Pop Culture Roundup: This Week

Roundup
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The folder is, at first glance, unremarkable: gray, archival, tied with a small, neat ecru ribbon. Jotted in pencil is a notation: “Collection GOERING, inventaire des peintures.” Inside is a ledger, brittle with age but well preserved, its handwritten notations spanning two-hundred-odd pages and eleven years. The first is from April 1933: a listing for a Venus painted in oil on wood by Jacopo de’ Barbari, purchased in Rome for twelve thousand lira, displayed in a private office of Carinhall, the hunting estate outside Berlin belonging to the Nazi second in command, Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring. One thousand three hundred and seventy-five paintings follow this Venus, all of them carefully recorded: date of receipt, title of painting, painter, description, collection of origin, and destination. Tintoretto, Renoir, Rubens, Monet, Corot, van Gogh, Botticelli, a large group of Cranach; it goes on. After 1940, the pace of acquisition becomes frantic, obsessive, and the names of the European masters are often matched in provenance with names of some of the greatest art-collecting families and dealers of the early twentieth century: Goudstikker, Rothschild, Rosenberg, Wildenstein. It all stops abruptly in the spring of 1944.

Hermann Göring’s personal art log is a twisted treasure map, a guide to looting and pillaging and gift-giving among the Nazi brass, and a tracking mechanism for the Nazi occupation of Europe.


A series of incredible images show how quickly the world can change.

In photographer Patrick Strijards' "Old vs. New" collection, he combines images of Germany during World War II with photos of the present day. The photographs artfully contrast the broad sweeps of Nazi propaganda and the devastation of the war in Berlin with the vibrancy of the city today.


Perhaps Toronto native Stephan James looks vaguely familiar because of his role as John Lewis in Selma. As the star of Race, the first feature film on Jesse Owens, James is sure to become a lot more recognizable. The Root caught up with James—whose young career also includes credits for The Book of NegroesThe Gabby Douglas Story, the CW series, L.A. Complex,and Degrassi: The Next Generation—to talk about his breakthrough leading role. James portrays Owens in a film that deals with the track and field star’s grand moment at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, where he won four gold medals. James spoke on Race’s original star John Boyega, what drew him to the role of Owens, what it was like playing John Lewis and what moviegoers should get from Race.


An extended dream sequence in a 1992 episode of “A Different World” features Dwayne Wayne (Kadeem Hardison) playing a male version of Hillary Clinton, named “Hilliard Blinton.

For voters who’ve been around for a few decades, this election season has often been an agonizing time-loop back to the nineteen-nineties, to old debates, to long-dormant controversies, especially when it comes to Hillary Clinton. If you’re seeking perspective, I have an offbeat suggestion: go to Hulu, then watch one of the most indelible episodes of “A Different World”: “The Little Mister,” from 1992. It’s a message in a bottle, a piece of forgotten pop culture that suggests, as Mark Twain once put it, that history may not repeat itself, but it rhymes.


Shakespeare made many gifts to the English language, but his most memorable gift in the particularly rich and rarefied area of euphemisms for sexual intercourse comes in the opening scene of Othello, when Iago strives to provoke Desdemona’s father Brabantio to outrage with the news that “your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs.” Shakespeare seems to have borrowed the phrase from the French writer Francois Rabelais, who refers to “la bête à deux dos“. Thomas Urquhart memorably translated Rabelais’s account of the characters Grangousier and Gargamelle towards the end of the seventeenth century as “These two did oftentimes do the two-backed beast together, joyfully rubbing and frotting their bacon ‘gainst one another.” It is easy to see what drew Shakespeare, like Rabelais before him, to the fine mixture of the monstrous and the silly that this phrase contains. Though it has passed into common parlance, it is still prone to prompt a ripple of laughter or an outright snicker from a modern audience.


LAST CHANCE: Through February 21

Superheroes are a part of our daily lives, engaging our imaginations on the pages of comic books, on television, and movie screens, as well as across the Broadway stage and in the virtual world of gaming. Since their introduction in the late 1930s, superheroes have been societal role models, inspirational, and enviable. Based on mythological archetypes, they navigate the twists and turns of modern life. Through comic books, original drawings, posters, video clips, costumes, early merchandise, and props, Superheroes in Gotham tells the story of comic book superheroes in New York City; the leap of comic book superheroes from print to radio, to television, and ultimately to film; the role of fandom, including the yearly mega-event known as New York Comic Con; and how superheroes continue to inspire the work of contemporary comic book artists, cartoonists, and painters in New York City. Organized by New-York Historical’s Debra Schmidt Bach, Associate Curator of Decorative Arts, and Nina Nazionale, Director of Library Operations.


At a time of continuing anti-Semitic propaganda and attacks against Jewish communities in Europe and elsewhere, the New-York Historical Society will present a powerful exhibition that examines the rise of a culture of hatred. On view April 12 through July 31, Anti-Semitism 1919–1939 will trace the gradual and deliberate indoctrination of German citizens into active hatred of Jews through the ubiquitous words and images seen daily.

The exhibition will feature more than 50 objects dating from the Interwar years, drawn from the collection of The Museum of World War II in Boston, Massachusetts. Included will be examples of anti-Semitic books and signs, announcements of mass meetings that excluded Jews, the original outline of a 1939 speech by Adolf Hitler to the Reichstag about the “Jewish Question,” and a printing of the Nuremberg Laws denying Jews the basic rights of citizens that laid the legal foundation for the Holocaust.



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