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: Roger Pulvers in Japan Times (2-1-09)
I can still remember
How that music used to make me smile.
I can't remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride,
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died.
So said Don McLean in his iconic 1971 song "American Pie," about the death in a light-plane crash of three of my generation's childhood heroes: Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson, who was known as The Big Bopper.
Next Tuesday, Feb. 3, it is 50 years since "the day the music died."
Nothing defines a generation like its music; and for my generation — we were teenagers in the late 1950s — Feb. 3, 1959, was a truly disastrous day.
The three musicians had just finished their gig at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, and were about to leave for the airport to board a four-seat Beech Bonanza for Fargo, North Dakota. Buddy allocated a seat to The Big Bopper...
SOURCE: NYT (1-30-09)
Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury, a cousin of Queen Anne of England, was sent across the sea in 1702 to rule a colony recently wrested from Dutch control. Lord Cornbury was firmly convinced he looked better in queenly get-ups than his cousin did, and he was not shy about making his case before his constituents. A portrait of a man said to be the governor, his fierce 5 o’clock shadow in piquant contrast to the lavish feminine regalia, can still be seen at the New-York Historical Society.
Actually it’s not just the figure in the painting that is in dispute. Some historians have argued that the whole cross-dressing thing was just political smear tactics. That’s kind of a drag, but fictional or not, Cornbury’s...
SOURCE: Scotsman (1-30-09)
The same goes for the legendary Che. No teenager in rebellion against the world or his parents seems able to resist Che's alluring image. Just wearing a Che T-shirt is the shortest and cheapest way to appear to be on the right side of history.
What works for teenagers also seems to work with forever-young movie directors. In the 1960s, the Che look, with beard and beret, was at least a glib political statement. Today, it is little more than a fashion accoutrement that inspires a big-budget Hollywood epic. Are Che theme parks next?
But once there was a real Che Guevara: he is...
SOURCE: Britannica Blog (1-30-09)
The Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial site is a four-acre plot on the north east corner of the Tidal Basin within the precinct of the Jefferson Memorial and north of the memorial to President Roosevelt. It was designed by ROMA Design Group, which is an interdisciplinary firm of architects, landscape architects and planners based in San Francisco.
The project, outlined in the video, is currently raising the funding necessary to go forward with the work.
SOURCE: Press Release (1-26-09)
WILL-TV’s "Lincoln: Prelude to the Presidency" tells the story of his experiences from 1837 to 1860 that shaped the views and honed the skills that guided him when he became president. Reenactments filmed in central Illinois help viewers envision Lincoln riding the dusty circuit, telling stories with friends and trying cases in court.
“That’s where he really got a sense of the various kinds of problems people faced,” said historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, one of the experts featured in the documentary. “He got a sense of the exuberance of their dreams and their hopes. In a certain sense, I think it was the root of his political education.”
Viewers see Lincoln as they’ve never seen him before: defending a slave holder trying to reclaim a slave named...
SOURCE: AP (1-28-09)
Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said Greece and Iraq have also agreed to build a monument honoring the Greek warrior-king Alexander the Great at an ancient battlefield in southern Iraq.
She was speaking after talks in Athens with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.
SOURCE: Inside Higher Ed (1-29-09)
The University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology — long considered one of the leading institutions of its kind — last month told the 18 research specialists who make up the research division of the institution that they would all lose their jobs in May. Those laid off include many leading scholars, some of whom have worked 20 or more years at the university, managing research expeditions...
SOURCE: NYT (1-29-09)
SOURCE: Times (UK) (1-28-09)
On February 1, 1979, two weeks after the last shah fled the country, Ayatollah Khomeini returned in triumph from exile, sparking a revolution that established the Islamic republic. But those wishing to gain a proper perspective on a country that we now hear of mostly in connection with its nuclear programme or the anti-Semitic rantings of President Ahmadinejad should look farther back, to a time when Iran was at the centre of the world.
That is what the British Museum is inviting us to do. Next month it...
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (1-29-09)
"We don't just want to do 19th century book adaptations. Emma will be our last Austen for a few years," said Kate Harwood, the BBC's controller of series and serials.
The Emma remake will be a "fresh, humorous and perceptive" take on the classic story, originally published in 1815. It was last serialised by the BBC in 1972...
SOURCE: Star Tribune (1-28-09)
The passing decades haven't diminished fascination with that night on Feb. 2, 1959, when 22-year-old Buddy Holly, 28-year-old J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson and 17-year-old Ritchie Valens performed in Clear Lake and then boarded the plane for a planned 300-mile flight that lasted only minutes.
"It was really like the first rock 'n' roll landmark; the first death," said rock historian Jim Dawson, who has written several books about music of that era. "They say these things come in threes. Well, all three happened at the same time."
Starting Wednesday, thousands of people are expected to gather in the small northern Iowa town where the rock pioneers gave their last performance. They'll come to the Surf Ballroom for symposiums with the three...
SOURCE: AP (1-26-09)
Roberts got the words a little off during President Barack Obama's oath of office last week, so he was perhaps relieved that tradition called for something simpler to formally install Wayne Clough as the 12th secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.
"I don't know who was responsible for that decision, but I like 'em," Roberts said, drawing laughs from a crowd of curators, researchers and staff.
Clough called on the world's largest museum complex to prepare for changes as a result of the nation's economic crisis. He also said American education and research has fallen behind.
"These forces are causing a sea change in our world and call for us to chart a bold path if we are to meet the challenges ahead," he said. "Long-established institutions...
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (1-27-09)
It could all have been so very, very different. The actress chuckles as she remembers the circumstances in the early 1990s when she was summoned over to St Albans to meet Kubrick. He wanted her to play the lead in his "Holocaust" film, The Aryan Papers, which he was planning to adapt from Louis Begley's semi-autobiographical novel, Wartime Lies. If the film had been made, she would have become a huge international star.
"He [Kubrick] was convinced that he had found an actress whose performance would catapult a...
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (1-27-09)
Its lawyers are said to have drawn up a list of 50 companies including ashtray manufacturers, poster makers and artists that have apparently copied it without permission.
Warnings have already been issued to 25 firms and individuals internationally to "cease and desist" from using the image or face the legal consequences.
Colin Hulme, the intellectual property lawyer handling the case, said a large proportion of the unauthorised copies were produced by a small number of printing firms.
He said: "Our initial focus will be on hitting the most prominent companies who are selling copies of this painting at considerable sums and in substantial quantities. "We can seek damages for copyright infringement on past...
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (1-27-09)
Experts at the museum revealed their findings after an exhaustive study of the work that began last summer amid criticism that the painting was of a lesser standard than Goya's other works.
After a close analysis of the style, techniques and composition of the "The Colossus" researchers remarked on "the poverty of the technique, light and colours" when compared to other authentic Goya pieces.
"There is a marked difference between it and other masterpieces attributed to Goya," said Manuela Mena Marques, a chief curator at the museum, in a statement on Monday.
And she named Asensio Julia as the most likely author after discovering the initials "AJ" in the bottom left-hand corner...
SOURCE: USA Today (1-25-09)
But more is at stake than just a few loose doubloons, they say. "The big picture is that a fair amount of humanity's past we don't know, and it's important we don't let it become lost forever," says maritime archaeologist James Delgado, head of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology.
The latest flashpoint comes with the recent premiere of the show Treasure Quest on cable's Discovery Channel (Thurs. 10 pm ET/PT), which follows deepwater exploration company Odyssey Marine Exploration as its teams explore two historic shipwrecks. Odyssey is in hot water with Spain over one of them, fighting it out in U.S. federal court over rights to the wreckage code-named the "Black Swan." Odyssey announced...
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (1-26-09)
It currently hangs at the entrance to the Security Council room at the UN headquarters in New York. The UN was criticised in February 2003 after it covered the tapestry with a blue curtain when Colin Powell, then the US Secretary of State, addressed the council on Iraq, a month before the US-led invasion.
It said the curtain provided "an appropriate background for the cameras", but critics claimed that Mr Powell's advisers had intervened to prevent his speech being given in front of a pacifist or anti-war backdrop.
The original was painted by Pablo Picasso within weeks of the bombing by German planes, which killed hundreds of civilians. It has come to commonly represent the horrors of war.
Goshka Macuga, a Polish-born London artist, has created...
SOURCE: CBS (1-25-09)
[The collector has more than 30,000 pieces.]
SOURCE: TomDispatch.com (1-24-09)
SOURCE: Spero News (1-24-09)
War Against the Weak – The Movie has already been nominated by the festival for its Social Justice award. After years of intense research and collaboration with author Black, and painstaking filming from Long Island to Auschwitz by noted director Justin Strawhand and producer Pete Demas, the gripping film version of the groundbreaking investigation into the eugenics movement comes to the big screen. The production company's announcement comes as the movie begins the film festival circuit in preparation...