“Interestingly, I’m finding that more and more of my friends and colleagues from the theatre are operating their careers in reverse. Instead of starting in the regions and building up a resume to take to New York, they began in the city and are taking their talent and experience back out into the world.”
“A dedicated group of snowbirds invested in some cultural enrichment for the city in the 1980s, marking a wave of new institutions that began to pop up in Miami.” Now, a dozen years after the 2006 opening of what is now the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts (and its rescue from disaster by Arsht two years later), “there is more diversity across Miami’s nonprofit disciplines than ever.”
Ehrenreich contemplates with some satisfaction not just the approach of her own death but also the passing of her generation. As the boomers have aged, denial of death, she argues, has moved to the center of American culture, and a vast industrial ecosystem has bloomed to capitalize on it. Across twelve chapters, Ehrenreich surveys the health care system, the culture of old age, the world of “mindfulness,” and the interior workings of the body itself, and finds a fixation on controlling the body, encouraged by cynical and self-interested professionals in the name of “wellness.”
“It was fun for me to find out how many things you could express in the waltz form,” says composer Kander (Cabaret, Chicago) of their adaptation, with librettist David Thompson, of James’s The Beast in the Jungle. “The first thing I said was, ‘How much do I have to pay to do this?'”
Whew, theatre world, what are you DOING? “The just-concluded 2017–18 Broadway season saw a meager 17 percent of its offstage talent composed of women.”
Whatever ‘blind’ casting may mean to Terry and the cohort of each play, the audience sees gender, and that makes a difference. “Many audience members in fact cannot and will not easily look past what seems to them to be a fundamental disconnect between who the gender of the actor as understood outside of the production, and the gender they are playing.”
The classic Chicago accent is heard less often these days because the white working class is less numerous, and less influential, than it was in the 20th century. It has been pushed to the margins of city life, both figuratively and geographically, by white flight, multiculturalism, and globalization: The accent is most prevalent in blue-collar suburbs and predominantly white neighborhoods in the northwest and southwest corners of the city, now heavily populated by city workers whose families have lived in Chicago for generations.
Pia Catton talks to members of American Ballet Theatre about their reaction to films from The Red Shoes to The Turning Point to Center Stage to (yes) Black Swan.
Lauren Wingenroth: “Hypothetically, this is a great idea. We’re all for more ballet commissions for women. But the way ABT has promoted the initiative is problematic. Part of it is the fact that they plan to provide these women with ‘guidance and feedback from ABT’s artistic staff.’ Though they surely mean for this to be supportive, not condescending, Debra Levine points out … that they wouldn’t dare suggest that male choreographers need ‘guidance and feedback.’ … But what’s really troubling is the way that ABT suggests that they’ve already been doing the work of supporting women, they’ve just now decided to ‘formalize it.'”
“The time has come to be more honest about the creation of work and to recognise that work through credit and royalty agreements for performers and stage managers. I do not think it should be left to the individual generosity of a director, but this concept should be enshrined in the Equity contracts used by our theatres.”
Amy Seiwert, who was a Sacramento Ballet dancer for eight years in the 1990s and created a ballet company in San Francisco, will succeed co-artistic directors Ron Cunningham and Carinne Binda, a husband-and-wife pair who choreographed performances for 30 years . Seiwert’s term begins July 1.
“In 1997, African American artist Kerry James Marshall painted Past Times, an artwork depicting a black family in high-class leisure – playing golf, playing cricket, as well as water skiing and driving a motorboat across a lake. It’s a take on a pastoral scene typically filled with European aristocratic types yet instead filled with black figures. Last week at Sotheby’s, it sold for $21.1m, breaking a new world record, making Marshall, according to reports, the highest-paid African American artist.” Says Marshall, “My ambition was never to make a lot of money. I was really just struggling to make the best pictures I could make.”
“Nor did anyone mind when … he said, ‘What happened to your mother — is she dead?’ to a man named Richard, who wanted a book signed for his father.
‘She is to him,’ Richard said.
Mr. Sedaris drew a little person and gravestone with ‘R.I.P.’ written on it. ‘Here is your father looking at the ashes of his failed marriage,’ he explained.”
Haifaa al-Mansour came to worldwide attention in 2012 with Wadjda, both the first-ever feature by a Saudi woman and the first shot entirely inside Saudi Arabia. Even she was surprised by the idea that her next film would be about the 19th-century English author. “But when she read the script, Ms. Mansour was amazed at the parallels between Shelley’s struggles to publish her masterpiece, Frankenstein, and make a name for herself as a writer, and her own experience as an aspiring artist in a conservative Muslim culture in which women have traditionally been denied the same rights as men.”
In what seems to be an attempt to calm the tensions caused by the (let’s say) fraught departure of Peter Martins, City Ballet’s search committee is conducting an extensive “listening tour,” talking with dancers, staff, donors, and board members about what they’d like to see in a new artistic director and in the direction of the company.
“[Stephen] Cleobury’s announcement that he was retiring from the position – which he had held since 1982 – sparked speculation about who would step into the prominent and demanding role. Aside from singing daily services in the extraordinary chapel, the choir have been prolific recording artists over many year, most recently releasing albums on its own label, launched in 2012. Meanwhile, the annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols reaches audiences of millions both on radio and television.” Cleobury’s successor will be Daniel Hyde, currently director of music at St. Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue in New York City.
“Pennsylvania Ballet, which long planned to renovate a white terracotta-clad building on its property at North Broad and Carlton Streets as part of its expansion a few blocks north of City Hall, now says it will demolish the building instead. … The troupe says it has determined that keeping the historic four-story building fronting Broad Street isn’t feasible.”
“The actress said in a statement: ‘Merely to join the list of distinguished recipients of this award would be honor enough, but, as a student of both American history and literature, the fact that Mr. Twain himself will be presenting the award to me in person is particularly gratifying.'”
Only in Ontario? “According to [local police in the town of Erin], the man broke-in to the unlocked residence, drank a bottle of wine from the fridge, then proceeded to play the family’s piano until he was caught. There were two residents located upstairs at the time of the break-in.” (One shudders to think how this might have played out in Florida.)
Gloom at the Top: Why Megabucks Auctions Are Broken (and how to fix them)
The thrill is gone. For several of the highest-estimated properties in the recent series of Impressionist, modern and contemporary sales at Sotheby’s and Christie’s, the “auction fever” of yesteryear has given way to single-bid transfers … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2018-05-23
Oh, Yes, Tom Talbert’s Music…
In Monday’s posting revisiting an early Rifftides piece about Tom Talbert (pictured ca. 1956), the staff was remiss in not including examples of Talbert’s music. Let’s remedy that. … read more
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2018-05-23
Swift’s team is undertaking an experiment that lists her tickets on Ticketmaster near prices they believe the market demands — much higher than what it usually costs to see a stadium concert. It’s a competitive play aimed directly at pricing scalpers and online bots out of the business, and it could keep large quantities of tickets off the secondary market. The bold move also helps Swift pocket a larger profit from face-value tickets by attempting to eliminate a middleman that legislators have struggled to erase.
Virtual sexual violence and virtual murder are alike in that they don’t involve real victims, and both would be uncontroversially wrong if done in real life. This creates what philosopher Morgan Luck called ‘the gamer’s dilemma’: how can we be so sanguine about virtual bloodletting, but react with appalled horror to the idea of simulated paedophilia or sexual violence?
To find a new Leonardo is to strike the purest vein of artworld gold. But only a few dozen of his works exist worldwide, and one of them sold recently for more than any other artwork in history. Leonardos have become a cultural currency, so to have discovered a once-lost drawing is a position of enormous potential power. If it is authentic, of course. The French seem to think so, but are they right? And how can they be sure?
Through initiatives that include facilitating collaborations between artists and local governments to address civic issues, capacity-building for small and mid-sized cultural institutions, and increasing visitor engagement through the use of digital technology, Bloomberg Philanthropies works to improve quality of life by strengthening the arts in cities across the globe.
“The 1.2bn krona (£100m) brass-clad structure, designed by the British architect David Chipperfield, would harm the capital’s picturesque waterfront, a cultural heritage site, the land and environmental court ruled on Tuesday. The scale of the building ‘would affect the readability of Stockholm’s historical development as a port, shipping and trading city’, the court said, and cause ‘significant damage’ to the preservation of the old harbour site.”
“The big one – the Nobel prize in literature – eluded him, but there can be few American literary careers so richly laurelled, early and late. He was a bestselling writer only once in his career, when Portnoy’s Complaint (1969) sold 420,000 copies in the first 10 weeks after publication.” Roth was, however, embattled throughout his career, known for both his mental health troubles and the constant criticism he received for his relations with women and with Judaism.