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Acclaimed Director Mike Nichols, 83

November 20, 2014 - 4:57pm

“Dryly urbane, Mr. Nichols had a gift for communicating with actors and a keen comic timing, which he honed early in his career as half of the popular sketch-comedy team Nichols and May. An almost ritual prize-winner, he was one of only a dozen or so people to have won an Oscar, a Tony, an Emmy and a Grammy.”

Why Hasn’t The Internet Made More Of An Impact On Our Lives?

November 20, 2014 - 4:42pm

“The Internet age just isn’t that impressive. Technological advancements of the last century had a truly transformative effect over the previous industrial age. Ice farming was replaced by refrigeration, the horse and buggy by the automobile, burning of fossil fuels for energy by centralized electrical power production. These advancements were notable not just in what they achieved in themselves but how they affected society.”

Mike Nichols, 83

November 20, 2014 - 4:27pm

Over a six-decade career as a performer, director and producer, he racked up a Grammy, at least two Emmys, nine Tonys (!), only one Oscar (surprisingly), a National Medal of Arts and the Kennedy Center Honors – and had a profound effect on American theater and film.

The Only Three Kinds Of Scenes, According To Mike Nichols

November 20, 2014 - 4:25pm

The great director liked to say that “there are only three kinds of scenes: a fight, a seduction or a negotiation.” Dana Stevens explains – and argues that his best scenes were all three at once.

What It Takes To Be A Great Jazz Musician

November 20, 2014 - 11:54am

“Whether it’s Charlie Parker or Coltrane or Buddy Rich, or any of the greats, the majority of their time on any given day was spent practicing. It’s not just about coming up with brilliant new ideas and musical languages.”

LA County Museum Makeover Blasts Off! (But First A Caution…)

November 20, 2014 - 10:53am

“The quick turnaround in the museum project’s fortunes was enough to make your head spin. It’s encouraging — and worrisome too. Certain crucial issues remain to be sorted out.”

Artificial Intelligence – Be Careful What You Wish For

November 20, 2014 - 10:26am

“The distinction between a corporation and an algorithm is fading. Does that make an algorithm a person? Here we have this interesting confluence between two totally different worlds. We have the world of money and politics and the so-called conservative Supreme Court, with this other world of what we can call artificial intelligence, which is a movement within the technical culture to find an equivalence between computers and people.”

Controversial Director Axed From Bayreuth Production

November 20, 2014 - 10:22am

“A storm in a Wagnerian tea-cup (or more properly, a Sturm in a Gral)? Maybe it really is the case that Jonathan Meese – an installationist and performance artist who became notorious in Germany last year for his prosecution and subsequent acquittal for an act of public provocation by making the Nazi salute on stage – was just too ambitious in his set design, and that the costs would have taxed even Bayreuth’s largesse.”

Billboard Music Charts Will Now Count Streams

November 20, 2014 - 10:20am

“Billboard and Nielsen SoundScan, the agency that supplies its data, will start adding streams and downloads of tracks to the formula behind the Billboard 200, which, since 1956 has functioned as the music world’s weekly scorecard. It is the biggest change since 1991, when the magazine began using hard sales data from SoundScan, a revolutionary change in a music industry that had long based its charts on highly fudgeable surveys of record stores.”

Baghdad Ballet School Carries On While All Around It Changes

November 20, 2014 - 10:18am

“The Iraqi capital’s past as a Middle East center of culture is a distant memory, but the school has carved out a tiny island of creativity amid the violence that is an inescapable part of daily life and the religious conservatism that now defines public life.”

The New Republic Celebrates Its 100th Birthday

November 20, 2014 - 10:15am

The magazine has substantially reinvented itself in recent years. “These days, The New Republic’s goal of parting its hair down the middle, starting with its decision to stop running editorials, strikes some as a diminishment.”

Why Is Reason Frightening?

November 20, 2014 - 10:11am

The ideal of “clear and intelligent thought,” stripped of its condescension and its indifference to the non-rational dimensions of human life, deserves to be defended. We need not be a nation of intellectuals, but we must not be a nation of idiots.

Phil Klay, Evan Osnos, Louise Gluck Win National Book Awards

November 20, 2014 - 4:04am

“Former Marine Phil Klay took home the [award] for fiction, winning the prize for his debut short story collection Redeployment. … Journalist Evan Osnos won the National [award] in nonfiction for his impressively subtitled book, Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China.” Louise Gluck’s Faithful and Virtuous Night took the prize for poetry.

Miami’s Getting Another Arts Center, Complete With Starchitect Design

November 20, 2014 - 3:56am

“A new Miami Beach arts center designed by Rem Koolhaas is to open in December 2015 … Called Faena Forum, the 50,000-square-foot institution … will serve as a public forum for the exploration of topics in the arts, sciences, technology, politics and urbanism. It will also encourage dialogue about Latin American cultural practices.”

How Dance Came To Be Used To Treat Parkinson’s Disease

November 20, 2014 - 3:55am

“Westheimer knew how valuable the dancers’ expertise in balance, rhythm, control and sequencing might be to sufferers of Parkinson’s. … Two members of the Mark Morris Dance Group, with a composer and pianist, began giving free monthly classes for the [Brooklyn Parkinson Group]. The sessions have since developed into an extensive programme.”

China Delays Release Of Latest “Hunger Games” Film – To Protect Domestic Industry

November 20, 2014 - 3:50am

“The China release date for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 has been pushed back until January 2015, sources in Beijing said, as film authorities try to balance domestic and foreign box office totals before the year end.”

Can Theatre Make Audiences Better Citizens?

November 20, 2014 - 3:44am

A report from early this year argues that performing arts “are inherently social arts and provide a necessary opportunity to develop the skills of socialisation and communication required by a healthy democracy.” Maddy Costa writes about how she’s exploring that idea in her London theatre festival, Dialogue.

Times Square Livecast Of “Side Show” Was Not, In Fact, Live

November 20, 2014 - 3:29am

“A bid to make Broadway history by broadcasting a scene from the opening night performance of the musical “Side Show” live in Times Square didn’t come off as planned, though the crowd that gathered to watch in the rain may not have known what they were missing at all.”

Whitney Museum’s New Home Has An Opening Date

November 20, 2014 - 3:26am

“The Whitney Museum of American Art’s new Renzo Piano-designed building in Manhattan’s meatpacking district is to open on May 1.”

John Cleese Says Comedy Ain’t What It Used To Be Because Audiences Today Don’t Know Anything

November 20, 2014 - 3:22am

“In my day, anyone who is vaguely educated – in other words, they know where Pakistan was … or that they had a vague idea which century Henry VIII [lived in] – would give you the opportunity for all sorts of humor. … The general feeling is that anything that doesn’t affect you personally is not worth knowing about. … It’s kind of like, ‘Geography? Well, I don’t need to know about that.'”