Раздел: Искусство

новости искусства

Palestinian-American Comedian Making Her Mark in Male Dominated Field

Comedy is a field still dominated by men, but that’s changing. Among the trendsetters is Suzie Afridi, a Palestinian-American stand-up comedian. Afridi says she’s probably not living the life her parents had wanted for her when she was growing up in the West Bank. But she says how else would a feminist Palestinian, married to a Muslim man, trying to raise a cross-cultural 9-year-old express herself, except by making people laugh? VOA’s Samina Ahsan takes a look at Afridi’s unlikely journey.

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No Criminal Charges to Be Filed in 2016 Death of Pop Star Prince

No criminal charges will be filed in the 2016 death of pop star Prince from an opioid overdose, a Minnesota prosecutor said on Thursday.

“We simply do not have sufficient evidence to charge anyone with a crime related to Prince’s death,” Carver County Attorney Mark Metz told a news conference following a two-year inquiry.

Prince, 57, was found dead at his Paisley Park home and recording studio complex near Minneapolis on April 21, 2016. The official cause of death was a self-administered overdose of the painkiller fentanyl, which is 50 times stronger than heroin.

Metz said the musician died after taking a counterfeit Vicodin pill laced with fentanyl.

“Nothing in the evidence suggests Prince knowingly ingested fentanyl,” Metz said, adding that there was “no evidence that the pills that killed Prince were prescribed by a doctor.”

“There is no reliable evidence showing how Prince obtained the counterfeit Vicodin laced with fentanyl or who else may had a role in delivering the counterfeit Vicodin to Prince,” Metz said.

Investigators found evidence that Prince suffered from severe pain for a number of years and that hundreds of various sorts of painkillers were found in his residence, according to Metz.

The probe included searches of Prince’s computer, mobile phone records of his friends and interviews with associates. Some of the pills were prescribed to his bodyguard, Metz said, to protect the singer’s privacy.

Prince, known for his androgynous style and sexually charged songs, crafted a public image of living a clean and healthy vegan lifestyle.

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ABBA Reunites With Avatars for TV Tribute

It’s the closest thing yet to an ABBA reunion: computerized avatars of Sweden’s legendary disco group will perform during a televised tribute to the quartet to be broadcast this autumn, ABBA member Bjorn Ulvaeus said Thursday.

Agnetha Faltskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson split up in 1982 after dominating the disco scene for more than a decade with hits like “Waterloo”, “Dancing Queen”, “Mamma Mia” and “Super Trouper”.

The group, which has sold more than 400 million albums, has not sung together on stage since 1986.

The avatars will perform an as yet unnamed ABBA song during the tribute show, produced by British broadcaster BBC and US network NBC. Other top musical artists are also expected to perform.

“It’s a kind of ABBA tribute show, but the centerpiece … will be something I call ‘Abbatars’. It is digital versions of ABBA, from 1979,” Ulvaeus told AFP.

“It’s the first time it’s ever been done.”

In order to create the avatars, “techno artists” from Silicon Valley measured the heads of the four ABBA members and photographed them from all angles.

“With videos and lipsynching, they’ll create digital copies of us from 1979,” he said, referring to the year the album “Voulez-vous” was released.

Ulvaeus was in Brussels on Thursday to try to persuade European Broadcasting Union (EBU) member networks to sign on to the show.

The EBU is the broadcaster of the Eurovision Song Contest, the competition that launched ABBA on the international scene when it won in 1974 with the hit “Waterloo”.

“I hope that some of them (European broadcasters) will join us and make this … a global program at the end of this autumn,” Ulvaeus said.

The show is expected to go on tour the following year.

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Cambodia’s Nice New TV Channel from China

Life is good at NICE TV.

Staff enjoy generous benefits at the new Chinese network and their flashy building, directly inside Cambodia’s Ministry of Interior, boasts an elegant restaurant on the fifth floor with 360 degree views of the city’s political heartland.

News manager Seang Sophorn is busy directing from the control room as reporter Khoun Leakana, formerly of The Phnom Penh Post, beams in live from the scene of a reeking chicken processing factory that has residents up in arms.

“We are journalists so we are like the bridge to make the government aware of people’s needs or also to bring what government needs from people,” said Sophorn, who cut her teeth as a reporter at Radio Free Asia before a stint at the PNN network of ruling party Senator Ly Yong Phat.

Ministry of Interior

The news menu includes stories about preparations for the upcoming water festival and the types of stories NICE TV producers say are their standard fare: residential complaints about floods and traffic.

The key to NICE TV’s “bridge to the people” is an app the company has developed called Tutu Live, which allows viewers to beam themselves into the program, the television equivalent of talk-back radio.

Through it they are pushing user-generated content from their currently small audience, including NICE TV’s partners at the Ministry of Interior.

“The ministry has a police network all around Cambodia so we want to create social news and we can use this resource to create the best social news in Cambodia,” Nice TV Chief Operations Officer Jason Liu told VOA, speaking through an interpreter.

Limit the scope of media?

Others are less optimistic about the partnership.

This type of partnership between a foreign firm and a ministry responsible for Cambodian state security looked “not good” said Nop Vy, acting head of the media conservator the Cambodian Center for Independent Media.

“The image of the location in the ministry itself and the work of the private company interferes into the work of the ministry and [the] Ministry of Interior’s role is very important,” he said.

“So we just thought that so through this support it will limit the scope of the media team working at their station because they will [be] working under the internal policy of the TV station and the policy I know that it maybe say something for example not doing something against China,” he added.

Certain topics avoided

Despite their close relationship with the ministry, which holds an unspecified but apparently small share in the venture, Sophorn and Lui insist they are free to report whatever they want.

For Lui, the fact that the station tends to avoid sensitive political stories or opposition perspectives is more indicative of viewer appetites than any state enforced restriction.

“The role of TV is to make people’s living better, it is not to make conflict,” he said.

But a casual chat with some of the producers at the network suggests it is well understood that anything that could provoke the ruling Cambodian People’s Party is not to be touched.

Traditional journalism gone

Meanwhile their opportunities to do traditional journalism are evaporating as government critical news organizations fall one after another under increasing government pressure on the free press.

Gone are The Cambodian Daily, an obstinate dissenter for more than two decades, the broadcasts of Radio Free Asia and more than 30 radio frequencies that relayed their own shows as well as those of others, including Voice of America. Rumors that The Phnom Penh Post will soon be shuttered are swirling, but persistently denied by the bilingual paper.

In this void, outfits more in line with the Chinese model of media-state relations are on the verge of taking over the press entirely in Cambodia.

In an interview with VOA, Huy Vannak, an under-secretary of state at the Ministry of Interior, suggested that though the content at NICE TV will predominantly focus on entertainment, the station will also work “to inform the people about how to enforce the better public service.”

“That’s the purpose to have the TV because the ministry is run and has a big task to the people basically at the grass-roots level because we have the police department on the security side and we have the public service on the administration side,” he said.

VOA has sought to clarify the ministry’s relationship with NICE TV, but after months of efforts no comment has been forthcoming.

Liu conceded it was unusual for a foreign company to hold such a partnership with a government ministry. But he stressed NICE TV was an entirely private operation that has simply been the beneficiary of blossoming relations between Cambodia and China.

“Because we come from private enterprise so the Cambodian government allow us to come and invest on the media sector, but if we come from Chinese government the Cambodian government I think they will not allow us to come and invest in the media sector,” he said.

He refused to comment on the record about whether the Chinese government held any influence over the station.

Reporter Sun Narin in Washington contributed to this report.

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Olympians, 13 Journalists Recognized by Advocates for Free Speech

Advocates of free speech recently honored about a dozen U.S. journalists who uncovered widespread sexual misconduct in politics, sports and movies, as well as a pair of Olympians who used their fame in a controversial bid to bring injustices to light half a century ago. In 1968, U.S. Olympians John Carlos and Tommie Smith bowed their heads and raised their fists on the medal stand at the Summer Olympics to protest injustices toward African Americans. VOA’s Mariama Diallo reports.

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Screening of ‘Black Panther’ Ends Saudi Ban on Movie Theaters

Saudi Arabia has ended a 35-year ban on movie theaters with a private screening of the Hollywood blockbuster Black Panther.

The invitation-only screening, held Wednesday at a concert hall converted into a cinema complex in the capital, Riyadh, was attended by both women and men. 

“This is a landmark moment in the transformation of Saudi Arabia into a more vibrant economy and society,” Saudi Minister of Culture and Information Awwad Alawwad said in statement ahead of the screening.

It’s a stark reversal for a country where public movie screenings were banned in the 1980s during a wave of ultraconservatism that swept Saudi Arabia. Many Saudi clerics view Western movies and even Arabic films made in Egypt and Lebanon as sinful.

The opening marked another milestone for reforms spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to open the country culturally and diversify the economy.

The prince, 32, has already eased restrictions in the last two years, on such matters as permitting public concerts and allowing women to drive and attend sports events. 

The Saudi government projects there will be 300 movie theaters with around 2,000 screens built across the kingdom by 2030.

Movies screened in Saudi cinemas will be subject to approval by government censors, as is the case in other Arab countries. Scenes of violence are not cut, but scenes involving nudity, sex or even kissing often get axed. 

It was not clear whether Black Panther underwent similar censorship for Wednesday’s screening. 

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Swedish King Wants to Let Nobel Body Members Resign

Sweden’s king wants to change the statutes of the Swedish Academy, which awards the Nobel Literature Prize each year, to allow its life-appointed board members to resign.

Academy head Sara Danius stepped down last week amid turmoil at the academy over the alleged sexual misconduct of a man married to an academy board member, Swedish poet Katarina Frostenson.

The latter left the academy when Danius withdrew. A week earlier, three male members had resigned over the academy’s vote not to remove Frostenson.

King Carl XVI Gustav — the body’s patron who must approve any of its secret votes — said Wednesday “that anyone who no longer wishes to be a member of an association should be able to withdraw.”

Members of the 18-seat board now are not technically permitted to leave.

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Simply the Best? UK Critics Praise Tina Turner Stage Musical

British theater critics are praising a new stage musical about the life of Tina Turner – and it also has the approval of the star herself.

Turner was in the audience for the opening night of “Tina” at London’s Aldwych Theatre. After the show Tuesday, she joked that “I’ve found a replacement” in Adrienne Warren, who plays the brassy singer in the musical.

The show charts Turner’s roots in small-town Tennessee, her musical apprenticeship alongside abusive husband Ike Turner and her solo breakthrough in the 1980s with hits such as “What’s Love Got to Do With It?”

It’s a gritty tale with powerhouse tunes and a performance by Warren that the Guardian newspaper called “simply astonishing.”

Turner said the message of the show is that “it’s possible to turn poison into medicine.”

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Icons of American West Showcased — in Florida

When you think of Florida, the colored stone walls of the Grand Canyon don’t come to mind. Neither do cowboys, wolves or Native American silver-and-turquoise jewelry.

In downtown St. Petersburg, all of those icons of the American West are on display in a new museum.

It’s called the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art, and it opened this month. The 80,000-square-foot (7,400-square-meter) space is two blocks from the glittering blue waters of Tampa Bay. But at the museum’s front door, visitors are transported west. For vacationers in the Gulf Coast city, it will be a fascinating cultural respite from sun, sand and palm trees.

The building

The entrance is through a sandstone sculptural exterior evoking mesas of the American Southwest. That aesthetic of cliffs and cave dwellings and vertical forms runs throughout the museum. A two-story black granite waterfall is the centerpiece of the entrance.

A high ceiling and cubist angles frame a bank of windows at the entrance, allowing Florida’s sun to shine through. Through the gift shop, a massive wooden bar that looks like something out of a Nevada saloon is the centerpiece for the cafe. It’s a 19th century antique in itself, from a hotel in San Francisco.

​The art

There are 400 pieces on display, from large sculptures of Native Americans on horseback to pop-art conceptual paintings of the pioneer spirit. It’s unusually earthy and rustic fare, especially for a state that’s known for beaches, alligators and sanitized theme parks. Even the gallery walls are painted in earthy, Southwestern colors.

All of the art was collected over decades by billionaire Thomas James, chairman emeritus of the Raymond James financial services company, and his wife, Mary. Much of the art once decorated the corporate offices of the company, which is based in St. Petersburg.

“The collection is inspired by Tom’s fascination with cowboy lore,” museum director Bernice Chu said.

Many Western-themed collections in other parts of the country showcase works from the 19th and early 20th centuries, like Frederic Remington’s famous depictions of the Old West. What’s different about this collection is that nearly all the artists featured are still alive.

The collection is organized in six themes. Native American life includes artwork that tells the story of the complicated and often brutal history of how Native Americans were treated. A room called “The Jewel Box” in the Native American artists area displays contemporary Native American jewelry owned by Mary James, who has “free rein” to dip into the collection and take out “anything she wants” to wear, Chu said.

A wildlife exhibition is the only one that’s not dedicated to the West. That display includes paintings and sculptures of animals from around the globe, which will delight younger visitors.

St. Pete, arts hub

The Museum of Western & Wildlife Art is the latest museum in a city that’s increasingly becoming known as an arts hub.

One of the museum’s architects, Jann Weymouth, created another unique local institution: the nearby Dali museum, which is devoted to works of Spanish artist Salvador Dali.

In 2019, the Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement is expected to open, housing businessman Rudy Ciccarello’s collection of furniture, pottery, tile, metalwork, lighting, photography and other decorative arts from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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