The comics Amar Chitra Katha (or The Immortal Stories) got started when a newspaper executive watched a quiz show where kids knew little to nothing about the Hindu epic The Ramayana. Now ACK has been a kids’ entertainment empire for decades – but it’s an empire built on bigotry: “ACK’s writing and illustrative team constructed a legendary past for India by tying masculinity, Hinduism, fair skin, and high caste to authority, excellence, and virtue. On top of that, [the] comics often erased non-Hindu subjects from India’s historic and religious fabric.”
Karen Brooks Hopkins, longtime president of the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM): “As fundraisers, we are constantly told to look at the bright side: If at first you don’t succeed; smile though your heart is breaking, etc. But as a former president and chief fundraiser for a large multidisciplinary arts organization, I have decided, in the spirit of the season, to present my ‘bottom 10 list’ delineating the worst, most excruciating parts of the job.”
“In a world where travel has lost many of its mental and physical exertions, one meets people who fly thousands of miles to do a bit of shopping in Dubai, to lie on a beach in Bali, or to watch a cricket match in Adelaide… Some travellers travel enormous distances and keep all their preconceptions intact.”
“Project Oxygen shocked everyone by concluding that, among the eight most important qualities of Google’s top employees, STEM expertise comes in dead last. The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills: being a good coach; communicating and listening well; possessing insights into others (including others different values and points of view); having empathy toward and being supportive of one’s colleagues; being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas. Those traits sound more like what one gains as an English or theater major than as a programmer.”
He was “a prominent poet, essayist and translator whose best-known work, ‘Nostalgia,’ came to symbolize the aching separation, displacement and longing for cultural unity felt by many in mainland China and in the Chinese diaspora.” Generations have memorized ‘Nostalgia,’ and it’s even been used in high levels to argue for the reunification of Taiwan with the mainland.
“An unnamed FBI agent who watched the film as part of a larger FBI program aimed at detecting and neutralizing Commie influences in Hollywood … uncovered that ‘those responsible for making It’s a Wonderful Life had employed two common tricks used by Communists to inject propaganda into the film.'”
Once signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio, the legislation will establish a task force to examine the city’s “automated decision systems”—the computerized algorithms that guide the allocation of everything from police officers and firehouses to public housing and food stamps—with an eye toward making them fairer and more open to scrutiny.
The 1 percent decline this fall was due to undergraduate enrollments, which fell by nearly 224,000 students, or 1.4 percent. Graduate and professional programs were up by 24,000 students, according to the center, which tracks 97 percent of students who attend degree-granting institutions that are eligible to receive federal financial aid.
“Water flooded the basement and subbasement of the Curtis building at 1726 Locust. There appeared to be extensive damage to those two levels, where the school has organ studios; a workshop for repairing and maintaining pianos; practice rooms; and a recording studio, said Larry Bomback, senior vice president of administration.”
Kathleen Kennedy has set her sights on perhaps the most pernicious industry villain of all: sexual misconduct and abuse. She is spearheading the creation of an anti-harassment commission, backed by more than two dozen of the entertainment industry’s biggest bigwigs, that, in a stroke of marquee casting, will be led by Anita Hill.
Justice League, Bohemian Rhapsody, and more than one Star Wars film had directors quit or get fired in the middle of the project. “The person in the director’s chair has come to be increasingly viewed as a more disposable commodity than the intellectual property he or she was entrusted to bring to the screen. To hear it from a writer-director who has long operated at the highest echelons of popcorn movie-making, … this anti-auteur shift occurred over the last two years.”
“I’m inviting them to my studio to audition. I don’t have a camera there, so I have to see their bodies — it’s a very expensive process,” Mr. Close said. “I’ve never had a complaint in 50 years, not one. Last time I looked, discomfort was not a major offense. I never reduced anyone to tears, no one ever ran out of the place. If I embarrassed anyone or made them feel uncomfortable, I am truly sorry, I didn’t mean to. I acknowledge having a dirty mouth, but we’re all adults.”
“The opera star … spent two hours in the scanner to help researchers tease out what brain activity is key for singing. How? First Fleming spoke the lyrics. Then she sang them. Finally, she imagined singing them. ‘We’re trying to understand the brain not just so we can address mental disorders or diseases or injuries, but also so we can understand what happens when a brain’s working right and what happens when it’s performing at a really high level,’ said NIH researcher David Jangraw.”
Sarah L. Kaufman: “For many families, The Nutcracker is a beloved holiday ritual, a respite from the season’s stresses, an oasis of beauty, innocence and poetry. For the dancers, it is a marathon of pain, physical and existential. It is a minefield of injuries, illnesses and choking hazards. It can be crushingly boring. It also involves incontinent children.”
“Not only that, it has been completely restored, buffed up, burnished, and reinstalled in a surprising location – the SEPTA concourse beneath the Wanamaker Building, where it stands out in a way that it never did when it was up against the wall, blocked by vendor carts, and ignored by shoppers hustling through the [Gallery] mall.”
“On average, the number of annual publications fell by approximately 30 percent over the two years after tenure was granted and by an additional 15 percent over the next eight years. Home-run publications also fell by 30 percent within two years of professors earning tenure and by an additional 35 percent over the next eight years.”
Melville House helpfully offers a guide to which of the far-too-many lists are worth paying attention to – among them, The Best List That’s Interactive and Lets You Play With Filters to Figure Out What to Read Next, Best List That’s Chosen by Actual Readers and Not Critics, Best List That We’re Partial to Because There’s a Melville House Book On It, and Best List that Features a Book About Sharks.
Well, it’s barely visible to the average audience member in her seat at the Joan Sutherland Theatre, but the backstage machinery has been replaced and greatly upgraded, the orchestra pit has been enlarged and enhanced, and acoustics have been improved. Angus McPherson goes backstage for a look.