For Movies, Film Option Survives Digital Advance

(p. B1) Faced with the possible extinction of the material that made Hollywood famous, a coalition of studios is close to a deal to keep Eastman Kodak Co. in the business of producing movie film.
The negotiations–secret until now–are expected to result in an arrangement where studios promise to buy a set quantity of film for the next several years, even though most movies and television shows these days are shot on digital video.
Kodak’s new chief executive, Jeff Clarke, said the pact will allow his company to forestall the closure of its Rochester, N.Y., film manufacturing plant, a move that had been under serious consideration. Kodak’s motion-picture film sales have plummeted 96% since 2006, from 12.4 billion linear feet to an estimated 449 million this year. With the exit of competitor Fujifilm Corp. last year, Kodak is the only major company left producing motion-picture film.
. . .
Film and digital video both “are valid choices, but it would be a tragedy if suddenly directors didn’t have the opportunity to shoot on film,” said Mr. Apatow. director of comedies including “Knocked Up” and “The 40 Year-Old Virgin,” speaking from the New York set of his coming movie “Trainwreck,” which he is shooting on film. “There’s a magic to the grain and the color quality that you get with film.”

For the full story, see:
BEN FRITZ. “Movie Film, at Death’s Door, Gets a Reprieve.” The Wall Street Journal (Weds., July 30, 2014): B1 & B8.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the article was dated July 29, 2014.)

Seven Seconds to See Whether Design Is Right or Wrong

(p. B14) Jacob Jensen, an industrial designer whose sleek minimalism exemplified the style known as Danish modern, most notably with the stereo systems and other audio products he created for the consumer electronics company Bang & Olufsen, died on May 15 [2015] at his home in Virksund, Denmark.
. . .
. . , Mr. Jensen wrote of his working method:
“In my view, constructing a fountain pen, writing a poem, producing a play or designing a locomotive, all demand the same components, the same ingredients: perspective, creativity, new ideas, understanding and first and foremost, the ability to rework, almost infinitely, over and over. That ‘over and over’ is for me the cruelest torture.
“The only way I can work,” he continued, “is to make 30-40 models before I find the right one. The question is, when do you find the right one? My method is, when I have reached a point where I think, O.K., that’s it, there it is, I put the model on a table in the living room, illuminate it, and otherwise spend the evening as usual, and go to bed. The next morning I go in and look at it, knowing with 100 percent certainty that I have 6-7 seconds to see and decide whether it’s right or wrong.
“If I look at it longer, I automatically compensate. ‘Oh, it’s not too high,’ and ‘It’s not so bad.’ There are only those 6-7 seconds; then I make some notes as to what’s wrong. Finished. After breakfast, I make the changes. That’s the only way I know.”

For the full obituary, see:
BRUCE WEBER. “Jacob Jensen, 89, Danish Designer, Dies.” The New York Times (Fri., May 22, 2015): B14.
(Note: ellipses, and bracketed year, added.)
(Note: the date of the online version of the obituary is MAY 21, 2015, and has the title “Jacob Jensen, Designer in Danish Modern Style, Dies at 89.”)

Castro to Writers and Artists: “Against the Revolution, No Rights at All”

(p. A13) Ricardo Porro, an architect who gave lyrical expression to a hopeful young Cuban revolution in the early 1960s before he himself fell victim to its ideological hardening, died on Thursday [December 25, 2014] in Paris, where he had spent nearly half a century in exile.
. . .
Mr. Porro’s two schools have voluptuous brick domes and vaults, built by hand in the Catalan style reminiscent of Antoni Gaudí, that are almost bodily in their gentle embrace. Supporting them, and contrasting with their soft curves, are angular columns and buttresses that speak of the shattering force of revolution.
. . .
Before the schools were completed, however, artistic expression was stifled as Cuba moved into the Soviet orbit. Mr. Castro had famously answered his own rhetorical question in 1961 about the rights of writers and artists: “Within the revolution, everything. Against the revolution, no rights at all.”
Almost overnight, the art schools’ distinctive style was officially anathema. “You realize that you’ve been accused of something,” Mr. Porro recalled in “Unfinished Spaces,” a 2011 documentary directed by Alysa Nahmias and Benjamin Murray. “And then you realize that you have been judged. And then you realize you are guilty. And nobody tells you.”

For the full obituary, see:
DAVID W. DUNLAP. “Ricardo Porro, 89, Exiled Cuban Architect.” The New York Times (Tues., DEC. 30, 2014): A13.
(Note: ellipses, and bracketed date, are added.)
(Note: the online version of the obituary has the date DEC. 29, 2014, and has the title “Ricardo Porro, Exiled Cuban Architect, Dies at 89.”)

A Federal “Building Whose Banality Is Exceeded Only by Its Expense”

(p. A3) WASHINGTON–They span 75 feet, weigh 4,300 pounds and can’t move.
The four, black aluminum clouds comprising the once-mobile component of “Mountains and Clouds”–one of the final works of sculptor Alexander Calder, which dominates the Hart Senate office building’s 90-foot-high atrium–haven’t drifted for more than a decade. They once rotated at a gentle speed, but have been frozen in place for years after a bearing failed.
. . .
, , , , mirroring the mixed feelings toward Mr. Calder’s sculpture, many in Washington didn’t appreciate the contemporary Hart building’s break with traditional architecture. In 1981, Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D., N.Y.) suggested in a “sense of the Senate” resolution that the plastic covering that had protected the building from wintry elements was preferable to the exterior itself.
“Whereas the plastic cover has now been removed revealing, as feared, a building whose banality is exceeded only by its expense,” said the resolution, which never came to a vote. “Therefore, be it resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that the plastic cover be put back.”

For the full story, see:
KRISTINA PETERSON. “A Nebulous Debate in Washington.” The Wall Street Journal (Fri., Dec. 26, 2014): A3.
(Note: ellipses are added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date Dec. 25, 2014, and has the title “Calder Sculpture Triggers Heavenly Debate in Washington.”)

“Valuable Things Should Be Paid For . . . Music Should Not Be Free”

(p. R10) Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for. It’s my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album’s price point is. I hope they don’t underestimate themselves or undervalue their art.

For the full commentary, see:
Swift, Taylor. “WSJ 125 (A Special Report): Music — it’s Too Soon to Write Off the Album: Yes, Musicians Aren’t Selling as Many of them; but Taylor Swift Argues that the Best Artists Will always Find Ways to Break through to the Audience.” Wall Street Journal (Tues., July 8, 2014): R10.
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date July 7, 2014, and has the title “For Taylor Swift, the Future of Music Is a Love Story.”)

Ezra Pound, a Major Literary Figure of the 20th Century, “Loved the Movies of Walt Disney”

(p. C5) “Mussolini asked,” in A. David Moody ‘s retelling, “what was his aim in writing The Cantos, and Pound replied, ‘to put my ideas in order’; and Mussolini said, ‘What do you want to do that for?’ ” When the poet turned from this dismissal to economic policy, which had lately become the central obsession of his life, the dictator was unimpressed by Pound’s list of 18 proposals, alighting particularly on his assertion that “in the Fascist state taxes were no longer necessary”: “Have to think about THAT,” Mussolini said and ended the interview. To the fascist dictator, Pound, by any measure one of the 20th century’s major literary figures, merited hardly more bother than a fly.
. . .
(p. C7) . . . he was not always an elitist. He loved the movies of Walt Disney, . . .

For the full review, see:
DAVID MASON. “The Makers of Modernism; Pound’s generous spirit looms over 20th-century literature, and in the early years his megalomania seemed harmless.” The Wall Street Journal (Sat., Dec. 6, 2014): C5 & C7.
(Note: ellipses added; italics in original.)
(Note: the online version of the review has the date Dec. 5, 2014, and has the title “The Tragic Hero of Literary Modernism; Ezra Pound’s generous spirit looms over 20th-century literature, and in the early years his megalomania seemed harmless.” The first part of the title in the print version was intended to cover both the review of the Pound biography and an accompanying review of a biography of the writer and publisher James Laughlin.)

The book under review is:
Moody, A. David. Ezra Pound: Poet: Volume II: The Epic Years. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Greenpeace Desecrates Fragile, Ancient Hummingbird Etching in Peru

(p. A7) CARACAS, Venezuela — An expression of concern by the environmental group Greenpeace about the carbon footprint was marred this week by real footprints — in a fragile, and restricted, landscape near the Nazca lines, ancient man-made designs etched in the Peruvian desert.
The Peruvian authorities said activists from the group damaged a patch of desert when they placed a large sign that promoted renewable energy near a set of lines that form the shape of a giant hummingbird.
. . .
. . . the Peruvian authorities were seething over the episode, which they said had scarred one of the country’s most treasured national symbols.
. . .
“The hummingbird was in a pristine area, untouched,” Mr. Castillo said. “Perhaps it was the best figure.”
Mr. Castillo said that the culture ministry had sent out a team with drone aircraft equipped with cameras so that they could evaluate the damage without entering the delicate area.
He said that the harm was both physical and symbolic.
“This stupidity has co-opted part of the identity of our heritage that will now be forever associated with the scandal of Greenpeace,” he said.

For the full story, see:
WILLIAM NEUMAN. “Peru Is Indignant After Greenpeace Makes Its Mark on Ancient Site.” The New York Times (Sat., DEC. 13, 2014): A7.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date DEC. 12, 2014.)