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: AP (1-31-08)
Marvel Comics, which killed off the veteran superhero almost a year ago, brought him back to life Wednesday — sort of.
Captain America's alter-ego, Steve Rogers, is still resting in peace at Arlington National Cemetery, having been done in by assassins last March. But his good buddy and sidekick from the 1940s, Bucky Barnes, has picked up the bulletproof Captain America shield, put on a new uniform and taken his place.
What's that you say? Wouldn't Bucky be about 85 years old now? And without any real super powers to fall back on, isn't that kind of long in the tooth to be taking a bite out of crime?
Well, yeah. But remember, this is the comic book world we're talking about. Bucky was put in suspended animation by the evil Russians (back when they were evil) and stayed that way for the...
SOURCE: The Stanford Daily (student newspaper) (1-29-08)
“While we all hear about Iraq in the news, we don’t hear that Iraq had a thriving culture,” said Nada Shabout, a professor of Arab visual and Islamic art at the University of North Texas.
As the third out of five conversations in the “Iraq: Reframe: Iraq’s Lost National Treasures” series, last night’s event aimed to reframe popular conceptions of Iraq with a focus on the arts.
McGuire Gibson, an archaeologist from the University of Chicago, spoke alongside Shabout at the event, while Stanford’s Iranian Studies Program Director Abbas Milani served as moderator.
Iraq was once the center of Mesopotamia, one of the world’s earliest civilizations, and the allure of its ancient art exists through the present. However, Shabout fears that the violence in the Middle Eastern state today will...
SOURCE: History Today (1-29-08)
SOURCE: NYT (1-29-08)
“The Parthenon, like a statue, exemplifies a certain symmetry, a certain harmony of part to part, and of part to the whole,” explains Jeffrey M. Hurwit, an art historian at the University of Oregon. “There’s no question that the harmony of the building, which is clearly one of its most visible characteristics, is dependent upon a certain mathematical system of proportions.”
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (1-29-08)
After Jean Preston died two years ago, two paintings by the Renaissance artist Fra Angelico were found behind the door of the spare room in her two-up, two-down terraced home in Oxford. The works sold for £1.7 million at auction, a record for a sale outside London.
Guy Schwinge, of Duke's auction house in Dorchester, Dorset, said: "Her family told us that there may be some interesting works of art inside her house. That was something of an understatement.
"In almost every room there were works of art that were quite staggering in their sheer quality and importance."
SOURCE: NYT (1-28-08)
SOURCE: Courier-Journal (1-23-08)
She is among numerous descendants of Lincoln's family who are expected to gather in the small Boyle County community of Forkland, near Perryville, on March 1 for the opening of a Lincoln Museum at the Forkland Community Center.
Clooney, a descendant of Lincoln's grandmother, Lucey Shipley Hanks Sparrow, and wife of media personality Nick Clooney, will join the others related to the famous family in genealogical discussions in the Lincoln Room of the center as part of the national Lincoln Bicentennial observance.
SOURCE: Dan Berry in the NYT (1-28-08)
They had driven or walked a half-mile up a snow-covered lane called Frost Road, then trudged past a large blue sign that explained the historic significance of the farmhouse and the cabin beyond. And now they were entering the coldness of an uninhabited place, carrying with them cases of beer, bottles of rum and a store of ignorance about things that matter here.
Over the next several hours, more than 30 teenagers and young adults toasted their post-adolescence with liquor carrying the added kick of illicitness. By early morning they were gone, leaving a wounded house watched over by winter-stripped birches and sugar maples.
The damage left in their wake reflected some alcohol-induced mischief tinged with certain...
SOURCE: Newsday (1-22-08)
But don't worry if you didn't read it then – here's your second chance. Anchor Books will publish a 50th anniversary edition on Feb. 12 to celebrate Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, and the book's longstanding social importance.
The novel is set in the 1890s and tells the story of Okonkwo, a strong man from a tribal Ibo village in Nigeria. It traces his downfall as Western influence infiltrates in the shape of British missionaries and a shattering clash of cultures follows.
SOURCE: NYT (1-28-08)
The blogosphere went into overdrive. In two days his memorial page on Facebook had over 30,000 members. The entertainment Web site TMZ generated over 74 pages of user comments. Hundreds of eulogies for the 28-year-old Australian appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald’s site.
What accounts for this need to pay public tribute? Successive generations have felt that impulse — the need to make sense of untimely death, and even justify it, by celebrating the dead young person in an outsize way, or, every so often, to attend the funeral of someone they don’t know.
When the actor Rudolph Valentino lay in state in 1926 at the age of 31, more than 50,000 fans showed up. In 1955, Baby Boomers grieved the passing of the 24-year-old James Dean, who received two posthumous Academy Award...
SOURCE: NYT (1-27-08)
The suitcase — actually three flimsy cardboard valises — contained thousands of negatives of pictures that Robert Capa, one of the pioneers of modern war photography, took during the Spanish Civil War before he fled Europe for America in 1939, leaving behind the contents of his Paris darkroom.
Capa assumed that the work had been lost during the Nazi invasion, and he died in 1954 on assignment in Vietnam still thinking so. But in 1995 word began to spread that the negatives had somehow survived, after taking a journey worthy of a John le Carré novel: Paris to Marseille and then, in the hands of a Mexican general and diplomat who had served under Pancho Villa, to Mexico City....
"I thought I would share with you a recent bit of Texas history which epitomizes our mission. When you come into my office, please take a look at the beautiful painting of a horseman determinedly charging up what appears to be a steep and rough trail. This is us. What adds complete life to the painting for me is the message of Charles Wesley that we serve One greater than ourselves."
So in Bush’s view (or perhaps I should say, faith) the key figure, with whom he personally identifies, is a missionary spreading the word of the Methodist Christianity in the American West in the late nineteenth century....
... Jacob Weisberg has solved the mystery. He invested the time to...
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (1-24-08)
Before he dipped the brush in the paint and set to work on his God and Christ, his Adam and Mary and all the rest, how did Michelangelo prepare himself? We know that, unlike his peers and predecessors, he did not use cartoons to transfer existing designs directly on to the wet plaster, because there are no the telltale peg marks left in the plaster's surface. We know that in some cases he worked from small drawings because a grid can be discerned over the finished work, indicating that he upscaled from a smaller sketch.
But what the norm for his preparation was we simply don't know – because Michelangelo didn't want us to know. Throughout his life he hated showing drawings to outsiders....
David Grubin, who wrote and directed this interesting documentary, got his title, and much else, dead-on right. His informative and entertaining film does not, in any serious sense, depart from the standard form of the modern television documentary. But he brings this form to a high sheen, with a solid narration spoken at a perfect pitch of serious non-pretentiousness by the actor Liev Schreiber and haunting music by...
SOURCE: Boston Globe (1-24-08)
Lawyers for Claudia Seger-Thomschitz, the Austrian woman, say there is no doubt that the painting by Oskar Kokoschka, "Two Nudes (Lovers)," was sold under duress by Oskar Reichel, a physician who ran an art gallery in Vienna during the Nazi occupation of Austria.
One of Reichel's sons designated Seger-Thomschitz as his "select niece and designated heiress," according to her lawyer, John J. Byrne Jr.
SOURCE: Poland Today (1-21-08)
SOURCE: Earth Times (1-23-08)
The flood of movies and documentaries have included stories about an elite Nazi school as well as the life and times of propagandist Joseph Goebbels with the themes of many of the movies also making a break from the portrayal of the Second World War and the Nazis by British and Hollywood directors.
In addition there has been a movie about a rebellion by Jewish prisoners' wives and women forced to work as prostitutes...
SOURCE: ABC News (1-21-08)
Stone is in talks with Josh Brolin, who is starring in "No Country For Old Men," to play the title role in "Bush," the trade paper said.
He is shopping the script to financiers and hopes to start production by April, with a release date in time for the election in November, or the inauguration of Bush's successor in January.
Stone told Daily Variety that he planned to make "a fair, true portrait" of Bush, focusing on such areas as his relationship with his father, President George H.W. Bush, his wild youth, and his conversion to Christianity.
"It will contain surprises for Bush supporters and his detractors," said Stone.
SOURCE: Gregory McNamee at Britannica Blog (1-22-08)
But if one year is to be declared rock’s birthdate, it might well be 1948, when technology and popular culture coincided to produce the makings of a new kind of music.
To judge by the charts, 1948 belongs to the big band and swing eras. That year saw the debut of Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King’s lovely crooner “Tennessee Waltz,” with which Eddy Cochran would score a pop hit and Patsy Cline a country-chart smash...
SOURCE: NYT (1-20-08)
Mr. Knerr and his partner, Arthur Melin, who died in 2002, were able to pull off one of the most difficult tricks in marketing: starting a fad. Repeatedly. Like quantum mechanics and comedy, not everybody can do it.
“Fads are really hard to figure out,” said Dennis Hall, a professor of English at the University of Louisville who specializes in popular culture.
Ray B. Browne, founder of The Journal of Popular Culture and the Popular Culture Library at Bowling Green State University, said that fads were an ephemeral artifact of a culture that’s always on the lookout for the next thing. Fads are a facet of the national character, he said, and “I personally think it’s good for society.” He explained, “It’s a dynamic in society that really does keep us pretty much alert.”
A culture that thrives on...