October 25th 2016
The wonderful Kwame Anthony Appiah is delivering this year’s Reith lectures.
Kwame Anthony Appiah says: “We live in a world where the language of identity pervades both our public and our private lives. We are Muslim and Christian, so we have religious identities. We are English and Scottish, so we have national identities. We are men and women, and so we have gender identities. And we are black and white, so we have racial identities. There is much contention about the boundaries of all of these identities. Not everyone accepts that you have to be a man or a woman; or that you can’t be both an Englishman and a Scot. You can claim to be of no religion or gender or race or nation. Perhaps, in each case, someone will believe you. And that is one reason why the way we often talk about these identities can be misleading.”
October 20th 2016
Will Self on the romance delusion:
“It is ridiculous that anyone in this day and age, with its copious amounts of relationship advice, and its rational, cost-beneficial conception of human interactions, should maintain such a destructive and self-sabotaging view of the meaning of life. Can that really be all there is to it? Can it truly be the case that anyone—let alone everyone—was put on earth with the sole objective of finding another, particular individual, ordained obscurely for them, and thereafter, in some equally obscure fashion, merging with them to form a sort of trans-temporal gloop of feeling?”
October 5th 2016
The fascinating meanings behind political jewels:
“For Hillary Clinton, it used to be a hefty pair of gold earrings, or diamond and sapphire ones – classy bling left over from her days as First Lady. Nowadays, it is an uncluttered pair of hoop earrings, a simple chain and a bracelet featuring a picture of her granddaughter. From Roman amulets to the grand pearls of mighty society hostesses, baubles have projected the values and aspirations of the wearer. But power jewellery today is used more subtly – to underscore a shift in message, target a specific audience or suggest a more irreverent side to a staid image.
In Clinton’s case, that has meant downplaying some of the showier pieces that until recently defined her style. “Do you prefer diamonds or pearls?” she was asked in 2007. “I want both,” she replied. Now, not so much. On her second quest for the presidency, Hillary’s jewellery consists of classic adornments with a note of folksy sentimentality. She often wears a charm bracelet and necklace by Monica Rich Kosann, a jeweller who creates pieces intended as heirlooms. This focus on homely continuity projects reassurance and encourages conversation: Hillary’s bracelet contains pictures of Charlotte, her granddaughter, prompting people to crowd around for a peek. It underlines the candidate’s accessibility and helps offset a reputation for haughtiness.”
September 13th 2016
New York friends! You can see Dickie Beau‘s fabulous blackouts show!
Following Unplugged, a hit at this year’s Fusebox Festival and Abrons Art Center, ‘Drag-fabulist’ Dickie Beau returns for the US solo premiere of Blackouts at Abrons Arts Center as part of the tenth anniversary FIAF/Crossing the Line Festival, October 6-15!
Dickie’s signature ‘playback’ style of performance combines live performance, video-loops of found footage, and the drag lip-syncing tradition, where he mimes to spoken words rather than song, into a reimagining of contemporary theater performance.
August 23rd 2016
Are you pretentious? Dan Fox thinks that there’s no such thing.
“Never before in history, one could argue, have individuals been so acutely conscious of the extent to which personhood is performed, especially when one is constantly swiping through social media platforms in order to monitor, with fussy custodial care, the dazzle and sheen of an online persona. “Our culture demands total transparency, at the same time that it demands near-constant performance,” the philosopher Michel de Certeau writes in his book The Practice of Everyday Life. “So how can you know a person?””
August 11th 2016
“Official” propaganda art, we have all been taught, is crude and laughably primitive, invariably inferior to real art. Except, of course, when it isn’t. And here the career of Jacques-Louis David is highly instructive. David became France’s leading artist during the nation’s most turbulent period, first acting as the high priest of the Revolution, then switching horses to become the celebrator-in-chief of Napoleon. Through his ability to make the politically reprehensible appear attractive, David delivers the ultimate proof of the seductive power of art.”
July 31st 2016
“SALZBURG, Austria — It takes some daring for a composer to choose a classic film as a subject for an opera. Comparisons are inevitable. But not much intimidates the prodigious British composer Thomas Adès. On Thursday at the Salzburg Festival, Mr. Adès conducted the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra and an outstanding cast in the premiere of “The Exterminating Angel,” based on the 1962 Luis Buñuel film.
Though Buñuel preferred not to specify the symbolism in his work, this dark fantasy, a macabre comedy, has long been seen as a critique of the elite classes during the Franco years in Spain. A wealthy couple invite some guests to their mansion for an elegant dinner. But after the guests adjourn to the salon, everyone, including the hosts, finds it psychologically, though not physically, impossible to leave the room.
In his opera, Mr. Adès seizes the story and makes it his own, delving into its “underground river of meaning,” as he says in an interview in the program. His powerful score reveals the harrowing absurdity of the situation, as the guests become hungry, dirty and hostile. As the days go by, they turn upon one another with accusatory hysteria.”