“When the Taliban charged in to Afghanistan’s state-run film company in the mid-1990s intent on destroying all the movies, Habibullah Ali risked everything to save them. He hid thousands of reels of footage showcasing Afghanistan’s rich cultural history … Two decades later those reels, which include long-lost movies and documentary images of Afghanistan before it was ravaged by violence, are being made available to watch again through digitisation.”
“Nine steel pavilions, rising several stories high, have already been erected at the centre of the royal cremation park, or Sanam Luang. The skeletal thrones that stood bare just weeks ago have now been adorned with gilded and carved cedar, teak and timber. … When it comes to crafting a royal funeral pyre the devil is in the detail. Every carving, flick of the paint brush, or wooden strut has been designed, excoriated and redesigned multiple times.”
“Many of us who arrived in New York in the last decades of the last century, looking to the theater for news about what it meant to be gay, found ourselves serially disheartened. … Yet, over the past 20 years, gay rights did expand, well beyond anyone’s imagining. This recently led me to wonder what a young gay man arriving in New York would find if he looked in the mirror of the mainstream theater today. Pretty much the same thing I did.”
“I wonder if English Canada has the strength to face the truth in the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report: that the evil inflicted on the indigenous populations of this country was not done by our worst people but by our best. The colonists believed that hope for the indigenous population meant stripping them of their language and culture and imbuing them with a spirit of thrift—they were trying to prepare them for the future, for progress. And the only future and the only progress that they could imagine was the one presented to them as an inevitable fact by Britain and America.”
Not only has secularism failed to continue its steady global march but countries as varied as Iran, India, Israel, Algeria and Turkey have either had their secular governments replaced by religious ones, or have seen the rise of influential religious nationalist movements. Secularisation, as predicted by the social sciences, has failed.
Amateurs believe that the world should work the way they want it to. Professionals realize that they have to work with the world as they find it. Amateurs are scared — scared to be vulnerable and honest with themselves. Professionals feel like they are capable of handling almost anything.
Some critics of the original say it was a poor representation of Earth because it was created by a small group of people who chose to present a rosy view of humans and leave out the terrible things they’re capable of. Lomberg, Ferris, and other Voyager members say the criticism is fair, but Lomberg said the tone of the message was appropriate for the job. The Golden Record was both a first impression and a final word. “You meet somebody, you don’t start by telling them all your flaws,” he said. “We presume this will be found after we’re all long dead. Isn’t it nice to be remembered for what’s best rather than what’s worst?”
The photos, which show a series of portraits of people in Thailand, were changed slightly by Madeleine Fierze and entered into the competition under the title “I look at the world with the eyes of a child”. In July, she scooped the top award in the “Fine Art People Children” non-professional category, but her award was called into question when Sasin Tipchai noticed his photos had been copied at the end of August.
“Finding one’s true place in the world is a massive trope, not just in film and theatre, but also in literature, education and motivational seminars – any place where young people are involved. In all these cases, the search for the ‘self’ is dubious because it assumes that there is an enduring ‘self’ that lurks within and that can somehow be found. Whereas, in fact, the only ‘self’ we can be sure of is one that changes every second, our decisions and circumstances taking us in an infinite number of directions, moment by moment.”
“Art fairs represent as much as one quarter of total annual art sales worldwide—the figure is slightly over $13 billion annually. And fairs account for over 40 percent of most galleries’ annual revenue. Total art fair attendance numbers are in the millions and will only increase. If we accept that fairs are a kind of new cultural institution, cultural institutions of the future, say, then we should ask ourselves: What do we want these new cultural institutions to look like and how can they serve this diverse and growing audience?”
“This very simple idea: can you have someone making something with a generative model, putting it out there, but then taking advantage of the fact that the feedback they get? “Oh, that was good, that was bad.” That feedback that we get, the artist can learn from that in one way, but maybe the machine-learning model can learn from it as well, and say, “Oh, I see, here are all the people and here’s what they think of what I’m doing, and I have these parameters.” And we can set those parameters vis-à-vis the feedback, using reinforcement learning, and we’re working on that, too.”
“Conservatives have long railed against liberal Hollywood, and liberals have bemoaned the racism, sexism and militarism of Hollywood products, but through it all red and blue states have come together to produce plenty of box-office green. Movies are a common treasury for everyone to share. Is that still true? Was it ever?”
“A Boston critic informed me that my touring theatre company’s productions need to stay in one place for longer in a venue that is “convenient” and “familiar,” otherwise they will not come see or review the show. This ideology not only directly contradicts our mission as a touring theatre company, but it supports the misconception that theatre is only for those who can afford to go to those expensive venues (where it is more costly to produce and thus demands that the company sell tickets) and/or who have the time and money to spend to travel to those venues as well as pay the higher ticket prices. This approach to viewership directly encourages the label of ‘elitist’ to our medium.”
Its six wizened members range from a relatively youthful 63 to a scarcely believable 97-year-old trumpeter. Jazz is more readily associated with New Orleans or New York than Shanghai, but the Chinese city has its own proud jazz heritage that flickers on. The Peace Hotel, completed in 1929 and a prime example of art deco architecture on Shanghai’s historic riverside Bund area, is in many ways central to it.
Rachel Shukert: “It’s easy for such a list to seem like a list of the ten best Broadway musicals, period. Prince’s contribution to the American theater is so vast, so elemental, that it feels a little bit like ranking the ten best colors. A case can be made that green is a better color than yellow, but without both of them, the rainbow as we know it would cease to exist. Still, I’m always up for a challenge, particularly one that will engage and perhaps, enrage, the show-biz multiverse known as my Twitter feed.”
Silvestre Revueltas “wasn’t exactly a nationalist; folk music didn’t much interest him. He did, however, relish the popular idioms of his land. His music may call to mind Stravinsky at certain times, Mahler at others, as well as Bartók and Edgard Varèse, yet pulsing through its pages are the soulful sounds of the bands playing across the Mexican countryside, in villages and on ranches. This isn’t fusion so much as it is a celebration of both high and low, the refined and the rustic. What makes his body of work all the more astonishing is that Revueltas largely produced it during one turbulent decade – the final 10 years of his life.”
“In the world of classical ballet, the presentation of flowers to the lead ballerinas is a carefully choreographed ritual, one steeped in tradition and rules, and perfected by decades of practice. It’s also a study in contrasts, as ushers with no stage experience must walk across the stage to meet the most graceful of performers at center stage. What could go wrong?” You’d be surprised. Peggy McGlone talks with ushers at the Kennedy Center who do it.
Madeleine Josephine Fierz of Switzerland won a gold medal at the Moscow International Foto Awards for a series of images of young Thais which she titled “I look at the world with the eyes of a child.” Turns out they were the work of a Thai photographer, and Fierze downloaded them from Pixabay.
Haring had assumed that his South Philadelphia mural would disappear, and it hasn’t. For this 88½-foot mural, it was the opposite: “I made this painting to amuse the sick children in this hospital, now and in the future,” he wrote in his diary – but by 2011 it had deteriorated badly, and the hospital was going to demolish it as part of an expansion. Roslyn Sulcas recounts how the piece, called Tower, was rescued.
The grand old theater shut down for renovations two summers ago; the work was supposed to take only one season, and the extra year of delays forced the company to (literally) put up a tent to perform in. Now the company has come back to its home stage with a brand-new work about which Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim writes, “It’s undeniable: Philippe Boesmans’ Pinocchio is a hit.”
Berserk in the Berkshires: Museum’s Perverse Plan Underscores Need for Government Regulations
The sad saga of the Berkshire Museum’s descent into madness — its wrongheaded, self-destructive obsession with solving its financial problems by selling off the best works in its collection — reaffirms my long-held conviction that strict laws and/or ironclad … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2017-09-07
Jazz on Millennium Park’s big screen – PoKempner photos
A 40-by-22½-foot LED screen is a dominating feature of the stage in the Pritzker Pavilion of Chicago’s Millennium Park, difficult to ignore though many try. … read more
AJBlog: Jazz Beyond Jazz Published 2017-09-07
“Mr. Carter’s influence and stature in the magazine and entertainment world is so great that to call his exit a changing of the guard seems insufficient: This is more of a regal passage. One of the few remaining celebrity editors, Mr. Carter — famous for his double-breasted suits, white flowing hair and a seven-figure salary — is a party host, literary patron, film producer and restaurateur who presides over a monthly publication that can still break news in a round-the-clock media age.”
The key result: Compared to working in silence, listening to the uplifting Vivaldi was “associated with an increase in divergent thinking.” Convergent thinking, on the other hand, was not significantly affected by background music. The researchers argue that this suggests the music inspired higher levels of “fluency and flexibility,” which are needed to come up with original ideas, but are less important in the paring-down process.
“Dance is a physical manifestation of abstract thought, and I can’t think of a better way to demonstrate this than by making work inspired by independent thought, by self-starting businesses. Using dance as a device for work advancement and learning also taps into something that Millennials increasingly desire in their work experience, something not only fun outside of work, but something applicable to professional growth.”
Rotten Tomatoes has become the enemy for many studio bosses, writes Brooks Barnes: “Over lunch last month, the chief executive of a major movie company looked me in the eye and declared flatly that his mission was to destroy the review-aggregation site.” The site’s editors claim they love movies and movie fans and just want to help them. “How did a clunky website that has been around for 19 years amass such power?” Barnes explains how.