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So Who Was ‘Jim Crow’, Anyway?

As you might guess, that’s not the name of any real person. Jim Crow was, arguably, the original minstrel show character. The performer Thomas Dartmouth Rice (1808-1860) didn’t invent minstrelsy, but he was its first famous practitioner, and Jim Crow was his (grotesquely stereotyped) blackface persona. – Mental Floss
Tags: Art, People, Jim Crow, Thomas Dartmouth Rice, 08.11.20

Matt Herron, Photojournalist Who Documented Civil Rights Struggle In Deep South, Dead At 89

“A child of the Depression and a protégé of the Dust Bowl documentarian Dorothea Lange, Mr. Herron assembled a team of photographers to capture the clashes between white Southerners and Black protesters, aided by their white Freedom Rider allies, as they sought to claim the rights they had been legally granted a century before.” – The New York Times
Tags: Art, People, Dorothea Lange, Herron, 08.11.20, Matt Herron

Singer Trini Lopez, 83, Of COVID

At the peak of his popularity he was asked by guitar manufacturer Gibson to design two models, the Trini Lopez Standard and the Lopez Deluxe, owners of which include Dave Grohl and Noel Gallagher. In the mid-60s he was releasing as many as five albums a year, though that slowed in the late 70s. While he continued performing, he released very little music until 2000, when he began recording again and released a further six albums. – The Guardian
Tags: Art, People, Dave Grohl, Noel Gallagher, Gibson, Trini Lopez, 08.12.20, Trini Lopez Standard, Lopez Deluxe

Charlie Parker at 100

In his too short, too fast, too hard, too brilliant 34 years, Parker transformed an art form, no less than Mozart or Chopin or Gershwin did in their similarly brief time among us. Like those revolutionaries, Parker played his instrument – alto saxophone – with astonishing virtuosity. But Parker also did as much as anyone (and more than most) to forge a musical language, one that dominated 20th century jazz and continues to influence it in the 21st. – Chicago Tribune
Tags: Art, People, Mozart, Parker, Gershwin, Chopin, Charlie Parker, 08.11.20

Media Mogul Sumner Redstone, 97

“Raised in a Boston tenement with a shared bathroom, … Sumner Redstone [was] a combative and daring dealmaker who in his 60s turned his family’s movie theater chain into one of the world’s largest media empires, with holdings that included Paramount Pictures film studios, CBS, MTV and the publishing house Simon & Schuster.” – The Washington Post
Tags: Art, Boston, People, Paramount Pictures, Sumner Redstone, Simon Schuster, 08.12.20, CBS MTV

Rudy Giuliani Being Sued By His Art Advisor

In November 2019, Miller Gaffney invoiced a total of $27,300 for her services appraising the estranged couple’s fine and decorative art collections in order to determine their market value “for equitable distribution purposes.” – Artnet
Tags: Art, People, Rudy Giuliani, Miller Gaffney, 08.11.20

Judit Reigl, Painter Who Abandoned Breton And Surrealism For Abstraction And The Human Body, Dead At 97

It was only a short time after Breton gave her her first solo show in Paris that she left the artistic movement he spearheaded, developing a muscular, energetic approach to abstract art. Roughly a decade later, she began applying that approach to partially abstracted (and muscular) human figures. – ARTnews
Tags: Art, People, Paris, Breton, 08.10.20, Judit Reigl

Chicago Jazz Impresario Joe Segal, 94

For more than 70 years, starting in 1947 as a student at Roosevelt University, Segal presented the world’s greatest jazz musicians in rented hovels, rundown showrooms, dilapidated hotels and, eventually, elegant clubs and concert halls. – Chicago Tribune
Tags: Art, People, Chicago, Joe Segal, 08.11.20, Roosevelt University Segal

The Man Who Translated The Entire Talmud Is Dead At 83

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz wrote more than 60 books on subjects from philosophy to zoology, including a classic on the Kabbalah. But his major achievement is what he called his “hobby”: a 45-volume translation (which took him 45 years) of the Babylonian Talmud from the original Aramaic into modern Hebrew (from which it’s been trnalsated into English and other languages), with enough commentary and background info that even a beginner can approach it. – The New York Times
Tags: Art, People, Adin Steinsaltz, 08.09.20

Salome Bey, 86, Canada’s “First Lady Of The Blues”

After making their first appearance in Toronto in 1961, Salome settled there in 1964 and began playing the jazz club circuit, soon earning the sobriquet that would be with her the rest of her life: “Canada’s First Lady of the Blues.” – CBC
Tags: Art, Toronto, People, Canada, 08.10.20, Salome Bey

Broadway Star Danny Burstein On Struggling With COVID

“The other day, my pal, the brilliant songwriter Tom Kitt, called me. He said he was frustrated by his lack of creativity because of the pandemic and was reaching out to several friends to see if we could write songs together. He said, “Is there something going on in your life at the moment that you just have to express?” And I sat at my computer and wrote the following: “The question we keep asking is how do you have hope when every moment is a struggle? When every second is a reminder.” – The...
Tags: Art, People, Broadway, Danny Burstein, Tom Kitt

A Reappraisal Of Stanley Kubrick

David Mikics’s “Stanley Kubrick: American Filmmaker” is a cool, cerebral book about a cool, cerebral talent. This is not a full-dress biography — there have been several of Kubrick — but a brisk study of his films, with enough of the life tucked in to add context as well as brightness and bite. – The New York Times
Tags: Art, People, Stanley Kubrick, Kubrick, David Mikics, 08.10.20

Brent Carver, Tony Award Winner For ‘Kiss Of The Spider-Woman,’ Has Died At 68

Carver, one of Canada’s great stage actors, “was an artist who demanded the most from himself, opening up his heart to reveal the pain and beauty of life. He was an inspiration to everyone who knew him.” – CBC
Tags: Art, People, Canada, 08.06.20

Pulitzer Prize-winning Author Shirley Grau Has Died At 91

Grau, who won the 1965 prize for her fourth book, The Keeper of the House, wrote “stories and novels [that] told of both the dark secrets and the beauty of the Deep South.” – Los Angeles Times (AP)
Tags: Art, People, House, Grau, 08.05.20, Shirley Grau, Deep South Los Angeles

Lorenzo Soria, President Of Golden Globes Group, 68

Soria was the president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and former editor of the Italian news weekly L’Espresso. He began his second term as president of the press association in 2019. – St. Louis Post-Dispatch (AP)
Tags: Art, People, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Lorenzo Soria, Soria, 08.07.20, Golden Globes Group

Warner Henry, 82 – Quintessential LA Classical Music Funder

A central figure in the rise of classical music in the city, Henry supported numerous arts organizations including the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Opera, the Colburn School, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Camerata Pacifica and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. – Los Angeles Times
Tags: Art, People, Henry, 08.07.20, Warner Henry

Helen Jones Woods, Trombonist With Groundbreaking All-Women Jazz Band, Dead Of COVID At 96

“In addition to their pioneering role as women on the jazz circuit, the International Sweethearts of Rhythm were an interracial band in the era of Jim Crow. Their extensive itinerary through the South, where they traveled by sleeper bus, reportedly inspired jazz piano giant Earl Hines to call them ‘the first Freedom Riders.’ They also toured Europe, playing in occupied Germany for American soldiers — both white and Black, though not at the same time.” (After the band broke up in 1949, Woods, wh...
Tags: Art, Europe, Germany, People, Jim Crow, South, Helen Jones, Earl Hines, Omaha Symphony, 08.05.20

Leon Fleisher: More About The Struggle Than The Triumph

The truth of Fleisher is in his own questions, his dogged pursuit of answers (from spiritual healers to experimental treatments) is more interesting than the answer itself. You can’t help but listen to “Two Hands” (the title itself suggestive of juxtaposition; a distant cousin of “on the one hand…”) without hearing simply the music. It’s about the truth behind it. To quote Fleisher, “You will never get the answer until you listen to what you do, and ‘til you really hear the music and make a dec...
Tags: Art, People, Fleisher, Leon Fleisher, 08.05.20

Eric Bentley, One Of 20th-Century Theatre’s Most Important Critics, Dead At 103

“[He] was among that select breed of scholar who moves easily between academic and public spheres. His criticism found its way into classroom syllabuses and general-interest magazines. And more than dissecting others’ plays, he also wrote his own and had some success as a director. He adapted work by many of the European playwrights he prized, especially Bertolt Brecht, whom he first met in Los Angeles in 1942.” – The New York Times
Tags: Art, Los Angeles, People, Bertolt Brecht, Eric Bentley, 08.05.20

The World’s New Favorite Refugee Writer Tries To Get Comfortable With Freedom And Fame

Far from his native Kurdish village, escaped from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, now released from the Australian internment camp in Papua New Guinea where he wrote his award-winning No Friend but the Mountains on a cell phone, Behrouz Boochani has received asylum in New Zealand and is settled in safe, pretty, tranquil Christchurch, where most Kiwis seem thrilled to have him. It’s driving him a little nuts. – The New York Times Magazine
Tags: Art, Iran, People, World, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Christchurch, Kiwis, Behrouz Boochani, 08.04.20

Washington Post’s Theater Critic Ends Up With A Hairdressing Degree (What Twitter Hath Wrought, Part MMMDCLXII)

Peter Marks: “Some people warn that you enter the bilious environs of social media at your peril. But I say, power up your device and be Zen about whatever transpires. Because you just might innocently scroll down one morning and end up with an honorary doctorate in hairdressing from a large chain of salons in Ireland.” – The Washington Post
Tags: Art, Washington Post, People, Ireland, Peter Marks, 08.04.20

Pete Hamill, The Ultimate New York Newspaperman, Dead At 85

“[He] became a celebrated reporter, columnist and the top editor of The New York Post and The Daily News; a foreign correspondent for The Post and The Saturday Evening Post; and a writer for New York Newsday, The Village Voice, Esquire and other publications. He wrote a score of books, mostly novels but also biographies, collections of short stories and essays, and screenplays, some adapted from his books.” – The New York Times
Tags: Art, Post, New York Post, People, Daily News, Pete Hamill, 08.05.20, Ultimate New York Newspaperman Dead, New York Newsday The Village Voice Esquire

Reclaiming The Life Story Of America’s First Published Black Poet

In 1761, at roughly age 7, the girl who would become Phillis Wheatley was taken from Africa to Boston and sold to the wife of a local merchant who educated her. Within a dozen years, she had published a book of verse in London and become perhaps the most famous Black person in the British Empire as well as a symbol for anti-slavery campaigners. Until recently, though, we knew her life story only through a tendentious memoir, written well after her death, by a woman who claimed to be a relative ...
Tags: Art, London, Boston, Africa, People, Phillis Wheatley, 07.30.20

James Silberman, Who Edited Books That Changed America, Dead At 93

Among the many important titles he midwifed over a long career at Dial, Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Little Brown were James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room and The Fire Next Time, Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock, David Halberstam’s The Best and the Brightest, Marilyn French’s The Women’s Room, E.L. Doctorow’s Ragtime, Hunter S. Thompson’s Hell’s Angels, Seymour Hersh’s The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House, and Oliver Sacks’s The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. – The New Yor...
Tags: Art, White House, People, Thompson, Nixon, James Baldwin, Giovanni, Oliver Sacks, Seymour Hersh, Kissinger, Alvin Toffler, David Halberstam, James Silberman, 08.01.20, Dial Random House Simon Schuster

Remembering Leon Fleisher

He remained, in critical estimation, a pianist of sublime musical intelligence whether playing with one hand or two. But he also gained renown off the stage as a conductor and an influential teacher. – Washington Post
Tags: Art, People, Leon Fleisher, 08.02.20

Obie Award Winner Vinie Burrows Has Been Working In Theatre For More Than Seven Decades

Burrows is an actor, playwright, producer, and activist who started her career as a kid on a radio show. In 1968, she was favorably written about in The New York Times, and she says, “It put me in another tax bracket. I remember being in Algiers at a festival. Why was someone in Algiers talking about me? He knew me because he had read the Times article about me. The Times review can put you in another tax bracket, even today.” – American Theatre
Tags: Art, People, New York Times, Times, Algiers, Burrows, 07.31.20

Victor Victor, Musician Who Brought Music, Dance, And Theatre To The Underprivileged, 71

Víctor’s hit was the 1991 “Mesita de la Noche,” but before that, his son says, the Dominican singer/songwriter/producer had “lived a double life. … He was writing romantic songs and being an artist, but he was also part of the underground political movement” opposed to dictator Rafael Trujillo. – The New York Times
Tags: Art, People, Victor, Victor Victor, Rafael Trujillo, 08.01.20

Leon Fleisher, Pianist And Teacher, Has Died At 92

Fleisher famously spent 30 years mastering piano’s left-handed repertoire after an injury to his right hand – and then reintegrated his right hand when it recovered after three decades. “Fleisher often pointed out after his comeback that he was not, and never would be, fully cured. But he also acknowledged, late in life, that the incapacitation of his right hand in 1964 ultimately gave him a far more varied musical life than he might have had if he had been able to pursue a conventional career ...
Tags: Art, People, Fleisher, Leon Fleisher, 08.02.20

Bidding Farewell To Havana’s City Historian And Conservationist

Eusebio Leal Spengler so loved the old city that he found ways to save it. “Never a priority in the 20th century, old Havana fell into disrepair. By befriending Fidel Castro, Leal began the process of bringing it back. He managed to get the old town designated a Unesco world heritage site, and then gather enough money from Europe to start putting the buildings back together.” (Spengler died on July 31.) – The Observer (UK)
Tags: Art, Europe, People, Unesco, Havana, Spengler, Eusebio Leal Spengler, 08.01.20, Fidel Castro Leal

The Literary Movement Of Gayl Jones

Gayl Jones’ debut work, Corregidora, “had a marked effect not only on [her editor Toni] Morrison’s subsequent novels but on an entire generation of writers, whether they realized it or not.” – The Atlantic
Tags: Art, People, Morrison, Toni, Gayl Jones

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