“No one ever tells you how much you suck at something. Unless you have a mean boss, an abusive parent or a malicious friend, most people are happy to help us maintain the delusion that our efforts are not in vain. No, we cannot count on people around us to let us know how much we suck. It is far more acceptable to compliment than to criticize. So the onus is on us as individuals to admit to ourselves how much we suck at something. And then do it anyway.”
Lauren Wingenroth recommends a video series in which top Broadway gypsies “dance through their resumes.”
Sofar Sounds, named for “Songs From a Room,” is a for-profit company that hosts live music performances in 340 cities worldwide. Founded in London in 2009 by three friends who were sick of the loud, disrespectful audiences at bars and rock clubs — this origin story is recounted before every show — Sofar now has a full-time staff of at least 50, investors like Virgin’s Richard Branson, and a team of unpaid volunteer “ambassadors” in every Sofar city. The company has grown quickly over the past eight years, largely by marketing itself as a grassroots movement for and by like-minded music lovers. Its motto is “Bringing the magic back to live music.”
If technology companies don’t come through with a long-term solution, it’s possible that humanity could lose a generation’s worth of filmmaking, or more. Here’s what that would mean. Literally tens of thousands of motion pictures, TV shows, and other works would just quietly cease to exist at some point in the foreseeable future. The cultural loss would be incalculable because these works have significance beyond their aesthetics and entertainment value. They are major markers of the creative life of our time.
“Its archivists are changing the way people engage with the orchestra in the present, not only providing musicians, scholars, researchers, journalists, and fans dynamic access to a living, breathing entity, but also unparalleled, granular insight into the classical repertoire itself. That deepens the orchestra’s engagement with the public until it becomes a symphony of rich data: CDOs take note.”
Chloe Gordon: “Festival vendors weren’t in place, no stage had been rented, transportation had not been arranged. Frankly, we were standing on an empty gravel pit and no one had any idea how we were going to build a festival village from scratch.”
Paul Revere Williams received a posthumous American Institute of Architects Gold Medal this weekend, but there’s so much more to his story: “Battling the sort of prejudice that not only shaped his roster of clients but was entrenched in the built landscape of the city itself — whites-only covenants meant that he was banned from living in many of the neighborhoods where his most impressive houses went up — Williams never had the luxury of thinking of architecture and race as separate. His career was one long negotiation between the two.”
“Most of the stories come from the 30s, that dark decade for him, for America and for the world. Why weren’t they published when they were written? Did Fitzgerald himself like them, and try to get them into print? What did editors think of them? What else was he doing, and what else was on his mind, as he wrote?”
“In our age, the canon of classical works to which audiences are exposed shrinks by the year. Oh, the old favorites aren’t going anywhere. Romeos and Hamlets will continue to wax poetic before our eyes — although, methinks, in smaller and smaller venues — and costume shops will be backed up into the future with orders for Macbeth’s tunics and Desdemona’s nightgowns. Yet the fact that many theater companies seem to believe they can fulfill their classical mandates with only the most widely known plays, or worse, sacrifice more challenging plays to the popular-entertainment demands of the box office, makes me wonder whether these are signs of a deeper problem.”
After continued budget talks, House and Senate leaders agreed late in the day to give $500,000 to New World School of the Arts in the 2017-18 budget. That would still represent a cut of $150,000 in funding from this year — about a 23 percent deduction — but it’s drastically more than what could have happened: Losing the grant entirely.
A chilling, inspiring tale from Communist Poland. “In that courtroom, in a split-second during Jaromar’s speech, my classmates and I connected in the mutual understanding of something profound, something that gave us power.”
As “The Fate of the Furious” takes in more than $1 billion, it’s time Hollywood stopped whitewashing and learned the lesson that to make money, they’ll have to diversify every cast (and not make Scarlett Johansson as a supposedly Japanese character either).
That’s right, Cornell’s oldest a capella group, an all-male (shocker) group called “Cayuga’s Waiters,” were booted for hazing. Think “Icy Hot on their genitals” plus other hazing rituals that no, the college did not condone.
Hoo boy, don’t ask her about the BBC. “Often I want to shout out, ‘Will you say that again because I can’t hear!’ It is an apathy – laziness.”
“Bernstein’s heyday was in a time of high hopes. John F. Kennedy’s Camelot was meant to usher in a new world order; Norman Mailer was supposed to write the Great American Novel. Bernstein, similarly, was expected to catapult American music to a new level of excellence and prestige. But high hopes are invariably bound to be dashed. Kennedy was assassinated; Mailer petered out; Bernstein scattered his energies. Still, perhaps more than Kennedy or Mailer, Bernstein made an enormous contribution to American culture. His tragedy lay in the human fact that he was not the musical messiah that he came so close to being.”
How did it get so far in the first place? “Varnished with a Kevlar coating of celebrity sparkle, Bullingdon Club backing and architectural fairy dust, the garden bridge has always seemed capable of surviving every missile of common sense thrown at it. For three years it has been fiercely opposed by supporters of gardens and bridges alike, of which this vanity project was clearly never either.”
Why don’t we know more about Giacomo Meyerbeer? “Few things could be further from the same old arias than Meyerbeer (1791-1864). Hardly a corner of the repertory has grown mustier, a puzzling development given the composer’s prominence during his lifetime. In his heyday, Meyerbeer was a uniquely powerful hitmaker, as well as an innovator who brought opera to new levels of orchestral color, dramatic scale, choral mass, historical richness and theatrical dazzle.”
His move from performance artist (his most famous piece, “Seedbed,” included him lying beneath a false floor in a gallery, masturbating and speaking to gallery visitors over a hidden mic) to architect “confused his peers and caused his profile in the art world to recede, to the point where many younger artists who were indirectly influenced by his work had little idea who had created it. In his later years, Mr. Acconci sometimes agonized over this situation, but he said he had no choice but to follow his interests where they took him.”
That went over really well among the staff. “The timing was awkward. The call for contributions came as the Tate group, which operates four museums and art galleries across the country, was in pay negotiations with staff.”
The revenge of the school orchestra? No, seriously: “You can now scarcely move at big music events without bumping into a 30-piece woodwind section. If DJs are the new rock stars it’s looking suspiciously like composers might be outflanking them all.”
Turn to a 19th-century cookbook by a princess, of course: Princess Barbare Jorjadze’s book, Georgian Cuisine and Tried Housekeeping Notes, “has long been a prized household possession. … Georgian chefs now increasingly consult Jorjadze’s book for forgotten flavors, many of them obliterated by the Soviet Union’s homogenizing influence.”
A promised selfie paradise turned pretty grim (generating an immeasurable amount of schadenfreude on Twitter and Instagram): “When guests arrived on the island of Great Exuma for the inaugural weekend, they found something closer to ‘Survivor’: grounds that were woefully lacking in the promised amenities, replaced instead by dirt fields, soggy tents and folding chairs.”
Whoops, and OITNB isn’t alone (nor is Netflix). “Rumors of a massive leak of Hollywood films and TV episodes have been circulating online for months, fed by purported screenshots of the footage and a copy of a proposed deal to delete the stolen material in return for tens of thousands of dollars in electronic currency.”
The country has been undergoing a financial crisis for most of the past year and had to get a $5.5 billion IMF bailout in February. So the Mongolian government can no longer afford its portion of the expense of a visit by the full Philadelphia Orchestra (which would have been the first U.S. orchestra ever to perform there). A reduced contingent of musicians might travel to Mongolia, though even that isn’t certain. David Patrick Stearns has details.
One hundred separate versions have been published online by Editions at Play, a digital publisher that specialises in “books that cannot be printed”. You can read any of the 100 editions for free – but if you’re lucky enough to own one, prepare yourself for some creative destruction: each version can only be passed on to a new owner after it has been modified. Owners must add one word and remove two from each of the story’s 21 pages and are stopped from moving forward through the book until they’ve made the required interventions.
According to eHarmony, women who listed The Hunger Games among their favourite books saw the biggest boost to their popularity, while men who read Richard Branson’s business books were approached most often. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was a hit for both genders. But crucially, reading anything is a winning move; men who list reading on their dating profiles receive 19% more messages, and women 3% more.