Museum of the Year 2016: V&A wins 100,000 prize – BBC News

Image copyright Polly Braden
Image caption The V&A has had a record-breaking year

The Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum has been named the Museum of the Year 2016 after a period that saw it attract record numbers of visitors.

The judges said the London-based museum had “indisputably” become one of the best in the world.

The V&A was announced as the winner by the Duchess of Cambridge at a ceremony at the Natural History Museum.

The 100,000 prize is the world’s biggest museum prize and the largest single arts prize in the UK.

The V&A was picked from five finalists. The others on the shortlist were:

  • Arnolfini, Bristol
  • Bethlem Museum of the Mind, London
  • Jupiter Artland, West Lothian
  • York Art Gallery, Yorkshire

“The V&A experience is an unforgettable one,” said Stephen Deuchar, Art Fund director and chairman of the judges.

“Its recent exhibitions from Alexander McQueen to The Fabric of India, and the opening of its new Europe 1600-1815 galleries, were all exceptional accomplishments – at once entertaining and challenging, rooted in contemporary scholarship, and designed to reach and affect the lives of a large and diverse national audience.

“It was already one of the best-loved museums in the country: This year it has indisputably become one of the best museums in the world.”

Among the 370 guests at the ceremony were artists Antony Gormley, Grayson Perry, Michael Craig-Martin, Cornelia Parker, Mat Collishaw, Gavin Turk, Yinka Shonibare and Jonathan Yeo, as well as Culture Minister Ed Vaizey.

The Art Fund awards its museum of the year prize to an establishment which has “shown exceptional imagination, innovation and achievement”.

Image copyright V&A
Image caption Cabinet of Curiosities gallery at the exhibition Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty
Image copyright V&A
Image caption The museum’s newly restored Europe 1600-1815 galleries

In 2015, the V&A enjoyed a record-breaking year for the establishment, pulling in 3.9 million visitors, and 14.5 million visitors online.

This success has been largely due to a major gallery restoration project and sell-out exhibitions such as Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, in celebration of the innovative designer who died in 2010, which attracted a record-breaking 493,043 visitors from 87 countries.

Its 2013 hit David Bowie Is retrospective, which embarked on a global tour after its London run, notched up its millionth visitor in Paris in May.

Other highlights have included a major show of Indian textiles and a worldwide touring programme for the V&A’s Museum of Childhood.

The judges for Museum of the Year 2016 were: Gus Casely-Hayford, curator and art historian; Will Gompertz, BBC arts editor; Ludmilla Jordanova, professor of history and visual culture, Durham University; Cornelia Parker, artist; and Stephen Deuchar (chair).

Last year the prize was awarded to the Whitworth in Manchester.

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-36725180

Lincoln Red Imps, the Gibraltar part-timers who embarrassed Celtic

Lincoln Red Imps have won the Gibraltar Premier Division for 14 years on the trot, play just off Winston Churchill Avenue and boast a fiery Uruguayan manager

Lincoln Red Imps may sound like an ice hockey team from the east Midlands but they are the dominant force in Gibraltar football, having won the Gibraltar Premier Division for the past 14 years.

Celtics conquerors in the first leg of their Champions League qualifier on Tuesday night are a club of mostly part-timers, many of whom had to do a full days work before going out to play Brendan Rodgers side.

The Red Imps grew out of a youth side linked to the Gibraltar police in the mid-1970s and rose to the top flight by 1984. Since then they have dominated the 10-club Premier Division, lifting 22 titles in the next three decades. They have also won the treble of the League, the Rock Cup and the Senior Cup seven times.

Like the rest of the territorys teams, the Red Imps play at the 5,000-capacity Victoria Stadium, located close to Gibraltar airport just off Winston Churchill Avenue. Thanks to the artificial pitch, this is also the venue of the annual Gibraltar Music Festival this years line-up on the first weekend of September includes Bryan Ferry, Stereophonics, Ne-Yo, Jess Glynne, Travis, All Saints and … Europe. The MCC also played there in 1993 against the Gibraltar cricket side.

With Gibraltar earning full membership of Uefa in 2013, Lincoln had the honour of being its first representative in the Champions League the following year. They lost 6-3 on aggregate to the Faroe Islands side HB in the first qualifying round but in 2015 knocked out Andorras representatives Estadi Comunal dAndorra la Vella with a 2-1 away win and the military policeman Lee Casciaro, who scored the winner against Celtic, getting one of their goals. In the second round they were beaten by the Danish champions FC Midtjylland but only 3-0 on aggregate.

Red Imps players form the backbone of the Gibraltar side which took part in qualifying for this years European Championship, losing all 10 of their games and conceding 56 goals but getting their first goal in a competitive match in a 6-1 defeat by Scotland at Hampden Park in March 2015 Casciaro again. The Enfield-born defender and club captain, Roy Chipolina, is also the Gibraltar captain as well as being a customs officer.

The man who masterminded Lincolns humiliation of Celtic is the fiery former Uruguay international Julio Ribas, who is best known for two spells in charge of Pearol. During the first he led the Montevideo side to a national title in 1999 but it was overshadowed a year later when he was jailed for eight days for his part in an on-field brawl involving players and coaching staff at the end of a derby against Nacional. Ribas later became Oman coach – but was sacked after three games.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/jul/12/lincoln-red-imps-gibraltar-celtic

Jennifer Lopez comes under fire for saying ‘all lives matter’ on Twitter

The performer included the controversial hashtag in a tweet to promote her Orlando charity single that shes since taken down

Jennifer Lopez deleted on a tweet on Tuesday that contained the hashtag #AllLivesMatter.

The tweet also included the hashtag #LoveMaketheWorldGoRound, the title of her Orlando benefit song co-sung by Tony winner Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame, as well as a photograph of the pair performing the track on Good Morning America.

The phrase #AllLivesMatter has been used as a counterargument to #BlackLivesMatter, though the latter phrase was inspired by the fact that the disproportionate numbers of black people killed by police in the US suggests black lives are less valued. #AllLivesMatter has been used by a range of people including those who profess themselves opponents of Americas new civil rights movement.

Twitter users were quick to call out Lopez for including the phrase in the post, probably prompting the quick removal of the tweet.

GoBrooklyn (@GoBrooklyn) July 12, 2016

So, march with the #BlackLivesMatter Don’t look down on us or brush us off. We’re not drifting to a useless group https://t.co/mamAY79LcG

Adrian Bronzer (@_Myeshaskye) July 12, 2016

Now I gotta stop liking ya old ass https://t.co/u8XvXiwrRu

According to Page Six, the outlet that first reported the news, Lopez has yet to comment on the development.

As Refinery29 points out, this doesnt mark the first time Lopez has used the controversial hashtag. In a photograph posted on Instagram on 11 July, again to promote the single, she included it in the caption.

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js

The Cults singer, Ian Astbury, recently uttered the same phrase while performing at the RBC Bluesfest in Ottawa on 9 July, and on Tuesday apologized.

Astbury tweeted from the Cults account: I sincerely and deeply apologize to everyone I offended by using the phrase all lives matter I fully support #blacklivesmatter and wished to show my solidarity. So disheartened to know that I have offended people of color. Thank you for enlightening me that this phrase is offensive.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2016/jul/12/jennifer-lopez-all-lives-matter-twitter

Pamplona bull run tainted by reports of sexual violence

Annual San Fermn festival has seen four rapes, one attempted rape and 10 cases of sexual abuse reported over last six days

Pamplonas annual bull-running festival has again been marred by a series of alleged sexual assaults, with four rapes, one attempted rape and 10 cases of sexual abuse reported over the last six days.

Organisers of the San Fermn festival, in which hundreds of people race bulls through Pamplonas cobbled streets, have stepped up their campaign to combat sexual violence since 2008, when a young nurse was strangled and beaten to death.

This years festival, which began on 6 July, has already seen 15 people arrested over allegations of sexual assault. Among them are five men including a recent graduate of the Guardia Civil police force who were detained in connection with the alleged rape of a woman on Thursday night. The incident is thought to have been filmed on a mobile phone.

On Monday night, womens rights activists and other protesters crowded into the Plaza del Castillo, where one of the rapes is alleged to have taken place, to demonstrate against the attacks. It came four days after thousands of people staged a similar protest.

Pamplonas city councillor for public safety, Aritz Romeo, insisted the council was working to tackle the violence and had made it easier for women to report assaults. He suggested that the rise in attacks could be the result of increased reporting.

I dont think whats happening in Pamplona is different from whats happening in other cities at festival time, its just that weve opened up the channels of communication and there are 3,400 police officers [deployed] to catch attackers, he told El Pas.

In a statement, the council said it supported Mondays protest, adding that it was working to eliminate sexist attacks and to improve safety for women wherever they are.

It also called on residents and visitors to play their part in addressing the problem.

We urge those who are attacked to keep reporting it, we encourage other citizens to maintain an active approach to this kind of assault and to help report it, and we reject and condemn the attacks and stress that Pamplona will not tolerate sexist assaults, it said.

Last year, the mayor of Pamplona, Jose Asirn, said the sexual attacks had become a black stain on San Fermn.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/12/pamplona-bull-run-tainted-by-reports-of-sexual-violence

‘Sing Her Name’ Concert Uses Classical Music To Pay Tribute To Black Lives

July 13, 2016, will mark one year since the death of Sandra Bland. Three days after she was pulled over for forgetting a turn signal, and subsequently arrested after a confrontation ensued, Bland was found hanged in a Texas county jail cell. Those who knew Bland vehemently denied she would have taken her own life, calling the prospect “unfathomable.” The same month of Bland’s death, four more black women died behind bars  Kindra Chapman, Raynette Turner, Joyce Curnell and Ralkina Jones. 

On the first anniversary of Bland’s death, a classical music tribute called “Sing Her Name” will commemorate black women impacted by racial injustice, as well as the Black Lives Matter organizers and activists working to expose and end systematic racial oppression. The concert, organized by clarinetist and music teacher Eun Lee and presented by “The Dream Unfinished: An Activist Orchestra,” features a program of music by all-female composers like Florence Price, Margaret Bonds and Ethel Smyth.

The concert is under the artistic direction of James Blachly and Grammy-winning conductor John McLaughlin Williams, and features soloists including baritone Dashon Burton, vocalist Helga Davis, soprano Marlissa Hudson, and pianist Michelle Cann. The performance will also feature Courtney Bryan’s song “Yet Unheard,” featuring poetry by Sharan Strange in memory of Sandra Bland. 

This is the second concert Lee has organized around a civil rights issue. In 2015, she helped make “The Dream Unfinished: A Symphonic Benefit for Civil Rights” happen, a response to the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. While grieving the loss of these two individuals, and questioning the world in which lives are too easily stolen because of the color of one’s skin, Lee said she wanted to help. 

“It just hit me,” Lee explained to The New York Times, “that, as much as we were seeing a response from rap musicians and folk musicians and now more and more pop musicians, there was no such response from the classical music community.”

Classical music and activism aren’t often witnessed cooperating in a single space, though there are exceptions. The classical music scene can easily be described as traditional, or worse, elitist. The community at large is historically very white, and so the genre might seem untethered to current events or politics, largely because it has the privilege to be able to do so. Lee’s concert is out to change that.

Her 2015 show featured music by Leonard Bernstein and William Grant Still, and speeches by activists including Eric Garner’s daughter Erica. “Music is used as a source to gather people,” “The Dream Unfinished” clarinetist Patricia Billings explained in a video promoting the production. “To invite them to a safe environment to express their true thoughts and feelings about issues. I hope to use my art to create that environment, so we can have those tough discussions about civil rights.”

Sadly, Lee’s homage is as relevant now as ever, coming off a devastating week of violence and loss as issues of police brutality and prejudice within the justice system continue to demand our attention and action. Last week, Alton Sterling was shot and killed by police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for no other reason than legally selling CDs, becoming the 135th black person killed by police in 2016. Just one day later, Philando Castile was shot dead in his car by an officer in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, after being pulled over by police, becoming number 136. 

Although under the darkest of circumstances, “Sing Her Name” presents an opportunity for coming together, mourning and fighting for change.

“Sing Her Name” will take place Wednesday, July 13, at 7:30 p.m. at Cooper Union. Purchase tickets and learn more here. 

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/all-women-classical-music-concert-sing-her-name-pays-tribute-to-black-lives_us_5783f38be4b0c590f7ea8069?section=

Will the Olympics offer Brazil a way out of crisis or add to its burden?

With three weeks to go until the opening ceremony, Rio de Janeiro is desperate for an uplift and fearful of what will happen when the athletes leave

As dusk falls over Copacabana beach, Ubira Santos, a 63-year-old sand sculptor, relaxes with a few friends on deckchairs in front of one of his distinctive creations.

A handful of extraordinarily callipygian sand-women lie prone, as if sunning their backs, beneath a gnome-sized statue of Christ the Redeemer, with one reaching up to embrace his feet.

Back in 2013, during the popes visit to Rio de Janeiro, when millions of Catholics gathered on the beach, Santos covered up their outsize bottoms, out of respect, he says. For the Olympics next month, he is planning to add a boxer and a couple of wrestlers to the sculpture, but he has no plans to abandon his sand goddesses.

Theyre the stars of the show, he says. Santos is looking forward to the Games and the hope of earning more money from the tourists who typically drop a couple of reais in an upturned plastic bottle in return for a photo, but his expectations are tempered by the reality of life in the Olympic city. Things are pretty bad here in Brazil at the moment, he says. Im just hoping for a lot of tourists, and that things improve.

That sentiment is widely shared. Crisis-hit Brazil desperately needs an Olympic lift. After two shockingly awful years of economic decline and political turmoil, it is close to a depression in more ways than one.

The happy-go-lucky, funny, sunny stereotype of Cariocas as Rios residents are known was always more marketing ploy than reality. But even the veneer of a joyful city has been challenged by a flood of gloomy news.

Since Brazil was knocked out of the World Cup it hosted in 2014 with a dire 1-7 semi-final defeat to Germany, the national mood has gone from bad to worse. The economy has declined or stagnated in eight of the past 10 quarters. With GDP having shrunk by close to a tenth the steepest decline since the 1930s the recession is virtually a depression. Once challenging Britain and France for fifth place in world output rankings, Brazil is now in danger of slipping out of the top 10, having fallen behind India and Italy.


Brazils
Brazils President Lula da Silva, Rio 2016 president Carlos Nuzman and football legend Pele celebrate in Cophenhagen in 2009 after Rio won its Olympic bid. Photograph: Reuters

The political landscape is, if anything, even grimmer. In 2009, when Brazil won the right to host the Olympics, it was ruled by a popular Workers party government headed by a president Luiz Incio Lula da Silva whose approval ratings were among the highest in the world.

Today the country is in the midst of an impeachment battle. Lulas suspended successor Dilma Rousseff could be thrown out of office the week after the closing ceremony. Her replacement, interim president Michel Temer, has approval ratings in the low teens and has already lost three of his cabinet ministers to the corruption scandal at the state oil giant Petrobras.

Few sympathise with them or the dozens of other senators, deputies and business executives who have been ensnared in the Lava Jato (Car Wash) investigation, but the scandal along with a collapse in oil and other commodity prices has torn through society like a tornado, leaving devastation in its path.

Rio-based Petrobras was the biggest company in Latin America and the biggest employer in Brazil. But in little more than two years 61% of its 276,600 employees have lost their jobs. The regions biggest construction company, Odebrecht, which is also part of the Lava Jato probe, has also slashed its workforce. The knock-on effect has hurt other industries. The unemployment rate is at a record 11.4%.

Add in resurgent crime, budget cuts, a Zika epidemic and pollution concerns, and there is little wonder that Rio mayor Eduardo Paes is already lamenting the Olympics as a lost opportunity. But while they will not show the best of Brazil, there are still hopes that they could nudge the country over the worst.

The Olympics have partly mitigated the impact of the recession. Rio city remains far better off than most areas of Brazil. The organisers say they will spend 39.1bn reais (9.1bn) on the event and related infrastructure, 58% of which is from private money. The construction of roads, stadiums, a metro extension and hotels has created jobs and kept money circulating around the economy. Tourism is also expecting a boost from the 10,500 athletes and up to 500,000 foreign visitors expected for the event.

But even with these advantages Rio is in crisis. The state government which based its budget on a forecast of an oil price of $100 a barrel has effectively declared itself bankrupt now that its main revenue source, Petrobras, is lucky to get half that amount. Last month acting governor Francisco Dornelles described the situation as a financial calamity that undermined Rios ability to meets its Olympic and Paralympic commitments. For Dr Luiz Ainbinder, a famous Rio psychologist, the optimism that marked Rios successful bid to host the Games in 2009 has been replaced by a profound, if realistic, pessimism.

Cariocas are a very welcoming people, and throughout the Olympics there will be a kind of truce, he says. But when the Games are over there will be a real sense of anger. The works will come to an end, and a lot of people will be left unemployed.

Even before the sporting circus departs, some are already feeling its absence. With most of the building work now complete, the construction workers union says it is receiving notices of 100 layoffs each day.

The hunger for jobs was evident last week at a recruitment event for temporary Olympic hires. Although the doors opened at 9am, the queue of prospective workers began forming at 4am. Among the first to arrive was Rosilene Leandro da Silva, who has not worked since she was laid off from her job at a garage shop. I have to pay the rent and support two daughters. I really need to get a job today, she told reporters.

Karen Scavacini, a psychologist, said the number of depression cases she was seeing had risen scarily and suicide cases were also on the increase because of worries about work and money. She cited the case of a teacher who committed suicide last week after not being paid for four months.

Against this backdrop, she said it was hard for people to get into the spirit of the Olympics. There has been so much disbelief in the government and there is a lack of hope that things will get better. This is a stronger feeling than the excitement about the Games, she said.

Like many others, she hopes this will change once the sporting spectacle begins. However, the opening ceremony on 5 August will not be the lavish festival seen in recent Games due to budget restraints. The creative director, Fernando Meirelles, estimates Brazil will spend a tenth of the 80m that Danny Boyle was able to tap for the opening of London 2012. I would be ashamed to waste what London spent in a country where we need sanitation where education needs money. So Im very glad were not spending money like crazy, said Meirelles, who has promised a show that will be powerful but not flashy.

There had been fears that budget cuts would also hit security. After a decade of improvement in the crime rate, the past two years have seen an up-tick in cases of murder and mugging. A programme to pacify favela communities that were previously run by drug traffickers has been scaled back. Several visiting athletes have been robbed. After police salaries were delayed by the Rio state government last month, striking officers greeted arrivals at the main international airport with a banner declaring their inability to protect visitors underneath the pithy slogan Welcome to Hell!

Since then, however, the federal government has stepped in with an emergency loan to cover salary payments and the deployment of about 20,000 military personnel to protect the main tourist areas and Olympic sites. This should dampen down crime in these areas, though human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch warn it may also lead to an increase in violence by security forces. In the wake of the attacks in France, terrorism is also a major concern, particularly given reported threats by Isis against the Rio Olympics.

Far more than Zika, super-bacteria or pollution, this is the major concern of local people. According to a recent poll by the O Globo newspaper, 85% of Rio residents see lack of security as the biggest threat to the Games. The survey also showed a degree of apathy about the event. Only 49% were in favour of the Olympics, although most 61% felt it would be successful.

But there is also anger and frustration in the more deprived, less tourist-friendly areas of the city. In the Complexo da Mar, a massive network of favelas that sits alongside the Linha Vermelha, the main highway from the international airport to the city centre, many residents believe the Olympics are just the latest in a series of mega-events for tourists or the very wealthy.


Federal
Federal forces on patrol in Complexo da Mar before the 2014 World Cup in Rio. Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Since 2010 the community has been fenced off from the highway by huge Perspex panels. The authorities claim they provide an acoustic barrier; the locals describe it as a wall of shame.

Last week the city began plastering the 3-metre-high, 7km stretch of panels with Olympic posters, at a cost of 200m reais. Its not to hide the favela, Rios secretary of tourism told the newspaper O Folha de So Paulo. Its to decorate the city to get it into the Olympic spirit.

Gizele Martins, a journalist and resident, disagrees. Its just another way of hiding poor people, she says. Like they have always tried to hide us away.

For Martins, aside from the possibility of a few extra jobs during the Games, there is no upside to the event.

Since the Pan-American Games in 2007 we have been fighting these mega-events: the Confederations Cup, the World Cup, now the Olympics. Rio would have been a much better city without them; as it is, it is one of the most expensive and unequal on Earth.

Her main hope for the Games is that there is no repeat of the security arrangements put in place for the World Cup, when the army occupied Mar for several months before, during and after the event.

Others are more unambiguously enthusiastic about the economic benefits the Games will bring.

In Rocinha, the huge favela between the tourist hub of the South Zone and Barra da Tijuca, the site of the Olympic Village, Maria Clara dos Santos, 52, is sprucing up her apartment as she prepares for a major influx of paying visitors. Her home is a striking yellow-painted building, halfway up a steep ramp at the top of Rocinha, with a spectacular view of the Atlantic ocean and the maze of frenetic activity in the favela below.

She rented out her place for the first time during the World Cup, and it proved such a success that her house has become a kind of stop on a photographic tour of Rocinha, complete with its own little souvenir shop.

Of course, I hope to make a bit of money to invest in my place, but its also great to swap experiences with people from all over the world, share a barbecue on the rooftop, she says, adding that she is now booked up for the period of the Games.

For others, the Olympics will be an opportunity to showcase talents they have spent years perfecting. For Favela Brass, a musical NGO that is described by its founder, Tom Ashe, as City of God meets Brassed Off, the Games mean 16 days straight of public performances in various high-profile venues across the city.

For Marcos Carvalho, 14, a jazz fan who has been learning the snare drum and the euphonium over the past five years, it is a moment of huge excitement. Its going to be great for us to do all these shows, he says. Weve got to take advantage of these opportunities. But even he acknowledges that the climate ahead of the Olympics is considerably more downbeat than it was ahead of the World Cup in 2014. The country wasnt in crisis then, he says.

Cariocas notoriously leave everything until the last minute, and there is a widespread belief that the same will be true of their enthusiasm for the Games. Ticket sales have been disappointing over the past year, though they have picked up in the past week. Organisers say close to 75% of seats are now filled and a major advertising push will begin this week to lift this proportion higher.

Mario Andrada, spokesman for the Rio 2016 organising committee, said the mood was starting to improve as attention switched from preparation problems to sport. Were still swimming in a rough sea, he acknowledged. But we are much better than we were. We are on the right track. Im far more confident, comfortable and bullish than I have ever been.

Others are not so sure. Brazil is an emotional rollercoaster. Either we think we are the best or the worst in the world there is no middle. We live these positive and negative emotions without a middle ground, said Marcos Guterman, an author. He said it was necessary to recognise that Brazil was not wealthy or developed enough to host the Olympics, particularly now that attention is focused on other more important concerns. Were in the middle of a crisis economic, political, moral … With all these excruciating problems, the priority of Brazil is simply not the realisation of the Games.

The true impact of hosting the Olympics on diplomacy, tourism and trade can take a decade to spot, and official studies often stop after two years. Plus there is never a control, to show outcomes without the Games. But plans for rejuvenated landscapes and kickstarted sporting interests can be monitored – and rarely come off.

Host cities: what happened next?

Los Angeles 1984

The Russians boycotted these Games in revenge for the American boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics. All the bling was intended as an advert for capitalism and the Games did make money, partly due to Coca-Colas sponsorship. Cleverly, they also built no new stadiums.

Barcelona 1992

Ten years after the Games, analysis showed an almost 100% increase in tourism. Overall infrastructure investment, at $7.5bn, was the most expensive until Beijing in 2008. But the city, neglected under Franco, had already enjoyed a renaissance.

Atlanta 1996

After Montreal, almost bankrupted by the Games of 1976, Atlanta 1996 is North Americas biggest flop. Intended to signal the citys arrival as a world player, the Olympics revealed Atlantas inadequate transport system and sticky climate. Then there was a bomb explosion in the park.

Sydney 2000

An Australian study of the impact of the Games found little change in visitors views of the city, other than that South Africans had gone off the whole country because of the way in which the Aboriginal issue was highlighted, reminding them of apartheid.

Athens 2004

Now the poster boy for failed Olympic legacy, as weeds grow up through its facilities. The Games cost contributed to the teetering of the Greek economy, but did allow for modernisation in the capital, including the setting up of an international security network.

Vanessa Thorpe

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/16/rio-olympics-crisis-brazil-zika-athletes-woes-uplift

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How Chance the Rapper redefined the music business’s boundaries

The Chicago rapper, who released his third free mixtape on Thursday, has pursued a singular artistic vision outside the usual structures a record label

When Chance the Rappers Acid Rap was released in 2013, there were no streaming services battling for exclusive rights to the record. First week sales, not streams, still defined whether a record was a hit or a flop, and the line between a mixtape and studio album was clearly defined.

Between then and Thursday night, when the Chicago artists follow-up and third mixtape Coloring Book, was released, the music industry has mutated again, yet Chance has has maintained the same integrity, fuelled both by the hip-hop community and his own artistic vision.

The new tape has solid hip-hop foundations while showcasing Chances growth as an artist and activist over the past three years. Featuring contributions by mainstream icons like Kanye West and Justin Bieber to cult hip-hop heroes, new and old, like Young Thug, Lil Yachty, Jay Electronica and T-Pain, Coloring Book melds genres to widescreen effect. Jazz melodies and gospel motifs also shine through prominently on tracks like How Great and both takes on Blessings.

After Acid Rap was a success, most expected Chance would sign a record deal, then put out a studio album fans would have to pay for. Instead, the rapper born Chancelor Bennett, collaborated with fellow Chicago musician Donnie Trumpet for a year of inspired releases leading up to the surprise release of album Surf, credited to Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment, in 2015. At the time, the string of releases including Wonderful Everyday, his cover of the theme from Arthur perplexed many hip-hop fans thirsty for solo tracks closer to Acid Rap.

All the while Chance continued touring. The 2013 Social Experiment tour led into a 2014 college campus tour, then last years Family Matters tour. The rappers strong fanbase continued to fund his career without a record label, opening up time to mold a passion project in Surf and serve his Chicago community.

After a year of promoting #SaveChicago to combat the citys rising violence, Chance received Chicagos Outstanding Youth of the Year Award. He responded by headlining social efforts including an open mic night series and Warmest Winter project a charity providing over 1,000 sleeping bags that turn into coats for Chicago homeless.

Meanwhile however, hip-hop fans desire for a Chance III intensified. As the internet continues to transform the music business, record companies response to a dive in record sales has been a frenzied battle for exposure on streaming sites. However, neither of Chances mixtapes, 10 Day and Acid Rap, are on Spotify or rival streaming appls. Coloring Book is on Apple Music exclusively for two weeks, but was available briefly for free download on Datpiff.com, the classic hip-hop authority in free mixtapes and home to Acid Rap. It has since been taken down.

The feeling that Coloring Book is a mixtape by a hip-hop fan, for hip-hop fans is even further cemented as Chance still personally posted the release on Reddits popular HipHopHeads forum late on release night with the simple message enjoy. By working outside the system, Chance has managed to stay closely in touch with his city, his community and his musical and lyrical inspirations.

The monetization of Chances music has not been through paid streaming subscriptions and album rollouts, but through devoted touring. In an age of hectic exclusive rights battles between services like Apple Music, Tidal and Spotify, fans have shown their willingness to support and share free releases like Acid Rap and Coloring Book. The fanbase has even initiated a petition, backed by the artist himself, urging the National Academy of Recording and Sciences to allow free albums to be considered for Grammy recognition.

Chances independent success between his trio or quartet, including Surf of free project releases has outlined a path for artists to thrive as independents, away from the hectic streaming battles and hype surrounding first week sales that only seem to benefit established artists without the same level of creative control.

It is hard to pin down exactly Chance the Rappers next move will be, an unpredictability that has become part of the rappers charm. Whether persuing a new tour, activist project or mixtape, the rapper Chance has shown a way to triumph outside the system.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/may/13/chance-the-rapper-chicago-music-coloring-book-hip-hop

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3 things to watch for at Battle Arena Melbourne

For the first time in more than a year and a half, the Capcom Pro Tour heads to Australia this weekend.

Battle Arena Melbourne 8 marks the first time that the Land Down Under will host a Pro Tour event since Shadowloo Showdown V in August 2014. The Australian Street Fighter tournament scene is a bit different now than it was during the tour’s last visit. The nation’s “big three” of tournaments is down to a “big two” after the recent demise of the Shadowloo Showdown series, which means that Battle Arena Melbourne and August’s OzHadou Nationals are even more important to the local scene. Almost anybody who’s anybody among Australian players will be looking to make a name for themselves this weekend.

More than 160 of Australia’s best players will be in the Melbourne field, more than twice the number that turned out for last year’s non-Pro Tour edition. They’ll be joined by four Asian stars who are also among the world’s best players; Singapore’s Ho Kun Xian and Japanese stars Momochi Yusuke, Haitani Tatsuya, and Hayashi “Mago” Kenryo.

Here are three of the biggest storylines to watch when the action kicks off on the New Game Plus Twitch channel on Friday night at 8pm ET/5pm PT.

Will Somniac be the Wizard of Aus?

The four Asian visitors will be heavily favored to sweep the top four places in Melbourne. This is partly due to their immense talent, but also due to a perceived lack of talent among the local players. Fairly or not, Australia is not known as a Street Fighter hotbed.

Xavier “Somniac” Nardella could be the best chance to change that perception. Somniac won the Ultra Street Fighter IV tournament at last year’s event and made an impressive run to a top-eight finish at the Last Chance Qualifier for last year’s Asia Finals. He enters the weekend ranked 12th in Street Fighter V‘s online rankings, best among both Australians and M. Bison players. A first-place finish will be tough to achieve, but Somniac just might have the skill to make it happen.

Is Momochi back to his dominant ways?

From late-2014 through the middle of last year, Momochi Yusuke was a consensus pick for the world’s best Ultra Street Fighter IV player. He won Capcom Cup 2014 and Evo 2015, the two most prestigious events of that span. Even with a disappointing 17th-place finish at Capcom Cup 2015, he ended the Ultra era No. 1 in the world in Shoryuken.com’s player rankings. Momochi has yet to reach those heights in Street Fighter V. He failed to reach the top 16 of either of this season’s first two Premier events, Final Round and NorCal Regionals, but he has recently shown signs that he might be able to return to dominance.

He recorded a win over Justin Wong, currently #2 in the Pro Tour global standings, on his way to a top-eight finish at Red Bull Kumite. More recently, he turned in a dominant performance at the Street Fighter V Crash semifinals with consecutive wins over Evo champions Xian, Ai “Fuudo” Keita, and current consensus #1 player Lee “Infiltration” Seon-Woo. His Crash performance was in a single-game format, but he still looked the part of a player who could take down anyone and everyone. If he continues to play that way in Melbourne, he just might leave Australia with another title in hand.

Can Haitani finally get a win?

Haitani is the only one of the four big-name visiting players who failed to qualify for Capcom Cup last year. It wasn’t for a lack of trying though, as he traveled to many events at the end of last year in hopes of making the cut. Despite his second-place finish at Brazil Game Showwhere he lost the Capcom Cup berth to Keoma Pacheco in the grand finalhe wasn’t able to muster enough points to earn a trip to San Francisco.

Haitani has put himself in a far better position to qualify this time around. He entered only one Pro Tour event before Evo last year. Thanks to new sponsorship deals with YouDeal and Majestic, Battle Arena Melbourne will be Haitani’s fourth Pro Tour event in 2016, and he has finished in the top eight of each of the previous three. But the Pro Tour format puts a heavy emphasis on winning, and Haitani has yet to finish better than fourth on the tour this year. This weekend could be his best opportunity to earn a victory and jump-start his push to Capcom Cup.

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