New Year links

4th January 2015

Reading and viewing (with some listening as well) to ease you into 2015, with the usual apologies for the lack of appropriate thanks to those who recommended some of the following.

The Wire in HD (updated with video clips): creator David Simon writes thoughtfully, movingly about his ambivalence over the transfer of his modern masterpiece from a SD 4:3 frame to an HD 16:9 one – the examples he includes are revelatory.

Is television dying?: Ben Lamb at Critical Studies in Television reflects on Christmas TV and what it portends for the future of the medium.

The ten best films of… 1924: the annual treat from Kristin Thompson rounds up the great works from 90 years ago, including Fritz Lang’s Die Nibelungen: Siegfried (above).

Pynchon’s blue shadow: Geoffrey O’Brien on the much-anticipated Inherent Vice, from New York Review of Books.

Adam Curtis – cult filmmaker with an eye for the unsettling: Anthony Andrew for Guardian profiles the director whose new work premieres on BBC iPlayer on 25 January; details and trailer here.

Mise en scène multiplicity: Girish Shambu introduces Adrian Martin’s important (but hideously expensive) new book Mise en Scène and Film Style: From Classical Hollywood to New Media Art (with added links also).

The best video essays of 2014: an excellent selection at Fandor from Kevin B. Lee, including this from Lee himself about what makes a video essay really good:

Bright star: I’m late to this but the estimable Charlotte Cotton is very good on fashion photography and the show by Viviane Sassen at The Photographers’ Gallery (until 18 January).

Artist Richard Prince’s secret retreat: Kelly Crow for The Wall Street Journal on a private sculpture park being built by Prince in the Catskill Mountains.

Why shouldn’t the Tate take oil money: a thought-provoking piece by Tiffany Jenkins at Spiked.

Theatre review of the year 2014: Dan Rebellato’s round-up is essential reading:

This has been a fantastic year. After a few years where I’ve felt a bit despondent about the quality of new theatre work, this year feels like a complete rebirth. Interestingly and – depending on your view – encouragingly, it’s an advance on all fronts at once.

Let’s talk about boundaries: ‘where does film end and theatre begin?’ asks Tim Bano at The Space.

We made it – Factum Arte: a fascinating piece for The Arts Desk by Florence Hallett about the facsimile artists and craftspeople working with cutting-edge digital methods.

Pam and Tommy – the untold story of the world’s most infamous sex tape: a quite extraordinary story by Amanda Chicago Lewis for Rolling Stone.

New translations of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina: terrific review by Masha Gessen at The New York Times of recent translations by Rosamund Bartlett and Marian Schwartz.

War and Peace: this is the link for the podcast downloads of all 10 episodes of Radio 4’s glorious new version of Tolstoy’s other epic, broadcast across New Year’s Day but available here is a more easily assimilable form.

How the Murdoch gang got away: also from NYRB, Geoffrey Wheatcroft reviews Nick Davies’ Hack Attack.

The complicated origins of “having it all”: Jennifer Szalai at The New York Times Magazine writes about Helen Gurley Brown’s book and feminism today.

Big mother is watching you: Anne Helen Petersen at Buzzfeed – ‘what happens when companies have access to the most mundane details about our bodies?’

The virologist: fascinating profile by Andrew Marantz for The New Yorker of Internet-media entrepreneur Emerson Spartz.

Beany’s Drive-in, Long Beach, 1952: an Americana treat from Prelinger Archives in the form of raw amateur footage of a California eatery just after the war, with informed commentary via the link from Mac’s Motor City Garage:

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