Category: ARTS & FILM

KULTURALIA: Mario Lanza, the American Caruso

PATRICE GREANVILLE—Mario Lanza, who crossed the artistic firmament of America and the world like a comet in the 1940s and 1950s, to die suddenly of a heart attack in 1959 at age 38 in Rome, the land of his ancestors, is credited with inspiring some of today’s greatest classical singers. Carreras, Domingo and even the incomparable Pavarotti have claimed a debt to Lanza. Such high testimony might have surprised even Lanza, not exactly given to excessive self-doubt. To this day, few people know that Lanza was born Alfredo Arnold Cocozza, to humble immigrant Italian parents on both sides of his genetic tree. Mario Lanza was the stage name he chose in honor of his mother, Maria Lanza.

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Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther: A hollow “defining moment” cloaked in identity politics

NICK BARRIMAN—News coverage in the lead-up to the film’s release, a key component of its multi-million-dollar marketing campaign, gave the impression that a viewing of the film would be enough to inspire impoverished black children to lift themselves up by their own bootstraps. Bobby Seale, co-founder of the Black Panther Party, has joined in the general establishment promotion of the work, sending out tweets encouraging his followers to see the film. This carefully orchestrated and well-funded marketing scam is driving millions to see Black Panther, providing mega-profits for its distributor, Walt Disney Studios.

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Two views on box-office boffo superhit BLACK PANTHER

CHRIS LEBRON—Black Panther presents itself as the most radical black experience of the year. We are meant to feel emboldened by the images of T’Challa, a black man clad in a powerful combat suit tearing up the bad guys that threaten good people. But the lessons I learned were these: the bad guy is the black American who has rightly identified white supremacy as the reigning threat to black well-being; the bad guy is the one who thinks Wakanda is being selfish in its secret liberation; the bad guy is the one who will no longer stand for patience and moderation—he thinks liberation is many, many decades overdue. And the black hero snuffs him out.

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