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Last Build Date: Sat, 03 Dec 2016 04:38:20 +0000


Today's AJBlog Highlights 12.02.16

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 04:10:12 +0000

Making Christmas Music Rifftides activity is about slow a bit. Rehearsals and performances for the Yakima Jazz Sextet with the Yakima Symphony Orchestra begin this afternoon. If you are in the area, concerts are at 4:00 p.m. Saturday ... read more AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2016-12-02 Children’s books It’s an evergreen story: great books are removed from a school’s […]

What Happens If We Price Out Culture We Like

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 23:02:55 +0000

(image) "Without public access, a culture becomes dead, an inert shell that serves as a shill for profit, while too rarefied and remote to thrive. The quaestores of modern times use health, religion, and access to sports and art just like those of the Middle Ages used salvation: to exploit people by pricing what they value too high."

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A Rant Against Political Correctness

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 22:02:55 +0000

(image) Jonathan Foreman: "If you have had much to do with liberal intelligentsia in the U.S., they like to think they are above their own country, and they often have contempt for their compatriots, and they think they’re better. They think that being super-critical of the United States exempts them. When they talk about Americans, they […]

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What Went Wrong With The Met Opera's Commissioning Program?

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 21:31:08 +0000

(image) If you start handing out $50,000 commissions to major artists, there’s not a lot of excuse for coming up almost completely empty-handed at the end of a decade. Muhly’s “Two Boys,” which began under the program’s auspices, made it to the Met’s main stage; everything else was either rejected (like Rufus Wainwright’s “Prima Donna”), fell […]

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It Can 'Reach People Who Are Not A Captive Audience' - Shepard Fairey On The Power Of Street Art

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 21:04:32 +0000

(image) "If you are going to an artist's gallery or museum show or website, you might find something interesting and new, but it's not the same as the visceral experience of encountering something unexpected on the street." A Q&A with correspondent Scott Timberg.

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Theatre Artists Talk About What Comes Next For Theatre In The Trump Era

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 20:32:59 +0000

(image) "We tell stories. As directors, we stand beside speakers with narratives other than our own and ask them to tell us what they see so we can build a telling of that narrative with sufficient doors and windows for an audience of wild multiplicity to all walk inside a shared moment of human condition. Samuel […]

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The Tender Side Of Edward Albee (Wait, What? Edward Albee??)

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 20:03:26 +0000

(image) "Here, four people who crossed paths with this famously irascible writer [who died in September] recall him as a friend, a mentor and an inspiration."

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Poetry Plays An Important Role In Iceland

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 19:28:32 +0000

(image) Poetry is a national pastime, but not a particularly “specialist activity,” said Sveinn Yngvi Egilsson, a professor of Icelandic literature at the University of Iceland. “It’s part of being an Icelander,” he said. “Yes, it’s charming, isn’t it?”

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From Raunchy Farces To 'Cinema Of Women' To Thrillers (And Back Again): The Evolution Of Pedro Almodóvar

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 19:02:00 +0000

(image) "Under the umbrella of [his production company] El Deseo, Pedro makes whatever movie he wants. A new one comes out every couple of years, as with Woody Allen, but no two Almodóvar movies are alike. His aesthetic has become harder and harder to pin down. Critics regularly announce that he has finally left behind his […]

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The Elusive Martha Argerich Sits Down To Talk With Anne Midgette

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 18:31:41 +0000

(image) "Argerich’s is a story about someone with superhuman gifts trying to find a way to live a normal life. Many musicians live a life of monkish order, focusing on the discipline of music. Argerich, by contrast, has seemed to go out of her way to be disorganized. She’s so given to canceling performances, sometimes at […]

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The Problem With Concert Music Reaching For Political And Social Relevance

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 18:01:42 +0000

(image) "What often seems to go unasked is: 'Who is it for?' ... It's unlikely that victims of gun violence will draw solace from [a percussion concert], or that grass-roots members of the National Rifle Association will come out of it reconciled with the idea of tighter controls. ... [And] how many police commissioners send their […]

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Art As Something To Say Or Art As Entertainments?

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 17:43:35 +0000

(image) "People naturally default to thinking of the arts as one of the things we choose to do with our free time and our money, depending on our taste. Looked at this way, an arts experience is no different from eating out or going to a ball game. The current debate about whether artists should speak to […]

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New York Film Critics Circle Continues The Love For 'Moonlight' And 'Manchester By The Sea' - Except For Best Picture

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 17:03:07 +0000

(image) "[They] gave three apiece to each movie, ... But lest we forget that there is a beloved modern-day musical starring charming actors Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling also campaigning vigorously for critical attention, Damien Chazelle's La La Land snuck in at the tail end of voting to win Best Picture."

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And Another Daily Newspaper Cuts Its Last Full-time Arts Writer

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 16:31:35 +0000

(image) This time the Austin Statesman. "In an email exchange this week, Statesman Editor Debbie Hiott confirmed that, beginning in 2017, the local daily will no longer 'have a dedicated reporter covering only the visual and performing arts.' She attributed the move to a familiar culprit: the long, steady drop-off of advertising income that's had mainstream […]

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Is Jake Heggie About To Give Opera Houses Their Equivalent Of 'Nutcracker'?

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 16:02:27 +0000

(image) He and librettist Gene Scheer have adapted one of the most famous, and most daunting, of classic Christmas stories: Frank Capra's film It's a Wonderful Life. (Talk about daunting: the lead tenor has to risk comparison to Jimmy Stewart.) (includes audio)

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Merriam-Webster Begs: Please Help Us Keep 'Fascism' From Being The Word Of The Year

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 15:41:06 +0000

(image) They choose the word by number of searches, and, thanks to this year's election, "fascism" is now the fourth-most-searched word in's entire history. They sent out a tweet on Tuesday saying, "There's still time to look something else up." (One reply: "I've searched 'puppies' 523 times in the past 30 minutes. Anything change?")

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Dancers Are Fleeing Royal New Zealand Ballet Because Of Artistic Director: Report

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 15:20:22 +0000

(image) "In the last year as many as 12 dancers and other staff have left the national ballet company ... Three or four left directly because of the way they were treated by Francesco Ventriglia, sources told RNZ."

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Why Are There No Female Michelangelos, Cézannes, Or Picassos? Well, There Are Now

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 15:02:41 +0000

(image) Sarah Boxer: "There are great women artists. They are not only 'as good as the men,' as male critics used to say in the 1950s; some of them have altered the very terms of art, going where no man has gone before. To see what I mean, let's walk through two starkly different all-women exhibitions." […]

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Violinist Convicted, Jailed In $440,000 Craigslist Cancer Scam

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:48:48 +0000

(image) British freelance violinist Bethan Doci (aka Bethan Morgan) conned several men out of more than £350,000 total by posting online classified ads claiming she needed money for cancer treatment. (Would patients even need to do that in the land of the NHS?)

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What Was Your Worst Onstage Mishap? 60 Broadway Actors Confess

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:29:01 +0000

(image) Cherry Jones went onstage with a banana peel stuck to her dress. A sick Jefferson Mays threw up onstage and the director asked him to keep it in. John Leguizamo had to improvise after a propmaster forgot a key prop, only to have Ben Brantley scolded him in print for not knowing his lines.

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I Had Repeated Psychotic Breaks Onstage At The Royal Shakespeare Co.

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:16:05 +0000

(image) Mark Lockyer writes about the horrific experience of developing bipolar disorder (and self-medicating with alcohol) while playing Mercutio in a run of Romeo and Juliet at Stratford in 1995.

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Harper Lee's Lawyer Has Plan To Turn Her Hometown Into 'Mockingbirdland'

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:01:26 +0000

(image) Tonja Carter - who found Lee's earliest draft of To Kill a Mockingbird and turned it into a bestselling but controversial "sequel," sued the local museum for selling things like a Mockingbird cookbook and got its director fired, and muscled the local community out of the annual Mockingbird play - is creating a "Harper Lee […]

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Oops! One Of Jeff Koons's Balloon Dogs Got Smashed To Pieces At Art Basel Miami

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:47:45 +0000

(image) "'It just fell out of the display,' said Ally Shapiro, one of the few collectors who witnessed the incident and snapped the above iPhone photo. 'The girl standing next to it had it cleaned up in five seconds.'"

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Arena Stage Launches Program To Develop 25 New Shows About Politics And Power (Oddly, That's A Rarity In D.C.)

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:31:11 +0000

(image) "Although the notion may sound like a no-brainer - presenting plays in Washington about the effect of decisions reached in the White House or on Capitol Hill - in actuality, there has long been a reluctance on the parts of many theaters here to concentrate too much on political topics." Now the District's leading resident […]

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He Couldn't Believe He Ate The Whooooole Thing: Comedian Milt Moss Dead At 93

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:16:47 +0000

(image) The man in that immortal Alka-Seltzer commercial was, in fact, a stand-up comic and MC who specialized in one-liners and Candid Camera-style fool-the-audience gags.

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Ousmane Sow, 81, 'The Rodin Of Africa'

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:02:53 +0000

(image) He worked for decades as a physical therapist, giving him such a thorough knowledge of anatomy that he famously worked without models. He once said, "I could be blindfolded and still make a human body from head to toe."

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How Parchment Supplanted Papyrus (It Was An Ugly Business)

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 12:46:11 +0000

(image) "[It] papyrus was rough, brittle, and prone to fraying. Its rise at papyrus's expense, however, had little to do with the ergonomics of its use or the economics of its manufacture and everything to do with ambitious pharaohs who ignored the cardinal rule of military leadership: never get involved in a land war in Asia."

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Why Language Wants To Be Free (And Evolve And Change)

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 12:31:50 +0000

(image) "As people in a literate society, we think of language as what’s on the page. That’s the real thing; speaking is just an approximation. Language sits still. But then we hear new things coming in and unless it strikes us as catchy, we think, It’s not supposed to do that because that’s not what in the […]

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Top Posts From AJBlogs 12.01.16

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 08:54:58 +0000

Other Matters: Journalism, Jefferson And Rivera Charges about biased reporting are as old as journalism itself. ... read more AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2016-12-01  

The Economy Isn't Like A Machine - It's More Like An Ant Colony

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 04:33:17 +0000

(image) "Mainstream economics is built on the premise that the economy is a machine-like system operating at equilibrium. ... The system might experience shocks, but the result of all these minute decisions is that the economy eventually works its way back to a stable state. ... But why not look at the economy in terms of […]

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