“How much longer will it be before our arts companies are no longer run by artists? Unless we are all vigilant on this score, I believe it will be not too long at all and I further believe this would be the end of theatre as a true art form, in this country.”
Should a writer be socially engaged? Is it a part of our duty? I always return to the poet and teacher Marie Ponsot: “The duty of the writer is to the welfare of the work.” Not to some political party or cause or ideal—which through making our art more useful might somehow rob it of its integrity, its wonderful, vital uselessness—but simply to the work itself.
Sure, Hobby Lobby president Steve Green, the museum’s major funder, is an evangelical activist. Yet, writes Will Saletan, if you pay attention to the wall texts and exhibits, you’ll find that they allow for both ambiguity and ambivalence, not to mention the Bible’s borrowings from other religions.
Slate resident Interrogator Isaac Chotiner talks to Kevin Young, author of Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News, about “what inspired his book idea (it wasn’t Trump), whether con men ever believe their own nonsense, and why people are willing to believe some hoaxes more than others.”
“In many arenas, A.I. methods have advanced with startling speed; deep neural networks can now detect certain kinds of cancer as accurately as a human. But human doctors still have to make the decisions — and they won’t trust an A.I. unless it can explain itself. This isn’t merely a theoretical concern.”
“Populism aims to represent the people. That can function on two levels: reflecting it on the one hand and creating it on the other. With the former, we assume that the people exist before a representation of them is made. With the latter, we want to make it exist. This second concept is performative; we understand that it is close to the performance. The link with theatre and the other performing arts depends perhaps on how we should understand what an audience is.”
Facing the “aberration” of gender-inclusive styles, the French language is henceforth in “mortal peril.” (Yes, it says that.) Adaptations such as écrivaine for female writer, or la ministre for a female minister, will end in a “disunified language, disparate in its expression, creating a confusion that verges on illegibility.” The new spellings and syntactical signs will burden teachers and complicate reading. The dream of a coherent francophonie – the international community of French speakers – will be annihilated by the additional spellings and complexity “to the benefit of other languages that will profit from this confusion to prevail around the world.”
“This was a story that didn’t need to be told entirely through a male gaze. I’ve been accused of telling things through a male gaze, and I didn’t want to give people any more ammunition. Plus, why wouldn’t I want Lynn Nottage to write scripts? She’s won two Pulitzer Prizes, for Ruined and Sweat. Why wouldn’t I want Eisa Davis, Radha Blank, even my sister Joie wrote a script?”
Robert Carsen’s production of the old Gene Kelly classic for Paris’s Théâtre du Châtelet (and which he hopes to bring to Broadway) isn’t entirely in black-and-white: “We use sepia toning sometimes. If it’s in a garden, it’s tinted green. If it’s indoors, it’s tinted pink. In the fantasy section, when it’s not in Los Angeles anymore or making a movie but dreaming of being on Broadway, in the Broadway melody, that all goes into gold and warm tungsten stage lights.”
As Alastair Macaulay points out, changes to the original Tchaikovsky/Petipa scenario have been made ever since the ballet’s 1892 premiere. “Many people crave a traditional Nutcracker, often the one they grew up with. But frequently it turns out that their notion of Nutcracker tradition goes back only to the mid-20th century. … So here are 10 Nutcracker checkpoints to help you work out where your Nutcracker is or isn’t true to the ballet’s heart and (a different thing) its tradition.”
The playwright was one week into rehearsals for Describe the Night this past August when the storm flooded Houston and did $15 million worth of damage to the Alley Theater. He wondered if it was even appropriate for the show to continue – hell, he wondered if his vocation as a playwright was of any use to the world at all – yet, as he writes in this essay, both he himself and the Houston community had deeper resources than he had known.
“He began writing both feature stories and critical reviews [on opera, classical music, and theater] for Pasatiempo [magazine] in 1990 and continued to contribute to both Pasatiempo and The New Mexican after he left the staff around 2010 until the time of his death.” He was also the author of a 2015 biography of Santa Fe Opera founder John Crosby.
“Throwing a lifeline to an entertainment company that has become a symbol of the systemic mistreatment of women in Hollywood would seem like the last thing that feminists like Gloria Allred and Ana Oliveira, chief executive of the New York Women’s Foundation, would be interested in doing. But each is involved with a group holding separate acquisition talks with the embattled Weinstein Company – with the aim of benefiting sexual misconduct victims.”
Soft power and the arts (3/3)
The rituals behind cultural diplomacy leave me wondering about its effects. That cultural diplomacy is a soft-power approach to achieve hard goals is known by all participants in this game. We “see through” attempts by a nation to use carefully chosen works of art to convey a particular message … read more
AJBlog: For What It’s Worth Published 2017-11-21
“Online advertising is looking more and more like a contest that publishers can’t win—not on a large scale, at least. Advertising can help to cover some of their costs, but online ads alone won’t pay for big, serious, high-quality journalistic enterprises the way that print ads once did. The idea that the news business needs to find different revenue models—subscriptions, memberships, events, nonprofit status—is hardly new. But it’s time for online media companies to take a harder look at it than they have before.”
The music director of the Vancouver Symphony (from which he departs next year) and popular guest conductor will succeed Keith Lockhart at the podium of the BBC Concert Orchestra this coming January. “Tovey’s new role will see him work with the orchestra for five years, including a Radio 3 concert at Watford Colosseum in February 2018, before leading performances in the BBC orchestra’s 2018-19 season at Southbank Centre.”
Justice League’s underperformance was startling. Studio estimates pegged it earning about $115 million, around what the Superman film Man of Steel opened to in 2013; it came in well below that. Whatever appeal Warner Bros. had hoped would be generated by the union of Ben Affleck’s Batman, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, and Henry Cavill’s Superman was nonexistent.