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: Belfast Telegraph (5-22-08)
While republican factions continue to debate whether he would have supported the present peace process, they are united in regarding him as a martyr who died an agonising death for their cause after a 66-day hunger strike.
The film, the debut feature by the Turner prize-winning artist Steve McQueen, pulls no punches in its portrayal of the bitter dispute between prisoners at the notorious Maze prison in Northern Ireland and the Government.
It details the last six weeks of Sands's life. He died aged 27 in 1981 during IRA protests over the political status of prisoners. Michael Fassbender, who plays Sands, starved himself for two months in preparation for the role. With little dialogue, vivid images of prisoners being beaten and one 22-minute shot, the film is both...
SOURCE: Ascribe (5-22-08)
Museums like the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University collect works of art from many different cultures, including antiquities, to share with a broad public. But looters have ruined it for Indiana Jones-style archeologists, who for decades had worked successfully with foreign governments to distribute some antiquities found through archeological digs to Western museums, says Kimerly Rorschach, director of the Nasher Museum of Art.
"Now the rules have changed. Generally speaking, all exporting is illegal, in an effort to stem the tide of looting. University art museums face the dilemma of wanting to collect antiquities for legitimate educational purposes but not wanting to contribute to illegal looting and smuggling,"...
SOURCE: WaPo (5-19-08)
The museum is more fun than annoying. But not by terribly much.
An $18 ticket that promises visitors the opportunity to shoot a gun, drive a police cruiser and appear in a police lineup, the crime museum is to the Smithsonian as "America's Most Wanted" is to "Frontline." Well, let's modify that: There is one branch of the Smithsonian that shares the crime museum's approach--an almost random collection of stray facts and cool finds that tells no coherent or compelling story, but aims only to elicit a "Gee, Martha, look at this...
SOURCE: BBC (5-21-08)
Waltz with Bashir is a daring and provocative attempt by director Ari Folman to bear witness to an atrocity committed during his stint in the Israeli army in 1982.
The invasion of Lebanon, codenamed Operation Peace for Galilee, was an attempt to occupy the country as far as the capital Beirut.
It ended in what many think of as the worst atrocity of the entire Arab-Israeli conflict, when at least 800 Palestinian civilians were massacred at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps during Israel's invasion.
They were murdered by Lebanese Christian militiamen allied to Israel while the Israeli forces encircled the camps.
Folman was among them. His film is a personal journey with his own narration accompanied, unusually, by animated images.
The director says he had blanked the massacre...
SOURCE: Michael Nelson in the Chronicle of Higher Ed (5-30-08)
Ginsberg and Shefter published the first edition of Politics by Other Means: The Declining Importance of Elections in America (Basic...
SOURCE: Press Release--N-Y Historical Society (5-22-08)
SOURCE: Gene Kannenberg Jr. in the Chronicle of Higher Ed (5-23-08)
David Hajdu's The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008) has been greeted mostly with glowing reviews. A lively read, The Ten-Cent Plague digs deeply into the social context surrounding the "comic-book panic" of the first half of the 20th century. The movement culminated in 1954 with dramatic televised Senate hearings and the subsequent establishment of the comic-book industry's self-regulatory organization, the Comics Magazine Association of America.
Hajdu's strategy, as he noted in a recent talk at the Cartoon Art Museum, in San Francisco, was to write a "war story." He stressed that he tried to be fair to both sides; indeed, his representations are far from one-dimensional. Still, this war story ultimately casts the anticomics movement as the...
SOURCE: http://www.archaeology.org (5-20-08)
SOURCE: http://news.communitypress.com (5-19-08)
Larry Lawrence said he wanted to visit the museum because you see so much in the media and so much has been written proving evolution.
"It was just real interesting to me to see something that gives the opposing viewpoint," he said.
The Lawrences are among thousands of visitors that have trekked their way to the controversial museum since it officially opened on Memorial Day last year. A year after that opening, the museum continues to draw thousands of visitors.
The museum depicts creationists' literal interpretation of the Bible's Book of Genesis on how the Earth and mankind were created. Answers in Genesis, a Christian organization, operates the museum that was years in the making.
The Lawrences had gone through part of the museum and Shirley said the museum...
SOURCE: http://www.thestate.com (5-19-08)
There is Orville Wright, supine and centered on the lower wing of the fragile heavier-than-air craft, gliding a few feet above the flat sands near Kill Devil Hill. His brother Wilbur is a few feet from the right wing tip, frozen in chase. It is a famous frame, the inspiration for postage stamps and the silhouette forever in flight above the numbers of North Carolina license plates.
“We in North Carolina pay homage to that famous photograph of that first flight,” said Larry Tise, the Orville and Wilbur Wright distinguished professor of history at East Carolina University.
It was the first picture taken, but not the first published of the aviation pioneers in flight. That distinction belongs to an image captured May 14, 1908 — 100 years ago this past week — by one of America’s first...
SOURCE: Nick Turse at TomDispatch.com (5-20-08)
"Liberal Hollywood" is a favorite whipping-boy of right-wingers who suppose the town and its signature industry are ever-at-work undermining the U.S. military. In reality, the military has been deeply involved with the film industry since the Silent Era. Today, however, the ad hoc arrangements of the past have been...
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (5-20-08)
It is a return trip for Melvin Dummar, 63, whose first attempt to lay claim to $156m he said was left to him by Hughes was thrown out by the courts in a lengthy probate trial in 1978. Though he was widely branded a liar at the time, he says he is trying again with a new witness ready to back him up.
His Good Samaritan tale is already well known, not least because it became the inspiration for an Oscar-winning film directed by Jonathan Demme in 1980 named Melvin and Howard.
Mr Dummar still sticks by its every detail. He relates driving from Utah to California in December 1967, stopping at a place called Lida Junction in the middle of Nevada to relieve himself by the side of the road and...
SOURCE: AP (5-19-08)
Plans to run a hotel out of a former home of the von Trapp family immortalized in the movie "The Sound of Music" have triggered fierce resistance from neighbors who fear tourists will tie up traffic and make a nuisance of themselves.
"We will fight this with all means at our disposal," said Andreas Braunbruck, who lives near the Villa Trapp in a neighborhood of Salzburg already teeming with "Sound of Music" tourists seeking a glimpse of the house.
"Buses and cars are constantly in the street in front of our homes as it is," he told Austrian television on Sunday.
The 125-year-old, pale yellow villa trimmed in white and black is perched on the outskirts of Salzburg, where the 1965 film starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer was made.
SOURCE: NYT (5-19-08)
Fleming, who saw 40 million copies of his books sold in his lifetime but died before the Bond franchise went stratospheric, had no literary pretensions. He described his first Bond book, “Casino Royale,” as “an oafish opus,” and offered further disparagement in a 1963 BBC radio interview. “If I wait for the genius to come, it just doesn’t arrive,” he said. Asked if Bond had kept him from more serious writing, of the kind achieved by his older brother, Peter, a renowned explorer and travel...
SOURCE: NYT (5-16-08)
Set almost a decade after Roosevelt left office, in 1918, at Sagamore Hill, his estate in Oyster Bay, N.Y., the play gives us a Roosevelt who, entertaining visitors in his study, reminisces about his upbringing, his adventures in the American West and with the Rough Riders in Cuba, and his political achievements.
Mr. Smith bears an astonishing resemblance to his subject and has an unforced ease. (He has toured widely with the production since its debut in Florida in 2004.) He certainly conveys Roosevelt’s gregariousness and prodigious energy, his speech punctuated with “Bully!” and “By Godfrey!,” followed by a brisk hand clap. (That energy also infuses the play’s pacing; its...
SOURCE: Lee White at the website of the National Coalition for History (NCH) (5-16-08)
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (5-16-08)
But Jan Younghusband, the executive producer of the film and commissioning editor of arts at Channel 4, said the harrowing story merely exposed the mentality of someone ready to die for a cause, such as the London suicide bombers. "You look at suicide bombers and wonder what it is that drives them to kill themselves in their attempt to make the world better," she said.
"This is a very contemporary issue, destroying your body for something you believe in. We look at terrorists and we think, 'Aren't they horrible; they are blowing us up'. But we have to ask what is our role in that? We are not without responsibility."
Using only sparse dialogue and including violent scenes of IRA prisoners being...
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (5-16-08)
It is a repulsive and fascinating item and true obsessives will make a beeline for it. “This is the original 'Dear Boss’ letter,” confirmed Julia Hoffbrand, the co-curator of a new exhibition dedicated to Jack the Ripper. The letter marks the point in the Ripper story at which reality turned into myth.
It was sent to the head of a London news agency on September 25, 1888 following the murders of three women in a month in the East End. Written in red ink, it starts “Dear Boss”, gives warning that “I am down on whores and I shunt [sic] quit ripping them till I do get buckled”, and is signed “Yours truly, Jack the Ripper”....
SOURCE: NYT (5-15-08)
Yet a museum has never devoted a major exhibition to the history of this transformational group — that is, until Friday, when “Catholics in New York, 1808 to 1946,” opens to the public at the Museum of the City of New York.
The show, with some 400 objects and images, includes political banners, parochial school report cards, yearbooks going back to the 19th century, vestments, school uniforms, trophies, academic medals and a pew rental receipt. There are holy cards, ceremonial swords, parade...
SOURCE: NYT (5-14-08)
Warren Christopher, the former secretary of state who served as the public face of the Gore team in the early days of the recount effort, said this week that he believed the film, “Recount,” was “pure fiction” in its portrayal of him as a weak strategist unprepared to stand up to the aggressive tactics of James A. Baker III, the former secretary of state who was the chief Republican adviser.
William M. Daley, Mr. Gore’s campaign chairman, who helped to lead the Democratic recount team in Florida, said the film created misperceptions about the Gore team’s decision-making process. Mr. Gore, who oversaw the team from Washington, is largely absent from the film....