“The writer in the Western literary imagination is an individual observer, an individualist, experiencing and observing the world and its structures from the outside, with some amount of skepticism and humor and empathy. If that’s what you’re trying to do, or to be, it can feel really uncomfortable to realize that, within the story you’re trying to write about, there is an equally real sense in which you are actually also the beneficiary and representative of, an insider of, a world-dominating superpower.”
A group of London researchers have analyzed samples of various tomes and developed a vocabulary for describing books’ scents similar to the language used for discussing wines. (Yes, this can have some practical uses.)
Most of us take the show’s educational purpose (learning letters, numbers, and the like) for granted now, but in Sesame Street‘s early years on the air in the 1970s, experts differed enormously over how effective the program was, and the results of studies were all over the place. Some even argued that the Muppet monsters promoted antisocial behavior and aggression.
Given all the particular, er, associations attached to Wagner and his operas, the reopening of his own opera house and festival six years after Germany’s defeat was a fraught, touchy affair. Yet conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler pulled it off, forgoing any of Wagner’s own operas in favor of everyone’s favorite German expression of uplift. Sappy? On the contrary, argues Colin Fleming: the performance, newly reissued on disc, “is as viscerally intense as 20th-century classical recordings get … simultaneously draining, in what it pulls from you emotionally, and emboldeningly triumphal.”
“Beating around the bush serves a valuable purpose: Not only can it ease potentially awkward social situations, but it also lets people get away with things they otherwise wouldn’t. … [Yet] indirect speech also serves a more personal purpose, helping people to preserve a positive moral self-image even in the face of wrongdoing – which, in turn, may actually facilitate bad behavior.”
Give enough money, and the Goodman Theater will invite you to cast parties (occasionally in London as well as Chicago), the Lincoln Park Zoo might take you to Tanzania, the Adler Planetarium might take you to view a solar eclipse in China, and the Chicago Symphony might take you along on tour.
The company was performing its “Romance” program last Thursday (April 6) when the lights on the musicians’ stands flickered and then, in the woodwind and brass sections, went out completely. Yet the musicians played on and the dancers danced on. Peter Dobrin has the details.
“To run a business, you have to be deeply involved in all the minutiae, from strategy to product to hiring. Diving into the story, identifying with the characters, and trying to solve the mystery has two effects on me. First, it is a very efficient way to disconnect from all the problems I face in the business. Second, it immediately unlocks my creativity. My mind has no limits while I’m reading, and it shouldn’t while I’m conducting business.”
The director of “Whale Rider” and “The Zookeeper’s Wife” always turned down invitations to speak on panels about being a woman director … until she realized nothing had changed during her decades of being in the industry. Nikki Caro says, “It was less ‘Why can’t I?’ and more ‘What the fuck is going on here?'”
In Britain, the National Television Awards have been gender-neutral for a while, like the Grammys in the U.S. Could this ever work for something like the Oscars?
“In the past thirty years, the range and scope of American theatre has diversified, and yet most full-time critics in America are predominantly white. When theatremakers of color create art that seeks to prefigure the world we wish to live in, being reviewed by someone entrenched in a white supremacist hetero-patriarchal, capitalist gaze is counterproductive. Being reviewed by someone who is not able to meet our art where it is at is problematic.”
Former Calgary Opera CEO Bob McPhee: “It’s an enormously sensitive topic, especially in the theatre world, and it is bleeding into the opera world. … So it’s not from a lack of wanting to be sensitive to the issue. I understand. But is there repertoire we stop doing if we can’t accomplish that goal?”
Why does the artist, who was jailed for 10 months in 2014 for trying to release pigs with the names “Raúl” and “Fidel” on them in a public park, use humor? “People want to laugh. And with humor, you can demystify these people. They have these uniforms that they’ve invented for themselves, this status; with humor you can pick it apart.”
Though there were women in the Beat movement, not many knew of them. “Along with Diane di Prima, Anne Waldman and several others, Ms. Kyger made her mark not only as a writer, but also as a member of the male-dominated post-World War II cultural movement.”
What happens if you start looking up the word ‘mondegreen’? “The churning sea of language raises its watery head to look around and then dives back into itself, splashing out words like litotes, genericide, and yes, metaphor. I collect these terms like Easter eggs, thrilled to have names for the ways we outfit our messages with color, rhythm, and nuance.”
The turnover may be somewhat normal for new artistic directors, but it’s partly because of an intense change in style: “For some of the veteran dancers leaving the Atlanta Ballet, the switch from former director John McFall’s contemporary style to Bolshoi-trained [Gennadi] Nedvigin’s traditional style was a major adjustment.”
Glasgow’s Pavilion Theatre, in addition to asking patrons to try to ensure their babies won’t spit up on other patrons, has a policy that in part says, “We do not think that the theatre is a place for any child who cannot yet walk and can be very distressing during certain performances due to flashing lights and loud sound levels.”
Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros painted “América Tropical” in 1932. It was literally whitewashed – covered in white paint – for decades after. Now that it’s fully visible again, there are other issues, says a conservator with the Getty Institute: “We look to to monitor for changes. And what we see is that the mural is filthy — just from all of the particulates in downtown Los Angeles.”
In this art installation, silence is the plan, but maybe not the point. “In such a deadened room, a body bursts with life, spilling it out through every sense. I felt enraptured and paralyzed, as if I were a disembodied mind seared in the void, listening to a recording of silence played at top volume.”
You could call it “the O.J. rule” after this year’s winner, or you could think of it as “the Netflix rule” – in other words, if something is intended primarily for streaming consumption, that makes it ineligible for the Oscar documentary prize.
Whoa: “Elling O. Eide decided to bring the world of Sinology to Sarasota. Already a voracious collector, he doubled down on his passion, buying entire collections of academic journals and books. His research specialty had been China’s most famous poet, Li Po, who lived during the Tang dynasty of the seventh to 10th centuries, often called China’s greatest. That dynasty became his focus. He amassed 75,000 volumes, including 50,000 in Chinese.”
The Boston Typewriter orchestra doesn’t travel, but (ironically?) its music is all too available online.
It wasn’t pretty, says one of the showrunners. Plots had to change quickly to keep up, or even partially keep up, with the changing times: “What began to happen in real life felt in some ways so much more dramatic and so much more terrifying than what we were dramatizing on television.”
You can blame mergers and a weirdly laissez-faire U.S. Department of Justice. “This unwillingness to use effective antitrust enforcement to protect American economic interests is in stark contrast to how the rest of the world operates.”
The new podcast “S-Town” and the new Netflix series – named after a popular YA book – “13 Reasons Why” raise a lot of questions. One deals with them well, and ethically, and the other? Not even close.
There are several dangers in listening to classical music only in recordings. But the worst is that “we are in danger of losing touch with the greatest strength of classical music – its liveness. The unrepeatable, unpredictable nature of great music performed in the moment for that moment only.”
Pigott-Smith is well known for being a constant hard worker both on stage and on screen. “Just before his death, he finished work on a television adaptation of the critically acclaimed play King Charles III, in which he plays the title role of a stubborn King Charles, rebelling against the government in the wake of his mother’s death. His performance in the play’s run in London and New York won him nominations for Olivier and Tony awards.”
“The video-hosting platform, which is owned by Google, announced the changes in a Thursday blog post, saying the new view count threshold gives YouTube enough information to ensure creators that reap money from their content are following the site’s guidelines and advertising policies.”
“Eleven House Republicans are now among more than 150 members of Congress who have signed a letter calling for a slight increase in federal funds to the endowment — a far cry from its elimination, which Mr. Trump is the first president to propose.”
“Rather than disengage from art-making and arts attendance upon graduation, students of school-based music and arts education were significantly more likely (than their peers) to create art in their own lives, and to patronize arts events,”