Roundup: Pop Culture & the Arts ...
Movies, Documentaries and Museum Exhibits
This page features links to reviews of movies, documentaries and exhibits with a historical theme. Listings are in reverse chronological order. Descriptions are taken directly from the linked publication. If you have articles you think should be listed on the Pop Culture page, please send them to the editor email@example.com.
SOURCE: Roderick Conway Morris in the International Herald Tribune (11-10-06)
By the time she launched herself as an artist at the Salon d'Automne in Paris in 1922, Tamara's married name had gained the aristocratic-sounding French particle "de," and she was signing her works Lempicka, or sometimes in the masculine form Lempicki, which left the first critic ever to mention her in print under the impression that she was a man.
"Italy gave me a lot," Lempicka told a Polish journalist in 1932. And despite her tireless networking in Paris, where she built up excellent contacts in the artistic and literary worlds, it was Italy that...
SOURCE: WaPo (11-11-06)
"This is the most important sale of a 19th-century American painting ever," said Marc Porter, president of Christie's Americas, which facilitated the sale. He said the previous records for Eakins paintings were $5.4 million in 2003 at an auction and $10 million in 1990 in a private sale.
Bought for $200 in 1878 by Thomas Jefferson University, a medical and health sciences school in Philadelphia, the 8-by-7-foot painting is a dramatically shadowed depiction of surgery on a boy whose mother cringes in the background.
SOURCE: Jennifer Percy in the Atlantic (11-7-06)
In “Among the Mormons” (April 1864), Fitz-Hugh Ludlow declared Brigham Young’s polygamous community to be “anomalous” and “one of the greatest psychological problems of the nineteenth century.” On meeting a polygamous family for the...
SOURCE: NYT (11-11-06)
The rector of the Mariners’ Church of Detroit, as well as families of the 29 men lost on the ship, say it is time to de-emphasize the wreck, particularly now that Canadian officials have put it off limits to divers, a goal of those who have helped keep the legend alive. So the service — this year’s is being held Sunday — will now remember all of the countless mariners lost on the lakes, as it once did, rather than just those on the Fitzgerald, as it has for three decades.
“I feel comfortable with this,” said Ruth Hudson of North Olmsted, Ohio, whose son, Bruce, was a deckhand on the Fitzgerald. “I think it’s time to do this. It’s time to let it rest.”
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (11-10-06)
Yesterday the Queen acquired her first Caravaggio, worth £50 million or more if she could ever sell it.
The Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew, owned by the Royal Family for almost 400 years, has lain unloved and seldom seen in a storeroom at Hampton Court for decades. Misattributed as a copy of a Caravaggio by an unknown hand, it was valued in thousands rather than millions.
The Royal Collection, whose experts have cleaned, restored and studied the picture for six years, declared yesterday that it is authentic and one of only around 50 surviving canvases by the Italian master. "I am convinced it is by Caravaggio," Desmond Shawe-Taylor, Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures, said. "We are extremely excited, it's...
SOURCE: Guardian (11-9-06)
Yet none of this has deterred a German theatre group from achieving the seemingly impossible: bringing the huge classic on economic theory to the stage.
Not since Proust was serialised has a dramatist faced such a gargantuan task - turning catchy topics such as "the production of absolute surplus value" into a crowd puller.
To that purpose, the stage of the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus is bedecked with bookcases and a bust of Marx. Eight people - selected from among the few who have read the book from cover to cover - tell their own stories, creating a theatrical collage where Marx forms the common thread.
SOURCE: Jonathan Jones in the Guardian (11-9-06)
I don't need to labour the vilification of the man, who died 40 years ago this Christmas. No other artist's signature appears on the products of an industry that is the cultural equivalent of Coca-Cola or McDonald's, and to many people, buying a toy Pinocchio is as bad as feeding your child burgers. Marc Eliot's 1993 biography branded Disney an FBI informant union-basher, and hints at worse. In a classic episode of The Simpsons broadcast shortly after Eliot's book came out, Bart...
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (11-9-06)
But to go inside the doors of No 3, once you have passed underneath the small black sign that says Abbey Road, is to enter a place that is somehow more than just a crucial part of the history of popular music. Abbey Road proudly proclaims itself to be quite simply the most famous recording studio in the world. And for once, the hype may well be justified.
Here, inside these walls, which have heard and absorbed so many sounds, so many emotions, so many notes, is where, in 1931, an ageing Sir Edward Elgar recorded "Land of Hope and Glory"; where, on September 16 1944, the band leader Glenn Miller performed in a studio for the last...
SOURCE: NYT (11-9-06)
Yet negotiations have stalled with the very institution that has been Italy’s biggest target: the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, whose former curator, Marion True, is being tried in Rome. (The proceedings resume on Friday.)
Negotiations with the Getty have been “disappointing,” the Italian culture minister, Francesco Rutelli, said in an interview on Wednesday. “I don’t think they understand the gravity of the situation,” he said. “You have a major museum, and it is exhibiting dozens of stolen artifacts.”
At issue are 52 works in...
SOURCE: Edward Rothstein in th NYT (11-9-06)
But many who will visit this impressive complex — which will grow by another 80,000 square feet of exhibition, classroom and theater space in coming years — will be intimately familiar with its account of Marine culture, beginning with basic training so intense it is intended to strip the recruit of any hint of the individualism so deeply cherished on the...
SOURCE: Salon (11-8-06)
Greek historian Giorgos Marcou's family donated the funds for the project, and bought documents and other materials from all five continents, hauled them to Greece, and conceived and built the facility to house them.
SOURCE: NYT (11-8-06)
Just 10 when a plutonium bomb exploded over that city on Aug. 9, 1945, Ms. Shimohira now devotes herself to disseminating her harrowing story to world leaders and schoolchildren alike.
A tiny, tireless woman reinforced by tragedy, she epitomizes the persuasive power of oral history, and the film uses her to frame a remarkable collection of declassified films and photographs. As a 1946 Mass in a bombed-out Nagasaki cathedral gives way to a United States Navy propaganda film, and horrific images of blast and radiation victims dissolve into a victory newsreel filled with cheering crowds, it’s impossible to remain detached....
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Ed (11-10-06)
Photographs hold us in their spell. We stare and study and think, So this is what happened. But we know full well that a picture represents only an instant, and that it can misrepresent the event it captures, sometimes even become the event itself. Photographs not only tell stories, but they also have stories. And behind those stories, as Clint Eastwood reminds us in the latest film he has directed, there are other stories. Making and remaking memories is a continuing process.
The story of Joe Rosenthal's picture of six Marines raising the American flag on Mount Suribachi, as the battle for Iwo Jima and World War II raged, has been frequently told, most notably by the scholars Karal Ann Marling and John Wetenhall in Iwo Jima: Monuments, Memories, and the American Hero (Harvard University Press, 1991), the historians Parker Bishop Albee and Keller Cushing Freeman in...
SOURCE: NYT (11-8-06)
It’s called “Dogfight Over Guadalcanal,” and it features some dandy re-creations of an aerial duel fought in August 1942 during that World War II battle. Two hotshots chased after each other in the sky: Saburo Sakai, a Japanese naval pilot from a squadron sent to try to stop the American offensive, and James Southerland, who was among the Navy pilots dispatched to intercept the Japanese.
Each man was among the most skilled and daring pilots his side had to offer, but “Dogfight” doesn’t merely let the two blast away at each other. The program first gives a succinct assessment of the differences between the two planes involved, the Japanese Zero and the Navy Wildcat, and then weaves that...
SOURCE: NYT (11-7-06)
And here, at the Museum of the American West (formerly the Autry Museum of Western Heritage) in Griffith Park, nostalgic film buffs and aficionados of cowboy culture will find it all, much of it associated with an entertainer whose reputation was made with a guitar and a saddle, but whose greatest hit was a 1949 rendition of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” that sold more than 30 million copies.
That is why it seemed so bizarre when, in 2003, the Autry Museum, with its $100 million endowment, absorbed the Southwest Museum of the American Indian, with its neglected world-class collection of 250,000 objects associated with once-flourishing...
SOURCE: NYT (11-7-06)
Mr. Burns has maintained all along that his seven-part series of “The War” would be shown at 8 p.m., particularly because he wants it to be seen by young people who did not live through the war and its aftermath. But some in public television expressed concern over the summer that even the minimal use of obscenities would cause stations to run afoul of the Federal Communications Commission’s tightened policies against indecency, unless the series was broadcast after 10 p.m., when the F.C.C.’s “safe harbor” period for children ends. Some episodes are likely to include viewer discretion warnings because of grim war images.
In an interview from his New Hampshire office, Mr. Burns said last week that...
SOURCE: New Republic (11-4-06)
These are the first minutes of Flags of Our Fathers, Clint Eastwood's new film about the battle of Iwo Jima in 1945. When word came of an Eastwood film on this subject, the blood didn't exactly freeze, but it did become tepid. Did the twenty-first century really need another gung-ho tale of World War II? Eastwood's reply is no. His film is crammed with physical horror and courage in crisis, but the intent is not mere replication of battle. Under the carnage, Eastwood is searching for something deeper than details.
What is collaterally almost as interesting as the film itself is the fact that this...
SOURCE: Richmond Times-Dispatch (11-5-06)
The Surry County resident discovered a wealth of items after his father, a Marine who served in France during World War I, died in the early 1970s. He donated his father's garrison cap, binoculars, original-issue razor, uniform leggings, medals, ribbons, dog tags and more to the museum.
"It's a way to honor him, his memory and all the Marines that have fought in every war," said Zartman, 68, also a retired Marine. "Personally, it means a lot."
Jennifer Castro, the museum's collections manager, said individuals and families are responsible for a majority of items in the collection, which includes about 1,000 swords, 3,500 medals, 4,000 small-arms weapons, 20,000 uniforms and more.
SOURCE: NYT (11-6-06)
But now close to 800 new images from the period by the photographer Dorothea Lange have been unearthed in the National Archives....
SOURCE: Observer (11-5-06)
But he grins with pride at the laughing children playing in the dirt with a little Oscar statuette and a snowstorm paperweight containing a plastic White House. 'You should have seen me in New York,' he says. 'I had my own car and driver! The Four Seasons Hotel! But that is not true life. This is my home and working with these children is what makes me happy. That is not going to change.'
But however reluctant a hero, Chamusso is about to find fame; the remarkable story of his life in apartheid South Africa has been made into a film already being tipped for an Oscar. When The Observer tracked him down to the home he runs for children orphaned by Aids, he had just returned from a tour of North American premieres - Los Angeles, New York, Toronto and Atlanta - where his infectious, unaffected spark made him as...