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: ABC News (10-30-09)
The Brooklyn Museum's sprawling show "Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present" opened on Friday as a study in the contrasts that run through the rock music subculture.
Nearly 200 photographs, videos, album covers and slide shows, from multi-panel images of Jimi Hendrix to Amy Arbus' simple gelatin print of Madonna walking down a Manhattan street in 1983, give the unsung visual aspect of more than 50 years of rock music history its due.
"This is only the beginning of the conversation about the importance of images in rock and roll," said curator Gail Buckland, author of a companion book of the same title published this month by Knopf.
"The images have been like the step-children of its cultural history, and I...
SOURCE: WSJ (10-30-09)
Barbara Kingsolver started working on her new novel,"The Lacuna," in February 2002, when a"long-term ache" to write about the estrangement of art and politics in the U.S. was fired up by the events that followed 9/11. The word lacuna means a gap or interval, but it also has botanical and anatomical meanings; before Ms. Kingsolver became a writer, she earned a master's degree in ecology and evolutionary biology. The author's Africa-set 1998 novel"The Poisonwood Bible" was an Oprah's Book Club selection; the nonfiction"Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" was a best seller in 2007. In"The Lacuna," Ms. Kingsolver embeds a fictional character, Harrison Shepherd, in Mexico in the 1930s, when the lives of Marxist theorist and assassination victim Leon Trotsky and the married painters Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo intersected, artistically, politically and sexually.
The Wall Street Journal: What attracted you to that time and place?
SOURCE: Lee P Ruddin (10-30-09)
Inspired by the fatwa of 1989 against Salman Rushdie over the The Satanic Verses, The Black Album sets liberalism against fundamentalism through a Muslim central character. Fifteen years on, the book stands up as an eerie warning from history. Since those issues have become even more relevant, Kureishi’s now adapted his novel for the stage.
Revisiting this material in a post-9/11 and post-7/7 world is not only thought-provoking but necessary (especially when analyzing the start of the 21st century). It transports audiences back to the experiences of immigrants from the subcontinent, providing context for the birth of extremism as both a reaction to prejudice and an attempt by Anglo-Asians to root themselves culturally....
SOURCE: The Chronicle of Higher Education (10-25-09)
My mother's hardback, this was not. But something about it looked familiar. Flipping to the back flap, I realized why: The cover was drawn by Julie Doucet, a Montreal-based artist much admired in underground comics circles. In college...
SOURCE: NYT (10-27-09)
But in two small-scale but heavily laden exhibitions — one at the New-York Historical Society, drawing on the extraordinary Gilder Lehrman Collection, the other at the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond (the first show devoted to Brown in a city that was the capital...
SOURCE: The E and P Pub (10-28-09)
"Fair Game is really a tremendous, thought provoking film. It's based on the same titled memoir by former CIA Agent Valerie Plame, who of course worked for the agency as an undercover spy until her husband wrote an op-ed piece declaring that the Bush White House lied about Sadaam Hussein's efforts to buy yellow-cake uranium from Niger. Naomi Watts plays Plame (and as shown at the ending, really looks a lot like her), and plays her wonderfully. The story is set up through a sequence at the beginning showing her in action in the field, and in the CIA headquarters being completely dedicated to her job. She loves what she does for her country even at the price the travel and the secrecy puts on...
SOURCE: The Press and Journal (10-20-09)
Dramatic black and white images depicting some of the region’s stone circles have gone on display at Westhill. Stone circles at Easter Aquorthies, Loanhead of Daviot near Inverurie and Tomnaverie near Aboyne feature in the show at Max’s Cafe on Ashdale Drive.
Westhill photographer Heather Maslen says her images are part of an ongoing project to record the region’s historic stone monuments.
“I like the mystery and the beauty of them,” she said.
“There is a fascination about them because we do not know exactly why they were put there.
“They are just such a part of this area. It’s a way of exploring the countryside. I am trying to find some off the beaten track that not everyone sees.
“I’ve been doing it for 18 months already but I’ve got so much more to do.”
Mrs Maslen, 53, specialises in black and...
SOURCE: Huffington Post (10-26-09)
I had the opportunity this weekend to catch a movie filled with adventure, romance, suspense and period glamor. As with so many films, the story literally flew out of the pages of our history books and onto the silver screen. Hilary Swank is a revelation as "Amelia" Earhart, the barrier-breaking female aviatrix who captured the world's attention in the 1920s and 1930s before her tragic disappearance over the Pacific Ocean in 1937.
While she passed away before I was born, like many Americans, I grew up with a special affection for Earhart, who was a fellow Kansan who'd made good. From small-town roots, she struck her own unique and independent path--with confidence and without apology--inhabiting an increasingly glamorous world, yet never losing her down-to-earth ability to call too much fuss and bluster a...
SOURCE: The Chronicle of Higher Education (10-26-09)
Q. What kinds of recordings do you seek out?
A. The JSA accepts any recording of Jewish music. The JSA collects recordings that reflect Jewish culture including: folk, cantorial, comedy, theater, Chassidic...
SOURCE: Times Online (10-26-09)
Now, 15 years on from filming, Gibson has conceded that the film played fast and loose with the historical truth — and that Wallace was “a monster” who was recast as the good guy for the sake of Hollywood convention.
Yet the star’s admission has done little to appease historians, who have claimed that Wallace’s real character probable fell somewhere inbetween.
Gibson, who also directed the 13th- century epic, spoke out in an interview to mark 15 years since its release. He said: "Wallace was a monster. He always smelt of smoke; he was always burning people’s villages down. He was like what the Vikings...
SOURCE: Culturekiosque (10-23-09)
Edward Gibbon described him thus: "Caracalla was the common enemy of mankind," his reign characterized by "rapine and cruelty." (E. Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter VI).
Caracalla (A.D. 212-217) executed his brother and co-emperor Geta and massacred thousands of his brother's supporters, as well as his own wife and his brother-in-law (amongst other family members) in an effort to take sole control of the Empire.
'Caracalla' was born Lucius Septimius Bassianus, and as Roman emperor he became Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus. The nickname 'Caracalla' is thought to derive from the Gallic hooded cloak...
SOURCE: NYT (10-23-09)
Romance is in the air in “Amelia,” or at least in the score, which works hard to inject some emotional coloring into the proceedings. The music screams (sobs) 1940s big-screen melodramatic excess and beautiful suffering.
Alas, excesses of any pleasurable kind are absent from this exasperatingly dull production. The director Mira Nair, whose only qualification appears to be that she’s a woman who has made others films about and with women (“...
SOURCE: Artdaily.org (10-22-09)
Between 1910 and 1920 the country was convulsed by the first socialist revolution, from which emerged a strong left-wing government that laid great stress on art as a vehicle for promoting the values of the revolution. This led to a pioneering program to cover the walls of public buildings with vast murals, and later to setting up print workshops to produce works for mass distribution and education. All the prints in the exhibition come from the British Museum’s collection which has been acquired thanks to the generosity of the Aldama Foundation, Dave and Reba Williams and The Art Fund.
Some of the finest of these prints were produced by the three great men of Mexican art of the period known as ‘los tres grandes’: Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros. The best-known print is Rivera’s Emiliano Zapata and his...
SOURCE: Artdaily.org (10-22-09)
The exhibition is the first ever to examine the couple’s shared enthusiasm for art, as well as their individual tastes. For Victoria and Albert, art was an important part of everyday life and a way they expressed their love for each other. Around a third of the objects in the exhibition were exchanged as gifts between the couple to mark special occasions. They range from the simple...
SOURCE: PR Newswire (10-22-09)
SOURCE: Salon (10-22-09)
Mira Nair's "Amelia" purports to tell the story of a grand American legend, that of Amelia Earhart, whose plane disappeared in the Pacific in 1937 as she attempted to finish a record-breaking 'round-the-world journey. It's a big story, and a rich one, particularly when you factor in the complexities of Earhart's relationship with her publicist husband, George Putnam, and her extramarital affair with Gene Vidal (father of Gore), the director of the Bureau of Air Commerce under FDR. Then there's the fact that "Amelia" has perfect casting in its favor: There's no current actress better suited, in terms of appearance or temperament, to play Earhart than Hilary Swank.
But the last person we need to tell the story of a famous...
SOURCE: WSJ (10-23-09)
In a bid to tap into growing interest in Mr. Lee in China and to develop her father into a powerhouse global brand, Ms. Lee last year bought back the rights to his image from General Electric Co.'s Universal Studios, which had held them since the late 1980s. "They didn't put the effort behind it I felt should be put behind it," she says. Universal declined to comment.
Then she formed Bruce Lee Enterprises, a licensing company, and LeeWay Media Group, a production company, to raise his profile. Ms. Lee also consulted with the estates of other famous people, including Elvis Presley and John Wayne, to learn more about how to successfully revive a deceased icon's image.
In recent years, the Bruce Lee brand has brought in around $1 million a year, the estate says. With the new push, Ms. Lee hopes she can squeeze $5...
SOURCE: The Daily Beast (10-21-09)
SOURCE: WSJ (10-21-09)
After many false starts, Mattel Inc. thought it had found a way to make the iconic fashion doll once more a must-have for girls of all ages -- and to boost the company's flagging revenues as well. It is spending millions of dollars to promote its new "Fashionista" Barbies, even hiring a choreographer-to-the-stars to create a dance called "The Barbie" for a video that had its premiere on the "Today Show" and was posted on YouTube.
But the latest Barbie was beaten to the stores by two new dolls that could threaten her resurgence, industry insiders say. One comes from perhaps the hottest toy makers in North America, Spin Master Ltd. The other was created by designers with a grudge against Mattel, which wrested away their company's rights to the hit Bratz dolls.
And so a firefight is breaking out in...
SOURCE: nj.com (10-20-09)
The crooner came out on top with 506 votes, followed by Walt Whitman with 125 votes and Albert Einstein with 119 votes, according to the report.