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: Andrew Gumbel at truthdig.com (11-14-08)
From a personal point of view, of course, it’s a little less heartening when the target happens to be me.
His Truthdig article this week is one long torrent of invective against my professional integrity as a journalist, and against what he sees as my scurrilous motives when interviewing him on behalf of the new Spanish-language Vanity Fair magazine.
He accuses me of libeling him, but also manages to portray me, without any factual basis, as a tabloid hack who spreads “Republican-style lies,” who knows nothing about his political writing, who is malicious and confused, and on and on. One could wonder who exactly is libeling whom here, but that’s an argument I sincerely hope we don’t have to have.
SOURCE: BBC (11-20-08)
The painting, which depicts Jesus Christ being lowered from the cross by John the Baptist, was cut into six pieces to be smuggled out of Greece.
A British court had ordered its return, dismissing an appeal by the owner...
The large painting was commissioned 700 years ago for the St John the Baptist monastery in Serres, northern Greece, and had hung there until its theft in 1978...
After its brief appearance [in court], the icon was taken away by restorers, who will spend several months attempting to repair the damage done by the thieves.
SOURCE: Times (UK) (11-18-08)
The Pushkin Museum in Moscow opened an exhibition of paintings by Joseph Turner yesterday, the first time that the British artist has been displayed in Russia since 1975. The show contains 112 works in a partnership with Tate Britain that has been underwritten by the billionaire Alisher Usmanov.
It follows the success of an exhibition of British dress from the 18th and 19th centuries at the Kremlin Museums, which closed on Sunday after drawing record crowds. More than 65,000 people came to see Two Centuries of British Fashion, which featured 90 pieces from the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. It was the first time that the Kremlin and the V&A had collaborated on an exhibition.
The Kremlin Museums are repaying the compliment by lending...
SOURCE: AP (11-18-08)
The new service, available at http://images.google.com/hosted/life, debuted Tuesday with about 2 million photos. Eventually, Google plans to scan all 10 million photos from Life's library so they can be viewed on any computer with an Internet connection.
About 97 percent of Life's archives have not been publicly seen, according to Life.
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (11-19-08)
The documents detail the treatment of Thomas Hayne Cutbush at Broadmoor, the high-security hospital for the criminally insane.
Cutbush, a disturbed and violent youth, became insane in 1888, the year of the killings, and was wandering the streets of London. He was sent to Lambeth Infirmary in 1891 suffering delusions thought to have been caused by syphilis. But he immediately escaped and stabbed one woman then attempted to stab a second.
He was pronounced insane and committed to Broadmoor in 1891 where he remained until his death in 1903. From the day he was detained, the Ripper attacks ceased.
SOURCE: AP (11-19-08)
The artifacts were among hundreds of pieces taken to the United States by American consul Edward Herbert Thompson, who dredged up the bottom of the sacred lake between 1904 and 1910 to recover offerings deposited there by the Mayas.
William Fash, director of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, said the idea would still have to be approved by authorities at the university and the museum, but that returning the artifacts could help scholars studying jade and jade-like stones which held both artistic and religious significance for the Mayas.
SOURCE: AFP (11-18-08)
New evidence unearthed in France's National Museum of Natural History shows beyond reasonable doubt that the Hope Diamond is the same steely-blue stone once sported by the Sun King, they said.
Mineralogist Francois Farges, heading an investigation published in a peer-reviewed French journal, told AFP he was now "99 percent sure" that the Hope and the mythical Blue Diamond of the Crown were one and the same.
"The evidence corroborates a scenario under which the diamond, after being stolen in Paris in 1792, was swiftly smuggled to London, where it was recut," he said.
SOURCE: http://www.courier-journal.com (11-11-08)
A 2,500-pound, waxed bronze sculpture of the Kentucky-born president and a standardbred horse was lowered into place on the lawn facing the Gothic Revival house where Lincoln spent the last three summers of the Civil War.
On a sunny but brisk morning, the likeness of the 6-foot-4-inch Lincoln, attired in his trademark stovepipe hat and frock coat, stood looking toward the cottage, one hand resting on his horse's saddle.
With a hint of a smile on his face, the 16th president looked as if he were about to jump up onto his steed for his customary three-mile ride down to the White House.
The sculpture is just the latest of many tributes being unveiled to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth near Hodgenville, Ky., on Feb. 12, 1809.
SOURCE: Informed Comment (Blog run by Juan Cole) (11-16-08)
The plot of the film was developed by producer Michael G. Wilson during the filming of "Casino Royale." New York-born Wilson is from a show-business family (his father, Lewis Wilson, was the first...
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (11-18-08)
Politicians tried to block filming in Germany. Relatives of Von Stauffenberg expressed disapproval at Cruise's links to Scientology. A team of extras was injured during production and launched a $11m lawsuit. Major scenes needed to be reshot, and the release date was changed more than three times.
This week, the film's trailer hit US cinemas. And as billboards began popping up around Los Angeles announcing its Boxing Day release, a new and even more shocking revelation began...
SOURCE: TheDailyBeast.com (11-17-08)
They say if you just wait 23 centuries, the same fashions will come around again. Back then, the Greeks erected the Colossus of Rhodes, a 34-meter high statue to the sun god Helios, and it stood for nearly 70 years until destroyed in 226. The new collossus, designed by East German artist Gert Hof, will be a decidedly more modern creation: the world’s largest light installation. It will stand 60 to 100 meters tall and cost 200 million euros to complete. Built in part from melted-down weapons, the installation will celebrate peace, just as its predecessor did.
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (11-17-08)
But Ari Folman, who as a 19-year-old soldier fired some of the flares, makes their descent through the sky over Beirut's beachfront one of the recurring images of Waltz With Bashir, his "animated documentary" that premiers in Britain this week.
In Israel, the film has rekindled discussion about the divisive invasion of Lebanon that was initially billed by Ariel Sharon, who was defence minister at the time, as a limited push to halt PLO rocket attacks, and the extent of Israeli responsibility for the Sabra and Shatila massacre where the estimated number of victims ranged from 700 to more than 3,000. Folman has said he had no idea the massacre was being committed when he shot the flares.
SOURCE: Observer (UK) (11-16-08)
The track, a jumble of shrieks and psychedelic effects, is said to be as far from the melodic ballads that made Sir Paul McCartney famous as it is possible to imagine. But now McCartney has said that the public will have the chance to judge for themselves.
'It does exist,' McCartney says on a BBC Radio 4 arts programme to be broadcast this week. Talking to John Wilson, the presenter of Front Row, the former Beatle confirms that he still has a master tape of the work and says he suspects that 'the time has come for it to get its moment'.
'I like it because it's the Beatles free, going off piste,' he adds.
In the 40 years since 'Carnival of Light' was recorded by McCartney, Ringo...
SOURCE: Guardian (UK) (11-17-08)
Twenty-three centuries after craftsmen carved the legendary statue that has inspired legions of painters, poets, playwrights and politicians, a new world wonder, built in the spirit of the original Colossus, is about to be born on the Aegean island.
After decades of dashed hopes, the people of Rhodes will fulfil a long-held dream to revive one of the world's seven ancient wonders - thanks to the promise of international funding and the East German artist Gert Hof.
"It will be a unique architectural creation," said the island's mayor, Hatzis Hatziefthimiou, presenting what is likely to become one of the 21st century's largest artistic projects in Dubai last week.
"We want to make it a...
SOURCE: Newstatesman (11-13-08)
SOURCE: AP (11-14-08)
Mockingbirds collected by Charles Darwin on the Galapagos Islands may not be the most visually exciting part of an exhibition that opened Friday at the Natural History Museum, but they stimulated the thinking that led to the theory of evolution.
The specimens have never before been on public display.
Darwin found that the mockingbirds he saw in the Galapagos Islands in September and October of 1835 were different from the ones he had seen all over South America.
"It struck him immediately that is was a very different bird: it's bigger, it has this dark chest, the bill is quite long," said Jo Cooper, the museum's curator of birds.
Darwin noted greater variations in the birds from different islands in the Galapagos than he had seen on the continent, "and that really made him start thinking," Cooper said.
SOURCE: http://www.bellinghamherald.com (11-13-08)
The additions to a University of Washington Web site came about as part of a senior-level history class. The rare photos and newspaper clippings tell of the Klan's broad presence in this region during the 1920s.
There's the Sedro-Woolley wedding of Klan members in full regalia, a night parade in Bellingham and rallies in places like Renton and Issaquah that at times drew crowds of up to 50,000.
SOURCE: Bruce Kirkland at http://jam.canoe.ca (11-14-08)
It is labeled the Uncut Edition, offering more nudity and simulated sex than was shown in the mainstream broadcasts. Given how raunchy the series is anyway, that means these unedited versions should not be shown to children, at least not without supervision and discussion. Especially because the historical record is also subject to poetic interpretation.
One of the intriguing aspects of Season 2 is how Jonathan Rhys Meyers has matured into the role of King Henry VIII. In Season 1, he spent most of his time brooding, yelling or bedding wenches.
In Season 2, he still broods. He still bellows when called for. He still wrangles wenches. But there are more reflective, deeper moments here, too, and that means Meyers' performance is more in lock-step with the rest of the...
SOURCE: Guardian (UK) (11-14-08)
Early in the afternoon, Charles Stuart, "that man of blood", stepped through one of the Banqueting House's windows and on to the scaffold. Seventeenth-century executions were highly ritualised affairs and the crowd would have known the order of...
SOURCE: MSNBC (11-13-08)
"The question we were trying to answer is, given the spatter evidence in a vehicle, and knowing an individual was sitting at a particular location, is there something we could use to determine where the shot originated?" said Steve Schliebe, a blood spatter and trace evidence specialist with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, who was part of the special investigation.
While blood spatter analysis existed in the 1960s, modern innovations have greatly improved its accuracy and the amount of information that can be gleaned from drops of blood.