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 (11-28-11)
PARIS — Giacomo Girolamo Casanova was a gambler, swindler, diplomat, lawyer, soldier, alchemist, violinist, traveler, pleasure seeker and serial seducer.
He was also a prolific writer who documented his adventures and love affairs in a steamy memoir that is one of the literary treasures of the 18th century.
Born in Venice, he considered France his adopted country but was forced to flee Paris in 1760 after seducing the wives and daughters of important subjects of King Louis XV and cheating them out of their money.
Now Casanova is back in France, celebrated by the French state. The original manuscript of his memoirs, “The Story of My Life,” and other writings of his are on display for the first time at the National Library of France in the exhibition “Casanova — The Passion for Freedom.” He is even being called a feminist....
SOURCE: The Daily Beast (11-18-11)
A new exhibition drawing from the First Ladies Collection at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., includes one painted paper fan, a wowzer of a silver tea service, one well-worn silk shoe, a lump of charred wood, a wealth of china, and one sweetly autographed copy of Treasure Island—in addition to the beloved inaugural ballgowns, cocktail dresses, and day suits that typically leave visitors swooning.
The collection, one of the most popular exhibitions at the Smithsonian, has been re-examined and re-configured in a new East Wing gallery space in anticipation of a major renovation that will close the museum’s West Wing. This more intimate look at the first ladies—or at least their...
SOURCE: MinnPost (11-18-11)
Interviewer: “Everybody would like to be Cary Grant.”
Cary Grant, in response: “So would I.”
During his 34-year film career, he made 74 movies, beginning in 1932 with “This Is the Night” and wrapping up in 1966 with “Walk Don’t Run.” In all that time, he never played a villain — a good call...
SOURCE: Salon (11-15-11)
Simon Weisenthal’s greatest contribution to the world was his dogged pursuit of Nazi criminals who escaped punishment at the end of World War II. His second greatest contribution was his reminder that despite being described as “the Good War” or “a just war,” not enough good was ultimately done, and comparatively little justice was meted out. Some of the most prominent and heinous architects of mass murder simply got on with their lives, and some were the recipients of largesse — jobs, travel assistance, even money and government protection — that was denied to the people who endured their cruelty. And we tend to forget that for every high-ranking sadist or mass murderer who was imprisoned or executed after the war, thousands more who assisted them directly (through action) or indirectly (through silence) were never even called to account.
This grim fact is the jumping-off point for “Elusive Justice” (...
SOURCE: NYT (11-12-11)
Maureen Dowd is a New York Times columnist.
I ASK Clint Eastwood, the star who defined macho in 20th-century movies, what it was like to direct a scene with two men kissing.
Stretching out his Giacometti legs in the Four Seasons bar, the rangy 81-year-old said he juiced up the action to make it a fistfight that suddenly turns erotic. Or as Eastwood circumspectly puts it, “It becomes an expression, at least from one of the...
SOURCE: National Review (11-9-11)
While there are hundreds of military museums around the world, Haus am Checkpoint Charlie, or the Checkpoint Charlie Museum, is one of few memorials that expressly document the tyrannical force of dictatorship — in this instance, the Communist cruelty that operated with an iron fist thanks to a methodically conceived Iron Curtain. The museum ranks with far wealthier museums that document the horrors of fascist tyranny, such as the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
The story of the Berlin Wall begins on Saturday, Aug. 12, 1961, a seemingly lackluster summer day in Berlin. Residents from the eastern and western parts of town traveled to their favorite summer spots, to luxuriate in the last summer rays of the sun. Little did they know that something strange was unfolding, and by the end of the night, casually traversing to the...
SOURCE: NYT (11-8-11)
Even with all the surprises that have characterized Clint Eastwood’s twilight film years, with their crepuscular tales of good and evil, the tenderness of the love story in “J. Edgar” comes as a shock. Anchored by a forceful, vulnerable Leonardo DiCaprio, who lays bare J. Edgar Hoover’s humanity, despite the odds and an impasto of old-coot movie makeup, this latest jolt from Mr. Eastwood is a look back at a man divided and of the ties that bind private bodies with public politics and policies. With sympathy — for the individual, not his deeds...
SOURCE: NYT (11-2-11)