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June 19, 2013
Meet The Top General In Egypt's Culture Wars
"To his opponents," culture minister Alaa Abdel Aziz "is an artistic nobody, a know-nothing pawn of the [Muslim] Brotherhood, bent on an Islamic morality campaign that threatens a cosmopolitan cultural scene." But he "styles himself an outsider fighting to break the hold of a privileged elite over spending on the arts ... and see that cultural spending reflects how democratic revolution has changed Egyptian society."
The Great Gay Novelist Of World War II (And His Inelegant Demise)
John Horne Burns was brilliant, handsome, egotistical, competitive, vainglorious, vicious, closeted, and very fond of alcohol. His now-forgotten 1947 book The Gallery
was rapturously received as the first great novel of the War - a zenith from which Burns fell fall fast and hard.
The New York Times Magazine 06/16/13
June 18, 2013
Thomas Pynchon Hides In Plain Sight
"It is not clear why he so intently avoids the public eye. His literary peers - Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut, Don DeLillo, among others - regularly appeared before the masses, either to teach fiction or grant interviews about this or that upcoming book. By contrast, Pynchon appears to interact only with people in his own line of work ... It's equally unclear how principled his avoidance of others is."
The Atlantic 06/17/13
June 17, 2013
The New York Times 06/15/13
June 16, 2013
The New York Times 06/15/13
Is Kanye West The Andy Warhol Of Hip-Hop?
"He said crazy stuff in this interview, but he also referenced making his album by going to the Louvre five times. He talked about architecture and design. When was the last time you read that in a hip-hop interview? You know, he's just - he's a genius."
The Observer (UK) 06/15/13
June 14, 2013
Evelyn Waugh On Truman Capote
"Of Mr. Capote's prose it is hard to speak temperately. It is some sort of jargon quite unfamiliar to me. Of the information he seeks to convey, I am no judge. I have a distant acquaintance with a few of the subjects."
The Paris Review (The Spectator) 06/13/13
June 13, 2013
Joni Mitchell On Being Venerated
"Depends on the venerator. You know, I mean, in a certain way, honour died in World War II. You know, it just kinda died. Not very many people know how to do it anymore. If they honour you wrong, it makes you arrogant, because it stung. If they honour you right, it's humbling because it's inspiring."
CBC 06/10/13 (includes video)
Yoram Kaniuk, 83, Maverick Israeli Writer
A scion of Jewish Palestine's high-culture aristocracy, a veteran of Israel's war of independence, a prolific author with an innovative (not to say quirky) prose style, and a provocative commentator on his nation's social and political issues, Kaniuk struggled for acceptance in literary circles (and a decent income) until a 2010 memoir made him into a national celebrity.
The Guardian (UK) 06/10/13
The Dozens Of Deaths Of Yoram Kaniuk
Nicole Krauss: "He used to say that in 1941, he was killed by the Einsatzgruppen
in Ternopil, Ukraine, even though he was eleven at the time, and busy eating sour cream on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv. When he was seventeen, he volunteered for the Palmach
, the strike force of the Haganah, fought bloody battles for Israel's independence in the Judean hills, was shot in the leg, and died in the arms of a nun who quoted the second century rabbi Ben-Azzai in Germanic Hebrew."
The New Yorker 06/12/13
June 12, 2013
Ai Weiwei Says America's NSA Is Becoming Like China
"Even though we know governments do all kinds of things I was shocked by the information about the US surveillance operation, Prism. To me, it's abusively using government powers to interfere in individuals' privacy. ... I lived in the United States for 12 years. This abuse of state power goes totally against my understanding of what it means to be a civilised society, and it will be shocking for me if American citizens allow this to continue."
The Guardian (UK) 06/11/13
Now Iran Has A Jon Stewart - And His Satire is Illegal
"[Kambiz] Hosseini's scathing and hysterical news podcast is an essential part of the weekly media diet of Iran's middle class. Produced by the New York-based International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, and incorporating sound bites from the week's headlines and commentary from Hosseini, the show channels the pathos of a generation desperate to intervene in a meaningful way in Iran's political charades."
The Atlantic 06/11/13
Why Natalie Dessay Is Leaving Opera For Theater
"There's nothing left for me to sing. I've done most of the roles I could do. I don't want to play Juliette. At my age? Please! Or Lucia or Adina or anything else like that. That's why I'm quitting. You have to love your repertoire. For a while I thought it was fun, but no. On to something else."
What Pussy Riot Won't Do
Rioter Yekaterina Samutsevich: "Legal, paid music performances: We're offered them to this day and we always turn them down. It's just not what we're interested in. In addition, there's all sorts of commercial activities; we've been approached to make profit, and we're against that. We're also against any sort of public statement. What we specialize in are guerrilla performances."
June 11, 2013
Opera Conductor Bruno Bartoletti, 86
"[While he] conducted around the world, including in Rome, at London's Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires and, for many years, at the Maggio Musicale festival in Florence," he was best known for his 35 years as artistic director of Lyric Opera of Chicago, which he heped make into one of the world's top companies.
The Washington Post 06/10/13
Descartes Gets No Respect Anymore, But He Still Matters
"It's a sign of his range that Descartes has made such a wide variety of enemies. Psychologists, feminists, biologists, animal rights activists, and Al Gore have all lined up to denounce him. ... Unloved, his arguments served up to undergraduates as target practice, Descartes has fallen on hard times."
Esther Williams, 91, Aquatic Movie Star (And Godmother Of Synchronized Swimming)
"With her beauty, sunny personality and background as a champion swimmer, Williams shot to stardom in the 1940s in the 'aqua musical,' an odd sub-genre of films that became an enormous hit with the moviegoing mainstream, fanned popular interest in synchronized swimming and turned Williams into Hollywood's Million Dollar Mermaid."
Los Angeles Times 06/06/13 (includes video)
Slate 06/10/13 (video)
June 9, 2013
Novelist Margaret Atwood Rocks At Online. How - And Why?
"The Booker prizewinner, who has more than 400,000 Twitter followers, gets stuck into every technological initiative going, from co-writing a zombie novel with Naomi Alderman on Wattpad to changing the way artists interact with their fans online through her new company Fanado."
The Observer (UK) 06/08/13
The New York Times 06/08/13
June 7, 2013
Nathan Lane On The Pitfalls Of Being Typecast
"Happy as Lane is to have been given the seemingly ceaseless opportunity to play lusty Broadway con man Max Bialystock, he hardly wants to be defined by one role or feel compelled to keep repeating the same surefire shtick."
Los Angeles Times 06/07/13
The Root 06/03/13
From Swamplands To Vampires, Karen Russell Sees Things Through Teenage Boy's Eyes
"I remember desperately wanting to write a story [for the latest collection] that was not from the point of view of an adolescent boy, because it had felt like that was exclusively what I had been doing. ... I think, if given my druthers, everything I write would have everyone be like 13 to 15 in some kind of island morass, or some B horror movie Swiss Family Robinson
situation. That just seems to be where I live, narratively."
Full Stop 06/05/13
June 6, 2013
Jazz Bassist Ben Tucker Dead In Car Crash
The 82-year-old "performed with stars from Quincy Jones to Peggy Lee before he settled in the 1970s in Savannah," where he became one of the city's best-known working musicians. He was struck by a motorist while driving a golf cart on Tuesday.
Chicago Sun-Times (AP) 06/05/13
Hollywood Blockbuster Director Is 'Disintegrating' In Prison
"John McTiernan, the director and producer of Predator, Die Hard, The Hunt For Red October
and Last Action Hero
, is now federal penitentiary prisoner 43029-11," serving time for perjury. It's a relatively comfortable minimum-security facility, but McTiernan's wife says he's "disintegrating in front of my eyes".
The Guardian (UK) 06/04/13
June 5, 2013
Academy Of Arts & Sciences Defends Its Leader
"Her official résumé on file with the academy does not contain the inaccurate information. President Berlowitz takes full responsibility for the error, and the academy is working to correct the information with relevant funding agencies."
The New York Times 06/04/13
Remembering Ada Louise Huxtable
"Ada Louise did not want a memorial service," Robert N. Shapiro, her lawyer and co-executor, told more than 200 listeners as he opened the gathering in the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium at the Met. "So we're not having one." Instead, he said, the event was simply a "memorial tribute," composed of a "coalition of the disobedient" -- friends, subjects, colleagues and readers -- who couldn't imagine not saying farewell.
The New York Times 06/05/13
June 4, 2013
Cellist Paul Olefsky, 87
"During his long career he was a member of several American orchestras and a recitalist in North America and Europe."
The Strad 06/04/13
Remembering Conductor Mario Bernardi
"The most impressive is, of course, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, of which Bernardi was the founding conductor, auditioning every player, creating a sound and tone for the ensemble, and making it overnight one of the finest orchestras in the country."
The Globe & Mail (Canada) 06/04/13
Rituparno Ghosh, Indian Filmmaker And Gender Activist, Dead At 49
"[His] films were known for their boldness, taking on complicated and sensitive subjects like divorce, widowhood, homosexuality and gender identity. An unabashed cross-dresser, he cut a striking figure in Indian culture, frequently draped in lavish clothes, dangling earrings and eyeliner."
The New York Times 06/04/13
3 Quarks Daily 05/30/13 (video)
June 3, 2013
Mario Bernardi, 82
"He brought a unique combination of imagination and discipline that enabled him to not only build an orchestra, but also a renowned international summer opera festival."
June 2, 2013
Jean Stapleton: An Appreciation
"The role, wife to the bigoted Archie of Carroll O'Connor, could easily have been rendered as a mere middle-aged bimbo. But Ms. Stapleton didn't just toss it off; she put everything she had into it, and what she had was a lot of stage training."
The New York Times 06/02/13
The Observer (UK) 06/01/13
William Demby, 90, Writer of Experimental Novels
"Mr. Demby was interested in boundaries -- between people, and between the present and the past -- and he liked crossing them. His marriage in 1953 to an Italian actress and writer, Lucia Drudi, made news in Rome. (He spent many years writing English-language subtitles for films by Federico Fellini, Roberto Rossellini and other Italian directors.)"
The New York Times 05/31/13
Jean Stapleton, 90, Who Was Edith Bunker (And An Off-Broadway Star As Well)
"When the issues of 'All in the Family' centered on Edith -- as when she went through menopause, beset with hilarious mood swings -- she became an emblem of all housewives who felt their problems pooh-poohed at home, as if nothing they ever suffered was worth the attention of their husbands and children."
The New York Times 06/01/13