As beloved as the film was and is, The Sound of Music was not rapturously received by the critics back in 1965: Joan Didion despised “its suggestion that history need not happen to people … Just whistle a happy tune, and leave the Anschluss behind,” and Pauline Kael called it a “sugar-coated lie that … makes a critic feel that maybe it’s all hopeless.” Pamela Hutchinson explores how the critics lost that particular argument, paving the way for everything from Mamma Mia! to The Last Showman.
Kristen Arnett: “Working children’s services sometimes means dealing with a bunch of sugared-up kids who got into a box of Lucky Charms cereal (I recognize that look — I also eat Lucky Charms to get amped). But it also means thinking on your feet and getting way outside your comfort zone. By that I mean you’ll probably have to kneel on the floor, and if you’re wearing a skirt, everyone is gonna see your underwear and four different kids will point it out loud enough for everyone in the library to hear.”
No one questions Hammerstein’s historical significance, nor does the popularity of these six musicals show any sign of diminishing. But there is a gap between that popularity and the esteem in which he is held by many critics. Kenneth Tynan summed up the conventional wisdom about the alleged sentimentality and naiveté of Hammerstein’s work when he dismissed The Sound of Music as “a show for children of all ages, from six to about eleven and a half.” Stephen Sondheim, Hammerstein’s protégé, put it more forgivingly when he described him as “easy to make fun of because he is so earnest.”
Eight months after slashing its price and expanding membership past 2 million users, MoviePass is now at risk of going bust. The parent company, Helios & Matheson Analytics Inc., which now owns 92 percent of MoviePass, said last week that it had just $15.5 million in cash at the end of April and $27.9 million on deposit with merchant processors. MoviePass has been burning through $21.7 million per month.
Fiction apart from her own, that is. Her project, and the project that she hopes other working-class writers will take us, is clear: “Trying to write with love and respect about people who even as you love them are destroying themselves and to try to write it accurately and with some of the grace of Meridel Le Sueur is the challenge. But you can’t write about this stuff and be boring. That would be a sin against God.”
Why? Because the U.S. visa process has gotten more expensive and much harder to navigate with success. “Visa delays and denials have damaged a wide number of productions, and in many situations, have led to cancellations. It is tempting to feel powerless—to feel that there is nothing that the performing arts community can do to push back against cultural isolation. But all is not hopeless.”
There are few direct flights to Montgomery, where the memorial opened, and it’s a three-hour drive from Atlanta. Still, officials estimate it may attract 100,000 people in its first year. “One young man, Dimitri Digbeu Jr., who drove 13 hours from Baltimore to see the memorial, said he thought it had singlehandedly ‘rebranded’ Montgomery.”
Deborah Jowitt: “Robbins wanted dancers to approach classical steps as if rising onto pointe was no more unusual than an intake of breath, and a turn could seem a giddy impulse (no showing a planted preparation to spin as if it were interesting in itself). … He came down hard on artificiality and dancers who played to the audience. He wanted them to look ‘real’ despite their virtuosity, to see and react to the others onstage. If a plot was involved, he might want a dancer to know what his/her character had eaten for dinner the night before.”
Buried in an otherwise harmless act, passed by the House and now being considered in the Senate, this new bill purports to create a new digital performance right—basically the right to control copies of recordings on any digital platform (ever hear of the internet?)—for musical recordings made before 1972. These recordings would now have a new right, protected until 2067, which, for some, means a total term of protection of 144 years.
Stan Carey makes the case that the practice of verbing nouns and nouning verbs is perfectly dandy, and is one of the things that makes English such a versatile and vocabulary-rich language. There’s even a grammatical term for the phenomenon – three of them, in fact. So, as Carey says in the caption to the photo, “Let’s chocolate.”
Haroon Ebrat is both the impresario and the star of Afghan Theatre TV, which streams online in Dari (the Afghan variant of Persian) to a million viewers each month. The program mixes music videos with call-in shows and televised sketches, created and performed by Ebrat and his adult children, that have attracted more than a little controversy in the Afghan diaspora – despite the fact that the channel largely stays clear of politics.
As our community relationships developed, we recognised that barriers to engagement with the arts include time, cost, lack of awareness of what’s on, childcare and a sense of it being ‘not for me’. We realised that we could work with retail chain Heron Foods, which has busy stores in the areas in which we work, to learn more, build personal relationships and start to address some of those barriers. Heron Foods is already our main auditorium sponsor and offered us space to trial our visits.
To say that Wolfe’s writing was the poetic refinement of the art of sixties advertising is to say only a good thing about it—Wolfe took the taste for the potent phrase, the loaded short sentence, the startling intervention, even the wild punctuation, of sixties advertising copy, and turned it into a kind of art.
Not queer enough, argues E. Alex Jung: “There have been Oscar-validated prestige pictures (Milk, The Kids Are All Right, The Dallas Buyers Club, Call Me by Your Name), and corresponding flops (Stonewall, Freeheld), indie films (Princess Cyd, Tangerine), and commercial middlebrow ones (Love, Simon). While these films vary in intent, provenance, and quality, they encapsulate a similar catholic spirit: rather than assert difference, they point out similarities. They apply salve instead of salt. They’re safe, often boring, and sentimental, following familiar emotional arcs to tell a ‘universal story.’ In short, we’re in a movie moment defined by the political sensibility of the gay-marriage movement.”
Chad Bauman, managing director of Milwaukee Rep: “After a career in theatre management and multiple stints as a producer or judge for theatrical awards in major metropolitan areas, I’ve become increasingly convinced that as a field we do not have a cohesive definition of excellence. In an admittedly informal attempt to discover commonality, I contacted several hundred colleagues and asked them [to define excellence]. I received more than 50 responses from a wide cross section of diverse people; below is an attempt at aggregating their thoughts.”
Recent controversies over Sally Kohn’s The Opposite of Hate and Amy Chozick’s Chasing Hillary – not to mention Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury – “have raised concerns about the accuracy and standards of published books. … But what anyone who has never published a book might not realize is that the bar for factchecking books during the editing process is low, if it even exists at all. Not only that, it’s common for publishers to never have a conversation with authors about the issue of factchecking and to assume that getting it right is entirely on the author.”
“Richard Gray Gallery opened in 1963 in Chicago, becoming one of the first spaces in the city to show work by some of the day’s most prominent artists, among them Jules Olitski, Morris Louis, Hans Hofmann, Louise Nevelson, and Jim Dine, as well as works by modernists like Fernand Léger, Pablo Picasso, Josef Albers, Milton Avery, and many others. … But Gray’s gallery didn’t only show contemporary art — he also had a passion for work by aboriginal and African artists, antiquities, and prints and drawings.”
Toby Ansin, a South Florida philanthropist who founded the company in the 1980s with Villella says she just wants to write up the story of her life as it happened. Villella, who signed a reciprocal non-disparagement agreement with the MCB board as part of a settlement after he was forced out as the company’s artistic director in 2012, is not going along with what he sees as an attempt to escape that agreement.
“A renowned Russian playwright who wrote a play about the death of anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky has been found dead, according to a number of reports from Russia. Elena Gremina, 62, reportedly died just six weeks after the death of her her husband, Mikhail Ugarov, who directed the play, which was called One Hour and Eighteen Minutes. The play revolved around the death of Magnitsky in a Moscow prison cell in 2009 after he exposed a coverup by state officials to embezzle an estimated $230m from the Russian treasury.”
“The short answer is a local election. The long answer: an unsightly public witch-hunt against [now-former artistic director Chris] Dercon in the press and public forums, an occupation of the Volksbühne building, [plans for] the [Tempelhof] airport venue proving an unaffordable pipe dream, and disappointing audience numbers.”
“The Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse prize for comic fiction, which has been running since 2000, goes to the novel deemed to best capture the comic spirit of the late PG Wodehouse. … None of the 62 novels submitted for the prize this year ‘prompted unanimous, abundant laughter’, [the judges] said, instead only managing to provoke ‘wry smile[s]’.”
One of the remarkable attributes of experts in a discipline or domain is how quickly they can assess and respond to a complex moment. In a flash, it seems, they cut through the noise, … read more
AJBlog: The Artful Manager Published 2018-05-16
Barker Lark: Oliver Makes Auctions Fun Again at Sotheby’s Revival Meeting (aka Contemporary Sale)
At last, someone knows how to play this game: It’s Oliver Barker, the Sotheby’s auctioneer who succeeded in whipping up a spirited $284.54-million Contemporary Art sale tonight (preceded by the Mandel Collection’s $107.8-million opening act), … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2018-05-16
Ballyhooed Nude, Picasso Fiasco: Misadventures at Impressionist/Modern Sales at Sotheby’s & Christie’s
How did Sotheby’s manage to be deprecated on Monday for achieving a price of $157.2-million for a Modigliani reclining nude — the highest amount ever paid at that firm for a single artwork? The auction house was … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2018-05-16
Huge Wyler Retrospective in Paris
One of the beauties of a William Wyler retrospective as big as the one that the Cinemathèque Française has currently mounted in Paris is the chance to see the immense variety of his work. … read more
AJBlog: Straight|Up Published 2018-05-16
Art dealer Jan Six now says that he has discovered a new Rembrandt, a portrait of an unidentified young man that he purchased at a Christie’s auction in London in 2016 for 137,000 pounds, or about $185,000. If he is right, “Portrait of a Young Gentleman” would be the first wholly unknown Rembrandt painting to be attributed in 44 years — and worth many millions more.
“I’ve rediscovered the part of my brain that can’t decode anything, that can’t add, that can’t work from a verbalized concept, that doesn’t care about stylish notation, that makes melodies that have pitch and rhythm, that doesn’t know anything about zen eternity and gets bored and changes, that isn’t worried about being commercial or avant-garde or serial or any other little category. Beauty is enough.”
“[Security] guards were filmed punching and knocking down the women after preventing them from entering the city’s 798 art zone, a complex of former military factories now known for its galleries and cafes. … An employee of the 798 district’s property management department told the [Global Times] newspaper guards had ‘a right to stop illegal activity. Wearing a rainbow badge is illegal to me, and they, the homosexuals, have distorted sexual orientation. It is terrifying.'” (includes video)