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The Digest of Arts, Culture and Ideas
Updated: 19 min 19 sec ago

DC Suburb Works To Be More Urban (Invisibility Is The Key?)

July 29, 2014 - 10:32am

“To the extent that anyone can articulate a sense of aesthetics for this new landscape, it’s all very superficial: It should twinkle at night, bustle by day, have some nice green things here and there, and mainly not impose very much on our eyes or mind. The new Silver Line stations do all of that, and they do it well.”

How Are Europe’s Great Museums Supposed To Handle All Those People?

July 29, 2014 - 4:13am

“Seeing masterpieces may be a soul-nourishing cultural rite of passage, but soaring attendance has turned many museums into crowded, sauna-like spaces, forcing institutions to debate how to balance accessibility with art preservation.”

Is The Bolshoi Ballet A Soviet Throwback?

July 29, 2014 - 4:02am

Alastair Macaulay: “It was hard not to think of politics when watching the Bolshoi’s repertory – which was entirely pre-glasnost. Seeing the tedious mix of Swan Lake (in Yuri Grigorovich’s dismal production), Don Quixote (in Alexei Fadeyechev’s version) and Spartacus (all Grigorovich and all hokum) was to feel the clock turned back 40 years.”

Choreographing A Dance Piece For The Façade Of A Building (And Not A Flat Façade, Either)

July 29, 2014 - 3:57am

For Cincinnati’s Lumenocity celebration, a choreographer and two dancers from Cincinnati Ballet create a work to be digitized and projected onto the (enormous and ornate) face of the city’s Music Hall.

College Radio Fans Fight To Keep Their Stations For Students (And Their Quirky Programs)

July 29, 2014 - 3:41am

“Cash-strapped universities are discovering that their student stations are lucrative assets. They are finding eager partners in public-radio stations and religious broadcasters. The public and religious radio channels are looking to own the equivalent of beach-front property on the FM dial,.”

One Big Problem With Met Opera Contract Talks: All The Different Unions

July 29, 2014 - 3:31am

Management is negotiating with 15 unions, “representing the orchestra, chorus, stage crews, hair and makeup stylists, costumers, scenic artists, cleaners, ticket takers, ushers, security guards and others. Some unions are beginning to eye one another warily, because any agreement made with one of the bigger groups is likely to set a pattern for the others.”

Ira Glass Explains How He Works

July 29, 2014 - 3:13am

Q: “What’s your best time-saving shortcut/life hack?” A: “I’ve got nothing. Reading other people’s answers to this question on your website today made me realize I live my life like an ape.” However, Ira does offer (after the product plugs this site seems to require) an excellent description of how he organizes a bunch of interview material into a structure.

It’s The Year Of The Posthumous Performance – Is That Good For The Artists Or The Art?

July 29, 2014 - 2:59am

Michael Jackson performed at this year’s Billboard Music Awards. Rick James has a new memoir. Tupac Shakur had a Broadway musical. James Gandolfini, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and River Phoenix (!) are in new movies. “It’s not weird that we miss those artists who’ve died. But it is weird that, increasingly, we expect them to keep producing art. The afterlife has become just another career stage – one that’s as lucrative and, in some cases, as productive as the pre-death career ever was.”

Was The Tupac Shakur Musical A Flop? Or Just Ahead Of Its Time?

July 29, 2014 - 2:28am

“Saul Williams, the poet and performer who played the lead role in Holler If Ya Hear Me, tells Kurt Andersen it’s inevitable that hip-hop will carve out a place for itself on Broadway. What killed Holler, Williams says, were people who wrote it off before they saw it.” (audio)

In Defense Of The Remaking Of Mecca

July 29, 2014 - 2:06am

“At night, all lit up and crowded with apartments and hotels, Mecca now looks like a Saudi interpretation of Gotham or even Las Vegas … and shopping malls and high-rise blocks are being built in a circle around the pilgrimage zone.” The Saudis are catching a lot of flak for these changes, but Nesrine Malik argues that they are both necessary and (certain excesses notwithstanding) well-considered.

Making Genuinely Anti-War Art Is Surprisingly Hard

July 29, 2014 - 1:50am

“Art makes its subject interesting and arresting and meaningful. To make art about war, even anti-war art about war, is to risk rendering war interesting and arresting and meaningful.”

Quentin Tarantino Is Filming “The Hateful Eight” After All

July 29, 2014 - 1:18am

The director – who called the project off in a fit of anger after the script was leaked – confirmed the news at, of all places, San Diego Comic-Con.

Yet Another Appraisal Of Detroit Institute Of Arts’ Collection (And It’s Big)

July 28, 2014 - 4:30pm

“The new appraisal, conducted by Victor Wiener Associates, a New York firm, was commissioned by the Financial Guaranty Insurance Company, a bond insurer that stands to lose hundred of millions of dollars in the bankruptcy. The insurer has called for the masterpieces from the museum to be sold or monetized in some other way, such as being used as collateral for a loan.”

LA MoCA: What’s Next (Who Knows, And That’s A Problem)

July 28, 2014 - 4:26pm

“According to a museum spokesman, MOCA hopes to make some relevant announcements by the end of summer. But plainly, there’s a problem. The empty exhibition schedule, which is going to be very difficult to fill, threatens to interrupt the museum’s momentum.”

Enough Is Enough: US Senator Pushes For Law Allowing Musicians To Bring Instruments On Airplanes

July 28, 2014 - 4:17pm

“In a letter sent Friday, the Rhode Island Democrat urged U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to speed implementation of a 2012 law that requires commercial air carriers to allow musical instruments as carry-on items as long as they can be safely stowed in the aircraft cabin. But Reed said the law has not taken effect because the Department of Transportation has yet to adopt the specific rules needed for the provision.”

Time For A New Leader At The Metropolitan Opera?

July 28, 2014 - 4:13pm

“What’s clear is that something needs to give and, after nearly thirty-five years of labor-management harmony, it’s apparent that the Met’s problems start at the top. The cleanest solution would be to appoint a new GM, preferably someone, unlike Gelb, with an actual background in opera, who unequivocally believes in the vibrant future of the art form, and who can work creatively within a budget.”

PayPal Forces Buyer To Destroy Violin

July 28, 2014 - 4:11pm

“Rather than have the violin returned to me, PayPal made the buyer DESTROY the violin in order to get his money back. They somehow deemed the violin as “counterfeit” even though there is no such thing in the violin world.”

Margot Adler, One Of NPR’s Signature Voices For Three Decades, Dies At 68

July 28, 2014 - 3:15pm

“‘Her reporting was singular and her voice distinct,’ Margaret Low Smith, NPR’s vice president for news, said in an announcement to staff. ‘There was almost no story that Margot couldn’t tell.’”

This Woman Completely Reinvented The Way Broadway Gets Funded

July 28, 2014 - 2:00pm

Karen Walter Goodwin’s “idea was essentially to provide an investment bank for nascent stage productions, putting together producers — who were enthralled by the idea of financial backers who did not crave or require creative input — and investors with proven track records who were willing to try their hand in a new arena.”