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: Times (UK) (9-14-09)
The book sees the return of Brown's Harvard symbiologist Robert Langdon as he dashes around the US Capitol in a 12-hour battle against a tattooed and muscled eunuch. At his side is Dr Katherine Solomon, a Noetic scientist who replaces the cryptographer Sophie Neveu as sidekick and intellectual love interest.
The first review of The Lost Symbol appeared today in The New York Times, entitled "Fasten Your Seat Belts, There's Code to Crack" whch suggests that Dan Brown fans will not be disappointed.
The reviewer, Janet Maslin, says that too many popular authors follow a huge hit with a terrible embarrassment, naming, by way of example, Thomas Harris's Hannibal, follow-up to The Silence of the Lambs.
"Mr Brown hasn’t...
SOURCE: Artdaily.org (9-14-09)
One is a forged steel sculpture commemorating the events of 9/11. Falling Man 9/11 was a response to the collapse of the World Trade Tower. The man is made from forged steel and has become fused with the fabric of the building.
John Sydney Carter, who has been a full time sculptor since 1984 and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Sculptors, commented: “I watched the television on that terrible day and witnessed people throwing themselves from the burning World Trade Tower. At the time all I could think of was the shock and horror of seeing those final moments as people fell to the ground to escape the flames.
“The image of falling people and the tower collapsing merged into one so that the figures became fragments of the building.
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (9-14-09)
Then came his 2005 Art Basel piece, The Loop, a vast tent packed with whirling dervishes and spinning breakdancers, which symbolised the clash between traditional Islamic culture and Muslim youth. But with an installation made up entirely of empty plastic bags raising eyebrows at the TLV 09 Biennale in Tel Aviv (to 26 September), Attia insists he is no provocateur. "The word provocative has spectacular implications," he says. "I believe only in poetry."
Attia's background partly accounts for his incendiary approach. Born in 1970 to...
SOURCE: Guardian (UK) (9-13-09)
The set's dismantled oak timbers have been mothballed in a warehouse for more than a decade after being given as a gift to one of the stars, Dame Judi Dench, who won an Oscar and a Bafta for best supporting actress as Queen Elizabeth I.
Dench wants to see the set turned into a full-scale replica of the Rose theatre, which stood close to the Globe on the south bank of the Thames and was also used by Shakespeare. The actor, who was born in York, has donated the set to the touring British Shakespeare Company for re-use as a permanent Shakespeare centre in the north of England.
Dench said her husband, the actor Michael Williams, had called her mad to accept the present...
SOURCE: BBC (9-12-09)
The award for best director went to Iranian-born Shirin Neshat for the film Women Without Men.
Britain's Colin Firth won Best Actor prize for A Single Man, in which he plays a mourning professor.
The BBC's David Willey in Italy says this year's winners all sent strong political or social messages.
Lebanon has been described by the leading US entertainment magazine Variety as "the boldest and best" of recent films from Israel about the country's wars in Lebanon...
SOURCE: Lee P. Ruddin (9-13-09)
Even though Henry attacked ecclesiastical popery and Paine political popery, both royalist and republican would have encountered a similar experience. After all, both defended the spread of sovereignty against the Old World’s opposition as articulated by Pope Clement VII and Edmund Burke (even if the Henrician Reformation was as personal as Paine’s radicalism was as universal).
For all the differences between these two great Englishmen, there are similarities between the two flagship events: one to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Henry’s accession to the throne; the other to commemorate the bicentenary of the death of Paine. In short, both were as strong on life as they were weak on legacy.
Historically fascinating, emotionally moving,...
SOURCE: The New Nixon (9-11-09)
As I write, either on TV Land or the Hallmark Channel, the inevitable strains of Johnny Mandel’s “Suicide Is Painless” are beginning, the chopper is coming down, and the men and women of the 4077th are getting ready for another session of OR drama and off-hours hijinks. Sooner or later Cpl. Klinger will be showing up in his heels and skirt, dog tags clinking around his neck in lieu of pearls. (There’s plenty of M*A*S*H* trivia on Wikipedia so I’ll just limit myself to mentioning that Jamie Farr, who played Klinger, really served in the Army in Korea, albeit a few years after the end of the...
SOURCE: NYT (9-11-09)
The images of each hijacker will be roughly 4 inches wide and 6 inches tall, and mounted on a wall of the underground museum’s primary exhibition. The museum is exploring the idea of displaying some quotations next to the pictures, but no final decision has been made, and no text has been selected, said Joseph C. Daniels, president and chief executive of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center.
“We will not, and we do not, want to hide the truth of what happened, and identifying those who did it is core to that,” Mr. Daniels said. He added: “It answers the question of who did this. Let’s show the world the...
SOURCE: NYT (9-12-09)
Generations of Muscovites and visitors have adored Detsky Mir, which means “children’s world” in Russian. Everything from baby clothes to toys to bobby pins has been sold in the store. Located not far from the Kremlin, Detsky Mir opened in 1957 and became a symbol not only of Soviet architecture but also of the Soviet era itself.
But the store is now closed while it undergoes an estimated $200 million renovation to its interior. The project is raising concerns among preservationists that it could become the latest of the city’s architectural treasures to fall victim to commercial pressures.
Over the summer, the Moscow Architecture Preservation Society released a report asserting that in recent years numerous historically significant buildings,...
SOURCE: David Mamet in the NYT (9-9-09)
But what has our 230-year national experience been but a dialogue about race?
Our earliest drama on the subject, “Metamora,” by John Stone (1829), concerns the relations between the Massachusetts settlers and Prince Philip of the Wampanoags. So does the novel “Hope Leslie” by Catherine Sedgwick (1827).
Much of the contentiousness that characterized the First Continental Congress centered on the subject of slavery. Since then the Fugitive Slave Law, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the Missouri Compromise, the Dred Scott decision, the Emancipation Proclamation, the 14th Amendment and so on, down to the Voting Rights Act and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the trial of the Scottsboro Boys, the internment of the Japanese, busing, affirmative action and the 2008 election, have kept the subject alive in the national...
SOURCE: NYT (9-10-09)
In recent years Mr. Burns, whose patented blend of original photographs, celebrity readings and articulate historians has captivated the television documentary audience with programs like “The Civil War,” “Baseball” and “Jazz,” has suffered some setbacks. His last project, with Lynn Novick, the 15-hour 2007 World War II history “The War,” received a couple of particularly dismissive reviews, and he has lost his guaranteed financing from the struggling General Motors, forcing him to spend more time hustling for support......
SOURCE: BD (9-13-09)
Following local consultation over the summer, client English Heritage is hoping to submit plans to Wiltshire County Council by the end of this month. It aims to meet the government’s target of opening the temporary facility in time for the influx of tourists attracted by the London 2012 Olympics.
But in a sign that the 20-year Stonehenge visitor centre saga is set to continue, councillor Paul Sample, a former mayor of Salisbury, has attacked the scheme as a “cheap and nasty” addition to the World Heritage Site; while Peter Alexander-Fitzgerald, a member of the International Council on Monuments & Sites, claimed the centre resembled “a derelict aircraft hangar”...
SOURCE: Boing Boing (9-11-09)
Oh, there's tons of Poe treasure here. I'm in hog heaven.
The digital collection incorporates images of all Poe manuscripts and letters at the Ransom Center with a selection of related archival materials, two books by Poe annotated by the author, sheet music based on his poems, and portraits from the Ransom Center collections. Poe's manuscripts and letters are linked to transcriptions on the website of the Poe Society of Baltimore.
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (9-12-09)
The painstaking removal of layers of accumulated overpainting and murky varnish revealed Velazquez's signature brushstrokes on the Portrait of a Man, a three-quarter profile of a man in his thirties, sporting a jaunty moustache.
The portrait bears a strong similarity to a face at the right-hand edge of Velazquez's epic canvas The Surrender at Breda, or The Lances, a masterwork held by the Prado Museum in Madrid. That portrayal of a watchful young man, wearing a hat tilted at a rakish angle is traditionally considered to be a self-portrait of Velazquez, Spain's court painter who was about 35 when he painted both works between 1634 and 1635.
"It's bugged me for 25 years," said Keith Christiansen,...
SOURCE: Guardian (UK) (9-9-09)
The ninth US circuit court of appeals ruled that 88-year-old Claude Cassirer's case against the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum in Madrid and the Spanish government can go forward.
Cassirer claimed his grandmother was forced to sell the 1897 painting by French impressionist Camille Pissarro for what was then $360 (£217) to get a visa to escape from Nazi Germany in 1939. He filed suit in California's central district in Los Angeles in 2005, and the defendants appealed in June 2006.
The painting, Rue St-Honore, Apres-Midi, Effet de Pluie, depicts a Parisian boulevard lined with dark carriages, a few bare trees and a scattering of people braving the weather. Its value is estimated at $20m.
SOURCE: NYT (9-10-09)
A new exhibition at the South Street Seaport Museum, “New Amsterdam: The Island at the Center of the World,” is being mounted in conjunction with the Dutch curator Martine Gosselink and the National Archives of the Netherlands, which lent the museum some extraordinarily well-preserved artifacts as part of the 400th anniversary celebrations of Hudson’s arrival.
In the midst of the festivities (which also include a fine exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York), on Saturday Prince Willem-Alexander...
SOURCE: Times (UK) (9-11-09)
One of Poland’s leading playwrights, Slobodzianek is the son of a Roman Catholic father and Russian Orthodox mother who, like countless other Poles, were deported by the Soviets to Siberia, where their son was born. Today in Warsaw he runs the Laboratorium Dramatu, a theatre with a reputation for new writing that is the Polish equivalent of the Royal Court in London.
By the time we reach our destination the talk has turned to Polish suffering in the remote northeastern borderlands — the subject of Slobodzianek’s play Our Class, which receives...
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (9-11-09)
Capturing all this on film still seems something of a mad undertaking. Try setting a movie largely in the sky, featuring a battle with no clearly defined beginning or end whose terrain is the boundless blue, marked only by ever-changing clouds and shifting sun. The aeroplanes used in filming were already museum pieces, but so many were needed that they constituted the 35th-largest air force in the world at the time.
Not since Howard Hughes sent men crashing...
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (9-12-09)
As well as being one of the largest first print runs in publishing history, an electronic version of the novel, which took Brown five years to write, will be released on the same day.
It is also already at the top of Amazon’s best seller list.
“The Lost Symbol” features the star of the series Robert Langdon, the Harvard University professor, returning to solve another, as yet disclosed, mystery.
Experts say the latest book, to be published in Britain by Random House, is the most sought after novel since the last Harry Potter book.
Despite savage reviews, with critics including Salman Rushdie saying the books were an example of appalling writing, the series has became a worldwide phenomenon, with more than 81m copies in print...
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (9-12-09)
Ten of the portraits, each 40 inches by 40 inches, feature famous athletes of the 1970s, including golfer Jack Nicklaus, soccer star Pele and figure skater Dorothy Hamill. The other is of Mr Weisman.
A $1 million (£600,000) reward is being offered for information leading to the return of the artwork.
The original prints were on display in Mr Weisman's dining room and his house was locked. It was not clear exactly when the silk screen paintings were taken or how the thieves got into the home.
There was no sign of forced entry and several other valuable paintings were left untouched.
The theft was discovered by the family nanny who arrived at the home to find the prints missing from the walls. She immediately went to a neighbour's to call police, said Detective Mark Sommer of...