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Posted on December 31, 2012 by Editor

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“We enjoy mixing up cocktails and an hors d’oeuvre or two, putting a little mood music on the phonograph and inviting in a female acquaintance for a quiet discussion on Picasso, Nietzsche, jazz, sex…”

from Prospect

Playboy goes west

by Rachel Shteir

Hugh Hefner at the Playboy Key Club in 1960 surrounded by bunnies. His magazine has been described as both misogynist and feminist

There is nothing like Playboy and there never will be again. When Hef founded it in 1953, men’s magazines contained grainy black and white pictures of semi-naked strippers and articles in which men conquered wild animals and bad guys. Sex was shameful. The word smut comes to mind. But Hef, who had grown up on the west side of Chicago in the 1920s and 30s, pursued a different vision. Having graduated from the University of Illinois and worked at magazines, including Esquire (then still in Chicago), he imagined a lifestyle monthly which would attract urban men with a mix of nice clothes, nice cars, culture, and colour photographs of the girl next door, naked.

Luck sided with Hef. In a famous coup, having read that the rights to some nude colour photographs of Marilyn Monroe—then already a movie star—were owned by a calendar company in Chicago, he convinced the owner to sell him the images. He ran the photos, which show Marilyn writhing on red velvet, in the first issue, December 1953. It sold 54,000 copies. In that issue, Hef defined Playboy, sincerely, with what now reads like a send-up of a Rat Pack mission statement: “We like our apartment. We enjoy mixing up cocktails and an hors d’oeuvre or two, putting a little mood music on the phonograph and inviting in a female acquaintance for a quiet discussion on Picasso, Nietzsche, jazz, sex…”

Playboy emerged in the right place at the right time. In America, conspicuous consumption and personal fulfilment were replacing older, more ascetic ideals and by 1959 the magazine was selling a million copies an issue. In the early 1970s it sold around 7 million copies each month. By that time, Playboy had become a global brand under attack on several different fronts. It has been variously described as misogynist, feminist, kitschy, and irrelevant. Above all, however, it is a magazine that presents The Good Life, including sex, as a man’s natural territory.

To read through Playboy today is to go back in time. Many of the magazine’s trademark features first appeared in the 1960s and have changed less than you might imagine. There are pages of photographs of Hef and his friends partying. The Playboy Advisor, a column first started in 1960, steers readers on how to dress, date, and consume. The Playboy Forum, begun in 1963 to raise issues of importance to the magazine, these days publishes short provocative essays and confessional pieces. The legendary Playboy interview, which in the old days gave thousands of words to heads of state and literary figures—Gabriel García Márquez, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jimmy Carter, Camille Paglia—is also intact (although shorter). New York Times columnist and Princeton professor Paul Krugman did one in the April issue.

Two of the hoariest features are the Party Jokes page, a page of witticisms and gags that seems to have been dredged up from before the sexual revolution, and the full-page cartoons. Here is a typical one: a woman is reclining on an analyst’s couch holding a vibrator. “Do you mind, it helps open me up,” she asks as the Freudian figure looks on. Asked about these pages, editors told me that readers liked them.

[ click to read all of this great piece at Prospect ]

Posted on December 30, 2012 by Editor

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Soundtrack to James Frey, Salman Rushdie and The Bible (God love Booktrack and Peter Thiel, too!)

from TechCrunch

Booktrack Raises $2 Million From Peter Thiel, Park Road, And Others To Add Soundtracks To E-books


New Zealand-based startup Booktrack launched last year to provide e-book readers with something that they’ve been missing: soundtracks to go along with what they’re reading. To push that idea forward, the startup has raised $2 million in Series B funding from Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, Park Road Post Production, Weta Digital GM Tom Greally, Sparkbox Ventures, New Zealand Venture Investment Fund, EFU Investments Ltd., Stephen Tindall’s K One W One, and others.

The idea behind Booktrack is to make e-books more engaging by providing background music and sounds that go along with what you’re reading. According to founder Paul Cameron, it’s like providing the soundtrack to complement the text. Readers who try it out seem to like it — about 27 percent of customers who download a free sample purchase the book, and about 40 percent of those downloaded end up being read cover-to-cover.

So far, the startup has published soundtracks for books from the likes of James Frey and Salman Rushdie, and recently also released a soundtracked version of The Bible. But the key to its success will also depend on its ability to work with major publishing houses, which it’s already starting to do. It’s had books from Random House and HarperCollins, among others.

[ click to read complete article at ]

Posted on December 29, 2012 by Editor

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Who Doesn’t Want To Be Johnny Depp?

from NDTV

Johnny Depp names private beach after girlfriend Amber Heard

Johnny Depp has reportedly named a beach on his private island after Amber Heard.

The Pirates of the Caribbean star chose a section of Little Hall’s Pond in the Bahamas to be named in honour of his new girlfriend – who he has dated since splitting from Vanessa Paradis after 14 years in June – as a Christmas present.

A source told The Sun newspaper: “Johnny knows about romance after having been with a French woman all those years. He is now spending time with Amber in the Bahamas and presented her with her own beach as a Christmas gift.”

Johnny, 49, is said to have named the beach Amber’s Cove after noticing it looked like her hip when viewed on a map.

[ click to read more at ]

Posted on December 28, 2012 by Editor

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They’re coming. And nothing can stop them.

from The Independent

‘Brighter than a full moon’: The biggest star of 2013… could be Ison – the comet of the century


At the moment it is a faint object, visible only in sophisticated telescopes as a point of light moving slowly against the background stars. It doesn’t seem much – a frozen chunk of rock and ice – one of many moving in the depths of space. But this one is being tracked with eager anticipation by astronomers from around the world, and in a year everyone could know its name.

Comet Ison could draw millions out into the dark to witness what could be the brightest comet seen in many generations – brighter even than the full Moon.

By late November it will be visible to the unaided eye just after dark in the same direction as the setting Sun. Its tail could stretch like a searchlight into the sky above the horizon. Then it will swing rapidly around the Sun, passing within two million miles of it, far closer than any planet ever does, to emerge visible in the evening sky heading northward towards the pole star. It could be an “unaided eye” object for months. When it is close in its approach to the Sun it could become intensely brilliant but at that stage it would be difficult and dangerous to see without special instrumentation as it would be only a degree from the sun.

Remarkably Ison might not be the only spectacular comet visible next year. Another comet, called 2014 L4 (PanSTARRS), was discovered last year and in March and April it could also be a magnificent object in the evening sky. 2013 could be the year of the great comets.

[ click to read full article at The Independent ]

Posted on December 27, 2012 by Editor

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Mike Scaccia Gone

from the New York Daily News

Mike Scaccia, guitarist for Ministry and Rigor Mortis, collapses on stage, dies of sudden heart attack


Mike Scaccia, the guitarist for metal acts like Ministry, Rigor Mortis and the Revolting Cocks, reportedly died of a sudden heart attack caused by heart disease.

Forty-seven-year-old Mike Scaccia suffered an apparent seizure on stage during a performance at the Rail Club in Fort Worth, Texas, and was rushed to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead, reported.

Born in Babylon, New York, Scaccia helped form thrash pioneers Rigor Mortis in 1983, but moved on to join the better-known Ministry six years later. Though he officially left that band in 1996, his blistering licks can be heard on Ministry’s latest album, “Relapse.”

Scaccia, who reformed Rigor Mortis in 2003, also played for the Revolting Cocks.

Ministry lead singer Al Jourgensen posted a tribute to his longtime bandmate on the group’s Facebook page Sunday.

“Mikey was not only the best guitar player in the history of music, but he was a close, close, close part of our family, and I just lost a huge chunk of my heart today.”

[ click to read full article at ]

Posted on December 26, 2012 by Editor

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A Kind of Anti-Christmas Song That Became The Christmas Song

from The Guardian


[ click to continue reading at The Guardian ]

Posted on December 25, 2012 by Editor

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In his sleigh, on his way….


Posted on December 24, 2012 by Editor

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Oscar Madison (& the last of the 12 Angry Men) Gone

from CNN

‘Odd Couple’ actor Klugman dies at 90

By Steve Almasy, CNN

(CNN) — Jack Klugman, best known as messy sports writer Oscar Madison in TV’s “The Odd Couple,” died Monday at his California home, his son Adam said. He was 90.

His lawyer, Larry Larson, said he died at his house in Northridge, just north of Los Angeles, with his wife by his side.

Veteran actor William Shatner tweeted: “Condolences go out to the family of Jack Klugman. An extraordinary and talented man. He will be missed.”

Klugman’s stage, film and television acting career spanned more than five decades.

[ click to read full article at ]

Posted on December 24, 2012 by Editor

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Has music been diluted from a soul-nourishing art form, at once both deeply intimate and social, to little more than background noise?


Gifting music takes a new tune, digitally

By Heather Somerville / San Jose Mercury News

A screenshot of an Amazon music gift card

Got a music lover on your holiday gift list? Still not sure what to get?

It’s a lot harder these days.

CDs that were once wrapped and placed under the Christmas tree have given way to digital music libraries and iTunes gift cards. But it’s awfully hard to wrap an MP3 file with a nice bow, and you can’t labor lovingly over unpackaging a playlist as you would a CD.

In this post-CD world, giving music for the holidays is undergoing a transformation that has some music aficionados worried. They say music has been diluted from a soul-nourishing art form, at once both deeply intimate and social, to little more than background noise.

People are still buying and giving music this holiday season, but like nearly all types of shopping, more of it is happening online. Digital music stores such as iTunes, cloud music players and streaming services such as Spotify and Rhapsody make CD players look like antiques. More music lovers are requesting a Spotify subscription or a gift card to Amazon’s digital music store.

[ click to continue reading at ]

Posted on December 23, 2012 by Editor

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Words Are Not The Issue

from The NY Times

An Apology for the Oxford English Dictionary’s Ill-Timed Word of the Day


Oxford University

Oxford University Press, the publisher of the Oxford English Dictionary, has apologized for what it called “a coincidence of the worst kind” after the dictionary’s Web site named “bloodbath” as its word of the day on Tuesday, after last week’s deadly shootings in Newtown, Conn.

The Guardian reported that a word-of-the-day entry that ran on the site, defining bloodbath as “a battle or fight at which much blood is spilt; a wholesale slaughter, a massacre,” drew rapid criticism from readers on Twitter, who called it “tasteless and gross” and said it was “in very, very poor taste in light of recent events.”

The post at said that “we apologize for any distress and upset caused by what might seem to be a highly insensitive choice” and explained that the word of the day is “selected months in advance by an editorial committee, and is distributed automatically each day.”

[ click to continue reading at ]

Posted on December 22, 2012 by Editor

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James Frey Premier Drama

from ESPN

The Premier League’s drama problem

Posted by Roger Bennett

David Price/Getty ImagesArsenal’s struggles — and our collective schadenfreude — have defined this season more than any memorable or good play.

Writer James Frey, a long-suffering Arsenal fan, recognizes the power of English football’s narratives. “The Premier League is like reality television with a ball,” he said. “If you watch any of the ‘Real Housewives’ shows you can glimpse exactly the same storylines: Crap people wishing others misery and hoping they will succeed while those around them fail as the rich get richer and the poor get crushed.” The bestselling author continued: “English soccer is 21st-century entertainment. Everything is about the story in our society, be it sports, politics or entertainment.”

Frey highlighted the recent North London derby as a case in point. “Tottenham dominated the game early until Emmanuel Adebayor’s tackle — the dumbest play ever — earned him a red card,” he remembered. “Adebayor’s behavior dominated the postgame conversation. The human dimension of his actions overshadowed any of the goals that were scored.”

John Terry and his Instagram account are another prime example for Frey. “How many column inches are dedicated to Terry’s behavior relative to the number that analyze his actual play?” he asked. “These rivalries, heroes and villains always existed in English football but now with the 24-hour news cycles and social media we need to know everything about everybody all the time so we can make a big deal out of it.”

Frey refers to the phenomenon as the “WWE-ification” of the Premier League. “WWE figured out that sports is all about stories,” he said. “We all want to see who wins the game, but whereas that used to be the entire story, today it is just a detail.”

“The Premier League is all narrative now,” Frey concluded. “What you used to get in a book you can get everywhere. Why read when you can get it watching soccer?”

[ click to read full piece at ESPN ]

Posted on December 21, 2012 by Editor

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“Did we just kill a kid?” he asked the man sitting next to him.

from Der Spiegel

The Woes of an American Drone Operator

Gilles Mingasson/ DER SPIEGEL
A soldier sets out to graduate at the top of his class. He succeeds, and he becomes a drone pilot working with a special unit of the United States Air Force in New Mexico. He kills dozens of people. But then, one day, he realizes that he can’t do it anymore.

For more than five years, Brandon Bryant worked in an oblong, windowless container about the size of a trailer, where the air-conditioning was kept at 17 degrees Celsius (63 degrees Fahrenheit) and, for security reasons, the door couldn’t be opened. Bryant and his coworkers sat in front of 14 computer monitors and four keyboards. When Bryant pressed a button in New Mexico, someone died on the other side of the world.

The container is filled with the humming of computers. It’s the brain of a drone, known as a cockpit in Air Force parlance. But the pilots in the container aren’t flying through the air. They’re just sitting at the controls.

Bryant was one of them, and he remembers one incident very clearly when a Predator drone was circling in a figure-eight pattern in the sky above Afghanistan, more than 10,000 kilometers (6,250 miles) away. There was a flat-roofed house made of mud, with a shed used to hold goats in the crosshairs, as Bryant recalls. When he received the order to fire, he pressed a button with his left hand and marked the roof with a laser. The pilot sitting next to him pressed the trigger on a joystick, causing the drone to launch a Hellfire missile. There were 16 seconds left until impact.

“These moments are like in slow motion,” he says today. Images taken with an infrared camera attached to the drone appeared on his monitor, transmitted by satellite, with a two-to-five-second time delay.

With seven seconds left to go, there was no one to be seen on the ground. Bryant could still have diverted the missile at that point. Then it was down to three seconds. Bryant felt as if he had to count each individual pixel on the monitor. Suddenly a child walked around the corner, he says.

Second zero was the moment in which Bryant’s digital world collided with the real one in a village between Baghlan and Mazar-e-Sharif.

Bryant saw a flash on the screen: the explosion. Parts of the building collapsed. The child had disappeared. Bryant had a sick feeling in his stomach.

“Did we just kill a kid?” he asked the man sitting next to him.

“Yeah, I guess that was a kid,” the pilot replied.

“Was that a kid?” they wrote into a chat window on the monitor.

Then, someone they didn’t know answered, someone sitting in a military command center somewhere in the world who had observed their attack. “No. That was a dog,” the person wrote.

[ click to continue reading at Speigel Online ]

Posted on December 20, 2012 by Editor

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Cannabis Cannons Cool

from The Yuma Sun

Cannabis Cannon Litters Field Near Yuma with Kilo-Sized Projectiles


An attempt by drug smugglers to propel cans of marijuana into the United States with a pneumatic cannon was thwarted by Border Patrol agents over the weekend.

The incident happened some time after sunset Friday in a field near County 22nd and the Colorado River, just northwest of San Luis, Ariz.

The drug smugglers crossed the Colorado River with the pneumatic cannon and entered an area of U.S. territory outside of the border fence. They then used a carbon dioxide canister to propel the pot over the salinity canal and the border fence into a field abut 500 feet away. The marijuana was tucked inside what appeared to be soup cans inside of larger cans and sealed on the ends.

“By actually shooting it over the fence, they don’t have to worry about mules or smugglers actually backpacking it across,” said Kyle Estes, Yuma Sector Border Patrol public affairs officer, adding someone was most likely waiting to pick up the marijuana on the U.S. side.

[ click to continue reading at The Yuma Sun ]

Posted on December 19, 2012 by Editor

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Understanding Earth 2012

from io9

The 10 Books You Absolutely Must Read to Understand the History of Earth

by Annalee Newitz

The Earth is 4.5 billion years old, and life began oozing across its boiling, methane-saturated surface about a billion years after our planet was born.

But how did that happen?

In just a few billion years, a hellish ball of melted rock, smashed up by meteorites, became the gorgeous Blue Marble covered in plants, animals, and sparkling ocean waters we know today.

Here’s our list of ten books you must read if you want to understand this transformation, from the rise of oxygen in the atmosphere to the mass deaths of the dinosaurs.

[ click to read the list at ]

Posted on December 18, 2012 by Editor

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Bennett Madison’s SOMETHINGEST BOOKS OF 2012

from Bennett Madison

[ click to read all the Bennett’s picks at ]

Posted on December 17, 2012 by Editor

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Leave Papa’s Pussies Alone

from TODAY

Cat fight pits government against Hemingway museum

By A. Pawlowski, contributor

A popular tourist attraction has lost another round in the legal battle over who is in charge of the slinky creatures with nine lives and six toes roaming its grounds.

The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Friday ruled that the government does have the power to regulate the dozens of cats that live at the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum in Key West, Fla. — a notion the attraction has fought for years.

When he lived in the house, Hemingway — a famous cat lover — cared for a white polydactyl cat named Snowball that was given to him by a ship’s captain. Snowball’s offspring and other felines have been roaming the grounds ever since without much controversy. Court documents note that the museum has always kept, fed, and provided weekly veterinary care for the Hemingway cats, and spayed or neutered most of them “to prevent population beyond the historical norm of 50–60 cats.”

“They’re very much an important part of the history of the property. We want people to come and see it the way it was when Hemingway was here — to see it the same way he saw it, with the 50 cats running around the property,” said Dave Gonzales, a spokesman for the Hemingway Home & Museum, in a promotional video for the attraction posted on YouTube.

“Every corner you take on this acre of land, you’ll find a couple of cats either snoozing or eating or lapping up some water off the cat fountain.”

[ click to read full article at TODAY ]

Posted on December 16, 2012 by Editor

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Posted on December 15, 2012 by Editor

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“Los Angeles is, of course, fucked.” – GIF Amok

from SPIN

Atoms for Peace Make ‘Amok’ Art Into Real-Life GIF Mural

by Chris Martins

After a couple of years of minimal output, Thom Yorke’s Atoms for Peace is suddenly the gift that keeps giving. Last week, we learned the details of their upcoming debut album, Amok, and then discovered that the band had hidden a choice Easter egg inside of the mural-like artwork found on their website. As it now turns out, that image actually does exist as a mural, and it moves just like the one on the web — well, more or less.

Atoms for Peace visual master Stanley Donwood collaborated with UK “GIF-itti” artist INSA to create “Hollywood Doom,” an installation in installments. INSA painted the Amok album art onto XL Recordings’ Los Angeles office, and then repainted the moving bits a handful of times in order to bring the thing to life via time-lapse photography. The end result is a brick-and-mortar mural, which also exists as an awesome GIF. Actually, several.

Check out the images below after reading Donwood’s totally depressing explanation of his inspirations:

“Los Angeles is, of course, fucked. Everything is fucked, all of our cities, all of our towns, our villages, our farms, our entire way of living. and I don’t mean fucked in a good way, oh no; I mean it in a very, very bad way.

[ click to continue reading at SPIN ]

Posted on December 14, 2012 by Editor

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Bar Code Birther Gone

from The Mirror 

Norman Woodland dead: Bar code inventor dies aged 91

Bar code inventor Norman Woodland has died aged 91.

Norman and friend Bernard Silver devised the bar code while studying engineering at university.

It was based on the Morse code that Norman had learned as a Boy Scout.

The pair applied for the world’s first bar code patent in 1949.

But it would be more than two decades before laser technology would advance to the point where it could be applied to the bar code.

The first bar code scan took place on June 26, 1974, in Troy, Ohio, when a cashier scanned a 10-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum for shopper Clyde Dawson.

Today five billion products a day are scanned optically using a bar code.

[ click to read full article at The Mirror ]

Posted on December 13, 2012 by Editor

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Cinnamon and Raisin Tamales

from Food City via AZ Central

Cinnamon and Raisin Tamales


[ click to continue recipe at ]

Posted on December 12, 2012 by Editor

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Pool Parties & Hedonism

from The Guardian

[ click to continue reading at The Guardian ]

Posted on December 11, 2012 by Editor

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Catcher In The Rye Still Evil

from The Telegraph UK

Catcher in the Rye dropped from US school curriculum

Schools in America are to drop classic books such as Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and JD Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye from their curriculum in favour of ‘informational texts’.
JD Salinger's novel Catcher in the Rye is to be replaced by 'informational texts' on the US curriculum. Photo: Rex Features

American literature classics are to be replaced by insulation manuals and plant inventories in US classrooms by 2014.

A new school curriculum which will affect 46 out of 50 states will make it compulsory for at least 70 per cent of books studied to be non-fiction, in an effort to ready pupils for the workplace.

Books such as JD Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird will be replaced by “informational texts” approved by the Common Core State Standards.

Suggested non-fiction texts include Recommended Levels of Insulation by the the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the Invasive Plant Inventory, by California’s Invasive Plant Council.

The new educational standards have the backing of the influential National Governors’ Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, and are being part-funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

[ click to continue reading this filth at The Telegraph ]

Posted on December 10, 2012 by Editor

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Symphonie repris

Posted on December 9, 2012 by Editor

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No More Lunatics From Washington

from CBS DC

House Passes Measure Removing Word ‘Lunatic’ From Federal Law

WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – The word “lunatic” will be stricken from federal law under legislation that passed the House by a vote of 398-1 on Wednesday.

The congressional action is the most recent effort to eliminate language from the U.S. code that has become outdated or demeaning. Two years ago, Congress removed references in federal law to the term “mental retardation.”

The legislation cites one instance in banking regulation that refers to the authority of a bank to act as “committee of estates of lunatics” on guardianship issues. The word is derived from the Latin word from moon and ancient beliefs that people could become “moonstruck” by lunar movements.

[ click to read full article at CBS DC ]

Posted on December 8, 2012 by Editor

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GIF Art Basel Miami


Michael Stipe, Rodarte, RoseLee Goldberg, and More Pick GIFs for Art Basel Miami Beach Show


On Wednesday Tumblr and Paddle8 will open “Moving the Still,” an exhibition of animated GIFsselected by a star-studded committee — James FreyMichael StipeNicola Formichetti,Richard PhillipsInez & VinoodhRodarteRoseLee Goldberg, and Ryan Trecartin — at a 35,000-square-foot warehouse near Wynwood.

The show, which includes moving digital images by Jim Drain, Aarong Young Adam Dugas, Alex Da Corte, threeASFOUR, and more, will be on view December 5-8, coinciding with Art Basel Miami Beach and its satellite fairs.

[ click to continue reading at ARTINFO ]

Posted on December 7, 2012 by Editor

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Bret Easton Ouch V Kathryn Hot-elow

from E!

Bret Easton Ellis Rips Kathryn Bigelow in Sexist Rant: Zero Dark Thirty Director Overrated Because She’s “Hot”

Bret Easton Ellis, Kathryn Bigelow

Joe Kohen/WireImage, Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Bret Easton Ellis has never been one to hold back his opinions on Twitter (see: Paris HiltonMatt Bomer).

Now, he’s directing his 140-character vitriol at a most unlikely of targets: Zero Dark Thirtyhelmer Kathryn Bigelow.

The motormouthed author took to Twitter Wednesday night to slam the filmmaker—the first woman to win an Oscar for Best Director—for her success mainly because of her gender.

Oh, yes: He went there.

[ click to continue reading at E! ]

Posted on December 6, 2012 by Editor

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Brubeck Gone

from Pioneer Press (photo from The Chicago Tribune)

Dave Brubeck, legendary jazz composer and pianist, dies at 91 (w/ video)

By Richard Scheinin / Mercury News

To see pianist Dave Brubeck in recent years — up on stage, say, at the Monterey Jazz Festival, striding with his band through “Take Five,” his seminal tune — one might have thought he would play forever. That thick shock of white hair. That electric smile. Those sturdy fingers on the keys.

But Brubeck, one of the legends of jazz and American music, generally, died today in Connecticut, one day short of his 92nd birthday. He was on his way to a doctor’s appointment with his son, Darius, also a musician. And so ended the life of this musical voyager, who was born in Concord, California, grew up the son of an East Bay cattle rancher, took piano lessons from his mother, and went on to become the composer of jazz standards, ballet music and oratorios, active until a fine old age. He was a legend, on the cover of Time magazine in 1954, the recipient of many honors, including the National Medal of Arts in 1994.

[ click to continue reading at ]

Posted on December 5, 2012 by Editor

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from The New York Times

[ click to read at ]

Posted on December 4, 2012 by Editor

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Rothko Rocks Both Grapes & Gold

from artnet

[ click to read at ]

Posted on December 3, 2012 by Editor

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Peanut Cheese

from The New Yorker


Posted by Jon Michaud


Shipped off to boarding school in England during the Great Depression, the twelve-year-old William F. Buckley, Jr., was sustained by regular care packages from his father. The biweekly deliveries contained a case of grapefruit and a large jar of peanut butter. In a 1981 essay titled “In the Thrall of an Addiction,” Buckley recalled that his British schoolmates “grabbed instinctively for the grapefruit—but one after another actually spit out the peanut butter.” No wonder, he sneered, “they needed help to win the war.”

Half a century later, when I left Washington, D.C., for school in Northern Ireland, I packed my bags with jars of Skippy. Not much had changed. “Mashed peanuts on bread?” my friends in Belfast asked, incredulously—as if peanuts were synonymous with maggots. The American love of peanut butter is as mystifying to many Britons as the British love of Marmite (yeast extract on toast?) is to me, but, as Jon Krampner writes in “Creamy & Crunchy,” his enjoyable and informative new history of peanut butter, there are plenty of other countries that adore the crushed goober pea. Canadians eat it for breakfast; Haitians call it mamba and buy it, freshly pulverized, from street vendors; it is popular in the Netherlands, where it is known as pindakaas, or peanut cheese. Peanut butter is also increasingly found in the Saudi Arabian diet, thanks, in part, to expatriate oil workers. Nevertheless, it remains, in Krampner’s phrase, an “all-American food.”

[ click to continue reading at The New Yorker ]

Posted on December 2, 2012 by Editor

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The Greatest Hip-Hop Album Ever

from LA Weekly

The Making of The Chronic

By Ben Westhoff

Dr. Dre’s seminal 1992 album, The Chronic, turns 20 next month. Though a sensation upon its release, the raw-but-melodic work’s legend has only grown in the ensuing decades, and today seemingly every MC-producer duo fancies itself the next Dre and Snoop Dogg. It has become the most influential rap work ever made, and perhaps even the greatest, as Jeff Weiss argues.

See also: *Top 20 Greatest L.A. Rap Albums
*The Chronic: The Greatest Album In Rap History

But it almost never happened. Despite the success Dre had experienced with N.W.A, he was entangled in contractual problems with his former crewmate Eazy-E’s label. For that reason, as well as Death Row’s dodgy reputation, The Chronic had a hard time finding release. It took the shepherding of renegade upstart Interscope Records, the financing of convicted drug kingpin Michael Harris and the steady hand of Suge Knight, an intimidating former defensive end, to give it life.

Xenon Pictures,Welcome to Death Row: The Rise and Fall of Death Row Records, tells the story of Knight’s infamous imprint, as well as the rise of Snoop and Tupac Shakur. Its producers — Jeff Scheftel, Leigh Savidge and Steve Housden — gained unprecedented access to Harris while he was behind bars. They also spoke with some 100 other figures associated with the label, from publicists and drug dealers to Chronic performers.

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Posted on December 1, 2012 by Editor

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