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: ALLAN KOZINN in the NYT (2-7-08)
That was the opening line of a sarcastic song about Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who died on Tuesday, that John Lennon wrote in 1968, not long after the Beatles abruptly left the maharishi’s ashram in Rishikesh, India, and declared themselves no longer his spiritual disciples. It wasn’t released that way. In the end the other Beatles, particularly George Harrison, argued that whatever disagreements they had with the maharishi, his work demanded respect, and it was unfair (and perhaps libelous) to be so blunt.
Lennon retreated, changing the song’s title, and the references to the maharishi in its lyrics, to “Sexy Sadie,” the form in which it can be heard on “The Beatles,” commonly called the White Album.
“Sexy Sadie,” for all its implicit anger, was part of a huge trove of songs Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison wrote during and just after their visit to Rishikesh. Whatever...
SOURCE: Houston Chronicle (2-6-08)
That's the way things were 170 years ago for the fledgling Republic of Texas.
"It was eerily similar to today," said Merrill Lynch vice president James Bevill, who is president of the Texas Numismatic Association.
Money printed by Texas while it was an independent country will be on display in Houston starting Friday at the association's winter coin and currency show.
The association also is compiling, for the Alamo, a display of Texas money that will feature examples of every surviving type of note, with currency on loan from 21 collectors.
While battles against Mexicans or American Indians often are all that is recalled of the republic's history, Bevill said the real story is the...
SOURCE: NYT (2-7-08)
At 3:04 p.m. that day, on its third attempt to take off from a slushy runway in Munich, the aircraft carrying the Manchester United team home from victory in a European Cup quarterfinal in Yugoslavia crashed through the airfield perimeter fence, broke apart and burned.
Of the 43 aboard, 23 died, including eight members of an extraordinarily gifted soccer team that had brought a rush of excitement to a nation still wearied by World War II and the loss of an empire that had sustained its wealth and power for nearly 200 years.
On Wednesday, the victims were remembered in ceremonies at the long-abandoned Kirchtrudering airport in Munich, before 87,000 spectators at an England soccer match against Switzerland at London’s extravagantly rebuilt Wembley Stadium, and at Old Trafford, Manchester United’s home...
SOURCE: NYT (2-6-08)
Though one can never judge by appearances, especially when it comes to art lovers, something about this particular art lover, Jason Beltrez, seemed a little bit off to the staff at Christie’s.
They accepted the painting but immediately contacted the Art Loss Register, the world’s largest private databank of lost and stolen art, to make sure it was legitimate.
“Bingo,” as Chris Marinello, director and general counsel of the register’s New York office put it Tuesday.
The painting was one of two Warhol dollar-sign paintings, created in 1981, measuring about 16 by 20 inches, that disappeared from the walls of the Martin Lawrence Galleries in SoHo on Valentine’s Day in 1998.
SOURCE: Sacramento Bee (2-6-08)
It's a reasonable question to ask as we begin Black History Month.
Certainly, the legacy of such famous films as "The Birth of a Nation" (1915) and "Gone With the Wind" (1939) was to give the public a distorted view of slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction while offering portrayals of African Americans that were either virulently hateful or condescending.
And because of such films, says Patricia Turner, professor of African-American studies at University of California, Davis, "a lot of the public thinks that the plantation was the dominant entity on which slaves lived during the era of slavery."
In fact, Turner says, "very, very few slaves lived on plantations. Most slaves lived in units that had 10 or fewer slaves on them. Very few black women were domestic servants; you had to be extraordinarily wealthy to...
SOURCE: Time (2-1-08)
One of those accounts was a book published that same year, Prince Among Slaves, which chronicled the fate of a young royal heir from present-day Guinea named Abdul Rahman Ibrahima Sori, who ended up a slave in Mississippi. Its author, historian Terry Alford, came across the story in old deed books while doing graduate research in Mississippi. To Alford's chagrin, the book was largely panned by local academics, and its story remained in relative obscurity. Though it has remained in print since its release, Alford admits that the dramatization of Haley's novel had burned...
SOURCE: NYT (2-5-08)
It is the latest incarnation of the highly rated, critically successful star genealogy program that its host, the Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., presented in 2006. Then Oprah Winfrey, Chris Tucker, Quincy Jones and Whoopi Goldberg were among Professor Gates’s eight guests for “African-American Lives.” That was followed in 2007 by “Oprah’s Roots.”
This time scientists use DNA samples, and scholars peruse slave ship records, wills and other documents to recreate the histories of 12 people, including Professor Gates and one Everywoman guest.
SOURCE: Press Release--Inecom Entertainment Company (2-5-08)
George Westinghouse’s companies, legacy, personality, partnership with Nikola Tesla and conflict with Thomas Edison. It will be available at at large retailers and online retailers nationwide, and is now available for pre-order at Amazon.com. For more information, visit www.westinghousefilm.com.
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (2-3-08)
Rafael Alvero, producer of The Diary of Anne Frank: A Song to Life, which is in rehearsal for its opening in Madrid, claims he spent 10 years obtaining approval for the first song and dance version of the teenage diarist's story. But the Swiss-based Anne Frank Fund, headed by the only living member of the family, Bernard "Buddy" Elias, is demanding a halt to the show.
Christopher Knoch, a member of the fund's board, said: "The Anne Frank Fund has granted no rights for the musical by Rafael Alvero. On the contrary, we have requested him to desist from such a production." The fund could take legal action to stop the musical's premiere on 28 February.
SOURCE: NYT (2-2-08)
Now, of course, it’s a different story. At a time of uncertainty — as the market quavers, the dollar sinks, sub-prime lenders go belly up, and the Federal Reserve Bank rapidly twists its dials — money becomes more puzzling and more unpredictable, demanding closer scrutiny.
So while opening the Museum of American Finance on Wall Street last month might at first have seemed like bad timing — like buying a stock at its top, or selling at its bottom — there was actually no better moment to mount this tribute to the “forces that have made New York City the financial capital of...
SOURCE: Times (UK) (1-31-08)
Archaeological sites boasting ancient paintings and engravings of giraffes, buffalo and elephants have been defaced within the past two years by personnel attached to the UN mission, known by its French acronym, Minurso.
Graffiti, some of it more than a metre high and sprayed with paint meant for use for marking routes, now blights the rock art at Lajuad, an isolated site known as Devil Mountain, which is regarded by the local Sahrawi population as a mystical place of great cultural significance.
Many of the UN “graffiti artists” signed and dated their work, revealing their identities and where they are from. Minurso personnel stationed in Western Sahara come from almost 30 countries. They are monitoring a ceasefire between the occupying Moroccan forces and...