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The Digest of Arts, Culture and Ideas
Updated: 16 min 27 sec ago

State Gov’t Says It’s Okay To Stage “Carmen” Despite The Smoking

October 14, 2014 - 3:58am

Last week the West Australian Opera revealed that it had removed the Bizet opera from its repertory because a sponsorship deal with a state-funded health organization forbids staging performances which “glamourise” smoking. After several days of worldwide scorn, Western Australia’s deputy premier has stepped in to snuff out the controversy.

This Comedy Club Is Literally Charging By The Laugh (So That You Only Pay For What You Get)

October 14, 2014 - 3:56am

The Teatreneu in Barcelona uses facial-recognition software installed in tablet computers on the seat backs to monitor just how much individual audience members laugh at the show. The charge: 30 cents per laugh, to a maximum charge of €24. (Yes, every laugh after your 80th is free.)

What Makes Some Ebola Jokes Okay And Others Beyond The Pale?

October 14, 2014 - 3:55am

“As some comedians are fond of pointing out, basically anything can be joked about if you do it the right way. Ebola would seem to be a particularly tough subject – it is, after all, killing a lot of people at this very moment, so anyone attempting to joke about it has to scale a rather imposing initial wall of tastelessness. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.”

David Sedaris Explains How To Overcome Writer’s Block

October 14, 2014 - 3:53am

“There are a lot of college writing textbooks that will include essays and short stories, and after reading the story or essay, there will be questions such as ‘Have YOU Had any experience with a pedophile in YOUR family?’ or ‘When was the last time you saw YOUR mother drunk?’ and they’re just really good at prompting stories.”

Network of Ensemble Theater’s symposium: Ensembles + Universities in NYC

October 14, 2014 - 12:01am

Join the Network of Ensemble Theaters at our first symposium of its kind in NYC–Intersection: Ensembles + Universities. Intersection is a symposium that will launch a multi-year investigation of the connectivity between professional ensembles and colleges/universities. Intersection will investigate through hands-on learning, peer-to-peer conversations, interdisciplinary workshops and performances, and community brainstorming. Go to our website to see the full schedule of presenters and to register for the event!


When Fashion Partners With Ballet

October 13, 2014 - 1:30pm

“Whenever fashion designers, with their house signatures and acclimation to ego-stroking, are involved in ballet, the question arises of whether the costumes enhance the dance or distract from it.”

The High School Orchestra That Got Way Tired Of Selling Candy Bars To Raise Money

October 13, 2014 - 1:15pm

“The Tiny House Tour was born. Organizers hoped for 100 attendees that first year. They got more than 350. The tour helped pay for the orchestra’s trip to Spain.”

John Cleese Is (Deeply) Not Amused

October 13, 2014 - 1:00pm

“You don’t expect anything great – you turn on, you watch it for a few minutes and you think, ‘It’s fine, I’ve seen something like this before and it doesn’t excite me.”

The Four Kinds Of Complaints To Critics

October 13, 2014 - 12:44pm

“What I always find is a mix of pluses and minuses. Like pretty much everything in life, performances represent a bell curve: the few thrilling ones we’ll never forget, the few real stinkers, and the vast majority that are varying mixes of the good and the less successful.”

This (Male) Novelist Read Only Women Writers For Three Years

October 13, 2014 - 12:30pm

“From Marguerite Duras, I learned that fragmentation is a way of breaking something so that it can describe something the whole cannot. From Christa Wolf, that inserting yourself and the circumstances of your life into a myth can transform the myth and your sense of yourself. I learned the power of prosody from Toni Morrison.”

Back When Morocco Was A Haven For Gay And Bisexual Men (Especially Writers)

October 13, 2014 - 12:25pm

“The Americans who turned up in the 1950s were escaping from a repressive society where homosexuality was outlawed. In Morocco, attitudes were much more relaxed and, provided they were discreet, Westerners could indulge their desires, without fear of harassment, with a limitless supply of young locals in need of money, and smoke an equally limitless supply of the local cannabis.”

Archaeologists Uncover A Vast (And Lovely) Mosaic In Northern Greece

October 13, 2014 - 12:00pm

“The grave may be that of a relative or general of Alexander’s, archaeologists have speculated. Some suggest it may even belong to his mother, Olympias, or his wife, Roxana.”

British Bookies Say The Odds Are Against An American Winning The Booker

October 13, 2014 - 11:15am

“The US novelists Joshua Ferris and Karen Joy Fowler will have to beat the odds if one of them is to become the first American winner of the Man Booker prize, to be announced on Tuesday night in London.”

Canada Awards New Global Architecture Prize To A Rural Library In China

October 13, 2014 - 11:00am

“The library is located in a village called Jiaojehe, about 90 minutes outside Beijing; the town houses fewer than 200 people. In this still-rural setting, Li designed a simple building, less than 2,000 square feet, that is wrapped on the outside by a lattice made from fallen branches.”

A Radical Solution For Amazon: Break Up The Monopoly

October 13, 2014 - 11:00am

“Amazon is the shining representative of a new golden age of monopoly that also includes Google and Walmart. Unlike U.S. Steel, the new behemoths don’t use their barely challenged power to hike up prices. They are, in fact, self-styled servants of the consumer and have ushered in an era of low prices for everything from flat-screen TVs to paper napkins to smart phones.”

Yeah, It’s Not Just On ‘Mad Men’ The Show That Someone Mixed Up The Two African-American Actors

October 13, 2014 - 10:30am

“The moment Dawn and Shirley have in the kitchenette where they call each other by the other’s name, commenting on the fact that no one in the office can tell them apart, actually happened to myself and the actress who plays Shirley, Sola Bamis. I won’t say who the offenders were, but it’s happened … on more than one occasion.”

A Century Of Technicolor, And What That’s Done To The Movies

October 13, 2014 - 10:00am

“Through some strange alchemy, Technicolor films seemed preternaturally rich and bright. In the Depression-era US of the 1930s or the austerity Britain of the postwar years, Technicolor offered a gateway to another world.”

Welcome To Your New Artist’s Studio, Onboard The Cargo Ship

October 13, 2014 - 9:00am

“Artist residencies are typically tied to a geographical place, while this project is anchored in a context and not in one physical location. … Global commerce then becomes the immediate work environment, rather than the fuel for the creative economy in which artists make and sell their work.”

Funding Woes Threaten One-Of-A-Kind Library Rescued From Nazi Germany

October 13, 2014 - 9:00am

“Warburg defenders fear this will push the institute into financial ruin, putting it at risk of closing its stacks or even relocating and splitting apart its collection — a move that the prominent British art historian Martin Kemp recently wrote would be ‘the greatest act of vandalism in Western academia of my lifetime.'”