How did new MacArthur “genius grant” winner Viet Thanh Nguyen get where he is now? “A mere 18 months ago, Nguyen was still unknown as a fiction writer. His career began quickly, and seemingly out of nowhere, in April 2015 — when a rave on the cover of The New York Times Book Review made his debut novel, The Sympathizer, one of the year’s most-discussed books.”
“Baseball is the most philosophical of games because, like philosophy at its best, it harmonizes meaning with meticulous analysis. There is no opposition between wonder at the double play, the home run, or the perfect game and the statistical dissection now known as “sabermetrics” (after SABR, the Society for American Baseball Research). In fact, it is the arithmetic and geometry of the game that best disclose its truth. The highest aspiration of philosophy is to be both rigorous and humanistic, to place analytical thought in the service of human values. Baseball shows us that it can be done.”
“[An] orchestra musician found the noose hanging from a pipe [in the men’s musicians’ locker room] at about 7:30 p.m. Saturday – just before the opera’s performance of Turnadot was set to begin. … Police are trying to determine if it was meant to intimidate or target blacks or anyone in particular, cop sources said.”
“Could I be the artist-in-residence to help your team ideate? Could I develop a way of communicating with people to make the workplace a better place?” The role of artists should go beyond just one-off projects, like designing a flier; creatives could have a real impact on the way business is approached and carried through if they are given a supported role within a company.
“In those days, folks out here [in Los Angeles] were very uncomfortable being called artists, because they were making a lot of money. It seemed brash and inappropriate. It helped that an institution like AFI really provided that context for why this is America’s art form, how much it changed American culture.”
The music streaming giant looked at what a typical day of music and podcast listening looks like for their listeners–and discovered that podcast listening peaked during the middle of the day. Interestingly, when they looked at weekday numbers versus the weekend, people listened to fewer podcasts on the weekend. In fact, the drop off is pretty significant, 45% to be exact.
In the two days after the Los Angeles Times reported that 38 women had come forward to allege that Toback had propositioned or harassed them, “more than 200 additional women contacted The Times and, in emails and phone calls, recalled encounters with Toback similar to those detailed in the story.”
“Carol Bosco Baumann, a spokeswoman for the museum, said that only 19 of the original 40 works will be offered for sale in auctions stretching out into March. ‘Plans for the balance of the deaccessioned works will be shared in due course by Sotheby’s,’ she said in an email to The Eagle.” (The Norman Rockwell paintings whose sale his children have sued to block were not among the works cut.)
Laura Miller: “The ‘personal essays’ that have proliferated across the internet on topics ranging from freakish hygiene gaffes to incestuous relationships are often not really essays at all, but short memoirs, confessional narratives whose chief interest lies in the unusually awful or awfully unusual stories they tell, and only secondarily in how those stories are told. … It doesn’t have to be this way! In its less sensational (and, let’s face it, less profitable) form, the essay collection presents its reader with the opportunity to hitch herself to an original mind as it pursues a course plotted by its own idiosyncratic, free-range curiosity.” (For example, David Foster Wallace, Zadie Smith, Cynthia Ozick, Francis Spufford.)
The site for the mosque is next to the City Theater, one of Tehran’s landmarks of modern architecture, and authorities were very concerned that the new building not overshadow its neighbor. So the architects designed a spare, low-rise building that sweeps up from the ground toward the focal point of worship. Now religious hardliners are refusing to recognize it as a mosque at all.
In doing so, Kirkus, one of the country’s most prolific book reviews, has somehow managed to misapprehend both the nature of reviewing and the nature of books. As I’ve written in this magazine, criticism exists in different flavors, but its defining feature is an individualism of response. That response can be wise or unwise, popular or unpopular. A reviewer can squander authority by seeming too often at odds with good judgment. But, without critical autonomy, the enterprise falls apart.
“There’s no artist I’ve learned more from than Tony, and what I’ve learned is a kind of fearless grandiosity. Angels was an immense act of arrogance — to write a seven-hour play about gay people when you were a completely unknown writer whose one show was at best a succès d’estime. So there came a moment where it became clear to me that the Eureka Theatre did not have the resources to do Angels in America.And at that point, I’d have to say, ‘Thank you very much for writing this, but you’re two years late, it’s still a huge mess, and I have a theater to run.’ But I did the opposite. I said, ‘That show is so good that I believe in it more than I believe in my theater company.’ And I left the Eureka and went to Los Angeles to produce Angels in America. I spent six years total with Angels.”
“The ICA LA joins a number of new downtown arts spaces. The Broad Museum, founded by collector Eli Broad, opened in 2015, and the Main Museum, spearheaded by downtown developer Tom Gilmore, followed in 2016. Other speculators have latched onto the art angle too. Plans for a recently announced, futuristic development by Danish architecture wunderkind Bjarke Ingels feature outdoor sculptures and gallery spaces alongside boutiques and upscale “artist lofts.” The Artist Loft Museum of Los Angeles, a pop-up just opened in a longtime artist’s studio, exists to acknowledge the artists who gave the Arts District its name but can no longer afford to live and work in the area.”
“Harvey and Bob Weinstein produced some schlock and some beauts. Both brothers had awful reputations as people to work for and with. Now, because some 50 women have had the courage to accuse Harvey, we know chapter and verse on being a bully and pig in Hollywood. On that evidence, the soaring movies his name is on did nothing to enlighten or redeem their producer. But it would be a pity if his grossness were to deprive us of the light that those creations let shine.”
During the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s, Philadelphia had a thriving scene that nourished some of the later 20th century’s most important African-American dancers. Dance Magazine‘s Jennifer Stahl interviews Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet founder Theresa Ruth Howard about what made the city such a relatively good place for black dancers to work, while Judith Jamison, Delores Browne, and Joan Myers Brown offer comments on video about the city’s dance history.
“An open letter written by a group of Brazilian artists and art professionals that condemns ‘the rise of hate, intolerance and violence against freedom of expression in the arts and education’ in the country has been signed by more than 1,000 people since it was published online last week. … The letter cites a specific string of incidents that have happened over the past year, including the closing of an exhibition dedicated to queer art at the Santander Cultural Center in Porto Alegre … and a nude performance by the artist Wagner Schwartz at the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo.”
Dark Matters from Finland
Tero Saarinen Company performs at the Joyce Theater. … read more
AJBlog: Dancebeat Published 2017-10-23
Music as Communication: with you, with myself, with it
I write music for three reasons that I can name, though there may be others that elude me. These three reasons jockey with one another for primacy from one work to the next, and sometimes … read more
AJBlog: Infinite Curves Published 2017-10-23
The Most Under-Rated 20th Century American Composer — Take Two
Back in the thirties and forties, there were no American music historians to tell the story of American classical music. So the task fell to a couple of composers: Aaron Copland and Virgil Thomson. … read more
AJBlog: Unanswered Question Published 2017-10-22
The statement comes after allegations of sexual misconduct by the US film producer Harvey Weinstein prompted a blizzard of related claims on both sides of the Atlantic. On Friday the Guardian revealed one of the most influential directors in British theatre, Max Stafford-Clark, was forced to stand down from the company he founded after being accused of inappropriate, sexualised behaviour.
“While the ballet, the symphony and the Alley were able to move this season’s performances to other concert halls around town, the Houston Grand Opera had to get more creative. The managing director, Perryn Leech, decided to build an entirely new venue, dubbed the Resilience Theater, inside the cavernous George R. Brown Convention Center. This presented a long list of challenges, including how to pacify season ticket holders (free Lyft rides to and from shows); where to place the orchestra (behind the stage); and how to finesse the acoustics (a work in progress).”
“Last year there were more than 140,000 applications for tickets to be in the 200-strong studio audience of what is often Ireland’s most watched television event of the year. Audience members get to see young Irish performers, enjoy the latest toys up close, and are guaranteed to leave with a large stash of goodies.”
Janie Taylor thought she’d finished with performing when she retired from City Ballet. But Benjamin Millepied – and a multifaceted artistic life that includes teaching and costume design, along with, yes, dancing onstage – has her back in the life. A friend says, “Now she gets to decide, ‘I’m gonna feel who I am again. I’m gonna be creative.’ And guess what? Her body feels better.”