Thursday, July 29, 2010

Why Oh Why Chopin? Garrick Ohlsson On Chopin And Other Talking Points From The Berkeley Film Archive Theater

[Click on image for enlargement.]

Townsend Center for the Humanities

Image credit: Teofil Kwiatkowski (1809-1891): Polonez Chopina - Bal w Hôtel Lambert w Paryżu. National Museum, Poznań, Poland, Present-day European Union.

Our Democrary: The Population Ratio Between The Largest & The Smallest U.S. State Has Gone From 13 to 1 To 68 to 1

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

For The Washington National Opera And/Or John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Opera House To-Do List

"Frank Waters wrote the first draft of The Woman at Otowi Crossing in 1956. After submitting his fourth draft in 1965, it was published by Alan Swallow in October of 1966.

The Opera Theatre of St. Louis commissioned Stephen Paulus in 1991 to write an opera based on novel The Woman at Otowi Crossing. The world premier on June 15, 1995, coincided with the twentieth anniversary of the Theatre and coincidentally with the 50th anniversary of Hiroshima.

Paulus was drawn to the book because the story was “ a love story with strong characters and good dramatic situations. While reading the book, I began to hear musical ideas, began to get to know the characters and put a musical stamp on them.” The libretto was written by Joan Vail Thorne and the staging and casting was under the direction of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Director Colin Graham.

The production included thirty-two voices in the chorus and a forty piece contingent of the Saint Louis Symphony. ... NPR broadcast the opera in September 1995. ...

Craig Smith in the New Mexican, reported, “The Woman at Otowi Crossing proved to be an interpretation of a rich human personality,” … “heart-wrenchingly beautiful music.” … “seems to be a good candidate for a place in the contemporary repertoire.”

Source: William Farr for the Frank Waters Foundation, Taos, New Mexico.

Image credit: Plaza at Wàlpi on First Mesa from Wikipedia Commons.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Peter Stein On Oedipus, Atonement, And Democracy

"After many years of a pilgrimage of atonement to Colonus, Oedipus, the patricide who has conceived four children with his mother, the expelled, condemned vagabond led by his daughter Antigone comes to Athens, where the Oracle of Delphi has prophesied that he will find peace in death.

Oedipus, the last of the great heroes and the only legitimate ruler of Thebes, who has been driven to his crimes by fate and the gods unwittingly, is beloved of these cruel gods, and thus, they turn him into a protective power for Athens, which has given him friendly asylum. Henceforth, the world must exist without these men who resemble gods, ruled by usurpers (Oedipus’ brother-in-law Creon) and newcomers to power (his son Polynices), who try to win over the old dying man by force or by conviction, in order to legitimize their conflicting claims to power. Oedipus, who resists such attempts at using him with fierce anger, curses the rulers of his father’s city and pledges himself to the city of Athens, governed by law, and its ruler Theseus as he proceeds to develop democracy.

Sophocles’ tragedy, written in 406 B.C. at the age of 90 and only performed five years later posthumously, is his last work; it marks the end of the Attic tragedy."

Peter Stein, for the Salzburg Summer Festival, Salzburg, Austria, Present-day European Union.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Civilization And Human Rights Update

"Chile's conservative president rejected a proposal by the Roman Catholic Church for sweeping pardons of elderly and sick prisoners that would have freed military officers convicted of human rights violations during the Pinochet dictatorship.

President Sebastian Pinera announced Sunday that he will only consider case-by-case pardons on humanitarian grounds and that serious offenses related to crimes against humanity, terrorism or drug trafficking will not be considered.

Catholic Church leaders in Chile proposed pardoning prisoners who are sick, are older than 70 or have served half their sentence. But relatives of victims who were killed or vanished during Augusto Pinochet's 1973-1990 rule said such a sweeping amnesty would be a setback for basic justice and fairness." ...

Eva Vergara "Chile rejects pardons proposed by Catholic Church" Washington Post July 25, 2010

Amnesty International


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

American Civilization Turns Its Gaze To The Longer Run

Official Washington Turns Out To Celebrate Close Of Michael M. Kaiser's 2009-10 National 'Arts In Crisis' Tour At John F. Kennedy Center For The Arts

"A 'Playlist' with too much symphony on it: As orchestral lushness meets pop in Kennedy Center" [Washington Post review]

Federal Reserve Board Monetary Report to Congress July 21, 2010

Photo credits: (c) Tracy A. Woodwood and the Washington Post 2010. Copyright controlled. All rights reserved. [top] (c) Doug Mills and the New York Times 2010. Copyright controlled. All rights reserved. [bottom]


[La chambre verte]

Adapted from short stories by Henry James, this film is an elegant requiem that chronicles an obsession with death. Set in provincial France 10 years after the first World War, it explores the guilt felt by a man who survived the war and whose wife died young. Believing that the dead can live on in the memories of those who remain, he creates a shrine. Truffaut plays the man with deep feeling and sincerity, and his direction is masterful, creating an eerie world linking the dead and the living. Stunningly photographed by Néstor Almendros, it is one of the least seen and most affecting works of Truffaut's later career.

DIR/SCR/PROD François Truffaut; SCR Jean Gruault, based on stories by Henry James. France, 1978, color, 94 min. In French with English subtitles. RATED PG

Friday, August 13, 6:30; Saturday, August 14, 5:45
American Film Institute Silver Theater and Cultural Center

Does Ukrainian Media Increasingly Favor Russian Playlist?

"Ukraine's top television networks are too cozy with the country's leaders, reporters are hindered in investigations and independent journalism is under threat in the country's far-flung regions, an international media watchdog said Wednesday.

On a three-day trip to the former Soviet state, the head of the Paris-based group Reporters Without Borders, Jean-Francois Julliard, called upon the journalists themselves to seek protection if the authorities won't oblige.

''If there is no political will to protect press freedom, journalists should keep fighting to defend their rights,'' he said.

Critics say media liberties have been stifled under pro-Russia President Viktor Yanukovych, who took over from a Western-leaning predecessor earlier this year." ...

Associated Press "Media Watchdog: Ukraine TV Too Cozy With Leaders" New York Times July 21, 2010

Photo credits: Foros, Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Ukraine, Future European Union. (c) Mizhnarodny Turyzm Magazine 2010. Copyright controlled.



"Russian Prime Minister Valdimir Putin will pay an official visit to Ukraine on July 24 and 25, Ukrainian News has learned from a spokesman for the Presidential Administration.

In his words, Putin is planned to meet President Viktor Yanukovych in Crimea, he will also attend ceremonies on celebration of the Day of the Russian Fleet, which this year is marked on July 25.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, Yanukovych is spending his vacations in Crimea and will return after August 24."

Credit: Ukrainian News Service July 21, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Aide Memoire: More Micro-foundations [Schoenberg's Harmonielehre and Schenker's Kontrapunkt 1910]

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Warmest June On Record

"Last month was the warmest June on record, extending months of record-setting heat.

Worldwide, the average temperature in June was 61.1 degrees Fahrenheit (16.2 Celsius), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday. That was 1.22 degrees F (0.68 C) warmer than average for June.

This year has had the warmest average temperature for January-June on record -- 57.5 F (12.2 C)."

Associated Press "Warmest June on Record, Climate Scientists Say" New York Times July 15, 2010.

Pan Cogito Plans To Launch Institute For New Cultural Thinking With Proceeds From The Upcoming Sale Of His Blog

The Institute’s objective will be to expand the cultural conversation to create an open discussion for a wider range of people. Some would say that present day dialogue is closed and polarizing. Pan Cogito recognizes the need for an environment that is nourished and supported by discourse, a discussion that spans a much wider spectrum of thinking and incorporates the insights of other intellectual disciplines. The Institute will strive to reverse a culture that has broken free from the planet and no longer reflects the real world.

Photo credit: (c) Institute for New Economic Thinking 2009. Copyright controlled.

In Re: Yosemite Slough v. Circus Maximus

[click on images for enlargements.]

"The largest remaining sticking point is the plan to connect the shipyard property and Candlestick Point with a bridge over Yosemite Slough. The plan has brought howls of protest from environmental groups.

The bridge will cross a large patch of wetlands that is slated for restoration. Groups like the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society challenged the environmental impact report, arguing that the city could avoid the bridge by routing traffic around the slough, a ride that would take only minutes longer.

Planners said the more direct route is needed for buses to serve the community. But National Football League officials have also said that the bridge is a requirement if a new stadium for the 49ers is ever included in the project."


Credit: (c) Lennar Urban/IBI Group 2010.

Our Globalized Civilization (Life And $559 Billion In Leading Private/Public Corporate Profits)

Company/ 2009 Profits ($billions)

1 Gazprom 24.6
2 Exxon Mobil 19.3
3 Industrial &Commercial Bank of China 18.8
4 BP 16.6
5 China Construction Bank 15.6
6 Petrobras 15.5
7 Barclays 14.6
8 Microsoft 14.6
9 Wal-Mart Stores 14.3
10 Vodafone 13.8

11 Procter &Gamble 13.4
12 International Business Machines 13.4
13 Goldman Sachs Group 13.4
14 Merck 12.9
15 AT&T 12.5
16 Royal Dutch Shell 12.5
17 Banco Santander 12.4
18 Wells Fargo 12.3
19 Johnson &Johnson 12.3
20 Bank of China 11.9

21 Total 11.7
22 J.P. Morgan Chase &Co. 11.7
23 E.ON 11.7
24 China Mobile 11.7
25 Petronas 11.6
26 General Electric 11.0
27 Telefónica 10.8
28 Bristol-Myers Squibb 10.6
29 Chevron 10.5
30 China National Petroleum 10.3

31 Nestlé 9.6
32 Agricultural Bank of China 9.5
33 Pfizer 8.6
34 GlaxoSmithKline 8.6
35 Novartis 8.4
36 BNP Paribas 8.1
37 Berkshire Hathaway 8.1
38 Hewlett-Packard 7.7
39 Samsung Electronics 7.6

40 AstraZeneca 7.5
41 Enel 7.5
42 Sanofi-Aventis 7.3
43 Roche Group 7.2
44 Lukoil 7.0
45 Deutsche Bank 6.9
46 Coca-Cola 6.8
47 Google 6.5
48 Rosneft Oil 6.5
49 Philip Morris International 6.3
50 Bank of America Corp. 6.3

Source: Fortune Magazine July 26, 2010 issue.

The G-20

Header credits: Old opera by Pergolesi and Metastasio. Photo (c) Maurizio Montanari. Copyright controlled. New opera by Marco Tutino and Patrizia Valduga based on Margaret Edson. Photo (c) Andrea Tamoni. Copyright controlled.

In Memorium, Sir Charles Mackerras

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Google, General Electric, Microsoft, Apple, and Johnson & Johnson All Have At Least $18 Billion Cash On Hand

George Washington inspects American Civilization and the American Dream near the Washington National Cathedral, in the Nation's Capital.

Raghuram Rajan Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy Princeton University Press May 2010.

(c) 2006. Copyright controlled.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Extra! Extra! On The Stump, Obama Offers Reassurance On Economy, While European Central Bank Tries To Talk Up Prospects For The Euro Area

[Click on image for enlargement.]

In memory of the two visiting Hungarian tourists, and the baby red panda in Washington, who tragically died this past week during the heatwave.

Photo credit: (c) Daniel Wong, Newark, California 2010.

Arts In America Crisis Update

"Despite being a historical figure of mythic proportions, George Washington had his weaknesses. His most endearing and least familiar one was for music, theater, and dancing." June 30, 2010


William Billings was born in Boston on October 7, 1746 and died there on September 26, 1800. He was composing in the United States during the years when Haydn and Mozart were most prominent in Europe. Often described as one-eyed and one-legged, addicted to snuff and unkempt, and employed as a tanner, teacher, and civil servant, Billings was America's first significant composer. The New-England Psalm-Singer, a collection of 120 vocal works (with a frontispiece engraved by Paul Revere), was the first published edition of American music.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

OECD chief Angel Gurria warns governments planning austerity drives not to risk excluding people from the jobs market for long periods in their search for ways to cut costs.

OECD countries need to create 17 million jobs to get employment levels back to where they were before the crisis, according to the OECD’s Employment Outlook 2010, a new OECD report.

Rejecting Opera Culture In Crisis & Hip-Hop, Shakespeare Theatre Company To Stage Two Works Of Contemporary Epic Theater In Downtown Nation's Capital

Dear Pan Cogito,

I am so pleased to share with you The Great Game: Afghanistan and Black Watch. Both productions are among the most exciting pieces of theatre to come out of the U.K. in the past several years. They deal with issues of importance to us here in the U.S. and are done in exceptionally theatrical ways. How fitting it is that both highly charged productions launch their American tours here in the nation's capital.

I hope you will take a moment now to secure tickets for these special, limited engagements while seats are available. I look forward to seeing you at the theatre.

Warmest wishes,

Michael Kahn
Artistic Director
Shakespeare Theatre Company


The Tricycle Theatre’s production of
The Great Game: Afghanistan
By Richard Bean, Lee Blessing, David Edgar, David Greig, Amit Gupta, Ron Hutchinson, Stephen Jeffreys, Abi Morgan, Ben Ockrent, Simon Stephens, Colin Teevan, and Joy Wilkinson Directed by Nicolas Kent and Indhu Rubasingham

September 15 – 26, 2010
Sidney Harman Hall

“The cast of 15 is universally excellent. Sharp and entertaining and, as the best political theatre should, refuses to draw simplistic conclusions.” Sunday Telegraph

“Something remarkable is happening at the Tricycle, where Afghan history and culture are being made manifest in a uniquely challenging, theatrically exciting way.” The Guardian

The Great Game: Afghanistan explores Afghan culture and history, sparking discussion and debate on what is viewed by many as the most important focus of UK and American foreign policy of our time. Through the eyes of 12 leading British and American playwrights and the voices of those actively involved in the war and on U.S. & NATO policy in Afghanistan, The Tricycle Theatre Company’s The Great Game: Afghanistan explores, in three separate thrilling and provocative evenings, the culture and history of Afghanistan since Western involvement in 1842 to the present day. This ambitious political and theatrical event was proclaimed “an inspirational highlight of the year!” by The Independent.

Part 1: Invasions & Independence – 1842-1930
Starts with the first Anglo-Afghan War of 1842 and moves to Afghan independence in the 1920s.

Part 2: Communism, The Mujahideen & The Taliban – 1979-1996
Continues the story from the Russian invasion, through to US/CIA arming of the Mujahideen to the coming of the Taliban.

Part 3: Enduring Freedom – 1996-2010
Starts with the events of 9/11 in Northern Afghanistan, through to the overthrow of Taliban, the aid agencies working in the country and the current war against the insurgents.


Shakespeare Theatre Company presents
The National Theatre of Scotland’s production of
Black Watch
by Gregory Burke
directed by John Tiffany
January 25 – February 6, 2011
Sidney Harman Hall
“One of the most richly human works of art to have emerged from this long-lived war.” Ben Brantley, The New York Times

Hurtling from a pool room in Scotland to an armored wagon in Iraq, Black Watch is based on interviews conducted by Gregory Burke with former soldiers who served in Iraq. Viewed through the eyes of those on the ground, Black Watch reveals what it means to be part of the legendary Scottish regiment, what it means to be part of the war on terror and what it means to make the journey home again. John Tiffany’s production from the National Theatre of Scotland makes powerful and inventive use of movement, music and song to create a visceral, complex and urgent piece of theatre.

This production of Black Watch launches its international tour at the Shakespeare Theatre Company, having played to universal acclaim in Australia, New Zealand, London, Toronto, Los Angeles, New York, Edinburgh and more.

Header credit: (c) John Haynes 2010. Copyright controlled.

In Memorium, Juanita M. Kreps, Economist And Administrator In The Human Interest

"She also pressed business to look beyond profits and act with greater social responsibility toward employees, consumers and the public interest, including affirmative-action programs, the environment and corporate integrity. She was an advocate for women and older workers, the unemployed, minority-owned businesses and development in depressed urban areas."

New York Times

Photo credit: (c) Teresa Zabala

Contemporary European And American Art Together Again -- At The SFMOMA If Not Yet In Our Opera Houses Or On Radio/TV (The Fisher Collection At SFMOMA)

The Fisher Collection At SFMOMA

Anselm Kiefer (German, b. 1945). Shulamite [Sulamith], 1983. Oil, emulsion, woodcut, shellac, acrylic, and straw on canvas. 213 x 145 in. (541 x 368.3 cm). Doris and Donald Fisher Collection at SFMOMA. © Anselm Kiefer

Cy Twombly (American, b. 1928). Note 1 (from Three Notes from Salalah), 2005-07. Acrylic on wood panel. 96 x 144 in. (243.8 x 365.8 cm). Doris and Donald Fisher Collection at SFMOMA. © Cy Twombly

William Kentridge on His Process

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

"The Roman Catholic Church is petitioning Chile's government for prisoner pardons that would include people responsible for crimes against humanity, angering rights activists and some conservatives.

The church is asking for the pardons as part of the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Chile's independence on Sept. 18. The church proposes pardons for those older than 70, any with a terminal decease and women who are mothers.

The controversy centers on the inclusion of some convicted of committing crimes during the 1973-90 dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet. According to official statistics, 3,065 opponents of Pinochet's regime were killed and 1,200 more disappeared.

"There shouldn't be any pardons under any circumstances for those guilty of crimes against humanity," Mireya Garcia, vice president of the Group of Families of Detainees and Missing People, told The Associated Press on Monday." ...

Eva Vergera/Associated Press "Church asks Chile pardons, including rights abuses" Washington Post July 5, 2010

'Two Men'? -- The Opera

Bruce Bawer "Take My Queen, Please" [Review of Per Olov Enquist's THE ROYAL PHYSICIAN'S VISIT] New York Times November 18, 2001

Header credit: Bo Holten's new two and one-half hour European opera. Copyright controlled.