ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas


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)

Lee Breuer, Experimental Stage Director, Dead At 83

"A tenacious outsider who refused his sole Tony Award nomination — for his biggest hit and only Broadway show, the Sophocles adaptation The Gospel at Colonus — Mr. Breuer flourished in the scrappier realm of Off Off Broadway, even as the scale of his works and ambitions took him to larger stages, including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Delacorte Theater in Central Park and the Comédie-Française in Paris." - The New York Times

IRS: Executors Undervalued Prince’s Estate By $80 Million

The IRS determined that Prince’s estate is worth $163.2m, overshadowing the $82.3m valuation submitted by Comerica Bank & Trust, the estate’s administrator. The discrepancy primarily involves Prince’s music publishing and recording interests, according to court documents. - The Guardian

Frida Kahlo Has Become An Icon – At The Expense Of Her Art?

Her claims to eminence were those of someone who as a woman of her time, and disabled too, needed to find ways to make herself heard. It is Kahlo’s supporters, trumpeting her — rather than name-checking her — as a martyr or mater dolorosa to everything from feminism, racial and sexual fluidity to anti-colonialism and anti-capitalism, that do her a great disservice. - The Critic

John Outterbridge, Sculptor Of Cast-Offs And Inspirational Arts Mentor, 87

Outterbridge, also an influential (and "magical") arts administrator and educator, was a master of the assemblage, using the sculptures to tell stories about history and culture. "In castoffs there are profound treasures. ... That’s what soul food is about. Chitterlings and pig feet are all about the notion that, as a people, we’ve taken the scraps, the castoffs, and made them into something so tasty that one can’t help but suck right down to the bones." - The New York Times

How A 65-Year-Old Actor Became An Instagram Maven

Leslie Jordan wasn't planning any of this, not the 5.5 million followers or the media attention. But, hey, lockdown. "Out of boredom, he began sharing 'silly' pieces of content like his 'Pillow Talk' series, where he snuggles up with a pillow and tells comfort food tales of Hollywood; videos of him dancing to Lisa Rinna’s aerobics class or with his cats; and Sunday sessions of him singing hymns with songwriter and producer Travis Howard. And well, s—!, as Jordan likes to say. It didn’t take long for his sweet Southern charm to sweep the nation." - Los Angeles Times

Marshall McKay, Who Steered Autry Museum Toward The West’s True Diversity, Has Died Of Covid At 68

McKay was one of a kind, a leader "who helped secure economic independence for the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation near Sacramento, and whose deep support of cultural causes led to his becoming the first Indigenous chairman on the board of the Autry Museum of the American West," and so much more. - Los Angeles Times

Joan Micklin Silver, Director Of Crossing Delancey, 85

Silver had to forge her own way in the 1970s and 1980s, including with her first feature, Hester Street. "The 1975 independent film ... was the story of a Jewish immigrant couple in the 1890s. The low-budget black and white film, in Yiddish with English subtitles, proved a hard sell to studios." But it won rave reviews, made money, and earned Carol Kane, who was 21 at the time, an Oscar nomination. - Variety

Adal Maldonaldo, Photographer Of The Puerto Rican Diaspora, 72

Maldonado's family moved from Puerto Rico to New Jersey and then to the Bronx when he was a teenager. "The experience left him with a sense of displacement that would be the driving theme of his art and make him a quintessential 'Nuyorican' — one who straddles New York and Puerto Rico and feels entirely at home in neither." - The New York Times

Claude Bolling, Jazz And Classical Pianist, 90

Bolling's fusion of jazz and classical made him the most popular pianist, composer, and bandleader in Europe for a time. "A devotee since childhood of Duke Ellington, Fats Waller and other eminences of American jazz, Mr. Bolling grew up listening to their music on the radio until World War II intervened. 'Jazz was all but banned by the Nazis in my country,' he told the Hartford Courant. 'So I got most of my jazz from 78 rpm recordings.' Mr. Bolling said Ellington took him in 'as part of his family' when they met in the 1960s, by which time the Frenchman had embarked on his career as a bandleader." - Washington Post

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