The axial tilt of the Earth, or, to give it its official name, “the obliquity of the ecliptic,” is the primary reason for the planet’s four distinct seasons. Every June, when the northern hemisphere rolls fully toward the sun, days lengthen, crops ripen, and, at least as far as human social agendas go, plots thicken. Sensuality and activity become the norm as the chores of winter are traded for the joys of summer.
Yet the obliquity of the ecliptic should not be taken for granted. It’s changing even now, very slowly, as part of a hundred-million-year cycle that, were we to live to see it, would have the northern hemisphere celebrating summer solstice at Christmas. The arts, with their wonderful way of turning things upside down just to see the look on one’s face, have long known about this cosmic mystery. Enjoy the following partial and subjective guide to what’s coming up this summer in music, theater, film, books, visual art, and dance as a sure sign that the planet of art now tilts toward you-the audience.