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 (11-22-07)
In a poignant 1966 obituary about the museum, which had mostly closed the previous year, Arbus added, “What if we couldn’t always tell a trick from a miracle?”
Decades later a Philadelphia book dealer and collector of African-Americana named Bob Langmuir found himself agonizing over a similar question.
In 2003 he bought a pile of papers from a collector in Brooklyn who had come across them years earlier at an auction of possessions unclaimed from a storage warehouse in the Bronx.
The dusty, yellowed documents and pictures appear to have belonged to a onetime sideshow performer named Charlie Lucas, a black man...
SOURCE: NICOLAI OUROUSSOFF in the NYT (11-19-07)
So I wasn’t thrilled by the prospect of visiting the newly renovated courtyard of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery. The museums reside in the venerable Patent Office Building, one of this country’s finest examples of 19th-century Greek Revival architecture. When the British architect Norman Foster was hired to renovate the museums’ courtyard and enclose it under a glass roof, he essentially was told: Don’t dare disturb the old building.
Such strictures might have handcuffed a less nimble architect. But Mr. Foster seems to have relished the challenge. Rather than lock horns with preservationists, he embraced his task with fetishistic glee. Capped by an undulating glass-and-steel roof, the...
SOURCE: NYT (11-17-07)
The 1632 painting, “Portrait of a Girl Wearing a Gold-Trimmed Cloak,” has been lent to the museum by an anonymous New York collector, the museum said yesterday, and will be exhibited through 2008. It was sold at auction to the collector in 1986 by its longtime owners, the heirs of Robert Treat Paine II, a descendant of a signer of the Declaration of Independence, for what was then a record price for a Rembrandt, $10.3 million.
In 1975 the painting almost disappeared from view for good. It had been on loan from the Paine family to the Museum of Fine Arts for decades when two men purchased tickets to the museum around noon on one April day. They were...
SOURCE: Jennifer Homans in the New Republic (11-20-07)
SOURCE: BBC (11-19-07)
Connolly - executed for his role in the 1916 Easter Rising - will be played by Peter Mullan of Trainspotting fame.
The film, due to be filmed in late 2008 or 2009, will be shot in Poland because Dublin has become far too modern.
"Dublin has become Google city," said Tom Stokes of Rascal Films.
"All the old docklands buildings have been obliterated.
"Gdansk is one of the few ports that still have the big, old, red-brick warehouses that once dominated Dublin's docklands.
SOURCE: AP (11-14-07)
Key, 38, said he's "open to the possibility" Presley is alive, but he's counting on there being enough skeptics out there to make his new business a success.
With an $8,000 eBay bid, Key won the Elvis is Alive Museum's collection and plans to move the museum from its current site in Wright City, Missouri, to Mississippi, where Key lives and Presley was born.
"If (Elvis) wants to come to the opening, he can certainly come back," he said.
Included in the collection are photographs, books, FBI files, DNA reports and other memorabilia that aim to support the theory that Presley never died.
Bill Beeny, 81, who founded the museum's collection, said he sold the collection hoping its new owner would continue his work.
SOURCE: USA Today (11-18-07)
So, when the woman dining with her one evening this spring at the McLean retirement home mentioned having been the model for artist Norman Rockwell's World War II-era heroine, Berberich politely excused herself to do a little research.
"My instinct was to get right to the Internet and look it up," she said. "Then I sent off to (the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass.) to get a poster so she could sign it."
Berberich was hardly the first to make that request of Rosie, whose real name is Mary Doyle Keefe. Since posing for Rockwell in 1942, she has signed countless posters and autographs.
The painting, for which Keefe posed twice and was paid $10, came to embody the can-do attitude of American women whose work helped win the war. It is arguably among the...
SOURCE: Press Release--New-York Historical Society (11-16-07)
New York City’s first museum, the New-York Historical Society, will showcase the dynamic works of America’s first modern painters—“The Eight” and the Ashcan School—in Life’s Pleasures: The Ashcan Artists’ Brush with Leisure,
1895–1925. The exhibition commemorates the centennial of their groundbreaking 1908 show at New York’s Macbeth Galleries with more than seventy renowned canvasses. Featured among these are William Glackens’ celebrated 1905 painting At Mouquin’s (Chez Mouquin), George Bellows’ famous boxers, Everett Shinn’s lively theater and music hall scenes, and John Sloan’s 1912 tribute to McSorley’s Bar, a landmark
New York establishment still operating on East 7th Street.
“This vibrant turn-of-the-century community of New York artists, popularly known today as the Ashcan School, represents a pivotal moment in the history of American art, and in the...
SOURCE: NYT (11-14-07)
SOURCE: NYT (11-15-07)
Obviously they didn’t know about Ricky Jay. For years Mr. Jay, the sleight-of-hand artist and archivist of all sorts of eccentric entertainments, has been collecting historic equivalents of the circus broadside, some dating back to Shakespeare’s day.
These are handbills mostly, not posters: single sheets, usually printed on a letter press with lots of hyperbolic language, not much color and only sometimes a crude illustration, rarely fine ones. They trumpet horses that jump through hoops, armless dulcimer players, German strongwomen who lift anvils with their hair, contortionists, fire eaters, magicians and pig-faced ladies.
“Extraordinary Exhibitions,” here at the Hammer Museum (it’s only on until Nov. 25, so consider yourself...
SOURCE: Edward Rothstein in the NYT (11-16-07)
But this was not just because Lafayette was this nation’s “French founding father,” the comrade of George Washington, the military leader who spent more than a quarter million dollars of his own money to supply troops during the Revolutionary War, the dedicated ally who came here against the wishes of his king, his family and his wife. (“The welfare of America,” he wrote in 1777, “is intimately connected with the happiness of all mankind.”) Alone, those achievements, however important, did not...
SOURCE: NYT (11-15-07)
Mr. Johnson, who had been widely favored to take the prize for the book, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, was on assignment in Iraq. His wife, Cindy Lee Johnson, accepted the award. She read from a speech Mr. Johnson had prepared, in which he said he was “very sorry to miss this one chance to dress up in a tuxedo in front of so many representatives of the world of literature and say thank you.”
In the nonfiction category, Tim Weiner, a reporter at The New York Times, took the prize for “Legacy of Ashes: The History of the C.I.A.” (Doubleday).
Mr. Weiner, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on national security programs, examined more than 50,000 documents and interviewed hundreds of C.I.A. veterans for...
SOURCE: Der Spiegel (11-16-07)
German soldiers on Wednesday celebrated what would have been Stauffenberg's 100th birthday.
Considering he's been dead for more than half of the 100 years since his birth, Claus Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg sure is making a lot of headlines these days. Not only is Tom Cruise playing the colonel, who tried to assassinate Adolf Hitler with a briefcase bomb on July 20, 1944, in the movie "Valkyrie," set to come out this summer. But on Thursday, Germany's Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung honored the courageous young man on the occasion of his centennial.
Stauffenberg's assassination attempt, which took place in the Führer's forest headquarters known as the "Wolf's Lair," was "an act of liberation," Jung said. Moreover, the courageous act formed a model for...
SOURCE: Korea.net (11-14-07)
Korea's state-run Northeast Asia History Foundation and Germany's Ravensbrück Memorial Museum will hold the Korea-Germany Forced Sexual Slavery Exhibition against the backdrop of rising awareness of the plight of "Comfort Women."
The exhibition will be held at Seoul's Seodaemun Prison History Hall from Nov. 15-30 and will compare the plight of women in Nazi concentration camps and imperial Japanese military camps. In addition to official photos, videos, and news articles, it will include sculptures, illustrations, and paintings made by the survivors themselves as well as other chronicles of the horrors of war.
SOURCE: AP (11-9-07)
"Things look a little better," he wrote in hurried, barely legible script. "Maybe one of these days the war will be over. We keep praying that it will."
Yoder was killed in action a day later. He was 19. His mother likely did not see the letter until after the Western Union telegram that delivered the grim news of his death.
Yoder's story, and many others, are told at a major new exhibit on World War II whose primary theme is sacrifice — both at home and on the battlefield. Officials at the Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum in Allentown say the show, which took more than a year to put together, ranks among the largest of its kind in the United States.
SOURCE: Moscow Times (11-9-07)
An exhibition of his photographs at the Zurab Gallery, "The Space of Revolution: Russia. 1917-1941," opened on Thursday, the 90th anniversary of the October Revolution. Recordings of folk tunes sung during peasant rebellions in late 19th century, as well as Soviet-era music, played from loudspeakers as visitors browsed the exhibits.
"I've spoken to many people here ... and some of them have told me that this is the first time they realized what a great photographer Otsup was," said the curator of the exhibition, Irina Chmyreva. "Growing up under communism, people were constantly bombarded with poor reproductions of his photos and they never really looked at...
SOURCE: AP (11-10-07)
Along the walls of his Glenville home, Brooks has more than 10,000 other antique records, representing almost a half century of collecting 78 rpm records at rummage sales, auctions and through the Internet.
While showing off several of the ancient phonographs, Brooks explained how the primitive state of recording technology forced singers to belt out every song at top volume to imprint a sound.
"There wasn't a lot of crooning in the old days," Brooks said.
Brooks, 65, a television executive and writer, said that from the melodies of minstrels and street singers to spoken orations by world figures, old records are a portal that provide important historical insights into early 20th century America.
SOURCE: http://www.hfxnews.ca (11-13-07)
The British government has blocked the planned export of a landmark portrait of the Canadian history icon - created within months of Wolfe's death at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759 - after an unidentified Canadian or American collector purchased the small oil painting at auction earlier this year for more than $500,000.
Britain's Culture Minister Margaret Hodge announced the temporary export ban on Friday, giving British museums "a last chance to raise the money to retain the portrait of this military legend" - in British hands for nearly 250 years - before its scheduled shipment somewhere to North America in early 2008.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (11-14-07)
Published by Isabella Beeton - better known as Mrs Beeton, the celebrated Victorian cook - it was an indispensable guide for those ladies of high society who were terrified of committing a fashion faux pas.
Now that 19th-century style advice will be available to modern women when a rare 1863 copy of the monthly magazine is auctioned at the end of the month.
In it, readers were advised what was - and was not - appropriate to wear in the autumn and winter seasons. The bound album, complete with vibrant colour plates, focused on hats, headwear and all the associated accoutrements because "bonnets are in great variety and in great favour just now".
SOURCE: BBC (11-12-07)
Gregorian chant is usually associated with monks in monasteries, but it's being heard more often now in regular services.
Its growing popularity brought 70 representatives of choirs from Northern Ireland to a chanting workshop in the Dominican Convent in west Belfast.
The college chapel became a study for a day as experts passed on advice on how best to perform the ancient melodies.