“A Rocklin school board voted unanimously late Monday night to retain the policies that allowed a book about a transgender child to be read in kindergarten, but adopted a provision to forewarn parents of potentially controversial subject matter. The vote followed months of controversy that erupted over the book” – which was brought in by a transgender child – “being read at a Rocklin charter school’s story time.”
“[It] is not the most intuitive of phrases. Although people’s pants do sometimes catch on fire, this correlates more with carrying around accidentally explosive materials than it does with truthfulness. Meanwhile, the vast majority of liars make it through life unscathed by this particular fashion catastrophe. The mystery of the phrase’s origins is compounded by the fact that several of its more popularly reported etymologies are, in fact, lies.” Cara Giaimo gets to the bottom of the matter.
“If there was ever a time that the world needed artists, it is now. We need their radical ideas, visions, and perspectives in society. … The world [can] only be changed by those willing and able to conceive of reality in a holistic and intuitive manner.” Hans Ulrich Obrist, artistic director of the Serpentine Galleries in London, sounds the call, with reference to artists from Joseph Beuys and John Latham to Theaster Gates and Tania Bruguera to Edi Rama, they mayor who had the dingy old buildings of Tirana, Albania repainted in bright colors and transformed the mood of the city.
“Every worldly example of continued personal identity involves tremendous transformations – whether it is developing language, sociality or morals; discovering a hidden passion; coming out of our closets; changing careers; falling in or out of love; growing or finding a family. Such dynamism does not throw our identities into question; instead, these changes represent some of the most significant aspects of our selves.”
“The news here is that the lives of most of our progenitors were better than we think. We’re flattering ourselves by believing that their existence was so grim and that our modern, civilized one is, by comparison, so great. Still, we are where we are, and we live the way we live, and it’s possible to wonder whether any of this illuminating knowledge about our hunter-gatherer ancestors can be useful to us.”
“Say what you will about Darren Aronofsky, but the guy knows how to get a reaction out of people. … We caught up with Aronofsky a few months before the film’s premiere, while its contents were still top secret, to talk about its allegorical meaning, its startlingly unusual use of Kristen Wiig, and the surprising difficulty of its postproduction process.” (Warning: spoilers included.)
“In an industrialized culture, most people get by with 11 color words: black, white, red, green, yellow, blue, brown, orange, pink, purple and gray. That’s what we have in American English. Maybe if you’re an artist or an interior designer, you know specific meanings for as many as 50 or 100 different words for colors – like turquoise, amber, indigo or taupe. But this is still a tiny fraction of the colors that we can distinguish. … [And] nonindustrialized cultures typically have far fewer words for colors than industrialized cultures.” (One language has words only for white, black, and red.) Two cognitive scientists look into why this is.
Le monde anglo-saxon. Le modèle anglo-saxon. Le capitalisme anglo-saxon. L’hégémonie anglo-saxonne. You hear and read the term more and more in France these days, almost always for something opposed to the way the French do things and usually for something undesirable or worse. Yet before the mid-19th century, “anglo-saxon” was used in France only to refer to pre-Norman Conquest England. Emile Chabal lays out how the word went from historical designation to disparaging epithet. (It’s not really about English-speakers at all.)
“A few months ago, I was sure that I was going to stop dancing to become a good actor. But then when I was by myself for a week, I asked myself, What are you doing? You have that talent. Use it to the fullest. And if I can use that talent as well as acting, that’s magical to do both. Would I be happy just to be an actor? I don’t think I would.”
Lyn Gardner: “Too often, an artist – if they are a woman or are from diverse backgrounds – gets only one shot in a high-profile situation and if they don’t triumph, they are out. But it’s only when the opportunities are sustained, and not just one-off tokenism, that a significant and genuine advancement occurs in the diversity of the arts. This is why it’s important that organisations, particularly flagship ones in receipt of large amounts of public funding such as the RSC, lead the way and put policies in place that don’t just encourage diversity but embed it in their way of working.”
“Before the emergence and rapid proliferation of film editing at the dawn of the 20th century, humans had never been exposed to anything quite like film cuts: quick flashes of images as people, objects and entire settings changed in an instant. But rather than reacting with confusion to edits, early filmgoers lined up in droves to spend their money at the cinema, turning film – and eventually its close cousin, television – into the century’s defining media.”
“The final tally for the 2017 Emmys, hosted by Stephen Colbert on CBS, avoids the all-time low 11.3 million viewers that tuned in last year. In the key demo of adults 18-49, this year’s show did bottom out, slipping 10 percent from a 2.7 rating to a 2.5 rating. Overnight ratings are naturally below those of NBC’s Sunday Night Football, which took a 12.6 overnight rating among households.”
“Critics — some of whom had also demanded the impeachment of the president — accused the artists of promoting pedophilia and child pornography. Rowdy protesters harassed museumgoers outside and inside the exhibition and posted a video that was seen by more than 1.4 million viewers on Facebook. On Sunday, Santander Bank unexpectedly closed the exhibition, which is at its cultural center in the southern city of Pôrto Alegre, a month ahead of schedule. The curator found out when a friend of his sent him a text message.”
A handful of writers on the longlist have been previously recognized by the Giller Prize: Eden Robinson was shortlisted in 2000 for Monkey Beach, Michael Redhill was shortlisted in 2001 for Martin Sloane, Rachel Cusk was shortlisted in 2015 for Outline and David Chariandy was longlisted in 2007 for his novel Soucouyant.
More than 200 artists, including Nairy Baghramian and Nikhil Chopra, have subsequently backed the curatorial team in an open letter. “Criticisms of Documenta 14 have been expanded to suggest that a deficit in the operating budget is primarily due to the Athenian chapter of Documenta. We are concerned about this urge to put ticket sales above art,” the letter says.
Over the past year, the CEOs of Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and other global tech giants have all said, in different ways, that they now run “AI-first” companies. I can’t remember a single senior news exec ever mentioning AI and machine learning at any industry keynote address over the same period. Of course, that’s not necessarily surprising.
“‘We’re not a bunch of bloody hippies,’ Mike Shepherd growls by way of introduction. Turns out the last time a journalist paid Kneehigh a visit at its Cornish home, that was the verdict. The time before, the company wound up being compared to a cult, the rehearsal rooms a commune. Its artistic director has had enough.”
“[Ahmet] Altan, the author of 10 acclaimed novels that have been translated around the world, as well as essays and journalism, was arrested last September following the attempted coup in Turkey in July 2016. Charges against him include ‘giving subliminal messages in favour of a coup on television’, ‘membership of a terrorist organisation’ and ‘attempting to overthrow the government’.”
The machine called YuMi made its podium debut last week in Pisa, conducting the Lucca Philharmonic with tenor Andrea Bocelli and soprano Maria Luigia Borsi. Says the conductor who trained YuMi, “We basically had to find time to understand his movements. When we found the way, everything was pretty easy.”
“The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, one of the most generous arts honors in the United States, has been awarded to the singer, composer and multidisciplinary artist Meredith Monk, whose wordless vocal pirouettes and otherworldly theater compositions have reverberated in New York and internationally for five decades.”
“Staff who are understood to have worked at the Hull New Theatre for more than 20 years were told they no longer had jobs at the venue just days before it reopened. Casual workers at the theatre were told they would need to apply for ‘newly created’ casual roles after its £16 million refurbishment.”
Kusama in Seattle, Post Script, And On to LA
When, on a recent day, The Broad museum announced that “due to overwhelming demand” additional tickets for the coming Yayoi Kusama exhibition would be available on Oct. 2, it added this to the statement: … read more
AJBlog: Real Clear Arts Published 2017-09-18
“The Difference Between Quality Art and Crap” Take Four
Processing my exchange with Vladimir Feltsman, I find myself distracted by something I have long more or less ignored: the art of the piano as manifest by the young artists who today dominate the scene – what Feltsman calls “a new artform.” … read more
AJBlog: Unanswered Question Published 2017-09-17
Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch returns to the Brooklyn Academy of Music (through September 24). … read more
AJBlog: Dancebeat Published 2017-09-17
Brad Mehldau and Chris Thile at the Ace Hotel/LA
In some ways, this pairing makes absolutely no sense — a jazz pianist and a bluegrass mandolinist, playing together? But in another, it’s nearly inevitable. … read more
AJBlog: CultureCrash Published 2017-09-18
Monday Recommendation: Tatum’s Town
Bob Dietsche, Tatum’s Town (Bobson Press)
Most Art Tatum devotees know that Toledo, Ohio, was his hometown. It was where his genius became evident when he was a teenaged Fats Waller disciple. … read more
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2017-09-18
“I do feel like Netflix is commodifying stand-up. This boom, at least as defined by me, is about treating comics as individual artists with distinct points of view, not people providing a service. Stockpiling stand-up as content and telling people it’ll be there whenever you need a laugh is completely antithetical to that. Has the boom already given way to a bloat?”
Previously undisclosed emails reveal that the colleague at the center of the inquiry, the countertenor Reginald Mobley, denied to festival administrators that Matthew Halls had been racially insensitive. But clear reasons for the firing remain elusive. And the attempt to deal with an ugly personnel issue sotto voce — last week, university officials agreed to pay Mr. Halls $90,000 as part of a settlement with a nondisparagement clause — has resulted in a crescendo of criticism, from the festival’s hometown, Eugene, Ore., to England.
“Supercomputers are already used to predict weather and earthquakes, but there’s not currently enough computing power to model complex biological systems precisely enough to make endeavors like large-scale transitioning to wind energy, for example, feasible. An exascale computer would be powerful enough to uncover answers to questions about, say, climate change and growing food that can withstand drought. It could even predict crime (hopefully with more accuracy and fairness than current predictive policing systems).”