The Update - January 12, 2016

Friday, 08 January 2016
Published in ABR Arts

Vale Pierre Boulez

Arts Update was in the United States when Pierre Boulez died (5 January). The French composer and conductor, who was aged ninety, had remained active well into his eighties, no longer the enfant terrible who had excoriated musical conservatives and led a revolution in music in the 1960s. Arts Update, inured to the desultory coverage of the arts in most Australian newspapers, was struck by the extensive coverage in the New York Times. Attuned and serious newspapers mark the death of such artists. At a time when the North Korean nuclear test was dominating world media, Boulez's death was front-page news in the Times, followed by a 2,000-word obituary inside and a long appraisal of Boulez's contribution, by Anthony Tommasini.

Boulez had of course succeeded Leonard Bernstein as musical director of the New York Philharmonic in 1971, but this hardly explains such lengthy tributes; Boulez's tenure at the Philharmonic was brief and not considered a success.

Boulez is renowned for modernist compositions such as 'Le marteau sans maitre' and 'Sur Incises', a rigorous and acute conducting style, and the 1976 centenary Ring at Bayreuth (which he conducted).

Vale David Bowie

Given his recent visibility and new album, Blackstar, not to mention the secrecy of his illness, Arts Update was as shocked as the rest of the world yesterday at the news of David Bowie's passing. Last year, Andrew Nette reviewed the David Bowie Is exhibition at ACMI, showcasing hundreds of pieces from the official David Bowie archive. You can read his review here.

Jacki Weaver

Earlier, in Los Angeles, Arts Update caught up with our favourite subscriber in West Hollywood. Jacki Weaver has lived there now for five years. We met her on one of the wettest days in recent years, welcome rain after the prolonged drought in California. Normally, the view from the Terrace Room (within the Sunset Tower Hotel) is panoramic. Not that day. Instead of Downtown all we could see was mist. Jacki Weaver – a two-time Oscar nominee herself (and surely an eventual winner) – recalled Vanity Fair post-Oscar parties in the Terrace Room.

Arts Update asked about her current roles. Jacki has just appeared in The Disaster Artist, based on Greg Sestero's book of the same name about his friendship with Tommy Wiseau, creator of the cult film The Room, which is widely regarded as the worst film ever made. Jacki's co-stars include James Franco and Sharon Stone. Now she is preparing to film the second series of Blunt Talk, with Patrick Stewart.

2015 Sydney Theatre Awards

Interest in the 2015 Sydney Theatre Awards waned when the nominations were announced on Christmas Eve. The Sydney Theatre Company production of King Lear – directed by Neil Armfield and starring Geoffrey Rush as Lear – was egregiously overlooked. There was a single token nomination, for lighting (Nick Schlieper).

Who said, 'Humankind cannot bear very much reality'?

The judges on this occasion included Jason Blake (The Sydney Morning Herald), Jo Litson (The Sunday Telegraph), Deborah Jones (The Australian), Elissa Blake (Fairfax arts writer), Dee Jefferson (Time Out), Diana Simmonds (Stagenoise website), Polly Simons (Daily Telegraph), Ben Neutze (Daily Review) and Cassie Tongue (AussieTheatre website).

Full nominations can be found here. The awards will be announced on 18 January.

ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize is now open

The ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize is one of Australia's leading prizes for an original short story. This year the total prize money has risen from $8,000 to $12,500. Entries close 11 April 2016. The 2016 Jolley Prize will be judged by ABR Deputy Editor Amy Baillieu and authors Maxine Beneba Clarke and David Whish-Wilson. Visit our website for more information about the 2016 Jolley Prize, to enter online, or to find out more about past winners.

ABR Patrons' Annual Lecture

On 15 February 2016, Kim Williams AM will deliver the inaugural ABR Patrons' Annual Lecture at the University of Sydney, entitled 'Cultural Renewal in Modern Australia Philanthropy, public discourse and the role of the "public academy" in the modern era.' The Lecture will be held at 6pm in the Law School Foyer, Level 2, Sydney Law School, Eastern Avenue, the University of Sydney. This is a free event but registration is encouraged. ABR is delighted to be presenting the lecture in association with Sydney Ideas.

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Published in ABR Arts

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