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: Guardian (9-10-08)
The annual event, which kicks off on October 15 with the world premiere of Ron Howard's Frost/Nixon, about David Frost's famous TV interviews with the disgraced US president, will this year feature a record 15 international premieres.
Oliver Stone's much anticipated biopic W, starring Josh Brolin as the 43rd US president, will get its first UK screening at the festival, and there's also a place for Che, Steven Soderbergh's four-hour examination of the life of south American revolutionary Che Guevara, with Benicio Del Toro in the title role. The biopic debuted at Cannes earlier this year, where it was screened in one showing; for London it looks to have been split into two parts.
Elsewhere, Steve McQueen's award-winning drama Hunger, which features Michael Fassbender...
SOURCE: Telegraph (9-9-08)
Some 17 oeuvres have been hand-picked by the 53-year old"king of kitsch" to hang in the 17th century chateau and home to the French monarchy until the Revolution.
Among those on display in the Grand Apartment, the Hall of Mirrors and other historic rooms is the nine-foot stainless steel red Hanging Heart, which fetched $23.6 million (£12 million) last year, making Mr Koons the most expensive living artist.
SOURCE: AP (9-8-08)
"A 500-gross tonnage coaster from the North Sea-Baltic line," Tamm said, rattling off specs of that first vessel in his possession.
Of course, 500 gross tons was a little too big for a 6-year-old. What Tamm's mother gave him was an inch-long (2.5-centimeter) model of the cargo ship."Then came the second, then came the third, until I lost count," said Tamm.
Today he has 36,000. Each and every one built to the same 1:1,250 scale — and that's not all.
SOURCE: AP (9-9-08)
The brand's top executive admitted his nerves were aflutter despite the tight security he lined up for the operation.
"I don't want to be the president who loses the recipe," KFC President Roger Eaton said. "Imagine how terrifying that would be."
So important is the 68-year-old concoction that coats the chain's Original Recipe chicken that only two company executives at any time have access to it. The company refuses to release their name or title, and it uses multiple suppliers who produce and blend the ingredients but know only a part of the entire contents....
SOURCE: Independent (9-9-08)
Peter McCallum, associate professor of musicology at the University of Sydney, found the 32 bars of handwritten music while looking at one of the composer's sketchbooks in Berlin's state library. Most of his books have been studied in detail but the final one has attracted less attention.
McCallum said that he didn't know instantly that it was a piano piece because Beethoven often used a chaotic sort of shorthand. "The sketchbooks ... are very difficult to read and need a bit of deciphering, but you can work it out if you look at it for long enough," he said.
McCallum said he believed the piece was written in October 1826, five months before Beethoven died.
SOURCE: AP (9-8-08)
Indeed, her tone was bitter as she described plans to close the park Sunday night in lieu of an agreement with the city or with private developer Thor Equities, which have competing plans for the 3-acre Brooklyn site.
"Despite rumors to the contrary, there are absolutely no negotiations going on, and there never were," said Albert, whose family has owned Astroland for more than four decades.
The park would close permanently, she said. Late Sunday night, visitors were herded out of the park and the lights were shut off for the last time.
SOURCE: NYT (9-4-08)
Does the story line sound familiar?
Diana, Princess of Wales, was not the first member of the aristocratic Spencer family to win the heart of her country but not her husband. In 1774 her ancestor Lady Georgiana Spencer married the Duke of Devonshire, who had been considered the most eligible bachelor in England. Their sad union is the focus of “The Duchess,” which opens Sept. 19.
Based on Amanda Foreman’s 1998 best-selling biography, “Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire,” the film concentrates on only about 10 years...
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune (8-20-08)
They were courtesans whose nickname"insoumises," meaning insubordinate, came from the fact that, unlike common prostitutes, they refused to submit to police licensing or conventional morals. They were glamorous, venal and usually ended up badly but while the going was good they were celebrated, from before the Empire and after its end, by writers from Dumas fils to Maupassant and Zola.
At the 39th-annual Rencontres d'Arles, France's most famous photography festival, the guest curator, the couturier Christian Lacroix, chose Les Insoumises to feature in a special and very entertaining section, explaining that he has long been fascinated by these colorful transgressors. The exhibition was co-curated by Laure Deratte.
SOURCE: NYT (9-5-08)
But last year Edward Pettit, a Poe scholar in Philadelphia, began arguing that Poe’s remains belong in Philadelphia. Poe wrote many of his most noteworthy works there and, according to Mr. Pettit, that city’s rampant crime and violence in the mid-19th century framed Poe’s sinister outlook and inspired his creation of the detective fiction genre.
“So, Philadelphians, let’s hop in our cars, drive down I-95 and appropriate a body from a certain Baltimore cemetery,” Mr. Pettit wrote in an article for the Philadelphia City Paper in October. “I’ll bring the shovel.”
So far, no one has taken up Mr. Pettit’s call for Philadelphia’s best grave robbers to bring home the city’s prodigal son before the bicentennial of Poe’s birth in January 2009. But the ghoulish argument between the cities over the body and...
SOURCE: Guardian (9-6-08)
SOURCE: Mother Jones (9-1-08)
But unlike her predecessor, Bush has remained something of a sphinx these past eight years, offering few clues about her views of the world and of her husband. The public sees in her what it wants to see, projecting on to her beliefs that she has chosen to neither confirm nor deny. So author Curtis Sittenfeld has gone ahead and tried to fill in the blanks through fiction. American Wife, timed for release with the opening of the Republican convention,...
SOURCE: NYT (9-4-08)
In recent weeks museumgoers have tended to speed past the glass-encased artifacts from Oceania and Asia or skim Homo’s evolution to sapiens. They can’t afford to tarry. The Pigorini has no money for air-conditioning, and the Roman sun is merciless.
“We barely have enough money to keep the lights on, or pay for a cleaning staff,” said Vito Lattanzi, director of educational services and of the Mediterranean collections at the museum, which is also a research institute. The custodial staff has been pared down to 11 from 30. Ten years ago there were eight to a shift; now there are four, and in most cases two are volunteers.
“We’re making a superhuman effort,” Mr. Lattanzi said. “We’re determined to keep the museum open, but the risk of...
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune (9-5-08)
On Tuesday and Wednesday, a sale organized by Bonhams will turn the spotlight on some surprising artists who sprang up at the southern tip of the African continent.
They were as diverse as their individual backgrounds and their versatility reflects their own fragmented life stories. Few had an easy time.
SOURCE: Spiegel Online (9-4-08)
A blue laser projects a dancing Star of David on smoke wafting out of a destroyed tank. A loudspeaker roars into life, booming out artillery salvos, hammering out rifle shots. Above the noise, you can hear orders barked out in Arabic and fighters on the front speaking through walkie-talkies. For five minutes, the war is back in Lebanon -- at least acoustically. Then, the sounds of combat fade away, only to be replaced by the chitchat of the visitors to the exhibit. "Look, it's the skeleton of an Israeli soldier," a father explains to his 3-year-old son in front of a casket with a glass lid.
The show has been a huge success, drawing masses of eager visitors to downtown Nabatiye. But it's not the first such exhibit Hezbollah has staged for its supporters. Each year,...
SOURCE: Telegraph (9-5-08)
This closing production, however, is a bummer, and reveals Dromgoole's Achilles' heel. He rightly wants to put big meaty new plays on his stage as well as Shakespeare, but he has a bad habit of confusing ambitious intentions with actual achievement.
Liberty, about the reign of terror during the French Revolution, certainly isn't as bum-numbingly terrible as We the People, Eric Schlosser's epic last year about the framing of the American Constitution which made the average parish council meeting seem like a wild night at a lap-dancing club.
But Glyn Maxwell's play is nevertheless a terminal snorer, and the feeling of relief when it ends proves the highlight of the night.
The piece is based on Anatole France's novel Les Dieux ont...
SOURCE: Guardian (9-3-08)
London's Imperial War Museum does have an image problem, I admit. Who goes there? Plenty of men with their sons, obviously. Veterans, nostalgists and military history buffs. But it's not, traditionally, the kind of place you take your girlfriend to if you want to look hip. It is, frankly, quite depressing.
There is only one theme from the museum's designated field of 20th-century warfare that still has cachet. As film-makers have found to their profit, while you may no longer be able to fill cinemas with clunking old military epics like A Bridge Too Far you can still reap acclaim, awards and audiences by reflecting on the Holocaust.
For museums too, Holocaust exhibitions are a lot more popular than Monty's tank. The Imperial War Museum's new exhibition Unspeakable: The Artist...
SOURCE: Reuters (9-3-08)
The new method tests the age of the glass in wine bottles by analyzing X-rays emitted when the bottles are placed under ion beams produced by a particle accelerator, the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) said in a statement.
SOURCE: AP (9-4-08)
The little statue took a long, and largely unknown path before being passed from Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Sid Ganis to an Army general during a Wednesday night ceremony and screening.
In 1942, a few weeks after Pearl Harbor, filmmaker Frank Capra joined the Army and was assigned to create a film series, "Why We Fight."
Major Capra, who had directed such films as "It Happened One Night," "Lost Horizon" and "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" was told to create the documentary "Prelude to War."
He showed the finished work to Army Chief of Staff Gen. George C. Marshall, who insisted that President Roosevelt see the film.
In his 1971 autobiography, "The Name Above the Title," Capra wrote of a screening at the White House. Amid the applause at the end, FDR...
SOURCE: Bay Area Reporter (9-4-08)
Milk kicks off with two hippies: a scraggily bearded Wall Street dropout, Milk (Sean Penn), getting it on with #1 boyfriend Scott Smith (James Franco). The couple's camera shop becomes a neighborhood hangout, attracting a bevy of ambitious young men: Cleve Jones (Emile Hirsch), Jack Lira (Diego Luna...
SOURCE: Tehran Times (9-4-08)
The collection has been put on display by the Astan-e Qods Razavi Organization for Libraries, Museums and Archives Centers.
The manuscripts, which are mostly donated to the Astan-e Qods Museum, are attributed to Imam Ali (AS), Imam Hassan (AS), Imam Reza (AS), and Imam Musa (AS) and are on exhibit at the Astan-e Qods stand, the organization’s public relations manager Ali Mehrtalab told the Persian service of IRNA.
“The collection includes the oldest Dari translation of the Quran dating back to the 10th century and the English translation of the Quran translated by Rahim Dowlati,” he remarked.
“The copy of the Quran in the Nastaliq style of calligraphy inscribed by master Hossein Mirkhani, as well as different translations of the Quran into several languages, including Turkish,...