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: NYT (10-8-09)
Harold Holzer, the chief historian for the compellingly informative exhibition “Lincoln and New York,” opening on Friday at the New-York Historical Society, explains in the equally incisive companion catalog that when Lincoln attended a performance of Verdi’s new opera “Un Ballo in Maschera” on that visit, he received a thundering ovation from the audience at the Academy of Music. But he left before the final scene in which the governor of Colonial Boston is assassinated by conspirators. That might have been because of fatigue, Mr. Holzer suggests, but The New-York Herald reported that the police...
SOURCE: Salon (10-8-09)
Or maybe not.
This week, on the Australian variety show “Hey, Hey, It’s Saturday,” a group calling itself the Jackson Jive appeared in a “tribute to Michael Jackson.” Out strutted five men in Afro wigs and blackface, shimmying like jumping beans to “Can You Feel It?” Then came the punch line – another member of the entourage stormed the stage in a red sequined jacket, sunglasses and heavy white makeup. There was also a flash of a big-lipped cartoon character with the caption, “Where’s Kahahl?” a reference to the venerable Australian entertainer of Sri Lankan heritage.
While the rest of the world was left to ponder if the word “tribute” means something...
SOURCE: Special to HNN (10-9-09)
“You may be a diamond,” says Master Esaka. “But you must polish your abilities all your life. Every day brings new studies and much to discover.”
I am taking notes from a Master Japanese swordsman.
Once in a while, I delve into art forms that are new to me. I happen to have a passion for Chinese painting. Today, I am attending the Japanese Samurai Exhibition on loan at the Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture. Three times the exhibit has called to me. Over one-hundred and twenty pieces of fragile pottery, suits of armor, statues, and paintings are on display.
In the past, I have viewed the armor of our European feudal soldiers in the Museum of Torture in...
SOURCE: Yahoo News (10-7-09)
It seems improbable that Mao would actually have expressed such a revolutionary sentiment at such a heady time. His was a movement driven by the cause of the exploited worker and peasant. Yet the scene appears in The Founding of a Republic, a...
SOURCE: The Root (10-5-09)
When word spread recently that the venerable magazines Ebony and Jet were up for sale, a palpable sense of depression could be felt throughout some segments of black America.
This sense of depression would generally reside among those born before 1960, or at least those whose sympathies lie with the pre-‘60 crowd. For a certain generation of African Americans, Ebony and Jet were as integral to blackness as Murray’s “Superior Hair Dressing Pomade,” a “Deuce and a Quarter” and funeral home hand-fans featuring the holy triumvirate of MLK, JFK and RFK. And now, once again, like Motown and BET before it, a black media empire is being put on the auction block. Considering that Ebony and Jet were in existence before Motown and well...
SOURCE: WSJ (10-7-09)
Hilary Mantel's "Wolf Hall" scooped the £50,000 ($79,565) prize. Ms. Mantel's novel charts the upheaval caused by the king's desire to marry Anne Boleyn, as seen through the eyes of royal adviser Thomas Cromwell.
The winning novel beat stiff competition from a shortlist that included previous Booker winners A.S. Byatt and J.M. Coetzee.
Ms. Mantel told a London audience that if winning the Booker Prize was like being in a train crash, "at this moment I am happily flying through the air."
The chairman of the Booker prize judges, James Naughtie, said the decision to give "Wolf Hall" the award was "based on the sheer bigness of the book. The boldness of its narrative, its scene setting ... The extraordinary way that Hilary Mantel has created what one of the judges has said...
SOURCE: NYT (10-6-09)
It is a big, wide selection of mostly modern and contemporary paintings and sculptures that also includes works by Mark Rothko, a lead relief titled “0 Through 9” by Jasper Johns, bronze sculptures by Degas and still-life canvases by Giorgio Morandi.
In the weeks before the inauguration, Michael Smith, the Obamas’ decorator, paid a visit to Harry Cooper, curator of modern and contemporary art at the National Gallery in Washington. Mr. Smith was not there to see the latest exhibition, but rather to talk about what...
SOURCE: Artdaily.org (10-7-09)
SOURCE: Yahoo News (10-6-09)
One hundred sixty years ago, the beleaguered, impoverished Poe was found, delirious and in distress outside a Baltimore tavern. He was never coherent enough to explain what had befallen him since leaving Richmond, Va., a week earlier. He spent four days in a hospital before he died at age 40.
Poe's cousin, Neilson Poe, never announced his death publicly. Fewer than 10 people attended the hasty funeral for one of the 19th century's greatest writers. And the injustices piled on. Poe's tombstone was destroyed before it could be installed, when a train derailed and crashed into a stonecutter's yard. Rufus Griswold, a Poe enemy, published a libelous obituary that damaged Poe's reputation for decades.
SOURCE: NYT (10-5-09)
That perennially teenage redhead from Riverdale made headlines around the world when word leaked, back in May, that he would propose to his longtime love interest, Veronica Lodge, in issue No. 600 of the comic that bears his name. But that issue, published in August, was only Part 1 of a six-part story. Although Archie did marry Veronica, things will take a turn in November, when Archie proposes to the lady in waiting, Betty Cooper. That’s just the latest twist in the romantic triangle that has thrust this nearly 70-year-old character, and his parent company, into the media spotlight.
Archie, who first appeared in December 1941, has followed the course of other comic-book characters: spinoff titles, a radio program, a newspaper strip and a Saturday morning cartoon series. But as comic books became graphic novels, Archie was talked about less and less. In 2007 the publishers of Archie Comic Publications introduced what they called a...
SOURCE: Edmonton Sun (10-7-09)
"It just look spectacular," Kaufman tells Sun Media about the dust-and-dirt removal as well as the brightening of the Technicolor picture to conform with the original intentions of Walt Disney's artists.
"As an historian and loving these films," Kaufman says from Wichita, Kan., "one of my pet peeves is not being able to see them in a form that does justice to them -- and I think we're finally getting into a form that does."
Kaufman is referring not only to Snow White -- the subject of his next Disney book, due in 2010 or 2011 -- but all the early Disney animation features.
"These were some of the most beautifully crafted films ever made," he says...
SOURCE: Artdaily.org (10-6-09)
An album, (lot 355) likely to have belonged an army mechanic responsible for the first motorcars to cross the Himalayas into Tibet, during 1907-1908 is estimated to sell for £600-800.
In 1907 two motorcars were carried over the Himalayas into Tibet. One was an 8hp Clement brought as a gift for the Panchen Lama, the second highest ranking Lama after the Dalai Lama, (pictured in this album with the Chinese Amban at the wheel), who presided over Tashilhunpo monastery near Shigatse. The other was a Peugeot which belonged to Captain O'Connor (later to become Sir Frederick O'Connor), who was posted to Gyantse as the British Trade Agent under the Anglo-Tibet Convention. He is pictured in this album driving his Peugeot on the...
SOURCE: Artdaily.org (10-6-09)
The city's museum authority says in a statement that officials moved Nefertiti "with the greatest care" on Sunday from the adjacent Altes Museum, her temporary home in recent years.
The plaster-and-limestone bust will go on view to the public October 17 when the Neues Museum reopens. The building has been restored painstakingly after lying unused since World War II, when bomb damage ruined much of it.
Nefertiti first went on show at the Neues Museum — one of five buildings that makes up Berlin's neoclassical Museum Island complex — before the war...
SOURCE: The Chronicle of Higher Education (10-5-09)
It's been said that every avalanche begins with a snowflake, and in this case the first one fell at precisely 2:38 p.m. on October 1, when the fiscally conservative Club for Growth posted a note about the grant under the headline "Your Tax Dollars at Work." Maybe it stops there, or maybe it develops into flurries.
Today the Web site FutureOfCapitalism.com gives a hat tip to Club for Growth and notes that the university's press release says the archive contains, among other things, "materials related to ... the Grateful Dead's highly unusual and successful musical business ventures."
"If the Grateful Dead were such...
SOURCE: guardian.co.uk (10-5-09)
TalkbackThames, the producers of The Bill, have teamed with a German production company to tell the story of the 1936 Olympics in a docufiction drama that will screen before the Olympics in 2012.
Titled The Olympics, the two-part drama will tell the story of filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl and US black athlete Jesse Owens' triumph at the Games.
"We will tell our stories around these figures," said Lorraine Heggessey, chief executive of TalkbackThames, speaking at MIPCOM in Cannes.
The docu-drama will be co-produced by TalkbackThames and UFA Fernsehproduktion. Today the two companies announced that they would partner in a drama production unit.
Adolf Hitler will be a character in the miniseries. He famously refused to shake hands with black US athlete Owens, who won four gold medals at the games....
SOURCE: CNN (10-5-09)
Los Angeles' development from an arid wasteland to a world metropolis and cultural capital is closely linked to the newspaper's rise under the ownership of one family.
"It would still be a desert," documentary filmmaker Peter Jones said, if Gen. Harrison Gray Otis didn't arrive in the 1880s to take over the bankrupt Los Angeles Times and his son-in-law, Harry Chandler, wasn't there to follow him.
Jones' documentary is a saga of four generations of the region's most powerful family shaping Los Angeles as they pursued their own civil agendas -- and accumulated wealth. "Inventing L.A.: The Chandlers and Their Times" premieres Monday on PBS.
Historian David Halberstam said in the documentary that the Chandlers dominated...
SOURCE: NYT (10-4-09)
“Some people said it shouldn’t be done, and there will still be some of that now, this feeling that this is a gleaming jewel in the world of children’s books and don’t mess around with it,” Michael Brown, chairman of the Pooh Properties Trust, said of creating the sequel. “This doesn’t damage the original stories at all, though, and allows us to continue the stories in a world of kindness, cheerfulness, laughter and fun.”
SOURCE: NYT (9-30-09)
The principals are all in late middle age now, jowly and graying, and have in some ways become the very sorts of people they used to poke fun at. Michael Palin makes travel documentaries. Mr. Jones makes documentaries and writes scholarly books about the Middle Ages, the period the Pythons so memorably sent up in their film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Terry Gilliam, animator turned filmmaker, is still quixotically obsessed with making a movie about Don Quixote. Eric Idle, who’s mostly responsible for the long-running Broadway production of “Spamalot,” writes musical shows, many of them recycling Python material....
SOURCE: NYT (10-4-09)
SOURCE: Guardian (UK) (10-2-09)
The works include Rubens' tender portrait of his five-year-old pink-cheeked daughter, Clara Serena, painted in 1616 and owned by the Liechtenstein family for almost 300 years. It is among scores of paintings by the Flemish master in the collection, the greatest private collection of his work in the world.
The Princes of Liechtenstein have been buying and commissioning art, antiques, and fabulous furniture since the 14th century, and unlike most of the continent's noble families, keeping it. In the second world war the family retreated – with the art – from palaces in Vienna and Czechoslovakia to their castle at Vaduz, the capital of their tiny principality.
Five years ago the family restored one of their...