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Arts in the News: A Monument of Banned Books, a Woman Translates Homer and more

A Monument of Banned Books

This past summer, Argentinian artist Marta Minujín used her creativity to make a statement about censorship and political repression. Minujín, 74, used 100,000 copies of banned books to create a full-size replica of the Greek Parthenon on a site in Kassel, Germany, where Nazis once burned some 2,000 books in 1933. With the help of students from Kassel University, Minujín identified over 170 books that were at one point (or are currently) banned in countries around the world–she then used copies of these books, secured with plastic sheeting, to cover a steel-based replica of the iconic Athenian temple. Among the books included are the Harry Potter series, Fahrenheit 451, and 1984. Minujín explains that the piece, titled “The Parthenon of Books,” is meant to symbolize resistance to political repression. Check out some photos of the strunning structure <HERE>.

Service Dog Disrupts ‘Cats’ Performance

Theatergoers to a performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Cats” were treated to an extra level of excitement when an audience member’s service dog ran after one of the performers. The dog allegedly “got away from its owner and ran after [the character] Bombalurina,” during the opening number. To everyone’s relief, an usher intervened, guiding the dog back to its owner. A spokesperson for the show confirmed the incident, noting that, “In the storied history of ‘Cats,’ this is the first time one of the actual cats was involved in an incident with a dog. We’re pleased to report that no animals or humans were harmed in the dust-up, and the performance continued without a hitch.” In other “Cats” news, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber is set to publish his autobiography, “Unmasked,” in spring of 2018.

Sleeping Woman Screams When Awoken by Drum at Orchestra Performance

Sometimes the soothing music and warm atmosphere in a performance hall can make audience members a bit sleepy–but usually any such incidences go unnoticed. Unfortunately for one woman attending a performance of Stravinsky’s “Firebird” by the North State Symphony in Redding, California, her snooze became apparent to everyone present when she was startled awake by the sudden boom of a bass drum and screamed loudly over the music. Luckily, the scream didn’t seem to bother any of the musicians in the orchestra, as they and the conductor, Scott Seaton, only smiled at the unscripted shriek. Seaton posted a video of the moment to YouTube, followed up by a tweeting on Twitter: “Yes, Stravinsky can still be a surprise over a century later!” Though everyone laughed off the interruption, it may stand as a cautionary tale for anyone who tends to get a little dozey at performances!

When a Woman Translates Homer

Emily Wilson, a professor classical studies at the University of Pennsylvania, has become the first woman to translate Homer’s Odyssey. Wilson’s new translation is written in plain, contemporary language and reportedly lays bare some of the inequalities between characters and gender nuances that have been long-overlooked by translators before her. Wilson herself explains: “the question of who matters [in the story] is actually central to what the text is about….Female translators often stand at a critical distance when approaching authors who are not only male, but also deeply embedded in a canon that has for many centuries been imagined as belonging to men.” Wilson has purposefully chosen to make certain aspects of the epic poem more visible, rather than glossing over them; for example, the inequities in the main character’s marriage and the presence of slaves in their household (earlier translators have opted for euphemisms like “chambermaid” or “nurse”). In her translation, Wilson aims to not only offer a new version of the poem, but a new way of thinking about the story in the context of gender and power relationship today. What a fascinating new take on a classic tale!

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