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The Digest of Arts, Culture and Ideas
Updated: 13 min 33 sec ago

The Conscious Unconscious (What Science Is Learning)

October 17, 2014 - 1:28pm

“After a severe brain injury, some people remain in a vegetative or minimally conscious state, unable to speak or move intentionally, and seemingly unaware of the world around them. In recent years, however, neuroscientists have found signs that some of these patients may be conscious, at least to a degree.”

Norman Foster Talks About His Approach To Architecture

October 17, 2014 - 1:19pm

“Architecture is an expression of values – the way we build is a reflection of the way we live. This is why vernacular traditions and the historical layers of a city are so fascinating, as every era produces its own vocabulary. Sometimes we have to explore the past to find inspiration for the future. At its most noble, architecture is the embodiment of our civic values.”

Are We Merely The Product Of Neurons Firing And Cells Replicating? (Or Is There Something Bigger?)

October 17, 2014 - 1:10pm

“What people don’t like, apparently, is the idea, borne in on them every day as science marches through their genetics and into their brains, that a person is merely a slub in the fabric of the universe, no more than a complicated and clever bulge amid the threads of causation, rather than a free-wheeling, free-choosing, autonomous, responsible initiator of deeds.”

The Need For Critics In The Internet Age

October 17, 2014 - 12:54pm

“Perhaps it is the civic responsibility of the millennial age, one that so eagerly devours electronically its personal content (and that of “friends”) to assure that arts reporting and arts criticism remain central to broad-based media consumption. That responsibility extends to upholding standards, even if they are defined in new terms, lest the biggest loss be the pursuit of truth and an understanding of what has come before and the continuum on which we ride.”

Survey: Arts Degree Graduates Have High Degree Of Job Satisfaction

October 17, 2014 - 12:33pm

Disputing the “gloomy myths around the value of an arts degree,” the report finds overall job satisfaction for people who have graduated with an arts degree over the past five years is quite high, at 75 percent. That figure is down only slightly from that of older graduates, 82 percent of whom say they are satisfied with their current job.

Woodruff Arts Center Hits Back At Atlanta Symphony Musicians Over Pace Of Mediation

October 17, 2014 - 4:29am

Responding to the players’ complaints that Woodruff’s negotiators have been wasting time because they had neither a ready proposal nor authority from the board to reach an agreement, the Woodruff team’s leader said, “In the words of the mediators, it was time to put some of the shared ideas ‘on paper’. This was precisely what [the musicians] had asked us to do – make new proposals to show our good faith.”

Kennedy Center’s New President Wants To Spotlight Contemporary Arts

October 17, 2014 - 4:18am

Deborah Rutter: “I grew up loving Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, but I am compelled by work that is created today. We need to expand that. We need to take more risks. “I keep hearing Washington is more conservative. I’m going to push you on that.”

Finally, Gehry’s Eisenhower Memorial Design Gets The Go-Ahead (With An Asterisk)

October 17, 2014 - 4:10am

“The Commission of Fine Arts on Thursday approved the concept of the revised Frank Gehry design for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial [on the National Mall] but asked its creators to return with more details about the plan’s landscaping, statuary, pathways and lighting.”

Well, Of Course My Adaptation Of “The Cherry Orchard” Isn’t Accurate – That Would Be Impossible

October 17, 2014 - 4:04am

Simon Stephens, who worked from a literal translation by a professor: “It seems especially odd to suggest that a play text, out of any literary form, should be carved out of an attempt to accurately translate the original language of an author writing a century ago. … The nature of translation means that to think otherwise is folly. The nature of theatre means that to aspire to do so is slightly perverse.”

Founder Of Australia’s Top Shakespeare Company To Retire

October 17, 2014 - 4:02am

John Bell, 75, who established Bell Shakespeare in 1990, will step down at the end of 2015.

Actress Misty Upham, 32. Found Dead In Washington State Woods

October 17, 2014 - 3:55am

The Native American performer, known for her roles in the films Frozen River, August: Osage County, and Django Unchained, had gone missing earlier this month.

Soprano Anita Cerquetti, 83

October 17, 2014 - 3:47am

“[The] gifted Italian soprano … rose to instant fame in 1958 when she was called on to substitute for the mythic and sometimes mystifying Maria Callas in one of opera’s most dramatic episodes, and three years later surprised people again by ending her own career.”

Now There’s Even A Prize For Roman Catholic Lit ($25,000, No Less)

October 17, 2014 - 3:40am

The George W. Hunt Prize, sponsored by the Jesuit magazine America and Yale’s St. Thomas More Chapel, stipulates that nominees “should be familiar with the Roman Catholic tradition … [and] be a person of sound moral character and reputation and must not have published works that are manifestly atheistic or morally offensive.” (Good luck to the jurors on hashing that out.)

How Does A Choreographer Go About Updating One Of Jerome Robbins’s Greatest Works?

October 17, 2014 - 3:26am

It’s a tough job bringing On the Town into the 21st century, especially for a high-profile Broadway revival, but Joshua Bergasse took it on.

Al Pacino Will Be Doing More Mamet On Broadway

October 17, 2014 - 3:18am

Following on the huge commercial success of the 2012 Broadway revival of Glengarry Glen Ross that starred Pacino, David Mamet has wriiten a new play for the actor: China Doll. (The playwright says his new work “is better than oral sex.”)

Rossen Milanov Adds Another Music Directorship To His Portfolio

October 17, 2014 - 2:46am

The 49-year-old Bulgarian, who was appointed to the Columbus Symphony in Ohio last month, will lead the Chautauqua Symphony in western New York State, effective immediately. (Milanov also directs two orchestras in New Jersey and one in Spain.)

How Many Online Video Ads Are Too Many? Or Too Few?

October 17, 2014 - 2:35am

Is the problem how often those damned ads for Prius or Geico or Viking River Cruises interrupt the stream you’re trying to watch? Or is it that those same damned ads play over and over? (Which would be because there aren’t enough different ads in rotation.)

Heroes: They Act First, Think Later

October 17, 2014 - 2:30am

“People who perform heroic acts seem to do so instinctively, risking their lives to help someone else without giving the consequences much conscious thought.”

Animals Can Also Be Heroes, Of Course

October 17, 2014 - 2:25am

Sure, we know about dogs who’ve rescued people and the cat that chased a dog away from a toddler, but seals, hippos, and rats are among the many animals who’ve been observed displaying altruistic behavior. (Especially rats, some of whom have learned to locate land mines.)

How Much Will Artists Be Paid Under The New W.A.G.E. Certification Program?

October 17, 2014 - 2:20am

“Last Friday, Working Artists and the Greater Economy (aka W.A.G.E.) announced that they will be rolling out their new W.A.G.E. Certification program, which promises to be a ‘paradigm-shifting model for the remuneration of artistic labor’.” Hrag Vartanian finds out just what wage rates W.A.G.E. has in mind.