All the Poets: Rhiannon Giddens
The second installment of my Los Angeles Review of Books — All the Poets, in which musicians discuss their literary influences — went up the other day: Rhiannon Giddens, who earned her reputation with ... read more
AJBlog: CultureCrashPublished 2017-05-28

How to Talk about Saving the NEA
The President’s 2018 budget includes just enough funding for staff time required to shut down the NEA and NEH. Arts advocates and administrators have responded with pleas that federal arts funding is important and can’t ... read more
AJBlog: The Bright RidePublished 2017-05-28

Recent Listening: Charlie Shoemake, Teacher
Charlie Shoemake Trio And Quartet: Central Coasting (CCJAZZI) In addition to being a premier jazz vibraphonist, Charlie Shoemake has long devoted himself to helping young musicians develop their skills. After he and ... read more
AJBlog: RiffTidesPublished 2017-05-26

Hey, good news: Novelist Emma Straub's "Books Are Magic is opening in the midst of a renaissance for independent booksellers. The American Booksellers Association counted 1,775 members around the country in 2016, up from 1,410 in 2010." (Now here's what to buy from them.)

The history was that only the main players got credits - at the beginning of the film. Then the unions started to gain more clout, and "as productions grew more lavish and more complicated, more and more crew members were needed. But in the age of celluloid, studios had to be mindful of how long their credits would be. Film was more expensive to work with and process, so each added reel had an impact on the budget."

The 24-year-old Canadian poet became famous when Instagram banned a self-portrait in which she was lying on her bed, with sheets stained by menstrual blood. That banning got her 1.3 million followers to the site, where she publishes poetry and illustrations. She credits social media for its openness: "I used to submit to anthologies and magazines when I was a student – but I knew I was never going to be picked up. All their writing was, you know, about the Canadian landscape or something. And my poem is about this woman with her legs spread open."

And, honestly, GIFs are living their best lives right now. "Twitter has a GIF button and even Apple added GIF search to its iOS messaging app. Such mainstream approval would have seemed unthinkable even a decade ago, when GIFs had the cultural cachet of blinking text and embedded MIDI files. But today they’re ubiquitous."

Though Netflix doesn't release numbers, the series was expensive - and, according to one analytics firm, not as "buzzy" either as other Netflix series, like "The Crown," or HBO's also-canceled music series, "Vinyl."

Tensions remain high after the bombing of a pop concert in Manchester. "On social media, theatregoers said they and the cast had been moved to the nearby Imperial War Museum gardens." The police later said the incident was "not suspicious" but didn't elaborate.

This does not look good. "At the storm’s center is Kirill Serebrennikov, the virtuoso Russian stage director behind Moscow’s innovative, and often controversial, Gogol Center theater. ... With the company’s actors still detained by masked officers in the theater on Tuesday, hundreds of supporters from artist and journalist circles began gathering outside, among them former members of the punk protest band Pussy Riot and loyalist film directors like Fyodr Bandarchuk."

From Berta Colón's letter to the board, in which she accused a co-executive of employee intimidation: "Staff is threatened with the possibility of being fired, they are pitted against each other. ... During this period of transition without an executive director, Carlos has created an environment that promotes distrust, fear of retaliation and isolation." And the museum's newly hired executive director may not yet have permission to work in the U.S.

Regular ballet slippers are no good for dancers' feet, and pointe shoes? Forget it. "While they may run, jump, squat, leap and pivot like any NBA star, dancers do it without shock absorption, arch support or any foot-comfort features whatsoever."

Yusaku Maezawa has a collection of Basquiats, and a lot of other art, and plans to open a museum in Japan to showcase it all - and to lend art to other museums as well. "Mr. Maezawa — who does not work with an art adviser — said he was driven entirely by his love of art and not financial investment. 'I just follow my instinct,' he said. 'When I think it’s good, I buy it.'"

In Chicago’s new American Writers Museum: "If the idea is to curate — to present to the world, in some official capacity, the Most Important People in American Literary History — then the battle is unwinnable. There’s no way we’re all ever going to agree. We see certain writers as canonical because we were always told they were canonical."

One of the heirs of the pre-Nazi-looting owners: "We brokered a compromise, which we signed. It is not really satisfactory, but it is acceptable. It was the best that we could achieve. Ideally, it would have been returned in total to our family. That wasn’t possible, so we settled for what we could get."

Wow, did the Alamo Drafthouse stir up a hornets' nest. But hey. "'That providing an experience where women truly reign supreme has incurred the wrath of trolls only serves to deepen our belief that we're doing something right,' creative manager Morgan Hendrix told the publication. 'As a result, we will be expanding this program across the country and inviting women everywhere to join us as we celebrate this iconic superheroine in our theaters."

In a Q&A with the author, a New York Times journalist gets to ask her many questions about the process of watching her book turn into TV. Ferrante: "No real person will ever match the image that I or a reader have in our minds. This is because the written word, of course, defines but by nature leaves much to reader’s imagination. The visual image instead shrinks those margins. It is destined to always leave out something that the words inspire — something that always matters."

There are betrayals, arguments, backstabbing ... and it's all good for those who love to watch classical music outside in the summer. "Rival conductors’ batons may not yet be clashing in combat, and it has not quite come to picnic-hampers-at-dawn, but there is a new and marked element of serious competition between the growing number of rivals."

He published a book of poetry at 19 and got his degrees from the University of Iowa, but then addictions derailed him for years. "Mr. Johnson initially believed that sobriety would damage his creativity, but later realized that his addictions were not fueling much writing." When he got sober, he wrote many things, including Jesus' Son, a beloved book of linked short stories.

Yikes. "Church, 31, has been famous for nearly all her life. The cautionary tabloid narrative is well-worn, and like most fairy stories it contains not a little misogyny. She became famous at 11 as the little girl who could sing arias, the 'Voice of an Angel'. She soon became public property."

He's a poet, and he has to string together residencies and gigs like any poet: "The winner, a poet named Brian Sonia-Wallace, has also won a highly publicized Amtrak residency. And a closer inspection of his resume revealed he had also been an artist-in-residence for the city of Los Angeles and had held similar gigs with the National Park Service and even Dollar Shave Club."

In her 40 years in the business, Leiber designed 3,500 handbags, some of which were carried by First Ladies and movie stars. Now 96, Leiber says she loves her bags, whether "classic" or "crazy."

(Image credit: Gary Mamay/Leiber Collection/Museum of Arts and Design)


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