Derick Almena, 47, the lead tenant of the Oakland warehouse and leader of its jury-rigging into an artists’ live-work complex, and Max Harris, 27, creative director of the complex and organizer of the party last December where the deadly fire broke out, face 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter. They were arrested in June and remain in jail, with bail at $750,000.
“Claims Adjusting Group has reserved $3.1 million to pay Chor Ng, who owns the [Oakland] Fruitvale District warehouse and adjacent properties, to cover her basic property loss and liability policy. … However, Ng’s $6 million liability insurance maximum will likely never make its way to the dozens of victims suing her and other agencies for the deadly fire, one insurance expert says.”
More arts organisations are using the internet and digital technology for revenue generation – such as by selling tickets online or accepting donations – and they are increasingly using technology to enhance audience engagement. But overall they are engaging in fewer ‘digital activities’.
The platform, designed by the New York studio HAWRAF, “lets users play around with font, text size, line spacing, and background color.” (There’s also a text-to-speech function and a mode with a typeface specially for people with dyslexia.) “When you click on the footnotes, located in tiny typography to the right of the main text, they overtake the main text so you can get a closer look. … A ‘focus mode’ blacks out most of the browser, keeping your wandering eyes from getting distracted.”
David Chipperfield is doing a gut renovation of Berlin’s New National Gallery – designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe – to, as a reporter puts it, “fix problems caused by age, as well as some that have plagued it since birth. … [He wants it] to perform as well as the most modern, assiduously climate-controlled and carefully lit museum – without any visitor noticing that he was ever there.”
“In a deft feat of engineering, an almost 600-sq-metre space has been excavated into the hillside, chiselled 15 metres down into the granite bedrock, providing a vast light-flooded chamber for temporary exhibitions that the gallery has sorely needed for years.” Why take all that trouble? Because the residents of the tiny Cornwall town where the gallery is located absolutely hated the original expansion plan.
“Scarcely past midday on a Monday lunchtime, a full 45 minutes before curtain up, the queue for the box office is already snaking on to the road. Inside Òran Mór, a spacious pub-cum-performance venue in Glasgow’s West End, the line of ticket holders is even longer. They are here for A Play, a Pie and a Pint, a lunchtime series launched by David MacLennan in 2004 and not so much a success as a phenomenon.”
Ballet Vermont grew out of the Farm to Ballet project (agriculture-themed dance on local farms) that got some media attention two summers ago; artistic director Chatch Pregger now plans to make the endeavor more firmly established and permanent. Yet there are no plans for a home base: Ballet Vermont will continue to perform around the state, often outdoors.
Instead of burning down the customary system of releasing movies, Amazon is ready to become a full-fledged studio, equipped to handle every step in the life span of the films it creates and acquires. In the past, Amazon partnered with the likes of indie distributors Roadside Attractions, Bleecker Street and Lionsgate to support the rollout of its movies in theaters. But starting with Woody Allen’s “Wonder Wheel” in December, Amazon will begin distributing its own films and overseeing all parts of their theatrical campaigns.
In addition to promoting the works of Robert Rauschenberg, who died in 2008, the foundation supports artists in the many fields in which he worked — painting, photography, sculpture, printmaking and performance. (It also runs a residency program in Rauschenberg’s former home on Captiva Island, Fla., but because the house was damaged by Hurricane Irma, the program was postponed this year.)
The 16,000-word, 19-page (single-spaced!) letter that Neal Cassady sent to Jack Kerouac in 1950 – and which, as reporter Jennifer Schuessler puts it, was “(allegedly) dropped off a houseboat, misfiled at a small Bay Area publisher, nearly tossed out with the trash, and then fought over by two literary estates’ – has ended up in Emory University Library’s Beat collection.
The Arden Theatre Company, launched 30 years ago by a couple of young Northwestern grads, started out in the little upstairs space at America’s oldest theatre (the Walnut Street). In 1994 they bought a 50,000-square-foot building a couple of blocks from the old waterfront, more or less under the Ben Franklin Bridge. Subscribers started going there – and eating dinner beforehand. Now the Old City neighborhood is Philly’s nightlife capital, and Arden has three stages and an apprentice program, and regularly wins critical acclaim and awards.
“Some things will always remain the same – some books will always be challenged, and libraries and schools will always fight to keep books available and preserve peoples’ freedom to read. But this year’s Banned Books Week features a striking new trend: Half of the top 10 challenged books of 2016 were illustrated narratives, more than ever before. And this year, the main reason for objection to books was sex and gender issues.”
The competition was founded by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s son and is heavily funded by her family, the leading philanthropists in ArtPrize’s location, Grand Rapids, Mich. While the event’s officials say that the family’s influence on operations and choice of participants is minimal, “‘Any artwork put into ArtPrize is going to be about ArtPrize, the DeVoses and Trump,’ said Eric Millikin, an artist in Detroit whose entry, Made of Money, used a weave of actual dollar bills and digital manipulation to produce portraits of accomplished people who died poor.”
“Opera, so often derided as elitist, has played an active role in society and politics throughout its life – sometimes as a direct conductor of political ideas, invariably as a mirror of the power structures that produced it. … And opera in Britain has a vivid life outside the famous houses. Young artists still want to sing it; young composers still want to write it; it still has things to say.”
His biggest hit, the 1976-77 play Gemini, is still one of the longest-running straight plays ever to have appeared on Broadway, where it played for more than four years. He was also well-known, or perhaps notorious, as an extremely knowledgeable and often ferocious critic of opera, under both his own byline and the screenname of Mrs. John Claggart.
“Akhtar, whose work largely centers around the Muslim-American experience, earned a 2013 Pulitzer Prize for his drama Disgraced, which came to Broadway in 2014 and earned a 2015 Tony nomination for Best Play. Akhtar’s other plays include The Who & the What, The Invisible Hand, and Junk, coming to Broadway [next month]. … Hnath made his Broadway debut last season with A Doll’s House, Part 2, earning a 2017 Tony nomination for Best Play. His other work includes Hillary and Clinton, Red Speedo, [and] The Christians.”
“From the first issue of Playboy in 1953, which featured a photograph of a nude Marilyn Monroe lounging on a red sheet, Mr. Hefner sought to overturn what he considered the puritanical moral code of Middle America. His magazine was shocking at the time, but it quickly found a large and receptive audience and was a principal force behind the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Mr. Hefner brought nudity out from under the counter, but he was more than the emperor of a land with no clothes. From the beginning, he had literary aspirations for Playboy, hiring top writers to give his magazine cultural credibility.”
CultureGrrl Video: My Opinionated Tour of the Embattled Berkshire Museum
Having written extensively and critically about the Berkshire Museum’s deaccession plans, I thought I ought to revisit that embattled institution in person. I’d been there twice before, decades ago, before … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2017-09-27
Augustus Casely-Hayford is a force in London’s cultural scene, working as a curator, broadcaster and adviser with many organizations, including the Tate Britain, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the British Library. He created “The Lost Kingdoms of Africa” for the BBC; a six-part series for Sky Arts, “Tate Britain: Great British Walks”; and is working on films on landscape art. His book on Timbuktu and the rise of the Mali Empire will be published next year.