It’s hard to go through a full month’s worth of choice internet to collect some highlights for you but, folks, I’ve been busy. Keep an eye out for stories in upcoming issues of Dance International, Pointe, Dance Spirit, Dance Magazine and more, and I hope you’ll join me August 24 at the Museum of Contemporary Art for “Chicago Now,” a free event of the 2012 Chicago Dancing Festival. Directors Lane Alexander (Chicago Human Rhythm Project), Ron De Jesús (Ron De Jesús Dance), Carrie Hanson (The Seldoms) and Julie Nakagawa (DanceWorks Chicago) will discuss the state of dancemaking in Chicago today, where it’s been and where it might go. Hanson’s and De Jesús’s groups and FootworKINGz will perform. (Full disclosure: I’m super excited about the evening.)
In addition, at 9am on July 25, you can join me at the Chicago Cultural Center for a Dance Community Convening organized by Audience Architects, to continue conversations begun at Dance/USA’s annual conference last month in San Francisco. Deeply Rooted Productions artistic director Kevin Iega Jeff, choreographer-director Shirley Mordine, meeting attendees and I will share our points of view on diversity and equity in Chicago dance. Amina Dickerson and Julia Perkins will moderate; please RSVP here.
Between work on these projects, I’ve continued to drop notes to self in my Gmail inbox for this series of aggregate posts. Among internet I filed away between the 21sts of this month and last are the following items of — to me, anyway — interest:
Tablet, “A New Read on Jewish Life™,” posted International Center of Photography adjunct curator Maya Benton’s in-depth article about the removal in May of a provocative work by Marc Adelman at New York’s Jewish Museum. Benton’s article is dated June 21; the following day, the museum issued a statement about its decision, saying that it’s planning for this fall a “panel discussion, in consultation with a range of experts, [to] examine the evolving and complicated areas of image appropriation, privacy with respect to images that are posted on the Internet, and First Amendment rights for artists and museums.”
“For 20 years, the city of Ephraim had a gentlemen’s agreement with the Central Utah Art Center,” begins a July 17 story by Ben Fulton for the Salt Lake Tribune. “That agreement ended June 25.”
On July 20, Jeffrey Deitch, director of L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art, published a statement in which he acknowledges that “the recent events and board resignations at MOCA have prompted a number of critical articles about the museum.” Those recent events include the departures of all four artist-trustees: John Baldessari, Barbara Kruger, Catherine Opie and Ed Ruscha.
Northern Ballet, based in Leeds, “planned to reduce its dancers from 40 to 30 after a 15% real terms Arts Council cut,” reported BBC News on June 25. Fundraising campaigns called Buy Back A Dancer and Sponsor A Dancer restored the size of NB’s roster, plus two, “but many sponsors have committed for one year only.”
Swedish singer-songwriter Lykke Li, of whom I’ve been a casual fan for some time, shared on June 26 a quizzical note that said in part that she’s “been embedded in Egyptian cotton and a rogue hand has slapped [her] where needed.” Another pop star, Frank Ocean, dropped a note July 4 via Tumblr that launched a nationwide discussion about homo- and bisexuality in hip-hop. Another Tumblr post, by author Cassandra Clare, addressed casting an actor to play a character she created, Magnus Bane. “There are plenty of roles out there for white actors,” reads her explanation in part. “Most roles are for white actors. This is not one of them.”
To know me is to know my love for performer Mx. Justin Vivian Bond. V got yet another high-profile profile recently, in The New York Times.
Film critic Andrew Sarris recently died at age 83. My former colleague Ben Kenigsberg published a thoughtful remembrance of his onetime teacher at Time Out Chicago’s #Chicago blog.
“Before the curtain goes up, I’m a little nervous, as always,” says Margot Fonteyn in the introduction to this video of her performing Sir Frederick Ashton’s Salut d’amour à Margot Fonteyn, choreographed for her 60th-birthday gala at Covent Garden. Behind another kind of curtain — a paywall — lives a recollection for The New Yorker by John McPhee about trying to get the word “motherfucker” onto the hallowed publication’s pages.
Comic Drew Droege’s short videos as Chloë Sevigny, name-dropping a storm and oddly mispronouncing words, went through a rough patch but, oh boy, Chloë’s back — and she’s getting “ex-SARE-sees.”
“It is worth remembering that ‘Billy Budd’ is a product of the gay closet,” wrote Zachary Woolfe in his Times notebook entry on a new production at the English National Opera.
I’ve been wondering aloud for some time about how the technology developed by Sony for its Xbox 360 peripheral Kinect might change methods dancers use to teach and/or archive choreography. Now entering that conversation: Leap Motion; David Pierce of the Verge calls it “Kinect on steroids.” PBS recently asked on its Idea Channel, “Has the Microsoft Kinect revolutionized art?” The host of a short, sort-of-silly video says that an open-source driver for the peripheral is “stupid exciting” for artists. That much is true, especially for dancers.
“A human being can tell that Chekhov’s monologue about giving up tobacco is actually a revelation of existential despair,” wrote Kelly Kleiman in her blog post June 29 for WBEZ about a computer-generated newscast and its implications for criticism. “Could a robot understand that, or would it object to the constant divergences from the ostensible topic?” For another intersection between the human and the mechanical, read this article by Luke Jennings from June 30 about Metamorphosis: Titian 2012, a collaboration between London’s National Gallery and Royal Ballet.
On Twitter, critic Eric Taub declared that the Mariinsky’s Ekaterina Osmolkina and Mikhail Lobukhin’s Diana and Acteon is “how it should be done.” The video is janky but I’ll agree it features some knockout dancing. An impressive feat of video editing yielded this demystification of a famous solo danced by Fred Astaire in Royal Wedding (1951). Please also watch this video of choreography for plastic army figures.
On July 8, the blog BiblOdyssey published a lovely set of hand-colored etchings of Paris boulevards from the 1870s. And here’s an incredible hi-res photograph of Rockefeller Center on December 5, 1933. Here’s an advertisement for coffee from the 1650s and here are some photos I want to walk right into, of the 1882 building at 5 Beekman in Lower Manhattan, whose atrium has been boarded up since 1940. (It may soon become a hotel.)
In April, the first of 26 “superhighways” for bicyclists opened in Copenhagen. “Copenhagen failed spectacularly,” Bill McKibben declared in a July 19 Rolling Stone article, in reference to a conference on climate change held there in 2009.
What do you get when economic crisis meets online commerce? Entire Italian villages for sale on eBay.
“I think that [austerity] is used as a cliche because people don’t have ideas,” said architect Zaha Hadid to The Guardian’s Kath Viner.
A recent episode of “truth is stranger than fiction” details the story of a man named Adam Sandler — not the former SNL star — who dresses up like Elmo from Sesame Street and goes to New York’s Central Park. Another recounts an episode, also in New York, wherein a couple in their fifties were arrested after dancing on a subway platform.
“If it seems odd that a federal regulator was scooped by a sleep-deprived student,” wrote Peter Maass for ProPublica in a story about the Federal Trade Commission, “get used to it, because the federal government is often the last to know about digital invasions of your privacy.” Four days later, The Guardian ran this profile of ProPublica and its founder, Paul Steiger.
A guy named David Johnson is tracking rapper Jay-Z via email read receipts.
Said Michael Mullen: “I do worry that it’s just, ‘Please go off and fight our wars — we don’t wanna be bothered,’ and that the whole country isn’t in.” Watch NPR’s Steve Inskeep interview Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2007 to 2011, at the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival. (Aspen Journalism posted the entire exchange here on SoundCloud.) Another event at the festival brought together five heavy-hitters — former Hulu CTO Eric Feng, Path founder-CEO Dave Morin, new Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer, Insight Venture Partners cofounder Jerry Murdock, and O’Reilly Media founder Tim O’Reilly — to speculate about the Next Internet. From The Atlantic’s recap: “Mayer believes that mobile technology will disrupt everything from cab services to currencies. ‘We are likely to see the end of paper and physical currencies in our lifetime,’ she predicted.”
This is the Evolution of the Web.
On July 14, The New York Times published this piece by Arthur S. Brisbane about the paper’s review policies, practices and strategies.
“Critics perform two essential tasks in the cultural ecosystem,” wrote Johann Hari in a June 6 article for British GQ, “and as with any ecosystem, if you knock out one part, the entire network is at risk of unravelling.”
Not new, but new to me: Ismene Brown’s interview with fellow dance critic Clement Crisp, ahead of his 70th birthday (September 21, 2001). On his 60th birthday, choreographer Ohad Naharin was interviewed by Theo Panayides in Cyprus. On July 14, Brown reviewed Matthew Bourne’s Play Without Words, and on June 18, video was posted to YouTube of an interview with choreographer William Forsythe and dancer-turned-filmmaker Brock Labrenz.
“If lower salaries mean companies are appointing staff who are less able to deliver on a development strategy, exploit opportunities and generate revenue, then short-term savings may be outweighed by long-term cost to the organisation. Leadership and development training are vital when organisations are taking on new staff, and so a further issue arises if a reduced budget for salaries is matched by a lack of investment in training.” —From Lise Smith’s July 2 article for Arts Professional
From a July 4 post by Andy Horwitz for Culturebot: “As the dance world (finally!) starts to deeply question its existing models and frameworks, the way we write about dance and the role of writing in relation to dance is going to change. Big Traditional Dance is, for most communities, unsustainable.”