Eric Nuzum, who spent two decades in public radio before moving into digital audio: “The unspoken groupthink at work … is that an idea cannot have both merit and risk at the same time. Resources are precious. Time is limited. As guardians of public funds, it is imperative that public radio’s decision-makers ensure that they invest in winners. Every time. This philosophy is a petri dish for failure. And not the good kind of failure.”
Randall Hansen is a historian who lives in Canada and who wrote The Fire and the Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany, 1942-1945 in 2009. People had been buying it here and there over the years; after all, it’s not as if WWII goes out of style. Then he checked after Michael Wolff’s book about the president of the United States came out. “And saw that I had moved from very, very low sales onto three best-seller lists,” Hansen says.
Roman Baca, who trained in ballet before deploying to Fallujah, has founded Exit12 Dance Company, “a small troupe with a goal of inspiring conversations about the lasting effects of violence and conflict. Through Exit12, he began to get involved in art and healing for military veterans.” (includes video)
The central question raised in this report is: “Are organizations bringing in enough revenue to cover their expenses?” Looking at unrestricted surplus (before depreciation), the average organization saw an unrestricted surplus of 2.1% of expenses in 2016. In the same year, overall operating bottom line (before depreciation) was 0.4% of expenses—virtually break-even. However, surpluses fell to a negative 4.2% when factoring in depreciation, meaning that the average organization is not reserving sufficient funds to repair and replace their fixed assets, which can lead to future challenges, particularly for organizations with high levels of fixed assets.
Slate‘s Aisha Harris: “Last summer, I made my way from Yankee territory and into the land of cotton to review Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. … a kitschy dinner theater show best summed up as ‘Springtime for the Confederacy.’ … Seeing it in 2017, just a week after protests over Confederate monuments led to the death of an innocent woman, made it especially shocking. I articulated this sentiment last August, and my review stirred up no shortage of debates over history, Dolly, and Southern pride.” Now the producer of the Parton-themes shows seems to have heard those debates.
“A slew of think pieces ensued, with commentators alternately condemning the document as reckless, malicious, or puritanically anti-sex. Many called the document irresponsible, emphasizing that since it was anonymous, false accusations could be added without consequence. … Eventually, some media companies conducted investigations into employees who appeared on the spreadsheet; some of those men left their jobs or were fired. None of this was what I thought was going to happen. … It was intended specifically not to inflict consequences, not to be a weapon – and yet, once it became public, many people immediately saw it as exactly that.”
E. O. Wilson’s new book, “The Origins of Creativity,” is about the role of the humanities in an intellectual culture increasingly dominated by science. Wilson values the humanities, but he wants them to have closer ties to some of the sciences, an argument that draws on his view of the relationships between human biology, thought and culture.
Adrian Ellis: “Whatever the longer-term causes and effects, the current reality is that his agenda—and the values he is modelling, encouraging and appealing to in his electoral base—are starkly at odds with the values that most museums hold at their core. This is an unusual and increasingly uncomfortable experience for a museum community whose priorities and rhetoric have been—throughout my professional life, at least—broadly congruent with the prevailing values of society and echoed routinely, albeit sometimes too faintly, by our political leaders.”
Traditionally we think of decadence as an excess of self-consciousness; when irony and reflection come to dominate a culture, we are told its faith in itself has been sapped and it has not long to go. But as the conservative intellectual teaches us, it is the lack, rather than the surfeit, of self-reflection that is really fatal. Without it, erudition calcifies into ornament, and the act of thinking itself becomes a mere pretense.
In reality, much of Broadway’s success comes from a handful of breakout hits, while the majority of shows never turn a profit. Long-running favorites like The Lion King or Wicked may consistently attract tourists, but that doesn’t help the houses that either struggle to fill seats or aren’t reaching their full potential. Of the 32 or 33 shows listed the boards during a typical week, some may not even bring in half of their earning capacity. Streaming could fill in those gaps, the argument goes, by either helping to promote shows while they’re still running or offering producers a new revenue stream that exists long after the show is closed. Easier access to shows could also help democratize Broadway’s stubbornly homogenous audience–last season, 77% of ticket buyers were white, and most had an income of over $75,000 a year.
“For decades, the U.S. has been the No. 1 destination for international students seeking a foreign college or graduate school education. The U.K. has been second. But in recent years, China has suddenly appeared in the No. 3 slot, and Allan Goodman, president of the Institute of International Education, tells Axios that it is on track to overtake the U.K. and capture No. 2 this year.”
“We have found that year after year, when a film has at least one female director, the percentage of female protagonists goes up… people tend to create what they know. When you have women working behind the scenes that frequently translates into more female characters on screens and you tend to see more powerful female characters.”
“Eleven sculptures by the artist Camille Claudel, who was also Rodin’s muse and mistress, have gone on show at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris after six major French museums stepped in and acquired the works at auction last November. … Twelve items were acquired under French law, whereby the state is entitled to ‘pre-empt’ the sale of an object of national importance by matching the sale price (with buyer’s premium).”
Former NYCB corps member Sophie Flack: “I have known some of you for a long time, so I’m telling you this as a friend: by posting on social media your sadness for Peter’s downfall, you are siding with an abuser. You are discrediting the men and women who’ve come forward, an extraordinarily difficult thing to do outside the ballet world, and career suicide when it’s done while still ‘inside.’ Even if you were to discredit each and every allegation, Peter’s documented crimes are inarguable, and would be fireable offences in any other setting.”
“[She] sailed the Nile, learned to box and ensconced herself in library archives to research humorous, frequently suspenseful novels about pioneer girls heading West, ‘turkeypokes’ herding poultry, a grave-robbing phrenologist and – told from a camel’s point of view – an Army experiment in the West Texas desert.”
McLuhan’s Notes on Finnegan’s Wake
When Gary Lee-Nova read a recent blogpost about a new posthumous collection of Mary Beach’s writings, Electric Bananas, it drew him to Marshall McLuhan’s notated copy of James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake. Gary was kind enough … read more
AJBlog: Straight|Up Published 2018-01-10
Here’s the heart of the problem: The set of critics’ and audiences’ interests do not perfectly overlap but rather form a Venn diagram. In the audience circle, the pressing question is, “Should I spend some number of the dollars I have to my name and the hours I have left on Earth on this thing?” Critics get in for free and by definition have to read or watch or listen to whatever’s next up. So their circle is filled with relativistic questions about craft and originality and wallet quality and the often unhelpfully general “Is it good?” (Some of them even have an idea of what they mean by “good”; the rest are winging it.)
“Dutoit, the orchestra’s principal conductor and artistic director, had been due to step down in October 2019. Following an emergency board meeting, however, his departure has been brought forward and he will leave immediately. In December, three opera singers and a musician accused Dutoit of forcing himself upon them – which he denied.”
“Unlike mathematicians, who are at liberty to play in the field of ideas, physics is bound to nature, and at least in principle, is allied with material things. Yet all this raises a liberating possibility, for if mathematics allows for more than three dimensions, and we think mathematics is useful for describing the world, how do we know that physical space is limited to three? Although Galileo, Newton and Kant had taken length, breadth and height to be axiomatic, might there not be more dimensions to our world?”