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$150K Play Production Award To Rajiv Joseph’s “The Guards At The Taj”

January 23, 2015 - 4:01am

Joseph, who was a Pulitzer finalist in 2010 for Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, won the 2015 Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award, “which provides $50,000 to the winning playwright and an additional $100,000 to defray production costs for the play’s premiere.”

Hunger Games: Wave Of New Video Games Focuses On Scarcity And Subsistence Rather Than Shooting

January 23, 2015 - 3:54am

“These games subvert the usual arc of heroic triumph … at last breaking away from the technicolour militarist bloodbaths that dog the reputation of computer games. … Finding a mouldy crust of bread to eat is often a higher priority than blazing away at the robots.”

Literary Feud News: Naipaul And Theroux Bury 19-Year-Old Hatchet

January 23, 2015 - 3:53am

The two men, who once had a close mentor-protégé relationship, began a nasty public feud in 1996; this week it came to an end as the ailing 82-year-old Naipaul was honored at the Jaipur literary festival.

NY City Opera Board Wants Lower Of Two Purchase Bids

January 23, 2015 - 3:36am

“The board for the bankrupt New York City Opera said Thursday that it still wanted to sell the company’s name and few remaining assets to its preferred suitor, even though another bidder offered $250,000 more for them at an auction in court earlier this week.”

Museums Move Even Deeper Into Contemporary Dance

January 23, 2015 - 3:27am

“While art museums have dabbled in live performance since the 1960s, ‘the real estate has changed,’ said the choreographer Ralph Lemon … ‘Museums are now offering performance spaces beyond just the gardens and basements and unannounced hallways.’ The trend is proving a sure way to drive up traffic.”

Harvey Weinstein’s Broadway Publicist Dumps Him (Or Was Fired)

January 23, 2015 - 3:17am

The famously volatile film producer “and the veteran Broadway press agent Rick Miramontez have parted ways on Mr. Weinstein’s forthcoming musical Finding Neverland after sharp words were said at their weekly planning meeting on Tuesday.”

The Nazi Films Still Banned In Germany To This Day

January 23, 2015 - 2:59am

“The first surprise is the wide range of propaganda subjects on which bans are still enforced” – not only anti-British, -French, -Russian, and (of course) anti-Jewish propaganda, but also films promoting fighter pilots (a musical, no less), the Hitler Youth, euthanasia, and the repatriation of ethnic Germans in Poland. Richard Brody considers why these movies are still forbidden after 70 years.

Notes On Grumbling

January 23, 2015 - 2:54am

Joshua Rothman: “Given its omnipresence, it’s tempting to say that grumbling may be the quintessential modern speech act. … Susan Sontag dedicated Notes on Camp to camp’s patron saint, Oscar Wilde. These far humbler notes are dedicated to that great grumbler Oscar the Grouch.”

You Should Never Worry Alone

January 23, 2015 - 2:49am

“Worrying alone does not have to be toxic, but it tends to become toxic because in isolation we lose perspective. We tend to globalize, catastrophize, when no one is there to act as a reality check. Our imaginations run wild.”

Why Dannon Needs To Warn You That a Foot-Tall Strawberry Is Not Going To Pop Out Of Your Yogurt Container

January 23, 2015 - 2:44am

Shirley S. Wang takes a look at the ever-expanding phenomenon of advertising disclaimers.

New Investigation Into Death Of Pablo Neruda (Was He Poisoned?)

January 22, 2015 - 9:16am

“Tests on Neruda’s exhumed body in 2013 found no trace of poison but more will now be done. His death certificate says he died of prostate cancer. Neruda died 12 days after the military coup that brought General Augusto Pinochet to power.”

MSU Museum Director

January 22, 2015 - 9:06am

Michigan State University seeks a dynamic leader with significant museum experience to serve as director of its AAM-accredited science and culture museum. Founded in 1857 as part of the university’s land-grant mission, the MSU Museum,, serves university and world-wide academic communities, scholars and public audiences through collections, research, exhibitions, public programs and services. MSU itself began as a bold experiment that democratized higher education and helped bring science and innovation into everyday life. Today, MSU is one of the top research universities in the world and the Museum reflects its broad, multi-disciplinary scope and commitment to excellence.

The new director will advance the Museum’s mission of research, scholarship and public engagement, provide sound management and fiscal direction, and balance the unique needs and interests of multiple constituencies. The new director will obtain extramural funding, and strengthen university investment in support of scholarship, technology, education, exhibition and distance learning activities of the Museum. The new director will enhance collaborations among the MSU Museum, other academic units and other organizations where they intersect with teaching, research, exhibits, and public programs.

The MSU Museum has significant science and culture collections that include approximately one million specimens and objects in Anthropology, Natural Science, Folk Arts and History. It is comprised of 30 full and part-time administrative, faculty, curatorial and support staff. The public museum building contains exhibits, natural science collections, and office space. Additional science and culture collections are housed in three other campus buildings. The collections are accessible through multiple national and international electronic databases. The staff members are engaged in exhibition development, including a traveling exhibition service. They are involved locally, nationally and internationally in research, scholarship, the development of collections and electronic access to collections data. Staff members also work with diverse communities in research and programming. The MSU Museum is a CITES-registered scientific institution, and a partner with the Michigan Council of Arts and Cultural Affairs in select statewide programs.

The MSU Museum is administered by the Office of the Provost; the director reports to the Associate Provost for University Outreach and Engagement. MSU Colleges of Arts and Letters, Social Science, Natural Science, Education and Agriculture and Natural Resources/Extension provide funding and staff to the museum. The Museum cultivates and maintains interdisciplinary linkages across campus, particularly in college-based programs in the sciences, arts and humanities, and international studies.

The ideal candidate will have:
• an innovative vision for a multidisciplinary university museum
• extensive executive leadership experience in a museum
• a proven record of sound administrative and fiscal management, and experience with accreditation and/or best practices in professional museum standards
• demonstrated success in extramural grants, fundraising and growing membership base
• evidence of successful collaboration with diverse stake-holders
• a terminal degree in a discipline related and complementary to the work and collections of the Museum
• a significant record of scholarship and research

For inquiries and additional information, contact the chair of the search committee, Professor Margaret Crocco (

Position is open until filled. Review of applications will begin on March 1, 2015. To apply, please submit a cover letter of interest, a full curriculum vitae, contact information for three references, and three representative scholarly publications through the MSU COMPASS application system for job posting #0659.

Michigan State University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. Applications from women and members of minorities are strongly encouraged. Persons with disabilities have the right to request and receive reasonable accommodation.

Apply Here:

Here Are The Artifacts Tourists Have Stolen From Pompeii

January 22, 2015 - 9:06am

In recent years hundreds of objects have been sent back to Pompeii in envelopes and packages, often accompanied by letters of apology. “There is a colourful legend that says that those who steal from Pompeii will be persecuted by bad luck.”

Thriller: James Patterson’s New Book Is Designed To Destruct In 24 Hours

January 22, 2015 - 8:47am

“Designed to bring the thrill of Patterson’s book to new heights, the site shows who and where in the world the book’s early readers are, how far along through the book they’ve read and gives you the option to sabotage their efforts by cutting their 24 hours short.”

New National Theatre Head: Here’s Why Support Of Theatre Is Important

January 22, 2015 - 8:30am

“One of the many arguments for public and private support of this organisation, and organisations like this one, is we are the compost, the manure, the fertiliser that feeds culture worldwide.”

A Revolutionary New Piano?

January 22, 2015 - 8:25am

With promises of a “revolutionary piano” and its strapline “Sound Beyond Time” (I have literally no idea what that means) comes the Bogányi piano, named after its creator, the Hungarian pianist Gergely Bogányi.

Four Ways Artists Have Figured Out “Premium” Funding For Their Work

January 22, 2015 - 8:21am

“Artists themselves are realising that their most devoted fans can bankroll the rest of their careers. Not only are they able to cut out the middle man, but they can make their runs far more limited – the extreme being just one person purchasing their goods. Here are some of the creatives who have cracked 21st-century patronage.”

Our Scientific Issues As Moral Issues

January 22, 2015 - 8:05am

“The cost of modern skepticism about scientific virtue is paid not just by scientists but by all of us. The complex problems once belonging solely to the spheres of prudence and political action are now increasingly conceived as scientific problems: if the global climate is indeed warming, and if the cause is human activity, then policies to restrict carbon emissions are warranted; if hepatitis C follows an epidemiological trajectory resulting in widespread liver failure, then the high price of new drugs may be justified.”

Claim: The Decline Of Venice Is A Moral Failing

January 22, 2015 - 7:13am

“The current non-management of the tourist industry and the way in which the authorities fail to lift a finger against the shortest of short-term economic interests will destroy the city as a living and diverse community.”