Vogue World Will Donate £2 Million To London-Based Art Organizations

Condé Nast has announced that Vogue World will donate £2 million to London-based arts organizations through a newly established fund.

London’s Theater Royal Drury Lane hosted the Vogue World event last Thursday night. Organized by Vogue’s editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, and Bafta/Olivier-winning director Stephen Daldry, the aim of the evening was to celebrate London’s history and heritage as a fashion landmark, and raise money for the UK’s performing arts scene. 

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According to reports from The Guardian, artists such as Stormzy, Annie Lennox, Cush Jumbo, Damian Lewis, Sienna Miller, Kate Moss, and FKA Twigs performed for a crowd of A-list celebrities and fashion/entertainment public figures. 

“Vogue will be donating 100% of net proceeds from ticket sales to arts and cultural organizations in London in the form of grants. In addition to ticket proceeds, Vogue is working with a number of organizations and donors to increase donations to the fund through individual contributions.”

21 organizations will be receiving grants that can be utilized for anything related to their core mission and objectives. Some of the organizations receiving these grants include the Royal Opera House, the Royal Ballet, Southbank Sinfonia, and the Rambert dance company. 

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Reports state that the grants were written and provided to three different categories of organizations, the first being Vogue World’s cultural partners who helped produce the event. The other two categories are small diverse organizations in London and organizations that support freelancers in London’s performing arts. 

The show itself was 37 minutes long and was live streamed around the world, kicking off London’s fashion week. 

Before the event itself, Wintour gave a speech describing Vogue World:

“The arts are under threat in the UK, Vogue World is a timely reminder of how important they are, how vital a part of our lives, and how much they need our support.”


Members Of A Canadian First Nation To Bring Home Indigenous Totem Pole From Scotland 

Members of a Canadian First Nation recently held a spiritual ceremony this week at the National Museum of Scotland to signify the beginning of an Indigenous totem pole that was stolen almost a full century ago. 

The 36-foot totem pole is currently being restored to the Nisga’a Nation in the northern part of British Columbia. This marks one of the first times a British museum has returned artifacts to any of North America’s Indigenous populations. 

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The museum initially agreed to return the totem pole last year, which until that point had been on display in the museum since 1930. Researchers in the Nisga’a Nation state that the artifact was taken without consent in 1929 by an anthropologist who then sold it to the museum. 

According to the Associated Press, Chief Earl Stephens, who’s Nisga’a cultural name is Sim’oogit Ni’isjoohl, said that “in Nisga’a culture, we believe that this pole is alive with the spirit of our ancestors.”

“After nearly 100 years, we are finally able to bring our dear relative home to rest on Nisga’a lands.”

The totem pole was carved from red cedar in the 1860s, and includes many family crests, as well as animal and human figures to commemorate the Nisga’a warrior Ts’aawit, who’s family kept the pole outside of their home for 70 years before being taken while the villagers were away during hunting season. 

The ceremony on Monday was attended by Nisga’a delegates, as well as individuals from the museum, the Scottish government, and the Canadian government.

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Before it’s sent back to Canada, workers will delicately erect scaffolding around the pole to keep it protected on its flight home. 

The pole is set to be sent back on a Canadian air force plane to British Colombia next month, and is set to be displayed in the Nisga’a Museum in the Nass Valley along with other artifacts that have been returned to the Nation from other museums. 

“[This is] a very historic moment for our nation and for Scotland,” said Amy Parent, a Nisga’a Nation member and associate professor of education at Simon Fraser University.

“Teams had been working for months on the complex task of carefully lowering and transporting the pole,”said Museum director Chris Breward. 

“We are pleased to have reached the point where that work is now underway, and we are delighted to have welcomed the Nisga’a delegation to the museum before we bid the pole farewell,” he said.

Multiple museums in the UK have been facing multiple callouts to return the items that they’ve taken from multiple populations around the world to display in their museums, as a means of bringing these cultural artifacts that shaped so many groups’ history, home.

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Greta Gerwig Responds To Rightwing ‘Barbie’ Critics

Greta Gerwig, director of current box office smash ‘Barbie,’ has responded to the wave of rightwing criticism of the movie, stating that the movie itself is an “invitation for everybody to be part of the party.” 

Gerwig discussed the backlash in a recent interview with the New York Times. When she was asked whether or not she anticipated “the degree to which rightwing pundits are bashing the movie as being ‘woke’ and burning their Barbies,” Gerwig responded: 

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“Certainly, there’s a lot of passion. My hope for the movie is that it’s an invitation for everybody to be part of the party and let go of the things that aren’t necessarily serving us as either women or men.”

“I hope that in all of that passion, if they see it or engage with it, it can give them some of the relief that it gave other people,” Gerwig explained.

Examples of some of the backlash include conservative commentator Ben Shapiro burning Barbie dolls in a YouTube video. Ginger Luckey Gaetz, wife of Republican congressman Matt Gaetz, stated that the “movie neglects to address any notion of faith and family, and tries to normalize the idea that men and women can’t collaborate positively.”  

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Gerwig also responded to certain critics claiming that Mattel, the company that owns Barbie and executive produced the film, interfered with the creativity of the production, specifically in a scene where one of the main characters describes the dolls as “sexist and fascist.” 

It wasn’t like I ever got the full seal of approval from [Mattel], like, ‘We love it!’ I got a tentative, ‘Well, OK. I see that you are going to do this, so go ahead and we’ll see how it goes,’” Gerwig stated. 

“But that’s all you need, and I had faith once it was in there and they saw that they would embrace it, not fight it. Maybe at the end of the day, my will to have it in was stronger than any other will to take it out,” she said. 

‘Barbie’ has already been a huge theatrical hit, recording the highest ever opening weekend box office figure for a female director: $356 million in the US, including $162m in North America (including Canada).

Just four days after the film’s theatrical release it grossed around $414 million worldwide.


Christopher Nolan Hopes Oppenheimer Will Act As A Warning For Silicon Valley And The Power Of Technology 

After a screening of Oppenheimer at The Whitby Hotel, Christopher Nolan joined a panel of the authors from the book the movie is based on, American Prometheus. During the panel, Nolan discussed wanting technology moguls and Silicon Valley audiences to take the film’s messaging regarding not knowing the power of one’s creation to heart. 

Chuck Todd of Meet the Press, asked Nolan what he hoped Silicon Valley might learn from the film: 

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“I think what I would want them to take away is the concept of accountability.”

“When you innovate through technology, you have to make sure there is accountability. The rise of companies over the last 15 years bandying about words like ‘algorithm,’ not knowing what they mean in any kind of meaningful, mathematical sense. They just don’t want to take responsibility for what that algorithm does,” Nolan explained, according to The Verge.

“Applied to AI? That’s a terrifying possibility. Terrifying. Not least because as AI systems go into the defense infrastructure, ultimately they’ll be charged with nuclear weapons, and if we allow people to say that that’s a separate entity from the person who’s wielding, programming, putting AI into use, then we’re doomed. It has to be about accountability.”

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“We have to hold people accountable for what they do with the tools that they have.”

A majority of tech companies that run the world currently embrace the work of algorithms to gain and hold onto audiences and users. 

“When I talk to the leading researchers in the field of AI they literally refer to this right now as their Oppenheimer moment,” Nolan stated

“They’re looking to his story to say what are the responsibilities for scientists developing new technologies that may have unintended consequences.”

When asked “Do you think Silicon Valley is thinking that right now?” Nolan replied:

“They say that they do, and that’s helpful. That at least it’s in the conversation. And I hope that thought process will continue. I’m not saying Oppenheimer’s story offers any easy answers to these questions. But at least it serves a cautionary tale.”

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Author Joanne Harris Says Boys Need To Be Encouraged To Read Books With Female Stories 

Author Joanne Harris recently spoke at the Hay festival in Wales, and discussed how boys should be encouraged to read books about girls, because “a boy who is afraid to read a book with a girl protagonist will grow up into a man who feels that it’s inappropriate for him to listen to a woman’s voice. 

The ‘Chocolat’ author, who also taught in an all-boys school for 15 years, discussed with the audience that violence against women is a constant threat that “needs to be addressed really early, long before an actual crime happens.”

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“We have to stop girls being apologetic when they have done nothing wrong. We have to stop boys being entitled when they’re actually not entitled to have more than anybody else. We’ve got to stop teaching them differently as teachers, that will help a lot.”

She continued: “Also we’ve got to stop giving them the message that it’s wrong for a boy to read books about girls. Because even schools are giving them this message. And this is where the problem happens, where women’s voices are perceived as less.”

Harris also discussed her newest novel, ‘Broken Light,’ at the Women of a Certain Age literary festival. The novel is described as a “menopause Carrie,” referring to the famous horror novel by Stephen King. 

Harris stated that the protagonist in her new novel, Bernie Ingram, gains supernatural powers when she reaches menopause, as opposed to when she goes through puberty in the original novel.

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Harris believes this distinction is important, especially for the messages of the female experience she wants to emphasize for readers. 

“[Menopause is one of] the things we choose not to talk about because we think people are going to judge us on them. [Issues women are encouraged to keep private] grow and grow unless we externalize some part of it,” she explained

Harris discussed the storyline of her new novel in relation to the recent case of Nicola Bulley, who was found dead after going missing near a Lancashire river this year. During the search, police officers released information that described Bulley as struggling with alcohol use and perimenopause symptoms. 

“The implication is that if you are a young mother and attractive then you are valuable and therefore your death is a tragedy, but if you are a menopausal woman you are high risk and low value.”

“the narrative became less ‘a mother disappears in mysterious circumstances’ and much more ‘a menopausal woman finds her way into the river’,” Harris said.


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Ed Sheeran And Marvin Gaye Copyright Trial Begins In New York 

The copyright trial between Ed Sheeran’s ‘Thinking Out Loud’ and Marvin Gaye’s ‘Let’s Get It On’ is beginning today in New York with jury selection and opening statements. 

The trial began with the heirs of Ed Townsend, co-writer for Gaye’s 1973 ‘Let’s Get it On,’ suing Sheeran alleging that the singer’s 2014 hit ‘Thinking Out Loud’ has “striking similarities and overt common elements that violate their copyright” of ‘Let’s Get It On.’

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The lawsuit was initially filed in 2017, and is now going to trial which will likely last a week in the Manhattan federal courtroom. Sheeren is among the witnesses expected to testify. 

The jury will likely hear recordings of both songs and read their lyrics multiple times throughout the trial, as jurors are supposed to only consider the raw elements of the melody, harmony, and rhythm that make up the composition of Gaye’s song as it’s documented with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. 

Sheeran’s attorney’s have stated that the song’s similarities only work to emphasize the basis of pop music. In a court filing, they stated: “The two songs share versions of a similar and un-protectable chord progression that was freely available to all songwriters.”

The Townsend family attorney has emphasized in the lawsuit that Sheeran himself has mashed together the two songs during his own live performances of ‘Thinking Out Loud,’ and are planning to use a YouTube video of one of the performances as evidence for the jury. 

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Judge Louis Stanton initially denied the request to submit the video as evidence, but will reconsider after other evidence is presented. 

Atlantic Records and Sony/ATV Music Publishing are named as defendants in the lawsuit as well. Plaintiffs in copyright lawsuits tend to list a wide range of defendants which the judge has the power to dwindle down. 

One year ago, Sheeran won a copyright lawsuit in the UK over his 2017 song, ‘Shape Of You,’ and then took to Twitter to discuss the “culture” of these types of lawsuits. 

“I feel like claims like this are way too common now and have become a culture where a claim is made with the idea that a settlement will be cheaper than taking it to court, even if there is no basis for the claim. It’s really damaging to the songwriting industry.”