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The Last Time There Were Protests Over The Whiteness Of The Oscars (It Didn’t Go So Well)

February 2, 2016 - 4:19pm

“The awards season of 1996 was one of the few times that whiteness made national headlines. There were calls for a boycott, questions about whether a black Oscars host and producer should step down, and disavowals of racism by white Academy members.”

Jean-Louis Martinoty, 70, Author And Opera Director

February 2, 2016 - 4:00pm

While the works he staged ranged from Britten to Debussy to Wagner and Gounod (an infamous Faust), his most-admired productions were in the repertoire closest to his heart, that of the 17th and 18th centuries. His most celebrated stagings included a landmark Rameau Boréades at the Aix Festival and a much-traveled Marriage of Figaro. He also had a difficult tenure as general manager of the Paris Opera, presiding over the troubled opening of the new theatre at the Bastille. (in French; Google Translate version here)

Contemporary “Classical” Music Inaccessible? Perhaps These Are The Issues?

February 2, 2016 - 3:54pm

“It is a little disheartening that everybody, including “classical” musicians, has the need to grasp for terms like “classical,” “concert,” or worse, “art” music. Is there not a tacit air of aristocracy or bourgeoisie to the concert-going community? I know that what I do and with whom I do it are privileges, but our products ought to be more publicly digestible.”

How To Raise Creative Children? Cut Down On Rules

February 2, 2016 - 3:16pm

“Creativity may be hard to nurture, but it’s easy to thwart. By limiting rules, parents encouraged their children to think for themselves. They tended to “place emphasis on moral values, rather than on specific rules,” the Harvard psychologist Teresa Amabile reports.”

Aurèle Nicolet, One Of 20th Century’s Great Flute Players, Dead At 90

February 2, 2016 - 3:00pm

“A player of exceptional versatility with a distinctively rich sound, he was as renowned for exploring and championing new repertoire for his instrument as he was for his polished performances of the great works by the likes of Bach and Mozart.”

Why The Oxford Dictionary Is Sexist (And Why It Matters)

February 2, 2016 - 2:24pm

“Oxford Dictionaries tried to deflect blame, protesting that its entries merely reflect language as it is and has historically been used. But as a source of authority regarding word usage, the dictionary helps to create and normalize that usage, and thus should hold itself to a higher level of scrutiny.”

Hans Ulrich Obrist Talks About The Future Of Art

February 2, 2016 - 2:21pm

“The invention of the internet once promised to make knowledge open and accessible to anyone across the world, a perfect, radically open tool that encouraged the sharing of information and knowledge across societies and specialisms. Yet in opposition to the original nature of the web, the mechanisms behind the filter bubble are generating closed systems of knowledge. This is radically harmful to both individuals and societies.”

Inside Russia’s Version Of ‘Mad Men’

February 2, 2016 - 2:00pm

Ottepel (The Thaw) is one of the more fascinating descendants of Weiner’s show. To watch it is to step into a parallel universe where a lot of Mad Men‘s themes reappear in a different cultural context, with different characters and stakes.”

How It Feels To Go From Acclaimed To Self-Published

February 2, 2016 - 1:19pm

“I remember the moment I went from being an admired, multi-award-winning debut picture book author to a largely unknown, ignored, and even pitied self-published author. In the past two years I have published sixteen books for young readers, but my books are not eligible for review in the major outlets, public libraries refuse to acquire them for their collections, and major awards are no longer a possibility.”

Why Defend Critics? (They Don’t Need It)

February 2, 2016 - 1:16pm

“Criticism needs no defending. It’s a job because people (sometimes) pay you to do it, and many more people pay attention to it. Write whatever you want to me about the irrelevance and superfluity of critics when you’re complaining that my top-10 list left off your favorite novel; you’ve just proved you care enough about critics to gripe to and about one.”

Life Lessons From Goethe (Yes, Really)

February 2, 2016 - 1:00pm

“For the modernists, being spiritually sick was a condition of intellectual respectability, and T. S. Eliot wrote that ‘there is something artificial and even priggish about Goethe’s healthiness.’ … The key to Goethe is that the spiritual ‘healthiness’ so disliked by Eliot was not that of a man with a perfect constitution but that of a recovered invalid.”

What Are The Limits Of Hospitality? France, Iran, And The Affair Of The Lunch Wine

February 2, 2016 - 12:00pm

“The news that the French President, François Hollande, cancelled a lunch Thursday in Paris with the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani … because the Iranians insisted that no wine be served at lunch, is generally being treated in the spirit of what I used to call the Sacre Bleu! Division of the Oh-Là-Là! School of Foreign Reporting from France.” Yet, writes Adam Gopnik, “the dispute touches on a real issue, worth pursuing: what is owed to guests who see the world differently?”

The 100 Jokes That Shaped Modern American Comedy

February 2, 2016 - 11:00am

From Charlie Chaplin to Burns and Allen to Mae West to Redd Foxx to What’s Opera, Doc? to Phylllis Diller to Lily Tomlin’s Ernestine to Carol Burnett’s Went With the Wind to Richard Pryor to Seinfeld to The Simpsons to the greatest film comedy ever made …

The Makers Of ‘Airplane!’ Tell Where They Found All Those Laugh Lines

February 2, 2016 - 10:30am

A Q&A with Jim Abrahams and the Zucker brothers. who insist that they lifted many lines – including “Surely you can’t be serious” and “We need somebody who can not only fly this plane, but who didn’t have fish for dinner” – directly from old dramatic movies.

Taking Literature To The Streets In 2016 (Bookmobiles Are *So* 20th-Century)

February 2, 2016 - 10:00am

We know about the poetry on subway ads and the short story vending machines. But now there’s poetry and prose on coffee-cup sleeves, poets in public spaces writing on-demand verse for $5, and classic novels that double as 10-ride transit passes.

‘The Black Slot’: Tokenism In Regional Theater

February 2, 2016 - 9:30am

Ross Jackson takes on the practice of putting the one African-Amrican-themed show in a theater’s schedule during February (Black History Month); “that one black actor onstage,” often in a subsidiary role; colorblind or nontraditional casting (“the terms are inherently aggressive and inappropriate”); and “dehumanizing” casting of black actors as subservients, animals and/or magical beings.

Art Institute Of Chicago Receives Largest Cash Gift In Its History

February 2, 2016 - 9:15am

“Massachusetts collector Dorothy Braude Edinburg, who died in Jan. 2015, donated the money” – more than $35 million – “in her will and, in an unusual move, earmarked it for new art purchases. The final figure is still being determined.”

Domestic Violence, Homophobia, Arranged Marriage – A South African Take On ‘Swan Lake’

February 2, 2016 - 9:00am

In dancer and choreographer Dada Masilo’s version, “her Odette is married off to Siegfried, who is in love with Odile. The catch: Odile is a man, although Ms. Masilo has him dance on point and, like all the swans, wear a tutu. The three principal characters are victims of social convention. As in the original ballet, it doesn’t end happily.”

James Levine Was About To Retire From The Met Opera – Until A Visit To His Neurologist

February 2, 2016 - 8:45am

“His long-standing health woes seemed to worsen this season to the point that singers and musicians were having difficulty following his conducting. But then … the doctor gave Mr. Levine an 11th hour reprieve, saying that [his] most serious problems could probably be solved by adjusting the dosage of a medication that he has been taking to treat his Parkinson’s disease.”

Art Fund Says It Will Stop Raising Money To Keep Works In Britain Unless UK Reforms Export Licensing

February 2, 2016 - 8:30am

“This follows the debacle that ensued when the foreign buyer of a £35m work by Rembrandt, Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet (1657), withdrew an export licence application when the Art Fund decided to mount a public campaign to buy the picture for Wales.”