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This category contains 32 posts

In the studio with sculptor Ursula Von Rydingsvard

Sculptor Ursula Von Rydingsvard is best known for her monumental artworks, constructed from commercially cut blocks of cedar and then sawed and chiselled into shape. She happened on cedar by chance, when an artist friend gave her some to work with, and she felt a connection to the rustic forms of her Polish peasant heritage. After thirty-five years of working with the wood, she is now allergic to it and needs to wear a protective suit while she sculpts.

Acrassicauda: heavy metal exiles from Iraq

When Acrassicauda formed, in the waning months of Saddam Hussein’s regime, they were proud to say that they were the only heavy metal band in Iraq. During the US-led invasion of the country, and the occupation and civil war that followed, they continued to play their music in Baghdad, despite death threats and constant logistical struggles, but eventually decided to seek refugee status, first in Syria, then Turkey, and finally in the United States.

Video games at MOMA

The Museum of Modern Art in New York recently announced that it has acquired fourteen video games for its permanent collection, formally putting to rest the long-running discussion about whether Super Mario, Pacman and their tiny pixelated friends can be considered works of art. There were howls of protests from traditional critics, of course, and […]

Larry Swearingen’s last days

Swearingen’s conviction has been upheld by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. A new execution date will be set for February 2013. Barring an extraordinary reversal or the granting of clemency by Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas, he has only a few weeks to live.

Louis Armstrong’s life

This documentary about the life of Louis Armstrong was broadcast on August 3, 2011, on BBC Radio Two. I worked as the New York reporter, recording in-depth interviews with Armstrong’s producer, George Avakian, archivist Ricky Ricciardi, Armstrong House curator Deslyn Dyer, tour guide Al Pomerantz and band leader David Ostwald.

Tony Kushner’s guiding light

Tony Kushner discusses his new play, The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures, plus revivals of his Pulitzer Prize winning epic, Angels In America, and the film script he’s writing about Abraham Lincoln.

One Ring Zero’s solar system

Our final item today comes from Brooklyn, New York – home to theremin and accordion-wielding band One Ring Zero. On their best known album, As Smart As We Are, they collaborated with celebrated authors, including Jonathan Lethem, Paul Auster, Michael Chabon, Margaret Atwood and Dave Eggers, setting their words to music. For their latest project, Planets, they’ve been getting some heavenly inspiration.

The Human Scale

A lecture about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is probably not most people’s idea of a relaxing night out, but that’s what’s been packing in audiences in at the Public Theatre in downtown Manhattan recently. New Yorker correspondent Lawrence Wright has adapted an article that he wrote about Gaza for the stage.

Remembering Max’s Kansas City

Shows at Steven Kasher and Loretta Howard’s galleries hark back to a seminal moment in American art history, when poets, painters, sculptors, rock stars and fashion designers converged on a tiny three room space, in a nowhere neighbourhood in downtown Manhattan.

The Savory Collection

Sound engineer William Savory recorded hundreds of radio broadcasts featuring Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, and Louis Armstrong, among others, onto lacquered aluminium discs that were, at the time, the state of the art.