“Judging someone by their book cover is no longer an option. Every person has a story, and the more people I speak with, the more I see this great human storyline emerging that connects us. I wonder what actually divides us, when there are so many things we have in common. We all want to be seen. We all want to be understood. We all want to be free.”
“I thought I could get in this racket. I thought I’d be turning down three and four speeches a year. Not one other school has asked me to do it! I was just amazed. I thought that I would have a whole other career here doing them and, come May, I would be working for two weeks straight. But not a one asked me, not even a prison school.”
“Not all bad movies are entertaining. To be worthwhile, they require a sense that someone was actually trying. … Making a purposefully lousy movie is like wearing a Female Body Inspector T-shirt: You might get a cheap laugh, but ultimately, you’re just a guy with questionable taste.”
“It is a tough job to reclaim the idea of utopia for the twenty-first century and deploy it in the battle against the neoliberal agenda. But – if we were to want to do such a thing – these are books that could help us. If there is an alternative to a neoliberal future, the imaginative effort required by utopian thinking is a necessary step to achieving that alternative.”
It has spawned two feature films, with a third on the way, and has generated more than $13 billion in retail merchandise sales. adapting family entertainment to Broadway has brought mixed results, especially when not from Disney. Recent examples include “Matilda” (a hit), “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (a failure) and two outright bombs, “Seussical” and “Shrek the Musical” (though both have ended up with longer lives in high schools). If “SpongeBob” sinks on Broadway, it could damage a carefully cultivated two-decade-old brand.
Emily Temple: “‘Obscenity,’ after all, is a pretty wide field. It’s obscene, the number of things I’ve called obscene. So what was it? A certain number of bad words? General sexiness? A queasy feeling in the gut by a well-connected reader? I tracked down a few answers for famous books deemed (by some) obscene. Mostly, it’s about bad words – but sometimes it’s also communism!”
“Once dubbed the ‘poet laureate of jazz,’ Mr. Hendricks expanded the vocabulary of jazz singing as the leading exponent of a style known as vocalese. He wrote witty lyrics for dozens of jazz tunes that otherwise had no words. Moreover, as a vocalist, he performed at breakneck speed, winning the admiration of such jazz giants as pianist Art Tatum and saxophonist Charlie Parker.”
“Christie’s sold a whopping $1.42 billion worth of art last week, besting rival Sotheby’s by nearly $700 million. The publicly traded auction house made a total of $724 million across its four sales, while Phillips—which held only two—trailed in third place with $134.6 million. All told, the houses made a combined total of $2.3 billion during the so-called auction “giga-week,” one of the highest aggregate results ever. The market has not seen such lofty totals since the spring 2015 season when the sales made a record $2.7 billion.”
“Analyzing the works, the AI identified 80,000 individual strokes, and, through the neural network, learned what features in the strokes were specific to which artists. A machine-learning algorithm was also taught to look for these features, such as the differences in line weight, which reflect how hard the artist was pushing. By combining the neural network and the machine-learning algorithm, the study found that AI was able to correctly identify a work’s author 80 percent of the time.”
It’s sad how easily a great arts organization can fall apart. The Oregon Bach Festival, which had already shrunk in size in 2017 compared to previous years, appears to be getting even smaller in the wake of the firing of its artistic director Matthew Halls.
For real, and for instance, many of us may be living or working in mushroom buildings: “Mycotecture – architectural building blocks that are formed from the fibrous material of fungal roots – are as strong as concrete and as insulating as fibreglass.”
Seriously, where did this formula come from? (And in an era that prioritizes singles far, far above album construction – remember “albums”? – how is this meaningful in the slightest?)
Maybe he was a bit of a jokester: “This was Prokofiev doing his best impression of those guys, but not in the way he had youthfully aped Stravinksy’s style. This time it was, bear with me, a bit. A joke. You’re supposed to be in on the ‘Classical’ Symphony. Recognize its themes and rhythms and what he’s doing.”
Director Dee Rees, who did Pariah in 2011 and HBO’s Bessie in 2015, had a much larger budget – and has much more marketing backing – for this movie, but she also says, “A bigger budget can buy you more background … but it’s not going to buy you better performances. For me, the directing work is still in the performances. It’s still in the blocking, the composition. Money doesn’t buy you better frames, you know what I mean?”
The FBI’s focus on black musicians has its roots in the agency’s Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO), which led to the surveillance of several of the most important black jazz musicians of the mid-20th century.
“Our current built environment squanders too much fresh water and other vital resources, and tips too many poisonous substances into our surroundings. To develop a more sustainable relationship with the natural world, we need to allow chemical exchanges that take place within our living spaces, and between the inside and the outside. We need to embrace permeability.”
A Times 360 video tour of the exuberant architecture of Freddy Mamani Silvestre, a Bolivian architect whose house designs for the world’s highest city (El Alto, at 14,000 feet, sits on a plateau above La Paz) incorporate visual motifs and colors from the indigenous Aymara culture.
“The Russian government’s annual St Petersburg International Cultural Forum (16-18 November) set off a new round of debate about the state of artistic freedom in Russia, with officials saying it is flourishing and a model for the world and the liberal intelligentsia saying it is under attack.”
Says board of directors vice chairman Tony Bucci, “Last year, right, wrong, agree, disagree, ugly or nice, we confronted our problems.”
“A favorite of audiences thanks to his alluring voice and heartthrob presence, Mr. Hvorostovsky cut a striking figure, his trim 6-foot-1 frame topped by a mane of prematurely white hair. He also had a compelling personal story: He escaped the street-gang life as a teenager in a grim Siberian city, found his talent there despite the region’s cultural isolation, and overcame a tempestuous drinking problem that could have ruined his career.”
One of Scotland’s leading critics, he spent a quarter-century at each of the country’s major newspapers, The Scotsman and The Herald.