Aucoin: Opera’s 25-Year-Old Hope?

His new opera, “Crossing,” based on Walt Whitman’s Civil War diaries, premieres tomorrow at the American Repertory Theater, in Cambridge. So the New York Times has to spoil the moment by proclaiming Matthew Aucoin (pictured) ‘opera’s great 25-year-old hope.’ Further baggage: ‘The composer, conductor, poet, pianist and critic may be the most promising operatic talent in a generation. But can he handle the spotlight?’

Amy Schumer Defends Bill Cosby

Amy Schumer, this year’s comedy sensation who rarely makes me laugh, has a field day dreaming up a defense of that abuser of women, Bill Cosby. In case you’re an idiot, you should know that this is deadpan.

Oxford’s New Building: “A Beached Whale”?

In Oxford, the city of dreaming spires, any attempt to introduce shock-of-the-new architecture triggers dogfights between trade and mods. And so it was no surprise that when Zaha Hadid produced her sinuous steel-clad design for the new $17 million library and archive building for the Middle East Centre at St. Antony’s College, it was attacked. “Looks like a beached whale,” fumed one geezer. “A giant ear trumpet,” said another. “No, a crashed airplane” — and so on. More vitriol here.

Why George Clooney Won’t Dye His Hair

One of the sexiest things about George Clooney is his perfectly salt-and-peppered hair … and you can rest assured that he has no plans to reach for a bottle of hair dye anytime soon. “You have to come to terms with getting older and not trying to fight it,” Clooney said in an interview with the BBC, adding that there’s “nothing fun” about the process. “I’m a big believer in the idea that you can’t try to look younger. You just have to try to look the best you can at the age you are.” It’s working out pretty well for the 54-year-old, who insists he won’t be taking any extreme measures to look more youthful. Read more »

Ripley Crime Series Headed To TV

“Carol,” based on a Patricia Highsmith novel, is already one of the most anticipated movie releases of the year. Now, Highsmith’s Ripley crime series could be heading to television. As reported by The Hollywood Reporter: Television 360, Endemol Shine Studios, and Switzerland-based publisher Diogenes are planning to bring the tales of Tom Ripley to life on the small screen. “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” the late-author’s first Ripley novel, was published in 1955. Ripley Under Ground, Ripley’s Game, The Boy Who Followed Ripley, and Ripley Under Water followed over the course of four decades, collectively known as the “Ripliad.” The adventures of Ripley have been previously adapted in films such as 1960’s Purple Noon and the Oscar-nominated The Talented Mr. Ripley starring Matt Damon.

Hu Jie: China’s Invisible History

Though none of his works have been publicly shown in China, Hu Jie (pictured) is one of his country’s most noteworthy filmmakers. He is best known for his trilogy of documentaries about Maoist China, which includes “Searching for Lin Zhao’s Soul” (2004), telling the now-legendary story of a young Christian woman who died in prison for refusing to recant her criticisms of the Party during the Anti-Rightist Campaign of 1957; “Though I Am Gone” (2007), about a teacher who was beaten to death by her own students at the outset of the Cultural Revolution in 1966; and “Spark” (2013), describing a doomed underground publication in 1960 that tried to expose the Great Leap famine, which killed upward of 30 million people. Recently, Hu sat down for an interview with Ian Johnson.

Charles Manson: He’s Baaa-aack!

The Guardian: ‘Even though Charles Manson (pictured) has appeared as a character in everything from B-movie exploitation films – there’s a whole Manson-inspired subgenre – to the works of National Book Award winners, via an opera, a German musical [of course] and a novelization of Columbo, I’m often amazed at the running for best Manson Family impersonators – not only how insurmountable the Fat White Manson Family’s lead appears to be, but how the competition can be so weak. Enter NBC. New crime drama “Aquarius” joins the imitation game this week like a uniformed cop at a hip happening. David Duchovny plays a square-faced detective whose missing-persons investigation leads to Charles Manson.’