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Posted on January 4, 2020 by Editor

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First Illustrated Book Found

from The Observer

The Oldest Copy of the First Illustrated Book Has Been Discovered in Egypt

By Helen Holmes

Detail from one of the coffins of Gua, chief physician of Djehutyhotep, governor of Bersha. The paintings recall drawings from the Book of Two Ways. Werner Forman/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

It’s always exciting when some kind of human civilizational first is discovered or unearthed by experts, as evidenced by the thrill generated by a recent discovery of cave paintings, thought to be the earliest example of pictorial storytelling, which were uncovered Indonesia. Now, a new study covered this week by the New York Times reports that the oldest copy of the first illustrated book has been found in Egypt by researchers working under the direction of University of Leuven Egyptologist Harco Willems.

Called the Book of Two Ways, the extraordinary narrative told in the tome is about what happens to the soul after death. It’s been dated to be approximately 4,000 years old and at least 4 decades older than any of the other known copies, of which there are approximately two dozen. The text was discovered in a village on the eastern side of the Nile river after Willems’ decision in 2012 to reopen and study the contents of a burial shaft once looted and long abandoned. A detailed report of the findings were published in The Journal of Egyptian Archeology’s September edition.

[ click to continue reading at The Observer ]

Posted on January 3, 2020 by Editor

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Steinbeck’s Knickknacks

from The Observer

John Steinbeck’s Weirdest Knickknacks Are Going Up for Auction in February

By Helen Holmes

John Steinbeck smoking a cigarette at his home in Sag Harbor, Long Island. Getty Images

Within the context of an ultra-modern 21st century that’s increasingly aware of the cultural dominance of white male authors and intent upon dismantling this hegemony, John Steinbeck epitomizes the figure of the 20th century Great American Novelist. He was a profuse chronicler of this country’s underclass and a sprawlingly observant study of human characteristics, and he also based his most evil character, Cathy Ames, upon his ex-wife, a former nightclub singer named Gwyn Conger. Based on recent evidence, it’s also clear that Steinbeck was a fan of deeply weird knickknacks: on February 27, the author’s birthday, a great deal of items formerly owned by the writer of East of Eden will go up for sale under the outfit Curated Estates, which obtained the objects via Steinbeck’s descendants.

Many of the belongings that will be going up for auction feel typical to prolific writers: letters, autographed books and photographs are all among Steinbeck’s collection. Elaine Steinbeck, the author’s third wife, had kept all of these items secure within her estate. However, Steinbeck was also an eccentric who had an affinity for weird home decor. The author held onto a lock of his own hair from when he was a baby, a tiny coffin containing a hummingbird wrapped in multicolored string that was made for him by a witch doctor in Mexico, and a trash basket made out of an elephant’s foot. (Clearly, the author was no staunch conservationist). However, Steinbeck was also in possession of a society invitation that spoke to his influence and popularity: a telegram from John F. Kennedy, inviting him to attend the latter’s 1961 Presidential inauguration.

[ click to continue reading at The Observer ]

Posted on January 2, 2020 by Editor

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2020

Posted on January 1, 2020 by Editor

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F†cking Cats

from Are Technica

The surprisingly complicated physics of why cats always land on their feet

Ars chats with physicist Greg Gbur about his book, Falling Felines and Fundamental Physics

by JENNIFER OUELLETTE 

A cat being dropped upside down to demonstrate a cat's movements while falling
A cat being dropped upside down to demonstrate a cat’s movements while falling

Scientists are not immune to the alluringly aloof charms of the domestic cat. Sure, Erwin Schrödinger could be accused of animal cruelty for his famous thought experiment, but Edwin Hubble had a cat named Copernicus, who sprawled across the papers on the astronomer’s desk as he worked, purring contentedly. A Siamese cat named Chester was even listed as co-author (F.D.C. Willard) with physicist Jack H. Hetherington on a low-temperature physics paper in 1975, published in Physical Review Letters. So perhaps it’s not surprising that there is a long, rich history, spanning some 300 years, of scientists pondering the mystery of how a falling cat somehow always manages to land on their feet, a phenomenon known as “cat-turning.”

“The falling cat is often sort of a sideline area in research,” physicist and cat lover Greg Gbur told Ars. “Cats have a reputation for being mischievous and well-represented in the history. The cats just sort of pop in where you least expect them. They manage to cause a lot of trouble in the history of science, as well as in my personal science. I often say that cats are cleverer than we think, but less clever than they think.” A professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Gbur gives a lively, entertaining account of that history in his recent book, Falling Felines and Fundamental Physics.

[ click to continue reading at Aros Technica ]

Posted on December 31, 2019 by Editor

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The Fog

Posted on December 30, 2019 by Editor

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Exile Revisited

from SPIN

Girly Show: The Oral History of Liz Phair’s ‘Exile In Guyville’

How a suburban Chicago songwriter wandered out of a John Hughes script and recorded one of the decade’s masterpieces 

by Jessica Hopper

In 1993, no rock record was as divisive as Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville. With her 18-song double-LP debut, Phair pried the lid off her life and sang away secrets. Even though it landed right at the apex of the cultural moment for “Women in Rock” and riot grrrl, Phair was something else. Her feminism was not wrapped up in dogmatic choruses, her rage was articulated in quiet disses tangled up in sublime indie-pop. Guyville was all guile and jangle. Phair dispensed with the innuendo and explained exactly, and explicitly, what she was game for. “Flower” includes these lines: “I want to fuck you like a dog / Take you home and make you like it.”

Even more novel and exciting was the fact that Guyville was, in both form and concept, a rookie’s rogue retort to classic rock: Phair conceived it as a track-by-track response to one of the pinnacles of swaggering musical masculinity, the Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main St. Combined with its literate pop craft, untethered libido, and utter confidence, Guyville was about the most glorious, girly Fuck You ever.

[ click to continue reading at SPIN ]

Posted on December 29, 2019 by Editor

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Periodic History

from The New Yorker

The Histories Hidden in the Periodic Table

From poisoned monks and nuclear bombs to the “transfermium wars,” mapping the atomic world hasn’t been easy.

By Neima Jahromi

As element hunters have become element makers, the periodic table’s meaning has changed. It now describes what is possible, in addition to what merely exists. Illustration by Ilya Milstein

The story of the fifteenth element began in Hamburg, in 1669. The unsuccessful glassblower and alchemist Hennig Brandt was trying to find the philosopher’s stone, a mythical substance that could turn base metals into gold. Instead, he distilled something new. It was foamy and, depending on the preparation, yellow or black. He called it “cold fire,” because it glowed in the dark. Interested parties took a look; some felt that they were in the presence of a miracle. “If anyone had rubbed himself all over with it,” one observer noted, “his whole figure would have shone, as once did that of Moses when he came down from Mt. Sinai.” Robert Boyle, the father of modern chemistry, put some on his hand and noted how “mild and innocent” it seemed. Another scientist saw particles in it twinkling “like little stars.”

At first, no one could figure out what the Prometheus of Hamburg had stolen. After one of Brandt’s confidants provided a hint—the main ingredient was “somewhat that belong’d to the Body of Man”—Boyle deduced that he and his peers had been smearing themselves with processed urine. As the Cambridge chemist Peter Wothers explains in his new history of the elements, “Antimony, Gold, and Jupiter’s Wolf” (Oxford), Brandt’s recipe called for a ton of urine. It was left out in buckets long enough to attract maggots, then distilled in hot furnaces, creating a hundred and twenty grams of “cold fire.” Brandt believed that, if he could collect enough of this substance, he might be able to create the philosopher’s stone. In 1678, the Duke of Saxony asked him to collect a hundred tons of urine from a garrison of soldiers and render it into what Boyle and others soon started to call phosphorus—Latin for “light-bearer.”

The soapy phosphorus that Brandt cooked up was a curiosity. But, in England, Boyle began producing it in a purer, more solid form, which turned out to be highly flammable. Another scientist toying with Boyle’s phosphorus found that, “if the Privy Parts be therewith rubb’d, they will be inflamed and burning for a good while after.” Boyle, for his part, wondered whether it could be harnessed as a starter for gunpowder. (His assistant, the apothecary Ambrose Godfrey, set his head on fire and burned “two or three great holes in his breeches” while investigating the substance.) The phosphorus industry grew throughout the eighteenth century, in part because physicians wrongly believed that it had medicinal value. In the eighteen-hundreds, match producers found that wood splints tipped with phosphorus were less dangerous than their sulfur-coated predecessors; not long afterward, the discovery that electric furnaces could extract phosphorus from ore at a large scale led to the development of explosives. In the Second World War, in what Wothers calls “a tragic twist of fate,” Hamburg, Brandt’s home town, was destroyed by Allied bombers dropping phosphorus munitions.

[ click to continue reading at TNY ]

Posted on December 28, 2019 by Editor

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Imus Gone

from Showbiz 411

RIP The Great Radio and (Sometimes) TV Broadcaster Dom Imus: Controversial, Crazy, Completely Brilliant and Loyal to a Fault

by Roger Friedman

Don Imus has passed away at age 79. This was a brilliant, complicated man who had legions of fans and drove people crazy. But he was also loyal to a fault to his friends, and rambled on when everyone thought he should hang it up. Before Howard Stern really existed, it was all Don Imus on 66 WNBC AM in New York. Like so many others of my generation, I grew up with him. He was a trailblazer, and then he lit the trail on fire. His mishaps and so called scandals were nothing compared to his upside. RIP Don.

PS And yes, he was right wing– but you had to love Don Imus anyway. I don’t care. He may have fought with people who considered him a friend, but when he liked someone, he liked them. Last March he flew up from Texas– where he was ailing all this year– for the funeral of New Line Cinema co-chief Michael Lynne. Imus was also incredibly supportive of classic musicians like RRHOF member Sam Moore and plenty of others. Imus acted like a ‘yahoo’ or a redneck but he was anything but that. You can’t rule the airwaves, especially in New York, without a modicum of sophistication and street smarts.

[ click to continue reading at Showbiz 411 ]

Posted on December 27, 2019 by Editor

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Sex Symbols Gone

from The Hollywood Reporter

Camille Paglia: The Death of the Hollywood Sex Symbol (Guest Column)

by Camille Paglia

The cultural critic and ‘Provocations’ author laments the end of the bombshell and asks why only drag queens and ‘Hustlers’ star Jennifer Lopez still possess “Hollywood’s most brilliant artifact.”

Who killed the sex symbol?

It’s no mystery that in the era of #MeToo, the rules of combat have changed on the sexual battlefield. Women will no longer tolerate condescending or degrading treatment that was once business as usual in the workplace or dating arena. But in this long overdue push-back against sexual coercion and exploitation, has something valuable been lost?

The sex symbol was arguably Hollywood’s most brilliant artifact, propelling the young movie industry to world impact from the moment that Theda Bara flashed her coiled-snake brassiere in Cleopatra (1917). Sex was great box office. With its impudent populism, Hollywood crashed through stuffy proprieties lingering from the Victorian age and stationed itself at the bold forefront of the modern liberalization of sex. Movies were in sync with the radical new spirit of American women, who won the right to vote in 1920 and kicked up their heels throughout the flapper decade of the Roaring Twenties.

Protest about the “immoral” content of movies began even before World War One and would lead to Hollywood’s adoption in 1930 of the notorious Hays Code, which plagued progressive screenwriters and directors for decades. In the late 1960s, as studio power waned, a new sexual realism arrived from postwar European art films, whose chilly atmospherics can be felt in Jane Fonda’s brilliant performance as a crisply efficient prostitute in Klute (1971).

The great sex symbols of Hollywood were manufactured beings, engineered by trial and error, with the mass audience as their ultimate judge and jury. Decade by decade, the movie industry rediscovered primal archetypes that have animated myths around the world since the Stone Age. Major male sex symbols like Clark Gable, Cary Grant and Sidney Poitier have a mesmerizing natural authority onscreen, a supranormal power of personality and density of being that transcend their roles. Like their antecedents in ancient hero sagas, they inhabit and explore physical space, whose frustrations and dangers they endure but ultimately defeat.

The female sex symbol, however, commands emotional or psychological space. Her sensual beauty is an alluring mirage, hypnotizing and sometimes paralyzing. Never entirely present, she is attuned to another reality, an extrasensory dimension to which we have no access. There is an unsettling aura of the uncanny around the major female sex symbols, who channel shadowy powers above or below the social realm.

[ click to continue reading at THR ]

Posted on December 26, 2019 by Editor

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The Black Financiers Behind QUEEN & SLIM

from ESSENCE

Did You Know There Were Two Black Financiers Behind ‘Queen & Slim?’

WHEN WRITER LENA WAITHE AND DIRECTOR MELINA MATSOUKAS SAID THE FILM WAS “FOR US, BY US,” THEY MEAN IT.

BY DANIELLE YOUNG

Angelo Pullen and Reginald Cash

The brilliance that is Queen & Slim has been described as a “for us, by us” film, with Black women Melina Matsoukas and Lena Waithe at the helm.

The Black excellence was apparent with Waithe telling ESSENCE that she and Matsoukas, who made her directorial debut with the feature film, didn’t use any feedback about their film from anyone at the studio who wasn’t Black.

The “Black out” around Queen & Slim didn’t stop there. In fact, while we were at the AFI Fest premiere last month, we met the CEO and President of entertainment studio 3BlackDot, Angelo Pullen and Reginald Cash. These two Black men are among the financiers behind the film.

[ click to continue reading at ESSENCE ]

Posted on December 25, 2019 by Editor

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Sanctuary Christmas

from SF Gate

Undocumented woman marks a year inside Maryland church

Rebecca Tan, The Washington Post

Photo: Washington Post Photo By Michael Robinson Chavez

Next to Rock Creek in Bethesda, Maryland, sits a six-acre church campus shrouded by old cedar trees. For a year and two weeks, this has been Rosa Gutierrez Lopez’s home, sanctuary and site of confinement. This year, for the second time, it is where she will spend Christmas.

Gutierrez Lopez, 41, was the first undocumented immigrant in the Washington area to seek protection from deportation at a house of worship – one of the “sensitive location” categories where Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are discouraged from conducting enforcement activities.

According to the nonprofit Church World Service, there are 49 residents in the United States taking refuge in faith communities. Hundreds of these institutions have designated themselves sanctuaries – a form of protest on the Trump administration’s increasing crackdown on undocumented immigrants.

Congregants at Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church had not met Gutierrez Lopez, a Fredericksburg, Virginia, resident, before she arrived at their doorstep one early morning in 2018. And she had not heard of Cedar Lane – had not even known about sanctuary – until several days before her scheduled deportation date: Dec. 10, 2018.

[ click to continue reading at SF Gate ]

Posted on December 24, 2019 by Editor

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Baba Ram Dass Gone

from AP

Baba Ram Dass, spiritual guru and LSD proponent, dies at 88

HONOLULU (AP) — Baba Ram Dass, the 1960s counterculture spiritual leader who experimented with LSD and traveled to India to find enlightenment, returning to share it with Americans, has died. He was 88. 

Dass’ foundation, Love Serve Remember, announced late Sunday that the author and spiritual leader died peacefully at his home earlier in the day. No cause of death was given.

“I had really thought about checking out, but your love and your prayers convinced me not to do it. … It’s just beautiful,” he told followers in a videotaped message at the time from his hospital bed in Hawaii.

Over the years, Ram Dass — born Richard Alpert — associated with the likes of Timothy Leary and Allen Ginsberg. He wrote about his experiences with drugs, set up projects to help prisoners and those facing terminal illness and sought to enlighten others about the universal struggle with aging.

But he was best known for the 1971 book “Be Here Now,” written after his trip to India. The spiritual primer found its way into thousands of backpacks around the world.

[ click to read full article at AP ]

Posted on December 23, 2019 by Editor

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Is The Internet Bad?

from BUZZFEED

Alienated, Alone And Angry: What The Digital Revolution Really Did To Us

We were promised community, civics, and convenience. Instead, we found ourselves dislocated, distrustful, and disengaged.

by Joseph Bernstein

The cover of the July 1997 issue of Wired / Conde Nast

In April 1997, Wired magazine published a feature with the grand and regrettable title “Birth of a Digital Nation.” It was a good time to make sweeping, sunny pronouncements about the future of the United States and technology. The US stood alone astride the globe. Its stock market was booming. Microsoft was about to become the world’s most valuable company, a first for a tech firm. A computer built by IBM was about to beat the world chess champion at his own game.

And yet, the journalist Jon Katz argued, the country was on the verge of something even greater than prosperity and progress — something that would change the course of world history. Led by the Digital Nation, “a new social class” of “young, educated, affluent” urbanites whose “business, social and cultural lives increasingly revolve around” the internet, a revolution was at hand, which would produce unprecedented levels of civic engagement and freedom.

The tools of this revolution were facts, with which the Digital Nation was obsessed, and with which they would destroy — or at least neuter — partisan politics, which were boring and suspicious.

“I saw … the formation of a new postpolitical philosophy,” Katz wrote. “This nascent ideology, fuzzy and difficult to define, suggests a blend of some of the best values rescued from the tired old dogmas — the humanism of liberalism, the economic opportunity of conservatism, plus a strong sense of personal responsibility and a passion for freedom.”

Comparing the coming changes to the Enlightenment, Katz lauded an “interactivity” that “could bring a new kind of community, new ways of holding political conversations” — “a media and political culture in which people could amass factual material, voice their perspectives, confront other points of view, and discuss issues in a rational way.” Such a sensible, iterative American public life contained, Katz wrote, “the … tantalizing … possibility that technology could fuse with politics to create a more civil society.”

Such arguments, that a rational tech vanguard would spark an emancipatory cycle of national participation, were common at the time….

[ click to continue reading at BUZZFEED ]

Posted on December 22, 2019 by Editor

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Space Hotels

from Thomson Reuters

Stellar view? Space hotels race to offer tourists a room in the sky

by Umberto Bacchi

A section of the Aurora Station space hotel is seen in this handout promotional image. Handout picture courtesy of: Orion Span

TBILISI, Dec 2 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Tired of your ordinary earthly vacations? Some day soon you might be able to board a rocket and get a room with a view – of the whole planet – from a hotel in space.

At least, that is the sales pitch of several companies racing to become the first to host guests in orbit on purpose-built space stations.

“It sounds kind of crazy to us today because it is not a reality yet,” said Frank Bunger, founder of U.S. aerospace firm Orion Span, one of the companies vying to take travellers out of this world.

“But that’s the nature of these things, it sounds crazy until it is normal.”

U.S. multimillionaire Dennis Tito became the world’s first paying space tourist in 2001, travelling to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket for a reported $20 million. A few others have followed.

Since then, companies like Boeing, SpaceX and Blue Origin have been working on ways to bring the stars into reach for more people – opening up a new business frontier for would-be space hoteliers.

[ click to continue reading at Thomson Reuters ]

Posted on December 21, 2019 by Editor

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Straight from Lena on QUEEN & SLIM

from the LA Times

Why Lena Waithe fell in love with her leads while writing ‘Queen & Slim’

By LENA WAITHE

“Queen & Slim” screenwriter Lena Waithe
Lena Waithe took the idea for “Queen & Slim” and made it her own. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

“Queen & Slim” began at a party, celebrating my wife Alana Mayo. She had just been chosen as one of the Hollywood Reporter’s 35 under 35 execs. I was there gallivanting and having a good time when writer James Frey walked up to me and introduced himself. 

It was kind of funny, because I knew who he was, but I joined in the formalities anyway and introduced myself as well. I think he was aware I was a writer — but at that time “The Chi” hadn’t aired yet (we were still writing the first season) and the “Thanksgiving” episode of “Master of None” was an idea that had not yet entered my mind. I say all this to say: He had no real reason to throw an idea — an idea that would ultimately change the course of my life — into my lap at a rooftop party in Hollywood.

He simply said, “I have an idea for a movie I can’t write.” I responded, “What’s the idea?” And he said, very cavalierly, a black man and a black woman go out on a first date and on their way home they get pulled over by a cop, things escalate quickly and they kill the cop in self-defense and rather than turning themselves in, they decide to get in the car and go.” 

I quickly said to him, “You’re right, you can’t write that.” But I knew I could.

He had another title and an outline in his back pocket, but I didn’t want it. I didn’t need it. That sentence was all I needed to go create a black odyssey that would ultimately become a meditation on blackness and what it truly looks like to search for freedom and joy that’s everlasting.

[ click to continue reading at LAT ]

Posted on December 20, 2019 by Editor

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NEWSWEEK – The Taylor-Johnson’s on A MILLION LITTLE PIECES

from NEWSWEEK

AARON AND SAM TAYLOR-JOHNSON TALK ‘A MILLION LITTLE PIECES,’ COLLABORATING AND ADDICTION

BY H. ALAN SCOTT

Sam and Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Sam Taylor-Johnson attend the Build Series to discuss ‘A Million Little Pieces’ at Build Studio December 02, 2019 in New York City. DOMINIK BINDL/GETTY IMAGES

James Frey’s book A Million Little Pieces could arguably be considered one of the most controversial books published in recent history.

The controversy surrounding its semi-fictional memoir-style made it one of the internet’s first viral scandals of the publishing world. But beyond the controversy—and the infamous interview Frey did with Oprah Winfrey in 2005—is a story about a person struggling with addiction and desperately trying to find a way out of it. That’s the story director Sam Taylor-Johnson told in her new film adaption of the memoir, starring and co-written by her husband Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

“I read it and loved it and went on the journey with James,” Sam told Newsweek Conversations. “I continued on the journey with James through what happened with the book and the controversy, public shaming and humiliation.”

Loosely based on Frey’s own journey, Aaron dived into the character by working closely with Frey, communicating regularly, going on a road trip together and even visiting the rehabilitation center where Frey first sought treatment.

“It was really overwhelming for him to step through those doors again,” Aaron told Newsweek Conversations. “He said he hadn’t been back in over 20 years. I guess the rawness of it is he was an addict and now, today, he’s 26 years sober. It’s phenomenal.”

[ click to continue reading at NEWSWEEK ]

Posted on December 19, 2019 by Editor

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PEOPLE Magazine: The Taylor-Johnson’s on A MILLION LITTLE PIECES

from PEOPLE Magazine

Aaron and Sam Taylor-Johnson on the Intense Journey of Making an Addiction Movie Together

A Million Little Pieces is playing in select theaters now

By  Nigel Smith

Aaron, 29, and Sam Taylor-Johnson, 52, are no strangers to working together, having met making Sam’s directorial debut Nowhere Boy in 2009 — but adapting James Frey’s controversial 2003 book A Million Little Piecesmarked challenging new territory for the married couple.

The film adaptation of Frey’s addiction memoir, which he later admitted to partly fabricating, sees Aaron go to some very dark places to play a young drug-addled writer as he undergoes a grueling two-month detox program.

Below are excepts from PEOPLE’s conversation with the pair, who wed in 2012 and have two daughters together now, in addition to two from Sam’s previous marriage.

[ click to continue reading at PEOPLE ]

Posted on December 18, 2019 by Editor

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The Taylor-Johnson’s by James Frey

from Harper’s BAZAAR

Sam and Aaron Taylor-Johnson Are One of the Most Private Couples in Hollywood—and They Intend to Keep It That Way

BY JAMES FREY; PHOTOGRAPHS BY MICHAEL AVEDON

sam taylor johnson aaron taylor johnson
Hang time. On Sam: Dolce & Gabbana bra and briefs.
On Aaron: Lululemon shorts.

Between lingering kisses and adoring sidelong glances, artist turned filmmaker Sam Taylor-Johnson and her dashing actor husband, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, open up to friend James Frey (whose book A Million Little Pieces they have adapted for the big screen) about the coup de foudre they experienced when they first met—and how they keep that spark burning bright more than a decade later.

She was a world-renowned artist, her work hanging in museums around the world, selling for outrageous sums in galleries and at auction, the mother of two young daughters living in London and spending weekends in France or the English countryside. She had also survived cancer twice. She was healthy, brilliant, beautiful, and successful beyond her wildest dreams. She was about to direct her first feature film. Her life was full. Or so she thought. 

“I wasn’t expecting anything that day. Just to see a bunch of actors pretending to be John Lennon.” He was an actor, working since he was six. He’d been onstage, in films, on television, successful enough to get by, but the breakthrough hadn’t come. He’d been preparing for this audition for six weeks. If he got the role, it would change his life. 

“I remember it very, very clearly. I know exactly what she was wearing. This white shirt that she still has, that I love. It definitely changed my life, though not in the way I expected.” 

“We were very professional through the entire film.”

“No funny business at all.”

“But everyone on set knew. And as soon as we finished, he told me he was going to marry me. We had never been on a date, or even kissed.”

“And a year to the minute after we met, exactly one year to the minute, I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me.”

“In the 10 years we’ve been together, we’ve only been apart for maybe two or three days.”

“And those were the worst days of those 10 years.”

[ click to continue reading at Harper’s BAZAAR ]

Posted on December 17, 2019 by Editor

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Grateful Shred

from InsideHook

Why the Music of the Grateful Dead Makes the Perfect Soundtrack for Action Sports

“Fire On The Mountain” director Chris Benchetler fills us in on his new documentary

BY EVAN BLEIER

When skier and filmmaker Chris Benchetler was brainstorming names for someone to narrate his new action-sports film featuring the music of the Grateful Dead, there was one that kept popping up due to the nature of the movie’s soundtrack: Bill Walton.

Walton, a confirmed Deadhead, seemed like the perfect person to bring aboard to narrate Benchetler’s Fire On The Mountain as the 27-minute film is set to seven tracks selected from the Grateful Dead’s massive vault of recordings by official band archivist David Lemieux.

Luckily for Benchetler, he actually had the retired NBA star’s email address as the two had gone road biking some years ago. “I didn’t expect him to remember me at all but I just hit him up and explained my passion for the Dead and for what we were doing,” Benchetler tells InsideHook.

[ click to continue reading at InsideHook ]

Posted on December 16, 2019 by Editor

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The Chicago Crusader on QUEEN & SLIM

from The Chicago Crusader

Black Lives Matter themes on full blast in ‘Queen & Slim’

By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J.

“Queen & Slim” is a story about a Black couple on the run who find themselves in an untenable position shortly after their first date. They are driving along and Slim had briefly passed his cell phone to Queen. She starts being nosey, as some women are wont to do, and he snatches the phone, causing the car to swerve a bit.

And, of course, seconds later, a Cleveland, Ohio, police officer stops the car. The cop’s initial reason for stopping Slim was no signal at a previous turn and that he suspected that Slim was under the influence. The “no turn signal” excuse made me think immediately of the late Sandra Bland, the Naperville, Illinois, woman who met her death at the hands of Texas police officers after a similar traffic stop—although they claimed that Bland committed suicide. An argument ensues, and Queen, who is a criminal defense attorney, questions the officer after he trains his gun on Slim. The officer shoots Queen in the leg, and Slim kills the officer, setting in motion their run from authorities.

[ click to continue reading at The Chicago Crusader ]

Posted on December 15, 2019 by Editor

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Quantum Bullshit Detector

from WIRED

Revolt! Scientists Say They’re Sick of Quantum Computing’s Hype

A Twitter account called Quantum Bullshit Detector reflects some researchers’ angst about overhyped claims and other troubling trends.

by SOPHIA CHEN

einstein in lawn chair
PHOTOGRAPH: GETTY IMAGES

This spring, a mysterious figure by the name of Quantum Bullshit Detector strolled onto the Twitter scene. Posting anonymously, they began to comment on purported breakthroughs in quantum computing—claims that the technology will speed up artificial intelligence algorithms, manage financial risk at banks, and break all encryption. The account preferred to express its opinions with a single word: “Bullshit.”

The provocations perplexed experts in the field. Because of the detector’s familiarity with jargon and the accounts it chose to follow, the person or persons behind the account seemed be part of the quantum community. Researchers were unaccustomed to such brazen trolling from someone in their own ranks. “So far it looks pretty well-calibrated, but […] vigilante justice is a high-risk affair,” physicist Scott Aaronson wrote on his blog a month after the detector’s debut. People discussed online whether to take the account’s opinions seriously.

“There is some confusion. Quantum Bullshit Detector cannot debate you. It can only detect quantum bullshit. This is why we are Quantum Bullshit Detector!” the account tweeted in response.

In the subsequent months, the account has called bullshit on statements in academic journals such as Nature and journalism publications such as Scientific AmericanQuanta, and yes, an article written by me in WIRED. Google’s so-called quantum supremacy demonstration? Bullshit. Andrew Yang’s tweet about Google’s quantum supremacy demonstration? Bullshit. Quantum computing pioneer Seth Lloyd accepting money from Jeffrey Epstein? Bullshit.

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on December 14, 2019 by Editor

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When Cutting The Cord Can Be Bad

from The Atlantic

How the Loss of the Landline Is Changing Family Life

by  Julia Cho

© Elzbieta Sekowska / Shutterstock / The Atlantic

My tween will never know the sound of me calling her name from another room after the phone rings. She’ll never sit on our kitchen floor, refrigerator humming in the background, twisting a cord around her finger while talking to her best friend. I’ll get itHe’s not here right now, and It’s for you are all phrases that are on their way out of the modern domestic vernacular. According to the federal government, the majority of American homes now use cellphones exclusively. “We don’t even have a landline anymore,” people began to say proudly as the new millennium progressed. But this came with a quieter, secondary loss—the loss of the shared social space of the family landline.

“The shared family phone served as an anchor for home,” says Luke Fernandez, a visiting computer-science professor at Weber State University and a co-author of Bored, Lonely, Angry, Stupid: Feelings About Technology, From the Telegraph to Twitter. “Home is where you could be reached, and where you needed to go to pick up your messages.” With smartphones, Fernandez says, “we have gained mobility and privacy. But the value of the home has been diminished, as has its capacity to guide and monitor family behavior and perhaps bind families more closely together.”

The home telephone was a communal invention from the outset. “When the telephone rang, friends and family gathered ’round, as mesmerized by its magic flow of electrons as they would later be by the radio,” according to Once Upon a Telephone, a lighthearted 1994 social history of the technology. After the advent of the telephone, in the late 19th century, and through the mid-20th century, callers relied on switchboard operators who knew their customers’ voices, party lines were shared by neighbors (who would often eavesdrop on one another’s conversations), and phone books functioned as a sort of map of a community.

[ click to continue reading at The Atlantic ]

Posted on December 13, 2019 by Editor

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Sam & Aaron Taylor-Johnson Fight

from TIME Magazine

Why Sam and Aaron Taylor-Johnson Fought to Get A Million Little Pieces in Front of Audiences

BY SAM LANSKY

Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Sam Taylor-Johnson attend the Build Series to discuss 'A Million Little Pieces' on December 02, 2019 in New York City.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Sam Taylor-Johnson attend the Build Series to discuss ‘A Million Little Pieces’ on December 02, 2019 in New York City. Getty Images—2019 Dominik Bindl

“Do what you want with it.” That was more or less what James Frey told the director Sam Taylor-Johnson when she and her husband, the Golden Globe-winning actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson, approached him about bringing Frey’s 2003 book A Million Little Pieces to the screen. “I’m not going to be there,” Sam remembers Frey saying. “I’m not going to read your script. I may not ever see the movie. But if you respond to the material and you like it, do it!”

For Sam, director of Nowhere Boy and Fifty Shades of Grey, adapting Frey’s bestseller about his struggle to get clean from drugs and alcohol in a Minnesota rehab was a longtime dream. It also ended up proving a challenge: “Every step of the way with this movie has been pushing a boulder up a hill,” she says now. 

[ click to continue reading at TIME ]

Posted on December 12, 2019 by Editor

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QUEEN & SLIM – More Than Outlaws

from The Morganton News-Herald

‘Queen & Slim’ is more than an “outlaws on the run” story

by Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post

PHOTO CREDIT: Andre D. Wagner

“Queen & Slim” is a movie we’ve seen before, whether in the form of “Bonnie and Clyde” or “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” Two attractive outlaws on the lam, running from the clutches of the law, their banter, adventures and funny or violent or romantic encounters punctuating an epic and ultimately fatalistic journey.

“Thelma & Louise” is part of that tradition and, much as sexism motivated and contextualized the events of that outlaw picaresque, racism provides the crucial frame for “Queen & Slim.” The movie begins with a young couple in a diner, in the middle of an awkward first date: When the young man (Daniel Kaluuya) asks his female companion, an attorney played by newcomer Jodie Turner-Smith, why she finally responded to him online, she explains that one of her clients was just scheduled for execution and she was seeking a distraction. “So you turned to Tinder,” he says joshingly.

The characters are unnamed throughout most of the movie, but when a pivotal confrontation on their way home sends them on a desperate escape from Cleveland through the American South and finally to Florida, their identities go through all manner of changes.

[ click to continue reading at The News-Herald ]

Posted on December 11, 2019 by Editor

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Go, Homunculus!

from SCIENCE 2.0

The Origin And Evolution Of The Homunculus

By News Staff

How did the most famous concept devised in neurobiology–the homunculus of neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield – originate?

Some answers derive from assessing Penfield’s archives at the Osler Library of McGill University, as well as the only known copy from which the beginnings of the homunculus may be traced–Edwin Boldrey’s 1936 McGill master’s degree thesis supervised by Penfield. 

The iconic homunculus was devised by Penfield as a teaching tool to aid memory, and was drawn by Hortense Cantlie, a medical illustrator at McGill. She rendered the complex idea simply for its first appearance in 1937 as an acrobat hanging from a trapeze by his knees, with his head tilted up to look at the audience. The areas devoted to the opposable thumbs, necessary for grasping tools, and to the tongue and lips, necessary for speech, are disproportionally large, reflecting their relative importance with respect to human experience. 

[ click to continue reading at SCIENCE 2.0 ]

Posted on December 10, 2019 by Editor

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The $120,000 Cavendish

from The Miami Herald

Someone ate the $120,000 banana at Art Basel. Some quick thinking saved the day

BY HOWARD COHEN AND SIOBHAN MORRISSEY

Someone ate a really expensive snack at Art Basel Saturday afternoon — to the tune of $120,000.

For one banana.

By now you have probably heard of the now world-famous banana duct-taped to Emmanuel Perrotin’s outer gallery wall at Art Basel Miami Beach. The piece that sold to an art collector for $120,000.

The $120,000 banana — a real, rather ripe and edible one — is the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and titled “Comedian.” The work comes with a Certificate of Authenticity, and owners are told that they can replace the banana, as needed.

Instructions on how to replace the banana are not included.

[ click to continue reading at The Miami Herald ]

Posted on December 9, 2019 by Editor

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Lena Waithe Rising

from The Washington Blade

Rising queer star Lena Waithe drops trailer for new series

Lena Waithe (Image via Facebook)

Lena Waithe, the out lesbian woman of color who has been among those at the forefront in the struggle to bring more visibility and representation to the entertainment industry, is on a roll as 2019 comes to a close.

On the heels of an impressive opening weekend for her debut feature film, “Queen and Slim,” the Emmy-winner dropped the trailer for her upcoming television project on BET. Titled “Twenties,” it’s the first series in the network’s history to be centered on an LGBTQ character.

“Queen and Slim,” the rising industry powerhouse’s first feature film screenplay (from a story she co-wrote with James Frey), surpassed industry expectations by making the top five box-office list for Thanksgiving weekend.

[ click to read full article at The Washington Blade ]

Posted on December 8, 2019 by Editor

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A MILLION LITTLE PIECES “Stellar”

from The Boston Herald

“A Million Little Pieces” stellar tale of addiction, redemption

By STEPHEN SCHAEFER

There is something both shocking and weirdly gallant to see Aaron Taylor-Johnson as James Frey completely unhinged and out of his skull — and clothes — as “A Million Little Pieces” opens.

The brief sequence immediately establishes the mindset of a self-destructive druggie and Taylor-Johnson’s willingness to go wherever to tell a familiar story of rehab and redemption.

Co-written by real-life couple director Sam Taylor-Johnson (“Fifty Shades of Grey”) and Aaron, “Pieces” is an adaptation of Frey’s once notorious but still in print bestselling memoir from 2003.

The memoir was notoriously targeted by Oprah Winfrey for exaggeration and embellishing, which today seems quaint and completely out of proportion for the lies told daily in the national conversation.

What the Taylor-Johnsons have done is smoothly engrossing with a first-rate cast.

[ click to continue reading at The Boston Herald ]

Posted on December 7, 2019 by Editor

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A MILLION LITTLE PIECES Premiere

from Instagram

[ click to view on Instagram ]

Posted on December 6, 2019 by Editor

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A MILLION LITTLE PIECES “An effective blunt instrument of a film”

from The Chicago Sun-Times

‘A Million Little Pieces’ works on film, and that’s the honest truth

Aaron Taylor-Johnson does harrowing work as author James Frey in the throes of addiction and rehab.

By Richard Roeper

Aaron Taylor-Johnson plays James Frey at his addictive low point in “A Million Little Pieces.”
 Momentum Pictures

“I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” – Mark Twain, quoted in “A Million Little Pieces.”

You had to feel for James Frey.

In January 2006, the School of the Art Institute grad turned best-selling author took arguably the most brutal verbal beatdown in the history of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

Granted, Frey brought it upon himself, when it was revealed his mega-successful addiction memoir “A Million Little Pieces” contained major exaggerations and fabrications.

Oprah, who initially had championed the book, was not amused. She called Frey on the carpet in front of a studio audience and millions of viewers. 

It seemed excessive. It was painful to watch.

A few years later, Oprah said she owed Frey an apology. By then, Frey had bounced back in a big way, with a seven-figure deal to write novels for Harper Collins. Since then, his career has continued to thrive, most recently with a “Story By” credit for the acclaimed theatrical release “Queen & Slim.”

Now, some 16 years after the publication of “A Million Little Pieces,” a film adaptation from director/co-writer Sam Taylor-Johnson (“Fifty Shades of Grey,” no relation) is getting an understated release, and it’s reasonable to assume a good percentage of viewers will have little or no knowledge of the controversial story behind the source material.

Not that it should matter. As a stand-alone work of cinema fiction, “A Million Little Pieces” is an effective blunt instrument of a film — a rough-edged, unvarnished, painfully accurate portrayal of addiction and rehabilitation.

[ click to continue reading at The Sun-Times ]

Posted on December 5, 2019 by Editor

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Sam & Aaron Taylor-Johnson on James Frey

from USA Today

Q&A: Sam and Aaron Taylor-Johnson on why it’s OK to forgive James Frey

by Andrea Mandell

Sam Taylor-Johnson directs her husband, Aaron Taylor-Johnson in a scene from
A MILLION LITTLE PIECES / Photo by Jeff Gros

Sam Taylor-Johnson knows willpower. Four years ago, it powered an iron stomach through the contentious making of “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Now, it’s propelling her James Frey movie into theaters. 

On Friday, the director’s new film, “A Million Little Pieces,” arrives in theaters, starring her husband, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, 29, as the recovering alcoholic who found himself at the center of one of the biggest memoir publishing scandals in modern history.

[ click to continue reading at USA Today ]

Posted on December 4, 2019 by Editor

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The Contenders: Melina Matsoukas

from DEADLINE

‘Queen & Slim’ Director Melina Matsoukas On Showing “Black People As Victors And Not Victims” – The Contenders L.A. Video

By Amanda N’Duka

Grammy-winning music video director Melina Matsoukas is known for using her work not only to highlight African -American culture but also reflect pertinent issues in the community. That’s what made Queen & Slim the apt project for her feature directorial debut.

“The script for me was everything,” Matsoukas said at Deadline’s Contenders Los Angeles event. “It was political. It was saying something. It was illuminating issues in the black community with police brutality and so many of our struggles. But mostly because it was this beautiful love story as well. It really staddles the line between all kinds of genres. … We get to enjoy this beautiful journey between two black people.”

[ click to view and continue reading at DEADLINE ]

Posted on December 3, 2019 by Editor

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