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: Spiegel (5-29-09)
It's amazing how little you can know about your own father: After the death of Berlin resident Manfred Beier in 2002, his sons Wolf and Nils began to sort out their inheritance and came across a treasure. They found dozens of wooden boxes stacked on shelves as well as numerous chests of drawers -- similar to pharmacist cabinets and apparently custom-made. The drawers contained removable inserts, each of which had staggered rows of small drilled holes about three centimeters in diameter. Each of these holes held a roll of miniature film.
SOURCE: HBO (5-30-09)
Continuing the story of Churchill told in HBO's award-winning film, "The Gathering Storm," INTO THE STORM is set against the backdrop of World War II, and offers an intimate look at the making of a nation's hero, whose prowess as a great wartime leader ultimately undermined his political career and threatened his marriage to his lifelong supporter, Clemmie.
SOURCE: NYT (5-30-09)
Ugly stuff, in other words, and mightily entertaining. But behind much of the frothy speculation and accusation was an older, subtler and more intractable conflict between the myths of poetry and the realities of the modern university. What we may be willing to put up with from a poet — in Mr. Walcott’s case, and perhaps Ms. Padel’s as well — is different from what we’re willing to put up with from a professor, which can be quite a problem when the poet is expected to profess.
The tension between these expectations, and the close...
SOURCE: WaPo (5-27-09)
SOURCE: NYT (5-29-09)
You might think, for example, that most starships of the 23rd and 24th centuries pretty much looked like the U.S.S. Enterprise in 2245 (Starfleet Registry NCC-1701; commanding officer, Capt. James T. Kirk). Or you might surmise, from the strange costumes in the opening gallery, that most biped alien life forms of that period had a funky taste in fashion, perhaps reacting against the ho-hum uniforms worn by Starfleet.
You might even suspect from the details of the Danish postmodern-nightclub-style Enterprise-D bridge (where you can sit in the seat in which Capt. Jean-Luc Picard directed his Galaxy-class...
SOURCE: AP (5-29-09)
It's a birthday the world can share in. The peals of London's favorite clock are carried globally by BBC radio, and its 315-foot tower, roughly 16 stories, is the city's most famous landmark.
But getting inside and seeing Big Ben, the sonorous main bell that gives its name to the whole contraption, isn't easy. Security measures mean few are granted admission, and there's no elevator, so those who are escorted in must climb 334 winding limestone stairs.
SOURCE: Gregory McNamee at the Britannica Blog (5-29-09)
SOURCE: Archeology Magazine (6-1-09)
SOURCE: Times (UK) (5-30-09)
“John Lennon used to say that he was born in Liverpool but grew up in Hamburg,” says Ulf Krueger who has been pushing the port to brand itself as a Beatles city for more than 20 years.
The moment has come: a five-storey Beatles museum, complete with a life sized model of the Yellow Submarine and a mock-up of the Hamburg clubs where they played, was opened today to a Ringo Starr-like drum roll.
Around the corner, a square has been renamed Beatles Platz, shaped like a gramophone record, with John, Paul, George, Ringo in stainless steel — and a fifth Beatle, who could be either the sacked drummer Pete Best or the bassist, Stu Sutcliffe.
From Beatles Platz there are now Beatles tours that take visitors around all the grubby corners of the Reeperbahn, Hamburg’s Red Light district, where the group...
SOURCE: Nation (5-28-09)
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Ed (5-29-09)
It depends whom you ask.
Beyond the Chief, a collection of street signs honoring different tribes, opened in February at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Within five weeks, vandals had bent the signs and — in an instance that suggests the culprit was either a poor speller or British — written in permanent marker: "Uh oh I vandalised this!"
Robert Warrior, director of American Indian studies and curator of the exhibit, says that the campus has traditionally been unwelcoming to American Indians and that the tensions worsened after 2007. That was the year the university bowed to pressure from the National Collegiate Athletic Association and scrapped the popular Chief Illiniwek mascot.
Edgar Heap of Birds, a professor of Native American studies at the University of Oklahoma, is...
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (5-25-09)
It started in Rome where among those to admire it were Pope Benedict XVI and various senior government officials and has also been displayed in Milan, Trapani, Palermo and is currently on show in Naples.
More than 60,000 people have seen the sculpture but there is a growing concern within the Italian artworld that it was not created from the hand of the Renaissance master Michelangelo Buonarroti.
When it was presented last December among those to vouch for its authenticity were Italy's ambassador to the Holy See Antonio Zanardi Landi and Professor Antonio Paolucci, art historian and Vatican museum director.
At a press conference they described the "svelte form and the sweetness of the finishing touches as similar to those of Michelangelo's Pieta in the Basilica...
SOURCE: NYT (5-26-09)
The immediate cause was pneumonia, said his wife, Nan. Mr. McNamara had been suffering from sporadic cerebellar ataxia, a degenerative nerve disorder.
The Shubert Archive was established in 1976 after the Shubert Foundation, the nonprofit entity that officially controls the theater-owning Shubert Organization, asked Mr. McNamara to appraise a mountain of material stored in Shubert theaters in New York and nationwide.
Over the next decade, Mr. McNamara, who was then a professor of performance studies at New York University, along with an archivist, Brigitte Kueppers and some 80 graduate student interns, worked to...
SOURCE: LAT (5-25-09)
More than seven decades after she disappeared without a trace in the South Pacific on her flight around the world, Earhart remains the most famous female aviator in history, a timeless heroine and inspiration to generations of women, filmmakers and fashionistas.
Flying was just the beginning. Earhart was also a fashion icon and designer with her close-cropped hair, pants and leather jackets. She was a leader in women's rights and the peace movement. She was a president and founding member of the Ninety-Nines -- the original women's pilot organization. She was a pioneering businesswoman -- a partner in both Transcontinental Air Transport and Ludington Airlines and a luggage designer -- a wife (she was married to publisher George Putnam) and a writer.
"I'm looking at my bulletin board here at a letter, and it's addressed to 'Amelia Earhart Smithsonian Institute,' " Cochrane noted recently with a laugh...
SOURCE: Larry Rohter in the NYT (5-24-09)
It was July 1944, and America was at war. From bases and battlefields in Europe and on Pacific islands, soldiers, sailors and airmen were sending streams of letters to their favorite actresses in Hollywood, asking for pinup photos and commenting on life on the front lines.
Almost all of that mail, which studios usually answered with a glossy shot showing the star in a saucy pose, has been lost. But the actress Donna Reed, later famous for her roles as Mary Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life” and the middle-class housewife Donna Stone on “The Donna Reed Show” and who won an Oscar for “From Here to...
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (5-25-09)
Although Austen never married, the emotional warmth of her romantic novels has always fed speculation about her private passions.
The 2007 film Becoming Jane explored her youthful flirtation with a handsome Irishman named Tom Lefroy who – it is suggested – was the inspiration for the rugged Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.
But now a literary historian claims that her true love was a clergyman named Dr Samuel Blackall, who first caught Austen's attention in 1798 when he was a guest of their mutual friends, the Lefroys.
According to Dr Andrew Norman, Dr Blackall's letters to friends disclose his wish to pursue a courtship with the young author, but his uncertainty was treated as a snub by Austen.
SOURCE: NT (5-25-09)
SOURCE: Salon (5-22-09)
"Night at the Museum," directed by Shawn...
SOURCE: NYT (5-21-09)
No doubt to some eyes the museum’s newly reopened American galleries look like Bric-a-Brac City. Twenty generously appointed period rooms, 12 of them seriously spiffed up, along with the glass-enclosed Charles Engelhard Court flooded with Central Park light, hold the full range of items specified in that early Met inventory and much, much more.
And all look good, especially the court. When it made its debut in 1980, it had a sunken floor and large beds of plantings. The floor has now been raised and paved with light-colored stone and the plantings reduced to clear a wide-open space. What was once a kind of oversize conversation pit with a cafe to the...