Tag Archives: Entertainment & Culture

U.K. Feature | Autism

The Autistix

Led by three members with disabilities along the autism spectrum, The Autistix are a U.K. indie band putting a spotlight on some of the great musical talent in the autism community. The Guardian profiles the group, their supportive families, and their sound.

View the video from the Guardian on YouTube.

Philippines News | LGBT

Manila church provides haven for gay Filipinos
  • The Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) offers sanctuary to Manila’s downtrodden in the red-light district of Cubao.
  • While other religious proscriptions like divorce and abortion are legally enforced, the Catholic-majority Philippines has seen a gradual increase in the social visibility and acceptance of its gay population.
  • The Manila church is one of five operated in the Philippines by the MCC, a network of churches founded in the U.S. under the mission of social justice and inclusion.

“I don’t have illusions of assimilation into the mainline Catholic Church. They will always resist anything that disrupts their order. … We have a long way to go… but we must never lose hope, fighting for what is right and what is ours.”

Read the full AFP story at The Jakarta Post.

(Image Credit: Noel Celis/AFP, via The Jakarta Post)

U.A.E. Feature | Religious Minorities

Dubai’s Religious Minorities

Though strict in terms of public expression, Dubai has allowed rich, diverse communities to develop behind the walls of churches, temples, and other non-Muslim houses of worship.  The BBC examines the growth of Dubai’s minority religious communities–including various Christian sects, Hindus, and Sikhs–and the extent of the freedoms they enjoy in the rapidly modernizing city.

Read the full feature at the BBC.

(Image Credit: BBC)

U.S. News | Blind

Accessibility programming at U.S. museums extends appreciation of the visual arts to blind individuals
  • The Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and other major art museums offer programming allowing visitors to touch selected works or work replicas.
  • Such programming allows for the more individualized aesthetic appreciation enjoyed by those without visual impairment, and in museums where tactile engagement is forbidden, specialized tours offer detailed descriptions of works to visitors.
  • Museum professionals note the growth in accessibility programming since the 1970s, with the introduction of the Americans With Disabilities Act in 1980 spurring cultural institutions to work to create inclusive experiences across the ability spectrum.

“I don’t think it’s red tape-wise such a difficult thing to do. … And you can certainly use the argument, ‘Look at all these other museums.’ … I think that the institutions that don’t have something in place are scrambling because they’re thinking, ‘Here we are 25 years [after the ADA], we’d better get going on this.’ ”

Read the full story at the Washington Post.

(Image Credit: Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Iraq News | Muslims

Displaced Iraqis find support across sectarian lines in central Iraq
  • In cities like Najaf and Hillah, Sunni and Shiite Muslims alike have provided humanitarian support to those displaced by Islamic State violence regardless of affiliation.
  • Communities have rallied to include all in free evening iftar dinners and other forms of charity during Ramadan, with new arrivals discovering new economic opportunity as well.
  • In late June, the UN put the number of internally displaced Iraqis at 3 million, mostly from the northern and western provinces.

“In reality, the situation is very different from what media outlets interested in political spats report. … You will not find sectarianism here. Sectarianism is found among political elites and armed factions, especially those who came from outside of Iraq, most notably IS.”

Read the full story at Al-Monitor.

(Image Credit: Ahmed Saad/Reuters, via Al-Monitor)

U.S. News | Black Women

American Ballet Theater names the first African-American female principal in its history
  • Misty Copeland, 32, has now become only the third black principal to be named in the renowned New York-based ballet company’s history.
  • Copeland has enjoyed a standing in popular culture rare for ballet dancers, having appeared in commercials and music videos, written books, and established a substantial social media following.
  • Image prejudices, stereotypes, and lack of community and early development resources are believed to have contributed to the lack of black principals, the first of whom, Arthur Mitchell, was named in New York City Ballet in 1962.

“I had moments of doubting myself, and wanting to quit, because I didn’t know that there would be a future for an African-American woman to make it to this level. … At the same time, it made me so hungry to push through, to carry the next generation. So it’s not me up here — and I’m constantly saying that — it’s everyone that came before me that got me to this position.”

Read the full story at The New York Times.

(Image Credit: Julieta Cervantes/The New York Times)

U.S. & India News | Indian

First Indian-born player drafted into the NBA by Dallas Mavericks
  • Satnam Singh Bhamara, 19, was introduced to basketball by his father while growing up in Ballo Ke, a Punjab village.
  • An early standout due to his extraordinary size (7’2″ and 290 lbs), Bhamara trained at the Indian government-funded Ludhiana Basketball Academy before traveling from India to Florida on scholarship at the age of 14 to the renowned IMG Academy, a player development program.
  • In a league that has 85 international players from 39 countries, Canadian Sim Bullhar became the first player of Indian descent to play earlier in the year when he played in three games for the Sacramento Kings.

“I feel good about it because in India there are a lot of Indian players who could have a chance to come here and play in college and high schools. … I think I can open the door for everyone to come here and play. So it’s good for India and all the players. It’s good for me and my country.”

Read the full story at the Hindustan Times.

(Image Credit: NBA/Twitter photo, via the Hindustan Times)

U.K. News | LGBT

Hundreds of thousands take part in what may be the largest London Pride yet
  • Organizers estimate 30,000 attended the parade, which was centered on the theme “Pride Heroes” and included a tribute to famed British mathematician Alan Turing.
  • The approximately 950,000 who have participated in London Pride events throughout the week have helped shatter the event’s participation record, set last year at 750,000.
  • Saturday’s parade included participants from the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), whose inclusion had been a source of controversy as the party’s political positions put it at odds with many in the LGBT community.

“Given the huge impact Turing had on our industry and on the lives of the public who rely so heavily on technology, he was an obvious choice for our Pride Hero. We’re honoured to be walking with his family and proud to be taking part in London Pride.”

Read the full story at the Independent.

(Image Credit: via the Independent)

Japan News | British

Tokyo theater scene sees rise in British directors this season
  • Directors like Thom Southerland, Phillip Breen, Max Webster, and Robin Herford reflect an internationalization of the directing scene, bringing such productions as Titanic, Orpheus Descending, Mary Stuart, and The Woman in Black to the stage.
  • Although producers and directors indicate the trend is largely accidental, they note that as theaters increasingly show international plays, the desire to work with foreign directors intimately familiar with the histories contained in such work has increased.
  • The directors themselves have found ease in working with Japanese actors and note that such internationalization trends are on the rise back in Europe as well.

“Of course our scope to select directors is much greater in today’s global world with information instantly available on our computers. So now there’s no reason not to expand our options to engage with new talent outside Japan.”

Read the full story at the Japan Times.

(Image Credit: Shinji Hosono/Japan Times)

Egypt News | Jewish Egyptian

The Jewish Quarter brings an uncharacteristically sympathetic portrayal of Jews to Egypt’s blockbuster Ramadan TV season
  • Directed by Mohamed el-Adl, the 30-episode series features an Egyptian Jewish protagonist who falls in love with a Muslim soldier in pre-Nasser midcentury Cairo.
  • The series has stirred controversy online, with some viewing the series as a capitulation to Israeli interests and others praising the respectful–if somewhat inaccurate–historical depiction of everyday life for Egyptian Jews.
  • Cairo’s Jewish population has dwindled drastically from the time in which the series is set to fewer than a dozen today.

Read the full story at the New York Times.

(Image Credit: El-Adl Group, via the New York Times)

Indonesia News | Nationals & Visitors

Jakarta Biennale looks to bring Indonesian artists, curators, and histories to world stage
  • With the theme “Learning from the Present: Act Now,” the global art exhibition will open in November under the direction of British art curator and writer Charles Esche.
  • Indonesian artists will make up two-thirds of the 60 artists whose work will be included, with six emerging Indonesian curators shaping the works’ presentation.
  • Esche hopes to combine the unique location of Jakarta and the history of Indonesia with a political perspective on global issues such as wealth inequity, women’s rights, and environmental degradation.
“There is a mural artist who has painted all that had happened in Aceh from the 1980s but the work is still unrecognized. I hope this year’s Biennale could be the right moment to talk about our history.”
Read the full story at the Jakarta Post.

(Image Credit: via the Jakarta Post)