Those Studies That Found That Smiling Can Improve Your Bad Mood? Well …

“This concept has been a standard in self-help for many years: Fake it till you make it; sulk until you hulk. Act the way you want to feel, and the rest will fall into place. … Smiling can make you happy or decrease your stress.” Now the studies on which the concept was based have been re-tried by researchers, and the old results haven’t been replicated. Daniel Engber lays out the history.

Truth, Martyrdom, And Shostakovich (Richard Taruskin Takes On Julian Barnes’s Novel)

“This book, I think, is a beautifully written botch, and it has me wondering anew about truth. People have been doing that, of course, for a long time – at least since Pilate confronted Christ. And the wrangling over what the truth might be about Shostakovich and his experiences under Stalin has been going on, it sometimes seems, almost as long.”

New Russian Gérard Depardieu Gets A Cultural Center Named After Him In His New Hometown

“[The] French-born actor… on Saturday inaugurated a cultural and film centre bearing his name in Saransk, the capital of the Russian region of Mordovia in which Depardieu is a registered resident … [He moved there after] giving up his French passport as a protest against French president François Hollande’s proposal to tax France’s highest earnest earners at over 75 percent.”

What Does A Bad Decision Look Like In The Brain?

“The brain is the most metabolically expensive tissue in the body. It consumes 20 percent of our energy despite taking up only 2 to 3 percent of our mass. Because neurons are so energy-hungry, the brain is a battleground where precision and efficiency are opponents. Glimcher argues that the costs of boosting our decision-making precision outweigh the benefits. Thus we’re left to be confounded by the choices of the modern American cereal aisle.”

Top AJBlogs For 08.28.16

What Happens When Critical Opinion Separates From An Audience?
A poll of movie critics worldwide asking about the best movies of the 21st Century so far shows a big gap between the critics and the box office. Is it inevitable as an art form matures that critical taste leaves the audience behind?… read more
JBlog: diacritical | Douglas McLennan’s blog

This Week in Audience: Are Middle Class Values Stifling The Arts?
This Week: Have orchestra pops concerts lost the pops thread?… A decade of experimenting with pay-as-you-will theatre in Charleston… NBC confirms a shift in how audiences want to watch the Olympics… Are middle class norms … read more
AJBlog: AJ Arts AudiencePublished 2016-08-28

Borne on a West Coast Breeze
The Pacific Northwest Ballet performs during Jacob’s Pillow’s last week of the summer. Pacfic Northwest Ballet in Benjamin Millepied’s 3 Movements. (L to R): Christian Poppe, Sarah Ricard Orza, Lesley Rausch, Seth Orza, and Matthew … read more
AJBlog: Dancebeat Published 2016-08-28

The Future of Orchestras Part IV: Attention-Span
A colleague in Music History at a major American university reports that it has become difficult to teach sonata form because sonata forms transpire over 15 minutes and more.  This topic – shrinking attention-span — … read more
AJBlog: Unanswered Question Published 2016-08-27