“The tenacious timepiece seems to have ticked through time immemorial, but its form and application to musical life were hundreds of years in the making, beginning with the 16th-century scientist Galileo’s discovery of the pendulum’s isochromism: regardless of amplitude, the pendulum will take about the same amount of time to complete one period, or back-and-forth swing. This discovery could be applied to timekeeping, Galileo realized.”
“Our research reveals that the arts are radically local. We expected distance to play a role as a cost in the value calculus, but we underestimated just how much location weighs in the decision to act or not to act. Based on an exploration of related research in retail settings, we initially estimated that a person living roughly 7 miles (12 kilometers) from an arts and cultural organization would be 80% less likely to attend than a person living in the organization’s immediate neighborhood.”
Ultimately, the reasons for a noteworthy author’s obscurity are as various as the authors themselves. Fowler’s findings show that other contributing factors seem to include underrating their own work, reclusiveness, and genre (with notable exceptions, comic writers tend not to be taken seriously enough to preserve). The caprices of fashion hit populist fiction especially hard; striving as it does to capture the mindset of its time, it’s inevitably more perishable.
Private employment grew almost twice as fast in large metropolitan areas as it did in small ones from the trough of the recession, in 2009, to 2015. Income grew 50 percent faster. And the labor participation rate — the share of the working-age population in the labor force — shrank only half as much. “Economic transitions work against smaller America. This is a period demanding excruciating transitions.”
“Wittgenstein was hostile to modern philosophy as he found it. He thought it the product of a culture that had come to model everything that matters about our lives on scientific explanation. In its ever-extending observance of the idea that knowledge, not wisdom, is our goal, that what matters is information rather than insight, and that we best address the problems that beset us, not with changes in our heart and spirit but with more data and better theories, our culture is pretty much exactly as Wittgenstein feared it would become.”
Yuval Sharon is pretty busy, but iIn 2020, when he is free of all future work commitments, he will take a six-month sabbatical in Japan, most likely in Kyoto. He’s never been there, but the country’s music, culture, theater and literature have long appealed to him. ‘Self-reflection is crucial to artistic work,’ he said. ‘It’s so easy to get caught up in the machine of producing. The second one project is done, you’re on to the next.'”
“Making it cheap to express unpopular opinions makes it easier for outsiders to gauge what the average viewpoint of a group of scholars might be. And when an article causes a controversy, calls to uphold a field’s standards should be met with some skepticism, especially when those standards would prohibit the publication of the unpopular opinion in the first instance. After all, if academic freedom doesn’t mean the protection of unpopular and disruptive minority views, what could it possibly be for?”
“With his goatee, dark sunglasses and exotic hats, Thelonious Monk was the quintessential hepcat. He patted his feet in mad rhythm while he was playing – and when his sidemen soloed, he got up and danced in circles. Monk, who was born 100 years ago today, was also one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. The late pianist wrote about 70 songs during his career – many of which have became standards, including the most recorded jazz composition of all time, ‘Round Midnight’.” (includes video and audio)
“Overhead, the new glass ‘acoustical clouds’ reflect sound back to the stage and into the hall, a distinct visual upgrade from old shell’s look. The stage is lower to the ground, coming only to the knees of front row attendees, and musicians behind the string sections are elevated on a set of terraced risers which should’ve been implemented years ago. Perhaps most importantly, the acoustics—which many voiced as the primary concern about the venue’s reconfiguration—are not only maintained, but improved. Simply put, the results of the renovation banished any skepticism I harbored and exceed even my wildest expectations; it is a masterpiece, a triumph. It’s so good to be home.”
Susan Jonas: “The presence of women [in top theatre jobs] is typically inversely proportionate to resources. So it does indeed matter when women are leaders of not one but six of the biggest theatres in Britain and Ireland. I recently interviewed five of these groundbreakers … Each is a unique visionary, but I learned that they do share certain elements beyond gender.”
During the 1960s and ’70s, he was one of the busiest jazz drummers in America, playing with a range of stars from Quincy Jones to Stan Getz to Ella Fitzgerald to Peggy Lee to Roberta Flack to Doc Severinsen on Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show to Simon and Garfunkel’s 1981 concert in Central Park to Angelo Badalamenti’s band for the original Twin Peaks. As a singer, he scored his first hit with “Windmills of My Mind”, but his voice is in the heads of an entire generation because of his work on Schoolhouse Rock.
Janelle Gelfand: “On opening night, listeners were still taking in the elegant new décor and patron-friendly amenities, which include cup holders for the first time on new, wider seats. Now, however, there are about 1,000 fewer seats in a hall that formerly seated more than 3,400; the audience for this gala re-opening was 2,282.”
Invented by a Hungarian in Argentina, re-engineered by an American high school dropout, it created such a sensation when it appeared in a New York department store that the police had to control the crowds. (This even though it sold for the present-day equivalent of $165 each.) Inventory sold out in a flash (and disappeared mysteriously from the factory). And that’s not even the first year.
“The ‘Old World’ model of Geffenesque patrons seems to be receding, making way for donors striving to solve real-world problems. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to shoehorn a $500-$800 million capital project for a legacy institution into a paradigm that frames the arts as a vehicle for social change. This trend is permeating public policy, as well. Consider the political landscape that is Bill de Blasio’s New York City. While legacy institutions have expected some sort of public support from the mayor’s office since time immemorial, de Blasio has instead shifted the city’s focus to smaller institutions across the five boroughs.”
“Three cities in Colorado — a state whose fortunes have been tied to the boom and bust of oil, gas and other commodities — are among the top 10 leading destinations for the nation’s best and brightest as old cow and mining towns morph into technology hubs, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Another Colorado city is plotting a 21st century revival.”
eal social networks are not like either of these. Instead, people are strongly connected to a relatively small group of neighbors and loosely connected to much more distant people. These loose connections turn out to be extremely important. “Those weak ties serve as bridges between our group of close friends and other clustered groups, allowing us to connect to the global community.”
Otessa Moshfegh: “Upon awakening, I often ask myself, ‘Who am I? Where am I? What am I doing here?’ and from time to time, I’ve felt that the answers were merely memorized responses, and that my reality might be an arbitrary dash of the imagination – believable, sure, but not entirely trustworthy. This specific vulnerability – of the conscious, willful mind – is precisely what Jackson titillates and exacerbates in her stories.”
“Ballet is slower to change than most art forms, but in the span of just two weeks, New York City Ballet, one of the world’s premier companies, will have shown two ballets featuring significant same-sex duets.” Gia Kourlas talks with the choreographers of those ballets, Lauren Lovette and Justin Peck, and the men who’ll be dancing those duets.
The parent company of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in the Chinese capital was purchased last week by a group of investors. “The museum’s founders, Guy and Myriam Ullens, announced that the UCCA was up for sale in June 2016, fuelling concerns about the future of what has become one of mainland China’s leading private art institutions since it opened in November 2007.”
“Nick Parr has resigned after just two years as chief executive of Dundee Rep, which boasts the country’s only full-time company of actors. He has left with immediate effect less than two months after the Rep’s new artistic director, Andrew Panton, took charge of his first show.” While the company saw revenue rise under Parr, last week a newspaper column argued that morale at the company was sinking due to a perceived change in culture there.
Excellence and Engagement: I
Advocates for community engagement in the arts often get pushback from people who assume that concern for the interests of our communities necessitates a “lowering of standards.” What follows is my attempt to address the misgivings (legitimate and otherwise) people have … read more
AJBlog: Engaging Matters Published 2017-10-10
New Yorker’s Bad Role Model for Berkshire Museum: NY Historical Society’s “Responsible” Sales
In his well-intentioned but flawed Oct. 4 New Yorker article, “The Lost Masterpieces of Norman Rockwell Country,” Felix Salmon demonstrates more understanding of museum ethics than the leaders of the embattled Berkshire Museum possess. But that’s not quite enough. … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2017-10-10
Lies & Damnable Uncertainty
Two new London theatre productions, The Lie and Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, seem to have little in common, save that they are both topics discussed by philosophers. … read more
AJBlog: Plain English Published 2017-10-10
“The architects were selected by the City of London Corporation from a shortlist of well-established names, including Frank Gehry and Renzo Piano, to design the new [£250 million] Centre for Music. The concert hall will be built on the current site of the Museum of London as a permanent home for Simon Rattle’s London Symphony Orchestra.”