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Bernd and Hilla Becher photo











Photograph by Bernd and Hilla Becher















                  What's New
"Anti-Brechtians charge Mother Courage and its creator with being irritatingly didactic, insufferably self-important, and full of maddening contradictions. It’s all true, of course. And it’s this very spirit -- irascible, indomitable -- that makes the play (and Mother C.) so irresistible."  (The Daily Beast, 9/10/14) Berlin isn't as cool as it used to be, 2014 edition.  (Rolling Stone, 2/6/14; The New York Times, 2/21/14; Gawker, 2/24/14; The Atlantic Cities, 3/7/14; The New Republic, 9/12/14) "For over 40 years, Bernd and Hilla Becher photographed the architecture of industrialisation: water towers, coal bunkers, blast furnaces, gas tanks and factory facades." See their work at Sprüth Magers London, now through October 3.  (The Guardian, 9/3/14)


                  Stay cool, Frankfurt School
You know Theodor Adorno, the legendary sociologist, philosopher, musicologist, and media critic. But have you read his 1956 essay on punctuation marks?  (Brain Pickings, 9/11/14) Alex Ross takes on Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, and their critique of pop culture.  (The New Yorker, 9/15/14) "The university is simply not the place to study," wrote Walter Benjamin in 1914. One hundred years later, everyone at the university is studying him. (The Smart Set, 1/13/14; The Chronicle Review, 3/17/14; Mosaic Magazine, 4/3/14; Los Angeles Review of Books, 5/14/14; The Guardian, 8/7/14; City Journal, Summer 2014)


                   Music
"For those of you, ladies and gentlemen, who aren't so fond of beat music, we ask for your understanding - this is a live show made by young people, for young people. Let's go!"  (Deutsche Welle, 9/7/14) Jeremy Eichler peers into "the dense fog of history, politics, biography, and musical fashion that has always clouded the fascinating, enigmatic career of Erich Korngold."  (The Boston Globe, 9/6/14) "This is not just Beethoven revealed, but Beethoven hyped -- the great anecdotes related and embellished by an enthusiastic raconteur."  (The Weekly Standard, 6/2/14)


                  Art / Architecture
"For over 40 years, Bernd and Hilla Becher photographed the architecture of industrialisation: water towers, coal bunkers, blast furnaces, gas tanks and factory facades." See their work at Sprüth Magers London, now through October 3.  (The Guardian, 9/3/14) The looting of art and antiquities in Germany didn't end in 1945. In the GDR, "officials systematically stole from the country's art collectors and sold their possessions to raise hard currency."  (Spiegel Online - International, 7/24/14) In memoriam: Otto Piene (1928-2014), "known for his experiments in kinetic art and for working at the junction of art, nature and technology."  (The New York Times, 7/18/14; The Huffington Post, 7/22/14; The Guardian, 7/24/14)


                  Books / Literature
Alex Ross takes on Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, and their critique of pop culture.  (The New Yorker, 9/15/14) "There are no more issues in the warehouse." It's the end of an era for the Brockhaus encyclopedia -- now available only online.  (Deutsche Welle, 8/17/14) Rainer Maria Rilke's "question is basically this: Can we exist without the aid of angels, gods, myths, or spirits?"  (The American Reader, Aug. 2014)


                  Film
Rüdiger Suchsland's documentary From Caligari to Hitler: German Cinema in the Age of the Masses may not be groundbreaking, but its vintage film clips "look glorious."  (Deutsche Welle, 9/4/14; Variety, 9/5/14) The first English-language reviews are in for the film adaptation of Charlotte Roche's Wetlands: "Director David Wnendt and breakout star Carla Juri leave no bodily orifice unexplored in this spiky, smartly packaged commercial enterprise."  (Screen, 8/11/13; Indiewire, 8/15/13; Variety, 8/19/13; The Daily Beast, 1/17/14; Slate, 8/20/14) A complete retrospective of Fritz Lang's silent and talking feature films! At the Harvard Film Archive, now through September 1.  (WBUR, 7/16/14; Harvard Gazette, 7/17/14)


                  Theater
"Anti-Brechtians charge Mother Courage and its creator with being irritatingly didactic, insufferably self-important, and full of maddening contradictions. It’s all true, of course. And it’s this very spirit -- irascible, indomitable -- that makes the play (and Mother C.) so irresistible."  (The Daily Beast, 9/10/14) The latest productions at Berlin's Maxim Gorki Theater "stick out a playfully defiant tongue at German assimilationism's wagging white finger." (n+1, 8/29/14) Tanztheater Wuppertal is alive and well, reports Roslyn Sulcas, with an ambitious 40th anniversary season.  (The New York Times, 5/15/14)


                  History
"The first to be singled out for systematic murder by the Nazis were the mentally ill and intellectually disabled...Now, they are among the last to have their suffering publicly acknowledged."  (The New York Times, 9/2/14) A new round of war crimes investigations against suspected accomplices to murder at Auschwitz: "It might provide some with a sense of satisfaction, but it will likely be small and it comes very late."  (Spiegel Online - International, 2/21/14; The New York Times, 5/5/14; Spiegel Online - International, 8/28/14; Spiegel Online - International, 8/28/14) Behold the Schmiedhammer Fritz, weighty symbol of Prussia's burgeoning industrial and military might. (History Today, 9/2014)


                  Et Cetera
"Does the world need the idea of 'bad' Germans?" (The Wilson Quarterly, 2014) "'Uber' has traveled a long way in English, starting with Nietzsche and along the way touching Superman, the outsize ambitions of the 1980s, and online gaming."  (The Boston Globe, 7/27/14) Can this relationship be saved? On Germany, the U.S., and mismatched expectations in the post-Cold War era.  (The Daily Beast, 7/9/14; Spiegel Online - International, 7/10/14; Los Angeles Times, 7/10/14; The New York Times, 7/10/14; The New York Times, 7/13/14; The Daily Show, 8/29/14)