Tunisia’s Religious Jazz, And The Dangers It Faces After The Revolution

Stambeli, a uniquely Tunisian hybrid of musical genre, healing practice, and religious ceremony, [is] deeply rooted in the history of a specific community: the descendants of slaves brought to the region from sub-Saharan Africa during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It also has close links to Sufism.” But the changes in the country since the Arab Spring (notably the Saudi-funded spread of Salafism) are combining with older ethnic prejudices to put a lot of pressure on stambeli‘s remaining practitioners.

Margaret Atwood Goes To Comic-Con

“One line member tells Atwood she doesn’t know who she is, hasn’t read any of her books, and wants to know which she should start with. The author shoots her that stare. ‘So you want me to say who I am. Well, I’m secretly Glinda the Good Witch in disguise, and the best novel that I wrote is called the Iliad,’ Atwood says, deadpan. ‘What?’ the woman asks.”

Court Battle Over Interview Tapes At Center Of ‘Serial’, Season Two

“The Justice Department is urging a federal judge to shut down a bid by filmmaker Mark Boal to block military prosecutors from subpoenaing unaired outtakes of 25 hours of interviews Boal conducted with Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who is facing a court-martial on charges he deserted a U.S. base in Afghanistan. Boal’s talks with Bergdahl became the staple of the second season of the celebrated podcast Serial.”

The Olympics As Religious Ritual, Then And Now

“At the end of the fourth Christian century, an east-Roman emperor who followed the new faith abolished the pan-Hellenic contest as part of his general drive to stamp out paganism. … Pierre de Coubertin, the blue-blooded Frenchman who revived the classical games, did not hide the fact that he was competing with monotheism, and trying to reverse what he saw as a great historical wrong.” What’s more, “both the modern contests and their ancient Greek predecessors share many of the features of a giant sacramental feast.”

Leaders Of Alberta’s Two Largest Theatres Depart Signals Major Shift

“The departures come as Alberta’s oil-reliant economy is suffering – and all that that implies for arts organizations: corporate funding, individual donations and subscription and ticket sales. The loss of the two veterans at a time of financial unrest may add to a feeling of instability, but what’s waiting in the wings could instead be exciting.”

Estonia Takes A Start-Up Approach To Kickstart Its Music Scene

“Estonia has a long history of music-making and state support for classical music, but we didn’t have a tradition of musical entrepreneurship. With the Tallinn Music Week, we wanted to kick-start an artistic entrepreneurship culture. We felt that the success of Estonian music was going to be dependent on artists acting like self-sufficient companies.”