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- 07/15/13--11:27: _VIDEO: City to Sell...
- 07/15/13--13:41: _"And those who were...
- 07/15/13--13:47: _VIDEO: Danny Huston...
- 07/16/13--01:08: _Ten of the Craziest...
- 07/16/13--01:09: _12 Hat Designs by H...
- 07/16/13--01:24: _Chaumet - Liens
- 07/16/13--04:19: _VIDEO: Alder, A New...
- 07/16/13--07:04: _Q&A: Wire's Colin N...
- 07/16/13--07:20: _Christie's Heads to...
- 07/16/13--09:39: _Slideshow: Suede Am...
- 07/16/13--09:59: _“Kinky Boots” to La...
- 07/16/13--11:22: _David Lynch’s “The ...
- 07/16/13--11:55: _See Massimiliano Gi...
- 07/16/13--13:21: _Marylouise Burke Tr...
- 07/16/13--13:58: _Malala Yousafzai Do...
- 07/16/13--20:09: _VIDEO: New Pussy Ri...
- 07/17/13--07:16: _Prison Design and I...
- 07/17/13--07:43: _Auctioneer's Hitler...
- 07/17/13--07:47: _VIDEO: Pregnant Cel...
- 07/17/13--08:39: _Lia Chaia e Rafael ...
- 07/15/13--11:27: VIDEO: City to Sell Wild West Artifacts from Never-built Museum
- 07/15/13--13:47: VIDEO: Danny Huston's Memories of Iconic Father
- 07/16/13--01:08: Ten of the Craziest Concept Cars of All Time
- 07/16/13--01:09: 12 Hat Designs by HK Top Milliner Jaycow
- 07/16/13--01:24: Chaumet - Liens
- 07/16/13--04:19: VIDEO: Alder, A New Wylie Dufresne Restaurant
- 07/16/13--07:04: Q&A: Wire's Colin Newman on "Change Becomes Us"
- 07/16/13--09:39: Slideshow: Suede Among Resort 2014 Collections
- 07/16/13--11:22: David Lynch’s “The Big Dream” Drops With Signing in Hollywood
- 07/16/13--11:55: See Massimiliano Gioni’s "Encyclopaedic Palace" in 20 Key Works
- 07/16/13--13:21: Marylouise Burke Travels Through Time in “A Parallelogram”
- 07/16/13--13:58: Malala Yousafzai Documentary in the Works
- 07/16/13--20:09: VIDEO: New Pussy Riot Video Slams Putin and Russian Oil Industry
- 07/17/13--07:16: Prison Design and Its Consequences: The Architect's Dilemma
- 07/17/13--07:47: VIDEO: Pregnant Celebrities Bump Into Style
Thousands of Old West artifacts will be sold in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania at an auction that could produce millions in badly needed revenue for the cash-strapped state capital.
The collection of 10,000 items was assembled by a former mayor, who hoped to build a museum of the American West in south-central Pennsylvania as part of a plan to attract tourism.
The museum idea died and the saddles, guns, gambling devices and other Western memorabilia have been kept in storage for the better part of a decade.
Auctioneer Guernsey's organized the collection by type, and the bidding gets under way Monday with items classified as mercantile, advertising, vintage clothing and the like.
It continues through Sunday on City Island, a city-owned property on the Susquehanna River that is also home to Harrisburg's minor league baseball team.
Along with Western material, the sale also includes African objects purchased for a different museum that also was never built, a large number of documents linked to U.S. presidents and other historical figures, Spanish colonial pieces and random other items.
Because Harrisburg is under a state receivership and teetering on the brink of bankruptcy thanks largely to having hundreds of millions of dollars in debt tied to a trash incinerator, officials say a judge may have the final word in deciding how the sale proceeds are spent.
Danny Huston certainly has show business in his blood.
The actor, who currently appears in the Starz drama "Magic City," was practically born into the "biz." He's the grandson of Oscar-winning actor Walter Huston, the son of director and actor John Huston and actress and author Zoe Sallis and half-brother of actress Anjelica Huston. He's also the uncle of actor Jack Huston.
The younger Huston was initially dazzled by the lure of the camera. "I had a great time as a kid growing up spending time on my father's film sets. One of my favorite memories is "Man Who Would Be King" where I went to the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and there was my father and Sean Connery, Michael Caine and Christopher Plummer - of course a Kipling novel - and so I just thought this is fantastic. I was meeting the tribe people in Morocco, the blue people and it was just so exotic and incredible that I was without doubt this is what I wanted to do."
But Huston says he soon became cynical about show business - at least for a while. "I saw my mother sometimes helped my father out when he was feeling pressured and the amount of money and the whole sort of circus act that involves making a film can sometimes be quite daunting and I love to paint and draw. So I thought, 'You know what? I don't need this vast amount of money to produce something that I care about. So I went to art school in England during my. An art school there were lots of gallery openings and lots of drinking of warm white wine, (laughs), and I realized there was just about as much nonsense around the art world as I suppose there is in any business. So finally I succumbed."
Huston says that once he decided to get into the entertainment industry he still wasn't looking to act. "My ambition was to direct. I was directing and writing. My first job was actually to do a title sequence for my father for film he made called "Under the Volcano" and so I was really happy and then I directed my first film, a film called "Mr. North" and sadly my father passed away and I kind of lost my and my friend, my buddy to confide in and I was stuck in LA in this sort of this season-less state and fellow directors, out of the kindness of their hearts, saw me sort of the years going by and saw me doing nothing and they started offering the small parts and the parts got bigger. Here I am as an actor."
Huston's daughter Stella is just coming into her teenage years. He says he doesn't encourage or discourage her about following in the family's showbiz footsteps. "I suppose I would be somewhat like my father I would hope in that I would encourage her. If that's what she wanted I'd support her if that's what she wanted but it would have to stem from her."
"Magic City" airs on the Starz premium cable network, featuring new episodes Fridays at 9 PM Eastern.
After the success of his highly acclaimed molecular gastronomy restaurant WD-50 on the Manhattan's Lower East Side, Chef Wylie Dufresne takes a more casual approach with his second restaurant, Alder.
Located in the East Village, Alder is Dufresne’s take on a traditional tavern with a modern American twist. While WD-50 has only tasting menus, Alder’s extensive food and cocktail menu reinterprets New York City’s diverse food culture using cutting-edge culinary techniques. Among the highlights are Pigs in a Blanket made with Chinese sausage, Japanese mustard, and sweet chili sauce, and Chicken Liver Toast with cornbread, grapefruit marmalade, and cracklings.
Blouin ARTINFO toured Alder’s kitchen and spoke with Owner Wylie Dufresne, Executive Chef Jon Bignelli, and Bar Director Kevin Denton about concocting the menu and working together on the Alder team.
What does a band do after 30-plus years of existence? If you’re Wire, you remain as elusive as ever. On “Change Becomes Us,” the English rock band’s new album, the group took old, unfinished song structures and used them as raw material. But this isn’t a nostalgia trip — the result is one of the most forward thinking rock albums of the year, and one of the best of the band’s long career. While most bands would cash in on an extensive back catalog of fan favorites, part of Wire’s longevity has been to constantly reinvent and push themselves toward producing the best songs they can at that moment. In the current musical climate, where bands appear and disappear before you even have the chance to dismiss them, the fact that Wire is still here is something to admire. The band is currently on tour and will stop at New York’s Bowery Ballroom on July 16. In a phone conversation, singer Colin Newman spoke with ARTINFO’s Craig Hubert about the creation of the record, how touring has changed for the group, and how to exist as a rock band when you’re not in your 20s.
I understand “Change Becomes Us” began as skeletons of songs over two decades old. Can you talk about the process of creating the album?
When you said skeletons I thought you said skeletons in the closet [laughs]. It’s kind of a classically ridiculous Wire concept. When we finished our first run, in the beginning of the ’80s — I mean, nobody really thought about it very much, but there was probably an album’s worth of material in various stages of genesis, some a bit not really started. For many years Wire didn’t release stuff, and then we found a way we could engage [with the material]. It was timing more than anything. And after the previous album, “Red Barked Tree,” we did some quite, for us, extensive touring. We had a new live guitarist, who would subsequently become a member of the band, and when you do a lot of live work and you get tight, and you get good, you feel like you should do something with it. It seemed that this project would fun to do, not necessarily that hard, and would utilize the energy of the band that had been playing live extremely well. That’s kind of as far as the concept goes. As far as the material, it ceases to have anything to do with the past. We’re not curators of our own museum. We have no idea. There are advertising people who are good at that. We’re not interested in making a record that sounds like it was made in 1980. Once that concept is there, you just have some stuff, it’s just material. In the end, it’s a new album.
Once you have the material, as you say, what is the working process like?
The working process of making the record was done in the initial recordings — the way the guitar, bass, drums work, and the way the vocal goes, that’s all pretty much set, apart from a few things where we wrote completely new vocal melodies. Somebody could have mixed the original recordings and made a pretty good live record, if you like that kind of record. That would work. I think “Change Becomes Us” has a slightly translucent quality, which is what I’m looking for. It should ultimately, to the uninitiated, sound like a bunch of people playing their instruments in a room, which is basically what it is. But there is a subtle process that goes into making that work, which I like. I don’t really like live in the studio records, it doesn’t really turn me on. I like a record that sounds like somebody thought about it a bit.
You mentioned the extensive touring after the previous album. How has touring changed for you over the years?
Something you make in the studio should bear more than one listen and should be discovered. At the moment, Wire has become an extremely good live band. In one way, we’ve figured out how to make it more enjoyable; touring doesn’t feel like something that is being done to you anymore. It feels like something you’re engaging with, and you know why you’re doing it. If you’re going to do it, do it consciously. You’re not there to play a list of what someone has decided beforehand what the songs should be, standing there picking off which ones we played from the list. This is an artistic venture — we’re playing what we think is the best of what we’re able to do right now. That might not relate to anybody’s list of what they want to hear. Now, we’re not stupid; we’re not going to play a whole set consisting of songs nobody’s ever heard before. But it’s important to us that we’re at our best on stage.
The band seems to have a lot more control — you’re producing the record, distributing it, having a more active role in the touring. Is this a reaction to not feeling like you had control at an earlier time in your career?
Absolutely. I think, ultimately, love it or hate it, you have to look at someone like Damien Hirst, who has taken the whole concept of, “OK, I’m going to make art, and make money out of it, and this is how I’m going to do it.” The old fashioned attitude of an artist is someone who waits for patronage, and waits for people who know more about these things to sort out the money for them — and it’s not a very smart way of going about things, especially if you’ve been around a bit. People might be falling over themselves and throwing money at the latest young crop of 20 year olds, but nobody is interested in doing that for a bunch of 50 year olds. It doesn’t exist. So you either figure it out for yourself or you’re going to be in a situation where you’re so grateful that anybody is giving you any attention at all that you’re diminished by it. We’re not the Rolling Stones, we’re not making millions, but it works.
Because you mentioned Damien Hirst, I wanted to ask you about the “art-rock” label that has been affixed to Wire. While many can see it as limiting, in the context of Wire I feel like it opened up the band to experiment more and people accept it.
I agree one hundred percent. Most tags are not useful, and I could be cynical, but it’s fair. To say Wire is “art-punk,” even though I hate that combination — I would just say it’s art.
Because Wire is ultimately just art, do you see it as something that can exist indefinitely, through different permutations? Or do you see the end of the road for the band, a place you want to reach before you want to move on to something different?
Everybody has other things which they do, which is important. So I don’t see any reason, apart from factors like health, why Wire wouldn’t continue to do what they do. I think everyone’s quite well invested in it, and I don’t think anyone sees a reason why we should stop it. There isn’t a feeling of things ending.
– Christie’s Plans Auction in India: In a move that further signals the growing importance of the Indian art market, Christie’s has announced it will hold its first auction in the country in December. "We are delighted to announce that we will hold auctions in India, allowing Indian collectors domestic access to works of art, international collectors access to the very best of Indian art, and opening channels to our global network and specialist expertise," Steven P. Murphy, chief executive officer of Christie's, said in a statement. [India Times]
– China Shutters Museum Over Fake Exhibits: A museum in China's Hebei province owned by local Communist Party leader Wang Zongquan that cost $88 million to build has been shut down by Chinese authorities after the alleged artifacts in many of its 12 exhibition halls — including a supposed Qing dynasty vase painted with neon green cartoon animals — were revealed to be inauthentic. The institution had "no qualification to be a museum as its collections are a fake," an official in the region told the Global Times. The museum's founders, who have been accused of squandering village funds by funneling off revenue from land sales, are being investigated. [AFP]
– Venice Barrier Builders Arrested: Beginning with an early morning raid on July 12, seven people have been arrested for fraud and contract rigging in the construction of Venice's flood barrier, among them the 81-year-old former president of the Consorzio Venezia Nuova (the group charged with executing the city's flood-protection master plan, known as Mose), Giovanni Mazzacurati, who retired late last month citing health problems. The Mose project, whose financial management has been under investigation since 2011, began in 2003 and is scheduled for its first trial run in the fall — it is expected to come in €1 billion over budget, at €6.5 billion, when it is completed in 2016. [TAN]
– Anti-U.S. Light Art Protest in Berlin: German police are investigating artist Oliver Bienkowski for "insulting organs and representatives of foreign countries" after he projected the phrase "United Stasi of America" onto the exterior of the U.S. embassy in Berlin on Sunday night. [Der Spiegel]
– Cooper Union Occupation Over: Cooper Union students have ended their nine-week occupation of president Jamshed Bharucha's office after reaching an agreement with administration that "they be granted amnesty for violations of the school's code of conduct; that a working group be formed to explore alternatives to charging tuition; that students be represented on the board of trustees; and that a 'community commons' be designated as a student center." [AiA]
– Hong Kong's forthcoming M+ museum has hired Doryun Chong, currently a curator at the Museum of Modern Art, to be its chief curator, a job he'll start in September — though the institution isn't due to open till 2017. [WSJ]
– Rotterdam Art Thieves to Face Trial: While the seven masterpiece paintings stolen from the Kunsthal Rotterdam are still missing, the six Romanians suspected of the crime are set to face a trial for the 'theft of the century' at a to-be-determined date. [AFP]
– The National Museum of Finland has denied a request from the Iraqi government to return six objects that were gifted to the Finnish president Urho Kekkonen by an Iraqi delegation in 1977. [TAN]
– Veteran dealer Marian Goodman, who runs spaces in Paris and Manhattan, is hunting for a space in London's Mayfair district, which has attracted an increasingly large contingent of international galleries — include Pace, Gagosian, David Zwirner, and Hauser & Wirth— in the last several years. [NYT]
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The recent news that “Kinky Boots,” fresh from its win of six Tony Awards including Best Musical, would launch its national tour in Las Vegas shone a spotlight on the reversal of fortune for Broadway in the famed gambling and entertainment mecca. Chalk that up to the venue where “Kinky Boots” will play in September of 2014: the Smith Center for the Performing Arts. Prior to the opening of the beautiful art-deco 2,050-seat theater in March of 2012, Broadway shows were a catch-as-catch-can affair. Second-rate touring shows might play Cashman Field or the Aladdin Hotel, while sit-downs productions on the Strip were a mixed bag: healthy runs for “Mamma Mia!” “Jersey Boys,” and “Chicago,” but shows like “Avenue Q,” “Spamalot,” “Hairspray,” and, most recently, “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” either flopped or underperformed.
The Smith has changed all that. Myron Martin, the president and CEO of the center, said that when the organization embarked on its subscription series in the fall of 2012 with a six-week run of “Wicked,” he and other administrators hoped to garner 6,000 members. The season opened with more than 10,000 and is currently at 11,000. “There was a pent-up demand for Broadway,” Martin said, adding that the subscribers include a significant number of first-timers for theater. “They don’t want to miss out on the coolest thing happening on Vegas.”
That may sound a bit self-promotional, but there’s no question that the Smith has had a transformative effect on not only the community but also on how Vegas is viewed by the Broadway establishment. It is no longer just a haven for Cirque du Soleil shows, magic acts, highly-paid pop singers, and strip shows.
“I think [the Smith] has added a touch of class to the idea of theater in Las Vegas and a touch of first class to Vegas,” said Jerry Mitchell, the Tony Award-winning director-choreographer of “Kinky Boots” who, at age 20, danced in Vegas at the Aladdin Hotel, and who created the strip-a-thon “Peep Show” for Vegas’s Planet Hollywood.
Indeed, the Smith, home to the Nevada Ballet and the Las Vegas Philharmonic, has drawn the attention of Broadway’s major players as a lucrative and prestigious touring stop. The new season, bookended by “Les Miserables” and “The Book of Mormon,” is a case in point. In between, there are productions of “Once,” “Wizard of Oz,” “Sister Act,” “Evita,” “Mamma Mia!,” “Flashdance,” and “Porgy and Bess.” Each production will play a week with the exception of “Mormon,” which will play six.
“The most asked question among our subscribers has been, ‘When are you bringing “Book of Mormon,”’” said Martin, referring to the phenomenal drawing power of the musical, even in a state in which there is a sizable number of Mormons and conservative Christians. “I don’t speak for ‘The Book of Mormon,’” he added, “but the producers have done a very good job of saying what it is and reminding people that the creators for it [Trey Parker and Matt Stone] are responsible for ‘South Park.’”
The sheer variety of this season’s offerings — including the Tony-winning Best Play “War Horse,” a wartime drama — are an irresistible lure to Nevada’s theater lovers. And the prices — averaging $24 to $89 per ticket — may be the best reason to move to Las Vegas. Martin has also experimented with offering musicals such as “American Idiot” outside of the subscription series in order to draw in a younger crowd. Although the production did not sell out, it did prove “beneficial” to the overall strategy of addressing the needs and tastes of the entire Las Vegas community, Martin said.
The downtown campus — which occupies five acres in the 61-acre Symphony Park — includes two other performance spaces, a 258-seat cabaret and a 250-seat black box. Martin said that he is not surprised that a major Broadway show would choose to launch a tour at the Smith but he is pleased that it has happened less than two years into its existence. “We were looking for something that would put the Smith Center on the cultural map, but I didn’t think it would happen this soon,” he said.
While the next step in the Smith’s evolution may well be to help to develop shows for the Broadway market — Las Vegas as a tryout town would be appealing for any number of reasons including an enthusiastic subscription base — Martin looks to
“Kinky Boots” to anchor his next season. Mitchell said that the producer has reason to be sanguine about its prospects.
“Cyndi Lauper’s international name will draw a lot of people to see what she’s written,” said the director of the show written by Harvey Fierstein about a drag queen whose fetishistic footwear designs rescue an ailing British shoe factory. “And the show’s got a title that Vegas should warm to very nicely.”
LOS ANGELES — Multi-media artist David Lynch debuts his second album, “The Big Dream,” today, featuring 12 tracks (11 written by him), which he classifies as modern blues.
Lynch and his musical partner, Dean Hurley, will make an appearance in Hollywood’s Amoeba Records starting at 6 p.m. today when Hurley will spin a DJ set while Lynch signs copies of the new disc for fans.
“The Big Dream” follows Lynch’s 2011 album, “Crazy Clown Time,” which featured a mix of styles. The new record is rooted firmly in the blues with filtered, scratchy vocal stylings by Lynch over twangy, reverb-saturated guitar chords.
“Most of the songs start out as a type of blues jam and then we go sideways from there,” Lynch said in a press release. “What comes out is a hybrid, modernized form of low-down blues.”
Reviews of the new album have been mixed, with The Guardian deeming it an improvement over “Crazy Clown Time” and calling it “less of a stunt and more of a well-executed idea.”
But The Independent was less enthralled, commenting that Lynch “sounds like an intellectual playing bogus trailer-trash.”
Most reviewers agreed that the Bob Dylan cover, “The Ballad of Hollis Brown,” a song about a farmer who, driven mad by poverty, murders his wife and children and then himself, is the centerpiece of the album.
The double LP comes with a bonus 7-inch, “I’m Waiting Here,” featuring Swedish singer-songwriter Lykke Li— most reviewers have singled out the track as one of the album’s high points. The B-side of the 7-inch contains an etching inscribed by Lynch.
“She brought her own style to the song, which has a doo-wop sort of thing going on, but in a way it’s far-removed from the 50s,” Lynch said.
“The Big Dream” is on Sacred Bones Records and was recorded at Lynch’s own Asymmetrical Studio and engineered by Hurley, who also plays on most of the tracks.
Massimiliano Gioni’s exhibition “The Encyclopaedic Palace” at this year’s Venice Biennalehas received much praise. Its whole-embracing concept — based on a utopian museum dreamt up in the 1950s by the Italian American Marino Auriti and designed to host all human knowledge — has proved a perfect umbrella theme, allowing the curator to juxtapose works from the four corners of the globe, and by artists and amateurs of all stripes. But with more than 150 of them in an exhibition spread over both the Arsenale and the Giardini, it remains an overwhelming experience. To help you navigate your way through, BLOUIN ARTINFO UK has picked up 20 key works.
LOS ANGELES — She got her start in theater back in the ’70s, when off-Broadway was just coming into its own. And now, 40 years later, Marylouise Burke is as vital as the day she first hit the boards, winning the 2000 Drama Desk Award for David Lindsay-Abaire’s “Fuddy Meers,” and receiving a nomination in 2003 for Lindsay-Abaire’s “Kimberly Akimbo,” in which she played a teenage girl with progeria, a fatal genetic disease that causes premature, rapid aging in children.
In “A Parallelogram,” the new play by Bruce Norris (“Clybourne Park”), she plays Bee, a guide from the future who goes back in time to help her younger self navigate some knotty problems, raising questions about fate and free will.
In a recent interview with ARTINFO, Burke spoke about bringing the play from Chicago’s Steppenwolf to Los Angeles, stage fright, and the good old days of New York theater.
What was your first reaction to the play and at what point did you feel you really had a grasp of the material?
I can’t say that I understood it at all at the beginning. I couldn’t have told you what the play was about. I just knew it would be a challenge and a pleasure at the same time. And so we all kind of learned about it together in Chicago. Bruce was around the whole time and [director] Anna Shapiro has worked with him a lot. This was the first time the play was done. So we were all finding out together how it worked and how it goes from beat to beat. And the same thing has been happening here [in Los Angeles]. Bruce has been present and he made some changes before we started rehearsal to deal with things that he wanted to clarify from the Chicago production.
After all these years, do you still get nervous when you perform?
Oh, definitely. It’s very scary. Last night we were feeling that because we were running through the whole play for the first time with all of the tech elements in place. It was our first chance to do it beginning to end with the tech, and suddenly Tom Irwin and I were backstage waiting to go on and I said, “Y’know? I’m nervous.” He said, “Are you kidding? I’m nervous too!” It still comes every time. I think, “Why did I choose to do this? Why didn’t I become a surgeon or something?!”
When you’re on stage, I’ve heard it’s easier to remember the nights where things don’t go well. But on good nights, it’s all a blur.
I think I’m cognizant of it because it feels so good. It’s like riding a fabulous wave if it’s one of those special nights when something clicks and it’s really happening. I think I’m aware of it but then it can be troubling because you want that to happen every night. You can start to feel as if you failed if it wasn’t one of those magical, inspired nights. I had to learn that that does not mean it was disappointing to the audience. I just had to realize that’s part of being a pro because it just can’t be magic every single night. I heard an Olivier story about that too, “Richard III” or something, where he was really depressed afterward because he said he didn’t know how to make it happen again.
Is this play going to Broadway?
I have absolutely no idea. I don’t know what’s in the works. Broadway isn’t the only place to do it. Some plays would be better served by smaller houses, I think, like off-Broadway. But my understanding, also, is that it’s hard for producers to make their money back because there are fewer seats. So it’s driven by economics.
I know you began your career in New York in the ’70s. How has the theater scene changed since then?
It’s a lot tougher to do a straight play. I think the economics of it are such that it’s also the producers want a name. I often think if I was just leaving to New York today, it would be so much harder if I weren’t rich because of the economy in New York and the cost of living and the scarcity of affordable housing in Manhattan. So they move farther and farther out. I feel really lucky that I came in the ’70s when I did, when it was easier to find a place to live, it was easier to get cast in downtown things. It was the earlier ’70s, kind of a wide-open time. It was shortly after, really, the beginnings of off-off-Broadway. So you were in church basements, or fourth floor walkups, but you were doing it, y’know?
“A Parallelogram” runs July 10-August 18 at the Mark Taper Forum at the Music Center in Los Angeles.
LOS ANGELES — Documentary filmmaker Davis Guggenheim will team with producing duo Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald for a film about Malala Yousafzai, the teenager who was targeted by Taliban gunmen for speaking out on behalf of girls’ education.
Last October, Yousafzai made headlines when she was shot in the head and neck on a school bus in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. Upon her miraculous recovery, she was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her work advocating a safe education for young people everywhere.
Guggenheim directed the Oscar-winning “An Inconvenient Truth” and the public education doc “Waiting for Superman,” while Parkes and MacDonald are responsible for such blockbusters as “Gladiator” and “Men in Black.”
The film will be financed through the producers’ long-standing relationship with Image Nation of Abu Dhabi, and will focus on Yousafzai’s visit to the United Nations on July 12, when she spoke in front of the General Assembly, her first major appearance since the shooting. The speech marked the occasion of her 16th birthday and has been dubbed “Malala Day.”
Wearing a pink shawl that once belonged to Benazir Bhutto, Yousafzai addressed hundreds of youth delegates and dignitaries.
“Malala Day is not my day. Today is the day of every woman, every boy, and every girl who have raised their voices for their rights,” she told the assembly. “So here I stand, one girl among many. I speak not for myself but for those without voice… those who have fought for their rights, their right to live in peace, their right to be treated with dignity, their right to equality of opportunity, their right to be educated.”
In a press release, Guggenheim said, “I have two daughters and they are inspired and captivated by Malala’s story and her fight for education for every child. I believe this movie will speak to every girl and every family in the world.”
As yet untitled, the filmmakers are aiming for a late 2014 theatrical release.
Four members of Pussy Riot danced on an oil pipeline in garish masks, tights and short dresses in a new video released on Tuesday, comparing President Vladimir Putin to an "ayatollah in Iran" and attacking his allies in Russia's rich energy sector.
In their first performance in almost a year, posted on Youtube, the feminist punk protest group also accused Putin of being homophobic after passage of what is widely seen as anti-gay legislation.
"Like in a Red Prison" is one of Pussy Riot's few performances since its anti-Putin protest in a Russian Orthodox church last year won global fame for the band members but led to three of them being jailed.
In the new video, which includes profanities, one of the women pours what appears to be oil over a large portrait of Igor Sechin, the head of state oil firm Rosneft and a close Putin ally.
Another clutches a microphone and while a third brandishes a guitar as they clamber onto the roof of a petrol station. In another segment of the more than three-minute-long clip, band members climb up a gas flare. At times they are watched by mystified workers in hardhats as they writhe to the music.
The aim of the video, the band explains, is to draw attention to what they say is Putin's practice of allowing only close allies to share in the vast proceeds generated by the Russian energy industry. Rosneft declined comment.
In another part of the video, the women reprise their criticism of Putin's close ties with the Russian Orthodox Church.
"Your president is like an ayatollah in Iran and your church is like in the United Arab Emirates," they chant, without explaining the reference to the United Arab Emirates.
Much of the video also refers to "homophobic vermin" in Russia and denounces Putin as a homophobe after the president signed into law legislation banning the spread of gay "propaganda" among minors. Russian officials have denied the law is homophobic.
Pussy Riot and other opposition activists such as anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny, who is mentioned in the video and is on trial on theft charges, accuse Putin of cracking down on dissent since returning to the presidency in May last year after protests against his 13-year rule.
The Kremlin denies there has been a clampdown.
Three members of Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in jail last August for "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" over their "punk prayer" in Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral in February 2012.
Yekaterina Samutsevich was freed last October but Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who wrote some of the lyrics on the new video, are still in a prison colony.
The trial and punishment of the women angered many Western governments and they won support from international celebrities such as Madonna and ex-Beatle Sir Paul McCartney.
But the 2012 protest and sentence divided Russians. Many people, liberals and conservatives alike, disapproved of the protest because it took place in a church but fewer thought they deserved such a touch sentence, opinion polls showed.
Throughout California’s prison system, 30,000 inmates participated in a July 9 hunger strike as a motion of solidarity for those incarcerated at the KMD Architects-designed, Pelican Bay State Prison, the 275-acre super-maximum security facility where living conditions fall under one of two extremes: stifled overcrowding, where the risk of contracting contagious diseases runs high, or solitary confinement, a psychologically debilitating practice that the UN Human Rights Council condemned as torture in 2011. Although there’s no telling the extent to which the architects at KMD could have foreseen this dehumanizing climate springing from their design, California-based architect and Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR) founder Raphael Sperry directs us to an ugly truth: they are inherently complicit in the outcome.
An aerial shot of Pelican Bay State Prison in California / Wikipedia
“Frankly, there are some buildings that never should have been built – buildings that constitute human rights violations by their very existence,” Sperry argues on the American Civil Liberties Union blog, and Pelican Bay’s design offers scant evidence to the contrary. Beyond the “significant life cycle cost savings” touted at its 1989 opening, the prison’s most prominent architectural feature is the X-shaped formation of white buildings on the desolate grounds that make up the Security Housing Unit, the focus of the prisoners’ protest. Its interior consists of 8x10-foot, soundproof, poured-concrete cells with remote controlled doors and no windows, where approximately 1,000 inmates with alleged gang affiliations spend up to 23 hours a day with the sole company of their walls. The effects on the individual are symptomatic of post-traumatic stress disorder: hallucinations, depression, anxiety, rage, and suicide. Despite UN torture rapporteur Juan E. Méndez’s heed that “solitary confinement in excess of 15 days should also be subject to an absolute prohibition,” isolation — sometimes for decades — continues as a perpetually failing attempt to solve the rampant gang violence in California’s prison system. “No one has the answer, Lieutenant Dave Barneburg, lead gang investigator at Pelican Bay, conceded to the New York Times in 2012. “You do the best you can with the tools you have.”
Architecture has long been an indispensible tool in the search for answers, both in the spatial sense (for example, the elimination of blind spots where opportunities for violence can hide) and as a method of exerting psychological control. In the late 18th century, philosopher Jeremy Bentham proposed the Panopticon, a circular penitentiary that placed the unseen jailer at its all-seeing center. Theoretically, the pressures of constant, implied surveillance would instill self-control among the incarcerated, which Bentham deemed “a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind.”
The Presidio Modelo in Cuba, inspired by Bentham's panopticon / Wikimedia Commons
In opposition to such Orwellian uses of architecture, Sperry launched a petition last fall urging the American Institute of Architects (AIA) to update its code of ethics to ban architects from designing spaces for killing and torture. “AIA’s code of ethics already includes the statement, ‘Members should uphold human rights in all their professional endeavors,’” Sperry noted, highlighting the contradictions that designing not only supermax prisons but execution chambers and solitary confinement spaces pose. “As people of conscience and as a profession dedicated to improving the built environment for all people,” he wrote, “we cannot participate in the design of spaces that violate human life and dignity.”
Should architects remove themselves from prison design entirely? No, quite the contrary. Elsewhere in the world, architects have helped develop prison models that actively work towards rehabilitation. In November 2010, Erik Møller Arkitekter reportedly won the commission for Norway’s Halden Prison for its integration of landscape into the design. There, convicted murderers and rapists currently have access to woodland jogging trails and climbing walls, and security fosters an environment of mutual respect. Skeptics would argue that these resort-like conditions go against the logic of the judicial system, but while the United States suffers from a 43 percent rate of recidivism, only 20 percent of Norwegian inmates return to jail. In light of these facts, Australia has also recently adopted this humane approach to incarceration to combat the disproportionate aboriginal population in its prisons; although indigenous people comprise 2.5 percent of the total population, they constitute 25 percent of prisoners. TAG and Iredale Pedersen Hook Architects designed the West Kimberley Regional Prison as a complex of group houses where aboriginal prisoners live with those who speak the same language and cook their own meals. The World Architecture Festival nominated the prison as a Best Building of 2012 in its civic architecture category.
Halden Prison in Halden, Norway / Erik Møller Arkitekter
It would be naïve to assume that the United States could put Norway’s system in place as a quick solution to our prison woes. Scandinavia has far fewer prisoners, far greater resources, and no comparable levels of gang culture. What the Norwegian system does do for us is prove that rather than conceding to violence and squalor as the inevitable conditions of our penal system, putting the $50,000 California spends a year per prisoner toward treating them as human beings is a notion very much worth exploring.
– Auction House Won't Pay for Hitler Watercolor: Who would have thought that the sale of a painting by Adolf Hitler could bring out the worst in people? Alexander Historical Auctions and its chief Basil Panagopulos are being sued by Lorraine Meyer, the trustee of the William C. Blynn Irrevocable Trust. The Trust sold some 20 items through the auction house — including an $11,000 watercolor by the 20th century's most infamous dictator — for a total of $89,690.10, but says it never received funds from the sale. "Despite demand the defendant has failed, refused and/or otherwise neglected to pay the plaintiff anything for the items it auctioned," Meyer's court complaint states. [Courthouse News]
– Ensor Heist in Brussels: In the dead of night, thieves broke through the front door of the small Van Buuren Museum in Brussels, making off with estimated €1.5 million worth of artworks. The dozen stolen works include "Shrimps and Shells" by James Ensor and "The Thinker" by Kees van Dongen. [InSerbia]
– Florida Dealer Jailed Over Fake Picassos: Coral Springs art dealer Jerome Bengis has been sentenced to a year in prison and a $300,000 fine for selling fake prints that he claimed were the work of Chagall, Picasso, and other artists. The prints, which bore fake signatures, were sold to art dealers in Illinois, Indiana, New York, Virginia, and Australia, as well as directly to customers according to the 2008 indictment. Despite the fact that Benglis pleaded guilty to fraud, his wife, Brenda Bengis, claims he did nothing wrong. "There is not a single piece of evidence that the artwork isn't genuine," she said. "There are only allegations. The court didn't name any victims, they can only assume there are victims." [Sun Sentinel]
– After War, Peace for Russian Museums: "War and Peace" author Leo Tolstoy's great-great-grandson Vladimir Tolstoy, who is a cultural advisor to Vladimir Putin, played an integral role in defusing the dispute between the State Hermitage Museum and the State Pushkin Museum over the possibility of splitting their collections to recreate the State Museum of New Western Art. [TAN]
– Cypriot Loot Returned: Germany has returned 173 artifacts that were seized from Turkish art dealer Aydin Dikmen's apartment in Munich 16 years ago to Cyprus after the objects — which included mosaics, frescoes, paintings, and icons valued at over $15 million — were found to have been looted from Cypriot churches during Turkey's invasion of the island nation in 1974. [Bloomberg]
– Rauschenberg Foundation Teams With Ballroom Marfa to Bring Climate-Change Talks to NYC: The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation has teamed with Texas's Ballroom Marfa and the New York organization Public Concern Foundation to bring the Marfa Dialogues series of public talks to New York, with climate change-themed programs slated to launch in the fall in partnership with 18 organizations including groups at Cooper Union and Columbia University, and Socrates Sculpture Park. [WSJ]
– Artist and provocateur Jonathan Meese will face a German court on Thursday after doing the Nazi salute during a public appearance. [Artforum]
– The Sheboygan Project is bringing a slate of international street artists — including Gaia, Other, and Chris Stain— to Wisconsin for the summer. [Artdaily]
VIDEO OF THE DAY
A previous Marfa Dialogue on "Art and Environmental Activism," moderated by Rebecca Solnit
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