A fond look at the life and career of the mathematician-turned-satirical-songwriter-turned-mathematician of whom The New York Times wrote, “Mr. Lehrer’s muse [is] not fettered by such inhibiting factors as taste.” He’s released no new songs in more than 40 years; as he said in 2002, “Things I once thought were funny are scary now. I often feel like a resident of Pompeii who has been asked for some humorous comments on lava.”
If script is dying, it cannot complain that its day has been short. Its solitary reign may have been ended by the printing press, but it lived on as a citizen in the new republic of letters: official records, account books, botanical drawings, not to mention works for private circulation and personal epistles, continued to be produced by hand for centuries. Then came the typewriter, but even its keys could not strike the death knell of handwriting. Perhaps that machine’s close descendants, the keyboards of our computers and their avatars on our screens, are administering the coup de grâce. Perhaps.
A young American woman who was told she was “too sensitive” after dealing with racist and anti-Semitic remarks from students (and fellow teachers!) started working with a peer to use Theatre of the Oppressed to change the school “The administration saw a theatre club as a benign activity, but little did they know that through games and acting exercises, the very status quo was being challenged.”
She mentored Common, inspired Kanye West, and won three Grammys for her own spoken word poetry. “Angelou saw hip-hop’s innate connection to the tradition of poetry. When asked whether she thought of using students’ interest in rap to lead them to poetry, she replied: ‘Absolutely.'”
We know that most ancient Greek poetry was meant to be sung; we know a lot about the instruments, the rhythms, and the music theory. A few examples of notated melody have survived the millennia. Oxford classicist Armand d’Angour has put all the evidence together. (includes video)
Protopia is a state that is better today than yesterday, although it might be only a little better. Protopia is much much harder to visualise. Because a protopia contains as many new problems as new benefits, this complex interaction of working and broken is very hard to predict.
“Look at the similarities: the Cold War secrecy between the US and Russia, the boardrooms packed with middle-aged men in suits, the supposedly infallible machine which is intent on slaughtering the people who built it. … And look at the convictions which underpin both works: that humans are intrinsically, self-destructively violent, and that anyone who believes himself to be 100% right is probably a dangerous maniac. It may be going too far to call 2001 a cynical political comedy, but if Kubrick hadn’t wanted us to laugh, … he wouldn’t have had a chapter entitled The Dawn of Man, in which man, having dawned, bashes another man’s brains out with a club.”
“For years, the Lloyd Webber canon has been a bit of a cultural punching bag. It’s not hard to see why: His two most popular musicals are, respectively, a nearly plotless anthology sung by performers in spandex and fur and a faux opera about a disfigured stalker in pop culture’s most iconic mask … [Cats and The Phantom of the Opera] have allowed him to become a byword for over-the-top mediocrity that people can snub to feel cultured. Jesus Christ Superstar Live, however, reminded audiences of a different side to Lloyd Webber’s canon.”
The “Statue of Unity”, a 600-foot-tall figure of Sardar Vallabhbai Patel (an anti-colonial leader who became independent India’s first deputy prime minister), is going up on a small island in the Naramada River in the state of Gujarat. The $460 million structure will be twice the height of the Statue of Liberty.
Research revealed 67 percent of those surveyed had experienced at least one theater-related head impact. Astonishingly, 39 percent respondents sustained more than five head injuries and 77 percent had more than three head impacts during their time in theater. Of those who experienced a head impact, 70 percent had concussion-related symptoms but continued working.
How did Uber’s ratings become more inflated than grades at Harvard? That’s the topic of a new paper, “Reputation Inflation,” from NYU’s John Horton and Apostolos Filippas, and Collage.com CEO Joseph Golden. The paper argues that online platforms, especially peer-to-peer ones like Uber and Airbnb, are highly susceptible to ratings inflation because, well, it’s uncomfortable for one person to leave another a bad review.
The channel — derided by critics for formulaic, low-budget fare with dialogue inspired by Hallmark cards — is carving out a space in this divisive, Trumpian age. The worse things get in the real world the more people run to safe spaces. Hallmark, along with sister channel Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, has been a key beneficiary.
Streaming reflects what people will actually listen to on their own, when provided with infinite choices that aren’t entirely constrained by what radio programmers, retailers and record company executives put in front of them. With streaming services, “it’s more data-driven, and more give-the-people-what-they-want-driven, because it’s so limitless.”
Derek Bermel, artistic director of the American Composers Orchestra: “I’ve spoken to several artistic administrators and conductors who insist that their audiences aren’t asking for more of the new; their internal research shows that their audience wants to hear what they already know. When I hear that argument, I think, ‘Well, of course! Audiences haven’t experienced what they don’t know, so how could they possibly be clamoring for it?’ One of the responsibilities of curators is to introduce the public to work they didn’t know existed or to help bring it into being. Five years ago, how many regular music theater patrons were yearning to see a hip-hop musical? We all know that answer: very, very few. Today it’s impossible to get tickets for Hamilton. Some of that audience is coming from outside the typical music theater audience; all the better!”
Emblemizing the split are author Roxane Gay (“[the show is] further normalizing Trump and his warped, harmful political ideologies”) and comedian Sarah Silverman (“I like that Trumpers will watch and embrace it because it’s secretly liberal as fuck”). Conor Friedersdorf unpacks the arguments.
In the fall of 2015, OSF announced the controversial project “Play on!”, in which 36 playwrights were commissioned to “translate” the 36 plays into modern English, creating companion works for the originals. The first product of the initiative, an English-Spanish version of The Comedy of Errors by Luis Alfaro, will debut in the summer of 2019.
Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they? Even so, Jennifer Stahl reports: “Dr. Matthew Henley, a professor at Texas Women’s University [and a former dancer for Seán Curran], is gathering data to advocate for the value of dance as an intellectual practice – and build a framework for how to describe dance intelligence to non-dancers.”
“The irony is not lost on Ian Wardropper, the director of the Frick Collection: The very gated garden that upended the museum’s previous attempt to renovate its 1914 Gilded Age mansion is now the centerpiece of its revised design. … The new plan, by the architect Annabelle Selldorf, has situated several new elements precisely so that each provides a tranquil view of the garden.”
Salman Khan, who has made more than 100 movies and is known as both a romantic hero and an action star, has been convicted for illegally killing two rare blackbuck antelopes during while on location in 1998. This is the fourth case in which he has been tried for poaching during that film shoot; he was convicted in two of those cases and then acquitted on appeal.
The theatre cited “financial reasons” when it called off the production of playwright Abhishek Majumdar’s Pah-La scheduled for last fall. Newly-released correspondence says that the British Council warned the Royal Court that going ahead with the play could interfere with “significant political meetings” happening in China at the time and could jeopardize a project the Royal Court had planned with 16 Chinese writers.
Can Orchestras Be Re-Invented?
Theater companies have dramaturges. Museums are staffed by scholars. But orchestras, despite their reverence for great music of the past, don’t even care about their own backstories. … read more
AJBlog: Unanswered Question Published 2018-04-04
Juilliard Dancers Predicting Spring
Watching the Juilliard School’s annual Spring Dances, I think of young racehorses turned loose on a course. The Juilliard performers aren’t as young as those ballet dancers who join companies while still in high school; after four years at the school, they’ll graduate with BFAs. However, all that they’ve learned, and are still learning, is on the line in these performances, and often, they’re being shown in choreographic masterpieces. … read more
AJBlog: Dancebeat Published 2018-04-04
The global box office hit a record $40.6 billion with growth in China off-setting declines in movie-going in the U.S. and Canada. The domestic box office fell 2% to $11.1 billion, down from 2016’s record high of $11.6 billion, according to a new report by the Motion Picture Association of America.