The CIA launched its Twitter account with self-mockery; the U.S. State Dept. vetted The Interview; Obama’s best promotion of the new healthcare law as with Zack Galafianikis, and he was funnier than the pro comedian at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner – on the night Navy SEALs got Osama Bin Laden, no less. “Comedy [has been] stolen from the professional jokesters by their traditional targets and became, unexpectedly, the new language of power, policy, and politics.”
We’re In A New Golden Age Of Comedians
“There has never been a better time to be a comedian: The talent pool is broad, deep, and more diverse than ever before; a new generation of passionate fans is supporting experimental work; and there are countless ways (online, onscreen, in your earbuds, at live shows) for new voices to be heard and — not always a given when it comes to the internet — make a living. It’s a peak that hasn’t been seen since the first comedy boom, which lasted from 1979 to about 1995, and was defined by two stages.”
Why Our Presence On Earth Matters
“A cognitive scientist and a German philosopher walk into the woods and come upon a tree in bloom: What does each one see? And why does it matter? While that may sound like the set-up to a joke making the rounds at a philosophy conference, I pose it here sincerely, as a way to explore the implications of two distinct strains of thought – that of cognitive science and that of phenomenology, in particular, the thought of Martin Heidegger, who offers a most compelling vision of the ultimate significance of our being here, and what it means to be fully human.”
The Weirdest Musical Instruments
“As a radical new two-string violin goes on display in New York, Clemency Burton-Hill looks at some more odd instruments, from the octobass to the theremin.”
How One English City’s Arts Venues Survived Savage Cuts
“There were howls of protest in 2012 when Newcastle City Council said it would be the first British city to scrap funding for theatres, galleries and other arts venues. A compromise was found, and venues are now finding new ways to survive.”
When Arts Donors Get Too Much Control
“I have observed over the past 10 years, as the need for major donors has grown, that when one donor provides a substantial percentage of total money raised, too many beneficiary organizations are ceding far too much authority to that donor.”
Radio France Network In Turmoil As Strike Enters Third Week
“Radio France, an umbrella group for several stations, including France Inter, France Info and France Culture, is 90% state funded through licence fees. After announcing a projected budget deficit of €21.3m (£15.6m) for this year, there are fears of widespread redundancies amid threats of outsourcing production and cleaning contracts.”
Mary Clarke, Doyenne Of London Dance Critics, Dead At 91
“An article in Dancing Times in December 1943 eventually led to her editing that journal for 45 years, and to serving as the Guardian‘s dance critic for 17 years. There were books, too, and she became one of the most influential writers on dance during the second half of the 20th century.”
There Should Be Time Limit On Claims For Nazi-Looted Art, Says Vienna Museum Director
Klaus Albrecht Schröder of the Albertina Museum: “If we don’t set a time limit of around 100 years after the end of the Second World War, then we should ask ourselves why claims regarding crimes committed during the First World War should not still be valid; why we don’t argue anymore about the consequences of the 1870-1871 Franco-Prussian war?”
Brecht’s Epic Theatre And “RuPaul’s Drag Race”
Nadine Friedman: “On RuPaul’s Drag Race, every capitalist wink to iTunes and each meta-musical number conjures Brecht’s Epic Theatre, teaching that pop culture zeitgeists can be fronts for transformative ideas about society. Drag Race, and its role in creating more intersectional media, stimulates what Brecht called for nearly a century ago through his V-effekt: “a desire for understanding, a delight in changing reality’.”
Michael Rush, Director Who Led Rose Art Museum Through Deaccessioning Fight, Dead At 66
Following the successful struggle to keep Brandeis University from closing the Rose and selling off its collection, Rush went on to become founding director of the Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University.
“The Wiz” To Be Performed Live On NBC, Then Eases On Down To Broadway
“On Dec. 3, a live version of The Wiz will make its debut on the network, produced in partnership with Cirque du Soleil’s theatrical division, which will then take it to Broadway for the 2016-17 season.”
Court Orders Turkish President To Pay Damages For Insulting Artist’s Work
Four years ago, when he was still prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan described a peace monument by sculptor Mehmet Aksoy near the Turkish-Armenian border as a “monstrosity.” Under libel laws that Erdoğan has been quick to use himself against critics, he was ordered to pay Aksoy 10,000 lire (about $3,800). The president is appealing.
When People Were Scared Of Computers
“In the early 1980s, the age of the personal computer had arrived and ‘computerphobia’ was suddenly everywhere. … [The subject] came up in magazines, newspapers, computer training manuals, psychology studies, and advertising copy.”
When The Medieval World Had Robots
“Throughout the Latin Middle Ages we find references to many apparent anachronisms, many confounding examples of mechanical art. Musical fountains. Robotic servants. Mechanical beasts and artificial songbirds. Most were designed and built beyond the boundaries of Latin Christendom, in the cosmopolitan courts of Baghdad, Damascus, Constantinople and Karakorum. Such automata came to medieval Europe as gifts from foreign rulers, or were reported in texts by travellers to these faraway places.”
The English Language Stinks At Describing Smells
For instance, observes linguist Asifa Majid, there’s a Southeast Asian language that has a dozen different words that denote specific odor characteristics. Leaving aside words that refer to specific substances with particular scents (e.g., cinnamon, sulfur, burning rubber) English has – “musty”.
Top Posts From AJBlogs 03.30.15
Extolling Viñoly: Q&A with Bill Griswold on Cleveland’s New Additions & How He’ll Pay for Them
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2015-03-30
Very Sad Breaking News
AJBlog: Real Clear Arts Published 2015-03-30
Revisiting the Music of Elliott Smith
AJBlog: CultureCrash Published 2015-03-30
Color Surfing, Predonimant.ly
AJBlog: blog riley [ssba_hide]
Deadline Apologizes, Sort Of, For That Terrible ‘Ethnic Casting’ Article
“Considering how much uproar the piece ignited, the apology is pretty weak, with co-editor in chief Mike Fleming Jr. seeming to place a lot of blame on the headline, which ‘created a context from which no article could recover.'”
The Man Succeeding Jon Stewart Is A South African Comedian Who’s Been On ‘The Daily Show’ Three Times
“The appointment of [Trever] Noah, a newcomer to American television, promises to add youthful vitality and international perspective to ‘The Daily Show.’ It puts a nonwhite performer at the head of this flagship Comedy Central franchise, and one who comes with Mr. Stewart’s endorsement.”
How Two Theatre Managers Became Impresarios Across The West End And Broadway
“With backstage space in the 123-year-old building being severely limited, and no spare cash available to rent an office, Ms Squire instead parked the car outside the theatre, and worked from there. So while having to dodge Westminster City Council’s enthusiastic traffic wardens, she would sit in the driver’s seat and do all the paperwork.”
What’s Realistic About Adolescence? Let Twitter Tell You
“Even those YA novels which aren’t [fantasy] deal with teenage lives that are considerably more exciting than the reality – and people have noticed.” Check Twitter for #realisticYA and the even funnier #VeryRealisticYA.
How To Be An Independent Musician
“In many ways, it’s easier to be an independent artist in 2015. We can arm ourselves with knowledge about the way things work. We can put something on YouTube and it becomes popular. We can access a huge mixture of diverse music. There is a price, of course.”
Living Life Without The Brain’s Memory Center
“Her life is an endless series of jump cuts. In our age of pinging distractions, people often express a desire to ‘be present,’ but Johnson belies such sentimentality. She is marooned in the present.” A profile of an artist whose hippocampus was completely destroyed in 2007 by a viral infection – and what neuroscientists are learning about the brain from the things she can and cannot now do.
A Loss For Words: Can The Native Languages Of The Americas Be Saved – Or Even Resurrected?
Judith Thurman looks at the people – in Chile, Manhattan, the New York-Ontario borderlands, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Ohio – who are trying.