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The Digest of Arts, Culture and Ideas
Updated: 11 min 7 sec ago

Ominous: More Top Management At Chicago Symphony Jump Ship

August 29, 2014 - 2:32pm

“Whenever the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association finds a successor to former president Deborah F. Rutter, about to take leadership of the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., that person will start with a clean slate in senior artistic management.”

MPAA’s Movie Ratings Are Capricious And Odd (The Latest Example)

August 29, 2014 - 1:15pm

“MPAA ratings administrators have always resisted strict rules and regulations when determining what instances and degrees of rough language, nudity and violence can lead to a PG, or PG-13, or R, or the supremely rare NC-17. Narrowing this to the language question, these variances nonetheless are chaotic at best.”

Did Peter Gelb Exaggerate The Met’s Budget Issues?

August 29, 2014 - 10:32am

“Either Mr. Gelb exaggerated the company’s plight as a negotiating tactic, or the unions ate his lunch. If he was exaggerating, then he’s made a fatal mistake.”

Stolen Matisse Returned To Venezuelan Museum

August 29, 2014 - 10:10am

“The Venezuelan museum, which had bought the Henri Matisse painting for about $500,000 from a New York gallery in 1981, reported that it had been stolen in December 2002 — apparently swapped for a forgery after it was lent to an exhibit in Spain. But a Miami FBI agent who has led the investigation to recover the work confirmed Wednesday that it was actually stolen sometime before September 2000, and spotted in Paris a year later.”

New Opera Cancelled In Russia After Venues Refuse To Host It, Composer Gets Beaten Up, And Death Threats Are Made

August 29, 2014 - 4:22am

Ilya Demutsky’s New Jerusalem is about a vigilante who tracks down and kills pedophiles. Once a video trailer for the premiere was made and word got around, all hell started breaking loose.

Did Someone Just Try To Start A Classical Music Critics’ War In Dallas?

August 29, 2014 - 4:20am

In a 1,274-word online column titled “Classical Music Criticism in Dallas: It’s Time for a Makeover”, D Magazine’s Catherine Womack goes after The Dallas Morning News‘s Scott Cantrell for a 55-word blog post – a quick little kvetch about the word maestro – that Womack calls “insulting and condescending towards both enthusiastic audience members and The Dallas Opera’s newly appointed principal guest conductor, Nicole Paiement, who happens to be a woman.”

Six Steps To Restore People’s Faith In The (Divvied-Up) Corcoran Gallery

August 29, 2014 - 4:20am

“There’s no rescuing the institution known as the Corcoran from this final crisis. And neither the National Gallery nor George Washington is obligated to try, truthfully. But under the new dispensation, leaders at the college and gallery can restore and even improve upon the things that the old Corc got right. Here are six suggestions for ways that the National Gallery and GW can build stronger institutions for the District.”

What People Cured Of Blindness See

August 29, 2014 - 4:18am

A 17th-century thought experiment asks “about a person, blind from birth, who could tell apart a cube and a sphere by touch: If his vision were restored and he was presented with the same cube and sphere, would he be able to tell which was which by sight alone?” Dr. Pawan Sinha, who has organized sight-restoring surgery for hundreds of blind children in India, has an answer.

Syrian Refugee Take On “The Trojan Women” Scuttled As U.S. Denies Performers Visas

August 29, 2014 - 4:18am

“It had the potential to be one of the most galvanizing cultural events of the season: a dozen Syrian women, refugees from that besieged country, performing in Washington a version of a 2,500-year-old Greek tragedy revised to include their own harrowing stories. But now the … State Department rejected the women’s applications for entertainers’ visas for the performances … because it is not convinced that the women would leave.”

What We Really Get From Learning History

August 29, 2014 - 4:16am

Adam Gopnik: “The best argument for reading history is not that it will show us the right thing to do in one case or the other, but rather that it will show us why even doing the right thing rarely works out. … What history generally ‘teaches’ is how hard it is for anyone to control it, including the people who think they’re making it.”

“The Procrastination Doom Loop” – Can Science Help Us Break It?

August 29, 2014 - 4:14am

“When scientists have studied procrastination, they’ve typically focused on how people are miserable at weighing costs and benefits across time. … In the last few years, however, scientists have begun to think that procrastination might have less to do with time than emotion.” As one researcher says, “To tell the chronic procrastinator to just do it would be like saying to a clinically depressed person, cheer up.”

The Man Who Made Off With John Updike’s Trash

August 29, 2014 - 4:12am

“[Paul] Moran has kept thousands of pieces of Updike’s garbage – a trove that he says includes photographs, discarded drafts of stories, canceled checks, White House invitations, Christmas cards, love letters, floppy disks, a Mickey Mouse flip book, and a pair of brown tasseled loafers. It is a collection he calls ‘the other John Updike archive,’ … and it raises fundamental questions about celebrity, privacy, and who ultimately determines the value and scope of an artist’s legacy.”

California To Raise Film And TV Production Tax Credits To $330 Million

August 29, 2014 - 4:10am

“In a last-minute compromise reached Wednesday, Gov. Jerry Brown said he would approve legislation that would more than triple the annual tax credits available for movies and TV shows produced in California. The bill is aimed at reversing the loss of location shoots to other states that offer rich incentives to studios and producers.”

Ellen Burstyn, Aged 80, To Direct Her First Feature Film

August 29, 2014 - 4:03am

The Oscar- and Emmy-winner “will star in and direct Bathing Flo, … a New York-set story that centers on a man in need of a place to live, who’s given the chance to house-sit in exchange for free rent. He discovers the house is occupied by the man’s elderly mother Flo, who is part of the deal.”

Spiraling Tensions At Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture School

August 29, 2014 - 3:57am

The board of the Wright Foundation has decided not to incorporate its school at Taliesin as a separate entity – an organizational decision that, thanks to a change in the Higher Learning Commission’s rules, means the school will lose its accreditation in 2017. The school’s governors and faculty are, unsurprisingly, unhappy about this, amd they’ve begun rebelling against the Wright Foundation.

Shigeru Ban And The Limits Of Virtuous Architecture

August 29, 2014 - 3:54am

Dana Goodyear considers the tension between the Pritzker Prize winner’s very-high-profile designs for quick, inexpensive temporary structures for use after natural disasters and his very-high-priced work for wealthy clients like the Aspen Art Museum.

William Greaves, 87, Pioneering African-American Documentarian

August 29, 2014 - 3:39am

“Greaves made hundreds of movies, and in the 1960s, he served as co-host and executive producer of Black Journal, among the first TV news programs designed for a black audience.”

An Aboriginal Dance Company Explores Australia’s Cultural History

August 29, 2014 - 3:35am

Bangarra Dance Theatre is Australia’s most famous indigenous performing arts group, popular at home and overseas. Supporters argue that it gives today’s indigenous Australians an important way to retell and process their own history – not to mention providing all-too-scarce employment for aboriginal performers. “[But] some critics have described Bangarra’s liberal use of traditional indigenous dance spiced up with modern moves as a Disneyfication of aboriginal culture.”

Joffrey Ballet Creates Employee Training Videos For Marriott Hotels

August 29, 2014 - 3:30am

“Starting Saturday, employees throughout the luxury hotel chain’s properties will get tips from Joffrey dancers as well as its artistic director on the importance of warming up, proper breathing, flow of movement and connecting with the audience, delivered through a series of four short videos. The aim is to improve guests’ experience.”

Against [Whatever] (Susan Sontag Has A Lot To Answer For)

August 29, 2014 - 3:25am

“In recent years, there has been an ‘Against [X]‘ epidemic: against young-adult literature, against interpretation, against method, against theory, against epistemology, against happiness, against transparency, against ambience, against heterosexuality, against love, against exercise, etc. The form announces a polemic – probably a cranky one, and very likely an unfair one.” Exhibit A: Sontag’s “Against Interpretation,” from 1964.