The advances of modern imaging technology mean that we no longer have to guess what the brain is up to. Our innermost thoughts and character are on display, and via scans that lay bare who has lots of empathy and who has none, who lies and who is a truth-teller, whom we should trust and welcome as a friend, and whom we should shy away from. Thanks to modern neuroscience, we can begin to piece together, for example, how we might “improve our society by harnessing the extraordinary positive force of empathy”. Since “neuroscientists, psychologists and geneticists now know which parts of the brain are specifically linked to empathy and compassion”, we should be “considering how we can enhance these abilities . . . .The empathy instinct is an idea whose time has come”.
“[Tracy K.] Smith, the fifth African-American to hold the title, has put an unexpected spin on it. She is taking poetry on the road around the nation, focusing primarily on rural areas where most writers are unlikely to visit.” She say, “This is a strange period where, nationally, we’re being reminded or convinced of the great divisions that separate coastal and urban communities from the central and rural communities. I’ve always distrusted that. I think there are lots of places where we have something very clear, compelling and welcome to say to one another.”
“As the world becomes more hostile to us all as artists, you must find that thing in making art that brings you as much peace as reifying my deeper self does for me. Not the thing about theatre that makes you feel ecstatic and high, not the thing you would suffer and die for like artists do in all those stupid movies that romanticize us. Find the thing or idea or core value in your artistic practice that brings you peace. Because when the show is a hit, that peace is what will carry you through self-doubt and self-sabotage. And when the show is a failure, that peace will hold off self-destruction. And when there is no show at all, which is most of the time, that peace is what will remind you that it doesn’t matter.”
The disorienting and thoroughly unsatisfying Cambridge Analytica saga is a preview of what trailing indicators of the collapse of the data boom might look like: revealing signs, evident years later, that something was rotten with these arrangements, arriving too late to be actionable but soon enough to foster resentment against companies and services on which we’ve come to depend.
“For the better part of a year, students, faculty, staff, librarians, museum professionals, artists, and many members of the public [in Austin] worked tirelessly to protest further removal of books and materials, after discovering that, over the summer of 2017, around 75,000 items from the Fine Arts Library had been removed to off-site facilities. The rest of the items held by the library – which predominantly occupied the fifth floor of the Doty Fine Arts Building – also appeared to be at risk of removal.”
“Sir Andrew Davis will step down from his role as Chief Conductor with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at the end of his contract in December 2019, the Orchestra announced today. The British maestro, who has led the MSO since 2013, will continue his artistic relationship with the orchestra as Conductor Laureate.”
The rise has been fuelled by the growth of psychological thrillers and the success of big names like Lee Child, James Patterson and Dan Brown. Last year, 18.7 million crime books were sold – 19% more than in 2015, data company Nielsen Bookscan says. They overtook sales for general and literary fiction, which were down 16%.
Today, recommendation engines are perhaps the biggest threat to societal cohesion on the internet—and, as a result, one of the biggest threats to societal cohesion in the offline world, too. The recommendation engines we engage with are broken in ways that have grave consequences: amplified conspiracy theories, gamified news, nonsense infiltrating mainstream discourse, misinformed voters. Recommendation engines have become The Great Polarizer.
Much of the media focus has been on the size of the salary gaps. But what really tells the story about ingrained gender inequality is the disparity in bonus pay (men receive 67% more than women at Warner Bros., 88% at Live Nation, 68% at Turner Broadcasting) and the disproportion of men — usually in the region of 70% — in the upper quartile of earners.
In Sign Gene, the first feature by deaf filmmaker Emilio Insolera, “the plot centers on an international band of deaf people, who, thanks to a genetic mutation, can channel superpowers through their use of sign language. The independent film is a fast-paced, genre-bending romp, shot on three continents with a cast made up entirely of deaf actors and CODAs (meaning children of deaf adults).”
The fundraising goal is gutsy for an organization of the Holocaust Museum’s size and relative youth. Its operating expenses were $116 million in 2016, according to tax filings that reported a federal grant of $53 million. In comparison, the Smithsonian Institution, which completed a $1.5 billion fundraising campaign last year, reported its annual budget at about $1.3 billion, or 13 times that of the Holocaust Museum.
“JRR Tolkien’s The Fall of Gondolin, his tale of a beautiful, mysterious city destroyed by dark forces which the Lord of the Rings< .em> author called ‘the first real story’ of Middle-earth, will be published in August. [It] will be the second ‘new’ Tolkien work to be released in two years, following the release of Beren and Lúthien in May 2017.”
“Some say the gap—between nerve cells and life, the brain and the mind, objective reality and the subjective—will never be understood, because such understanding is beyond our human capacity. But I think it is possible to answer the question of how the brain becomes the mind. We just need to change our thinking.”
“Consider the reaction of another listener: Jimmy Carter. In 1978, the president, not renowned as an especially sophisticated jazz listener, hosted a jazz festival at the White House. Most of the bill was reasonably mainstream, if widely varying in style – Sonny Rollins, Stan Getz, Clark Terry, Chick Corea – but it also included Taylor, who must have been hard-pressed to fit his expansive music into the requisite five-minute slot. The music was far from plain, but the man from Plains was agog. … ‘The president took the pianist’s two hands in his own, looking at them with wonderment and awe. ‘I’ve never seen anyone play the piano that way,’ he marveled.'” (includes sound clips)
“The Writers’ Room will be led by Rachel Wiegardt-Egel, the [Los Angeles theater’s] newly named manager of New Play Development. A group of playwrights will each receive one-year residences beginning in September. There they can give each other feedback on plays, receive dramaturgical support, work with a director and actors, and read their plays to the public.”
“The Smithsonian Institution has confirmed that it will work with the Victoria and Albert Museum to set up a joint gallery and exhibition programme in East London, on the former Olympic site. Yesterday (9 April) the Smithsonian’s regents (trustees) gave formal approval for their first base outside the US.”
“Alicia Graf Mack, an educator and former performer with Dance Theater of Harlem and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, will become the director of the dance division at Juilliard … She will begin in July, when Damian Woetzel, the former New York City Ballet principal, takes over as Juilliard’s president.”
“He performed with modern-dance pioneers Martha Graham and José Limón while still in his teens. At 21, he formed his own dance company, whose members included such renowned figures as Alvin Ailey, Arthur Mitchell and Eliot Feld. [He] also choreographed several early works that have become acknowledged as modern-dance classics.” In 1974 he directed and choreographed Raisin, a musical adaptation of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, for which he received two Tony nominations; he received further nominations for choreography for Doctor Jazz (1975) and Sophisticated Ladies (1981).
“The business is horrible, it’s been horrible forever and it’s worse now because of Twitter and Facebook and YouTube, so legitimate actors that have trained in the profession have a harder time getting hired than personalities on YouTube, or on Twitter.” And what’s more, movie stars “should come to the stage with the right intention. And they should be stage-worthy, not try to come to the stage for credibility.”
“It has been 250 years since ‘modern’ circus was born with Philip Astley’s invention of the equestrian ring in London in 1768. … What is often overlooked about that first event is that Patty Astley, a talented equestrian, was right there alongside her husband in the creation of modern circus. As part of her act, she rode around the ring with her hands and arms covered in bees. The history of circus is replete with powerful, talented female performers and artists. But they have often been overlooked in favour of their male counterparts.”
“The National Arts Stabilization Fund, a consortium of private and corporate philanthropies … , grew out of her collaboration, beginning in the late 1950s, with a Ford vice president, W. McNeil Lowry, to create incentives for symphonies, ballet companies, theaters and other arts groups to liquidate their deficits and build working capital reserves. The model’s disciplined, businesslike approach inspired Congress to subsidize the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities.”
Market Madness: Sotheby’s to Auction 13 Berkshire Museum Works this May
Notwithstanding its direct relevance to the Berkshire Museum’s mission (which includes both history and art) and the museum’s professed concern for the education of schoolchildren, a portrait of our first President is among its works to be sold at Sotheby’s American Art sale on May 23. … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2018-04-10
Denny Zeitlin’s Birthday
As you will momentarily see and hear, Zeitlin has retained the vigor and style that have helped keep him one of the most consistently interesting pianists of his generation. … read more
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2018-04-10
“For the first time in 60 years, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has reached beyond its own doors for a new leader … Max Hollein, 48, currently the director and chief executive of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and a veteran of Germany’s oldest art foundation, will become its 10th director this summer.”
There is an expectation of what the Irish novel should look like, the themes explored and the style in which it’s delivered. And it’s not that our present day authors are moving away from tradition but they’re doing what Irish literature does best: challenging style and subject matter. The result is a literary age that is full of possibility.
The Harry Potter play, based on a new story by author J.K. Rowling in collaboration with Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, announced Monday that it had set a Broadway record for the strongest preview grosses: $2.1 million in ticket sales for the week ending Sunday at the Lyric Theatre. The Potter news came on the same day that Disney Theatrical Productions announced that its stage musical adaptation of “Frozen” had broken a house record at the St. James Theatre for the second week in a row. After grossing $2,246,997 for the week ending April 1, “Frozen” went on to gross $2,275,395 the following week.
The reference to modern physics reminds us of a commonly cited fact – that philosophy came first and gave birth to science – that could in its own way seem to delegitimise or quickly answer the progress question. Didn’t philosophy lose its truth-related raison d’être after that generous act, having handed the baton to the sciences? Haven’t all the questions in its textbooks gradually migrated into scientific textbooks? Actually, not so.
General director Bernard Foccroulle credits the festival’s artist development program, L’Académie du Festival Aix: “You really have to work with a vision of the long term. We have been able to give birth to 12 operas or interdisciplinary creations very close to opera. I’m not only happy with the quality of the works but also with the quality of the reception, because we have proved that we can find an audience for good new pieces today without compromise and without trying to be just popular.”