Probing The Middle Mind

Curtis White’s new book on what ails our cultural life is a sharply aimed critique. He writes that “our films, our news media, even the academic world of which he’s a part, have all conspired to eliminate the space for imagination and thought, the space in which people could envision a better life or any alternative to the status quo. The creations of Spielberg, Disney, and their ilk, “are pre-emptive efforts to saturate the field in which the imagination might do its work. This is the televisual deluge. This is communication as domination. We drown at the bottom of Hollywood’s ocean, and all we ever wanted was a single glass of pure water.”

Balanchine And The Art Of Fainting

Tobi Tobias got to understand over the years of watching Balanchine work that “how to bow, how to faint, how to waltz” were crucially important skills for his dancers to understand. “I came to understand that these skills were as important to the choreographer as a breathtaking mastery of the classical dance vocabulary he did so much to advance. I think it disturbed him at the core when dancers (even child dancers, because they represented his art’s future) couldn’t execute convincingly the moves that any citizen of civilization can perform almost instinctively…”

Broadway Perking Up After Disappointing Fall

“After a disappointing October and much of November, the New York theatre has seen, in less than a week, the best reviewed shows of the fall: an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, starring a rapturously received Kevin Kline, and a revival of Wonderful Town, the Bernstein-Comden and Green musical, with the equally acclaimed Donna Murphy. Along with the good notices has been good box office.”

NY Phil: Looking To Future Talent

David Robertson conducts the New York Philharmonic. So? There is a sense that younger conductors are being given chances to work with the orchestra with an eye to the future. “To the credit of the current music director, Lorin Maazel, the orchestra has done a much better job of introducing promising younger conductors — and potential successors — to its podium, musicians like Robert Spano and Alan Gilbert, as well as Osmo Vanska and Gianandrea Noseda, who made their debuts recently.”

Caravaggio Experts Gather

Caravaggio experts from around world are gathering in Sydney this weekend to examine works by the master. “The exhibition includes nine works experts agree are genuine Caravaggios and about 50 works by his contemporaries or those influenced by him. Some of those works may turn out to be genuine Caravaggios. ‘There is no definitive view on what is and isn’t Caravaggio’.”