ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas


Mary Catherine Bateson, Author Of ‘Composing A Life’ And Daughter Of Margaret Mead, 81

Bateson, an anthropologist like her famous parents Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, had a busy and famously documented life. "Still, it wasn’t her babyhood, her lineage or her scholarship — an expert on classical Arabic poetry, she was as polymathic as her mother — that brought Dr. Bateson renown; it was her 1989 book Composing a Life, an examination of the stop-and-start nature of women’s lives and their adaptive responses — 'life as an improvisatory art,' as she wrote." - The New York Times

Howard Johnson, Pioneering Virtuoso Of Jazz Tuba, Dead At 73

"Before Johnson, in instances wherein the tuba was part of a jazz arrangement, it was typically confined to bass parts. Johnson demonstrated a prowess that allowed him to play melodic lines, even lead parts. … He was a featured player in the Mingus, Carla Bley, and Gil Evans big bands; he also put in time with Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra (of which Bley was the music director). In 1975 he became a founding member of the Saturday Night Live Band." - JazzTimes

Robert Cohan, Who Brought Contemporary Dance To Great Britain, Dead At 95

"A New Yorker who performed with Martha Graham's dance company, often partnering Graham herself, Cohan moved to London where, in 1967, he became the first artistic director of the venue The Place, as well as the London Contemporary Dance School and the company London Contemporary Dance Theatre. His partnership with the founder of those organisations, Robin Howard, changed the face of dance in the UK and brought growing audiences to bold new explorations of movement that stretched beyond ballet." He was still teaching and choreographing at age 93. - The Guardian

New Memoir’s Accusations of Incest Rattle French Intelligentsia And Its Culture Of Silence

In the book, La familia grande, prominent attorney Camille Kouchner, the daughter of Bernard Kouchner, former foreign minister and co-founder of Doctors Without Borders, says that her stepfather — political scientist and well-known pundit Olivier Duhamel, chairman (until last week) of the body that oversees the renowned Paris university Sciences Po — sexually abused her twin brother for two years beginning when they were 13. What's more, she says she and her brother, twenty years later, told their mother and a number of the family's famous friends, and no one said a word or took their side. - Forbes

Jazz Pianist Frank Kimbrough Dead At 64

"Casual of gesture but deeply focused in demeanor, had an understated style that could nonetheless hold the spotlight in trio settings, or fit slyly into Schneider's 18-piece big band. In many ways, his playing reflected the Romantic, floating manner of his first jazz influence, Bill Evans. But his off-kilter style as both a player and a composer also called back to two of his more rugged bebop-era influences: Herbie Nichols and Thelonious Monk." - The New York Times

Author Ved Mehta, 86

Known for a 12-volume autobiography and more than a dozen more books, many of which got their start as New Yorker articles (he was a staff writer for decades), he had a carefully honed prose style full of vivid description — despite the fact that he had been blind from age 3. (His sense of hearing was said to be extraordinary.) - The New York Times

Patricia Loud, Matriarch Of America’s First Reality TV Family, Dead At 94

"Ms. Loud was a California mother of five. She drank, she plotted her divorce, she adored, and accepted, her openly gay son. She did it all in Santa Barbara and all on camera — in 1973. Loving, boisterous, witty, resilient and sometimes angry and hurt, she did not act like most women on television at the time. But she was ostensibly not acting at all. She was the first reality television star on the first reality show" — An American Family, aired on PBS — "and she paid a price for breaking new ground." - The New York Times

After 43 Years, Chicago Tribune Arts Critic Howard Reich Retires

He reflects on his career and (in typical fashion) leaves readers with a basketful of music, book and video recommendations. - Chicago Tribune

Author Jacqueline Woodson Gets A Lot Done, But How?

The MacArthur Fellow, who has also won the National Book Award and lives with her partner and two children in Brooklyn, is building Baldwin Arts, an artists colony for writers, composers, and visual artists of color. Lots of free time there, right? "We all find our space. In my bubble, I’m working on a book or a screenplay, going back and forth between the two. I really do try to find that sweet spot, those four or five hours a day of uninterrupted writing time." - The Cut

Carol Johnson, Whose Landscape Architecture Transformed The Country, 91

Johnson, who was also known for her public housing project designs, became famous for her "large-scale public projects, which often involved environmental remediation. For the Mystic River State Reservation, a nature preserve in Eastern Mass., a commission she received in the 1970s, she transformed a toxic landfill into a public park. The John F. Kennedy Park along the Charles River in Cambridge, Mass., had once been an oil-soaked storage site for train cars before Ms. Johnson’s firm took it on in the early 80s." - The New York Times

Michael Apted, Director Of Coal Miner’s Daughter And The 7-Up Series, 79

Apted's series - the latest, 63-Up, came out in 2019 - was only one project from the director of many movies, including Gorillas in the Mist and The World Is Not Enough. But the British director referred to the Up documentaries as "the most important thing I have ever done." Last year, he said that "The series was an attempt to do a long view of English society, ... The class system needed a kick up the backside." - The Guardian (UK)

Neil Sheehan, 84, NYT Vietnam Reporter Who Got The Pentagon Papers

"Mr. Sheehan, the son of impoverished Irish-immigrant dairy farmers, graduated from Harvard University and served in the Army before joining the United Press International wire service. Reporting from Saigon in the early 1960s, he became known as one of the “fearless threesome” of Vietnam War correspondents." - The New York Times

Why Are A Bunch Of Teens Convinced That Helen Keller Wasn’t Deaf-Blind?

Blame TikTok and the pathologies of social media in the age of fake news. A couple of (so-called) satirical videos were posted last year on the app; teens picked up on them and made their own vids joining in; as #helenkellerisfake and #helenkellerhateclub got millions of views, the facts that Keller was world-famous for what she achieved and died only 53 years ago got lost. ("Whaddya mean, this blind and deaf chick went to college and wrote books and flew a plane? Puh-leeze lol lol.") Now that the grownups have found out about this nonsense, though, the pushback has been righteous. - Newsweek

Ellen Burstyn On Her Fame (She’s Been *Very* Fortunate)

"It was never really my intention to be a movie star," says the actress, who's probably about to get her seventh Oscar nomination at age 88. "I've never been one of those celebrities who got chased down the street by shouting throngs. People are always very nice to me. It hasn't been at all unpleasant." - The Guardian

Novelist Eric Jerome Dickey Dead At 59

" was an aspiring actor and stand-up comic who began writing fiction in his mid-30s and shaped a witty, conversational and sometimes graphic prose style. It brought him a wide readership through such novels as Sister, Sister and Naughty or Nice and through his Gideon crime fiction series, which included Sleeping With Strangers and Resurrecting Midnight." - Yahoo! (AP)

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