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: The Christian Science Monitor (12-7-09)
Mr. Gibson has become a world traveler: helping a textile museum in Kurdistan, organizing a cultural conference in Mongolia, assisting the Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. As senior cultural expert for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), he's devoted the past 19 years to saving museums threatened by strife.
"Every museum has a soul," he says. "It's different for each of them. You have to be very sensitive to the soul, to the spirit of the space."
His graceful style and gentle suggestions have won him many friends.
"We've been isolated from the entire museum world, that is true,"...
SOURCE: Huffington Post (12-8-09)
It's hard to believe it's almost been 30 years since I heard Howard Cosell deliver the news on Monday Night Football that John Lennon had been killed.
I was still in high school when John Lennon died so I was too young to remember the Beatles as anything more than a former band.
When the Beatles invaded America, I was less than a year old.
Three summers later, when Sgt. Peppers transformed popular music and America's culture, I was still a toddler.
But regardless of my late start, John Lennon and the Beatles still changed my life in a way that few others have. I didn't see the Fab Four introduced to America by Ed Sullivan, or endure the pain of a breakup to the strains of "Yesterday," or drop acid with my friends while listening to Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. But I did have...
SOURCE: WSJ (12-9-09)
"I just like how they look," Randy says of the 200 cans that line the walls of his bedroom here. And, no, "he doesn't drink the beer," his father says.
The problem for the once-thriving hobby of beer-can collecting is that Randy is a rarity: a collector under the age of 30.
As the beer can nears its 75th birthday in January, many hobbyists are crying in their brew over their inability to lure young people to a pastime that hooked many of them when they were youngsters in the 1970s.
"We'd ride bikes to each other's houses and start trading cans," says Dan Baker, 47, an Illinois collector who started when he was 10. "That's what all the kids did back then."...
... The first beer can -- the Krueger's...
SOURCE: Princeton University (12-7-09)
How did the exhibition"Life Objects: Rites of Passage in African Art" (open until Jan. 24) come about?
After I designed the syllabus for"Art and Lifecycle in Africa," a freshman seminar I am teaching this fall, I approached the museum with a request for a precept show. Normally, this is a modest exhibit designed to allow students to engage more directly and intimately with art objects relevant to the course. As it...
SOURCE: SF Chronicle (12-8-09)
For only the second time in at least a decade, the council is expected to send a landmark decision back to the panel for further review, based on an appeal by the building's owner and a recommendation by the city's planning director, Dan Marks.
"I'm dumbfounded," said commissioner Carrie Olson. "This is very, very rare. We were proud to landmark the remains of this building, and I'm sad they've taken a little corkscrew to what we've done."
The building, at 1007 University Ave., was originally an addition to the headquarters of the Mobilized Women of Berkeley, a charity that supported U.S. troops and was co-founded by the wife of the prominent architect,...
SOURCE: Statesman (12-8-09)
Jensen doesn't like to talk about that day or his experiences fighting in World War II. He doesn't watch war movies anymore. And during a visit Monday to the George H.W. Bush Gallery of the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, he passed through quickly, not lingering on the images within.
But Jensen, who lives in Sun City, Ariz., said he feels deeply that the museum's lessons are important for future generations: "I think that every kid in the United States should go through that museum."
The museum's expanded gallery reopened Monday after a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by former President Bush and his wife, Gov. Rick Perry and more than 5,000 people, including survivors of Pearl Harbor....
SOURCE: WSJ (12-8-09)
The bar on producing Stilton cheese here is a curious consequence of EU efforts to protect revered local foods by limiting the geographical area where they can be made.
The EU's protected list of more than 800 foods and drinks includes famous names like Champagne and Parma as well as lesser-known delicacies such as Moutarde de Bourgogne, Munchener Bier and a Spanish chili pepper called Asado del Bierzo. It even covers Foin de Crau, a hay for animals from the fields of Bouches-du-Rhône in southern France.
But to the chagrin of locals, no cheese made here can be branded as Stilton. That's because a group of outsiders, called the Stilton Cheesemakers Association, raised a formal stink.
The association, whose members have been making the cheese for more than a hundred years, in 1996 sought to...
SOURCE: WSJ (12-9-09)
And who's to say? Perhaps half a century from now thousands will be moseying over to Andrew Alexander, The Second City's co-owner since 1985, swearing that they were among the 350 in the audience for the company's 50th reunion in expanded quarters a few blocks south of the original location.
The celebration, which begins Friday and runs until Sunday evening, includes panel discussions on such topics as "Voices of Diversity at The Second City," "Second City in the Sixties," "SCTV"—a nod to the TV series conjured by members of the company's sister site in Toronto—and of course live performances by some whose careers were launched in those...
SOURCE: WSJ (12-8-09)
Raphael's "Head of a Muse" sold to an anonymous buyer for double its high estimate, a sign that collectors are willing to chase after older masterpieces even as global prices for living artists remain shaky. The work's price outperforms a Henri Matisse table scene that Christie's sold this spring for $46.5 million and an Andy Warhol screenprint of 200 dollar bills that Sotheby's sold last month for $43.7 million.
Raphael's black-chalk preparatory drawing depicts a serene figure with Cupid's bow lips that also shows up in the background crowd of one of the artist's seminal frescoes, "Parnassus." That...
SOURCE: The American Task Force on Palestine (12-4-09)
Sacco, who has written and illustrated six graphic novels, is best known for his “Palestine,” penned after spending two months in the Occupied Territories in 1991 and 1992. It was not an immediate success, selling poorly when it first appeared as a comic series. After the publication of Sacco’s subsequent graphic novel – “Safe Area Gorazde,” which follows the war in Eastern Bosnia from 1992-95 – the “...
SOURCE: The New Republic (12-7-09)
To put the matter politely, presidential libraries tend not to inspire very good architecture. One generalization that can be made about the twelve libraries already in existence is that they tend to err on the side of dullness, like the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda and the Bush 41 Library in Texas. And when the architects reach for edginess, they come up with a tame composite of all the newest clichés of the moment; consider the brutalism of LBJ’s library or the drab curtainwalls in the building that honors Gerald Ford. The good side of that equation is that, as architectural typologies go, these libraries are rarely downright awful. Also, because they usually inhabit the outskirts of cities, they are able to expand horizontality over a fairly generous allotment of land.
A few days ago, some preliminary plans were unveiled for the George W....
SOURCE: The Daily Beast (12-7-09)
SOURCE: WBT Charlotte (12-6-09)
``In the American people's minds, that specific association is the only factor they know about Jefferson Davis. I'm working to educate the American public on all of the great accomplishments of this American patriot,'' Hayes-Davis said in an interview.
The 61-year-old president of the Davis Family Association was the keynote speaker at a groundbreaking ceremony Sunday in Biloxi at Beauvoir, the Mississippi Gulf Coast home where the Confederate president spent the remaining years of his life.
Hurricane Katrina in 2005 damaged Beauvoir, and destroyed the library and museum also located the beachfront Biloxi property.
The ceremony took place on the 120th anniversary of Davis' death of pneumonia while he was...
SOURCE: The Dallas Morning News (12-7-09)
It's early Sunday morning. The red-and-white control tower stands over the Ford Island Airfield in the middle of Pearl Harbor. You feel the percussion of Japanese attackers' bombs as they fall on Ford Island and the ships anchored nearby.
Sailors, soldiers and airmen dodge the bullets as they rip through the glass windows of burning aircraft hangars.
You are there where bravery overcame fear and boys became men. World War II had begun for the United States.
"This new museum opened in December 2006 and is the perfect complement to the other Pearl Harbor historic sites," says Kenneth DeHoff, museum executive director.
Indeed, it is adjacent to the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial; the battleship U.S.S. Missouri, on which the Japanese surrender was signed; and the U.S.S. Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, honoring WWII submariners.
SOURCE: WSJ (12-5-09)
Such unrivaled success reflects everything from record-industry trends to the sweep of global history. But it all begins with the songwriting genius of a Russian immigrant, born Israel Baline, who had just turned 54 when Decca recorded the track on May 29, 1942, and already had to his credit hundreds of hits like "Alexander's Ragtime Band," "Blue Skies," "How Deep Is the Ocean?" and "God Bless America." (Berlin, 101 when he died in 1989,...
SOURCE: NYT (12-2-09)
The role has defeated actors as varied as Danny Glover (the 1987 TV film “Mandela”), Sidney Poitier (“Mandela and de Klerk,” 1997, also for TV) and Dennis Haysbert (“Goodbye Bafana,” 2007), in vehicles that were reverential and mostly forgettable.
But as someone who studied Mr. Mandela over the course of three years while he replaced an apartheid regime with a genuine democracy, I found Mr. Freeman’s performance in the film “Invictus,” directed by Clint Eastwood, uncanny — less an impersonation than an incarnation.
SOURCE: Time (12-4-09)
Truth, famously, is the first victim in war. In the case of the Russia-Georgia conflict, the closest we'll probably get to the truth is an E.U.-led investigation that took more than a year to figure out who fired the first shot. That was Georgia, the report concluded, while also judging that Russia violated international law during the onslaught that followed. But don't expect to see any of that nuance in the films now battling it out to rewrite history...
SOURCE: The Christian Science Monitor (12-3-09)
But the tiny self-portrait that Italian art historians believe they have found in an oil painting by Caravaggio is real.
The painting, “Bacchus,” was completed by the Renaissance master in 1597 and depicts the mythical god of wine. On a table in front of him is a carafe of dark red wine. So far, so ordinary – at least by the standards of 16th-century art.
But researchers have used an infrared technique called multispectral reflectography to “peer” through centuries of grime and added layers of paint and claim to have detected a miniature self-portrait. It shows a man, thought to be Caravaggio at the age of about 25, with dark curly hair, peeking out from inside the carafe.
SOURCE: WSJ (12-4-09)
Say what you will about Ayn Rand, but one thing is certain: She had no use for common niceties. A grimly precocious, friendless Rand declared her atheism at age 13. "Atlas Shrugged," Rand's secular sermon-as-novel, boils with revulsion toward the "looters" and "moochers" who consume public funds. Rand scornfully excommunicated followers who disagreed with her, and in 1964 she told Playboy that those who place friends and family first in life are "immoral" and "emotional parasites."
Shoddy manners aside, 52 years after the release of "Atlas Shrugged," Rand seems to be roaring back. Sales are surging—Brian Doherty, author of "Radicals for Capitalism" (2007), recently calculated that in one week in late August, "Atlas" sold "67 percent more...
SOURCE: WSJ (12-3-09)
Now, despite the company's efforts to solicit input from a group of high-profile black women, including Cookie Johnson, wife of former basketball star Magic Johnson, some parents are saying the dolls aren't black enough. They complain that five of the six dolls feature fine-textured, waist-length hair; half of them have blue or green eyes....
... This isn't Mattel's first foray into creating black dolls. The El Segundo, Calif.-based toy maker first introduced a black doll in 1967, when it painted Barbie's cousin Francie brown. Two years later, Barbie got a black friend named Christie. A black Barbie came along in 1980, but her features were almost identical to those of her white counterpart.
The expensive line...