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 email@example.com.
SOURCE: WaPo (2-20-08)
A new exhibition at the Folger Shakespeare Library called "History in the Making" is an episodic survey of how history and current events were managed, manipulated and mythologized in the years before and after the career of William Shakespeare. It also surveys the politicized and even tendentious historical works that Shakespeare drew upon in his plays, works that were often convenient, dynastic fictions in favor of the Tudor ruling family. And it continues well past the death of Shakespeare, through the middle of...
SOURCE: Interview at the website of Tim O'Shea: Talking with Tim (2-18-08)
SOURCE: The State (South Carolina) (2-18-08)
But before they could be sent to fight in World War I, the institutional racism of the day kicked in. They would not be allowed to serve alongside all-white U.S. units.
The solution? They would fight for France, a U.S. ally.
“Some had never seen a city,” said Anne Clarkson, a former Fort Jackson captain who has studied the little-known regiment and its most famous member, Medal of Honor recipient Freddie Stowers of Sandy Springs, for nearly two decades.
“Some showed up with no shoes, and the next thing they know is they are being shipped to France. Think about that,” she said. “But (in combat) they didn’t lose a single foot of ground.”
“The entire regiment was awarded the Croix de Guerre,” said Clarkson, referring...
SOURCE: LAT (2-17-08)
And then there's the other Hollywood sign, the hidden one, whose red neon letters were once as familiar as the larger sign just across the canyon.
The sign that read "Outpost" in neon letters 30 feet high was, like the original "Hollywoodland" sign, raised up to publicize a new housing development, Hillside Homes of Happiness.
It went up on the hilly terrain above Hollywood Boulevard's Grauman's Chinese Theatre in the late 1920s, designed to outshine the "Hollywoodland" competition. But by the beginning of World War II, it had vanished from sight and memory -- until the winter of 2002.
That's when Outpost Estates residents and Runyon Canyon hikers Bob Eicholz and Steve Scott discovered the twisted wreckage of the rust-scarred steel letters and girders, covered by overgrown brush,...
SOURCE: AP (2-19-08)
The exhibits, which include paintings by masters like Henri Matisse, Claude Monet and Georges Seurat, are meant to bring to life the dramatic stories behind the art — and perhaps reunite the works with the owners or heirs. Visitors who recognize a painting as their own and can prove it can file a claim.
"Our feeling about them is that our job is to hold them in custody, in a way, as a kind of memorial to their loss, and when the opportunity arises to return a work we are happy to do so," said James Snyder, the Israel Museum's director.
SOURCE: Der Spiegel (2-15-08)
When "Katyn" opened in Poland last fall, a nation remembered its dead. Polish students were obliged to see it, and a candlelit vigil was held at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw.
The vigil featured a reading of the names of each of the 14,500 Polish officers murdered at Katyn. It took almost two days. Television and radio stations covered the event live.
The first name was spoken by Polish President Lech Kaczynski. Well-known journalists and actors from the "Katyn" cast also helped read the names of those victims who had been positively identified. Some 7,500 names were absent from the list, including that of Jakub Wajda, the father of...
SOURCE: http://www.zap2it.com (2-15-08)
The seven-part miniseries will debut Sunday, March 16, a week after the series finale of "The Wire." Parts one and two will air back-to-back, with subsequent installments debuting on each of the next five Sundays.
Based on David McCullough's Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, the miniseries stars Paul Giamatti ("Sideways," "Cinderella Man") as the second president of the United States and Laura Linney ("The Savages," "The Squid and the Whale") as his wife, Abigail. It follows Adams' life for 50 years, from his leadership in the independence movement through the early days of the republic and his time as president.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (2-16-08)
It's the tale of two sisters at the court of the Tudor king: the clever, scheming, brunette Anne and her younger sibling, the quieter, more unworldly blonde Mary. Played, respectively, by Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson - the casting of whom seems intended to tap American star power rather than to find actresses with a credible chemistry or family resemblance - the sisters vie for the favours of a svelte and charming Henry VIII (Australia's Eric Bana), who is still married to his first wife, but has a roving eye and an itch for a male heir.
The film will be billed as the battle of Scarlett v Nathalie to dominate the narrative. Both, in fact, are meaty roles and, while...
SOURCE: Economist (2-14-08)
This show is the latest sign of a growing interest—visible in fiction, film, television and even computer games—in the hordes that felled Rome. The chief curator is Jean-Jacques Aillagon, a French former culture minister, who dramatises the traditional view of the Barbarians by exhibiting a scattering of 19th-century paintings that depict them in the worst possible light. In one, two near-naked hooligans are destroying an elegant marble...
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune (2-13-08)
Next Sunday Conlon, 57, is to conduct the project's first fully staged production, a double bill of "Der Zwerg" ("The Dwarf") by Alexander Zemlinsky and "Der Zerbrochene Krug" ("The Broken Jug"), which Viktor Ullmann composed not long before being interned in the Theresienstadt concentration camp. (He died two years later in Auschwitz.)
Though such works have been unearthed in Europe at least since the 1970s, they have yet to take root in America, where Conlon has for years extolled their virtues. But "Recovered Voices" has already raised nearly $5 million to stage some of these operas.
SOURCE: NYT (2-14-08)
The departing president, James Buchanan, may have recommended this pastoral spot to Lincoln. The 34-room Gothic Revival “cottage” was built by a businessman, George W. Riggs, who, in 1851, sold it along with more than 250 acres to the United States government. It became part of a federal home for retired and disabled veterans, but,...
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Ed (2-13-08)
The recording was made on reel-to-reel tape in front of a group of students in a Reed dormitory lounge in February 1956, during Ginsberg’s visit to the college on a hitchhiking trip with a fellow poet, Gary Snyder, a 1951 Reed graduate.
Mark Kuestner, a special-collections librarian at Reed, and John Suiter, a Boston-based literary scholar, discovered the tape last summer in Reed’s archives while Mr. Suiter was preparing a biography of Mr. Snyder, who is an emeritus professor of English at the University of California at Davis. Ginsberg died in 1997.
SOURCE: History Today (2-8-08)
SOURCE: Randy Lewis at The Edge of the American West (blog) (2-8-08)
Film history has a grim anniversary today. On February 8, 1915, D.W. Griffith released The Birth of a Nation in Los Angeles. A racist screed aimed at African Americans who sought to remake their lives during the era of Reconstruction, Griffith’s film became the first American “blockbuster” — an extraordinarily expensive movie whose jaw-dropping profits were not matched until Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered in 1937. Like the Nazi...
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (2-11-08)
Asked if she supported Hillary Clinton or Mr Obama, Lessing told the Stockholm daily Dagens Nyheter "it doesn't matter," but suggested the two should join forces in the election.
"It would be best if they ran together. Hillary is a very sharp lady. It might be calmer if she wins and not Obama," Lessing was quoted as saying.
"He would probably not last long, a black man in the position of president. They would kill him," Lessing said on Saturday. She did not specify who she believed would kill Obama.
SOURCE: AP (2-11-08)
Authorities appealed Monday for any witnesses to help reconstruct the robbers' getaway from the E.G. Buehrle Collection, a private museum of Impressionist works whose founder had his own troubled history with stolen art.
"This is an entirely new dimension in criminal culture," police spokesman Marco Cortesi said, calling it the largest art robbery in Switzerland's history and one of the biggest ever in Europe.
SOURCE: Reuters (2-5-08)
It was also the cash.
The German government was able to show Cruise the money - writing a check for €4.8 million, or $7.1 million, for the MGM/United Artists production.
A fresh source of film subsidies has injected new vigor into Germany's rich cinematic tradition, which before the Nazis took power in 1933 had been a great rival to Hollywood, with classics like Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" and Josef von Sternberg's "The Blue Angel," featuring a young Marlene Dietrich.
SOURCE: Megan Marshall in Slate (2-8-08)
Where was the greatest damage done? In the minds of documentary editors—the people who prepare historical and...
SOURCE: NYT (2-10-08)
His other play, “The Fifth Column,” which the Mint Theater Company in Manhattan is presenting, beginning Feb. 26, is a full-length drama written in 1937, when Hemingway was a correspondent covering the Spanish Civil War. The play takes its name from Franco’s remark that he had four columns advancing on Madrid and a fifth column of loyalists inside the city ready to attack from the rear. “The Fifth Column” is not about Franco sympathizers, however, but about an American war correspondent who is a...
SOURCE: Jack Shafer at Slate.com (2-7-08)
One of the most expensive museums ever built, according to the New York Times' Kit Seelye, the Newseum contains 250,000 square feet of exhibit space, including 15 theaters, 14 galleries, two broadcast studios, a "4-D time-travel experience," interactive computer stations by the score, 50 tons of Tennessee marble, a three-level Wolfgang Puck restaurant, a food court, and 6,214 journalism artifacts together weighing more than 81,000 pounds ("Wonkette's" slippers, the hotel door from the Watergate break-in, a decommissioned KXAS-TV news helicopter, Rupert Murdoch's first wife, etc.).