“A 2015 Pew Research Center poll reported that 40 percent of millennials think the government should be able to suppress speech deemed offensive to minority groups, as compared to only 12 percent of those born between 1928 and 1945. Young people today voice far less faith in free speech than do their grandparents. And Europe, where racist speech is not protected, has shown that democracies can reasonably differ about this issue.”
Archives for August 2017
Can an awards system recognize theatrical excellence and simultaneously accomplish something more? Friends responded to my post with suggestions including awards for community engagement and partnerships, physical or devised work, theater for young audiences, interdisciplinary collaboration, museum work, a rotating “surprise” category that changes every year, and even a category called “Anything that isn’t about or by dead white men.”
“Women in audio deal with unique challenges that come from working within a cross-section of two traditionally male-dominated fields. Because of the technical nature of their jobs, they experience issues similar to those many women in STEM—science, technology, engineering, and math—face, such as struggling for respect and being second-guessed by their peers. On top of that are the added pressures of the competitive and fickle music industry.”
“Few of us doubt that stealing is wrong, especially from the poor. But the accusation of “cultural appropriation” is overwhelmingly being used as an objection to syncretism — the mixing of different thoughts, religions, cultures and ethnicities that often ends up creating entirely new ones. In other words: the most natural process in a melting-pot country like ours.”
“Pamela Z is a collector of “found” sounds, memories, objects, and sensations. She can imagine a sound in nearly anything, a cabinet for example. It’s not unlike Philip Glass’s notion that music is innate in all things. Her studio is filled with found things, including old typewriters, rotary telephones, bits of technologica; plastic water jugs — a staple for sound artists; three gas masks from World War I, picked up for one of her gigs with a trio called The Cube Chicks; a floor-to-ceiling collection of LPs that could fill a record store. In the 1980s, she worked for five years at Tower Records in North Beach.”
The report will examine which conditions could be attached as a requirement of council funding at the festival to further these aims. This could result in minimum-hour contracts (as opposed to zero-hour contracts) and the living wage introduced at all council-supported venues, which include the Assembly Rooms.
“Even in a flop-prone industry, the sudden crash of the musical stands out, reflecting competing challenges for commercial theater: the benefits of star power, the hunger for diversity and the high costs of producing on Broadway. Add in Twitter, and things can get messy.”
“Degas, as seen by the model Pauline, is no stoic devotee of the Muses but a curmudgeon subject to sudden bouts of theatrical self-pity, always on the verge of collapsing into melancholy ruminations over his failing sight, his oncoming death. The artist famous for his deft public quips becomes, in private, a mealymouthed, repetitious prattler, retailing twenty-year-old anecdotes for the two-hundredth time.”
Andrew Katzenstein listens to the devotional songs Coltrane created for her California ashram – “a complex and sometimes befuddling blend of gospel, pop, rock, and Indian religious music. … The unexpected combination of styles and influences are held together by the passion and devotion of the congregation. As unusual as the ashram recordings might sound to listeners, they contain the music of a religious community that viewed these performances as a sacrament.”
“The recent rise of all-encompassing internet platforms promised something unprecedented and invigorating: venues that unite all manner of actors — politicians, media, lobbyists, citizens, experts, corporations — under one roof. These companies promised something that no previous vision of the public sphere could offer: real, billion-strong mass participation; a means for affinity groups to find one another and mobilize, gain visibility and influence. This felt and functioned like freedom, but it was always a commercial simulation.”
A pair of Berlin artists launched stusu (from “studio” and “sublet”) last year as “a website that culls together information on available studio spaces and ultimately makes it easier for artists to seek out inspiration abroad and create work in cities beyond their hometowns.”
“Since ancient times, humans have memorized and recited poetry. Before the invention of writing, the only way to possess a poem was to memorize it. Long after scrolls and folios supplemented our brains, court poets, priests and wandering bards recited poetry in order to entertain and connect with the divine. For individuals, a poem learned by heart could be a lifeline — to grapple with overwhelming emotion or preserve sanity amid the brutalities of prison and warfare.”
“Pratchett’s hard drive was crushed by a vintage John Fowler & Co steamroller named Lord Jericho at the Great Dorset Steam Fair, ahead of the opening of a new exhibition about the author’s life and work.” Don’t worry: this is exactly what the bestselling author specified for after his death.
“Local and national holidays are being celebrated with new vigour. … State media are boosting the use of Chinese medicine when people fall ill, wearing Han robes when they get married, and keeping fit by practising tai chi and other ancient sports. … By presenting himself as the defender of traditional values, [President Xi Jinping] hopes to harness the conservative forces in society. He also seeks to divert attention from the party’s own culpability in creating the supposed spiritual vacuum.”
“While Solzhenitsyn came up with the idea of The Red Wheel in the 1930s, he did not begin the first part, August 1914, until 1969. While the first and second – November 1916 – have previously been translated into English, the following six volumes have never been released in English before.”
“We asked 253 film critics – 118 women and 135 men – from 52 countries and six continents a simple: ‘What do you think are the 10 best comedies of all time?’ Films from any country made since cinema was invented were eligible, and BBC Culture did nothing to define in advance what a comedy is; we left that to each of the critics to decide.” (And by the way, Airplane! wuz robbed.)
Not really, indicates an analysis of the votes in the BBC’s critics’ poll of the 100 greatest movie comedies: while ranking may have differed a bit, the titles were largely similar (with a few unsurprising exceptions, such as Clueless versus Animal House).
In the BBC’s list of the 100 greatest movie comedies, the French would not go for Woody Allen, the Americas pulled for Airplane!, Eastern Europe liked Dr. Strangelove as much as the U.S. did, East Asia preferred silent movies, and Bollywood comedy didn’t translate beyond the Subcontinent.
“Each year up to 14 million people visit the 12th-century Paris landmark on an island in the Seine river. Building began about 850 years ago, but pollution and the passing of time have chipped off large chunks of stone.” Says the chief fundraiser for the repair project, “If we don’t do these restoration works, we’ll risk seeing parts of the exterior structure begin to fall. This is a very serious risk.”
“Company officials said they will try to reschedule ‘Poetry in Motion’ for a later date, but for now they just hope to begin the season with the planned premiere of Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s story ballet Mayerling on Sept. 21. As with so many other things across the devastated city this week, that will have to be a wait-and-see matter. The plan depends on the availability of the storm-damaged Wortham [Theater Center], whose basement floors and main stage flooded.”
“Pomerance wrote The Elephant Man for his theater company, Foco Novo, and it became one of the most successful plays to ever come out of London. Set in the Victorian era, it opened in April 1979 on Broadway at the Booth Theatre and went on to play 916 performances and capture the Tony Award for best play.”
“Jeffrey Herbst, president and chief executive of the Newseum, stepped down suddenly on Monday as the museum’ board announced a full-blown review of its long-troubled finances. The review could result in the sale of [its] landmark building on Pennsylvania Avenue,” to which it moved in 2008.
The museum in Gdańsk had become a political football well before it opened earlier this year. “On one side, you have the universalists, armed with their globalism, liberalism, and concerns for human rights. On the other, you have the nationalists, wielding their exceptionalism, isolationism, and often conservative religious values. These two narratives clash as they try to define polarized nations and their place in the world.”
The physical plant and climate control have been fixed up, the galleries have been reconfigured, and even the labels and wall text have been rethought.
“The sixth artistic director at the Rep, [Steven] Woolf, has held the position longer than anyone else. In that time, he came to represent the face of the theater – or at least, its colorful sweater. Thanks to radio commercials for new productions, he came to represent its voice as well.”
New York Festival of Song on a day of wine and roses
The New York Festival of Song is one of those distinctively urban pleasures: Its season is a series of hand-crafted programs often mixing European art song with great American popular music, pairing the right singer with the right music in exactly the right sequence. But I had to re-acquaint myself with NYFOS in the village of Orient on the far North Fork of Long Island after missing it for many years. … read more
AJBlog: Condemned to Music Published 2017-08-29
What’s In A Name: Cuneiform
Curious about the name of a small, imaginative jazz record company named Cuneiform, I asked Joyce Feigenbaum, the company’s publicist, who is married to the owner, how the label’s name came about. … read more
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2017-08-29
“This is an increase of 8.96% on last year’s figures, while the number of productions staged during the event rose by a more modest 3.95% to 3,398. The figures do not include footfall at the 686 free events in the official fringe programme or figures for the two free-fringe programmes not aligned with the official fringe.”
Memory may appear to be a reproduction of images, sounds, and even thoughts that can be stored in the brain in a manner analogous to the way information can be stored on a CD, but it is becoming increasingly evident that this is too limited an understanding.
Google, Goldman Sachs, and Medtronic are among the many leading firms that have introduced meditation and other mindfulness practices to their employees. Executives at these and other companies say meditation is not only useful as a stress-reduction tool but can also enhance creativity, opening doors where once there seemed to be only a wall.
“To answer this burning question, we turned to Raj Patel of the design and engineering consulting firm Arup Group and Kate Wagner of the viral architecture blog McMansion Hell. She’s also studying acoustics at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, synthesizing her interests in music and architecture. What did we learn?”