“Over the past 18 months Swedish photographer Fredrik Lerneryd, who is based in Nairobi, has joined [teacher Mike] Wamaya and the girls for about two dozen of their Wednesday ballet lessons.”
When one such community in England did this, many tongues were clucked and pearls clutched. “Why inappropriate?”, writes Michele Hanson, “It looked more like gymnastics than rudeness to me. … [The residents] were perhaps sick and tired of bingo, singalongs, banging tambourines, crosswords, telly, chair-yoga, arts and crafts, mindfulness and reminiscences. Not that I want to criticise these pastimes – they’re all lovely, if that’s what you like – but pole dancing makes a refreshing change.”
“Every so often, a study grabs headlines as researchers attempt to answer the question: ‘Is music a universal language?’ The way that chords can tug at heartstrings and tear ducts without words might lead people to assume that music can transcend differences of speech to convey emotions. Ethen of the Sideways YouTube channel, however, makes compelling case for why the answer is a strong ‘No.’ Or, at least, a thoughtful ‘This is a badly worded question.'”
“I think they were really committed to being as accurate as possible, so they wanted a principal dancer, a real ballerina,” Boylston says. “Justin Peck, the choreographer, is a good friend of mine — we had worked together before on our own film that premiered at Tribeca Film Festival a couple of years ago. He called me and was like, ‘I think you’d be a great fit for this project.’ And I was like, Francis Lawrence? Jen Lawrence? Sign me up.”
The wide range of approaches to creativity—from psychoanalytic, to psychological, to neurobiological—generally reveals the diversity of the field, but has led some to describe it as “a degenerating research program,” as Mark Batey, a senior lecturer in organizational psychology at the University of Manchester, wrote in a 2012 article on measuring creativity.
“Few visual moments are as strange as the scene at the beginning of act two, in which Macbeth sees a dagger floating in the air, apparently leading him to Duncan’s bedchamber. This hallucination provokes one of Shakespeare’s most famous speeches: ‘Is this a dagger which I see before me?’ … For this strangest of plays, the paradox is fitting: its best-known prop is almost certainly invisible.” Andrew Dickson looks at the ways some of the great actors and directors have handled the scene.
Can Rotten Tomatoes really make or break a movie? It definitely has an impact, says Ethan Titelman, a senior vice-president at the Hollywood market research firm National Research Group (NRG). According to NRG’s annual survey, 50% of regular moviegoers frequently check the site, often immediately before buying their cinema tickets. And 82% are “more interested” in seeing a movie if it has a high Tomatometer score, while two-thirds are deterred by a low score.
“Long before the rise of ‘autofiction’, … many writers in the first half of the 20th century were experimenting with the limits of autobiography. Joseph Conrad, Ford Madox Ford, Henry James, Wyndham Lewis, Gertrude Stein, HG Wells, Edith Wharton, Virginia Woolf: all wrote memoirs as inventive, in different ways, as their novels (which were often themselves very autobiographical). And that list is only the tip of the iceberg.”
“What kind of effect are these new voters having on the films and artists that are ultimately chosen to contend for an Oscar? … Of the 14 new members we talked to, who span several of the Academy’s branches, more than half were women, and more than a third were people of color. All of them spoke anonymously and with great candor.”
There is an undoubted pleasure in watching a classic play unfold to an unknowing audience. I once saw Hedda Gabler in a regional theatre where it was clear from the gasps that most of the audience had no idea that she – spoiler alert – kills herself. But very few people would decide against seeing Three Sisters again because they already know they never get to Moscow – or feel no desire to watch Medea because they are aware she kills her kids.
Many cinemas in Africa also have a hard time simply staying open: expensive film rights, high rent and pirated copies of movies have caused a movie-slump on the continent. And the theatres which are in operation mostly show Hollywood productions. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), all cinemas were sold in the 1970s during the rule of former president Mobutu Sese Seko. Political unrest and armed conflict made it difficult for filmmakers to work freely and creatively over the next few decades. The situation only eased after 2010 and in 2014, the first international film festival took place in Kinshasa. Cinemas are now popping up again around the country.
“Our industry cannot afford to keep sending the message to its actors that they must suffer in silence, and the change begins in theatre education. How can we train young actors to be advocates for their emotional, physical, and mental well-being? How can we empower students to recognize and respond to their intuition rather than ignoring it? What does it look like to teach self-protection and preservation as part of youth theatre curriculum?”
The director of Clerks, Mallrats, Dogma and other films had finished shooting the first of two comedy specials at a club near Los Angeles when he suffered a “widow-maker” coronary, with one artery fully blocked.
“U.S. cable giant and NBCUniversal owner Comcast has made an unsolicited $31 billion (£22 billion) takeover bid for European pay TV giant Sky, offering more than Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox. NBCUniversal’s parent company unveiled its all-cash offer of £12.50 per share ($17.48) to Sky’s shareholders early Tuesday London time. That marks a 16 percent premium to Fox’s existing bid of £10.75 per share.”
“In her books” – among them Sex Tips for Girls and If You Can’t Live Without Me, Why Aren’t You Dead Yet? – “and columns, Ms. Heimel wrote about bad boys, bad dates, bad sex and bad birth control, with the occasional reminiscence of blissed-out pleasure thrown in. ‘God protects drunks, infants and feisty girls,’ she once observed, and in a tumultuous, three-decade writing career, she was feistier than most.”
Making Things Together
The Bebe Miller Company and Susan Rethorst share their processes and a program at New York Live Arts. … read more
AJBlog: Dancebeat Published 2018-02-25
Gray-Haired and Dying
I heard yet another talk about audiences last week that used two adjectives interchangeably to describe them: ‘gray-haired’ and ‘dying.’ I get it. The young demographic is a big prize: get listeners hooked in … read more
AJBlog: Infinite Curves Published 2018-02-26
Monday Recommendation: Magris In Miami
Roberto Magris Sextet Live in Miami @ the WDNA Jazz Gallery (J Mood) … read more
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2018-02-26
“I have commissioned over 60 works, both new and revivals, for the Rambert dancers, who in my opinion have the richest embodied knowledge in the world. This is the beginning of my 16th year as artistic director which is the longest stint of any artistic director of this company, and I think it is the perfect moment to hand over. I arrived as a choreographer and my heart tells me it is time to return to that,” he said.
As contemporary art is increasingly viewed as an asset class—alongside equities, bonds, and real estate—Georgina Adam sees artworks often used as a vehicle to hide or launder money, and artists encouraged to churn out works in market-approved styles, bringing about a decline in quality.
The method: Use every noninvasive technique known to art, and medicine (yes, medicine), in a two-week blitz of discovery. The paintings conservator at the Mauritshuis Royal Picture Gallery says: “The expertise and the scientific equipment are coming from the whole world, converging on this one painting, this one masterpiece. … We’ll see how much information we can gain with the technology at our disposal in a very short period of time — two weeks, working 24 hours a day, day and night.”
Fantasy author Terry Goodkind definitely does not like the cover of his latest book. “Offering 10 randomly selected readers a chance to win a hardback copy in return for their thoughts on the cover, Goodkind published a poll that included the voting options ‘laughably bad’ or ‘excellent.’ While almost 12,000 readers took part in the vote, some pledged to never buy another book by Goodkind again.” Even his apology was … well, some might call it laughably bad.
Before New York’s attorney general filed a lawsuit against it, “the Weinstein Company, which has been struggling in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein, a co-owner, had been finalizing a deal for Ms. Contreras-Sweet’s group to pay roughly $275 million for the studio, plus the assumption of $225 million in debt.”
In Germany, where academic philosophers still equate dryness with seriousness, Peter Sloterdijk has a near-monopoly on irreverence. This is an important element of his wide appeal, as is his eagerness to offer an opinion on absolutely anything—from psychoanalysis to finance, Islam to Soviet modernism, the ozone layer to Neanderthal sexuality. An essay on anger can suddenly plunge into a history of smiling; a meditation on America may veer into a history of frivolity. His magnum opus, the “Spheres” trilogy, nearly three thousand pages long, includes a rhapsodic excursus on rituals of human-placenta disposal. He is almost farcically productive.