“In 2015, [the University of Southern California Glorya Kaufman School of Dance] opened its studios to its inaugural class, now poised to graduate. Their accomplishments are a testament to (and test of) Kaufman’s unique approach: Grads will have studied a vast array of styles, spearheaded interdisciplinary projects, and completed a rigorous liberal arts education.” And getting in isn’t much easier than it is at Harvard, either.
Which is to say, zero. “The invention of the zero was a hugely significant mathematical development, one that is fundamental to calculus, which made physics, engineering and much of modern technology possible. But what was it about Indian culture that gave rise to this creation that’s so important to … the modern world?”
It’s a nice myth, and one of long standing, but myth it is, writes linguist Chi Luu. For one thing, language has no more remained static in Appalachia than it has anywhere else, and there has been migration in and out of the region, especially in the last century. Luu looks at the myths around Appalachian dialects and draws a connection with African-American Vernacular English.
“Breathless and behind schedule, Dr. Linda Dahl rushed into the waiting room of her office on East 56th Street in Manhattan where two patients, handsome men with chiseled physiques, waited. ‘Someone once asked me, ‘What’s with your patients? They’re all gorgeous,” she said later with a laugh.”
Theatre itself can be activism, of course, through subject matter and through subtle casting changes or donation asks at the end of the play or musical. But “public service” – part of most nonprofit theatres’ mission statements – shouldn’t end at the theatre doors.
“The festival … has reported a jump in refusals over the last few years. This year, about a dozen individuals had gone through an extremely difficult process to obtain a visa, [director Nick] Barley said. They were from Middle East and African countries, with one author from Belarus.”
It is many millennia older than Stonehenge or Egypt’s great pyramids, built in the pre-pottery Neolithic period before writing or the wheel. But should Göbekli Tepe, which became a Unesco World Heritage Site in July, also be regarded as the world’s oldest piece of architecture?
In the guise of apologizing for his “extraordinary Offense,” Franklin set out principles of publishing that prefigure some of the arguments made by Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook chief executive, in his defense of the technology company as a neutral platform, meaning it simply presents the views of others, rather than authenticating them or arbitrating among their competing claims.
What the artist and her team found was that, whatever their party leanings, nearly half of all the board members they researched had made political contributions of more than $200—the point at which they must be reported to the FEC—versus 0.68% of the US adult population that did the same. More than a quarter (28.5%) of the board members gave more than $2,700, as opposed to 0.1% of the larger population.
Recently, theatremakers in the United States are asking this question in droves, as they try to figure out their roles and responsibilities in today’s current political climate. The answers remain varied, but a common thread can be seen: theatre as activism is one of the only weapons they feel they have to challenge the rising tide of partisanship dividing the nation.
Actor Stacy Keach writes about preparing for and performing the role of Ernest Hemingway in Jim McGrath’s one-man play Pamplona at Chicago’s Goodman Theater, where he’s resuming the run that abruptly ended last summer after 11 previews because of one very unfortunate event.
Ross Douthat: “The problem is the one that Auden identified seventy years ago: In an Apollonian culture, eager for “Useful Knowledge” and technical mastery and increasingly indifferent to memory and allergic to tradition, the poet and the novelist and the theologian struggle to find an official justification for their arts. And both the turn toward radical politics and the turn toward high theory are attempts by humanists in the academy to supply that justification — to rebrand the humanities as the seat of social justice and a font of political reform, or to assume a pseudoscientific mantle that lets academics claim to be interrogating literature with the rigor and precision of a lab tech doing dissection.”
“There are many things that would be lost if we slowly lose the cognitive patience to immerse ourselves in the worlds created by books and the lives and feelings of the “friends” who inhabit them. And although it is a wonderful thing that movies and film can do some of this, too, there is a difference in the quality of immersion that is made possible by entering the articulated thoughts of others. What will happen to young readers who never meet and begin to understand the thoughts and feelings of someone totally different?”
By recent research estimates, U.S. musicians only take home one-tenth of national industry revenues. One reason for such a meager percentage is that streaming services — while reinvigorating the music industry at large — aren’t lucrative for artists unless they’re chart-topping names like Drake or Cardi B. According to one Spotify company filing, average per-stream payouts from the company are between $0.006 and $0.0084; numbers from Apple Music, YouTube Music, Deezer and other streaming services are comparable.
“Is there a way to explain what’s happening to us? Is there a theory, a secret, or a person capable of forcing our undulating reality to come into focus? Is there a way to feel stable on this careening ship of a country? But of course there is: two compelling options have emerged into the mainstream in the last few weeks … One is brought to us by Sacha Baron Cohen, the other by a person, or persons, known as Q. One claims to show that the people in charge are actually idiots; the other claims to know that the idiot-in-chief is actually in charge.”
“Even when they waltz, [the dancers] don’t have the lifted posture and arching polish of the best ballroom performers; they’re more ornery than that. … The men arch back — rapturous, trusting — in their women’s arms. Whereupon the women promptly drop them — splat! — to the floor.” (Face down, no less.) (includes video clips)
“A.L.Ex (which stands for Artificial Language Experiment) has been fed the subtitles from more than 100,000 films, from action movies like Deep Impact to the pornographic film Deep Throat. When someone talks to it, the system uses a tool called a neural network, vaguely modeled on the brain, to analyze similar exchanges in its database and compose its own response. [Creator Piotr] Mirowski made his stage debut with A.L.Ex in July 2016. It did not go to plan.”
The Transbay Transit Center (also known as the Salesforce Transit Center), opening this weekend, features a 20,000-square-foot terrazzo floor by Julie Chang, an oval-shaped rolling-text piece by (of course) Jenny Holzer, a ceiling light sculpture by James Carpenter, and a fountain by Ned Kahn in a 5.4-acre rooftop park.
“The center, 5,500 square feet of performance spaces and buildings along the Hudson River in upstate New York, had a soft opening this summer but is to officially open on Sept. 1 with [Alan] Cumming and [Savion] Glover, who will be joined by the jazz drummer Marcus Gilmore.” The highlight of the fall will be a new piece by Lucinda Childs, set to a score by Pulitzer winner David Lang.
In an article headlined “This is the way communism is promoted using state money,” the conservative newspaper Magyar Idők, aligned with the nationalist Fidesz party of prime minister Viktor Orbán, wrote about a popular show of the Mexican painter’s work at the Hungarian National Gallery, “You won’t believe it but Trotsky has emerged in Budapest again, this time from Frida Kahlo’s bed.”
“According to state statistics, more than 1 million foreign tourists and football fans visited Russia in the first two months of this summer, contributing a growth in book sales reported to be almost 50 percent higher than were seen in the same timeframe of 2017.” The increased demand from visitors was largely for the classics, with the only widely-requested 20th-century titles being The Master and Margarita and Doctor Zhivago.
At one point in its history, Oscar voters routinely named blockbusters such as “Titanic” or “Gladiator” as the year’s best. That’s changed. Recent best picture victors such as “Moonlight,” “Spotlight,” and the 2018 winner “The Shape of Water” have been firmly ensconced in the arthouse world, whereas well-reviewed hit films such as “Guardians of the Galaxy” or “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” have only been recognized for their technical achievements.
Creating a category that segregates popular films from more elevated fare hardly seems like an improvement or likely to keep the academy relevant, since it calls attention to the awards’ elitism rather than actually broadening their appeal. If the academy really wants to make the Oscars more appealing to a wider audience, it should consider just recognizing the artistic merit of deserving popular films instead of cordoning them off in their own category. After all, wasn’t that part of the justification for expanding the Best Picture category in 2009, that having more than five nominees would allow room for both obscure indies and more popular fare that might otherwise be squeezed out of the race?
Eager to attract a broader cross-section of visitors at a time when the country’s demographics are changing — and, in New York, facing an ultimatum linking city funding to inclusion plans — a growing number of museums are addressing diversity with new urgency.
“Most of the reviews found a significant effect of music on pain,” writes a team led by Colombian researcher Juan Sebastian Martin-Saavedra. It concludes music should be considered “a clinically significant complementary therapy to be used for the management of pain.”
I am returning to the topic of Furtwängler because my previous blog produced a minor miracle – a thread of responses that yielded heightened understanding of a complex topic. … I now feel impelled to revisit Topic A – not Furtwängler the man (B), but Furtwängler the conductor – and see what A and B put together look like today.
“Over the last twenty years I have played for children and adults with special needs, dementia patients, hospitalized children, grieving parents, and veterans in rehab or hospice. …” A guest post by Penny Brill, an alumna of the Community Engagement Training offered by ArtsEngaged.