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: Press Release--Firstrunfeatures.com (8-20-07)
The ordeal of Sacco and Vanzetti came to symbolize the bigotry and intolerance directed at immigrants and dissenters in America. Millions of people in the U.S. and around the world protested on their behalf, and today, the story continues to have great resonance, as civil liberties and the rights of immigrants are again under attack.
Actors John Turturro and Tony Shalhoub read the powerful prison writings of Sacco and Vanzetti, and a chorus of passionate commentators also propel the narrative, including Howard Zinn, Arlo Guthrie, Studs Terkel, as well as several people with personal connections to the story.
SOURCE: Time Magazine (8-18-07)
It has become commonplace in the decade since Diana's death on Aug. 31, 1997, to say that the festival of mourning which culminated in her extraordinary funeral marked a...
SOURCE: The Hindu (8-18-07)
Described as the most important find in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, the mummy being searched is of Hatshepsut, the queen who was the king of Egypt. Hatshepsut was no ordinary woman as she stole the throne from her young stepson, dressed herself as a man and in an unprecedented move declared herself pharaoh. Though her power stretched across Egypt and her reign was prosperous, Hatshepsut’s legacy was systematically wiped out from Egyptian history.
The two-hour programme follows a team of top forensic experts and archaeologists led by Dr. Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, as they for the first time ever use the full range of forensic technology to identify Hatshepsut.
Using knowledge of royal Egyptian mummification,...
SOURCE: Olympian (WA) (8-18-07)
Songs with anti-war sentiments are popping up from some unlikely places in the pop music marketplace:
• With a casual listen, you might think Mat Kearney’s “Girl America” is just another acoustic hip-hop song about a girl gone bad. But the “girl” is a metaphor for the United States, and she’s “dying while she’s trying just to stop this fight.”
• Pink once primed listeners to “Get the Party Started,” but she blasts Bush on her latest album with “Dear Mr. President,” singing, “How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye?”
• John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World To Change” laments his generation’s political powerlessness and...
SOURCE: Vanity Fair (9-1-07)
SOURCE: NYT (8-17-07)
His death, at an undisclosed hospital, was announced by a spokesman for Blue Note Records, Mr. Roach’s last label. No cause was given. Mr. Roach, who had lived on the Upper West Side for many years, had been known to be in poor health for some time.
Mr. Roach’s death closes a chapter in American musical history. He was the last surviving member of a small circle of adventurous musicians — among them Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and a handful of others — whose innovations brought about wholesale changes in jazz during World War II and immediately afterward.
Their music, which came to be known as bebop, had its roots in the jazz tradition, but it was different enough to scandalize many listeners and even many...
SOURCE: Gregory McNamee at Britannica Blog (8-16-07)
By 1929, a carny with a healthy disdain for the patsies who mobbed the midway, the fugitive bore the name Tom Parker. In time, he would add the honorific “Colonel” to the identity, a title awarded by Louisiana governor Jimmie Davis, who claimed—falsely, as it happens—to have written the song “You Are My Sunshine.”
Fifteen years later, Parker had set his sights on a different kind of mark. He became the country singer Eddy Arnold’s manager, writes Alanna Nash in The Colonel, and established a pattern that he would impose on other clients: that of total control. “All Eddy takes care of is his toothbrush and his drawers,” Parker said, and it was no exaggeration.
In 1955, when...
SOURCE: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk (8-16-07)
The documentary traces the events leading to the partition, and the issues involved in the decision-making process. It recalls the leading personalities involved, particularly three British-trained lawyers who spearheaded the movement to force the British out of India: Jawaharlal Nehru, who became India’s first prime minister; Muhammad Ali Jinnah, founder and first governor-general of Pakistan; and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, whose non-violent philosophy and political strategy inspired the world.
Witnesses to the actual event, including McGill Professor Emeritus Baldev Raj Nayar, Dolly Ahluwalia of Markham, Salahuddin Haqqi of Brampton, and Dr Faqir Khanna of Edmonton, recount their memories, as around 14 million Hindus, Muslims...
SOURCE: NYT (8-16-07)
Both were cultural touchstones: “Peyton Place” as a precursor of the modern soap opera and “On the Road” as a clarion call for the Beat generation and, later, as an underground bible of the 1960s and ’70s. Today “Peyton Place” is mostly regarded as a historical curiosity, but “On the Road,” celebrating the 50th anniversary of its publication, still has a vibrant life on college English course syllabuses and high school summer reading lists, and in young travelers’ backpacks.
“It’s a book that has aged well,” said Martin Sorensen, floor manager at Kepler’s Books and Magazines in Menlo Park, Calif. A “noticeable” number of copies are sold each year at the store, he said, “certainly more than the average 50-year-old book.”
The autobiographical, stream-of-consciousness “On the Road” follows Sal Paradise (a character based on Kerouac) and Dean...
SOURCE: CNN (8-15-07)
SOURCE: Newsweek (8-20-07)
Back in 2002, more than two dozen small paintings labeled POLLOCK EXPERIMENTS were found at the Home Sweet Home moving company in East Hampton, in a storage locker belonging to the late photographer and...
SOURCE: NPR (8-13-07)
In just 10 years, Hengdian has transformed itself from a poverty-stricken farming village to a collection of replica palaces, temples and historical streets, open to film crews, often for free.
A life-size reproduction of Beijing's Forbidden City — home to China's emperors — is just one of Hengdian's 18 sets. TV series, commercials and some of China's most famous movies — such as Zhang Yimou's Hero and Chen Kaige's The Promise — have been filmed there.
SOURCE: http://www.hindu.com (8-12-07)
The studio staged a coup by bagging Tom Cruise to play the lead, Colonel Claus Von Stauffenberg, the aristocratic German officer, who, disillusioned with Hitler, led the heroic attempt to bring down the Nazi regime and end the war by planting a bomb in Hitler’s bunker.
One of the most outstanding soldiers of the Reich, Colonel Stauffenberg, severely wounded on the African war front, returned home, and was persuaded to join the German resistance which believed that Germany, under Hitler, was fighting a hopeless war which had brought horrific suffering to its people. Operation ‘Valkyrie’ was the complex...
SOURCE: Philadelphia Inquirer (8-12-07)
But viewers won't know it.
An unidentified photograph of Lt. Robert Kyle Burns Jr. is the first and last image in The War, a 15-hour documentary series about World War II. It launches Sept. 23.
Burns hadn't planned to use the photo, a beloved possession since college. After all, his dad had spoken to him about the war only once before his death in 2001.
But as War began taking shape as personal reminiscences of vets from various American towns, Burns decided the image "would be a quiet way to honor my father," he said during a recent visit here.
There is nothing quiet about War, however.
Its ear-splitting, raw combat footage is as shocking to the senses as the savage opening scene of D-Day in Steven Spielberg's acclaimed Saving Private Ryan.
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (8-12-07)
But fans of the movie Casablanca may recognise one or two similarities – the hard-bitten restaurateur who risks everything to help his former lover and her husband, the drama of smouldering human passion played out against a backdrop of senseless violence in which the problems of three people do not amount to a hill of beans.
The makeover of the 1942 classic is being undertaken by Indian filmmaker Rajeev Nath, who is remaking Casablanca as a Malayalam-language film. Filming is due to begin next month, with some of the scenes being shot in Sri Lanka, the location of a long and bloody civil war between government forces and Tamil separatists. Other parts of the movie will be filmed in Kerala in southern India.
SOURCE: NYT (8-11-07)
Sometimes he would preface it with the 1951 Hank Williams recitation “Men With Broken Hearts,” which may well have been South’s original inspiration. “You’ve never walked in that man’s shoes/Or saw things through his eyes/Or stood and watched with helpless hands/While the heart inside you dies.” For Elvis these two songs were as much about social justice as empathy and understanding: “Help your brother along the road,” the Hank Williams number concluded, “No matter where you start/For the God that made you made them, too/These men with broken hearts.”
In Elvis’s case, this simple lesson was not just a matter of paying lip service to an abstract principle.
It was what he believed, it was what his music had stood for from the start: the breakdown of barriers, both musical and racial. This is not,...
SOURCE: NYT (8-12-07)
I’m not talking about the adventures of the actual Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, who robbed and shot their way through Texas, Oklahoma and adjacent states in the bad old days of the Great Depression. Their exploits have been chronicled in books, ballads and motion pictures, never more famously than in the movie named after them, which first opened in New York 40 years ago this month. The notoriety of “Bonnie and Clyde,” directed by Arthur Penn from a long-gestating script by David Newman and Robert Benton and produced by Warren Beatty, who also played Clyde, has long since eclipsed that of its real-life models.
SOURCE: NYT (8-12-07)
Founded in 1965 by Teddy Kollek, the long-serving Jerusalem mayor, to ensure that Israel would have a national museum of world rank, the museum was a vital symbol of the new nation. Mr. Kollek wanted, and got, “a modernist temple to culture” surrounded by other symbols of Israel’s modern statehood, like the Knesset, the Supreme Court and the National Library, said the museum’s director, James S. Snyder.
From ancient artifacts to contemporary art, the museum seeks to anchor the archaeology, material culture and ethnography of the world’s Jews within a broader global context, both Western and non-Western. It boasts a dominant site at the entrance to Jerusalem, a widely admired sculpture garden and, of course, the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Yet its entrance is an uninspiring parking lot and ugly ticketing building, and the portal to the actual...
SOURCE: NYT (8-11-07)
“Part of what happens if you stay and take pictures is that you feel you will protect people just by standing there,” she said. “But you can’t stand there that long, and you can’t protect them.”
Taking photographs, she once said in an interview with Nicaraguan television, “is sometimes the least you can do.”
Much of what drives Ms. Meiselas’s work is a desire to step back through the looking glass to find the people she once photographed, to forge connections and return their pictures to them.
“We take pictures away and we don’t bring them back,” she said. “That became a central quest for me — relinking, revisiting, the...
SOURCE: NYT (8-10-07)
Mr. Dresnok, a poor, abused orphan from Virginia, was already married when he deserted in 1962. He married twice more in North Korea — to a woman who was probably Romanian, then to the daughter of a Korean woman and a Togolese diplomat — and has three stunningly beautiful children there.
Directed by Daniel Gordon, the movie is fussily photographed and edited, and it falters at critical moments, particularly during a court-martial trial when Mr. Dresnok’s fellow deserter Charles Robert Jenkins accuses him of beating him in captivity. The director dices Mr. Dresnok’s furious after-the-fact reaction into Oliver Stone-style flash-cuts rather than letting it play out.