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: Spiegel Online (5-29-08)
Michael Braun, of the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) told the Thursday edition of the Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel it was "distasteful beyond comparison." Green politician Alice Ströver called the Hitler wax figure "tasteless, disgusting and in bad style," the paper reported Thursday.
Museum organizers have defended the decision, arguing that the Third Reich dictator was an important part of German history. Surveys have shown that a majority of Germans think he should be included.
Katrin Frömsdorf, a spokeswoman for the museum, told SPIEGEL ONLINE,...
SOURCE: NYT (5-29-08)
Yes, there were Jimi and Janis and Joe Cocker twitching around in film clips from the famous concert 39 years ago on the rolling meadow that was Max Yasgur’s alfalfa field. There was a real-life hippie bus in psychedelic colors, and displays of a stars-and-stripes suede jacket and love beads next to a minidress and go-go boots ensemble, the latter getup presumably not worn at Woodstock.
John Sebastian and Richie Havens were there to reminisce. They played Canned Heat’s “Going Up the Country” and “The Times They Are a-Changin’” by Bob Dylan.
But somehow “then” kept looping back to “now” at the unveiling Wednesday of the Museum at Bethel Woods, which will open to the public on Monday.
So there was Duke Devlin, famous as the hippie from the Texas Panhandle who came to Woodstock and never left, standing in the bright sun giving his spiel yet...
SOURCE: AP (5-28-08)
That's the work order, in a nutshell, for brave architects contemplating a fixup job for the deteriorating gravesite of William Shakespeare inside the Holy Trinity Church in his hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon.
The illustrious bard is believed by many to have personally penned the threat on a stone marker above his grave.
"Blest be the man that spares these stones," it reads. "And curst be he that moves my bones."
That's all well and good, but the stones above his grave are starting to flake and fall apart. Clergymen have trod on the stones for nearly four centuries, and the foot traffic is taking its inevitable toll.
SOURCE: Reuters (5-29-08)
Engineers are confident their efforts to rescue the Leaning Tower of Pisa have been successful and should last 'at least three centuries'
"All of our best hopes have been confirmed. We can now say that the tower will not move again for at least three centuries," said Michele Jamiolkowski, a Turin-based engineer who led the project to stabilise the tower.
SOURCE: Humberto Fontova at frontpagemag.com (5-28-08)
Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh unveiled his four-and-a-half-hour Che Guevara Biopic at the Cannes Film Festival last Thursday. One reviewer described the movie as “maniacally anticipated” - and Variety hailed it as Cannes' “most-anticipated” film.
But based on reviews thus far, it looks like Soderbergh blew it. After suffering what some critics described as the film's “butt-numbing” duration, Variety's Todd McCarthy branded the movie “defiantly nondramatic” and “a commercial impossibility.”
New York Magazine calls it, “something of a fiasco.” Everyone seemed bored if not actually catatonic while viewing the film. Time's Richard Corliss described Benicio Del Toro in the starring role as “seemingly sedated.” Bloomberg News wrote of the “viewers' bleary eyes.”
SOURCE: Scott McLemee at the website of Inside Higher Ed (5-28-08)
Then again, why be ungrateful? Watching the series, I kept thinking of a friend who teaches history at Sisyphus University, a not-very-distinguished institution in the American heartland. For every student in his classroom who seems promising, there are dozens who barely qualify as sentient. (It sounds like Professor X, whose article “In the Basement of the Ivory Tower” appears in the latest issue of The Atlantic, teaches in the English department there.) Anything, absolutely anything, that...
SOURCE: BBC News (5-28-08)
The Bard's grave slab, in the chancel of Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-on-Avon, is visited by thousands of tourists every year. He was baptised there in April 1564 and buried there 52 years later.
The Rev Martin Gorick, the vicar of the church, which dates back to 1210, said he was confident the restoration work would not incur the wrath of Shakespeare: "The gravestone is crumbling to some extent and we want to consolidate that, and do some improvements around the grave so it lasts longer. We are actually conserving the gravestone, so it should be a blessing rather than a curse."
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (5-27-08)
Those taking the Practical Criticism paper were given a sheet containing the singer's words to her single Love is a Losing Game and asked to contrast them with a work by the 16th century poet and explorer.
Winehouse's song, which last week won her a songwriting prize at the Ivor Novello awards, includes the lines: "Why do I wish I never played/Oh, what a mess we made/And now the final frame/Love is a losing game."
SOURCE: BBC (5-27-08)
The portrait, dating from 1650 to 1680, was found in the Duke of Buccleuch's collection at Boughton House.
It shows Elizabeth with siblings Edward VI and Mary I, father Henry VIII and his jester, Will Somers.
It is a copy of an original panel painting, which is thought to date back to the early 1550s.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (5-27-08)
The discovery of the sketches, in a Swiss private collection, has caused great excitement in the art world where they have been hailed as the most important of the acclaimed artist’s work to come to auction for over 30 years.
They are expected to fetch almost £3 million when they are auctioned by Christies in London next month.
SOURCE: NYT (5-27-08)
“Hidalgo, under my skin” was the catch phrase for the ads, which featured the soap opera actress Irán Castillo covered with computer-generated images of mountains, waterfalls and monuments.
But federal officials were unimpressed. They did not object to Ms. Castillo’s lying seminude on the grass with hot-air balloons displayed on her body or lounging in a forest with images of rock faces on her flank or even sprawled on a beautiful mosaic wearing nothing but a beautiful mosaic. “We’re not moralistic,” insisted Benito Taibo, an executive with Mexico’s National Institute for Anthropology and History. “We don’t have an issue with her. She’s a pretty girl.”
But the institute did have an issue with Ms. Castillo’s wearing Mexico’s patrimony on her curvaceous form. Whether it was the...
SOURCE: BBC (5-26-08)
What do you know about Charles Lindbergh?
You probably know he was an American aviator. He achieved overnight world stardom when he became the first person to fly non-stop across the Atlantic, solo, in 1927.
You might also know that Lindbergh was a peace activist who opposed American involvement in World War II - until Pearl Harbor, after which he volunteered to fly combat missions in the Pacific.
And you might know that in later life he became a prolific author, an explorer and an environmentalist.
But did you know that he was also a machine-obsessed inventor, who entered into a macabre alliance with a French-born surgeon to try to achieve immortality?
Forget aviation hero. On the side, Lindbergh was a Dr Frankenstein figure, who used his...
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (5-24-08)
For all his swashbuckling adventures, the fictional Dr Jones would be found guilty of unethical and quite possibly illegal behaviour, the head of the World Archaeological Congress said.
"In pursuit of 'fortune and glory' Jones ignores international treaties, treats human remains as weapons, and destroys archaeological sites in a bid to escape from potential entombment and other worrisome possibilities," said Professor Claire Smith of Australia's Newcastle University.
SOURCE: NYT Book Review (5-24-08)
It is the central work at this summer’s Spoleto Festival U.S.A., whose host is Charleston, a city fully freighted with slavery’s legacy. The relevance has not been lost on African-Americans involved: the composer, the librettist, performers and audience members.
“This is one of the main ports of slavery,” said Gregg Baker, who sings the part of Cinque, leader of the band of captive Africans who are the subject of the story. “To do it down here was a bit, I guess, ironic. Slavery basically built this town.”
Mr. Baker spoke at an outdoor reception after the opening-night performance of “Amistad” on Thursday at the newly restored Memminger Auditorium, this city’s latest pride...
SOURCE: NYT (5-24-08)
His death was announced by Phyllis Levine, communications director at the International Center of Photography in Manhattan.
Mr. Capa had three important incarnations in the field of photography: successful photojournalist; champion of Robert Capa, his older brother, among the greatest war photographers; and founder and first director of the International Center of Photography, which, since it was established in 1974, has become one of the most influential photographic institutions for exhibition, collection and education in the world.
In Mr. Capa’s nearly 30 years as a photojournalist, the professional code to which he steadfastly adhered is best summed up by the title of his 1968 book, “...
SOURCE: AP (5-24-08)
The parents of several black junior high school students have filed a discrimination lawsuit claiming their children are subject to racial slurs and punished more harshly than white students at Monroeville Junior High School.
The lawsuit says black students at the county's only public junior high have been called slurs such as the "N-word," "filthy trash" and "black monkey." Their parents also say classes are segregated, with most black students being kept out of advanced placement and honors courses.
The action, originally filed in August, was revived this week by the American Civil Liberties Union in U.S. Southern District Court on behalf of nine students. It names the Monroe County Board of Education...
SOURCE: Eric Alterman in Media Matters (5-23-08)
The following is from What Liberal Media?:
Following the court's announcement, a group of eight newspapers invested nearly a million dollars to hire...
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (5-24-08)
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull stars Harrison Ford as an archaeologist in 1957 competing with an evil KGB agent (Cate Blanchett) to find a skull with mystic powers. The film, the fourth in the Indiana Jones series, went on release in Russian cinemas on Thursday.
"What galls is how, together with America, we defeated Hitler, and how we sympathised when Bin Laden hit them," said Viktor Perov, a Communist Party member in St Petersburg. "But they go ahead and scare kids with communists. These people have no shame." Another party member, Andrei Gindos, described Harrison Ford and Cate Blanchett as "the running dogs of the CIA".
The comments were made at a local Communist Party meeting and posted on its website...
SOURCE: WaPo (5-23-08)
The night before, Nixon met with his secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, in the Lincoln Sitting Room. What transpired is the fodder for "Nixon's Nixon," a politically charged satire by Russell Lees beginning Wednesday at the Round House Theatre in Bethesda.
The two-man play takes an imaginative look at that late-night discussion in which Nixon and Kissinger relive their triumphs and failures in a way that is funny and surprisingly poignant. "Nixon's Nixon" was first produced at the Round House in 1999, with Edward Gero (Nixon) and Conrad Feininger (Kissinger) as the leads. Both stars have returned, reprising their roles.
Frank Gannon, who was special assistant to Nixon at the time, remembers watching the historic speech on a small television in the White House press office. "The mood was certainly somber, as you might...
SOURCE: Reuters (5-23-08)
A group of investors bought rights to Faberge last year -- which had been used to market cosmetics like Brut men's fragrance -- and have been working to restore the firm to its origins with the support of the Russian founder's relatives.
"Faberge will announce their first new collection, the first authentic, family-blessed collection since 1917, in the course of next year," Sean Gilbertson, a partner in the Pallinghurst fund that owns Faberge, told Reuters.
The original Faberge company was founded in 1842 by Russian jeweler Gustav Faberge, who gained fame for designing elaborate jewel-encrusted eggs for Russian Tsars.