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: NYT (7-7-08)
These Civil War-style shoes are being pressed into duty for a battle that ended 145 years ago — not for last weekend’s re-enactment of the Battle of Gettysburg but for a conflict that still rages on the canvas of an enormous painting in the round. The Gettysburg Cyclorama, as it’s called, is to reopen on Sept. 26 after a five-year restoration, and for the first time in more than a century, viewers standing in the middle of the wraparound canvas will see it as its artist originally intended.
Like props on a stage set, the lace-up shoes will join scores of other items — bayonets, saddles, cartridge boxes, canvas stretchers, knapsacks, even a full-size Union cannon with its carriage — in a diorama that will be placed in the foreground of the cyclorama’s canvas. By contributing to the illusion of...
SOURCE: http://www.radaronline.com (7-7-08)
On the gossip front, the novel doesn't disappoint. From discovering that her grandmother is a lesbian, killing her high school crush with her car at age 16 (this incident at least is based in fact—Laura Bush was involved in...
SOURCE: Time (7-3-08)
Let not those heads swell, however. News in the form of edgy drollery may seem a brave new thing, but it can all be traced back to one source, the man Ernest Hemingway said all of modern American literature could be traced back to: Mark Twain. Oh, that old cracker-barrel guy, you may say. White suit, cigar, reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated--but he died back in 1910, no?...
SOURCE: AP (7-3-08)
The money from the Righteous Persons Foundation will go toward a new, five-story museum building being built in Philadelphia.
With the donation, officials say the museum's capital campaign has raised $111 million toward its $150 million goal. The new museum is set to open in 2010.
Spielberg helped establish the Righteous Persons Foundation in 1994 after directing his Oscar-winning Holocaust film "Schindler's List."
SOURCE: http://www.nola.com (7-4-08)
The "America I AM Across America" tour will provide a 15- to 20-minute sneak peek at artifacts to be featured in a traveling museum exhibit documenting the rich history of Africans in America, slated to open in November.
Highlighted pieces appearing in the mobile museum will include slave shackles, a pair of Muhammad Ali's boxing gloves and letters written by Frederick Douglass and Marcus Garvey.
SOURCE: NYT (7-6-08)
It’s one of many threats to the major tourist draw of this oasis city on the lip of the Gobi desert: the hundreds of rock-cut Buddhist grottoes that pepper a cliff face outside town. Known as Mogaoku — “peerless caves” — and filled with paradisiacal frescos and hand-molded clay sculptures of savior-gods and saints, they are, in size and historical breadth, like nothing else in the Chinese Buddhist world.
And Mogaoku is in trouble. Thrown open to visitors in recent decades, the site has been swamped by tourists in the past few years. The caves now suffer from high levels of carbon dioxide and humidity, which are severely undermining conservation efforts. The short-term solution has been to limit the number of caves that can be visited and to admit people only on timed tours, but the...
SOURCE: NYT (7-6-08)
Antiquities were looted over the centuries or appropriated by museums in France, the country’s former colonial ruler. Of those that remained, many were relocated to Cambodia’s National Museum, more than 185 miles from Angkor.
Now, a Thai company says it is trying to address the problem, opening a museum that borrows artifacts, including nearly 1,000 Buddhas, from the National Museum and elsewhere. It is just a few miles from Angkor Park, the sprawling area near here that is considered one of Southeast Asia’s most important archaeological sites and includes...
SOURCE: NYT (7-5-08)
It isn’t that the new crime museum isn’t worth seeing. Its 28,000 square feet contain a Who’s Who of history’s bad guys — pirates, gangsters, bank robbers, serial killers — encompassing Blackbeard, Lucky Luciano, Jesse James and John Wayne Gacy. It features punishments like the colonial-era pillory (a model offers the requisite photo op for adventurous heads and hands), as well as the Tennessee electric chair affectionately nicknamed Old Smokey that was responsible for 125 executions. (No comparable photo op is offered.) And its law enforcement artifacts...
SOURCE: LAT (7-7-08)
But it's far removed from the captured Iraqi palace where he was once stationed. He fights his war now from an office on Wilshire Boulevard lined with movie posters chronicling conflicts real and imagined, from "Patton" to "War of the Worlds."
Breasseale's desk is piled high with scripts, each marked with his name and stamped "confidential." It's his job to help decide which movies should get Army help.
The mission is both harder and more important than it might appear.
After the Vietnam War, movies like "Apocalypse Now" and "Born on the Fourth of July" helped cement an image of psychologically damaged Vietnam veterans.
"In the '80s and early '90s, the Vietnam War vet was the 'other,' " Breasseale said. "Hollywood had created the crazy Nam vet."
For the Army, it was a...
SOURCE: AP (7-3-08)
The postcard, from 1909, depicts an ornate stone pillar decked out with bronze eagles and lions and topped by an enormous bronze bust of the nation's 16th president. Along the bottom of the card are the words "Lincoln Monument, Nay Aug Park."
Here's the mystery: Sometime in the early decades of the 20th century, the 16-foot-tall structure — which had been dedicated with great fanfare on July 4, 1909, the centennial year of Lincoln's birth — simply vanished.
And no one still living seems to know where it went.
As Scranton prepares to celebrate Lincoln's bicentennial next year, Hiddlestone and other local historians — who only recently confirmed the memorial's existence — are now trying to find out what happened to it. Their dream: to locate Lincoln and bring him back to Nay Aug Park by...
SOURCE: AP (7-4-08)
The original lyrics to one of America's best-known songs, one associated with the American Revolution, were actually written a couple decades earlier during the French and Indian War, although an exact date has eluded historians. Some peg the year as 1755, when the war's first major battles were fought, or 1756.
The other year often cited is 1758. Now, a state archaeologist believes he has narrowed down the date to sometime in June of that year, when a large British-led army was mustering at Albany for an expedition against the French.
Dr. Richard Shuckburgh, a British army physician, is credited with penning the "Yankee Doodle" lyrics to mock the ragtag New England militia serving alongside the redcoats. As the story goes, Shuckburgh wrote "Yankee Doodle" while at Fort Crailo, across the Hudson River from Albany, after witnessing the sloppy drill and appearance of...
SOURCE: Observer (UK) (7-6-08)
But boast he might as last week the British Museum was named the nation's top visitor attraction - thrashing Tate Modern, Alton Towers, and even Madame Tussauds. Instead of Nemesis roller coasters and Will Smith waxworks, tourists and Brits alike clearly preferred the Great Court, Egyptian galleries, and blockbuster exhibitions on show at Great Russell Street. And all the signs are that this month's Emperor Hadrian exhibition will draw even greater numbers.
Inevitably, the brickbats have already been hurled: the museum has become too populist, commercial, dumbed-down. But that is the very opposite of the truth. In fact, what MacGregor has...
SOURCE: Observer (UK) (7-6-08)
Dadd, who is one of the most macabre figures in British art history, spent more than 40 years in lunatic asylums after stabbing his father to death. For the remainder of his life the painter believed he was the victim of an ancient Egyptian curse.
Despite his violent and delusional behaviour, Dadd is still regarded as an eminent Victorian talent, with work hanging in Tate Britain. He is particularly celebrated for his paintings of fairies and exotic landscapes.
Now drawings and watercolours that were completed during his time in the Bethlem Royal Hospital - known colloquially as Bedlam - have been lent for display in 'Dreams of Fancy', billed as the most significant exhibition of Dadd's work for several decades...
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (7-6-08)
Eventually, the officer returned to America. He took a job with the government, in Washington, D.C., and he and his wife lived in Virginia. In...
SOURCE: BBC (7-5-08)
The 41-year-old man was held after attacking the waxwork, only hours after the attraction opened on Saturday.
The inclusion of Hitler in the exhibition has aroused controversy in a country where Nazi symbols are banned.
But the exhibition's organisers said they could hardly depict German history without portraying Hitler.
SOURCE: iht (7-6-08)
Numerous antiquities were looted over the centuries or appropriated by museums in France, the country's former colonial ruler. Of those that remained, many were relocated to Cambodia's National Museum, more than 185 miles from Angkor.
Now, a Thai company says it is trying to address the problem, opening a museum that borrows artifacts, including nearly 1,000 Buddhas, from the National Museum and elsewhere. It is just a few miles from Angkor Park, the sprawling area near here that is considered one of Southeast Asia's most important archaeological sites and includes the...
SOURCE: New Republic (7-9-08)
SOURCE: Guardian (UK) (7-5-08)
Instead of accepting the traditional view that Byzantium represents a decline from the artistic glories of classical Greece and Rome, the exhibition will bring together a horde of glistering treasures - many never before seen in public, let alone in Britain - to present a rich account of a thriving culture that stretched over Greece, Turkey, the Balkans, Ukraine, Syria and Egypt. The exhibition will span a period of over 1,000...
SOURCE: AP (7-4-08)
Ralph Archbold and Linda Wilde, who portray the historical figures, tied the knot Thursday evening in a public ceremony in front of Independence Hall, where the real Franklin helped draft the nation's founding documents.
The bride and groom, as well as the entire wedding party, were in costume for the event.
"Ralph and Linda, the entire city could not be happier for you," said Mayor Michael Nutter, who performed the brief ceremony.
SOURCE: History Today (7-3-08)