Death of Marat

July 13, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, CRIME, HISTORY, POLITICS |
Jacques-Louis David's rather heroic treatment

Jacques-Louis David's rather heroic treatment

13 July 1793: Jean-Paul Marat dies at 50 after Charlotte Corday goes all Norman Bates on him.  Although Marat thereby became seen as a hero for the sans-culottes and a martyr to the revolutionary cause, in fact he was bloodthirsty little cuss, with a legendary hatred of Girondins and a disregard for what we might nowadays call ‘due process.’  Carlyle, in his brilliant, excoriating book on the French Revolution (1888), described his assassination in the following pitiless and sneering manner, redolent of Virgil but with added acrimony: “It is yellow July evening, we say, the thirteenth of the month – eve of the Bastille…

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Playing With Fire – Staging “The Ring”

July 12, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Australian History, HISTORY, MUSIC, Opera, OPERA, WAGNER |
wunderbar

[This article originally appeared in the Newsletter of the Richard Wagner Society of SA, # 282, July 2017] “When Art Meets Politics.” This was the essence of Dr. Peter Bassett’s text in a thoroughly entertaining and salutary talk to the Richard Wagner Society of South Australia on 18 June, entitled ‘Playing with Fire – the pursuit of a Wagner performance tradition in Adelaide 1995 – 2005’. President Geoffrey Siedel introduced Dr Bassett, who was uniquely placed to cover this topic, having completed a PhD on it, as well as being closely involved with the productions that comprised Adelaide’s Wagner Decade…

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When Vice Presidents Carried Guns

Hamilton-burr-duel

11 July 1804: Vice President Aaron Burr kills former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton in a duel in New Jersey.  We forget, even these days, what a frontier country early America was. In his sublime novel, Gore Vidal has Burr describe it thus: “It was determined that we would meet across the river in New Jersey, on the heights known as Weehawk….we would meet in two weeks’ time on July 11, 1804…I did not realize with what cunning Hamilton had prepared his departure from this world, and my ruin…When I woke up on the sofa, saw dawn, I knew I would…

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The “Rainbow Warrior”

July 10, 2017 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | CRIME, HISTORY, POLITICS |
Drawing of 'Rainbow Warrior 1' by Rama

Drawing of 'Rainbow Warrior 1' by Rama

10 July, 1985: Greenpeace’s protest ship is blown-up in Auckland Harbour, New Zealand by 2 bombs planted by French agents. One crew member, photographer Fernando Pereira, made an ill-timed decision to return the ship after the first blast, in order to recover his photographic equipment. He was killed by the second explosion. Justice was not fully brought to bear on the agents, or the ones who gave the order. Our fictional doggerel based on the incident can be found here.

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Frida Kahlo

July 6, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, HISTORY |
Frida2

Frida Kahlo (6 July, 1907 to 13 July, 1954) Frida, friend of Trotsky, fan of Stalin, was the creator of a loose kind of naïve folk art, largely works depicting her furrowed, furry-browed self. In a short and unhappy life, plagued by chaotic relationships, injury and ill health, she stuck tenaciously to her tiny, exotic, surreal self-portraits, which were heavily admired in her life by a few and venerated en masse well after her death. Because she was invariably the central feature of her works, floating Gala-like amid changing scenarios, they tended to “correspond to her evolving persona. In sophisticated ways her paintings…portrayed not merely “incidents”…

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