You might be forgiven, then, for thinking that Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451 is about fighting the evils of censorship. After all, the back cover copy declares it to be a “classic novel of censorship and defiance” and it’s generally taught this way in high schools. But Bradbury himself never took this line. According to the Christian Science Monitor, the author declared that “Fahrenheit’s not about censorship. It’s about the moronic influence of popular culture through local TV news, the proliferation of giant screens and the bombardment of factoids. We’ve moved in to this period of history that I described in Fahrenheit 50 years ago.”
Sudip Bose: “For the sake of a nice, neat number, I am identifying 25 great works — hardly a comprehensive tally, and somewhat arbitrary. Looking over the finalists, I began second-guessing at once: Why no Virgil Thomson or David Diamond? Why Bernstein’s First and not his Second? Why not Ives’s Third? I have not, moreover, included symphonic works that do not bear the title Symphony; therefore, I have left out Samuel Barber’s Essays and Joan Tower’s Concerto for Orchestra. What do you think I ought to have included?”
Caleb Crain: “A little more than a decade ago, I wrote an article for The New Yorker about American reading habits, which a number of studies then indicated might be in decline. … I’ll go out on a limb and say that I don’t think that I got this part wrong. But I’ve often wondered whether I was right about the underlying trend, too. Were Americans in fact reading less back then? And are they reading even less today? Whenever I happen across a news article on the topic, I wonder if I’m about to find out whether I was Cassandra or Chicken Little.” So Crain looked into the data.
“‘The industry’s tripled in size since the early 2000s,'” says [producer] Ma Jung-hoon. … ‘Half of our income comes from international sales.” Says an American executive who distributes K-drama, “I think that the format of Korean dramas is very digestible. So instead of having these long, 20-episode, multi-series shows like we have in the US and other parts of the world, Korean dramas are [up to] 16 episodes. That’s it, you only have one season.”
“Our thesis for a lot of this work is that there is no future without the past,” Andrew Balio tells me. “I don’t think that’s a controversial statement.” He’s correct, and there’s no doubt that the Future Symphony Institute was born out of a real love for, and desire to share, the rich tradition of classical music. What the genre—and the wider arts world—found itself facing in the 20th century, however, was a challenging of the notion of a singular beauty, and a distrust of its pursuit.
With some of Karajan’s advice in mind (“guide the orchestra, don’t impose yourself”) Oundjian steadily rebuilt the band while adding big late- and post-romantic scores to his personal repertoire. More than half of TSO players, and two-thirds of principals, are Oundjian picks. While few would question Oundjian’s authority in choosing strings, he seems also to have an ear for wind, brass and percussion, and how they work together.
“[He] became known as the ‘grandfather of rap’ for his rhythmic, spoken-word verses with the Last Poets, a group that channeled the militant social criticism of the Black Power movement into music that paved the way for hip-hop.”
Sean Douglass: “I think we have to accept that the former critic and blogger landscape is gone, because there just isn’t enough interest to sustain it. … While many blogs may be gone, the social media that has replaced them can be a far more powerful tool for reaching people than what we’ve ever had before. Let’s not lament the migration to social media and theaters-as-content-distributors. Let’s embrace it.”
I’ll cut to the chase: between 2003 and 2016, the amount of time that the average American devoted to reading for personal interest on a daily basis dropped from 0.36 hours to 0.29 hours. It would seem that reading in America has declined even further in the past decade. But statistics can be tricky, so let’s kick the tires a little.
May Adrales, who has been a director and collaborator with Qui Nguyen and his play Vietgone for several years, is just finishing up a season as an associate artistic director at the Milwaukee Rep. What has she learned? “It’s hard to initiate change, and it’s hard to start to reframe things differently.”
As the former Citie Ballet – now Ballet Edmonton – takes a name change the company will also start a new partnership with the Fine Arts & Communications Faculty at MacEwan University involving a performance space and other possible collaborations. Finally, Ballet Edmonton has announced that one of Canada’s most acclaimed choreographers Wen Wei Wang will take over as its new artistic director for the 2018-2019 season.
But. Those in distribution and exhibition continue to bet against MoviePass’ survival; since CinemaCon they’ve whispered whether the monthly ticket service would make it to the end of summer. Parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc. (HMNY) stock has been in free fall, plunging from a high this year of $9.77 on Jan. 23 to a current $0.38.
All of the strategizing and positioning that goes on behind the scenes to create an authentic image makes many companies come off as, well, inauthentic. Working hard to find a niche or an angle that makes a specific company appear both appealing and honest simply makes the company look like it’s trying too hard — and that’s a big turnoff for consumers. In fact, a lack of authenticity has been deemed the “fastest way to kill your brand.”
Alberto Ibarguen: “Over the course of three years — from 2009 to ’11 — Knight and Gallup spoke with 43,000 people in 26 communities around the country. Our question was simple: What attaches people to the place where they live? The study was called “Soul of the Community” and we found that, contrary to conventional wisdom, social offerings and aesthetics bind people to place and to each other even more than what we had expected: education or jobs.”
The app’s feature “uses augmented reality to drop cartoon characters — dancing hot dogs, twerking chipmunks, Ed Sheeran — and other digital objects [called 3D Bitmoji] into a camera lens’s field of view.”
Trim and mercurial, Ann Philbin, who once clashed with billionaire Eli Broad over funding and turned away potential board members who didn’t share her progressive inclinations, runs on self-assurance and charm. She looks right at you, as if perhaps you’re a painting or video installation to be politely scrutinized, and then, if all goes well, conspired with.
Oracles such as Delphi have fallen out of favour as homes for legitimate understandings. These days, we build tailor-made places where diverse judgments about different kinds of realities get settled: churches and other sacred spaces for sustaining transcendental verities; laboratories for making scientific claims about the natural world; courthouses for deciding the facts of a case. Such specialised ‘truth-spots’ lend credibility to beliefs or claims that come from there.
We both worked together on buying DVDs from the studios, negotiating revenue share and deals. On the side, we were always finding cool projects, documentaries, foreign films, little indie films that we would then put on DVD. That was one of the things we really appreciated about each other when we first met — that love of independent films and documentaries and foreign films. “Hey, did you ever see this one or that one?”
“Such high profile cases [as those of Sherman Alexie and Junot Díaz] are far from rare as the #MeToo movement spreads across the creative industries. They come at a time when writers are facing increasingly draconian attempts by publishers to police their behaviour, calling into question centuries old assumptions about the desirability – or even the possibility in today’s networked world – of separating writers’ lives from their work.”
“The Bureau of Investigative Journalism is moving into theatre producing with a touring show about cuts to domestic violence funding. Refuge Women is a collaboration between journalists and performers, and is inspired by real stories uncovered through investigations into the state of government-funded services for women fleeing domestic violence.”
The hit seven-episode audio documentary by the producers of Serial and This American Life will be adapted for the screen and directed by Tom McCarthy, who won two Oscars in 2015 for Spotlight, about the Boston Globe investigation into sexual abuse by Catholic priests. But will S-Town translate? Hannah Verdier considers the potential pitfalls and pluses.
In the spring of 2014, Eric Abramovitz, a music student at McGill University in Montreal, was offered a full scholarship to the Coburn School of Music in Los Angeles. But he never got the offer: Jennifer Lee, his then-girlfriend, saw the email from Coburn before he did. René Bruemmer reports on what Lee did next – things that convinced a judge to make such a huge award – and how Abramovitz ultimately found out about it.
“The work in question is called Trolley Hunters, a satirical image of Neanderthal-ish men hunting a shopping cart. It’s said to be the artist’s critique on corporate food production. Its value is estimated at $45,000. … Later Thursday, police released video appearing to show the theft, while the exhibition was still being set up.”
“Adam Diegel has resigned as artistic director of Opera San Antonio after just five months, accusing the board of directors of interfering in his work and not allowing him to choose the operas the company would perform.”
“American Ballet Theatre [has] announced a new initiative to foster the development of choreography by company members and freelance dancemakers. Aptly titled ABT Incubator, the program, directed by principal David Hallberg, will give selected choreographers the opportunity to spend two weeks workshopping new dances.” (This is not to be confused with ABT Women’s Movement, the program to develop work by female choreographers that was announced last month.)
“The Daniel Island Performing Arts Center … was to be a multipurpose new venue that featured a 400-seat proscenium theater, with balconies and an orchestra pit, available to various local and touring theater companies, plus dance programming, classes and more.” In early June, the board abruptly decided to end the project; said one director, “After a year of the board studying the launch of full campaign, it became evident that the building couldn’t be built on donations alone.”
“The Russian government has urged museums to offer discounts to visitors with a World Cup Fan-ID, the special document that allows ticket-holders to enter the country without a visa.” The Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow will offer free admission to its 20th- and 21-century art wing for the next six weeks. But the director of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg has curtly declined to make any such offer – and the way he explained his reasoning will not please Russian nationalists.
“Deutsche Bank has set an opening date of 27 September for its new cultural forum, located in an historic building in central Berlin and to be called Palais Populaire. [The new center] will host exhibitions, concerts, readings, talks, workshops, sporting events and a cafe.”
While some of the study’s findings are not particularly surprising — like that artists’ satisfaction with their work increases in direct proportion to the amount of time they spend in the studio — others are quite illuminating, especially where the economics of being an artist are involved. For instance, only 12% of respondents said that gallery sales of their work have been helpful in sustaining their practices, and grants ranked similarly low; the majority (61%) said that freelance and contract work was the most significant economic factor supporting their art.