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: Washington Post (3-28-08)
"Our children today do not have enough history taught to them. They get bits and pieces. This makes it come alive," said social studies teacher Luanne Deppa, dressed in a pink-flowered period dress and cap. "Our children need to have a foundation. They need to know where this country's been, and where it's going, to keep this country great."
The event is the culmination of the fifth grade's study of Colonial history. It has grown since its inception in 1999, when two fathers built the facades of village buildings, such as the apothecary, a meetinghouse and a barbershop, and set them up in the...
SOURCE: New Republic (3-24-08)
Dear Jack and Steve,
Thank you for insightful comments and questions about the series thus far.
Jack, you mention in your comments on Part 3 of the series that "viewers ought to know that things were going bad militarily in the first years of revolution." Because Adams spent the majority of his congressional and diplomatic years...
SOURCE: AP (3-26-08)
Children playing outside their home near Amboy found the chute's fabric sticking up from the ground in an area where their father had been grading a road, agent Larry Carr said Tuesday. They pulled it out as far as they could, then cut the parachute's ropes with scissors.
The children had seen recent media coverage of the case — the FBI launched a publicity campaign last fall, hoping to generate tips on the unsolved highjacking — and they urged their dad to call the agency.
"When we went to the public, the whole idea was that the public is going to bring the answers to us," Carr said. "This is exactly what we were hoping for."
SOURCE: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk (3-24-08)
The former offices in the old main Harland & Wolff building on Queen's Road will give a unique insight into the history of the ill-fated liner.
The building, which was the hub of the H&W empire, is not usually open to the public, but courtesy of Titanic Quarter Ltd, visitors will get the chance to view a real piece of Titanic history never seen before.
The drawing offices gave rise to the inception and creation of the Titanic and many other famous luxury liners.
SOURCE: NYT (3-23-08)
The king's physical appearance may be a minor point, really, when you consider the historical facts that "The Tudors" have played fast and loose with. And Michael Hirst, the show's creator and writer, will defend every single decision.
"Showtime commissioned me to write an entertainment, a soap opera, and not history," said Hirst, taking a break in an office at Ardmore Studios, near Dublin. "And we wanted people to watch it."....
SOURCE: http://www.kansascity.com (3-21-08)
Organizers say the timing is a coincidence, because they have been working on the exhibit for more than a year. But they also say it's a reminder of why Kansans routinely look to the sky and what outsiders remember most about the state.
The exhibit, "Forces of Nature," opened Friday at the Kansas Museum of History in west Topeka and will run through Jan. 4, 2009.
"Weather is a huge part of our identity," said Rebecca Martin, project manager for the exhibit. "People around the world will forever associate us with a really famous tornado in 'The Wizard of Oz.'"
The Kansas State Historical Society also is hoping to collect Kansans' recollections of memorable storms. The exhibit includes a small booth with a microphone and computer, so that...
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (3-23-08)
The eight unreleased songs date from 1962 when the Fab Four agreed to do a few final gigs at Hamburg's Star Club, where they had performed as a fledgling band.
The songs include Paul McCartney and John Lennon singing an early B-side, Ask Me Why, McCartney singing Hank Williams' Lovesick Blues, and George Harrison doing Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs' Do You Believe.
The gigs - performed after the band shot to worldwide fame with Love Me Do - are believed to have been their first live performances after Ringo Starr replaced Pete Best on drums.
SOURCE: NYT op ed (3-23-08)
SOURCE: New Republic (3-21-08)
The story begins in prewar Berlin, where master forger Salomon Sorowitsch, or "Sally" (Karl Markovics), is happily availing himself of the income, and feminine attentions, that accompany his profession. After receiving carnal compensation from a lady requesting a false passport, he sketches her portrait quickly but precisely. When she asks why he does not pursue a career as an artist, he replies, "Why earn money by making art? Earning money by making money is much easier."
It turns out not to be quite so easy as he imagines, though, when Sally is arrested for...
SOURCE: Michael Nelson in the Chronicle of Higher Ed (3-21-08)
He was mostly right. Where's the Adams Memorial in Washington, the college named after Adams, the currency bearing Adams's image? The first and third presidents are on Mount Rushmore, but no Adams gazes out between George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
Nevertheless, the past 20 years have witnessed a slowly accelerating Adams revival, fueled mostly by works of scholarly and popular history and sure to gain further momentum from a lavishly produced, well-written, and superbly acted seven-part series on HBO. The series is called John Adams but it could easily be subtitled "A Panegyr-ical Romance." Adams is fast becoming American history's most widely sung unsung hero.
SOURCE: CBC News (3-20-08)
The swastika is the focus of the jokes in We Have Ways of Making You Laugh: 120 Funny Swastika Cartoons, the latest effort from the 74-year-old cartoonist best known for his drawings of talking cats, flying cows and snails falling in love with Scotch-tape dispensers.
The idea came to Gross 11 years ago during an evening news story about vandalism, Gross told CBC's Q radio program Thursday. The report was about a boy in suburban New York who was drawing the swastika symbol on garage doors. Gross said he didn't understand why the story made headline news.
"The symbol is held in such awe and terror. I just got so angry that I decided to have fun with it," he said.
The goal was both to take the power out of the swastika and also to be funny, he said...
SOURCE: http://www.democratandchronicle.com (3-21-08)
Equally fascinating about the documentary is America's wartime attempt to minimize damage to European public art during bombing raids and to return stolen pieces to their original owners.
Dubbed Monuments Men, these were artists and curators drafted into military service. Many marched along with troops into France, Italy and Germany in the hope of securing important artifacts before they were looted or destroyed.
It's long for a documentary, almost two hours, but it has a big story to tell.
While the Nazi rhetoric was quite high-flown about its appreciation of artistic treasures, its actions were less so. Some of the high party members had an interest in art for aesthetic reasons, others for the prestige that fine art might bring them. They may have little known the value of great art, but they certainly knew its price...
SOURCE: Breitbart (3-20-08)
Make that History. The cable network quietly dropped "the" and "channel" from its name recently, claiming History for itself. "Our brand is, in the media landscape, synonymous with the genre of history so I don't think it's presumptuous of us to call ourselves History," said Nancy Dubuc, the network's executive vice-president.
That's how many viewers already refer to it, she said. "Channel" is a drag on efforts to establish the brand in other media, like on the Internet. There were no licensing issues involved in the switch, she said.
The network has even changed its "H" logo to make it look bolder, less ancient.
There is a similar channel in Canada called History Television, which is owned by Canwest.
Once dubbed "The Hitler Channel" for all of its Second World War documentaries, History in the United States has...
SOURCE: http://www.24hourmuseum.org.uk (3-19-08)
The portrait, donated in 1986, shows a young Victorian woman showing off her wedding ring, in a piece museum staff believe is likely to have been painted especially for her husband.
Until now, no-one at the museum has known anything about the origins of the painting, but a member of the public recently enlightened them on the possible identity of the artist - Eden Upton Eddis.
The mystery surrounding the painting started when the image was displayed as part of an exhibition last year.
“I thought it stood out from the rest of the pieces; it’s a lovely picture, with a beautiful frame,” said Clare Lyall, Curator at the museum. “I looked into it and realised we had very little information about it. We knew when we acquired it, but little else.”
SOURCE: Press Release--Bay Area Paul Robeson Centennial Committee (3-17-08)
Exhibition, March 31-April 30, 2008, Oakland City Hall Rotunda
April 9, 2008 will mark the 110th anniversary of the birth of Paul Robeson, son of an escaped slave who became world famous as a scholar, All-American athlete, singer, actor of stage and film, and political activist.
The exhibit draws from the extensive collection of memorabilia assembled by the Bay Area Paul Robeson Centennial Committee and consists of artifacts showing Robeson’s extraordinary achievements in the arts and politics.
Paul Robeson rose to prominence in a time when racism was the norm in America. He used his deep baritone voice to promote Black culture through the Spirituals, to share the cultures of other countries and to benefit the social movements of his time.
Starring in Othello at the Shubert Theatre, in New York, 1943-44, Robeson was the first African American to play the role with a white supporting cast on the...
SOURCE: Boston Globe (3-16-08)
Cambridge photographer Elsa Dorfman exclusively uses Polaroid film in her celebrated large-format portraits. Her response to the news was no less heartfelt for being so theatrical. "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!" she wailed in a telephone interview.
"I do love that film," Dorfman said once she'd composed herself. "It is just fabulous film: creamy, wonderful, fabulous film. And digital looks so different."
Of course digital looks different. Everything looks different from Polaroid. Polaroids are thick, tactile, slightly unreal. If Polaroids were a movie, they'd be "The Truman...
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (3-18-08)
Teenagers will study key world events stretching back thousands of years following demand from pupils and teachers, it was disclosed.
The courses will focus on the foundation of Rome, Greece and the Persian wars, as well as historical figures such as Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Cleopatra and Agrippina the Younger.
There will also be detailed study of aspects of other civilisations, including Ancient Egypt, the Minoans, Mycenae, the Persian Empire, the Hellenistic world and the Celts, said OCR, one of England's three main exam boards.
SOURCE: Jeremy A. Stern (Special to HNN) (3-18-08)
The opening installment of the new HBO miniseries on John Adams, first aired on March 16, skillfully depicts the difficulties and controversies leading to American independence, and often – though not always – does so accurately. If students watch it, they will very likely understand more about the period than they did before. The physical depiction of Revolutionary-era Massachusetts is impressive, and as a drama the series is well acted and well produced. But there are already some very troubling problems. The first episode especially is fundamentally marred by an all-too-familiar and...
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (3-17-08)
In Germany, The Red Baron, which has cost a record €18m (£14m) to produce, is almost predestined to provoke a wave of anguished criticism, a batch of dreadful reviews and a prolonged bout of soul searching about the rights and wrongs of using German battlefield bravery and heroism as the subject for a popular feature film.
The movie comes at a moment in which Germany finds itself seriously at odds over military matters. The country is facing constant criticism from its Nato allies over its reluctance to deploy troops in war-torn southern Afghanistan.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (3-17-08)
The priceless piece, created by the artist in the 1440s, is being given its first facelift in more than 100 years at Florence's Bargello Museum.
The work has been opened to the public, who can watch the restorers using a medical-grade laser to clean off the residue that has built up on the statue, which was the first free-standing nude bronze to have been created since classical times.