Remembering Jerry: Seattle Repertory Theatre has announced a celebration of the life of Jerry Manning, the artistic director who passed away suddenly last month. From the announcement: "A Celebration of Life to honor Jerry and his incredible legacy will be held June 2, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. at Seattle Repertory Theatre. House opens at 6:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the Manning family encourages donations to the Rep to help sustain the art that made Jerry so very happy."
Amazon's Hachette Job Continues: Amazon's battle with Hachette continues. Adam Lashinsky at CNN explains why this demonstrates Amazon's intrinsic ickiness. Things might be getting serious, though: You can't buy J.K. Rowling's new book on Amazon right now. Over the weekend, local bookseller Third Place Books published a blog post explaining why you should buy books from independent booksellers and not the Great Walmart in the Sky.
The Art Bombing at the Guggenheim: Construction hasn't started yet on the Guggenheim Museum in Abu Dhabi, but plans are already finalized and a group of activists under the name G.U.L.F. want to make sure working conditions for those who build it won't be as abhorrent as they were when NYU was "overseeing" the construction of its U.A.E. campus. Those conditions were revealed in a New York Times piece last Monday, and Hrag Vartanian at Hyperallergic has the full story of Saturday's protest in New York, with many photographs of the scene and multiple interviews with participants from students to professors to a minister. Activists stormed the house of culture and bombed the Futurist exhibition by putting prints of their own on the walls while the attempted unfurling of a huge mylar banner on the ground floor provided a distraction. YouTube video.
Generation Vex: Douglas Coupland, the writer/artist who coined the term Generation X, has a survey exhibition opening at Vancouver Art Gallery this week. It includes a huge outdoor sculpture molded from his head, and people are supposed to chew gum and stick it on. But another Vancouver artist who recently created a large head and asked visitors to stick gum on it—that head was shown in three places in Vancouver—is vexed about similarities (and differences, given Coupland's beacoup bucks and fame). As some other Vancouver artists are pointing out on Facebook, this isn’t the first time Coupland has been accused of strange tactics in developing and crediting his works. We sent an email asking for Coupland’s response today.
Ann Hornaday Is a Shithead: Two days after the misogyny-fueled mass killings at UCSB, Washington Post critic Ann Hornaday published a column about the tragedy and its woman-hating instigator Elliot Rodger that included this paragraph:
How many students watch outsized frat-boy fantasies like “Neighbors” and feel, as Rodger did, unjustly shut out of college life that should be full of “sex and fun and pleasure”? How many men, raised on a steady diet of Judd Apatow comedies in which the shlubby arrested adolescent always gets the girl, find that those happy endings constantly elude them and conclude, “It’s not fair”?
Yesterday, Neighbors star and perennial Apatow comedy shlub Seth Rogen took to Twitter to blast Hornaday for her idiocy. "I find your article horribly insulting and misinformed," tweeted Rogen @AnnHornaday. "[H]ow dare you imply that me getting girls in movies caused a lunatic to go on a rampage?" Judd Apatow also shot some words Hornaday's way. Finally, Hornaday responded with an explanatory video, which none of us can bear to click on, because she's so obviously an attention-seeking hack. But if you want to, it's here.
Let Spinoza Remain a Heretic: Steven Nadler, professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, explains why he and other scholars think the rabbis of Amsterdam's Jewish community should not reverse their 1656 excommunication of the heretical philosopher. "Those of us on the advisory committee agreed, to some extent, that it would be good in terms of public relations for the Jewish community in Amsterdam if the ban against Spinoza were lifted," he writes. "On this way of thinking, just as the Catholic Church in 1992 did a fine thing in conceding, after a 13-year investigation, that Galileo was right and that the church was wrong in punishing him, so the Amsterdam Jewish community in reversing course could put itself on the right side of history. But we also agreed that there were several considerations that seemed to outweigh those of good P.R... Moreover, if we were to ask Spinoza, 'Would you like the ban lifted?' I am certain that his answer would be, 'I could not care less.' It is clear that he did not have any interest in being reintegrated into Judaism, much less into the particular Portuguese community that banned him. You might even say that to want to reintegrate Spinoza into Jewish life by lifting the ban would be to misunderstand what Spinoza stood for."
A Beautiful Noise: Mudede thinks it is one of the most beautiful pieces of music in the Western canon. It is Maurice Ravel's "String Quartet in F major." You have to listen to the whole thing. The opening movement is a dazzling feast of melodies, and the other movements explore, in different directions and with different emotional registers, new and unexpected ways to revisit these these gorgeous melodies. Music is nothing without a great melody, and simplicity is the natural state of a melody.