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 (10-31-07)
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (10-31-07)
The papers, covering her theatre career and donated by the trustees of her estate to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, show the late actress as the sort of woman prepared to call a policeman a "moron" to his face and to fight for the right to utter expletives on stage.
The 22 boxes of papers, which include scripts, photographs, letters and scrapbooks, also show that Hepburn was insecure about her acting, especially on stage. She made pages of notes on intonation, cadence and pitch for a voice that Tallulah Bankhead once compared to "nickels dropping in a slot machine".
Hepburn, who died in 2003, threw away very little, providing much for acting scholars and fans to pore over once the papers go on public display next February after they have been catalogued.
SOURCE: USA Today (10-31-07)
Donahue, for all appearances, vanished from view. But not for long. Last month, he showed up at the Toronto International Film Festival with a new documentary, Body of War, a searing chronicle of a U.S. soldier gravely wounded in Baghdad, and his tortured physical and emotional struggle to find a place of comfort back home.
Whether a testament to the former TV host's popularity, or simply the potency of his subject matter, Donahue's film (which he co-directed with veteran documentarist Ellen...
SOURCE: Jonathan Darman in Newsweek (10-24-07)
"Elizabeth" is worth watching in the midst of this election season even if it offers us little escape. The Virgin Queen's world, after all, is in many ways our own. A nation is in peril. Bitterly divided at home, it vacillates between two warring dynasties. Threatened by dark forces abroad, it worries that a decisive moment is coming when one great empire...
SOURCE: NYT (10-30-07)
The well-bred lady was Katharine Hepburn, and the undated letter, from a family friend, is part of a cache of theater-related photographs, scrapbooks, journals, scripts and more. Four years after Hepburn’s death, the material forms a gift from her estate to the New York Public Library that is to be announced today. The documents, all related to Hepburn’s stage career, offer a revealing glance at her personality, profession and obsessions.
There are fan notes from Henry Fonda, Laurence Olivier and Judy Garland. “I’ve always said you were our leading actress,” Garland wrote during the 1952 run of “The Millionairess,” before complaining, “I am getting fat and pregnant and mean.” After seeing “The West Side Waltz” in 1981, Charlton Heston wrote, “You...
SOURCE: NICOLAI OUROUSSOFF in the NYT (10-28-07)
But in mastering his ego, Mr. Tschumi pulled off an impressive accomplishment: a building that is both an enlightening meditation on the Parthenon and a mesmerizing work in its own right. I can’t remember seeing a design that is so eloquent about another work of architecture.
When this museum in Athens opens next year, hundreds of marble sculptures from the old Acropolis museum alongside the Parthenon will finally reside in a place that can properly care for them. Missing, however, will be more than half of the surviving Parthenon sculptures, the Elgin Marbles, so called since they were carted off to London by Lord...
SOURCE: NYT (10-28-07)
To compete with Knopf’s new translation of “War and Peace,” by the husband-and-wife team of Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, for example, HarperCollins has brought out a translation, by Andrew Bromfield, of an earlier version of the novel, completed three years before the final text but never published in Tolstoy’s lifetime. This version, which includes more peace than war, eliminates nearly all the conversations in French and allows Prince Andrei to survive the Battle of Borodino. It’s also hundreds of pages shorter than the Knopf doorstopper, which may recommend it to slackers as well as to Tolstoyans.
On the other hand, the draft of Thomas Wolfe’s “Look Homeward, Angel” — called “O Lost: A Story of the Buried Life” in the original — published by the University of...
SOURCE: NYT (10-27-07)
The play, produced by Urban Stages, inventively expands on the real-life friendship of the two soldier-scholars and their shared passion of disillusion. In Mr. Massicotte’s version Graves and Lawrence meet at Oxford in 1920 and undertake a campaign against the heresy, promulgated by politicians, that war is noble and that its victims are all heroes.
The plot revolves around a plan by Lord Curzon, the British foreign secretary, to set aside Nov. 11 as a permanent Day of Remembrance to honor “...
SOURCE: NYT (10-24-07)
As soon as it was clear that the 18th-century Baroque fountain had not been seriously damaged, intellectuals and art critics began reconsidering the gesture as something nearing genius.
“Once the indignation had died down, we rediscovered the Fountain of Trevi,” said Roberto D’Agostino, an Italian blogger. “It’s a resurrection of Andy Warhol, the act of highlighting an object of mass consumption.”
A box found near the fountain held leaflets signed “Ftm Futurist Action 2007,” a reference to Futurism, the early 20th-century art movement that advocated a violent break with the past. The fliers said that the act was, in part, a protest of the cost of the Rome Film Fest, which runs until Saturday, and that the color referred to the event’s red carpet.
SOURCE: NYT (10-25-07)
It was in the Howard Finster Vision House, a name it has acquired since his death in 2001, that Mr. Finster said he was directed by God to stop repairing bicycles and paint “sermon art.” And it was here, years later, that he made a “garden of paradise,” a sprawling art environment he lovingly tended for 30 years that many consider to be his greatest work.
In these Paradise Gardens, as they are now called, Mr. Finster salvaged and transformed everyday objects into whimsical statues, mosaics and playhouses. He collected and saved so much junk for his art projects at one point that he had to make a deal to appease his wife, Pauline. She could have the front half of the house...
SOURCE: NYT (10-25-07)
But unknown to most people is the fact that Ellis Island contains a long-forgotten 22-building hospital complex, which during its busiest years, from 1902 to 1930, was one of the largest public health undertakings in United States history, and a place of heartbreak and hope, sickness and recovery.
Since 1998, Lorie Conway, a Boston-based journalist and documentary filmmaker, has worked to uncover the hospital’s history. She received exclusive access from the National Park Service to film at the abandoned hospital for two years.
She stepped into buildings overgrown with ivy and filled with asbestos and broken glass. She traveled across the country to find records in dusty government archives. She tracked down descendants of long-dead immigrants,...
SOURCE: http://weekly.ahram.org (10-26-07)
It's been 55 years since King Farouk I, Egypt's last monarch, left the country and the throne, and 40 years since his death in Italy. Having kept a more or less low profile since then, the regent hit back with a vengeance this Ramadan. Since the screening of the 30-episode TV drama Al-Malik Farouk (King Farouk), written by Lamis Gaber and starring Syrian actor Taim El-Hassan, Farouk's spectre has haunted living rooms and café terraces alike, with virtually the entire population debating the merits of the monarchy, abolished a year after the king departed in 1953. An avalanche of praise for the monarchy took the country by surprise, prompting one weekly magazine often detracted for being...
The lock of hair on auction was taken 40 years ago from the corpse of Che Guevara, the famed revolutionary and cultural icon, by one of the men who had tracked him down and, after he was killed, buried him.
The lone bidder was Bill Butler, 61, a Texas bookstore owner and collector of ’60s memorabilia. After making the bid, Mr. Butler told reporters by telephone that Mr. Guevara was “one of the greatest revolutionaries in the 20th century” and that it was “a great feeling” to own the items, which he said he would display in his bookstore.
But when Rouen’s mayor arranged recently to return it to New Zealand as an act of “atonement” for colonial-era trafficking in human remains, the national Ministry of Culture stepped in to block him.
The ministry contends that the head is a work of art that belongs to France and that its return could set an unfortunate precedent for a huge swath of the national museum collections — from Egyptian mummies in the Louvre to Asian treasures in the Musée Guimet and African and Oceanic artifacts in the Musée du Quai Branly.
“The mayor of Rouen made his decision without any consultation, and his decision is against the law,” Olivier Henrard, the legal adviser for the Ministry of Culture, said Thursday, referring to a 2002 law that states that works of art are “inalienable.”
“There are other...
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (10-25-07)
The Templars were rumoured to have found the Holy Grail.
The Vatican is selling a limited edition of life-sized replicas of a giant forgotten parchment that absolves the mysterious knights of their status as heretics.
Only 799 copies of the document, which is the size of a small dinner table, will be sold for €5,900 (£3,925) each.
An 800th copy will be presented to Pope Benedict XVI.
The 300-page Processus Contra Templarios (Trial against the Templars), measuring more than two metres across, records the trial of the knights when they were accused of heresy before Pope Clement V between 1307 and 1312.
Also known as the Chinon parchment, the original artefact was discovered in the Vatican's secret archives in 2001 after it had been wrongly catalogued for more...
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (10-23-07)
But now Pascal Cotte, a Parisian engineer, claims to have the answer after spending 3,000 hours studying digital scans of Leonardo Da Vinci's enigmatic 16th-century portrait.
Using a high-definition camera, he claims to have uncovered the fine brush strokes of eyebrows and lashes Leonardo originally gave the Florentine merchant's wife.
Over the centuries, however, the delicate lines either faded or were wiped off during careless restoration, Mr Cotte said at a Leonardo exhibition in San Francisco.
"If you look closely at Mona Lisa's left eye you can clearly see that the cracks around it have slightly disappeared," he said. "That may be because one day a curator or restorer cleaned the eye, and in doing so probably removed the eyelashes and eyebrow."
SOURCE: Times (UK) (10-21-07)
I was reminded of Libeskind’s building as I watched The Relief of Belsen (Monday, C4),a docu-drama on the liberation of the concentration camp. “Where are the Jews?” I kept whispering. We were being shown British and Germans, and Richard Dimbleby, and any amount of authentic-looking stage management and set design; there were just no on-screen inmates. They were referred to: they were down the road, round the...
SOURCE: Press Release--New-York Historical Society (10-22-07)
On the occasion of Gilbert du Motier Lafayette’s 250th birthday, the exhibition explores the Marquis’ role in the American Revolution and how his year-long tour of the fledgling United States in 1824 inspired the patriotic identification of a young nation. During Lafayette’s visit, the “nation’s guest” was greeted as a hero by millions of cheering supporters in towns and cities across America for his bravery during the tortuous war for independence, his loyalty to General Washington, and as a symbol of freedom.
SOURCE: NYT (10-21-07)
Other less-alert types might have visited Scotty’s Fish and Chips in a rough-and-tumble part of town here, been impressed by the oxtail stew, the friendly staff and the humble but spotless surroundings, and then come back for lunch. But Mr. Demme, the director of more than two dozen films, liked the restaurant so much he decided to rewrite a scene previously set in an arcade in “Dancing With Shiva,” a feature film starring Anne Hathaway he’s filming nearby, and shoot it there instead.
Mr. Demme generally tends to mix art and life in his films, most recently blending his admiration for a former president and a persistent interest in politics into “Jimmy Carter: Man from Plains,” which will begin showing in New York, Los Angeles and three other cities on Friday.
But even someone as astute as Mr. Demme could not have predicted that after he agreed to make the movie, Mr. Carter would re-enter the news in a big...