A hardy group of artists is keeping up the laborious old technique of animation using pencil drawings, creating whimsical films aimed at adults. A full-length feature could require 25,000 drawings or more (at a rate of 24 drawings per second).
The actual observance of Christianity is plummeting in modern-day Britain, but in the arts, the religion’s narratives and iconography remain powerful sources of both inspiration and controversy – from the very successful music of classical composers James MacMillan and John Tavener to artist Chris Ofili’s notorious Holy Virgin Mary (the one with the elephant dung) and sculptor Terence Koh’s depiction of Jesus with an erection to Jerry Springer: The Opera and David Hare’s play Gethsemane to the BBC1 television series Apparitions, about a contemporary priest chasing Satan away from souls. How does the subject of Christianity continue to engage artists and audiences, even as belief wanes?
Gus van Sant’s new biopic on Harvey Milk, the gay activist and politician assassinated in San Francisco’s City Hall in 1978, opened just three weeks after voters passed a constitutional amendment undoing California’s legalization of same-sex marriage. “How does Proposition 8 change the meaning – the symbolic significance as well as the real-world function – of Milk? And if the film had found an audience early enough, could it have made a difference?”
“In tough times like these, the arts should be a source of inspiration, but they can hardly lift our spirits if they’re struggling as well. To paraphrase a recent political aphorism, philanthropy can trickle up from the bottom, too. … [I]sn’t it just possible that, when it comes to the arts, we can be the ones we’ve been waiting for?”
The Evening Standard‘s judges explain their choices.
A mere three weeks after he pulled out of his agreement to run New York City Opera beginning next season, retiring Paris Opera director Gérard Mortier has signed on to become artistic director of the Teatro Real in Madrid, beginning in January 2010. Mortier will not hire a successor to departing music director Jesús López-Cobos, opting instead to “work with a permanent team of orchestra directors which will replace the opera house’s musical director position.”
With corporate giving down by $100,000 and single ticket sales off by almost $50,000, the orchestra is economizing by replacing a program of Mahler’s Second Symphony with Orff’s Carmina Burana, not hiring substitute musicians for rehearsals, and cutting back on office supplies. No layoffs are planned for the time being.
Handwritten poems and cartoons, a matchbox with a snarky homemade label, Christmas cards and signed gifts from various Beatles (who were friends), and other miscellaneous stuff belonging to the comedian and founder of BBC radio’s legendary Goon Show went for surprisingly high prices at Bonham’s in London this week. (Oddly, a restored 1883 Broadwood grand piano, estimated at £2,000 to £3,000 and occasionally played by no less than Paul McCartney, went to a friend of the family for £400. Where were the period-instrument folks?)
“Rae Imamura, a pianist and music educator with an abiding passion for new and experimental music, died of cancer Saturday at her home in Berkeley. She was 63. For decades, Ms. Imamura was a devoted advocate for the works of living composers, including John Cage, Robert Ashley, Lou Harrison, Terry Riley, John Adams and Paul Dresher. Her collaborators also included jazz luminaries such as Ornette Coleman and the Art Ensemble of Chicago.”
The members of British Equity who perform in musicals have voted to accept a proposal which will bring the minimum wage up to £600 per week. In exchange, Equity has agreed to allow Sunday performances.