Arts features

A life in pictures with the background fully explained

By Charlotte Oliver, April 24, 2014

Photographer Gemma Levine has a word for getting what she wants — chutzpah. For 40 years she has applied that chutzpah to gain unprecedented access to some of the world’s most famous faces, resulting in some memorable encounters and iconic images.

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Blondie mainstay gets to focus on the negatives as 10th album comes out

By Paul Lester, April 17, 2014

When a prominent member of a legendary American pop-rock-disco-rap band inquires as to your well-being, you’d better make sure your reply is more interesting than “Fine, thanks”.

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Pop art queen’s quiet fame

By Simon Round, March 27, 2014

Deborah Azzopardi’s paintings are sold in poster, print and greeting card form globally. And if you do not know her name, you will almost certainly recognise examples of her work, sold worldwide by Ikea and retailers in 50 countries. But what is perhaps more eye-opening is how she became an artist in the first place.

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Seeing Wizo take care of business

By Charlotte Oliver, March 27, 2014

Take five socially-conscious movers and shakers, place them under the wing of an international women’s movement at the forefront of social action in Israel and show them its work at first hand.

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Jon Robin Baitz: Playwright’s split personality does not disguise singular vision

By John Nathan, March 24, 2014

The harshest critic of Jon Robin Baitz — author of the Pulitzer-nominated Broadway hit Other Desert Cities, which is about to make its UK debut at the Old Vic — is a bespectacled mild-mannered American I encounter sipping an Americano in a posh London hotel. “I dislike him intensely,” he says. But to clarify, Baitz and his critic are the same person.

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Stories from the frontline — what Jews did in the Great War

By Charlotte Oliver, March 13, 2014

Deep in the First World War trenches, 17-year-old Marcus Segal wrote a letter home to his family in Kilburn. “I can’t wait until we’re together again,” he said. “Sitting Seder and singing Ma Nishtanah.”

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He’s turned the screen Scarlett after a long and alien journey

By Simon Round, March 13, 2014

Jonathan Glazer is not a man in a hurry. It has been 10 years since his last movie, Birth — a discomfiting love story between Nicole Kidman and a child claiming to be her reincarnated husband. Now, finally, he has a new film. Like its predecessor, Under the Skin is dividing audiences.

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Norman Lebrecht: Musical history is a voyage of discovery

By Jenni Frazer, March 6, 2014

The BBC gave me one piece of advice,” reveals writer and broadcaster Norman Lebrecht, laughing. “They said: ‘We aren’t going to do this again for a generation. So make it comprehensive.’” For the next three Sundays on Radio 3, Lebrecht is fronting a series on Music and the Jews.

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Jay Rayner has even more on his plate as he tunes up for JW3 jazz gig

By Simon Round, March 6, 2014

In every series of Masterchef comes the day when the nervous amateur contestants are told that they are to cook for restaurant reviewers. A regular in this slot is is Jay Rayner, the Observer’s critic. He and his fellow critics walk in, steely eyed, to pronounce on the efforts of the contestants. Sometimes they are encouraging and occasionally scathing of the food which is presented to them.

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Joshua Oppenheimer: Venturing into the Indonesian Killing Fields

By Stephen Applebaum, March 3, 2014

Joshua Oppenheimer’s disturbing documentary about the 1965 Indonesian genocide and its legacy, The Act of Killing, has been winning awards (including a Bafta) and generating debate around the world for over a year. And on Sunday it was among the Oscar nominees.

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