Stories from Quick Reads and Arts & Culture
Live reports from the National Arts Festival taking place in Grahamstown, South Africa:
Every winter, for 11 days in early July, the sleepy South African college town of Grahamstown comes alive with art. Artists from all over the world swarm to the tiny town, and every nook and cranny is packed with theatre, dance, performance art, film, comedy puppets and face paint with the sweet sounds of jazz spilling onto the streets. The National Arts Festival, that celebrated its 40th anniversary this year, is the second biggest arts festivals in the world. For the last couple of years, a group of journalism students at Rhodes University cover the festival through a pop-up newsroom called CueTube, where they interview a variety of artists, choreographers and directors. Here’s some samples of the work.
Aleksandar Lambros, a Serbian-born photographer currently living and working in Monaco, has been snapping photos of tell-tale details of Belgrade's architectural history and collecting them on his blog.
While the city still retains snippets of Roman and Ottoman architecture, as parts of the city were under both Roman and Ottoman rule throughout history, most of what is today downtown Belgrade expanded during the 19th century, under the still very visible influence of the highly popular European Art Nouveau movement of the late 19th and early 20th century.
Lambros has captured some of the most interesting decorative details on Belgrade's older buildings in a set of 18 photographs that depict the quaint, unique mixture of Serbian culture with a well-known European architectural style. The full set, along with Lambros’ other work, is available on his blog.
Stand-up comedian Sourav Pant‘s comedy company East Indian Comedy has uploaded a YouTube video lampooning what a government-approved sex education class in India would look like. The video has gone viral, with more than 1 million hits in three days.
The video mocks a suggestion made by Health Minister Harsh Vardhan a few weeks ago that sex education should be banned in Indian schools (he later claimed his comments were taken out of context) as well as parodies how teachers shy away from discussing the issue in the class.
“Sex Education in India” created a buzz on social media. Santosh Kumar wrote on the East Indian Comedy's Facebook page: “The same thing happened with me when i was in school!”
Some like Sravan Kumar did not like the video: “Dont forget India is the country which gave Kaama sutra to the world.”
Alta Gracia [es] is located in the department Santa María, province of Córdoba, Argentina. It's listed as World Heritage Site and among its attactions we find the Che Guevara Home Museum [es]. From there, Argentinian blogger Laura Schneider [es] provides us a photo gallery of the museum.
On her blog, Laura adds: [es]:
Con un estilo inglés conserva su forma pero ahora llena de fotografías, recortes de periódicos, el cuarto de Ernesto, la famosa motoneta y el diario que guarda los relatos de su vida. Emplazada en un barrio con muchas casas del mismo estilo.
Como permiten tomar fotografías, previo haber pedido permiso, les dejo acá algunas para que se entusiasmen y visiten el museo. Este se encuentra en el Barrio Carlos Pellegrini, – Avellaneda 501. El valor de la entrada es muy baja (no vale la pena ponerlo aqui) y se utiliza para el mantenimiento del lugar.
With a British style, it's form has been preserved but now it's full of photographs, Ernesto's bedroom, the famous scooter and the journal that keeps accounts from his life. It's located on a neighborhood with many houses with the same style.
As photographies are allowed, at previous request, here I share some of them to fill you with excitement so you visit the museum. It's located on Carlos Pellegrini neighborhood – Avellaneda 501. The ticket fare is very low (it's not even worth to be mentioned) and it's used for maintenance.
If you are passionate about photojournalism, follow Laura's stories on her Twitter account: @LauraSchne.
It's sometimes complicated to understand or discuss terms like Classicism or Romanticism, especially for someone who is not involved in literature. But that's not the case with Mª Gemma Romero Perea, who thinks Goethe, through his Faust, shows a rare synthesis between Romanticism and Classicism. She explains:
Fausto es la obra más importante del autor; el ambiente en el que se desarrolla es el de la lejanía y el del misterio, y el pacto que Fausto hace con el diablo recoge el tétrico estilo romántico a la perfección. La historia arranca de una leyenda medieval, el protagonista, dedicado a la ciencia, pacta con el diablo para recuperar de nuevo la juventud y lograr de ese modo el amor de Margarita. Con un profundo estilo filosófico, Fausto lucha contra las leyes de la naturaleza y contra todo lo sagrado para convertirse en un rebelde romántico. Lo más significativo es el halo de misterio que rodea al protagonista y su terrible trato con el diablo para retomar la juventud. Pero además de los caracteres románticos del personaje, hay algo que destaca sobre todas las cosas, y es que Fausto se convertirá en un verdadero ídolo para todos los tiempos junto al Quijote y a Don Juan, un personaje lleno de matices que convertirá a su creador Goethe en un verdadero maestro de la literatura que influirá en su tiempo y en los posteriores de forma decisiva.
Faust is the author's most important work; the environment where it's set is of distance and mystery, and the pact Faust makes with the devil gets the gloomy romantic style perfectly. The story starts from a medieval legend, the main character, dedicated to science, agrees with the devil so he can get back his youth and having Margarita's love. With a profound philosophical style, Faust fights Nature's laws and all that is sacred to become a romantic rebel. The most significant thing here is the mystery aura surrounding the main characters and his terrible pact with the devil to get back his youth. But besides those romantic features of the character, there is something that stands out above all, and it's that Faust will become an all-times real idol, just as Don Quijote and Don Juan, a character that will make its creator Goethe a real master of literature that will have decisive influence during his time and later.
Though gays and lesbians are gradually gaining more acceptance in Puerto Rico, the same cannot be said yet of transgender people. That is why a film like Mala Mala, a documentary in which trans people speak freely about their stories, is so important. The film, directed by Dan Sickles (@dan_sickles) and Antonio Santini, is on the official selection of the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival.
One of the people interviewed for the film is Paxx Moll, a chef who is also a transgender female-to-male. In an article published in La Respuesta, a digital magazine about the Puerto Rican diaspora, he talks to E. J. Dávila about who he is, his experience being part of the documentary, and about the lack of social and medical spaces for trans people in Puerto Rico, particularly for transgender men.
This is the teaser trailer for Mala Mala, which will premier in Puerto Rico in the coming months:
A not-for-profit, self-financed group of artists calling themselves Kooperacija (“Cooperation”, Macedonian slang for a general store in small villages) hosted an exhibition titled “Melting Point: Art as Anti-Hegemonic Propaganda” [en, mk, with photos] in Skopje recently.
As reported [mk] by several news outlets that cover culture [mk], including Belgrade-based SEE Cult [sr], the event presented works by several individuals and groups of world renowned artists. Among them were pieces by Vitaly Komar, IRWIN, Santiago Sierra, DETEXT, as well as by some of the most vibrant artists from the region, like Nemanja Cvijanović, Ibro Hasanović, Igor Toševski, Kristina Gorovska & Jure Lavrin, Ines Efremova, Filip Jovanovski, O-P-A, and others.
The group of artists who put together the exhibition described it on their pages as:
Kooperacija is an initiative whose purpose is artistic activity outside the inert institutional frameworks, thus suggesting an exceptional approach to the creation and experience of contemporary art [...]
[Its] basic strategy is the occupation of temporarily free space dispersed throughout the urban landscape and exhibiting through a chain of blitzkrieg events. The desired effect is a constructive dialogue regarding the re-questioning of the critical positions in art and producing a favorable environment for a free exchange of ideas, experience and freedom of expression.
Nivedita N Kumar, a journalist, posts an emotional Facebook note which has gone viral. Here is an excerpt from the powerful essay that lashes at the notion of the Indian patriarchal society that clothes provoke rapists:
Why? Why do you do that? Stare at my breasts like they are cute babies calling out to be cuddled. Strip me naked, slowly, every time I enter the bus? Try to glimpse into my cleavage when I am sitting and reading in the metro.
Who gives you the right? To grope me in the crowded bus? To fall on me “innocently” when I buy popcorn in the theater. When I sit cross legged in the auto and you stop your bike and look hungrily at my legs.
A piece of meat, am I?
How do you think I feel? When I have to continuously watch over my shoulder, because it is 10 pm and there is nobody at the bus stop, except you. Staring at my neck.
Light Chaser Animation is a startup animation studio based in Beijing. “Little Yeyos,” a short film about seven spirits living in the mythological Chinese spirit world, is its first release. From its YouTube page:
Light Chaser was founded in 2013 by Gary Wang, the founder and ex-CEO of Tudou.com, China’s leading video sharing website. Its goal is to produce top quality animated films.
Neweurasia.net report on the upcoming release of Kyrgyzstan's first animated film, Aku, drawn by Tolgobek Koichumanov. Judging by the trailer Koichumanov's illustrations will offer the perfect introduction to Kyrgyzstan, capturing both the republic's startlingly beautiful nature as well as the less startlingly beautiful aesthetic of its capital city, Bishkek. According to neweurasia.net:
The animated film tells the story of love between two people, which passed through the barriers of distance and time. A guy named Maksat and a girl named Aku had been friends since childhood. They grew up in a quiet little village on the shore of a mountain lake. And there wasn’t a day when they were separated from each other. Aku dreamed of seeing Paris, Maksat wanted to become an artist. Then the fate played a cruel joke with the characters, but like any other blessed love stories, the story of Maksat and Aku is going to have a real happy end.