Monday, August 29, 2016

Thrice more unto the breach by Terry Teachout

Forgive my recent semi-absence from this space, but I’ve been inordinately busy of late, quite a bit more than I expected to be. Among other things, the Mosaic Theater Company’s producti…

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Just because: Louis Armstrong performs “Mack the Knife” by Terry Teachout

Louis Armstrong and the All Stars perform “Mack the Knife” in concert in 1956: (This is the latest in a series of arts-related videos that appear in this space each Monday, Wednesday, an…

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Almanac: Alexander Pope on music by Terry Teachout

Music resembles poetry: in each Are nameless graces which no methods teach And which a master-hand alone can reach. Alexander Pope, “An Essay on Criticism”

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What Happens When Critical Opinion Separates From The Audience? by Douglas McLennan

Three stories this week get to the heart of the question. First, the BBC polled critics worldwide and asked them what were the best 100 movies made so far in the 21st Century. Look at the li…

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Sunday, August 28, 2016

This Week’s AJ Highlights: That Time Ballet Superstars Nureyev And Fonteyn Got Arrested In A “Hippie Raid” by Douglas McLennan

This Week: Earthquake Devastates Historic Italian Towns… Has the audience deserted blockbuster movies?… The best new beautiful library of 2016… Is it a good idea to pay you…

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Friday, August 26, 2016

German People’s Theatre Community Protests Appointment Of Tate Modern’s Director Chris Dercon by Artsjournal

In June, 90 staff members and 80 freelancers of the Volksbühne sent one to the Berlin House of Representatives expressing deep concern that Dercon will trade long-established artistic stand…

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Steppenwolf: 40 Years Of ‘Balls-Out’ Theater In Chicago by Artsjournal1

Company co-founder Jeff Perry: “Our group had an interesting mix of individual ambition, and even hubris, and love of group work. If we had started Steppenwolf in Los Angeles or New Yo…

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Why Tennis Is Acing It On The Theater Stage by Artsjournal1

“‘It’s always hard to put a finger on why something is suddenly in the zeitgeist,’ said [Sarah] Ruhl, a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and a Tony Award nominee. …

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Are Pay-What-You-Will Nights Good For Theater Companies? by Artsjournal1

Charleston’s theater community is one of many where the debate continues. Says one artistic director, “People are driven by ticket costs. The reason we do it is to eliminate a ba…

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A masterpiece reclaimed by Terry Teachout

In today’s Wall Street Journal I review the Mint Theater Company’s off-Broadway revival of N.C. Hunter’s A Day by the Sea. Here’s an excerpt. * * * No drama troupe in America has car…

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Replay: Ry Cooder on the road in 1970 by Terry Teachout

“Previews of Past Attractions: Ry Cooder,” a 1970 Warner Bros. Records promotional mini-documentary about the singer-guitarist, produced by Van Dyke Parks: (This is the latest in a serie…

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Almanac: Leonard Schapiro on propaganda by Terry Teachout

“No one understood better than Stalin that the true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade, but to produce a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the firs…

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

What’s The Solution To LA’s 99-Seat Theatre Stalemate? by Artsjournal

Whenever I have waded into this debate, making the argument that the best solution to the stalemate would be some sort of compromise that would provide a feasible economic path for those ins…

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Using Improv To Train Doctors by Artsjournal1

“While physician-patient encounters may be structured, every interaction is, to some extent, improvised. … Medical schools are increasingly adapting improv tools to enhance patie…

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Head Of Philadelphia Theatre Company Steps Down After 35 Years by Artsjournal1

“Sara Garonzik, who has helmed the Philadelphia Theatre Company from its tentative days as a professional troupe in 1982 to its status as a well-regarded and highly visible anchor for …

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Why Perry Como mattered by Terry Teachout

In today’s Wall Street Journal “Sightings” column, I pay tribute to the underappreciated artistry of Perry Como. Here’s an excerpt. * * * Sixty years ago, Perry Como cut a hit record…

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Is Naked Trump Bad Satire? (And Do We Care?) by Douglas McLennan

In this week’s AJ highlights I included some of the stories we found about the naked Donald Trump statues that appeared in five American cities last week. One reader was unhappy: Vile …

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Almanac: Geoffrey Hill on “difficult” art by Terry Teachout

“Human beings are difficult. We’re difficult to ourselves, we’re difficult to each other. And we are mysteries to ourselves, we are mysteries to each other. One encounters in any ordin…

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Where Next For Olympic Athletes? For Some, It Will Be Cirque Du Soleil by Artsjournal1

“In all, about 40 percent of Cirque’s performers come from artistic, rhythmic and acrobatic gymnastics backgrounds, as well as from trampoline, tumbling, diving and synchronized …

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Snapshot: Arturo Toscanini conducts Mozart by Terry Teachout

Arturo Toscanini leads the NBC Symphony in a performance of the first movement of Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, K. 555. This performance was originally telecast from NBC’s Studio …

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Almanac: Whit Stillman on failure and formula by Terry Teachout

“Every moment is a new moment, failure our eternal friend. You think you are learning things but those could also be staleness traps, formula, hitting the same lever again and again.” Wh…

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Is It Rude To Walk Out Of A Performance Before It’s Finished? by Artsjournal

“Maybe 30 years ago walking out of a performance was a big deal. These days—with the lure of social media and 5 million TV options, not to mention over-the-top ticket prices—many c…

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Why Aren’t We Driving Self-Driving Cars Yet? It’s All About The Culture by Douglas McLennan

Driverless cars are here and they work and by all accounts they make driving safer than when humans are piloting. So why aren’t they already in showrooms? Not so fast. It’s not j…

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The ‘Sweeney Todd’-In-A-Pie-Shop Production Is Coming To The States by Artsjournal1

“The production, from the Tooting Arts Club, originated in 2014 at Harrington’s Pie and Mash Shop in London, where audience members sat at tables … and [later] transferred …

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Ten years after: The Fantasticks and me by Terry Teachout

From 2006: As for me, I’m the gray-headed drama critic of The Wall Street Journal and a resident of the Upper West Side of Manhattan, none of which I anticipated when I was sixteen. Back t…

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Almanac: Whit Stillman on happiness by Terry Teachout

“Happiness in life is often constructed from tiny wonderful things—hot toast with butter—not big things.” Whit Stillman, interviewed by Chris White (Curator, May 23, 2016)

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How Dance Will Help Teach Us About The Next Transformative Technology by Douglas McLennan

Dance is the most physical art. Bodies moving, yes, but physical also because of how bodies relate to the spaces they’re in. Much of the energy in tech innovation right now is explori…

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Monday, August 22, 2016

By The Numbers, Theatre Has A Problem With People Of Color And White Women In Leadership Positions by Artsjournal2

“Hidden behind a gender- and race-neutral job description is an expectation, grounded in a stereotype, of what a theatre leader needs to look like: white and male, because white and ma…

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Just because: Lotte Lenya sings “Pirate Jenny” in 1962 by Terry Teachout

Lotte Lenya sings “Pirate Jenny,” from Marc Blitzstein’s English-language adaptation of the Brecht-Weill Threepenny Opera. This performance was telecast on the BBC in 1962. Lenya creat…

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Almanac: William Haggard on the British class system in 1966 by Terry Teachout

“An extraordinary people and he wasn’t yet at home with them. One half seemed caught in a caste system which defeated him, the other in a dislike of it which at times came close to malic…

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Who’s Telling Your Story? (Storytellers Are Leaders) by Douglas McLennan

Last week the Brooklyn artist space National Sawdust announced it had hired away Steve Smith from the Boston Globe to start an ambitious new culture journal. Smith is a former NYTimeser, a …

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