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: Gregory McNamee at the Britannica Blog (6-30-09)
The year is 1972. Five young men are boosting the ratings of any one of the dozen-odd variety shows on which they appear regularly, laying down a mainstream-safe version of soul music, closer to Bobby Sherman than Stagolee and Stax. At their head, not yet the quintet’s leader but clearly the main draw, is a just-minted adolescent. He is short, dark-skinned, a little husky, with a nimbus of tight-curled hair forming a halo around him. He works the stage as if he has lived...
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (6-30-09)
The identity of Elise, however, has eluded scholars down the years, hampered as they were by the loss of the original manuscript.
Now Klaus Martin Kopitz, a German musicologist and Beethoven expert, believes he has identified the woman of the title as Elisabeth Röckel.
If right he will have put to rest a number of previous theories, including that the title of the lost manuscript had been misread and originally referred to Theresa Malfatti, a woman Ludwig van Beethoven had pursued.
Miss Röckel was a German soprano and sister of Joseph August Röckel, a tenor who was conducted by the composer in Fidelio in 1806.
SOURCE: Stone Pages Archaeo News (6-29-09)
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (6-29-09)
Sir Christopher Wren's final designs for St Paul's cathedral have gone on display for the first time, demostrating how his practices created a benchmark for modern architects.
The sketches show how he introduced mathematical concepts into architecture and turned the design of buildings from being classed as being simply a part of the building trade to a profession in its own right.
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (6-29-09)
Yet now, a portrait of the artist has been unearthed, which is the earliest depiction of Rembrandt as a hopeful teenager, not as he would have liked to have been seen but how he looked to a fellow art student in Amsterdam.
Jan Lievens painted Rembrandt at the age of 16, as the central figure in The Cardplayers, which is believed to have been completed in 1623-24. Dr Arthur Wheelock, an art historian at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, identified the portrait, according to a report in this week's Art Newspaper...
SOURCE: Guardian (UK) (6-26-09)
The original of Siegfried Sassoon's Soldier's Declaration – a roar of defiance from the Western Front, which caused uproar when it was read aloud in parliament – is part of an extraordinary archive of one the most famous and best loved of the first world war soldier poets. Yesterday, Cambridge University launched a £1.25m appeal in order to be able to acquire the archive from his descendants.
Sassoon's Declaration, which he called "an act of wilful defiance of military authority because I believe that the war is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it", claimed the government's objectives had secretly changed from defence to conquest, and that peace could have been achieved by negotiation. In the summer of 1917 Sassoon escaped court martial for his outbrust, in part because he had...
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (6-26-09)
But in an unusual twist, the buyer of the fragment of Robert Burns' manuscript for Auld Lang Syne will not be able to take it home.
Instead, the winning bidder will become the"patron" of the rare Scottish artefact.
The manuscript of the song – sung across the world at New Year – will be housed in a new museum dedicated to the bard in his native Ayrshire.
SOURCE: Historian John William Templeton at his blog (6-26-09)
So, the sudden passing of Michael Jackson at 50, when he was the most famous person in the world, recalls the similar tragic success of Bert Williams a century earlier.
Bert Williams, whom I’ve been researching as part of Volume 2 of Our Roots Run Deep: the Black Experience in California, 1900-1950; and in the current context statement study of African-American historic and cultural landmarks in San Francisco, was also the most famous entertainer in the world at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. He was the first African-American to make a record; the first to perform on Broadway, the first to join the Ziegfeld Follies and made command performances before the Queen of England.
There are several surface similarities to Jackson. Despite his fame, he literally had to go...
SOURCE: Juan Cole at his blog, Informed Comment (6-26-09)
Jackson was a man of multiple identities, which helped account for his enormous worldwide popularity. It seems clear that he was deeply traumatized by his rough show business childhood, and that things happened to him to arrest his development. Just as a stem cell can grow into any organ, Michael's eternal boyishness made him a chameleon...
SOURCE: Culture24.org (6-24-09)
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) have given the final go-ahead for a £21 million grant to the Mary Rose Trust to complete the conservation of Henry’s favourite warship, the Mary Rose, and to build a permanent museum for the ship and the artefacts in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
"This is indeed great news. The Mary Rose has been described by historian Dr David Starkey as this country's Pompeii, painting the finest picture of the world of sixteenth century life,” said John Lippiett, Chief Executive of the Mary Rose Trust.
The new musuem will reunite the ship with its numerous treasures.
“The HLF has today demonstrated their real commitment to the nation's...
SOURCE: Times (UK) (6-26-09)
One of the singers biographers, Ian Halperin, claimed that the unheard songs had been made for his children.
Mr Halperin, author of Unmasked, The Michael Jackson Story said before his death: “He wants to leave them for his kids, a very personal legacy to them. I was told he will not let them come out now.”
Jackson leaves three children Prince, 12, Paris Katherine, 11, and Prince Michael II aged seven.
It is rumoured, given the perilous financial situation of his estate, that any such recordings will not be kept private for long. It is understood Jackson may have gone to the grave under debts of about $400 million – though some believe the true figure may be much higher...
SOURCE: Art Daily (6-25-09)
The exhibition, curated by Thomas Mellins, contains new details of the memorial and museum plans. The exhibition will display scale models, construction photographs, drawings and videos, and host a series of public programs. "A Space Within" will remain on view at the Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place, from June 26-September 14, 2009. The exhibition was organized by AIA New York in partnership with the Center for Architecture Foundation and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.
In the aftermath of the events of September 11th, 2001, the evident need emerged to build a tribute to those who had been killed. An...
SOURCE: NYT (6-24-09)
SOURCE: Reuters (6-23-09)
The Nazis seized over 200 artworks owned by his grandfather, an avid art collector, as part of a policy of seizing Jewish property. So far, Selldorff has been able to retrieve only two of the lost paintings.
"I want to be able to pass these things on to my family. . . I want them to have the link and an appreciation for some of the things my grandfather was involved with," said Selldorff, who lives in the United States and wants to exhibit the altar pieces by Austrian baroque artist Kremser Schmidt in a museum.
Some 65 years after World War 2, experts say thousands of artworks confiscated by the Nazis, including masterpieces by art nouveau master Gustav Klimt and expressionist Egon Schiele, still need to be restituted to their rightful owners.
SOURCE: Lee P. Ruddin (6-25-09)
The same could be said for documentaries. Two programmes hosted by journalists have just aired in the UK.
London Mayor Boris Johnson announced recently that he supports proposals for a “Blue Light Museum”—an attraction which would tell the history of the capital’s emergency services. The plans would involve opening the doors, in effect, to the notorious “Black Museum” housed at New Scotland Yard.
While the Crime Museum, as it is officially known, would still remain closed to the general public, items from the clandestine...
SOURCE: Discovery.com (6-24-09)
The long-term digging effort in Rione Terra, a cliff in the port town of Pozzuoli, has yielded remains of 12 ancient statues, columns and fragments bearing inscriptions from what appear to be monuments from the Republican and Imperial periods of ancient Roman history.
Among the most striking finds was the marble head of Emperor Titus, who ruled at the time of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. and who was celebrated throughout antiquity for providing generous financial assistance to survivors of the eruption. Bearing a crown of laurel leaves, the emperor's head was found in an ancient water tunnel.
SOURCE: NYT (6-23-09)
Britain used to say that Athens had no adequate place to put the Elgin Marbles, the more than half of the Parthenon frieze, metopes and pediments that Lord Elgin spirited off when he was ambassador to the Ottoman Empire two centuries ago. Since 1816 they have been prizes of the British Museum. Meanwhile, Greeks had to make do with the leftovers, housed in a ramshackle museum built in 1874.
So the new museum that Bernard Tschumi, the Swiss-born architect, has devised near the base of the Acropolis is a $200 million, 226,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art rebuttal to Britain’s argument.
From certain angles it has all the charm and discretion of the Port Authority terminal in Manhattan. Neighbors have been complaining all the way to the bank, housing values having shot up because of it.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (6-24-09)
Le Quai Malaquais et l'Institut, which features a view of the Seine from the French impressionist's hotel room on the third floor of the Hotel du Quai Voltaire, was due to be auctioned by Christie's in London on Tuesday.
But lawyers representing various scions of the Fischer family, which founded the German publishing house Fischer Verlag, were unable to reach an agreement about the painting's rightful owner and it was withdrawn from sale, according to The Times.
SOURCE: Salt Lake Trib (6-20-09)
Steven L. Shrader, 56, who faced two felonies in the antiquities case, shot himself twice in the chest late Thursday or early Friday behind an elementary school in the village of Shabbona, Ill., authorities said.
The DeKalb County Sheriff's Office had been looking for a "despondent individual" after receiving a call Thursday at 10:41 p.m., said Chief Deputy Kevin Hickey.
SOURCE: http://www.koreaherald.co.kr (6-22-09)
The drum bears Chinese characters, "sang-go," which roughly translates into "drum" in Korean, adding to its historical value. The artifact is depicted in several ancient mural paintings, but it is the first time Korean researchers have discovered an actual drum.
The ancient earthenware drum was found in 13 pieces, one of which bears the Chinese characters referring to its function. If restored, the diameter would be about 55 centimeters, the museum said.