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: Independent (UK) (1-5-09)
Ernesto "Che" Guevara might not have become so famous were it not for that image. He probably would not be the subject of a four-hour, two-part movie epic directed by Steven Soderbergh: Che: Part One was released on New Year's Day to coincide with the anniversary of the revolution, the armed communist struggle in which Argentinean Guevara was Castro's second-in-command.
The film will doubtless cause a spike in demand for Che memorabilia; his likeness has been seen on millions of T...
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (1-7-09)
The London attraction will waive its entrance fee, which starts at £12.23, to American citizens on January 20, to celebrate the debut of its wax figure of the president-elect.
Visitors can get up close and personal with the world's most powerful man in a recreation of the Oval office.
They can stand behind the Resolute desk used by presidents since 1880 and pace the American eagle-patterned carpet...
SOURCE: Guardian (UK) (1-7-09)
The move comes after the building's owner made the surprise decision to donate it to the city where the kung fu icon first shot to fame, and follows a long-running campaign by fans. The two-story 5,700 sq ft (61,354 sq metre) building had been languishing as a downmarket love motel where rooms could be hired by the hour.
Owner Yu Pang-lin, a hotel and property tycoon, announced yesterday that he had agreed a joint plan with the Hong Kong authorities to convert the building into a tourist attraction. "I'm 88 years old now and hope that while I'm still alive I'll be able to see this Bruce Lee museum completed," he said.
The townhouse, where Lee was living when he died under mysterious circumstances in 1973, will contain a recreation of Lee's original study and training hall,...
SOURCE: Observer (UK) (1-4-09)
Wander further along the main wall and you will find other exuberant depictions of everyday life in 18th Dynasty Egypt: a boy driving cattle along a road; geese, stored in baskets, ready for the market; a farmer, stooped and balding, checking his fields, and a hunt through reed beds that burst with creatures - shrike, wagtails and pintail ducks - easily identifiable still.
These are the tomb paintings that once belonged to Nebamun, a court official who lived almost 3,500 years...
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (1-7-09)
Lily Howes, a 14-year-old student of the Royal Ballet School, today posed alongside the sculpture which was originally modelled on a ballerina of the same age.
The Little Dancer shocked contemporaries when it was first exhibited for its vivid depiction of the strain of ballet training on a barely adolescent girl.
Melanie Clore, co-chairman of Impressionist & Modern Art at Sotheby's, said: "This is the most important and iconic sculpture by Edgar Degas. We are thrilled to be offering this remarkable work which is so celebrated for the revolutionary nature of its modern sculptural form."
Created in wax circa 1879-81, The Little Dancer was the only sculpture Degas exhibited during his lifetime.
The wax figure was found in the artist's studio following...
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (1-7-09)
Valkyrie, starring Tom Cruise as a German officer who attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler, has made more than $60 million in two weeks in the United States, while Kate Winslet's performance as an SS guard in The Reader has made the film an Oscar favourite.
The lesser-known war film Defiance has also enjoyed unexpected Box Office success in the US, and Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds, about Jewish-American resistance to the Nazis in occupied France is due for release later this year.
Critics and film experts say that the popularity of these war epics stems in part from the public's wish to seek escape in films about topics that are now safely in the past, particularly a conflict in which the "villains" were obvious and the reasons for fighting...
SOURCE: BBC (1-6-09)
Nazim Hikmet was stripped of his citizenship for his Marxist beliefs in the 1950s after he fled the country, having spent years in Turkish prisons.
Hikmet, who died in exile in Moscow in 1963, revolutionised Turkish poetry during the 1930s and has had his work translated into some 50 languages.
Deputy PM Cemil Cicek said it was time for the government to change its mind.
"The crimes which forced the government to strip him of his citizenship at that time are no longer considered a crime," he said.
Mr Cicek said it was up to Hikmet's relatives to decide if they wanted to bring his remains back from Moscow, in accordance with a wish in his will to be buried under a tree in an Anatolian cemetery...
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (1-6-09)
In 1816 Colonel Isaac A. Coles described his conversations with the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. They had" conversed at length on the subject of architecture". Palladio, Jefferson had said,"was the Bible – you should get it and stick close to it".
Thomas Jefferson was an exceptional man, a founding father of the United States, as well as being an amateur architect. His views about the art of building, however, were conventional for an English-speaking gentleman of the 18th century. He thought that subject had been summed up for all time by Andrea Palladio over two centuries before.
Palladio (1508-80), was, as the art historian James Ackerman roundly put it,"the most imitated architect in history". This spring the 500th anniversary of his birth is celebrated by a major exhibition at the...
SOURCE: CNN (1-5-09)
Particularly, he told CNN, when the topic turned to the Watergate scandal.
"By halfway through the second day [of the interviews], we had got to the point that we had hoped to get to," he said. "And then it was a point of going further and trying to get more than we had really expected."
Nixon famously let down his guard, a moment depicted in in "Frost/Nixon," the new Ron Howard-directed film starring Frank Langella as Nixon and Michael Sheen as Frost.
"I'm saying when the president does it, that means it's not illegal," Nixon said during the interview, cementing his ignominy.
SOURCE: CNN (1-5-09)
SOURCE: Times (UK) (1-6-09)
Beatles fans had assumed the metal cross had been melted down or recycled after Lennon returned it in protest at the Vietnam War, and yesterday they called for it to be dusted off and placed on public display.
The MBE is at the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood, in St James’s Palace, where it was carefully stored on the day of its return. It is still in the original presentation case and sits alongside the singer’s protest letter to the Queen...
SOURCE: History Today (1-5-09)
Wesley Kerr, Chairman of the Heritage Lottery Fund Committee for London, said: 'This is a moving and powerful painting that brings to life the courage, compassion and determination of an important figure in British history. As a woman and as a West Indian of mixed race she broke many barriers to make a huge contribution to Victorian society.'..
SOURCE: BBC (1-5-09)
One of those lawyers, Anthony Julius - best known for representing Princess Diana in her divorce from Prince Charles - explains why he voted to let merchant Antonio keep the money after all.
In the play, the young man Bassanio asks his friend Antonio to lend him money so he can woo the beautiful and wealthy heiress Portia. Antonio promises to cover a bond, so Bassanio turns to the moneylender Shylock and names Antonio as the loan's guarantor.
Shylock, who hates Antonio because he had insulted and spat on him for being a Jew the week before, proposes a condition: if Antonio is unable to repay the loan at the specified date, Shylock will be free to take a pound of Antonio's flesh....
SOURCE: http://www.sundaymail.co.uk/ (1-4-09)
Philip, who was the last survivor of the plotters, said:"My brother George called and said, 'They want explosives'. I knew exactly what for."
Philip was one of the lucky ones. In Hitler's bloodbath of revenge, most of the plotters died, some by firing squad or suicide but many suffered the grotesque and painfully slow death of being hanged by piano wire.
Now the story of their doomed assassination attempt is being told in a documentary DVD.
It is released to coincide with Valkyrie, the block buster starring Tom Cruise as plot ringleader Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg.
In 1894 he lived in the resort, penning The Importance of Being Ernest there and naming character Jack Worthing in its honour.
For years a blue plaque has boasted of his time at Esplanade Court on the seafront, but now some want to rid the town of the honour.
Feelings have become heated since Chris Hare, a local historian, raised the question of Wilde's relationships with teenage boys in a new book, Worthing, a History: Riots and Respectability in a Seaside Town.
He said there was documented evidence that Wilde seduced boys there. A 14-year-old, called Alphonso, had to leave the town as a result.
Mr Hare said:"People often think of Wilde as a martyr, but it's a bit unsavoury cruising around looking for sexual favours from young boys, isn't it? Even today people would not find that acceptable. It reminds me of Gary Glitter."
SOURCE: NY Daily News (1-4-09)
Now that tale is a Hollywood movie called “Defiance” and Bielsky is still reeling from the surreal experience of seeing the newest James Bond play his father, Tuvia Bielski, on the big screen.
“Daniel Craig kinda looks like my dad,” said Bielsky, 50, who changed the spelling of his last name.
Bielsky, who lives on Long Island, said it was even stranger seeing his 22-year-old son Jordan playing a Nazi collaborator in the movie.
In August the National Galleries of Scotland and the London-based National Gallery joined forces to buy Diana and Actaeon, Titian's 1550s masterpiece that he painted for King Phillip II of Spain.
The Duke of Sutherland offered the painting to them for £50 million - which experts believe is a knock-down price - on condition they raised their funds by December 31.
Now the Scottish Executive has sealed the deal, according to the Independent on Sunday, which also reported that the National Gallery has promised £12.5 million.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (12-4-09)
Now, however, the US-born grandson of Maria, the singing governess played by Julie Andrews, is persuading his family to embrace a film that many relatives have long viewed as more of a curse than a blessing.
Sam von Trapp, 36, a dashing former Ralph Lauren model who once appeared on People magazine's most eligible bachelors list and has just taken over the family business, starred in a television commercial advertising the 2,400-acre resort during last week's annual US broadcast of the 1965 film. It was the first time the Trapp Family Lodge had been promoted directly on the back of the film.
Sam intends to bring back family sing-alongs at the lodge later this year. And he is in talks with two television production companies about a possible reality show based...
SOURCE: NY Post (1-2-09)
Robert Pritikin - who penned such jingles as "Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco Treat" and has a $40 million art collection - owns several Hitler artifacts, including the Fuehrer's notorious globe, which he used to plan U-boat attacks from his compound in the Bavarian Alps.
The globe was replicated and prominently featured in "Valkyrie," the thriller about a real-life plot to assassinate Hitler - and that has Pritikin mulling legal action. In 2007, Pritikin paid $100,000 for the globe and had its likeness copyrighted to keep it from being used in propaganda by sick neo-Nazi groups. So he was stunned to see it in the movie from Cruise's United Artists studios.
In August he offered it to them for £50 million - which experts believe is a knock-down-price - on condition they raised the funds by December 31.
The National Gallery is also said to have pledged £12.5 million.
A source close to the deal refused to confirm a deal had been completed, saying negotiations were ongoing. It suggests a deal is close to being struck.
It is not just the future of Diana and Actaeon, painted in the 1550s for King Phillip II of Spain, that hangs in the balance.
Also on the line is a second Titian, Diana and Callisto, that the duke promised to sell for a similar amount in four years if the first goes through.
If both sales proceed the duke has guaranteed that the wider Bridgewater Collection, of which they are a part, will remain on...