If English had not changed in exactly these kinds of ways forever, we’d all be speaking the language of Beowulf. Some might wish it so, but count me out. Pronouns change, just as we do. We celebrate language change that has already happened as pageant, procession, progress. Why not celebrate it while it’s happening?
Annmaria Mazzini, Eran Bugge, Michael Trusnovec, and new Taylor company artistic director Michael Novak tell writer Ann Votaw how, as Novak puts it, “Human movement never lies,” and why what Taylor wanted to watch dancers do in auditions was walk.
Current debates about social class in the arts miss a vital point. How are working class young people going to access the arts if they don’t experience them in school?
“She compiled three sets of books, with about 12 books in each set and no more than a dozen pages in each book. … Readers encountered only four letters — M, A, T and S — and three-letter words. The texts became gradually more complicated, as letters were added until the first set introduced everything but Q, culminating in a sequence that featured a vet, a van, a big cat and a bad leg: ‘The cat ran zig zag. The vet ran zip zap. ZAM!'”
“I once told a friend associated with Taylor’s company that I was thinking of writing an essay about Taylor as one of America’s great playwrights, continuing the themes of Eric Bentley’s famous essay projecting a similar role for Taylor’s mentor Martha Graham. I will never write that piece now (unless this is it), but several points that would have gone into it seem to have stuck in my head.”
The current generation of Broadway fans probably remembers her as the original Madame Morrible in Wicked, but she won her Tony for playing Madge Kendal opposite Philip Anglim in the original Broadway run (1979) of The Elephant Man. She’s also remembered, by an earlier generation, as one of the Pigeon sisters in the original stage and screen versions of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple.
“San Antonio nonprofit arts organizations that receive City funding have been tasked with using a data analysis tool to help measure their overall effectiveness in marketing, staffing, fundraising, and other aspects of management. By Sept. 30, just before the City’s new fiscal year begins Oct. 1, each of 47 arts agencies will have submitted data on their operations and use of public funding.”
Company general director David Devan, on the O17 and O18 festivals devoted to new work as well as about changes to regular-season programming: “Our industry is hanging on by a thread to models that were created in the ’50s-’70s. A subscription model focused on excellent performance in the traditional repertoire … This would be like ignoring the streaming movement and sticking to network television. We wanted to be the HBO of opera.”
The Luxembourgeoise artist Deborah de Robertis, who has been arrested multiple times for displaying herself alongside displays of some of the world’s most famous female nude paintings, “has been charged with ‘sexual exhibitionism’ after she stood in the famous grotto at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, hands clasped as if in prayer, wearing nothing but a blue veil on her head.” (She titled the performance “The Origin of Life.”)
The vaunted “special relationship” between the U.S. and Britain is thriving in the media and entertainment space. But with Brexit clouds overhead and other countries emerging as international content hubs, the question is whether the feverish trans-Atlantic dealmaking will cool down — or whether it might actually heat up further as the FAANGs (digital players Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google) enter the game.
Gia Kourlas: “I began interviewing Mr. Taylor in 1995, and talked with him (and his dancers) many times over the years. I realize I probably only scratched the surface of his singular, probing imagination, but that’s something. He would tease me relentlessly; that was fine. His amusement bought me time to ask another question. We talked about dance, of course, but we also talked about his life, his hobbies, his pets.”
“Perhaps then, pleasure and music are connected in some way further removed from both the obvious sonorous tickle that music affords or the formal demands that music places on the listener. Perhaps we haven’t gone far enough when we suppose that pleasure in music derives from the recognition within it of a passionate utterance, or an imitation of nature, or an intense game of challenging listening to be played. Perhaps we’ve been asking too many questions about what in music is pleasurable, and too few about how pleasure is a phenomenon with musical qualities.”
For all its sundry failings and inexcusable prejudices, conventional art history provided a fundamental framework for assessing quality. Grouping works according to such commonalities as place of origin, period and circumstances of execution, artistic intent, function and medium facilitated comparative judgments. In the last decades, academia largely rejected this sort of connoisseurship, because it was too often tied to “great man” narratives. Over the same period, professional art criticism was effectively obliterated by a journalistic obsession (both in the surviving print media and online) with glamour, scandal and money. While the art world was never entirely free from market forces, those forces are now essentially left alone to determine value.
“The slippers were on loan to the Judy Garland Museum in the late actress’s hometown of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, when they were taken in 2005 by someone who climbed through a window and broke into a small display case. … The FBI said a man approached the insurer in summer 2017 and said he could help get them back. … After a nearly year-long investigation, the slippers were recovered in July during a sting operation in Minneapolis.”
It’s been a difficult beginning for the new hip-hop musical Sylvia at the London theatre. Sept. 3 was to have been the first preview performance of the show about suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst, but the previous day, director Matthew Warchus, worried about the readiness of the production, rebranded the evening as an open dress rehearsal. Then, just after the second act began, the lead actress, Genesis Lynea, became ill and the performance was stopped.
“[Paleontologist Paulo] Buckup, who has worked at the National Museum since 1996, led the group’s harrowing entry into the museum. ‘There were constant collapses while we were inside. There were falling objects and lots of smoke. In one area we realized there was a real risk of the ceiling collapsing, we could not assess when the third floor would fall.'”
Canadian choreographer Pite, Miami City Ballet artistic director Lopez, African-American choreographer Brown, and longtime Paul Taylor Dance Company stalwart Trusnovec are this year’s honorees, and the magazine has added a special Leadership Award for Redden, longtime director of both Spoleto Festival USA and the now-discontinued Lincoln Center Festival.
WARNING: The video below (posted yesterday on Twitter) of the fire-ravaged interior of what was once the National Museum of Brazil (now largely reduced to rubble) may induce nausea and is not for the faint-of-heart.
For the last few months I’ve been meaning to revisit some of the abiding concerns of this blog and the book that inspired it. Mostly, I’m talking about what we used to call the press …
Mrs. T and I are putting our lives back together after her unexpected hospital stay. It’s taken some doing.