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: Michael Scammell in the International Herald Tribune (8-29-08)
What I most remember from my first reading of"One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" (published in 1962 in the journal Novy Mir) isn't just the feeling that its author had miraculously circumvented the censors, but the thrill of confronting an astonishing stylistic tour de force. Here was a realistic story of labor camp life, based on Solzhenitsyn's own eight years in various camps, that leapt off the page in a living idiom that in places was racy to the point of obscenity, an unheard-of phenomenon in published Soviet literature and rare in Russian literature of any period. The language was rich in folk idioms and allusions, and laced with ingenious neologisms. Their effect on sophisticated...
SOURCE: History Today (8-29-08)
SOURCE: Denver Library (8-28-08)
Music performed by the Denver Municipal Band. The three songs included in this online exhibit,"Democratic Fun,""Denver Auditorium March," and"Pickles and Peppers" were originally written for the 1908 Democratic Convention.
Narration by Judy Steiner from the Colorado Historical Society and script written by Myron Vallier of the Denver Public Library.
Family feuding over the festival, a world-renowned annual celebration of Wagner's operas, has dogged the battle for succession to current director, Wolfgang Wagner.
He is stepping down following this year's festival, which ended on Thursday.
The question of who would succeed him appeared settled earlier this year however, when Wolfgang's daughters, Katharina and Eva, launched a joint bid for control of Bayreuth.
Their application looked set to be rubber stamped by Bayreuth's board, which is due to meet next Monday to appoint the festival's new director.
But with just days to go before the meeting, Nike Wagner, a daughter of Wolfgang Wagner's brother, Wieland, has submitted her own application to run the festival, in partnership...
The next documentary will allege that the Queen's sister had a sexual relationship with the notorious London gangster turned actor John Bindon.
The programme, The Gangster and the Princess, will focus on her relationship with Bindon when she stayed on the Caribbean island of Mustique after the break-up of her marriage to Lord Snowdon.
One of Princess Margaret's many biographers Noel Botham told the programme: "I have no doubt that John Bindon and Margaret were lovers.
"The Princess would telephone the villa on Mustique, where Bindon was staying, and would ask him over to her house. This occurred more or less on a nightly basis.
"Margaret loved partying in Mustique and loved people stripping off. According to Bindon, she used to take photographs of naked limbo dancers."
SOURCE: http://www.scarborougheveningnews.co.uk (8-27-08)
The medieval world certainly had more than its fair share of unpleasant occupations.
A castle spokeswoman said: "Children were commonly regarded as 'miniature adults', so by the time they reached 16 or 18, they would have probably already learned a trade, often following in their fathers' chosen career path. Unfortunately for some, if their parents were at the lower end of the social scale, this could involve some rather nasty and often hazardous jobs!"
One of the worst was the gong farmer – an unfortunate soul who spent his day digging cesspits and emptying them once they had become full. However there was a brighter side to their job.
Nicola Bexon, regional marketing manager for English Heritage, which is organising the castle event, said: "These gong farmers were actually some of the first to benefit from health...
SOURCE: Boston Globe (8-27-08)
That would be a costly mistake. Last year, the average Leger painting sold for $2.8 million.
"Woman and Child" is part of an important series by Leger that applied jagged, geometric strokes to a familial theme. John McAndrew, then director of the Davis, gave the oil on canvas to the museum in 1954, and it has hung on the walls of the Davis for most of the time since.
"It's very sad and upsetting that it's gone," said Wellesley art historian Patricia Gray Berman, who brought her students to look at the Leger every semester. "It's a great painting, and I hope it comes home."
College and museum officials declined to comment, other than to release a pair of short statements this week. Police have been informed of the missing painting, and the...
SOURCE: CNN (8-27-08)
Paul McCartney says he's looking forward to playing a concert in Israel next month.
The show, which will be held September 25 in Tel Aviv, had been rumored for months....
In the mid-1960s, when the Fab Four from Liverpool, England, ruled the music charts, a concert in Israel was proposed. It never happened.
The long-told story maintained that Beatlemania was deemed too potentially injurious to Israel's youth. A more recent theory, however, blamed the ban on a tiff between competing concert promoters.
Whatever the reason, Israelis never got to experience The Beatles live.
With works loaned from public and private collections around the world, the gigantic exhibition's aim is to bear out Picasso's claim to being heir to masters like Rembrandt, Velasquez, Cézanne and Matisse.
The bulk of the tableaux – some 120 pieces – will hang in the Grand Palais, alongside works by painters including Goya, Renoir and Van Gogh.
The Musée d'Orsay will juxtapose Manet's original Déjeuner sur l'herbe with Picasso's increasingly abstract interpretations of the original canvas.
The Louvre will hang Delacroix's Women of Algiers side by side with the complete set of the cubist master's reworkings.
Picasso was invited to exhibit ten of his works in the Louvre in 1947 alongside those by Delacroix, Courbet and...
SOURCE: Guardian (8-28-08)
Among them were two Titian masterpieces whose net worth 210 years on may now reach £300m - which would make them easily the most valuable paintings ever sold. Yesterday the national galleries in London and Scotland announced they are uniting in an attempt to buy them for the nation.
The artist Lucian Freud described them as the most beautiful pictures in the world. Remarkably, they have been on public display almost since Hazlitt first saw them, for more than a century in London and since 1945 on loan at the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh. But now their current owner, the 7th Duke of Sutherland, has announced he wants to sell them...
SOURCE: Daily Mail (8-26-08)
They include a warship that was blown up in 1665, a yacht converted to a Second World War gunboat, and a mystery wreck in which divers found a personalised gin bottle.
The vessels, in the Thames Estuary, are just some of about 1,100 ships which went down in the whole of the river.
The salvage by Wessex Archaeology and the Port of London Authority, which regulates the river, was both historical and practical.
Jagged metal from the wrecks which stick out of the mud, silt, and gravel act as a 'can-opener' that can split apart vessels, especially large container ships which can skim within half a metre of the riverbed.
The operation was filmed for the BBC and took four months, using a dozen divers who used 3D survey equipment to locate the wrecks in near-zero visibility...
SOURCE: USA Today (8-26-08)
It was Thursday night, about 8:10 p.m., and Mitchell Siegel, a Jewish immigrant from Lithuania, was in his secondhand clothing store on the near East Side. According to a police report, three men entered. One asked to see a suit of clothes and walked out without paying for it. In the commotion of the robbery, Siegel, 60, fell to the ground and died.
The police report mentions a gunshot being heard. But the coroner, the police and Siegel's wife said Siegel died of a heart attack. No one was ever arrested.
What happened next has exploded some of the longest-held beliefs about the origins of Superman and the two teenage boys, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, who invented America's best-known comic-book hero.
Past accounts suggest Siegel and Shuster, both 17, awkward and unpopular in...
SOURCE: Telegraph (8-26-08)
Troy Howe, a former playwright, began doodling while trying to combat writers' block and as his sketches became more complex, he realised he had a hidden talent.
He has now drawn pen versions of classic paintings including Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, Johannes Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring and a portrait of the Queen - all with a biro.
Mr Howe, who is from Kenya, struggled to find inspiration after fleeing his country in exile in 2004 after harassment from police and government officials over his plays.
His new talent was developed in the four years since his arrival in the UK, as his writing was affected by periods during which he struggled.
The artist displayed his collection of work at Leeds University last year and ballpoint pen firm BIC, which is interested in working with him...
SOURCE: Independent (8-26-08)
The cream of British cinema was enlisted, including Helen Mirren, John Gielgud, Peter O'Toole and Malcolm McDowell, as well as a Hollywood budget of £17.5m and the scriptwriting talents of the acclaimed novelist, Gore Vidal.
It was supposed to chronicle the last four years in the life of the power-mad "viper in Rome's bosom" whose brief reign as emperor ended with his murder in AD 41. The only fly in the ointment was that the film's financier, Bob Guccione, who was also the open-shirted, gold-chain-wearing Penthouse publisher, felt it lacked a certain something.
So two years after the 115-minute R-rated film was released, Caligula's "uncut" version was produced after an hour of hardcore pornographic action which had been secretly filmed by him in...
SOURCE: Guardian (8-26-08)
"The minute I heard about it, I knew that I and no one else would play him," says the Israeli actor Igal Naor. It's a curious sense of conviction, because when the BBC was casting for the role, Naor was virtually unknown outside Israel. True, he had appeared in the 2005 blockbuster film Munich, in which he played one of the Black September gunmen blown up by Mossad agents to avenge the assassination of 11 Israeli Olympian athletes. But his screen time was, by...
SOURCE: Telegraph (8-26-08)
Archaeologists now believe the frigidarium contained a gallery of large imperial statues running around its long walls, offering a treasure trove of antique images.
Marcus Aurelius, who was portrayed by Richard Harris in the 2000 film Gladiator, ruled from 161AD to 180AD and won fame for his standing as a Stoic philosopher, as well as for his wise governance of the empire.
Sagalassos, high in the western Toros mountains in the south of the country, was destroyed by an earthquake between 540AD and 620AD, bringing down the baths and filling the cross-shaped frigidarium with rubble.
SOURCE: Today's Zaman (8-23-08)
The Iron Age accessories, carved from ivory and bone, have been copied with designs made out of wood. The lice comb, which is very popular among older women, is a popular but rare item that can be found in the historical Uzun Bazaar in Hatay. Accessories made of blue, yellow and white beads believed to provide protection from the evil eye are also popular in the city's shops and jewelry stores.
SOURCE: http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk (8-25-08)
Channel Four's The Devil's Whore will show key historical moments from the civil war, including the Battle of Naseby and the execution of King Charles I.
But rather than using historic locations such as the Naseby Battlefield in Northamptonshire, the crew behind the project chose countryside north of Cape Town in South Africa.
Northamptonshire County Council's cabinet member for culture, Councillor Ursula Jones (Con, Wicksteed), who is also a keen amateur historian, said the decision was a surprise.
She said: "I do think it's a shame that they couldn't use the historic site because it has been so well preserved.
"I would love to have seen them filming here. It would have been really nice because the site has been so well looked...
SOURCE: CBS News (8-24-08)
For more than a quarter-century Afghanistan has been in continuous war - the
Soviet invasion, followed by civil war, the Taliban, Osama bin Laden, the American-led
Invasion, and it goes on.
In 2001, the towering ancient Buddhas of Mamiyan were obscenely erased by the Taliban, who with knives and sledgehammers went on to obliterate 2,000 works of art from the National Museum in Kabul - stunning objects declared offensive under strict Islamic law.
Hundreds more were lost to looting and bombing. An ancient world lost … or so we thought....
SOURCE: NYT (8-25-08)
Aug. 12, 1938, that is.
The observations were made by George Orwell, whose copious diaries are now being published every day in blog form, exactly 70 years after they were made. The scholars behind the project say they are trying to get more attention for Orwell online and to make him more relevant to a younger generation he would have wanted to speak to.
“I think he would have been a blogger,” said Jean Seaton, a professor at the University of Westminster in London who administers the Orwell writing prize and thought up the idea of the blog.
Though as prolific as any blogger (his collected writings occupy some 20 volumes), Orwell, who died in 1950, never had the chance to spontaneously publish his thoughts to a waiting public. Now — with some lag time — they...