“He’s appeared in Ealing dramas, a James Bond movie and played a wily dictator in Sidney Pollack’s The Interpreter. But if [Earl] Cameron never quite achieved leading-man status, that was hardly his fault – there were other factors at play. … In hindsight, perhaps, he peaked too early. He broke the mould on his very first film. Shot in 1951, Basil Dearden’s thriller Pool of London cast him as Johnny, a young sailor who battles racists at the docks and romances a white girl beside Greenwich Observatory.”
That’s what the lead singer says about David T. Little’s next opera, Artaud in the Black Lodge (yes, it’s a Twin Peaks reference), whose first part is getting a concert premiere in Los Angeles. (By the way, David Lynch has, in fact, opened a nightclub.)
“That fearlessness on the part of Russian theatre artists has led to an increase in audiences, including that most coveted of demographics: the under-40 set. One had only to look at the audience at Gogol Center, where I saw Kafka on a Saturday night.” Diep Tran visits the Golden Mask Festival, where Russia’s top companies present their best work of the season over two months, at the end of which a jury awards a Russian national equivalent of the Tonys or Oliviers.
“Albert Finney sobbed like an animal, Harold Pinter ramped up the terror and John Hurt even resembled Beckett himself.” Why do actors and viewers keep coming back to the play – even, as Michael Billington writes, “someone like myself, who is not a fully paid-up member of the Beckett club”? Well, Billington says, “it is partly because of its perfect alliance of form and content.”
Ben Davis: “How many people out there still care about the implosion of the Blouin organization as we know it and its hail-mary mutation into an e-commerce hub? Not that many, it seems. And no one has done more than Louise Blouin herself when it comes to transforming her once formidable enterprise into a punch line. To measure the magnitude of her fall from grace, maybe it’s worth going back 10 years. Then, Louise Blouin – at the time, still Louise Blouin MacBain – was the toast of the art world, a fearsome new contender whose media ambitions were set to shake things up.”
“In a meeting on Tuesday evening at the academy’s Beverly Hills headquarters, the group’s 54-member board of governors, including such Hollywood luminaries as Tom Hanks, Whoopi Goldberg, Kathleen Kennedy and Steven Spielberg, elected [cinematographer John] Bailey to succeed outgoing President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who served four consecutive yearlong terms and steered the organization through one of the most transformative and sometimes turbulent periods in its long history.”
This past spring, Sam Durant’s Scaffold at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis drew enough criticism that the piece was disassembled entirely. (At least they held off on burning it.) This month, the dispute is over Del Geist’s Bowfort Towers, a piece, meant to pay tribute to Blackfoot culture, that the city of Calgary has sited at an interchange on the Trans-Canada Highway.
Gia Kourlas writes about step – ” a percussive-movement tradition that uses the entire body as well as the voice and is popular in African-American fraternities and sororities” – and a new documentary about The Lethal Ladies, the girls’ step team at a Baltimore high school.
The Russian government (which you’d think might not want to publicize this) estimates that between a quarter and a third of all books on the market in the country are pirated. (The problem is virtually nil with print books, though; it’s all in the e-book sector.) Even more worrisome is what one survey found about Russians’ beliefs regarding pirated content.
“What they found is that all the plans adhere to one of five basic setups: benches opposing each other in two sets of lines; a semicircle; a horseshoe; a circle; or a classroom-like layout, where politicians are rigidly oriented to face the front of a room. While many European national parliaments have opted for the semicircular layout — indicative of a “consensus-seeking” room, XML says — it’s mostly authoritarian countries that have adopted the classroom setup, from Cuba to China to North Korea.”
“When we find ourselves taking a childlike view of our place in history, we would do well to take a lesson from those scribes of 3,000 years ago, and recognise that the timeline stretches as far behind us as it stretches ahead. For proof of this, we have only to look to Eridu and Pompeii and Tenochtitlan, and a hundred other dust-swept ruins whose inhabitants hoped their empires would endure forever – but must have known, on some level, that they would not.”
“I had seen a partial eclipse in 1970. A partial eclipse is very interesting. It bears almost no relation to a total eclipse. Seeing a partial eclipse bears the same relation to seeing a total eclipse as kissing a man does to marrying him, or as flying in an airplane does to falling out of an airplane. Although the one experience precedes the other, it in no way prepares you for it.”
In honor of this month’s event, The Atlantic brings back Dillard’s 1982 piece “Total Eclipse.”
“Nelson and Winnie Mandela were in the crowd. Miriam Makeba was the female lead. Abdullah Ibrahim played inconspicuously in the orchestra, as did a teenage Hugh Masekela, on a trumpet given to him by Louis Armstrong. Thrilled by what they saw and heard, the audience members, at first roped into ‘white’ and ‘nonwhite’ sections, refused to leave the theater after the show … On the opening night of the musical King Kong [in 1959], a black composer, Todd Matshikiza; a white creative team; and a 72-strong black cast offered the audience a vision of another kind of country, in which creativity and collaboration prevailed.” After nearly 60 years, King Kong is being updated and revived in Cape Town.
The classic Broadway ingenue of the 1950s and ’60s, she made her name as the original Marian the Librarian in The Music Man and Cunégonde in Leonard Bernstein’s Candide. After a difficult period of alcoholism and weight gain, she reinvented herself as a cabaret star – one of whom no less than Stephen Sondheim said, “No one sings theater songs with more feeling for the music or more understanding of the lyrics than Barbara.”
“The Broadway musical that had more Tony Award nominations than any other last season will close on Sept. 3 after struggling to overcome a recent casting controversy, the show’s producers announced on Tuesday.”
“Nakajima played [the mutant dinosaur] in the 1954 original and 11 subsequent films, donning the suit that he said weighed about 220 pounds and wreaking havoc on model cities and rival monsters. But he began his career in samurai films, including a small role in Akira Kurosawa’s legendary 1954 film Seven Samurai.”
“The sweet-voiced, guitar-picking son of a sharecropper … became a recording, television and movie star in the 1960s and ’70s, waged a publicized battle with alcohol and drugs and gave his last performances while in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.”
The Board’s Role in Community Engagement: Part I
The board of directors of a nonprofit arts organization can and should play an important role in planning for and adopting community engagement as a crucial mission strategy. There is a tendency on the part … read more
AJBlog: Engaging Matters Published 2017-08-08
For the first time, these guys have systematically studied how fake news spreads on Twitter and provide a unique window into this murky world. Their work suggests clear strategies for controlling this epidemic.
“Mind uploading could actually offer something tantalisingly close to true immortality. Just as we currently back up files on external drives and cloud storage, your uploaded mind could be copied innumerable times and backed up in secure locations, making it extremely unlikely that any natural or man-made disaster could destroy all of your copies. Despite this advantage, mind uploading presents some difficult ethical issues.”
The towering, untitled sculpture was not universally popular when it was unveiled 50 years ago. “[It] might never have been in danger of being destroyed or being replaced with a statue of Cubs baseball player Ernie Banks (per the wishes of one alderman), but for several years, the word ‘controversial’ preceded any mention of the work in the press. … Children began using The Picasso as a slide almost immediately, making it a de facto interactive sculpture.”