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The Digest of Arts, Culture and Ideas
Updated: 8 min 56 sec ago

Study: Interrupting, Multi-tasking Lowers Creativity

July 17, 2014 - 5:13pm

“A team of researchers at George Mason University has found that people who are interrupted while writing end up producing lower-quality essays than writers who are allowed to work undisturbed.”

Our Cult Of Spontaneity – Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be

July 17, 2014 - 5:09pm

Serendipity is our friend; planning is for losers. “Spontaneity” is rhetorically offered as the reason to celebrate both online social media and last-minute travel bucket shops.

Why Are We So Attracted To The Idea Of A “Great American Novel”?

July 17, 2014 - 5:03pm

One of the central claims of “The Dream of the Great American Novel” is that novels are uniquely well suited to the task of representing what is quintessentially American because they are “carriers and definers of evolving ‘national imaginaries’”.

The American Who’s Dancing With The Bolshoi

July 17, 2014 - 4:57pm

“For the past three years, since he made headlines by becoming the first American — and first foreigner — to be named a principal dancer at the storied Bolshoi Ballet, Hallberg, a blond, elegant dancer from the American heartland, has lived what he calls two separate lives — his American life, in New York, and his Russian life, in Moscow.”

Support For Artist Resale Rights Picks Up Support In US Congress

July 17, 2014 - 4:44pm

“The bill has gained six co-sponsors in the past three weeks, including the representatives Sam Farr of California and Janice Schakowsky of Illinois. At a hearing yesterday, 15 July, in Washington, DC, experts including Karyn Temple Claggett, the director of policy and international affairs for the US copyright office, testified in support of the bill.”

How A Decade Of Digital Distribution Has Hurt The Creative Economy

July 17, 2014 - 4:36pm

“It’s only common sense that the devaluation creative industries face is having a sustained negative effect on the investment available for sustainable artistic careers. Through new groups like the Content Creators Coalition, artists have begun to advocate for themselves. But forging an internet that takes individual rights (including privacy), cultural diversity and sustainable progress seriously also requires that consumers get on board.”

Music Pollution – Is That What’s Really Devaluing Music

July 17, 2014 - 4:28pm

“There’s a lot of blame to spread around for our music appreciation downgrade: illegal downloads, corporate record companies missing the digital curve, overly compressed music resulting in fatigue and “digititus,” and the low-res quality of mp3 files, to name only a few factors. All of these things contribute to the devaluing of music as a distinct primary experience. But I think there’s a single phenomenon that’s working harder than all the others: The constant bombardment of music functioning as an aspect of an environment, in spaces from restaurants to government offices to bars to shopping malls, reducing music to just so much sonic wallpaper.”

Canadian Customs Threatens To Destroy Filmmaker’s Work

July 17, 2014 - 4:24pm

“A Montreal filmmaker fears that she could lose the centrepiece of a federally subsidized art installation after Canadian customs officers intercepted her material and deemed that it contravened the country’s trade sanctions against Iran.”

Actress Elaine Stritch, 89

July 17, 2014 - 3:59pm

“Ms. Stritch’s career began in the 1940s and spanned almost 70 years. She made her fair share of appearances in movies, including Woody Allen’s “September” (1987) and “Small Time Crooks” (2000), and on television; well into her 80s, she had a recurring role on the NBC comedy “30 Rock” as the domineering mother of the television executive played by Alec Baldwin.”

Actress Elaine Stritch, 89

July 17, 2014 - 3:47pm

“Once, when she went to the Actors Studio for a tune-up, [Lee Strasberg] just waved her away with ‘Elaine, you were born with The Method’.”

Philadelphia Theatre Co. Hangs On And Hopes

July 17, 2014 - 4:15am

“Its finances are precarious, the mortgage is in foreclosure. Real estate agents are busily showing its home to potential buyers. A possible savior – Philadelphia’s Roberts family – might offer a helping hand, but not yet. As the Philadelphia Theatre Company hangs on by a thread, theater leaders say its loss would be a blow – artistically, and to the city.”

When Alan Jay Lerner Fought Cameron Mackintosh Over “My Fair Lady”

July 17, 2014 - 3:57am

“He is the most powerful musicals producer of all time, but in his early career Sir Cameron Mackintosh faced harsh criticism from one of the world’s greatest song-writers, according to previously unpublished letters.”

Richard Mellon Scaife Leaves Two Small Pa. Museums Big Art Collections

July 17, 2014 - 3:54am

The late billionaire “left nearly half his large art collection, a 900-acre Western Pennsylvania estate, and $15 million to the Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art in Chadds Ford.” The other half goes to the Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg, Pa.

What Do You Get When You Cross Samba, Frevo And Break-Dancing?

July 17, 2014 - 3:45am

You get passinho, “a street dance born in Rio’s shantytowns that has broken through social divides to captivate Brazilians from all walks of life and win international attention.”

The Science Of Sentimentality

July 17, 2014 - 3:35am

“What is sentimentality? Is it a manipulation tactic, a type of emotion – the desire to be overwhelmed mixed with self-regard – or an overwrought response to a trigger? What factors predispose you to it: youth or age, a gene, a gender, a mood, an IQ score? Is sentimentality useless or precious? … Why does weeping in the darkness of the theater feel so lovely? Why does clicking on an Upworthy link feel so wrong?”

Athol Fugard, Arvo Pärt, Steven Holl Win Japan’s Praemium Imperiale

July 17, 2014 - 3:28am

“Thee popular Estonian composer Arvo Pärt and the South African playwright Athol Fugard are among the recipients of the [$147,500] 2014 Praemium Imperiale awards, Japan’s highest honors in the arts. This year’s roster of winners also includes architect Steven Holl, painter Martial Raysse and sculptor Giuseppe Penone.”

Architect Randall Stout, 56

July 17, 2014 - 3:17am

“Mr. Stout, an associate in Frank Gehry’s office before establishing his own firm in 1996 in Los Angeles, explored the relationship between architecture and energy in holistic designs that were no less sculptural and humane for being ecologically responsible. Sustainability helped shape form.”

“The Mikado” Is Asian Blackface, Says Chinese-American Columnist

July 17, 2014 - 3:10am

Sharon Pian Chan: “The Mikado is the same shtick, different race. A black wig and white face powder stand in for shoeshine. Bowing and shuffling replaces tap dancing. Fans flutter where banjos would be strummed. … This is the wrong show – wrong for Seattle, wrong for this country and wrong for this century. And I don’t mean wong.”

“A Flaming Bag Of Dog Poop”: Seattle G&S Society Responds To “Mikado”-As-Yellowface Column

July 17, 2014 - 3:08am

Company business manager Pamela Kelley Elend: “Ms. Chan formed her opinion, and it is an opinion not backed up by facts, research, or actually seeing a performance … She wielded that power [of the press] to lob the journalistic equivalent of a flaming bag of dog poop on our door step. We can try to stomp out the fire, and rinse off the residue, but we are still tainted by the stink.”

What If 21st Century Fox Really Had Bought Time Warner?

July 17, 2014 - 2:29am

The mega-conglomerate would certainly have been Hollywood’s heaviest hitter, but the risks of meshing the two studios would have been risky for everyone involved, including the entire Los Angeles area.