So that design didn’t work then

The Pompidou Centre, one of Paris’s top cultural attractions and home to Europe’s biggest modern art collection, is to close from 2023 for four years of renovations, France’s culture minister has said.

Designed by architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, the Pompidou Centre opened in 1977 and is showing visible signs of ageing.

“There were two options,” culture minister Roselyne Bachelot told the Figaro newspaper on Monday. “One involved renovating the centre while keeping it open, the other was closing it completely.

“I chose the second because it should be shorter and a little bit less expensive,” she said.

OK, fair enough.

The building’s radical design pushes almost all its structural and mechanical elements to the exterior, freeing up vast exhibition spaces on the inside.

A maze of blue airconditioning conduits, green water pipes, yellow electrical casings and red elevators are on display outside.

Ah, no, the justification at the time was that the services infrastructure – all that piping – had a shorter lifespan than the building. Thus put it on the outside where it could be repaired/replaced without having to shut down the building….

Of, or by?

A 33-metre reinforced concrete vagina has sparked a Bolsonarian backlash in Brazil, with supporters of the country’s far-right president clashing with leftwing art admirers over the installation.

The handmade sculpture, entitled Diva, was unveiled by visual artist Juliana Notari on Saturday at a rural art park on the grounds of a former sugar mill in Pernambuco, one of Brazil’s most culturally vibrant states.

In a Facebook post, Notari said the scarlet hillside vulva was intended to “question the relationship between nature and culture in our phallocentric and anthropocentric western society” and provoke debate over the “problematisation of gender”.

“Nowadays these issues have become increasingly urgent,” the artist added in what appeared partly to be a reference to the increasingly intolerant climate in Jair Bolsonaro’s Brazil.

Yes, OK, we know it’s a huge one but the question is, is it of or by?

Pay rates at the Carry On films

It’s long been a standard complaint that the Carry On films just paid horrendously low amounts of money to the acting talent.

Hmm, well:

The average male manual worker earns £13 2s 11d (about £13.15) a week.

Note that’s in a time of strong unionisation. And the Carry On rates?

I got very little money, perhaps £50 a week. I thought, ‘I don’t think Michael Elliott would approve if I went on making this trash.’ ” So she asked for an extra £50 a week. Not only was her request denied, she was sacked on the spot.

Four times that average wage is terrible pay, is it?

I also dimly recall a Kenneth Williams lament about that low pay. He was getting £7,000 for a film I think. That’s 10x that average annual wage for the couple of months it took to film a Carry On.

Sure, Carry On might have been dismal pay given the rate for the job – film acting – but compared to the society around it not too bad.

And, well, you know, we’ve all sorts of people lamenting high pay these days, recalling as they do that things were much better when the CEO to worker multiple was only 20:1. We’ve even the OberstSpudder at one time insisting that higher multiples than that should not be tax allowable.

So why is it that Carry On is derided as being low paying, rather than wondrously equitable? Or is it just that luvvies are different?

There’s a reason some read the words out and others write them

Cate Blanchett:

As a person working in the arts sector, the lockdown was strangely familiar on one level – a lot of actors get stuck in a kind of limbo waiting for someone else to give them permission to do what they are good at. It was as if we were all waiting by the phone for our agent to call. It was also strangely unfamiliar because the community that holds us together, the audiences, as well as the changing of the shows and the new releases, were all put on hold too. The flow between us all was severely affected, and I was both heartened and horrified when it began to surface online. Heartened because the urge to express ourselves and the desire to communicate seems undaunted by anything. Horrified because the worst place to rehearse and perform is alone in the mirror, and sometimes the phone is just a mirror.

It was amazing, though: the opera singers belting it out on their balconies, the dancers doing their solos in their living rooms, the DJs setting up on the verandahs of their apartments. Communication is definitely a need and not a want. And talent has to express itself. That need is like the roots of a tree seeking space and nutrition, and that single cell in the root hair that is the porous gateway between the soil and the plant – that exists in all of us, in our need to communicate and make shared sense. The porous gateway between audience and artist is just that – a two-way street where both seemingly separate worlds are alive together. The pub choir where everyone got on a group Zoom and sang. For themselves? Yes. For each other? Yes. For the uni- verse? Yes. Wonderful space that came alive and thrived and tried to reach across the divide.

That’s just horrible.

I don’t know why – I’m not a good enough writer to know. But it is. Dreadful.

So what has Covid-19 ripped open? The fragility of social space and the robustness of our need to share. The catastrophic misdirection of the past 30 years of economic and social planning (the guiding non-principle being that there is no such thing as society).

Yes, the ideas are shit too.

Follow the logic here

La Rambla: plans to transform Barcelona’s tourist rat run into a cultural hub

An ambitious project is under way to turn one of the world’s most overrun streets into an the ‘immersive art centre of southern Europe’

So, logically, they’re saying that more arts means less people. That art itself repels?

Well, of modern art that probably is true, yes.

Lemons and lemonade

For three decades, Anna-Jane Casey has been a West End leading lady. But her new role is a good deal less glamorous.Casey is working as a delivery driver, earning £1 per parcel, after the shutdown of the arts left her – like thousands of others in the industry – unable to do the job she loves.

Since June, Casey has been working for a courier company with her husband and fellow actor, Graham MacDuff.
It is a far cry from Casey’s West End career, which has included playing Velma Kelly in Chicago, Anita in West Side Story and Mrs Wilkinson in Billy Elliot.

“I’ve been acting since I was 10 years old, I’ve paid tax for all that time. And yet you’re telling me that my industry isn’t viable, and that I should probably retrain and do something else? Well, that’s not what I’m going to do,” Casey said. “But I have a mortgage and two kids, so I need a job right now.”

Given that acting has survived a couple of thousand years as a profession so far I don’t think it’s going to entirely closedown. It might well change of course.

As to other jobs while resting, that’s hardly unusual now, is it?

Tee Hee

After Cool Runnings I not only got sent a lot of similar sports screenplays, but also every family movie being made. It got so bad that at one point I received a script called Amanda. Without reading a word, I picked up the phone and said to my agent: “What kind of animal is it, and what’s wrong with the kid?” There was a long pause before the reply came: “It’s a horse and a brain tumour.”

Isn’t this fun about the Oscars?

The film academy has established four broad representation categories: on screen; among the crew; at the studio; and in opportunities for training and advancement in other aspects of the film’s development and release. To be considered for best picture, films will have to meet two of the four new standards, the Academy said.

Each standard has detailed subcategories as well. To meet the onscreen representation standard, a film must either have at least one lead character or a significant supporting character be from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group; at least 30% of secondary roles must be from two underrepresented groups; or the main storyline, theme or narrative must be focused on an underrepresented group. According to the academy, underrepresented groups include women, people of color, LGBTQ+ people or people with disabilities.

By which standard Birdman would not be eligible and Gone With The Wind would be.

Mebbe they’re going just a little far

An example of the new thinking to address perceived imperial connections to science was a paper penned by a curator and shared with staff, which claimed “science, racism, and colonial power were inherently entwined”.

The work further argues that “museums were put in place to legitimise a racist ideology”, that “covert racism exists in the gaps between the displays”, and as a result collections need to be decolonised.

The executive board of the museum is understood to be “very engaged with the many issues and questions it highlights”.

Legacies that may fall foul of the shift in opinion might be the exotic birds of Darwin and Captain Robert Fitzroy, as their shared journey to South American was “enable greater British control” of the region, according to the paper shared with staff.

Especially since, you know, Britain never did colonise nor control the region? Latin America remaining Latin. Other than British Guyana which is at the other end of that very continent.

There could also be calls for specimens gathered by Sir Joseph Banks to be addressed, as the botanist sailed with Captain James Cook on the Endeavor voyage in the service of the British Empire.

We’re getting to a corollary of pecunia non olet here. Stuffed birds are stuffed birds. How and why we got them is vastly less important than the fact we have them.

These people are weird

To a degree, every one of Disney’s recent string of live-action adaptations of its animated classics has had to justify itself — its reason for existing. The many films Disney has tried to put new spins on have ranged from beloved ’90s films whose remakes failed to serve much purpose, like Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, to older films, like Dumbo and The Jungle Book, which unquestionably benefited from applying more progressive contemporary lenses to their initially problematic tellings.

They seem to think that movies – whether you consider them to be art or business – is to advance the project. Instead of, you know, to make money for shareholders?

Hmm, OK, and?

The National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Opera House are facing financial collapse because of the pandemic and are jointly calling upon the government to throw out a lifeline.

“It is really serious now,” said Greg Doran, the artistic director of the RSC. “And if we lose our performance culture, we lose it for good.” The leaders of the theatres also warn that while they struggle to stay afloat, the whole performing arts sector is in “huge jeopardy”, and that without swift action there will be little left for audiences to see across the country when restrictions are lifted.

If this was a profitable sector laid low by he emergency then we would have one answer – temporary support until the end of the emergency perhaps. As it’s a chronically loss making sector, never does make a profit, then why bother?

Richard E Grant wants to throw gay actors out of work

No, really, he does:

Richard E Grant believes that straight actors should not play gay characters.

The Oscar-nominated star is opposed to what he sees as heterosexual performers taking the parts of their homosexual colleagues.

The portion of the acting profession that professes gayness is rather higher than that of the general population. Rather higher than that prevailing among the parts being played. Thus to insist upon casting by sexuality is to deny many gay actors work.

For this will work both ways, right? If the cis and hetero cannot take parts that are not cis and or hetero then those not cis or hetero cannot take parts which are?

From a PR email

From the team that brought you Snow White And The Seven Poofs and A Lad In Soho, we are please to announce a brand new show for 2019: Jack And His Giant Bigstalk in aid of the Terrance Higgins Trust.

Well, yes, except it’s Terrence Higgins….

This one is easy

From romcoms to Marvel blockbusters, east Asian actors are enjoying unprecedented success. What’s taken the film industry so long?

It’s a business. They’ve been waiting for East Asians to have enough money to make it worthwhile having actors for the audience – paying audience – to identify with.

If China were still poor then it would be back to Fu Manchu.

Numbers are difficult things, aren’t they?

Your story completely misconstrues the intention of the guide, which is seeking to redress the current lack of representation of the LGBT+ community in the arts.

What lack of representation?

John Gielgud and Ian McKellen give us our 2% gay among the theatrical knights, Redgrave gives us the bi- we need for balance.

Or to be a little less obtuse about it, current population numbers tell us that 2 to 3% of men are gay, 1 to 2% of women are lesbian and some few thousand out of 65 million of us are trans. And someone, somewhere, wants to try and tell us, with a straight face, that the portions, percentages, among artistes are lower than this?