“In its new [Benjamin Franklin] Parkway location, the Barnes has met or exceeded virtually every revenue, fund-raising, and attendance projection made in 2010 before the move. More than 1.4 million visitors have made their way to the new Barnes, according to foundation officials. … ‘Membership,’ said Thomas Collins, executive director and president, ‘is off the charts.’ More than 17,000 memberships have been sold since the opening in 2012.”
Aisha Harris: “How are cinemas, TV networks, and classrooms rethinking how they present this historical epic and all-time box office king? And could it go the way of Hollywood’s original historical epic and first megablockbuster, 1915’s The Birth of a Nation, leaving it shown very rarely and almost exclusively in academic settings? To find out, I talked to theater managers, academics, television programmers, and fans. The answers I received were mixed, not least because Gone With the Wind is still big business.”
The complaints we hear over and over again are that European audiences are more open to the new and European institutions are better funded. Audi, who’s spent nearly three decades running the Dutch National Opera and came to the Armory in 2015, says that audiences over here, especially in New York, are hungry for good work from all over the world. The problem is getting that work to the States.
“Last year there were more than 140,000 applications for tickets to be in the 200-strong studio audience of what is often Ireland’s most watched television event of the year. Audience members get to see young Irish performers, enjoy the latest toys up close, and are guaranteed to leave with a large stash of goodies.”
One would think that in an era of immersive realities, opera would have tried to aim for higher levels of verisimilitude, would have become grittier and true to life, but in the age of cinema, the opposite happened. Twentieth-century opera became more amorphous, less plot-driven. Watch something like Nixon In China, with its listless, meandering scenes and droning, repetitive music, and you will start yearning for a king disguised as a peasant and a letter given to the wrong princess. Opera does not attempt real social commentary or naturalism well: it is a heightened reality, a dream. Opera is crazy and intense like dreaming, another heightened reality, and we often wake from dreams wishing we could enter them again.
“The real problem is much bigger than Rotten Tomatoes—it’s that so much of Hollywood is now fixated on capturing the widest audience possible with every film. Blockbuster action movies, superhero franchises, jolty horror pictures, and animated family films that can draw large crowds are the order of the day. Even mother!, which was light on actual scares but heavy on mood and allegory, was marketed as a horror movie in an attempt to pull viewers; theatergoers who felt misled by the advertising may have contributed to the F CinemaScore rating.”
“Her plays are staged almost twice as often as anyone else’s on the list, far ahead of venerated figures like Eugene O’Neill and August Wilson, who edged her for the top spot last year. (The survey excludes Shakespeare, America’s perennial favorite.) Although men still write three-quarters of the plays that get produced, Gunderson has built a national reputation with works that center on women’s stories. And, though most playwrights also teach or work in television, she has managed to make a living, in San Francisco, by writing for the stage.”
While the Tonhalle itself undergoes a major renovation, “the exiled orchestra can be seen in action for the next three years at the Maag Hall, part of an industrial complex in Zurich West … CHF10 million has been invested in the acoustics, but there are 300 fewer seats than in the Tonhalle, and one in five orchestra subscriptions has been cancelled.”
Or your basement, if you’re the producers of these immersive theatre nights in the Bay Area. What if you and the other 20 people there hate the show? Well, there’s food. “Preshow offerings include wine, cheese and charcuterie. Postshow a whole buffet is served.”
“For all its fame, there are many who ask if so-called the “Bilbao effect” is real, and if so, if it is easily repeatable. Was the Guggenheim Bilbao a unique combination of a project at the right time and in the right place—a great architect and daring museum combined with an unusually forward-looking regional government willing to invest? Have the reasons for its transformative effect been misunderstood, explaining why its model has been frequently imitated but its extraordinary success rarely replicated?”
“Sitting down, in a museum, can be an almost radical act: a refusal to flow along with the distracted crowd, idly passing by art as if it was just one more stream of visual enticement in a visually saturated world. A good sit is all about committing to the depth, not the breadth, of the art itself, seeing more by deciding to see less.” Philip Kennicott picks the finest spots in greater Washington to do just that.
“I don’t mean to depict our sensorium — the entire range and capacity of our sensory experience — as a pure state that has been defiled by light, noise, flavor and scent pollution; that would just be another version of the original-sin-and-fall narrative. I would argue rather that we have managed to turn the senses against themselves by pitting overwhelming light against lights, overpowering sound against sounds, intense flavor against flavors, penetrating aroma against aromas. In each case, the result is a marked simplification in the field of possible experiences — one or two stimuli will outshine, outsmell or outshout the rest.”
LA Times theater critic Charles McNulty: “We feed our minds and spirits as well our bodies. My way is theater. Yours might be movies, sports or church. It makes no difference. With gun regulation as irresponsibly lax as it is, we are all just a maniac away from being on the next casualty list.”
Peter Preston, who was editor of The Guardian for 20 years (1975-95): “If a film critic, say, has real value, then it’s in the build-up of recognition and trust between them and the reader. Week by week, you share the critic’s views and check them against your own cinema-going experience. … [Critics’] eye on the arts, day by day and week by week, adds richness and information to the mix. They have the possibility of authority that blogs or compilations in the Rotten Tomatoes style lack.”
Abuse, trolling, harassment, racism, misogyny—these are all real problems down in the comments, and they’re a symptom of wider problems: societal, yes, but also strategic. The current process goes like this: Journalist writes an article. Article is published. People write comments. Journalist peeks at the comments, and sees a lot of meanness and abuse (especially if they’re a woman, a person of color, or especially a woman of color). Journalist vows not to engage with such horrid readers. The organization listens to its journalists when they say that comments are worthless and puts fewer resources into them. The comments then get worse due to lack of engagement and strategy, leaving the space to a small number of argumentative types corralled by a tiny battled-hardened community team.
“Indianapolis City Ballet, founded in 2009 by the late Robert Hesse and now led by his son Kevin, presents an alternate paradigm: start with building an audience. After several attempts to sustain a professional company in Indianapolis failed, Hesse and his team are experimenting with a new model: a non-profit producing organization that seeks to bolster the city’s dance community by sponsoring events like gala performances, master classes and competitions.”
“ArtPrize Nine [audience] voters gave Battle Creek graphic designer Richard Schlatter the $200,000 Grand Prize for his 12-foot portrait of Abraham Lincoln made from about 24,500 pennies that bear Lincoln’s image. … Schlatter said he decided to create the portrait after he was mesmerized by the various shades of pennies he had accumulated.” (To see all the 2017 ArtPrize category winners, click here.)
“Checking phones or tablets for the next message, the latest tweet, a new Skype meeting request, the email we’re waiting for, has become for us the new fidgety, anticipatory normality. These devices, and the systems and knowledge to which they give us access, addict us to the (short-term) future. And ‘addict’ is not a ill-chosen word. Such technologies underline for us that even the most recent past is out-of-date, and might as well be forgotten.”
Familiar intellectual property has two advantages for a TV network. First, it’s already vetted. An editor with experience in science fiction has already made the sign of the IDIC over it and fired it out of a photon torpedo tube. Its characters, its world, and at least the skeleton of its plot live in the fictional universe.
The size and spectacle of the international gaming shows underline how the video game industry is less and less American-centric. The global games market is $105 billion, according to SuperData Research. Asia dominates with a 47 percent share, according to the video game researcher Newzoo, while North America makes up 25 percent and Latin America s 4 percent. Latin America, however, is growing the most quickly, according to Newzoo.
“The number of people using television in prime time has declined steadily in prime time over the last five years with the emergence of streaming video, especially among viewers under 35 years old. Among 18 to 49 age group, prime time viewing dropped 8% compared to premiere week last year.”
For example, No. 6: “China has all sorts of prohibitions related to superstitions. To Westerners, the gradations might seem ridiculous, but they’re real. They’re really superstitious about ghosts, so you can’t make a ghost movie. A monster is fine, though.”
“Opera North is great at delivering obscure fan references, classical music in-jokes and offering a creative approach to backstage insight. In recent years its online and offline communications have captured the spirit of life behind the curtain. When we work in the arts it’s easy to forget how special the view from the wings can be, and its campaigns for Kiss Me Kate, Eight Little Greats (which tours this autumn) and its season guides feature artistic photography opening up what’s usually unseen for its fans. And for those new to opera, exclusive access is a great way to welcome them into the club – it’s almost like you’re one of the team.”
“The public radio tradition that’s powered the recent podcast boom never invested much in children’s audio. But now that podcasting has allowed for endless shows on demand, audio makers are eager to get their content straight to children’s ears. And the technology that made podcasts possible – the smartphone – has also gifted its producers a golden sales pitch: Podcasts are being pushed as a guilt-free alternative to screen time, a more engaging option than zoned-out YouTube binging or hypnotizing mobile games.”
“The spots on the Hot 100 that aren’t occupied by rappers, DJs, or Imagine Dragons largely belong to interchangeable young men playing R&B for campfires: Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber of course, but also Charlie Puth, Shawn Mendes, and the second wave of One Direction solo efforts—Liam Payne, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson. The pose they strike is of the nice-guy seducer, the suave but puppy-eyed everyboy. It’s true that Cardi B and Taylor Swift have broken through lately with brash, campy cries of war. But it remains to be seen whether their success remains an outlier in an era when pop’s women have often needed to quiet down in order to be heard at all.”
The platform, designed by the New York studio HAWRAF, “lets users play around with font, text size, line spacing, and background color.” (There’s also a text-to-speech function and a mode with a typeface specially for people with dyslexia.) “When you click on the footnotes, located in tiny typography to the right of the main text, they overtake the main text so you can get a closer look. … A ‘focus mode’ blacks out most of the browser, keeping your wandering eyes from getting distracted.”
“The London-based company has become synonymous with a particular form of immersive theatre, where you are less of an audience member and more of a participant. Punchdrunk takes over a large building, such as an old office block, turns it into a meticulously decorated, multiroom stage set and sends theatregoers wandering through.”
“Scarcely past midday on a Monday lunchtime, a full 45 minutes before curtain up, the queue for the box office is already snaking on to the road. Inside Òran Mór, a spacious pub-cum-performance venue in Glasgow’s West End, the line of ticket holders is even longer. They are here for A Play, a Pie and a Pint, a lunchtime series launched by David MacLennan in 2004 and not so much a success as a phenomenon.”
Instead of burning down the customary system of releasing movies, Amazon is ready to become a full-fledged studio, equipped to handle every step in the life span of the films it creates and acquires. In the past, Amazon partnered with the likes of indie distributors Roadside Attractions, Bleecker Street and Lionsgate to support the rollout of its movies in theaters. But starting with Woody Allen’s “Wonder Wheel” in December, Amazon will begin distributing its own films and overseeing all parts of their theatrical campaigns.
Although many people don’t realize it yet, grocery shopping and cooking are in a long-term decline. They are shifting from a mass category, based on a daily activity, to a niche activity that a few people do only some of the time. Only 10% of consumers now love to cook, while 45% hate it and 45% are lukewarm about it. That means that the percentage of Americans who really love to cook has dropped by about one-third in a fairly short period of time.