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: http://www.broadcastingcable.com (5-11-09)
Stewart's show, The Naturalized, is among the highlights of History's most substantial programming investment ever. The network's robust slate of specials and series, to be announced May 14 at History's upfront presentation, ranges from a sweeping 12-part series about the creation of America, to a critical examination of holiday traditions (and the anxiety they engender) by comedian Lewis Black.
The projects are among 16 new series and 13 new specials greenlit or in development for the 2009-2010 season.
The Naturalized, to be produced by Busboy, Stewart's company, follows eight individuals through the bureaucratic morass of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The special will also include interviews with undocumented and deported illegal immigrants.
SOURCE: CBS photo slide show (4-27-09)
SOURCE: Jill Jonnes in the WSJ (5-9-09)
On May 15, the Eiffel Tower, the world's most celebrated monument and the iconic symbol of Paris, celebrates its 120th anniversary. Strikingly, the fame and allure of this improbable wrought-iron masterpiece have only grown with the passing decades. The tower, built by railway-bridge engineer Gustave Eiffel, has become a ubiquitous global image connoting modernity and glamour, while visitors who experience it firsthand are still amazed by the tower's potent mixture of spare elegance, immensity and complexity. And when the Eiffel Tower opens to its adoring public each day, the structure comes to life as crowds gaily clamber up and down its stairs, eating, drinking and flirting on the three platforms high in the sky. Open to the elements, enveloped in Eiffel's distinctive design, visitors can see and touch parts of the 18,038 pieces of iron (welded together with 2.5 million rivets) as they...
SOURCE: http://www.chnpress.com (5-11-09)
The first step has been taken by making cases for four of them being kept at Zanjan’s Zolfaqari Museum in a critical condition.
Six salt men, known as Iranian mummies, were discovered over the past 12 years at the Chehrabad Salt Mine around a place, which is surmised to be a collapsed tunnel built by the Achaemenids and was also in use during the Sassanid era.
The salt mine is located in the Hamzehlu region near Zanjan.
SOURCE: LiveScience (5-8-09)
The new findings come from analyses of around a dozen samples taken from several areas in the cave between April 2006 and January 2007, says Claude Alabouvette, a microbiologist at the University of Bourgogne in Dijon, France. Some of the samples came from areas that were obviously infested with fungal colonies, and others were taken from cave walls that lacked such infestations, he notes.
Human presence has caused problems in Lascaux almost since its discovery in 1940. Lights added so tourists could see the cave art, images of bulls and other creatures believed to be painted more than 17,000...
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (5-11-09)
Oscar winner Winslet, 33, and DiCaprio, 34, who made their international names in the 1997 film about the sinking of the liner were approached by a charity to help 97-year-old Millvina Dean.
The film's director James Cameron has also made a donation.
Miss Dean from the New Forest, Hampshire, was just nine weeks old when the liner sank with the loss of more than 1,500 lives in April 1912.
Now frail, she has been living at a nursing home for a few years and last month she auctioned personal belongings and memorabilia associated with the disaster to help pay for the £3,000-a-month cost of her care.
SOURCE: Stone Pages Archaeo News (5-10-09)
But that spirit of cooperation is harder to...
SOURCE: Liverpool Daily Post (UK) (5-12-09)
Ono received the items from the medical examiner in December 1980, when the 40-year-old former Beatle was gunned down in New York City.
"It was hard to include," Ono said. "And I thought it might be criticised as well."
But ultimately, Ono said she thought it was important to let people see the effects of gun violence.
The Lennon items are part of a new exhibit at New York’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Annex. John Lennon: The New York Years, includes Lennon’s famous New York City T-shirt, his upright piano from his Dakota apartment, and a posthumous 1981 Grammy Award for the couple’s album, Double Fantasy...
SOURCE: Liverpool Daily Post (UK) (5-12-09)
It will be handed over to representatives of the Ngarrindjeri indigenous people in a traditional ceremony held at World Museum Liverpool tomorrow.
The event, which follows a private commemoration, involves rituals including a smoking ceremony using smouldering eucalyptus leaves in a bowl.
Dates for returning the remains of two further people, also believed to be of mixed Australian and European ancestry, will be fixed during consultations with the indigenous communities from the areas of their origin.
NML director Dr David Fleming, who will be attending the ceremonies, said: “The remains entered our collections many years ago and it is fitting that they are being returned to their homeland.
“The repatriation of cultural items to their countries of origin is a complex, emotive and sensitive issue...
SOURCE: NICOLAI OUROUSSOFF in the NYT (5-10-09)
We should have known better. During the next several years the project’s cost spiraled to $3.2 billion from $2 billion. The scheduled completion date was delayed, first by a couple of years, then several more. Mr. Calatrava, determined to save his design, worked slavishly to get the budget under control. In a misguided effort to avoid more controversy, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey enveloped the project in secrecy, essentially shutting the public out of the design process.
But even for those of us who had given up on the idea that anything good would ever emerge from ground zero, the unveiling of an elaborate...
SOURCE: Randy Malamud in the Chronicle of Higher Ed (5-15-09)
That visit felt like Anna Quindlen's account in Imagined London: A Tour of the World's Greatest Fictional City (National Geographic, 2004), in which she marvels at the city's array of literary sites: "I had been to them all in my imagination before I ever set foot in England. So that by the time I actually visited London ... for...
SOURCE: http://www.archaeology.org (5-8-09)
The show is called Lost in the Atlantic, which might give you some sense of how things turned out for Görlitz and the crew of 40-foot Abora III (Abora is said to have been a powerful deity among Canary Islanders and Görlitz has used the name for two previous iterations of reed boats he piloted across the Mediterranean). But if nothing else, the 45 minute special is a strangely gripping look at how dubious experimental archaeology in the open ocean...
SOURCE: Robert Bickers at China Beat (blog) (5-11-09)
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (5-11-09)
Antonis Samaras, the minister for culture and tthletics said: "The opening of the Acropolis Museum is a major world event. June 20th will be a day of celebration for all civilised people, not for Greeks alone. I want the Britons especially to consider the Acropolis Museum as the most hospitable place for them."
Greeks hopes have been emboldened by the return to Athens from Germany and Sweden of a host of treasures, including some taken from the Acropolis itself. The frieze adorned the Parthenon until 1801 when Lord Elgin, the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, removed it, along with a host of other treasures when Athens was under enemy occupation.
They were sold by Lord...
SOURCE: BBC (5-8-09)
Chinese director Lu Chuan hopes his new film about the incident, called City of Life and Death, will help heal some of those wounds.
But the making of the film, and the subsequent public reaction, has revealed just how difficult it will be for the movie to achieve that goal.
While it was being filmed, there were disagreements between the Chinese and Japanese actors - and a fight.
And since its release the director has received a death threat and a storm of unfavourable comments from angry Chinese film-goers.
The movie, filmed completely in black and white, is already being seen as a box-office success, despite not opening until the end of last month.
It took 120 million yuan ($17.6m, £11.7m) in its first 10 days and has been...
SOURCE: NYT (5-9-09)
The rest is irreversible history. This far-fetched newspaper experiment soon faded, even in San Francisco, the gateway to Silicon...
SOURCE: AP (5-8-09)
"Whenever I looked at it, I'd feel bad about it," said Janice Johnsen, 52, of Greensboro. "Then, a little over a year ago, our oldest son was killed suddenly. Since then, we've been struggling with some hard things."
The pocketed fragment "kept nagging at me," she said. She decided "if we get in trouble, we get in trouble, but I need to return it."
Johnsen didn't tell her husband, Mike, about her decision until after she had returned the artifact. She mailed it anonymously, but put her return address on the package.
The couple was visiting Italy about 25 years ago while on a trip for Mike's new job. He bent over and picked up the fist-sized...
SOURCE: Deutsche Welle (5-10-09)
Today, instead of being home to a US regiment, Point Alpha is a memorial monument. Its visitors’ center hosts a museum and foundation that commemorates the decades of that border’s existence, from 1952 to 1990. Its mandate: to keep the memory of divided Germany alive.
This week, Point Alpha celebrated the opening of a sculpture installation that runs along a 1.5 kilometer (1 mile) long section of the old “death strip" along the border. Called “Weg der Hoffnung,” or Path of Hope, it uses the 14 Stations of the Cross – the events of Jesus’ final hours – as a metaphor for those who struggled for freedom and democracy in East Germany.
SOURCE: NYT (5-9-09)
The original “Star Trek” imagined the futuristic fulfillment of John F. Kennedy’s inspirational oratory, in which his New Frontier became “the final frontier.” The budget surpluses and budding space program of the early 1960s gave rise, in the 23rd century, to the utopian United Federation of Planets. On the Starship Enterprise, men and women, blacks and whites, Americans, Russians and Asians — with names like Uhura, Chekov and Sulu — worked side by side, reflecting Mr. Roddenberry’s belief that “when human beings get over the silly little problems of racism...
SOURCE: NYT (5-8-09)
Turning serious, he forecast that this ambitious endeavor, which wound up costing $185 million, would become a “mighty influence for peace and understanding throughout the world.”
Fostering international peace is a rather lofty standard by which to measure the success of Lincoln Center as it begins its 50th-anniversary celebrations on Monday morning at the newly renovated Alice Tully Hall. What really matters is that night after night, as the founders envisioned, the plaza is abuzz with crowds heading into Avery Fisher Hall, the...