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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOURCE: NYT (12-28-06)
Their business relationship had flowered into a strong friendship, and for Mr. Stuart, a family fortune, as he took possession of more than a dozen Rockwell paintings during his 20 years at The Post. Now that fortune, built upon iconic images of American family life — including “The Gossips,” “Walking to Church” and “Saying Grace,” considered by many to be the illustrator’s masterpiece — is tearing Mr. Stuart’s own family apart.
When the urbane Mr. Stuart died in 1993, he left everything to his three sons — Ken Jr., William and Jonathan — in equal shares. The artwork was the crown jewel of an...
SOURCE: Times Online (UK) (12-24-06)
Plans for a grand exhibition of the teenage pharaoh’s treasures at the venue have been thrown into doubt because Egyptian officials will not allow the artefacts to be displayed next to a proposed casino.
The dome’s owner is hoping to be granted a licence for Britain’s first Las Vegas-style gambling venue next month.
However, Cairo’s most senior antiquities official has described such a move as a “disaster”, claiming this weekend that it would “insult the dignity” of Tutankhamun.
“If there is a casino in the dome, I will not send the exhibits to London,” declared Zahi Hawass, the secretary-general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities.
“It’s insulting. These Egyptian artefacts have dignity and therefore we should...
SOURCE: RIA Novosti (12-26-06)
After the victory over fascists the painting was exported from Germany to the USSR as a war trophy.
The owners of the canvas in Russia were non-connoisseurs who had no idea of the painting's great value and for decades it was kept in a roll in a usual Moscow flat. The painting needed serious restoration. Upon restoration the painting has been returned to the world heritage and can be seen by numerous visitors of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts.
SOURCE: Korea Herald (12-27-06)
The smash-hit MBC drama "Jumong," which is still garnering an average of about a 40 percent viewing rating, is one example demonstrating the "craze for Sageuk, or historical dramas," here. The drama, based on the founding myth of Goguyreo, received explosive popularity among TV viewers thanks to its heroic character played by Song Il-guk while mixing comedy and pathos in the drama.
KBS's "Daejoyoung," played by Choi Su-jong, and SBS's epic drama "Yeongaesomun," played by Yoo Dong-geun, also enjoyed popularity.
The craze for historical dramas is likely to continue next year with "Taewangsasingi," which is...
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (12-26-06)
Richard Burbage, the greatest actor of the age, is believed to have performed the title role as King Lear, the monarch who divided his kingdom and went mad.
The subject was tailor-made for James, who had been king of Scotland for 36 years when he ascended to the English throne in 1603 on the death of Elizabeth I.
He was desperately trying to unite the parliaments of London and Edinburgh, so a cautionary tale of the perils of division must have been music to his ears.
But while the political ramifications of Lear would have been clear to the contemporary audience, it is the human drama that has resonated through centuries.
As the director Richard Eyre observes in a documentary about the play on Radio 4 today, while it might not seem festive, the...
SOURCE: AP (12-26-06)
Now, the Vanderbilt University professor has his own record label, Pa's Fiddle Recordings, and is in the midst of recording a 10-CD set that brings to life all 126 songs mentioned in Wilder's books.
With the 140th anniversary of Wilder's birth and the 50th anniversary of her death approaching in February, Cockrell was recently awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship to help with part of the project.
"In looking back on it, I don't think there are any books that better capture the way music worked in the 19th century family," said Cockrell, a professor of musicology, essentially a music historian. "I came to the conclusion not only are the books rich in music-making, but it's virtually a playlist of first...
SOURCE: San Francisco Chronicle (12-22-06)
For all its dazzling computer-generated sequences, "Museum'' wouldn't be nearly the delight it is without the talents of some of the best comedians in the business. The Friars Club is about the only place you'd expect to find Mickey Rooney, Dick Van Dyke, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson and Britain's Steve Coogan and Ricky Gervais together.
But each does his shtick in support of star Ben Stiller as divorced dad Larry, who desperately needs to get on someone's payroll or risk losing joint custody of his son. Looks as if Stiller...
SOURCE: philadelphia.bizjournals.com (12-21-06)
The painting's owner, Thomas Jefferson University, had agreed to sell it for $68 million to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark. The school gave Philadelphians until Dec. 26 to come up with a competing bid.
They did: A local group including Aramark CEO Joseph Neubauer, Suburban Cable founder H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest and the Pew Charitable Trusts were among the donors to lead the effort, each giving $3 million, the Mayor's Office said. The Annenberg Foundation gave $10 million. In all, there were 2,000 donations from across the country.
SOURCE: Scotsman.com (12-21-06)
Yesterday, after a 25-year freedom of information battle, an American historian has secured the release of the final surveillance documents held by the FBI on John Lennon.
What we learn from them is what we knew all along - that Lennon was a concerned, left-leaning musician who had ties to leftist and anti-war groups in the early 1970s. He was not a revolutionary. And he was only a threat to the world order insofar as he dared to imagine a world at peace.
So this is a story about the power and efficacy of art. About how those in power will lock their vaults and black out their documents in the face of a lone, visionary voice. The FBI was so worried about keeping Lennon's secrets they overlooked the fact that he didn't have any.
It also testifies to the devotion of an audience - for a...
SOURCE: WaPo (12-21-06)
Over the years, he has become the nation's leading expert on the history of the tree. When the tree is lighted each year, it marks a moment in the country's history, the ceremony a reflection of what is going on in America and the world. Jimmy Carter, the sweater president, had energy-efficient lights. Richard Nixon pulled the switch to light the tree while being hooted by Vietnam War protesters. Ronald Reagan, after an assassination attempt, lighted the tree from the White House instead of the Ellipse for security reasons. During the Iran hostage crisis, the tree was dark except for a star on top out of respect for the...
SOURCE: UPI (12-21-06)
The relocation is planned even though there are fears the move could damage the ancient wooden vessels, Oslo's Aftenposten newspaper reports.
The ships, dating from the eighth to 11th centuries, are to move to the new Museum of Cultural History planned for Bjorvika harbor, where the city's new Opera House is set to open in 2008.
SOURCE: Guardian (12-21-06)
The revelation is one of many Tinseltown secrets in a treasure trove of documents belonging to 20th Century Fox that are to be auctioned in New York next month to benefit an actors' charity.
Alongside details of Elvis's follicular faux pas are letters chronicling Judy Garland's slide into alcoholism, contracts showing the bumper pay packets of Marlon Brando and Cary Grant, and a 1946 memo declaring that Norma Jean Dougherty would henceforth be known as Marilyn Monroe.
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune (12-20-06)
Belgium only became a nation in 1830 and its union of Dutch-speaking Flemings in the north and French-speaking Walloons in south was never a love match. Instead, it was a marriage arranged by the great powers bent on creating a neutral buffer state.
Although Flemings always outnumbered French- speakers, Francophone Belgians dominated the new country economically, culturally and politically. French was the sole official language. The Francophone Belgian...
SOURCE: NYT (12-20-06)
SOURCE: A.O.Scott in the NYT (12-20-06)
But of course there are other, contrasting stories, a handful of which form the core of “Letters From Iwo Jima,” Clint Eastwood’s harrowing, contemplative new movie and the companion to his “Flags of Our Fathers,” which was released this fall. That film, partly about the famous photograph of American servicemen raising the flag on the barren volcanic island of Iwo Jima, complicated the standard Hollywood combat narrative in ways both subtle and overt. It exposed the heavy...
SOURCE: CNN (12-19-06)
That makes Nazareth Village a treasure not only to archaeologists and Christian pilgrims, but also to filmmakers.
Because in spite of the religious significance and nostalgia surrounding the biblical town of Nazareth, today's sprawling, modern-day version of the city would have been unrecognizable to Jesus.
Then, a decade ago Dr. Stephen Pfann, president of the University of the Holy Land, spotted remnants of an ancient wine press while visiting nearby Nazareth Hospital.
Encouraged by the hospital administration, Pfann worked with fellow biblical scholars, including his wife, Claire -- one of the on-camera experts in the CNN Presents documentary "After Jesus" -- to painstakingly rebuild this modern-...
SOURCE: AP (12-20-06)
Surrounded by American and British dignitaries at a museum in London's Docklands area and flanked by a Colonial color guard and Virginia Military Institute cadets, Mr. Kaine said the colonists' ideals and aspirations were born in England.
"The important things [that they brought] were not physical things, but were ideas and passions and experiences and philosophies," he said, crediting the English settlers with introducing the notion of equality before the law, freedom of religion and elected legislative leadership to the New World.
"Though the soil did not seem fertile, the seeds brought by those English settlers were powerful, and they've grown into a very powerful nation, a nation that we're proud to call friends of...
SOURCE: Tampa Tribune (12-5-06)
The museum said in a two-sentence news release that the exhibit is still in the conceptual phase and that museum leaders believed, "there is insufficient time to effectively review how the sensitive history of this particular exhibition will be treated."
A coalition of black civil rights groups opposes the exhibit, which will focus on the Whydah's time after its capture by pirates. Coalition leaders feel the museum is seeking to cash in on the ship's controversial past while de-emphasizing Africans' suffering under slavery.
The head of the company that is designing the exhibit said pressure from civil rights groups had nothing to do with the cancellation.
John Norman, president of Arts and Exhibitions International, said artifacts that were excavated from the wrecked...
SOURCE: Guardian (12-20-06)
Now, almost 62 years after its fall changed the course of the second world war, Iwo Jima's physical scars have healed. Seen from the air, it is a pretty, teardrop-shaped speck in the Pacific Ocean 1,200 miles south of Tokyo, a place of rare insects and wild chilli peppers where the peace is broken only by the roar of Japanese F-15s leaving base.
The base is a reminder of Iwo Jima's vital role in Japan's security. To its Japanese defenders it represented the first line of defence; for the Americans it was the ideal stopping-off point for squadrons of B-29 Superfortresses that would carpet-bomb Tokyo and other Japanese cities into submission in the final months of the war....
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (12-20-06)
But should the former James Bond still be interested, he can have a second shot. Morrissey and his business partners are selling up only two years after purchasing the hotel in Laugharne, Carmarthenshire.
Brown's is back on the market along with two other properties in a package valued in excess of £1.5m.