Friday, April 17, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer – A Return to the Series' Strengths

By Sam Thielman
Star Wars: The Force Awakens posters made by fans could be official
HOLLYWOOD---The new Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer, unveiled on Thursday, makes the upcoming JJ Abrams-directed sequel look like a lengthy love letter to every series fan who hasn’t stopped complaining since 1999’s The Phantom Menace. From the dogfight inside the ruined hulk of a crash-landed Imperial Star Destroyer to the not-quite-a-surprise appearance in the last moments of the trailer of Han and Chewie, there’s not an uncomfortably racialized alien or a tousle-headed child in sight. [link]

Indiana Poll: Govenor’s Ratings Drop After ‘Religious Freedom’ Law Fiasco

By Kyle Cheney and Steven Shepard

INDIANA---The “religious freedom” law signed by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has taken a toll on the potential presidential candidate’s image in his home state, according to a poll released Thursday that shows most Hoosiers think the law was not necessary. The poll, conducted by the Republican firm Bellwether Research for Howey Politics Indiana, an in-state newsletter, pegs Pence’s approval rating at 45 percent — while just as many, 46 percent, disapprove. Pence’s approval rating is down from 62 percent in February. [link]

Foundation Created to Preserve the Ghastly Inventory of Auschwitz

By Rachel Donadio
A display of childrens’ shoes belonging to some of the victims of the camps. Credit James Hill for The New York Times
POLAND---To visit Auschwitz is to find an unfathomable but strangely familiar place. After so many photographs and movies, books and personal testimonies, it is tempting to think of it as a movie-set death camp, the product of a gruesome cinematic imagination, and not the real thing. Alas, it is the real thing. That is why, since its creation in 2009, the foundation that raises money to maintain the site of Auschwitz-Birkenau has had a guiding philosophy: “To preserve authenticity.” [link]

$52 Million Push to Help Arts Institutions Find New Audiences

By Mike Boehm

The Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pasadena Playhouse and La Jolla Playhouse will get a collective boost of $1,425,000 for their efforts to mint new fans in the coming two years, and they've qualified for a second round of grants to carry the effort into 2019. The three Southern California groups are among 26 nonprofit performing arts organizations nationwide tapped by the New York City-based Wallace Foundation, which plans to spend $52 million over six years in hopes of turning more Americans into arts aficionados. [link]

$20 Million Gift to Promote Tolerance on WNET


Before the dentist Simon B. Poyta, of Forest Hills, Queens, died in 2006, he expressed a wish that programming on WNET, New York’s flagship public television station, could help combat the anti-Semitism he witnessed while serving in the army during World War II. On Thursday, WNET... [announced] a $20 million gift from the estate of Mr. Poyta and his wife, Sylvia — a comptroller, who died in 2012 — the largest bequest in its 53-year history. With the donation, the station has established the Sylvia and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, the proceeds of which will be used for on-air and online programming on anti-Semitism and tolerance. [link]