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12.12.10

In Brief: Advent 3 Edition

Here is your regular Sunday selection of links to good things in Blogville and Beyond.

  • In episodes this week with guests Steve Martin and Julie Taymor, Stephen Colbert did some hilarious send-ups of modern art. [The Colbert Report]

  • Colbert's arts commentary is timely in view of the brewing culture wars over the video removed from an exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery. Philip Kennicott has a particularly adept examination of the artist in question, David Wojnarowicz, and where the image of a crucifix covered with ants may have come from: it's possibly more Catholic than some might think. [Washington Post]

  • Charles Froke, executive pastry chef at the Four Seasons hotel, has outdone himself this year with his enormous gingerbread constructions of Washington monuments: a replica of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. [Georgetown Patch]

  • "Music is a human universal, but some people get a lot more out of it" -- like shivers of excitement. [Science Daily]

  • In a generally great appreciation of Stravinsky's Les Noces (making some comments about Gergiev's recent recording similar to mine), John Adams unearths some particularly funny bits from the composer's youth, including his discovery of how to make arm farts, a rite of passage for all boys. [Hell Mouth]

  • How writers conceive, edit, and revise their works has changed considerably in the electronic age, leading to concerns about how eventually great works will be dissected and studied by future scholars. The Bibliothèque nationale de France has responded to this problem by requesting living authors to donate copies of their computer files of e-mail correspondence and early drafts to their "Manuscripts" department. Hélène Cixous, who once did a university study of James Joyce by traveling around the world to examine Joyce materials in archives all over the place, has turned down offers for her "electronic papers" from Georgetown and Imec to participate in the program at the BnF. [Libération]

  • Happy 102nd birthday, Elliott Carter -- still going strong! [Naxos Blog]

  • Early music conductor Joel Cohen has a fond remembrance of the late Swiss tenor Hugues Cuénod. [Slipped Disc]

  • More thoughts on the best CDs of the year, from French critics Pierre Gervasoni and Marie-Aude Roux. Discs from their lists that I missed, which I wish I had heard: L'Argument de beauté (music by Binchois), by Brigitte Lesne and Ensemble Discantus (Aeon); and Combattimenti! (music by Monteverdi and Marazzoli), by Vincent Dumestre and Le Poème harmonique (Alpha/Outhere). [Le Monde]

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