How Betty Corwin, now 97, corralled and cajoled producers, unions, and librarians to create, and run for 31 years, the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
“English and German have common origins, Anglo-Saxon, or Old English. There’s a lot of overlap, but there are also some crucial differences. English is a left-leaning language, meaning that relevant information tends to be clustered on the left side of a sentence. German, on the other hand, is a right-leaning language. (We are a generally a right-leaning people.) As a result, German sentences can surprise you with an unexpected verb or participle at the end of a sentence.”
Michael Erard: “Immediately after the election, Masha Gessen … called for a ‘language beat’ to track the erosions [in the meanings of words in the current climate]. But here’s a reality check that I hope isn’t merely pedantic: language consists of more than words. This gives the writer interested in politics, language, and the shifting of realities many topics to tackle beyond lexicography and semantics. As someone who’s been writing about language and linguistics for a long time – I consider myself a ‘language journalist’ – here are some that I have my eyes on.”
It is tempting to believe that we live in a time uniquely saturated with images. And indeed, the numbers are staggering: Instagrammers upload about 95 million photos and videos every day. A quarter of Americans use the app, and the vast majority of them are under 40. Because Instagram skews so much younger than Facebook or Twitter, it is where “tastemakers” and “influencers” now live online, and where their audiences spend hours each day making and absorbing visual content. But so much of what seems bleeding edge may well be old hat; the trends, behaviors, and modes of perception and living that so many op-ed columnists and TED-talk gurus attribute to smartphones and other technological advances are rooted in the much older aesthetic of the picturesque.
Judith Smith: “[Thirty years ago,] there were people doing contact improvisation and including dancers with disabilities in that. But we didn’t know any other companies that were actually setting choreography. The first 10 years were really trying to convince the dance world that we were doing dance, and not dance therapy. “
“The piece particularly draws on the experience of Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova, who served 16 months of a two-year sentence for hooliganism … Recreating the humiliation, intimidation and forced labour of a Russian gulag might seem like the ultimate in misery porn – especially when it’s taking place in the Saatchi Gallery, just a stone’s throw from Sloane Square.”
“Verna, which stars popular actor Mahira Khan, was originally denied a certificate by the Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) because of its ‘mature themes’ and ‘edgy content’. This caused an outcry among women’s rights campaigners, who accused board members of censoring women’s voices and putting their heads in the sand at a time when … ‘rape is a rampant issue in Pakistan’ … Soon the ban had inspired a Twitter campaign under the hashtag #UnbanVerna, which emerged as Pakistan’s own #MeToo movement.”
“The latest edition, updated to include figures from 2014/15 and 2015/16, found that local government funding for the arts, per person, “continues to crash”, falling by 15 points since the index was last published. It has dropped by more than a third since the index began in 2007/08 – the most dramatic drop among the 20 indicators.”
“An algorithm-based vetting process has real issues. So few immigrants have committed acts of terrorism, that a computer program couldn’t even generate an accurate predictive model, the coalition of tech experts from some of the U.S.’s top universities and research groups says.”
“Organisations often argue they simply can’t afford to pay the living wage, even if they aspire to – and that creating low or no pay opportunities is better than creating none. While this may be a blunt reality for some, we should be under no illusions that this does anything other than exacerbate the sector’s lack of diversity.”
ECM, which cared very much about sound quality, “was long a holdout against streaming services that have to contend with bandwidth limits and non-optimal soundcards in computers and phones, as well as deals that minimize the value of music.” Sadly, or perhaps luckily, it’s given in.
On becoming a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters: “To paraphrase Mary Godwin’s line about the vindication of the rights of women, it’s a vindication of the rights of science fiction. To have my career recognized on this level makes it a lot harder for the diehards and holdouts to say, ‘Genre fiction isn’t literature.'”
Yes, if the project can find funding. “The new building will feature exhibition spaces for loans, a community gallery for printmakers, contemporary artists and schools. There will also be a landscape studio with the view of the countryside replicated in Gainsborough’s famous portrait Mr and Mrs Andrews.”
Power is currently the artistic director and CEO of the Prix de Lausanne dance competition and is the former administrator and AD of the Houston Ballet Academy. She said, “I like to build things, I like to develop things, whether it’s programs or strategic planning, and implementing and organizing strategically the path ahead.”
Why hasn’t her music been appreciated before? Well, it’s kind of like John Lennon and Yoko Ono: “Her talents weren’t hugely appreciated in the 1960s. This was partly due to the man with whom she fell in love in 1963. John Coltrane became her husband two years later and asked her to step into his band – which coincided with the saxophonist’s move into freer, more atonal music.”
Follow this: “In the very first episode of Jane the Virgin — the hit show about a young woman who is accidentally artificially inseminated during a routine visit to her gynecologist — viewers learn that Jane wants to be a writer. Over the course of the show, she attends graduate school, obtaining her Master’s degree in creative writing and working with an adviser to hone her manuscript. She gets a job at a publishing company, eventually getting discovered at a reading for emerging writers. In the episode airing on Friday, her book is finally published.”
Lee’s movie She’s Gotta Have It is now a Netflix series, which, in 30-minute episodes, has changed the main character and given her many more facets. Also … “with television came a writer’s room, one that Mr. Lee filled with African-American female artists and writers.” That didn’t hurt.
Contemporary art museum creator Bernardo Paz, “an eccentric and celebrated figure in Brazil’s art scene, was accused of using money raised abroad for Inhotim for expenses related to a conglomerate of mining and steel companies he ran. Mr. Paz’s sister, Virgínia de Mello Paz, was also convicted in the scheme and sentenced to five years in prison.”
The director of Blanchett’s Manifesto (an art installation … or a movie?): “The political landscape has shifted towards populism and against ‘elitism.’ … ‘Every populist wants to cut down cultural budgets and educational budgets for a good reason: because they need stupid minds to be manipulated and to become sheep of consumerism.'”
There are protests, of course, but the library in New York says there’s no other way to keep going: “The nine works to be sold Tuesday are an assortment of 19th-century creations by artists like Giovanni Boldini and Emilio Sánchez Perrier that the auction house has estimated could bring in a total of as much as $1.2 million. A sale in October by Sotheby’s, of another six paintings from the library, brought the institution more than $300,000. More are scheduled to be sold in 2018, Sotheby’s said.”
We would know so little of dance without him: “Bhargava edited films that captured the work of Balanchine, Peter Martins, Bob Fosse, Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham and many other prominent choreographers, in the process creating an archival record of a genre that had historically been difficult to preserve. And through Dance in America and other television work, he spread the art form to people who might not have been able to get to a theater.”
Stuart Emmerich: “My only experiences of gay theater had been plays like The Boys in the Band, Fortune and Men’s Eyes, Tea and Sympathy and Streamers — plays where the gay character was either closeted or bitter or suicidal, and usually all three. It was a shock to see Mr. Fierstein, as Arnold, strutting around his apartment in his floppy rabbit slippers, cracking jokes, sharing affection with both his lover and his foster son, and going ferociously head-to-head with his disapproving mother, played by Estelle Getty, then unknown.”
“Where a shortfall of $15 million had been projected for the fiscal year 2017, which ended in June, that figure was contained to $10.1 million, according to the report, and the Met said it is on track to eliminate its deficit by 2020. In addition, the museum’s endowments increased by almost $300 million, to a total of $2.9 billion; and the Met said it raised $232 million in philanthropic gifts, membership dues and government support.”
“The opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi over the weekend is the latest example of how traditional French cultural diplomacy is being supplanted by brand politics: Abu Dhabi bought the rights to use the Paris museum’s famous name at a price tag of over $500 million over three decades. This example of “soft power” goes beyond museum names such as the future Shanghai Pompidou Center — and can be seen in the exporting of Sorbonne’s academic reputation, the proliferation of Christian Dior boutiques in Asia, the increasingly popular fizz of Moet & Chandon champagne, the cuisine of master chef Alain Ducasse and Louis Vuitton’s status handbags.”
“The stories are often presented as cautionary tales to frighten us into correcting the error of our ways – lest we bring about the end of our own global civilisation. They promote an ethic of environmental responsibility that we ignore at our peril. It is no coincidence that they focus on climate change, human-caused environmental impacts and overpopulation because these three factors are the major global concerns of our times.”
“Artists, collectives, new bars, farm-to-table restaurants, startups, and alternative music venues are amassing in Athens. Abandoned buildings, the scars from what Greeks simply call ‘the Crisis’, are turning into cultural spaces and homes for startups. Political statements are now emblazoned as street art. Artists from Mexico, Bali, New York and Western Europe are making Athens a new base. Is Athens the New Berlin? No, it is Athens. But, something is happening.”
In response to a news report saying that staff turnover has been high and morale low at the Brisbane, Australia-based orchestra – with sources blaming music director Alondra de la Parra and CEO David Pratt – the QSO section principals released a statement supporting the two, and the board chairman said, “I know that morale is strong under David’s and Alondra’s leadership; we promote a culture of speaking up, of respect and achievement.”