Results tagged “arts journalists” from ARTicles

As journalistic endeavors go, The Arts Desk is something of a conductorless orchestra. Based in London and staffed by about three dozen writers and photographers, many of them former Daily Telegraph contributors, the online publication is structured as a collective, sans editors. In the absence of hierarchy, the group put Jasper Rees forward to discuss the site. This is an edited version of our interview, which was conducted via instant message. Where messages crossed, text has been rearranged for clarity.

Jasper Rees crop.jpg

The Arts Desk, which calls itself "Britain's first professionally produced arts critical website," launched last September: 09/09/09. Why and how did it come about?

In December 2008 a number of freelance arts writers who work regularly for the arts pages of the Daily Telegraph in the UK received the news simultaneously, in the very same email -- we were all cc'ed -- that in 2009 the paper was halving its arts budget and that much of the work would be done by staffers and in-house writers. We didn't need to read between the lines to work out that our work was going to shrink, and with it our pay. Without wishing to blow our own trumpets, we felt that any such move would necessarily entail a drop in quality of the arts coverage on the paper.

Very British, that modesty.

You might say that, I couldn't possibly comment -- to quote a political satire about cynical Westminster life that was on TV a while

March 31, 2010 12:00 AM |
ComeFlyAway1.jpgOnce more there is a conversation in the ArtsBeat blog between critics of different disciplines, in this case Charles Isherwood and Alastair Macaulay, on the subject of the Broadway dance musical "Come Fly Away," choreographed by Twyla Tharp to music of Frank Sinatra. I have been lapping it up.

Isherwood has called "Come Fly Away" a "major new work" of theater, and Macaulay has decried its dance as "intimacy perverted into exhibitionism." I am interested in the discussion that is developing over the nature of Tharp's work, for what it is and what it isn't, breakthrough or compromise, as judged from the perspective of these critics who write about related but different genres. Here's the link to the conversation, best read from the bottom up.

For the record, I saw "Come Fly Away" in one of its last previews. I found it exhilarating, and I would have been happy to tell you why over a bottle of wine after the show. But because I was a 

March 30, 2010 10:52 AM |

Without getting too heady about it, look at Hillary and Barack's heads and apply a little dance criticism and some Marshall McLuhan and Martha Graham.The latter said, "movement never lies." I take that as gospel. McLuhan talked about how the eye can edit, pick and choose what it wants to see. But the ear must take in the whole sound of the symphony. It cannot be selective about trumpets over oboes, if both are playing at the same time.

Why is Barack making such in-roads with people even when what he is saying may be "empty rhetoric"? It is the tilt of his head, the timing of the tilt, the breakout of a smile, the way his head receives the information and listens. He is mouth and eyes. She is forehead and jaw. He is sensual and spiritual -- and, to apply further Francois Delsarte's ideas about faces and heads -- she is intellectual and physical. He seems more honest, more transparent, less calculated. Her head dodges and, then, goes on the offensive chin first to (re)butt. He only lifts his chin to her when she stretches the truth about him. 

Next debate, turn off the sound and watch their ballet. But then, to honor McLuhan, turn yourself around and just listen. It is he who stalls ever so slightly on "ums" and "ers," while she is more dependably smooth. 

Playing with the difference between eye and ear as if your life depended on it is an arts journalist's gig. Barack's making global inroads because our eyes overrule our ears and that, for the moment, shapes the way many perceive the world. Seeing is believing. It favors a particular point of view...and Barack Obama. Don't you think?

February 27, 2008 10:54 AM |


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