be had? Which Cannes film can I recommend to my mom?”
The Libra Foundation has since October spent $750,000 buying a dozen houses, a community center and a general store along Monson’s main drag — as well as a farm on North Guilford Road, said Erik K. Hayward, Libra’s senior vice president. The plan is to convert the houses into artist residences and the center into studio space. The store would sell art and produce from farms in Piscataquis County, which the U.S. Census Bureau rated as Maine’s poorest in 2015.
“Debating whether other beings are conscious can sometimes feel like an unimportant academic exercise. But it’s not. The conclusion we reach determines how we treat animals – our livestock, our research subjects, and our neighbors in cities and other places we live.”
Jukedeck is a program that enables users to choose the length of a piece of music, its style, the instruments featured and even climactic moments to heighten emotion. “Given what we know about how music’s put together, why can’t computers write music yet?”
“As a new era of irrationalism dawns on humankind, with corruption and mendacity becoming a more or less openly avowed modus operandi of all shades of government, the Frankfurt analysis urges itself upon us once more.”
“Americans are more static: the proportion moving across state lines is half what it was in the 1950s and 1960s. They are more less entrepreneurial: the share of under-30s who own a business has fallen by 65 per cent since the 1980s. And they are less innovative: the country creates 25 per cent fewer high-class patents per worker than it did in 1999.”
“Here there is no question of a certain person making certain mistakes in certain circumstances. Here we have an across-the-board dismissal of the very idea of progress or improvement, or engineered happiness. So why do we, or some of us, read such material, and read it with appetite?” Tim Parks has an answer.
“The dentist had the sharp end of the blade inches from my face. It was only then that he chose to tell me what he was seconds away from doing to my mouth. ‘There will be some tethering,’ he said. I froze. Tethering? “
“All the Warners execs walked out without a word at the first screening. They said: ‘There’s never been a film in the history of Hollywood without women in it that made a lot of money.’ But it made $46m, the No 5 film that year. And it’s entered the language, as poor Ned Beatty can testify. Wherever he went, people would say: ‘Squeal like a pig!’ It went on for years.”
A lot of criticism has greeted the Albee estate’s decision to withhold the rights to perform Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? from a tiny theater in Portland that had cast a black actor as Nick. Thing is, though realism (the play is set in 1960s New England) was Albee’s stated rationale, he did not consider Virginia Woolf entirely naturalistic at first, and he did once permit a black Martha. What changed? Mark Harris has a theory – and a suggestion.
Basically, the fear is the same as that of public speaking – except, as Christine Ro explains, that one of the best tools for combating the fear of public speaking isn’t available for audience participation.
“In an act of protest” against the installation of Fearless Girl, which he considers a corporate marketing stunt, artist Alex Gardega “has created a small sculpture of a urinating dog to sit beside the popular feminist sculpture, which was meant to be a response to the Charging Bull sculpture. The Pissing Pug statue urinates directly on the girl’s left foot.”
“As Mr. Gilbert prepares to leave, it is clear from interviews that things did not go quite as planned. … And it’s in doubt whether some factions of the organization really want change after all: The pathbreaking new-music happenings that marked Mr. Gilbert’s early tenure have been scaled back in scope and daring in recent years because of what he called, in a recent conversation in his studio at Geffen Hall, ‘financial pressures and, I would say, philosophical differences.'”
“[He] has expanded the mind-set of the Philharmonic – the major legacy of his tenure. His artistic priorities now seem embedded in the orchestra’s identity. It must champion contemporary music. … It must continue to appoint dynamic performers as artists in residence and give them a say in programming. It must regularly leave Lincoln Center to perform unusual programs in spaces large and small, from National Sawdust in Brooklyn to the massive Park Avenue Armory.”
“As audio fiction seems to be having a moment, in the realm of podcasts, Audible plans to draw from the vast pool of young writers to create one- or two-person plays. They will be available beginning late this year, the company said.”
Nina Stoller-Lindsey tries another angle in defense of the NEA: “At first glance, eradicating this cultural hub may seem to have little to do with the military – but giving soldiers access to the arts is one of the most effective ways we can help them both prepare and recover from the demands of their duty. In eliminating this agency, Trump would be doing a huge disservice to them and to the veterans he promised to support.”
“Restorers on Tuesday put the finishing touches on a seven-year restoration of two underground burial rooms at the Catacombs of Domitilla, which revealed long-hidden frescoes commissioned some 1600 years ago by the city’s bakers.”
Actually, not all such depictions sported miniature manhoods. But most of the surviving ones do – and that was a deliberate choice, based on both aesthetic and philosophical ideals. Kerry Sullivan explains. (And no, the likenesses weren’t necessarily meant to be realistic.)
“The Australian Ballet has begun sharing the costs of some productions with companies overseas in an attempt to rein in an operating deficit which blew out by $2.5 million in 2016.”
“The nation’s richest performing arts company posted a $4.1 million surplus from its 2016 program of 158 main-stage performances and numerous other activities, with a new production celebrating the life of dancer Nijinsky emerging as the season’s hit.”
A new lens on ‘excellence’
Arts initiatives that seek social change often face an identity crisis: They are driven by passion, purpose, meaning, and making, but they are generally described and evaluated by more traditional measures. Worse than the challenge … read more
AJBlog: The Artful Manager Published 2017-05-30
Paul Desmond, Gone 40 Years
Several Rifftides readers have sent messages reminding me that Paul Desmond died 40 years ago today. Thanks to all of them. I hadn’t forgotten. … read more
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2017-05-30
If you’re an architect in the right place and time, you don’t change the world but you do get to build something that reflects the changes that are happening.