Today, biology is a powerful explanatory force for much human behaviour, though it alone cannot account for horror. Much as the neurosciences are an exciting new tool for human self-understanding, they will not explain away our brutishness. Causal accounts of the destruction that humans inflict on each other are best provided by political history – not science, nor metaphysics.
Archives for July 2018
“A story may be things that happened, embellished for interest, but that’s not a book. Many stories don’t get good until the end. Some stories — true ones even — are hard to believe. Other stories are just too short, don’t have enough tension, or frankly aren’t that interesting. The stories we tell that enrapture our friends and families may be extraordinarily boring to those who don’t know us. Those stories are not a book.”
When the ensuing police investigation ended in 2016 with no charges, they sued. Today more than 60 former RWB dancers, now adult women, have joined a class-action lawsuit that was certified in July and is seeking $75 million in damages from photographer Bruce Monk and the ballet company.
Nonprofit organizations must be service-oriented to better the lives of those who cannot better it on their own. Using that as a jumping-off point, I believe that every single person has the right to succeed. Yet a whole slew of people cannot act on that right without being blocked. Therefore, if I should choose to run another nonprofit arts organization before my mortal coil shuffle happens, our group would happen to produce plays. But, everything we would do would be for the purpose of connecting and improving the effectiveness of those with expertise and working service portals — those with access to a proverbial “underground railroad.”
Theatre tax relief was introduced in 2014, offering qualifying productions a reduction in corporation tax of 20%, or 25% if they were touring. It is among a suite of tax incentives offered by the Government to the creative industries, with other beneficiaries including film, video games and high-end television. Last year there were 910 successful claims for theatre tax relief, with both large and small productions benefiting. About half of the relief awarded (£39m) went to claims for over £500k, of which there were 40. At the other end of the scale, more than a third of the claims (330) were for amounts of less than £10,000.
“I bring better news from the campaign to abolish fees for images of works in British public collections. Birmingham Museums Trust has decided to go for “open access”, the first major British museum to do so. In a pioneering move, the trust will make images of copyright-expired works of art freely available to use under a CCO Creative Commons licence.”
“Because English is increasingly the currency of the universal, it is difficult to express any opposition to its hegemony that doesn’t appear to be tainted by either nationalism or snobbery. … [Yet English] draws the same circle Humboldt described around its speakers as each of the other 6,000 human languages. The difference is that we have mistaken that circle for the world.”
History is littered with more consequential mistranslations — erroneous, intentional or simply misunderstood. For a job that often involves endless hours poring over books or laptop screens, translation can prove surprisingly hazardous.
Ann Hirsch is a video artist who created a YouTube persona that attracted many thousands of viewers and got picked up by 4chan. Cathy Nardone just wanted to be on TV; she had done one reality series and was itchin’ for more. As part of Slate‘s “Decoder Ring” podcast series, Willa Paskin looks at what happened when the two women assumed fake personas to get on VH!’s Frank the Entertainer in a Basement Affair. (audio)
The cliché of fans of these genres being lonely geeks is clearly mistaken. No doubt they have difficulties with relationships like everyone else. But it apparently helps to have J.R.R. Tolkien or George R.R. Martin as your unofficial couples counselor.
“The romantic part of it is that I want to leave something to the people I’ve worked with over so many years. I want people to have work for a little while longer after I’m gone. [And] it’s way more fun for me than rehearsing repertory.”
Part of what looking across the genres shows you is that the big-selling, celebrity-driven mainstream of just about every style of music offers very little social or economic critique. If that’s what you’re looking for, look to the edges.
Scott Timberg: “During the Great Depression, which saw widespread homelessness and US unemployment reaching 25 percent, popular films showed the very rich drinking cocktails in formal dress; cheery songs like ‘Pennies From Heaven’ charted. And in the post-2008 decade of recession, instability, and income inequality, blockbuster acts spent a lot of time telling us the incredible time they were having. The real story of the past decade has been harder to hear.”
The outgoing president of the San Diego Youth Symphony explains how he helped rebuild music ed in San Diego area schools: “We started with violins and cellos and violas and double bass. Actually we put third graders on double bass. We started that because we had asked the leaders in the community and the principals of the schools what instruments would be the right instruments to start with and the response we got was We have a tradition of string instruments in our community. We believe that there would be a strong response to string instruments. So when we first started this was 2010 we saw that kids were simply behaving better in their classes and as a result there was less disruption in the class. And that meant everybody was learning better in the class.”
At its annual conference last month, Theatre Communications Group asked four leading figures – Howard Shalwitz, artistic director of Woolly Mammoth in D.C.; Lisa Portes, head of directing at DePaul University’s Theatre School; Jack Reuler, artistic director of Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis; and Mica Cole, repertory producer for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival – to answer that question. Here are their responses.
“Just as plays have used fight consultants for decades, both for the safety of the actors onstage and to ensure convincing portrayals, now the title of intimacy director, choreographer or consultant is appearing more often in the credits. ‘As an actor, I can’t tell you the number of times where I’ve been told by a director, ‘So, kiss there,’ without any further direction or insight on where a person’s hands go, who initiates, who stops, how long does it go?’ says Emily Sucher, [an] intimacy consultant.”
“Her husband, Benny Fredriksson, took his life after Sweden’s Aftonbladet printed anonymous accusations that he was a ‘little Hitler’ who bullied and terrorised staff during his 16 years as head of Stockholm’s Kulturhuset Stadsteatern, the city’s leading arts and culture centre. The newspaper interviewed 40 people who claimed he had turned the centre into his own personal ‘dictatorship’, forced women to rehearse naked and pressed a woman to either have an abortion or forfeit a role.”
“An American Family, a PBS series created by filmmaker Craig Gilbert, chronicled the Loud family of Santa Barbara, Calif. — Bill, Pat and their five children — for seven tumultuous months. … In the course of the series, the family home almost burned down in a wildfire, the children, ranging in age from 13 to 20, tested their freedom, and Bill and Pat struggled with a marriage that unraveled to the breaking point — all in full view and judgment of the world.”
“Legions of museum staff at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) are racing to meet deadlines as the New York City institution undergoes a $450 million renovation and expansion, its second major overhaul in two decades. But due to stalled union negotiations over issues such as raises for longtime employees, healthcare costs, and job security for entry-level curators, more than 250 of them have been working without a contract since May 20th and are inching closer to going on strike for the first time since 2000, when the museum was about to close for its previous expansion project and significantly reduce its workforce with little guarantee that past employees would be hired back.”
“The average compensation for the music directors of 64 American ensembles … [has] topped $600,000 for the first time.” For the 2015-16 season, nine music directors were paid more than $1 million; Jaap van Zweden in Dallas and Riccardo Muti in Chicago made more than $3 million each.
“On Friday evening, the New York chapter of AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, more commonly known by its acronym, ACT UP, staged a protest-cum-performance at the Whitney Museum, alleging that the Manhattan institution’s current career retrospective of the late artist and writer David Wojnarowicz fails to connect his legacy of rageful AIDS activism to the ongoing battle against the epidemic.”
“Walt Disney and 21st Century Fox shareholders on Friday voted in favor of a $71.3 billion deal, in which Disney will acquire large parts of Fox, including the 20th Century Fox film and TV studios, Fox’s entertainment cable networks and its international assets.”
“A record half a million people went to the Louvre’s Eugène Delacroix blockbuster, which is headed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the fall. The survey brings together 180 works that span the French painter’s career. With nearly 540,000 visitors, it is the busiest show in the history of the Paris museum.”
The walls of the structure, which dates to the second century, included niches for storing several thousand scrolls. Access to the ruins will be preserved when the construction project that unearthed them is complete.
“The £8.8m budget cuts for 2018/19 extend the ongoing decline in [local] councils’ cultural spending, which has fallen by roughly £48m over the past five years. … Several large councils have cut their culture budgets entirely. This does not necessarily mean they have turned their backs on the arts. Some have transferred responsibility for culture to an independent entity, while others are balancing their budgets with raised income. A few that once allocated money for the arts now plan to turn a profit from cultural activities.”
“Ossadnik was a principal dancer with the German National Theater from 1987 to 1991, after which he danced in France with the Ballet Theatre de Bordeaux from 1991 to 1995. Since moving to the United States in 1995, he has worked with various companies across the country and maintains a relationship with the Balanchine Trust.” For the last decade, he was ballet master at Ballet Idaho.
“Oboes and bassoons are generally not known at all in schools. They might have picture on the wall but they haven’t seen them in the flesh. This has been reflected in the massive falling off of the number of children learning them. The sheer physical size of the instruments, the complications of the reeds, and the expense of lessons has led to these instruments being sidelined.”
A recent internet trend is inspiring drivers all over the world to jump out of moving vehicles and dance in the street while a friend in the passenger seat films, and now transpiration officials and law enforcement are starting to speak out against the dangerous fad.
Is the wildly popular “Hamilton,” unveiled to the world in 2015, a classic? Do we know yet if it is a transcendent touchstone of American culture, in the manner of a Sinatra, a Sondheim, or even a Dolly Parton? Does it merit this recognition before, say, Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” or Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun” or Duke Ellington’s jazz compositions? Surely not. In this sense, the Kennedy Center is taking a risk with its long game, and messing with the mission of the Honors. Which is to say that the Honors have long sought to set in stone artistic achievement — not be part of the original, taste-making plaster.
When we turn on a movie or when we pick up a book, are we hoping that the movie or the book is good or are we hoping that the artist who made it is good? Run through your list of favorite movies or novels or paintings, then ask yourself what initially drew you to them. Was it the quality of the art or the quality of the artist’s character? Most people, if they are honest with themselves, will probably acknowledge that it’s the former, but that doesn’t mean that an artist’s character has no effect on how we see their art.