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‘No Satisfaction Whatever At Any Time’ – When Agnes De Mille Met Martha Graham Over A Soda

October 2, 2015 - 4:19am

“Feeling that critics and the public had long ignored work into which she had poured her heart and soul, De Mille found herself dispirited by the sense that something she considered ‘only fairly good'” – her choreography for Oklahoma! – “was suddenly hailed as a ‘flamboyant success.’ Shortly after the premiere, she met Graham ‘in a Schrafft’s restaurant over a soda’ for a conversation that put into perspective her gnawing grievance and offered what De Mille considered the greatest thing ever said to her.”

Twitter Mulls Expanding Size of Tweets Past 140 Characters

October 2, 2015 - 4:01am

“There has been ongoing debate at the company about what to do about the limit, a feature unique to Twitter that has created its own lingo and quirky style of brevity but has had its obvious constraints. Users have come up with workarounds to the character limitation by attaching screenshots of longer text or by linking tweets together in a so-called ‘tweetstorm.'”

140 Characters Are More Than Enough

October 2, 2015 - 4:00am

“Twitter’s character limit is more than a pragmatic concern – it’s an aesthetic and cultural one, too, and it defines the tone and nature of the platform itself. Twitter is a thing constantly in motion, and changing the nature of the tweet will correspondingly change the nature of the tweetstream for the worse.”

Nein – Deconstructing The Aphorisms Of The Twitterverse’s Favorite Depressive Philosopher

October 2, 2015 - 3:49am

“For more than three years, Jarosinski’s followers (currently numbering over 117,000) have enjoyed his steady stream of extremely witty tweets. Sometimes light and playful, sometimes tortured or paradoxical, each is accompanied by his avatar, a cartoon drawing of what appears to be Theodor W. Adorno sporting a monocle.”

The Desires Driving Human Behavior: Bertrand Russell’s Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech

October 2, 2015 - 3:47am

“Nothing in the world is more exciting than a moment of sudden discovery or invention, and many more people are capable of experiencing such moments than is sometimes thought.”

San Francisco Really Is Pricing Out Its Artists

October 2, 2015 - 3:13am

“While it’s hard to know exactly how many artists have left San Francisco in the last several years, there’s a consensus that the city is facing an emergency. In September, the arts commission released the results of its first ‘artist eviction survey’” Of nearly 600 local artists, 70% had been or were being displaced from their studio space, their home, or both.”

Is It Ever Okay For An Interviewee To Walk Out Of An Interview?

October 2, 2015 - 3:06am

Robert De Niro and Zaha Hadid are just the most recent examples of high-profile artists to angrily end a session when (rightly or wrongly) they don’t like the drift of the questions. Observer writer Barbara Ellen and Channel Four presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy discuss the question (their answer won’t be a surprise) and their own experiences with walkouts.

Tony-Winning Director John Doyle Takes Reins Of Off-Broadway Company

October 2, 2015 - 2:59am

Known for his slimmed-down productions of Sweeney Todd and Company in which the actors doubled as instrumentalists, Doyle will become artistic director of Classic Stage Company next July.

Why I Gave Up E-Books After Four All-Digital Years

October 2, 2015 - 2:51am

For Craig Mod, it isn’t just the tactility of print books that matters (though he loves that quality): “The pile of unread books we have on our bedside tables is often referred to as a graveyard of good intentions. The list of unread books on our Kindles is more of a black hole of fleeting intentions.”

Top Posts From AJBlogs 10.01.15

October 2, 2015 - 12:53am

Music theory for a new century
So now – continuing about changes in the conservatory curriculum – some thoughts about how to teach music history and theory. And remember that I’m offering free consulting sessions to anyone who’d like to … read more
AJBlog: Sandow Published 2015-10-01

My kind of person
Apropos of this really embarrassing piece, my kind of person …
• … prefers hot dogs to hamburgers.
• … prefers trains to planes – in theory.
• … likes Johnny Mercer best:
• … likes Carolyn Leigh second best:  … read more
AJBlog: About Last Night Published 2015-10-01

So you want to see a show?
Here’s my list of recommended Broadway, off-Broadway, and out-of-town shows, updated weekly. In all cases, I gave these shows favorable reviews (if sometimes qualifiedly so) in The Wall Street Journal when they opened.  … read more
AJBlog: About Last Night Published 2015-10-01

The Pope, the music and the evacuation
A pope without music is like a ship without a flag. It’s part of the papal aura – but, unlike incense, it doesn’t send your sinuses into spasms. At the Festival of Families Saturday night … read more
AJBlog: Condemned to Music Published 2015-09-30


Shock: Another NY Opera Company Shuts Down

October 1, 2015 - 6:03pm

The rapid demise of Gotham was stunning — the operatic equivalent of the sudden death of an outwardly healthy person. The troupe had seemed to offer a new model for opera in the 21st century: It gave critically acclaimed performances of small-scale works, often sharing the costs with other presenters, in locales as varied as the Hayden Planetarium, a louche downtown nightclub and the Arms and Armor Court at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Bernie Sanders, The Arts President?

October 1, 2015 - 3:06pm

In the video, produced by the Arts Action Fund, Sanders reflects on his time as mayor of Burlington, Vermont, explaining that in 1981, he helped establish the Burlington Arts Council. “At that time, way back when, it was almost unheard of to have a municipally funded and supported effort to promote the arts,” he says. The goal was to “unleash the creativity of our residents and harness the untold benefits that investments in the arts bring to communities.” He calls the creation of the council “one of my proudest achievements” as mayor.

London’s National Gallery Workers Strike Drags On…

October 1, 2015 - 2:58pm

In August, about 200 members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union began an indefinite strike, which has led to “limited public access” to some areas of gallery. “I’m very hopeful that the strikes will come to an end quite quickly,” director Gabriele Finaldi said at his first press conference on Tuesday. “I think that would be good for the public and our staff and for the gallery’s image too. Above all we want to return to our normal operation.”

A Dance Company That Has Thrived Log After Its Founder Died

October 1, 2015 - 2:34pm

“What happens when the founding genius, the original voice, is gone? Martha Graham died in 1991, but her troupe survives, thanks to “contextual” presentations and new works by living choreographers; Paul Taylor, still actively producing work, is 85. His company, too, is making moves to widen its repertory. But the dance world often overlooks another company that has quietly gone about its business for decades in the absence of its founding choreographer, José Limón.”

Iconic Builder Of Children’s Theatre To Retire

October 1, 2015 - 2:20pm

“For years it was a struggle just to be taken seriously for doing professional work for young people. I wanted to prove you don’t have to do pratfalls and butt jokes to get children’s attention.” But her most visible achievement is the spacious Seattle Center playhouse, which opened in 1995. Linda Hartzell says it’s the first building in the U.S. built expressly to house a professional children’s theater.

Why Aren’t Artists Making Money Streaming Music? Blame The Music Labels

October 1, 2015 - 2:07pm

“Since the advent of recorded music, labels have exploited artists. And though they’ve certainly taken their licks, the big three (Universal, Sony, and Warner Bros.) have also begun to learn from some of their mistakes, and may have positioned themselves to regain their stranglehold on the industry.”

Kansas City Symphony Signs Music Director Michael Stern For Another Five Years

October 1, 2015 - 1:50pm

“Our symphony audiences have never been larger, and our financial position has never been stronger. The Kansas City community has embraced Michael, and he has returned the affection with energetic and entertaining performances of the highest quality.”

What Makes Lin-Manuel Miranda A Genius?

October 1, 2015 - 11:36am

Now 35, Miranda began working on Hamilton in 2008, shortly after he read the Ron Chernow biography Alexander Hamilton. A lot of people read that same biography around then, but it’s hard to imagine that anybody else was hit by the thought—whew, this would make a great hip-hop musical with a multi-racial cast playing the Founding Fathers!

Two New York Times Critics Debate Race In Casting

October 1, 2015 - 10:40am

What “political correctness,” in its most positive sense, means for me is correcting, or rectifying, past abuses of stereotypes. It’s a balancing process that calls out for some extremes in making those corrections. It is the time we live in. We may — oh, may it happen — reach a moment where such abuses are so long behind us, that we’ll feel a bit more comfortable when something like “The Mikado” is staged.

After 30 Years, Major Restoration Of The Acropolis Is Almost Done

October 1, 2015 - 10:26am

“The overhaul is far from merely cosmetic. An earlier restoration misguidedly used iron clamps to strengthen the marble on the edifices. These are rusting at a rate of knots and being replaced with titanium rods, all of which are removable, in case future generations want to fiddle further. Chunks of broken marble are being shored up with new stone and columns rebuilt. It is also a cataloguing project: every stone has been noted and listed.”