“Our staffs increasingly reflect the communities in which we operate. But our Boards do not. Larger, euro-centric mainstay arts organization boards are largely composed of an elite group. Even in those cases where Boards have succeeded in recruiting people of color, more women and LGBTQ people, those individuals tend to be more highly educated, wealthier, and successful – from the privileged class. And that’s not surprising. Many organizations depend on their Boards to both contribute and to fund raise, and those with wealth and networks of people of wealth, are far more likely to be able to both contribute and successfully fundraise.”
Lauren Wingenroth: “Last month, Buzzfeed News confirmed 17 instances of groping or sexual misconduct by patrons of the immersive theater show Sleep No More. Having experienced the show for the first time just a week before the story broke, I can’t say I was surprised by the accusations. … At every step of my two and a half hour journey through the show, I felt that the safety of the performers – and of the audience – was being compromised for the sake of an experience that just wasn’t worth the risk.”
One problem is that the hatred of literature, found across the political spectrum, now conforms to the dimmest clichés of anti-literature without harboring any of its intensity. As far as I can tell, the usual suspects of today’s anti-literature comprise a short list: evangelical Christians, who occasionally aim to ban books on the basis that they are Godless; Enlightenment-core scientists, like Richard Dawkins, who admonish literature because it can’t access the Real promised and delivered by science; and, occasionally, well-intentioned progressives and leftists who want to correct literature by eliminating certain authors rather than undertaking the more difficult work of challenging their writings—their style, form, or content—through literary criticism.
As the national dialogue around gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity, disability and other factors is continually evolving, the theatrical canon is being rewritten daily. Will audiences not already in love with My Fair Lady find the relationship between Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle a budding romance that leads to equality between two people of different classes – or is it a document of a man moulding a woman into his ideal, for his own ends?
“Although it was Debussy’s orchestral work Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune that Pierre Boulez described as ‘the beginning of modern music,'” writes the MacArthur-winning pianist, “it was always at the piano where his revolutionary new approach to form and timbre developed.” (includes sound clips played by Hough and a playlist of his favorite Debussy recordings)
He was performing alongside Natalia Osipova in the Royal Ballet’s Giselle in London when he somehow hurt himself (no details were given) early in Act One. While he finished the act, he did not return to the stage after intermission. “Mr. Hallberg returned to the stage just 14 months ago, after a two-and-a-half-year injury-filled break and a painful, painstaking fight back to physical prowess. (Dancing with Ms. Osipova again, he has said, was one of his strongest motivations.)”
In 2015, Pierre Le Guennec and his wife Danielle were given suspended sentences of two years in prison after authorities discovered a cache of 271 works by Picasso, believed to be stolen, stored in the couple’s garage. Now France’s Court of Cassation has ruled that prosecutors presented insufficient evidence that the artworks were actually stolen and has ordered the case to be retried.
Supply and demand is one thing, but it’s heartbreaking to hear that lousy conditions follow. Does it have to be that way? The idea of self-value brings me back to the Ailey dancers, and why their disobedience — their independence — is encouraging. As artists elsewhere have been speaking up about their treatment, the Ailey dancers, in their acts of wordless absence, have joined those ranks. Theirs is a story of dancers finding a voice in a very public way, and drawing strength from one another. Dance can be seen as a passive world, until a group of artists boycotts their gala. By spotlighting the economics behind what they do, they reveal another facet of a dancer’s life.
Whereas before Disney may have been the studio making more money at the box office than everyone else, they may end up as the only studio making anymoney at the box office. And that, in turn, will cause trickle-down effects throughout the industry. All the way down to movie theaters, many of which will have to close as a result. Looking forward from this point, I think the big movie theater chains are in trouble. They’ve known this for a while, which is why there has been so much consolidation. But whereas before, it seemed like it would be a long, drawn out death, I now believe we’re nearing this finale sooner than many thought.
President Michael Higgins began calling for philosophy to be introduced to secondary schools a few years ago, citing the need for more critical thinking. Temple Carrig began piloting the first course in 2014. This school year, nearly 60 schools began offering either philosophy electives or philosophy-based modules within other courses. In November, Higgins announced the Irish Young Philosopher Awards, which have drawn applicants from 30 schools.
Since peak plastic in 2001, CD sales have dropped 88%, from 712 million units to 85.4 million in 2017, according to Nielsen Music. With casual music fans done with discs in favor of streaming services like Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music, Best Buy is ceding the market to online retailers including Amazon and independent stalwarts such as Amoeba Music.
Whew, Jean-Jacques, WYD? “Rousseau did not pull any punches: according to him, far from contributing to the purification of morals, the sciences and the arts had had the opposite effect. The progress brought about by the restoration of letters in the Renaissance had only been superficial, exclusively affecting appearances; in reality, letters provoke the degeneration of morals, today just as in Antiquity.”
If you were watching, you might have started laughing as soon as Viola Davis came out to present the Best Supporting Actor award: “The gold, giant bold type on the dark envelope, loudly announcing the name of the category, was so unmistakable it could be read clearly on TV. Last year’s envelope was an elegant red, but the smaller gold lettering on it was not so easily readable.”
Greg Porée, one of the guitarists for the orchestra, was stumped (yes, even in Los Angeles) when it came to finding the right guitar for the nominated song from the animated movie Coco: “The Mexican vihuela, I believe it started in the 1800s, and it became very popular in mariachi bands because it’s very loud and it’s almost a percussive type of instrument where you strum it. It speaks very loudly. It cuts through all the singing and cuts through all the playing.” (Spoiler alert: He found one.)
Whew, things have changed since the category was added in the 1930s: “The list of undeserving — or worse, unmemorable — winners is a long and embarrassing one. Even more damning, many of the nominees and winners seem to have little to do with the movies themselves, blatant cross-promotional devices that serve only as the closing-credits Muzak for your shuffle to the exits.”
The author, who just won The Story Prize for her Anything Is Possible, says, “The first time I read it, I was on vacation with my in-laws and sitting by the pool one of them said: ‘Liz, that’s so pretentious, can’t you cover that up?’ I almost died. So now I read it furtively in the privacy of my home.”
Perhaps the feeling of harmony can be laid at the feet of Deborah Borda, the NY Phil’s new president and chief executive officer. “Since her arrival she has helped to extricate the orchestra from a costly, disruptive plan to renovate its Lincoln Center home and raised $50 million to end its string of deficits and give it the resources to welcome a new music director, Jaap van Zweden.”
Yes, Ryan Seacrest has been accused of sexual harassment, which makes E!’s chances of getting good red carpet time at the Oscars slightly less good than they were before (actors appear to be planning not to talk to him, though we’ll see), but also? “A female producer is claiming employment discrimination after getting fired, she said, for letting a clip critical of the network air during the Golden Globes.” (And THAT clip was critical of the network for paying a woman co-host about half – half! – of what they paid her male counterpart.)
The numbers are, to put it mildly, shite. “That gives us 85 percent male at our most conservative estimate and around 91 percent looking at our two more probabilistic estimates. That would make professional cinematography and its related fields more male than barbers, civil engineers, police officers, taxi drivers and clergy, according to Department of Labor statistics.”
He is so very finished with this nonsense (this nonsense that has utterly permeated popular culture). “‘We know J.J. Abrams is preparing one now that I will hopefully do next year for him,’ Williams told a radio interviewer this week. ‘I look forward to it. It will round out a series of nine, that will be quite enough for me.'”
Lekberg found her medium when she learned to weld. “‘The old struggle with plaster and coat hangers ended when I began to weld steel,’ she said, referring to her early efforts to make sculpture. ‘Steel held its own when projected into space and seemed to do everything I needed. This is a primal joy in sculpture: that a mineral from the earth can be a vehicle for expressing one’s innermost thoughts.'”
There’s a new museum of contemporary art, and the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, which now has fairs in London, New York, and Marrakesh. “Tunji Akintokun, an I.T. executive based in London, described African contemporary art as ‘underestimated and undervalued.’ He flew to Marrakesh for the fair, attracted by its North African emphasis.”
Or, in other words, can it be a force in music that disrupts labels the way Netflix disrupted … well, what exactly did Netflix disrupt? Movie rental stores. Meanwhile, Apple Music might have fewer subscribers, but it doesn’t need to make a profit; and let’s not even talk about how many places Amazon Music might be in a customer’s home. But Spotify’s going on the New York Stock Exchange anyway.
“Interviews with nearly two dozen former students and musicians from Levine’s Cleveland days, including six from the maestro’s inner circle, indicate the conductor’s alleged sexual behavior was part of a sweeping system to control this core group. As Levine yoked his musical gifts and position to a bid for power, he dictated what they read, how they dressed, what they ate, when they slept — even whom they loved.”
López Cobos held several music director positions at leading orchestras throughout a long and successful career. He was the Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra from 1986 to 2001, making several highly-regarded recordings for Telarc, and later became their Conductor Emeritus. López Cobos was also General Music Director of the Deutsche Oper in Berlin from 1981 to 1990, Music Director of the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra from 1991 to 2000 and Music Director of the Teatro Real in Madrid from 2003 to 2010.