“Scare quotes (also known, even more colorfully, as ‘shudder quotes’ and ‘sneer quotes’) are identical to standard quotation marks, but do precisely the opposite of what quotation marks are supposed to do: They signal irony, and uncertainty. They suggest words that don’t quite mean what they claim to.”
Dan O’Keefe explains how his father invented it as a family holiday 50 years ago, and how it got into a Seinfeld script. (O’Keefe really, really hoped it would get cut.) The real-life Festivus didn’t have a set date or season or the Feats of Strength, but there was an aluminum pole and there was most definitely Airing of Grievances.
The powerhouse Chicago company commissioned a stage adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath in 1985, but the show didn’t open until the fall of 1988 – and didn’t make it to Broadway (via La Jolla and London) until 1990. The man who wrote the script and ended up directing it, the woman who cast it, the man who designed the production, and the woman who played Ma Joad (Lois Smith) remember how it all came together.
The headline makes it seem like United Record Pressing is shutting its Nashville plant down. Not at all: while the company is leaving its old facility, where the Beatles’ first US release was pressed and Berry Gordy had Motown records manufactured, United Record Pressing is moving to a new factory that’s at least the size of two football fields.
“Most known for his mastery of the cello, his recordings of works by Bach, Shostakovich and Brahms earned him several prestigious music prizes. Later in life, Schiff turned increasingly to conducting after health problems ended his solo career.”
China has been buying up Hollywood assets as it develops its own movie industry. The idea is to be a global movie super-power, and given that Hollywood’s financial success now depends less and less on domestic box office and more on international ticket sales, today’s movie-makers are in the business of finding movies that translate internationally.
Don’t think you’ve seen evidence of China’s influence on Hollywood? The reason there are so many superhero movies these days is because they sell well internationally. Romantic comedies, not so much. Nor dramas with subtle complexity. Indeed, the entire mid-level tier of movie-making has disappeared because it fails to sell internationally.
But now China is getting even more ambitious, producing what it hopes will be a global blockbuster starring Matt Damon in a Chinese story. “The Great Wall,” the New York Times reports, is a $150 million production that aspires to compete with the biggest Hollywood can offer.
Before its release, expectations for the film had become as considerable as the epochal structure for which it was named. Marketing efforts included two trailers, three music videos, 60 online video ads and stunts in 260 shopping malls owned by the Dalian Wanda Group, the Chinese conglomerate that bought Legendary for $3.5 billion in January.
The stakes for what makes a movie a financial and popular success are now defined in global terms. And with the heightened expectations, we’re seeing a shift in the kinds of movies that get made (and no longer get made) by Hollywood studios. Critics say that Hollywood movie creativity is at a low point. The globalization of Hollywood product is one reason why.
There were at least 20,000 Post-It notes after the election. “The New York Historical Society removed approximately 4,000 notes from the subway station for preservation. Archivists are slated to stick 12 notes at a time between sheets of mylar for protection. There is, as of yet, no plans to display them further.”
The Austin arts community is furious with the Austin American-Statesman, which decided to lay off Jeanne Claire van Ryzin, the paper’s full-time arts critic – and use freelancers instead. But, says the rival weekly, “The critic has a unique strength coming from 19 years on the beat, not only reporting but actively shaping the cultural landscape with access to the wide and the long views.”
The quiz is cheeky but smart – for instance: “‘A civilisation that conserves is one that will decay’ said which composer, whose life and music nonetheless were celebrated throughout the year?”
Truer words were never written: “The important thing is deciding which book you’d like to spend those long empty days with.”
The host, whose style was to hold guests – especially politicians – to account in a polite and steady way, has to get Botox injections into her vocal chords several times a year.