Arts in the News

Miranda Takes Final ‘Hamilton’ Bow
Last week saw Lin-Manuel Miranda take his final bows after his farewell performance in “Hamilton,” amidst thunderous applause from the audience and no doubt mourning from all those around the world who will never see him perform in the Broadway sensation. Post-performance, Miranda gave a brief “Evita-like” appearance from the balcony atop the theater’s marquee, waving to fans and placing his hand over his heart in a show of gratitude. Upon returning backstage, Miranda cut his lengthy hair–no longer needed for his 18th century character–and posted a picture of the sheared locks to Instagram, captioning “Team ’em how to say goodbye….” Some of the lucky patrons who saw the performance that day bought tickets long before they knew of Miranda’s exit; one family reported buying their tickets back in February because it happened to be the cheapest option. Others who bought their tickets more recently paid a high premium–one young woman paid $1500 for her single ticket. A higher than usual number of celebrities joined the audience that night, including Jennifer Lopez, John Kerry, Spike Lee, Mariska Hargitay, Charlie Rose, and Rosie O’Donnell–many of whom had already seen the show several times. Though Miranda’s farewell marks the end of the first phase of the show’s glorious run, it is without a doubt that audiences will continue to show up in droves to see this truly revolutionary musical.

Old ‘Aeneid’ Gets New Digital Life
Thanks to the efforts of Digita Vaticana, a nonprofit organization affiliated with the Vatican Library in Italy, people around the world can browse priceless ancient manuscripts online for free. As part of a years-long digitization project to convert the library’s roughly 80,000 manuscripts and texts (which include drawing and notes from the likes of Michelangelo and Galileo) into digital format. The organization’s latest completion for conversion is a 1,600-year-old illuminated version of the Virgil’s Aeneid. Known as the Vergilius Vaticanus, it is one of the world’s oldest versions of the Latin epic poem. Sadly, it is incomplete– the beginning pages have been lost, and many other badly damaged; only 76 pages, including some 50 illustrations, remain (for comparison, if the original contained all of Virgil’s canonical works, which was standard for the time, it would have totaled 440 pages with about 280 illustrations). The digitization process is quite tedious; Digita Vaticana expects their project to take 15 years and cost over 55 million USD. Many see it as a small price to pay to make these ancient treasures available for free to people around the world.
Art World Grieves Attack on Nice
Time and again the art world comes together to show solidarity when tragedy strikes, and the recent attack on Nice is no exception. Last week, 84 were left dead and another 50 in critical condition after a truck drove into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day–“Horror has again struck France,” said French President Francois Hollande. As many attempt to make sense of a senseless act, art helps those around the world express their grief and show solidarity for the victims, their families, and the country of France. This Huffington Post article has gathered many of the images circulating the Internet–some show anger and others sadness, but all show the ability for art to express what language cannot in the wake of unspeakable loss.
Dancing With Your Shadow
A public installation at the Mesa Arts Center in Arizona is encouraging people to dance by basically turning a chunk of pavement into an artistic version of Dance Dance Revolution. The project, officially called “Mesa Musical Shadows,” works by encouraging visitors to play with their shadows. Using light sensors paired with speakers built into mosaic tiles, individuals can create music by moving their shadow (and of course, themselves) across the tiles, each of which plays a unique note. As many people “play” together, a beautiful, jumbled soundscape results. Programmers intend to watch how people use the installation and actually reprogram it to allow for more complicated and nuanced responses to movement. Perhaps most importantly, the installation is reminding visitors to forget about how they look dancing, and focus on the fun they’re having creating spontaneous tunes just by hopping around!

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