“Part of classical music’s conceit (as well as other genres’), even among many contemporary audiences, is the notion of a universal beauty in music, and there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with that … Classical music isn’t alone in this regard (although it does carry the most Enlightenment baggage). … What a conceit can’t do is provide the foundation for concrete political change.”
“Netflix leads with three honorees – A Series of Unfortunate Events starring Neil Patrick Harris, which won for children and youth programming; mockumentary American Vandal about a high school prank; and stand-up special Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King, which touches on the comedian’s struggles as an immigrant. HBO follows with two wins for Issa Rae’s Insecure and late-night show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Rounding out the list of winners are AMC’s Better Call Saul, NBC’s Saturday Night Live, Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
“In the 1660s, the French philosopher Blaise Pascal speculated, ‘the sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room.’ Pascal surely knew it was harder than it sounds. But in modern times, the problem seems to have gotten exponentially worse.” What’s more, writes professor Matthew Jordan, “legislating against noisemakers rarely satisfied our growing desire for quietness, so products and technologies emerged to meet the demand of increasingly sensitive consumers.”
“The piece spurring the conversation [at Pacific Northwest Ballet] is RAkU, created in 2011 by Ukranian-born Yuri Possokhov, who danced with the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow before becoming the San Francisco Ballet’s resident choreographer. The subject matter is the true story of the Buddhist Golden Pavilion in Kyoto, Japan, which was burned down in 1950 by a mentally disturbed monk.”
You can’t help noticing the correlation. Of the 238 cities and counties that applied for consideration, plenty have the population (over a million), the pleasant environs and the basic infrastructure Amazon seeks. But if they don’t also have an exceptional art museum — and preferably more than one — those cities didn’t make the cut.
The union that represents stage performers announced this week that it would cease using the title “Gypsy Robe” to describe one of its most cherished insider rituals — the passing of a colorful patchwork garment from one chorus to another on a Broadway show’s opening night — citing the potential offense to Roma people.
But writers, says novelist and essayist Alexander Chee, must write to fight back. “If you are reading this, and you’re a writer, and you, like me, are gripped with despair, when you think you might stop: Speak to your dead. Write for your dead. Tell them a story. What are you doing with this life? Let them hold you accountable. Let them make you bolder or more modest or louder or more loving.”
The writers are from Iowa, of course. One of them says: “We just knew inherently those were dangerous. They were always things that farmers and parents said to stay away from, because you can easily drown in those. Combining that within the world and the context of what ‘A Quiet Place’ was, felt like a natural fit — but obviously, a very, very terrifying fit.”
Here’s the deal: “We owe translators, and perhaps also ourselves, some recognition of what it might have meant to have handled every single word (space and punctuation mark) of the writing-to-be-translated, to have taken a decision in relation to its every single word (space and punctuation mark), and indeed to have written every single one of its parts.”
The Canadian Broadcast Museum Foundation says the public broadcaster’s English service earlier this month began destroying acetate transcriptions, as well as audio and video recordings that span eight decades, after converting the master copies into a digital format. The foundation asked the CBC earlier this year for time to find a suitable space to archive and preserve the material, but says it was turned down.
Only in America do we ask our writers to believe they don’t matter as a condition of writing. It is time to end this. Much of my time as a student was spent doubting the importance of my work, doubting the power it had to reach anyone or to do anything of significance. I was already tired of hearing about how the pen was mightier than the sword by the time I was studying writing. Swords, it seemed to me, won all the time.
“I also think that he was a playwright who was very confident in his interpretation of the play. I once heard him say, ‘No actor or director has ever shown me anything in one of my plays that I didn’t intend to be there.’ I think what he meant by that was not that he had all the answers, but that if you found it, on some unconscious level he meant it to be there. I found that statement – there was something very sad about that statement to me. Because one of things I like most about rehearsal is when somebody brings something to it that I’ve never thought of.”
In the 53-page complaint that includes lines that reference Shakespeare (“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”) and that are almost Dickensian, New York litigator Aaron Richard Golub charges, “Behind the ostensible façade of Jeff Koons’ art world triumphs and record-breaking auction prices . . . lurks a well-oiled machine, more specifically an established, archaic System as old as the hills applied to the art world to exploit art collectors’ desire to own Jeff Koons sculptures.
“By the mid-1960s, it was assumed in some circles that all of the possibilities for painting were exhausted – that the medium had, more or less, died. But some painters pushed back against that idea, arguing that painting could reset itself, and one was Marcia Hafif. … [She] was overlooked by many art institutions for much of her career, only to be recently rediscovered and hailed as one of the essential painters working during a time when her chosen medium was considered highly unfashionable.”
“The reaction to Matilda represents, in microcosm, many of the contradictions of contemporary Russian culture. It should have been a flagship Russian movie, … [and] originally had Oscar ambitions. Instead, the film’s reception was derailed by religious purists. Part of Vladimir Putin’s narrative is that he, too, is part of Russia’s imperial legacy. Some think that he believes he has been divinely ordained to play his role. In some ways, this has been an embarrassment for the government: they part-funded the film. But they couldn’t defend it, as the protesters were articulating one of the key tenets of Putin’s presidency: Russia needs to return to the greatness of the tsars and to its Orthodox church roots.”
The director of Moscow’s acclaimed Gogol Center theater, Serebrennikov has been under house arrest since last August, awaiting trial on embezzlement charges that his allies call absurd and trumped-up. Seemingly in response to the news that Serebrennikov’s latest film, Summer, will be screened in competition at the Cannes Festival next month, authorities in Moscow extended his house arrest into July.
“Both the creators of the ballet and its performers have been nominated for the Benois de la Danse, nicknamed the ballet’s Oscars, in four professional categories: Ilya Demutskiy for Best Composer, Yuri Possokhov for Best Choreographer, Kirill Serebrennikov for Best Stage Design, and dancer Vladislav Lantratov for Best Performance in the title role of the ballet Nureyev.” Serebrennikov, whose recent film Summer will be in competition at Cannes next month under house arrest in a case many observers consider trumped-up, just had his detention extended into July.
“Five years ago, Haifaa al-Mansour made history with her moving and critically-acclaimed drama Wadjda, making her not just the first female Saudi filmmaker, but the first director to have shot a feature film in the kingdom. At the time, the idea of Wadjda being released on home soil was ludicrous: its cinema and theaters had long since been closed following the country’s adoption of strict ultra-conservative Islam in the early ’80s. On April 18, 2018, however, a new cinematic dawn broke over the kingdom with the opening of Saudi Arabia’s first cinema since the movie theater ban was lifted in December … [Al-Mansour] wrote to The Hollywood Reporter with her thoughts on the cinema opening, the “seismic shift” now sweeping over her home nation and why nothing will be the same again.
Breasting the Wave
The Lar Lubovitch Dance Company Celebrates its 50th Anniversary Season … read more
AJBlog: Dancebeat Published 2018-04-19
Deaccession Dejection: La Salle’s Sales Slide at Christie’s
This is an I-told-you-so post. Some six of 16 old masters deaccessioned by the La Salle University Art Museum were left stranded on the auction block at Christie’s this afternoon. … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2018-04-19
A shock from the wider world
About Kendrick Lamar winning the Pulitzer Prize – of course it’s a great moment for the evolution of music as an art. Or rather for the recognition of how music long ago evolved. But then there are … read more
AJBlog: Sandow Published 2018-04-19
“Thirteen black film companies were operating by the end of World War I, although most of them released only one film. … Black producers and directors founded their own film companies out of a desire to counter racist images and enable blacks to see themselves on the screen as they really were.”
It’s a truism that no one accepts anyone else’s reading of Hamlet. And for at least two hundred years, no generation has been comfortable with its predecessor’s take on the play. It’s hard to think of another work whose interpretations so uncannily identify what the play calls the “form and pressure” of “the time.”