Pine is new to philanthropy, according to the donor, and did not set out to support any particular causes. “I was just thinking that I wanted to use my bitcoin for good in this world.” But several themes emerged. Pine made a point of showering largess on relatively obscure organizations, bestowing cash on a few high-profile groups — the American Civil Liberties Union’s political arm and Charity: Water each received $2 million — but mostly on small organizations and those working on complicated issues that might not attract average donors.
Paramount sold the international rights to the movie, with five female leads, to Netflix, which means Paramount doesn’t have to advertise or market it anywhere aside from the U.S. That’s a problem. “Annihilation is a film of stunning visuals and rumbling audio, complementing a brainy and psychologically unsettling story; it deserves to be seen on a big screen in Dolby surround sound with the full attention of the viewer, rather than as Bright-level background noise while folding laundry and checking Instagram.”
“As one of the most unlikely Oscar Best Picture nominees in years, Get Out is being taught in courses on racism and Afro¬futurism. It began as an insight in the brain of creator Jordan Peele during the 2008 primary fight between Obama and Hillary Clinton and premiered at Sundance within a week of Donald Trump’s inauguration. This is the story of how Get Out got out.”
“If the bank has its way—and who’s to stop it?—workers will soon take acetylene torches to the 700-foot, 57-year-old building at 270 Park Avenue, razing and then replacing it with a 1,200-foot-high hyper-headquarters ample enough for 15,000 people. Union Carbide will become the tallest structure ever demolished by peaceful means, grabbing that mournful title from the 1908 Singer Building, which came down in 1968.”
“The model organisms used for [a new] study were colonies of flavobacterium, a rod-shaped bacteria found in soil and freshwater; the colonies were naturally a rich, metallic green hue. By altering the genetic makeup of the flavobacterium, the scientists found they could also change the color of the bacteria. Not only could they produce any color of the rainbow, they could control the intensity of each shade” – and the resulting pigments are brilliant and iridescent, like peacock feathers.
Less than two years after revelations of abuse led to the closing of Profiles Theater Co. and the creation of the advocacy group Not in Our House, “six Chicago-based actresses report an extensive pattern of verbal and physical abuse by Jeremy Menekseoglu, artistic director of the Dream Theatre Company (DTC), a small non-Equity company which recently relocated to the Atlanta area from Chicago.”
Now that the permafrost in arctic and subarctic Russia has started to thaw, huge numbers of tusks from the ancient animals are turning up in the region of Yakutia. “100 tonnes is procured annually, about one-third of it illegally, and 90% of the haul is exported to China” for the ivory-carving industry.
“On Saturday evening, Tibetan social media users posted photos and videos of the ancient Jokhang Temple complex in the region’s capital, Lhasa, a UNESCO world heritage site, with one of its golden roofs engulfed in flames. … The blaze may have severely damaged the 1,300 year-old temple and many of its precious architectural features, murals and relics; or perhaps it was small and quickly extinguished, and the temple is more or less fine.” The Chinese government says the latter, but many observers don’t trust its account.
“Mathilde Edey Gamassou was chosen among 250 girls Monday to play Joan for a spring festival marking the victory of the Catholic warrior saint in breaking the English siege of Orléans in 1429. … But the announcement has been met with a flurry of posts on Twitter and on far-right websites branding her nomination an exercise in ‘diversity propaganda’ and an attempt to re-write French history.”
Administrators control the modern university. The faculty have “fallen,” to use Benjamin Ginsberg’s term. It’s an “all-administrative” institution now. Spending on administrators and administration exceeds spending on faculty, administrators out-number faculty by a long shot, and administrative salaries and benefit packages, particularly those of presidents and other senior managers, have skyrocketed over the last 10 years. Even more telling perhaps, students themselves increasingly resemble administrators more than professors in their ambitions and needs.
“It seems that orchestras are open to looking at women, at young women, at young conductors in general. It’s a time when people are saying, ‘Maybe we can change the way we think about programming and, hopefully, presentation.’ And it’s not as if women are not ready. All of these decades women have been studying, filling spots in smaller orchestras, and the women stepping into these roles come from solid backgrounds.”
ABT principal dancer Isabella Boylston, who does the dancing body double work for the star in the new movie Red Sparrow, says the adjustment from stage to screen wasn’t big – it was small: “When I performed in the Met in front of 4,000 people, everything had to translate to the back row, so you had to do things really big, dance big, with acting and gestures. Everything has to be magnified to carry through the theater, and for film it’s the opposite; everything has to be subtle because you can read every little detail.”
The institution is the brainchild of former Guggenheim Museum director and a Mass MoCA founder Thomas Krens, who sees the building as the catalyst for a new “Bilbao Effect” in North Adams, helping to attract even more tourism and economic opportunity to the area. The railroad and architecture museum will be located just a few blocks from Mass MoCA, the town’s creative engine which wrapped up a massive expansion this spring.
“Neanderthals created meaningful symbols in meaningful places,” co-author Paul Pettitt of Durham University said in announcing the findings, which are published in the journal Science. That ability has long been seen as “one of the main pillars of what makes us human,” in the words of the study’s lead author, Dirk Hoffmann of the Max Planck Institute. So this news may be a bit deflating to our collective ego.
For the director who made London’s Donmar Warehouse into a theatrical powerhouse, “the challenge has not only been to accept the magnitude of expectation fans of the movie would bring into the theater … but also to bring to the fore an emotionality better suited to characters in three dimensions.” And the challenge was all the bigger because Grandage had never before directed an original musical or (as with this show) done an out-of-town tryout.
“Billy Bigelow hits Julie Jordan. Henry Higgins molds Eliza Doolittle. Fred tames Lilli. And Edward rescues Vivian. Amid a national reckoning with sexual harassment and misconduct, Broadway is mounting a cluster of musicals this season and next that, some theatergoers already contend, romanticize problematic relationships between women and men.” Michael Paulson looks at how the producers and directors of these shows are dealing with these problems.
Little more than a week after the San Diego Symphony announced that it had hired the 37-year-old Venezuelan as its music director, the Ulster Orchestra has announced that Payaré will step down as music director at the end of next season.
Says Walter Iuzzolino, who curates a selection of European television for broadcast in the UK and streaming in the US, “You often pretty much know what you’re going to get from a Scandinavian, or French, or Italian show. But there is something about the Belgians that means a show is never entirely straight. So The Out-laws is like a family comedy stroke thriller. You’re watching something like Desperate Housewives with a gun, and then gradually it becomes darker and darker. Professor T has almost Ally McBeal-like musical and dream sequences alongside straight police procedural.”
“Creative Scotland has admitted a cover-up over how controversial funding cuts were made – as its chief executive admitted she was ‘profoundly sorry’ over how they were handled. The quango has also pledged a ‘root and branch’ review of the way funding decisions were made and a ‘reset’ of its future priorities in the wake of widespread criticism across the cultural sector.”
My Storify from the Obama Portraits Event: Eclectic Crowd, Controversial Art
In case you still have an appetite for more about the Obama portraits unveiling and installation, here’s my Storify of live tweets from the scene … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2018-02-22
Julian Lage at the Bootleg Theater
Last night’s show by the young Santa Rosa native was one of the greatest jazz gigs I’ve ever seen. Even knowing a few of his records and having seen him play … read more
AJBlog: CultureCrash Published 2018-02-21
“I love West Side Story. I can’t wait to see this coproduction with Houston Grand Opera and the Glimmerglass Festival, though the cast is yet to be announced. But the schedule makes a point as unmistakable as the high-wire high F tenor Lawrence Brownlee’s been hitting in Lyric’s current, very traditional production of I Puritani: in spite of years of trying to build it, the audience for opera, in comparison to the fans who’ll turn out for Broadway musicals, is paltry.”
Yes to this: “The Anglican choral tradition is one of the great successes of English cultural diffusion, to rank with Association Football (soccer), cricket, and the works of William Shakespeare. It has a cultural heft way beyond its parochial and very specific origins, and it turns up in the oddest places.”