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: NYT (7-4-09)
Thanks to Sony, they now had a portable stereo device called the Walkman, which allowed them to block the sounds of their surroundings with a very private cassette recording of, say, Supertramp. So what if the headset and the 14-ounce unit strapped to your belt made you look like a drive-thru attendant at some Wendy’s of the future?
Today, of course, the ocean of humankind is cluttered with solitary islands of disengagement, thanks to the iPod, the iPhone, and so many other devices that say I. But before we explore what the Walkman has wrought, it might be instructive to revisit the events leading up to its invention....
SOURCE: Britannica Blog (7-6-09)
From the FBI’s art crime department:
On July 25, 2006, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced the recovery of the statue of King Entemena of Lagash, one of the most significant pieces...
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (7-3-09)
Work will being next week on The Temple of Apollo, at Stourhead, Wiltshire, which dates from 1765.
The National Trust has spent months gathering historic paintings, family records, accounts, letters and visitors' diaries to find out how the monument would have originally appeared.
"The original roof has gone through several manifestations since it was built," said Emily Blanshard, project manager.
"Photographs from the 1890s show it in its sorriest state with its windows broken, a flat roof or no roof at all. It stayed exposed to the elements until the 1950s when the National Trust was able to finally re-roof the temple.
SOURCE: Lee P. Ruddin (7-5-09)
“The Thomas Paine Reader” (ed.) Michael Foot and Isaac Kramnick (1987)
Made in England and sold in America, Thomas Paine’s life is remembered each Independence Day. But this year’s Fourth of July celebrations have spread across the Atlantic to the ‘mother country’ in what is the bicentenary of his death (1737–1809). This is not to say, however, Gordon Brown will join in on the festivities and quote the English revolutionary Obama-like. After all Britain remains a...
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (7-4-09)
The monster in question is a friendly-looking, curly-maned, almost life-sized, mechanical lion, which can walk, and move its head and shake its tail and open its jaws. The original was designed in 1517 by a 16th-century special effects man, who later achieved fame as a painter (but was also musician, philosopher, engineer, architect, scientist, mathematician, anatomist, inventor, architect and botanist).
Leonardo da Vinci left only a rudimentary sketch of his robot lion but it has been reconstructed in full-size for the first time by a French-based, Venetian-born designer of automatons, Renato Boaretto. Using contemporary accounts and the other mechanical sketches left by the great artist, the 66-year-old has built a spectacular clockwork toy over 6ft long and four...
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (7-5-09)
The base, as well as the enormous pedestal and observation deck, reopened to the public in 2004, but the crown had remained closed – until now. There had been fears that in the event of another assault, tourists would not be able to evacuate the narrow, 168-step, double-helix spiral staircase that leads to the 305ft apex in time to avoid a similarly devastating loss of life.
Now, returning visitors, who will be hustled through at a pace of only 30 people an hour, will find little changed, save for a raising of the handrails on the spiral staircase and the...
SOURCE: NYT (7-3-09)
Often, after the initial news media fanfare that usually accompanies such finds and their restoration, many of the ancient habitats have returned to the obscurity from which they emerged. There just aren’t enough custodians to monitor these important archaeological sites, and so they are off limits to the public.
But this summer — except in August, when it’s too hot — Rome’s archaeological authority has reallocated money so that it can provide staffs for five monuments in the ancient heart of Rome that are usually closed. The initiative will also allow nighttime visits to the Colosseum and offer free after-hours concerts in the museums that house the state’s collection of ancient Roman art.
Like art institutions elsewhere in a time of financial instability, Italy’s principal...
SOURCE: NYT (7-3-09)
Mr. Sanderson, a landscape ecologist for the Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo, looks past the man-made lake below us, at the northeastern corner of Central Park, and points to where a stream once stretched, leading along 125th Street toward where we now stand.
To the north, he explains, the forested growth of 400 years ago would have begun to thin out into lands that the Lenape Indians might have farmed. And leading toward the East River a wide tidal inlet would have flowed, setting the wide dimensions for East 106th Street. Ten minutes later, as we approach the Ravine in the...
SOURCE: Nation (6-24-09)
SOURCE: History Today (UK) (7-3-09)
The photographs were mostly taken by explorers, military officers, colonial officials, settlers, missionaries, travellers and early commercial photographers and depict the breadth of African life during the colonial era. They include formal and informal portraits of Africans and their colonisers, photos of slaves and slave traders, of the British bombardment of Zanzibar in 1896, as well as images...
SOURCE: History Today (UK) (7-2-09)
The Mountaintop by Katori Hall is on show at the Theatre503 until Saturday. The play is set in room 306 in the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, the evening after King gave his ‘Mountaintop’ address and the night before his assassination. When King calls for room service and orders a coffee, it is brought to his room by Camae, a mysterious maid from the motel. They spend the evening together, talking, smoking and drinking until Camae eventually explains that she is an angel sent by God to prepare King for his death. Is she an angel or merely a vision? Did Martin Luther King have some sort of premonition about his death as his speech at Mason Temple suggests? Has too much importance not instead been given to his words with the hindsight of his...
SOURCE: Ahmed Rehab: at the Huffington Post (6-27-09)
Blogger: The Circus of Death
The first remarkable episode of global celebrity adoration, as we know it today, comes to us courtesy of the silent film era and Rudolph Valentino, a.k.a The Sheik. (While prodigious talents like Mozart, Michelangelo, and Charles Dickens enjoyed recognition in their lifetimes, twentieth-century inventions like radio, film and television revolutionized the meaning of fame, culminating in the modern phenomenon of super stardom.) When the Italian Hollywood star died in 1926, fans wept, women fainted, and more than 100,000 people marched in his New York funeral. 83 years after his death, his name remains a moniker for the swashbuckling ladies man meets the hopeless romantic.
The first entertainer to uncork a cult-like fan craze of the...
The judge ruled in favour of Salinger after the reclusive writer last month sued to block publication of "60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye" by Fredrik Colting, a Swedish author writing under the pen name John David California.
Deborah Batts, a US district judge, said the main character in Mr Colting's novel - Mr. C. - was "an infringement" on Salinger's main character, Holden Caulfield.
However, he declined to say whether Ono would publicly release the documentary tapes, which includes scenes of Lennon smoking marijuana and composing.
"Our client is very happy in winning the case," Mr Albano said.
The lawsuit dated back to last year, when World Wide Video, a consortium of collectors of Beatles memorabilia based in Massachusetts, filed a lawsuit against Ono for blocking a screening of a two-hour documentary it produced culling the rare footage.
The company had planned to show the film, titled "3 Days in the Life," in 2007, billing it as "a most intimate and no-holds-barred" look at Lennon's private life with his family and friends.
On the tapes, Lennon, who was murdered in 1980, is also seen joking about lacing former president Richard...
SOURCE: Spiegel Online (7-1-09)
It's the peculiar story of a policeman named Holms living in the communist German Democratic Republic (GDR). In a state controlled by the secret police and riddled with informers and spies, the poor man finds himself with no crime to police. So in order to banish the boredom, Holms enlists some petty criminals to steal a monument from the town center -- just so that he can give chase. Naturally, in the process our hero finds true love.
But one wouldn't want to give away too much of the 1965 movie, "Hands Up Or I'll Shoot" (In German, "Hände hoch oder ich schieße"). Because this piece of cinematic history, produced by the famous DEFA studios -- the GDR's film production monopoly --...
SOURCE: http://www.mfa.gov.il (7-1-09)
Thirteen years after one of the most beautiful mosaics ever to be seen in the country was covered over, the Israel Antiquities Authority, in cooperation with the municipality of Lod and its residents, is beginning an archaeological excavation that will re-expose the mosaic, once and for all.
Next weekend (July 9-11, 2009), the site of the mosaic will be open to the general public.The conservation work done to the mosaic can be viewed in a live broadcast from the IAA website.
Restorers claim that a bearded man wearing a blue turban in the Crucifixion of St Peter bears a striking resemblance to portraits and bronze busts of the artist.
"It's an extraordinary and moving discovery," said the Vatican's chief restorer, Maurizio De Luca. "The self-portrait is one of three knights on the left-hand top corner of the fresco who wears a lapis lazuli blue turban. His features are very similar to other known portraits of Michelangelo."
The fresco shows the moment at which St Peter was raised on the cross by Roman soldiers, his face showing suffering but also defiance.