Among the Intellectualoids
British impresario Matthew Bourne brought his dance juggernaut, New Adventures, to our nation’s capital this past week with Sleeping Beauty, one of his latest attempts to rework classic ballets for contemporary audiences. The company is touring the U.S. and, leaving aside what the marketing tell us, the first thing to understand about Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty is this: it is not a ballet. It is a highly theatrical dance drama about vampires, using Tchaikovsky’s score for the ballet Sleeping Beauty as background music. The choreography is a mishmash of styles, including modern dance, hip hop, martial arts, Tai Chi, contemporary, ballroom, and Bollywood, with a few ballet steps thrown in for good measure. If you loved the Twilight series, you will probably like this. If not, don’t waste your money.
Not one ray of light shines from The Counselor. The movie is a void of roughly 120 minutes, showcasing ugliness and misery. It meanders almost without plot from one inconsequential character to another as each pontificates about how life is “all shit.” It’s a huge departure for director Ridley Scott, who’s known for movies with intriguing messages or at least some kind of technical excellence. But in The Counselor, one gets the impression that Scott is very unhappy and wants his audience to leave the theater feeling the same way.
If you are a parent chilled by accounts of the soaring costs of higher education, particularly at the nation's private colleges and universities, there is both good news and bad.
The pleasant first: most students do not pay the posted price. Instead they receive subsidies and discounts from various sources—Uncle Sam, the state, the institution itself, the Rotary Club—that enable them to matriculate for a significantly lower cost than media tuition alerts would lead you to believe. Fifty-five percent of full-time undergraduates in 1986 received one or more forms of student aid. Moreover, the average assistance package was sufficient to offset 44 percent of their educational expenses. Crudely stated, more than half the students (and their families) get by with paying barely half the posted price.