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Bart/Easton-Ellis: COVID Could Bring Back Film

from MovieMaker

Peter Bart Predicts 1960s-Style ‘Reinvention’ of Movies


By Tim Molloy

Peter Bart The Godfather

Peter Bart, who helped oversee films including Rosemary’s Baby and The Godfather, says he believes cinema is ready for a “reinvention” like the one of the late 1960s that spawned the brilliant films of the following decade.

Bart, who helped his friend Robert Evans lead Paramount in a bold new direction after audiences dwindled in the mid-1960s, says on the latest Bret Easton Ellis Podcast that the movie business is in a similarly dark place now to the one it was in then.

“Due to the pandemic and other factors, the movie business has simply lost its audience… because of the virus, but also the movies were beginning to lose interest. And I think now, as then, there will be a reinvention situation,” said Bart, 88.

“The difference, of course, and this is an importance difference, is the mid-60s were characterized by certain amazing developments,” Bart said. “Society was beginning to change, and the movies had to come along and somehow change in a way that showed understanding of that societal change.”

[ click to continue reading at MovieMaker ]

Posted on September 28, 2020 by Editor

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Sign O’ the New Times

from SPIN

Prince Collaborators Reflect on 1987 Opus ‘Sign O’ the Times’

“[Ideas] just flowed out of him like he was a conduit to the universe,” says Revolution keyboardist Matt Fink 

by Ron Hart

Prince
CREDIT: Fryderyk Gabowicz/picture alliance via Getty Images

By the mid-80s, Prince was a global superstar thanks to the worldwide success of 1984’s Purple Rain

So when he started work on his follow-up — eventually released on March 31, 1987 as the double-LP Sign O’ the Times — it came amidst a creative tsunami that saw two more classic albums with his longtime band the Revolution (1985’s Around The World in A Day and the following year’s Parade), the 1986 film Under The Cherry Moon and three ultimately shelved titles (Dream Factory, Camille and Crystal Ball).

For those who worked closest to him during this period, including Revolution keyboard wizard Matt Fink (aka Dr. Fink), longtime engineer Susan Rogers and bassist Levi Seacer, Jr., it was astounding to see such a voluminous output from Prince during this time.

“His creative mind is just so wild,” Fink tells SPIN. “Like he was always thinking of stuff. He was always thinking and conjuring up ideas. It just flowed out of him like he was a conduit to the universe. He was a muse of the universe.”

“I had a lot of personal time with him,” Seacer explains. “And when I was with him by himself, it was really like sitting with one of your regular buddies. And it was so interesting being around somebody whose fountain was just overflowing with creativity, and then you go back into the real world and everybody’s fountains are cut off. So what he was good at was trying to encourage you to open that fountain and say, ‘Hey, you got a lot in there; why don’t you just let it out so you can put more in?’ I didn’t realize I could actually do all of that. And when you do that, you can really find out who you are, and then that faucet don’t stop flowing.” 

[ click to continue reading at SPIN ]

Posted on September 27, 2020 by Editor

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Harry Evans Gone

from Showbiz 411

Harold Evans Dies at 92, Pioneering Editor Who Stood up to Rupert Murdoch, Ran US News, Random House, NY Daily News

by Roger Friedman

Harry Evans has been on my mind for a month. Isn’t it weird when that happens? I felt like something was wrong. This was the first year I hadn’t seen Harry since I met him in 1985. Several times I looked up his number intending to call him and didn’t. And now it’s too late. Harry has left us at age 92, dead from congestive heart failure.

I call him Harry but he’s Harold Evans, former editor of the Times of London who stood up to Rupert Murdoch, was fired and wrote a great book about the experience called “Good Times, Bad Times.” His second wife, almost 30 years his junior, was Tina Brown, the young hot shot editor of Tatler magazine in London. They moved to New York in 1982. Tina took over the just-revived and failing Vanity Fair. Harry took several jobs with Mort Zuckerman, owner of US News, then the Daily News, and Atlantic Monthly Press books, a venerable publishing company. They became the hottest media couple in the world.

AMP is where I met Harry. He hired me to be publicity director. In a short time he’d shaken up the place, contracted for a number of non fiction books by name writers. The biggest project was “Je Suis Le Cahier,” the first ever publication of Picasso’s notebooks which would accompany a huge exhibition at the Pace Gallery. The day I met Harry he was 58 years old and was like a little spitfire. Wiry and tiny, he was constantly in motion. He was unlike everyone I’d encountered in the book business, which was staid and lazy.

“What should we do with Picasso?” he asked me. I said, well, Picasso’s daughter, Paloma, is famous for making perfume and jewelry. Maybe she could help us and do some publicity? You’re right! he cried. He ran into his office, pulling me, and called Tina at Vanity Fair to get Paloma’s phone number. Within seconds we had this woman on the phone, made a lunch date at the very snazzy Four Seasons. My head was spinning. What just happened? Everything was about to change, fast.

[ click to continue reading at Showbiz 411 ]

Posted on September 25, 2020 by Editor

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Loving Music & Loathing Bullshit

from Tablet

The Great Stanley Crouch

An American immigrant jazz buff expresses his gratitude to a supremely gifted critic who loved the music and loathed bullshit

BY TONY BADRAN

If I had to name the one writer who was most pivotal for me and for my full assimilation in America, it would undoubtedly be Stanley Crouch, the famed jazz and cultural critic who died last Wednesday in New York at age 74. At this moment in American life, where anything and everything that identifies us and binds us as Americans is under direct assault, Crouch is perhaps more essential than ever, and his passing all the more devastating.

Perhaps even more than Albert Murray and Ralph Ellison, Crouch tied it all together for me. He had a terrific ear for the music I love, and his uncompromising pugnacious style spoke to me directly. For someone who came to America from a sectarian Third World society, his commentary on the Balkanization of America was penetrating and, as we’re seeing today, scarily pertinent.

Crouch had no patience for the self-pitying race politics of grievance and authenticity. He saw it as a hustle and had nothing but contempt for its toxic sales pitch. He arrived at this conviction the hard way, as he explains in the prologue to his fabulous Considering Genius:

The tribal appeal is always great and there is nothing more tempting to the most gullible members of a minority group than suddenly hearing that, merely by being born, one is not innately inferior to the majority but part of an unacknowledged elite. I was not so sophisticated that I could avoid the pull of those ideas and found myself reading all kinds of books about Africa, and African customs and religion. … I would have been pulled all the way into the maw of subthought, from which it might have taken longer to emerge if Jayne Cortez hadn’t introduced me to Ralph Ellison’s Shadow and Act. … Unlike those younger black people who were busy jettisoning their heritage as Americans and Western people—both of which brought the built-in option of criticism—Ellison took the place of his ethnic group and himself as firm parts of American life and a fresh development in Western culture.

This affirmation of Americanness in the face of all tribal impulses, “ethnic narcissism,” and Balkanization, reflects the influence of Ellison and Murray, and their realization, in Crouch’s words, that “America is a land of synthesis.” In The Omni-Americans, Murray builds on Constance Rourke’s description of the composite nature of the American character—“part Yankee, part backwoodsman and Indian, and part Negro.” Blackness, in other words, is a foundational element of the American national character, meaning that all Americans are culturally part Black, whether they like it or not, and that appeals to racial or cultural purity—by anyone, regardless of skin color or claimed ancestry—are sheer nonsense.

Like America, its vernacular aesthetic expression, jazz, is also a composite, an experiment in hybridity. And like America, the Black element in jazz is foundational—not something that needs special pleading or diversity coaches to promote inclusion. Crouch was uncompromising on this point. He fought vigorously against any attempt to remove from its definition the core elements of jazz, which were the contribution of Black artists—blues and swing.

[ click to continue reading at Tablet ]

Posted on September 22, 2020 by Editor

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Vote The Assholes Out

from The LA Times

The story behind that Patagonia tag, and how the Trump era changed outdoor recreation

By SAMMY ROTH

The words "Vote the assholes out" stitched on the underside of a white tag on a pair of shorts
A provocative tag on a limited-edition pair of Patagonia’s Stand Up shorts. (Patagonia)

Browse Patagonia’s online shop, and you’ll find T-shirts condemning Big Oil, encouraging people to vote with planet Earth in mind and declaring that when it comes to wilderness, Americans must “defend it or lose it.”

But the company is getting far more attention for a cheeky, hidden message that appears only on the tag of a limited-edition pair of shorts, in tiny print.

The message: “VOTE THE ASSHOLES OUT.”

The label, which went viral on Twitter, was only the latest Trump-era call to action from Patagonia. The company has responded to the federal government’s environmental rollbacks with increasingly vocal campaigns to protect the country’s public lands — and yes, it says the four-word message applies to the president, along with other politicians who refuse to act on climate change.

[ click to continue reading at LAT ]

Posted on September 21, 2020 by Editor

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Ripe giant sperm found in female ostracod

from The Evening Standard

100-million-year-old giant sperm found fossilised in amber could be oldest ever

by HARRIET BREWIS

The sperm was found in a mussel-like creature which got trapped in resin some 100 million years ago ( PA )

An international team of palaeontologists unearthed the “spectacular find”, which was preserved inside a female crustacean.

They believe the mussel-like creature mated shortly before becoming trapped in the resin.

Their findings, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, provide “an extremely rare opportunity” to learn more about the evolution of the reproductive process, they said.

Until now the oldest known fossilised sperm was found inside a 50-million-year-old worm cocoon from Antarctica.

The crustacean, a new species of ostracod called Myanmarcypris hui, is thought to have lived in coastal and inland waters of what is now Myanmar.

It would have been surrounded by trees that released huge amounts of resin.

While a majority of male animal species, including humans, produce large quantities of very small sperm to increase chances of fertilisation, there are exceptions.

Some creatures, such as fruit flies and modern-day ostracods, produce a small number of oversized sperm, with tails several times longer than the animal itself.

In these cases, the researchers say, chances of fertilising an ovum can increase with the size of the sperm cell.

[ click to continue reading at Evening Standard ]

Posted on September 18, 2020 by Editor

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Eaten By Mycelium

from VICE

This ‘Living’ Coffin Uses Mushrooms to Compost Dead Bodies

The ‘Living Cocoon’ has already been used in one burial, at the Hague

By Becky Ferreira

HENDRIKX WITH THE ‘LIVING COCOON’ COFFINS.
IMAGE: BOB HENDRIKX — LOOP BIOTECH

For tens of thousands of years, humans have developed funeral rites and burial practices that reflected the attitudes of their particular time and place. These traditions of honoring the dead continue to evolve into the 21st century, as people seek “green burials” that are more environmentally friendly than standard coffins. 

One of the newest examples comes from Loop, a Dutch biotech company that recently unveiled a biodegradable coffin made of fungus, microbes and plant roots. Called the “Living Cocoon,” the coffin is designed to hasten bodily decomposition while also enriching soil around the plot.

“Normally, what we do as humans is we take something out of nature, we kill it, and we use it,” said Bob Hendrikx, founder of Loop, in a call. “So I thought: what if we humans start moving from working with dead materials toward a world in which we work with living materials?”

“We would not only become less of a parasite, but we could also start exploring super-cool material properties, like living lights, walls that are self-healing, and that kind of stuff,” he added.

Hendrikx was inspired to develop the Living Cocoon while presenting a living home concept at last year’s Dutch Design Week. While houses are obviously for the living, Hendrikx got to thinking about adapting the concept into a coffin powered by mushroom mycelium, which is the filamentary vegetative part of the fungus.

“Mycelium is nature’s biggest recycler,” Hendrikx said. “It is continuously looking for dead organic matter to transform into key nutrients.” 

[ continue reading at VICE ]

Posted on September 17, 2020 by Editor

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The Oldest Foot

from AFP via Yahoo! News

Human footprints dating back 120,000 years found in Saudi Arabia

Issam AHMED, AFP

This undated handout photo obtained September 16, 2020 shows the first human footprint discovered at the Alathar ancient lake

Around 120,000 years ago in what is now northern Saudi Arabia, a small band of homo sapiens stopped to drink and forage at a shallow lake that was also frequented by camels, buffalo, and elephants bigger than any species seen today.

The people may have hunted the large mammals but they did not stay long, using the watering hole as a waypoint on a longer journey.

This detailed scene was reconstructed by researchers in a new study published in Science Advances on Wednesday, following the discovery of ancient human and animal footprints in the Nefud Desert that shed new light on the routes our ancient ancestors took as they spread out of Africa.

Today, the Arabian Peninsula is characterized by vast, arid deserts that would have been inhospitable to early people and the animals they hunted down.

[ click to continue reading at Yahoo! News ]

Posted on September 16, 2020 by Editor

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Toots Hibbert Gone

from DEADLINE

Toots Hibbert Dies: Reggae Artist Credited With Naming The Genre Was 77

By Bruce Haring

His death comes days after his group released its first full-length LP and new album in ten years, titled Got to Be Tough. The recording features contributions from Ringo Starr and Ziggy Marley.

Hibbert met Henry ‘Raleigh’ Gordon and Nathaniel ‘Jerry’ in 1962 shortly after he moved to Kingston. They formed the band Toots and the Maytals. Their 1969 recording, Pressure Drop, was instrumental in breaking the band worldwide after it was used in the seminal 1972 reggae film The Harder They Come. 

Before that, Toots and the Maytals released a 1968 song, Do the Reggay, which is credited with giving the musical genre its name.

[ click to continue reading at DEADLINE ]

Posted on September 13, 2020 by Editor

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Forrest Fenn Gone

from artnet

Forrest Fenn, the Eccentric New Mexico Art Dealer Who Buried Treasure for Explorers in the Rocky Mountains, Has Died at 90

Fenn’s $2 million treasure was reportedly found in June.

by Sarah Cascone

Forrest Fenn. Courtesy of Forrest Fenn.
Forrest Fenn. Courtesy of Forrest Fenn.

Just months after revealing that an intrepid explorer had finally solved the 10-year-old treasure hunt he plotted, New Mexico art and antiquities dealer Forrest Fenn has died. He was 90 years old.

Fenn filled his 12th-century bronze treasure chest with golden nuggets, gemstones, and pre-Columbian antiquities from his personal collection. Together, the box and its contents were said to be worth $2 million.

To announce the hunt, Fenn included a cryptic 24-line poem with clues to its location in The Thrill of the Chase, his self-published 2010 memoir. He claimed the goal was to get people off their couches in search of adventure.

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on September 12, 2020 by Editor

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As Slow As Possible

from OBSERVER

John Cage’s 639-Year-Long Organ Concert Attracts a Crowd in Germany

By Helen Holmes

Artists of many different mediums have always loved to play with the concepts of time and duration, and legendary composer and conceptualist John Cage is no different. On September 5, 2001, one of the composer’s final projects was launched to the world: the slowest concert ever composed. Organ2/ASLSP (As Slow as Possible) is a musical piece by Cage that was originally conceived in 1987 and which is expected to take 639 years to be completed, meaning that if things proceed on schedule, the performance will come to an end in 2640. Over the weekend, on Saturday, spectators gathered in Halberstadt, Germany’s St. Burchardi Church to bear witness to the first sonic change in Cage’s composition to take place in seven years.

Specifically, since 2013, an organ in the aforementioned church has been playing the same note in Cage’s composition. In order for the organ’s notes to change, two new pipes, playing the notes g sharp and e, were added to the apparatus on Saturday in front of an audience of hundreds and captured for remote viewers in a livestream hosted by the John Cage ASLSP project which lasted a grand total of four hours.

[ click to continue reading at OBSERVER ]

Posted on September 10, 2020 by Editor

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Six Months In

from Slate

The Terrifying, Liberating Lesson of the Coronavirus Lockdown

Six months later in America, we’re learning how to live again—and to accept the unimaginable.

By SUSAN MATTHEWS

Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Getty Images Plus.

This is part of Six Months In, a Slate series reflecting on half a year of coronavirus lockdown in America.

A little more than six months ago, I sent a Slack message to Slate’s top editors that said “I think things are about to get really bad, virus-wise. We probably need to start thinking about that.” It was roughly a week before America’s shutdowns began and around the time when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was still telling people “there is more fear, more anxiety, than the facts would justify.” At that point, alongside reporting on some of the basic science of the “novel coronavirus,” Slate had told the stories of a Chinese restaurant devastated by xenophobic fear and a woman who had canceled a $24,000 anniversary cruise, and published dispatches from Italy, which at the time seemed like the darkest possible reflection of what might lie ahead. But still, it felt like no one was quite convinced a pandemic was arriving here.

One week later, much of America started to shut down, in some form or another. Slate started to order its employees to work remotely March 11. President Donald Trump gave a speech from the Oval Office that night about the virus, but it felt like it was the suspension of the NBA season and Tom Hanks’ announcement that he’d tested positive that jolted the public consciousness. As the death toll rose, the warnings from abroad got louder alongside our own public health officials’, and it seemed to finally hit many of us that we had to stay inside, isolated, alone, for real, with the occasional sanity-preserving walk. In a span of a few weeks, we went from trying to tell stories of how the virus had disrupted some people’s lives to realizing that the virus was disrupting everyone’s lives, and would be for some time.

[ click to continue reading at Slate ]

Posted on September 5, 2020 by Editor

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Le Blaine Rouge

from The U.S. Sun

David Blaine Ascension: Incredible moment magician soars 20,000ft above desert ‘holding onto just 52 BALLOONS’

by Fionnuala O’Leary

David Blaine clutched 52 balloons before parachuting towards the ground

INCREDIBLE footage shows the moment David Blaine soared above the desert holding onto a bunch of 52 helium balloons in a stunt that looked straight out of the film Up.

The illusionist parachuted towards the ground after releasing himself from the bunch of balloons on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Blaine returned to solid ground in the Arizona desert after his impressive stunt was a success. 

Blaine was strapped in with a harness as he clutched 52 helium-filled balloons and exceeded his projected altitude of 18,000 feet on Wednesday during the “Ascension” stunt.

[ click to continue reading at The U.S. Sun ]

Posted on September 4, 2020 by Editor

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Gone With The Cold-eyed Realism

from The New Criterion

Knights & their ladies fair

On the cold-eyed realism of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind.

by Bruce Bawer

Just after the opening credits of Gone with the Wind and before the start of the film proper is a title card that reads as follows (ellipses in the original):

There was a land of Cavaliers and Cotton Fields called the Old South . . .

Here in this patrician world the Age of Chivalry took its last bow . . .

Here was the last ever to be seen of Knights and their Ladies Fair, of Master and of Slave . . .

Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered, a Civilization gone with the wind . .

These are four very important sentences, because they’re intended to shape the way we view the entire 238-minute movie. Down through the decades, they’ve continued to serve that function. But those four sentences were not written by Margaret Mitchell, the author of the 1936 novel on which the film was based. They aren’t even remotely based on anything in the novel. On the contrary, when Mitchell first encountered the title card at the film’s Atlanta premiere, according to her biographer, Anne Edwards, she winced. “ ‘Cavalier,’ ” wrote Edwards, “was not a word she liked associated with the South.” The words don’t appear in the final shooting script, credited to Sidney Howard, or in any of the innumerable earlier versions of the screenplay done by other hands (including F. Scott Fitzgerald). Instead, the title card, along with six cards that appear later in the film, was composed by the prolific screenwriter and playwright Ben Hecht at the last-minute instigation of the movie’s producer, David O. Selznick (“i am certain you could bat them out in a few minutes,” Selznick telegraphed), and was slipped into the beginning of the picture a few weeks after its first sneak preview.

Many people who’ve seen Selznick’s movie but who’ve never opened Mitchell’s novel have acquired the impression that the book is just what Hecht’s title-card suggests: a gauzy, romantic take on the pre-war South. In fact, when the novel is mentioned in passing in accounts of the movie, it’s often summed up by a statement to precisely this effect. For example, in a 2005 biography of Hattie McDaniel, who played Mammy in the film, Jill Watts, a professor of film studies at csu San Marcos, wrote that “In Mitchell’s view, the antebellum South was an era of greatness.” In 2004, Matthew Bernstein, a professor of film studies at Emory, described the racial politics of Selznick’s movie as “less-than-progressive,” while adding that “the film is less offensive than Margaret Mitchell’s novel.”

[ click to continue reading at The New Criterion ]

Posted on September 1, 2020 by Editor

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Hopper Hangs With Welles

Posted on August 29, 2020 by Editor

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Better Off Savage Steve

from Inside Hook

How Savage Steve Holland Changed Teen Movies Forever With “Better Off Dead”

A childhood birthday party with a drunk clown changed the course of cinematic history

BY GARIN PIRNIA

On August 23, 1985, Warner Bros. distributed the dark teen comedy Better Off Dead, written and directed by first-time feature director Savage Steve Holland. It starred John Cusack as lovesick Northern California teen Lane Meyer, whose girlfriend, Beth (played by Nightmare on Elm Street’s Amanda Wyss), breaks up with him. He’s so heartbroken about her dating the ski jock Roy Stalin (Aaron Dozier) that Lane repeatedly attempts — and fails — to commit suicide. It was a comedy based on Holland’s own life, and inspired by another dark comedy, 1971’s Harold and Maude.

“When I was 11 years old, I had this birthday party and nobody came to it except for this drunk clown,” Holland tells InsideHook. At California Institute of the Arts, where he attended college, he says people wondered why he was always so sad. “I pinned it on that birthday party,” he says. “That was a first-world problem — I had a shitty birthday party and I was depressed about it. I made it into a movie thinking, ‘What a sad story.’” A film-fest audience viewed his short film, My 11-Year-Old Birthday Party, as a comedy. “People thought it was so pathetic and sad that they were laughing their heads off. That’s how I started my career. I dug into things that sucked in my life, and the girlfriend thing that happened to me was the biggest suck of all.” Though almost every time Lane attempts suicide he reconsiders, Holland thinks the movie couldn’t be made today. “It was dark, but I was trying to find a way out that wasn’t so depressing,” he says. “And Cusack actually helped a lot. He felt the same way about it. You don’t want Lane to be such a loser. He has to go, ‘I have something to live for.’ As long as the jokes played off in the end and you laughed at his attempts, I think we were okay.”

[ click to continue reading at Inside Hook ]

Posted on August 28, 2020 by Editor

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Nekkidness On Netflix

from The Daily Beast

Inside Hollywood’s Long, Strange History of Movie Nudity

by Nick Schager

Though I might like to claim otherwise, I’m no expert on big-screen T&A&D. Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies, however, makes a bid for being the definitive documentary on the subject. Driven by a cornucopia of film clip and talking heads—led by actors, directors, historians and critics—it delivers a thorough chronological timeline of cinematic nakedness. Too bad, then, that when it comes to actually delving into the most interesting aspects of its topic, Danny Wolf’s non-fiction film proves, ahem, skin-deep.

Debuting on VOD on August 18, Skin is most valuable as a survey of movie nudity, ranging from the seminal 1887 work of Eadweard Muybridge to the mainstream BDSM fantasies of 2015’s Fifty Shades of Grey, with just about every other notable example in-between at least briefly mentioned. That means that whatever film first aroused you likely appears in Wolf’s doc, be it silent film star Audrey Munson’s Inspiration (1915), Mae West’s sexual innuendo-laced 1930s output, Cecille B. DeMille’s The Sign of the Cross (1932), Jayne Mansfield’s Promises! Promises! (1963), Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up (1966), Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show (1971), Bernardo Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris (1972), Tinto Brass’ Caligula (1979), Amy Heckerling’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), Paul Verhoeven’s Basic Instinct (1992), or Paul Weitz’s American Pie (1999). For every generation, an iconic unclothed moment is vividly revisited here.

[ click to continue reading at TDB ]

Posted on August 27, 2020 by Editor

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A Timely Failure

from Forbes

The First Clock In America Failed, And It Helped Revolutionize Physics

by Ethan Siegel, Senior Contributor

The schematic of a simple, oscillating pendulum acting under gravity's influence.
A pendulum, so long as the weight is all in the bob at the bottom while air resistance, temperature… KRISHNAVEDALA / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

For nearly three full centuries, the most accurate way that humanity kept track of time was through the pendulum clock. From its initial development in the 17th century until the invention of quartz timepieces in the 1920s, pendulum clocks became staples of household life, enabling people to organize their schedules according to a universally agreed upon standard. Initially invented in the Netherlands by Christian Huygens all the way back in 1656, their early designs were quickly refined to greatly increase their precision.

But when the first pendulum clock was brought to the Americas, something bizarre happened. The clock, which had worked perfectly well at keeping accurate time in Europe, could be synchronized with known astronomical phenomena, like sunset/sunrise and moonset/moonrise. But after only a week or two in the Americas, it was clear that the clock wasn’t keeping time properly. The first clock in America was a complete failure, but that’s only the beginning of a story that would revolutionize our understanding of the physics of planet Earth.

[ click to continue reading at Forbes ]

Posted on August 26, 2020 by Editor

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Teslaplane

from OBSERVER

A Tesla Electric Plane? Elon Musk Hints It’s Not Far Away

By Sissi Cao

Elon Musk first floated the idea of an electric jet two years ago. Saul Martinez/Getty Images

Elon Musk once said that one day, “all transportation will be electric, except for rockets.” Yes, that even includes airplanes, which have long been on his list of things to electrify.

The Tesla CEO first floated the idea in an interview in September 2018. The plane he envisioned was a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicle capable of flying at supersonic speeds at high altitudes.

The idea has largely remained a far-fetched dream because in order for Musk’s design to work, the plane would require a battery with an energy density higher than 400 Wh/kg. Tesla’s newest batteries, Panasonic’s “2170” batteries used in Model 3 cars, can only achieve an energy density of around 260Wh/kg.

But Tesla is working to increase that capacity at unprecedented speed right now. In a new exchange with ARK Investment analyst Sam Korus on Twitter, Musk said Tesla may be able to achieve volume production of 400wh/kg batteries in just three to four years.

[ click to continue reading at OBSERVER ]

Posted on August 25, 2020 by Editor

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Neuralink

from Teslarati

Elon Musk to unveil Neuralink progress with real-time neuron demonstration this week

by Dacia J. Ferris

Neuralink’s surgical robot and an example of a wearable device for transmitting neuron information. (Photo: Neuralink)

Elon Musk’s brain-machine interface company, Neuralink, has an event scheduled for later this week to update the public on its progress since last year’s presentation. While the agenda is speculative for the most part, one expectation is a live demonstration of neuron activity.

“Will show neurons firing in real-time on August 28th. The matrix in the matrix,” Musk tweeted at the end of July.

He also revealed a few other clues about the early fall announcement at the beginning of the year. “Wait until you see the next version vs what was presented last year. It’s *awesome*,” he wrote in February. “The profound impact of high bandwidth, high precision neural interfaces is underappreciated. Neuralink may have this in a human as soon as this year. Just needs to be unequivocally better than Utah Array, which is already in some humans & has severe drawbacks.”

As its name implies, the roles of neuron activities are very important to Neuralink’s technology. The venture’s long-term goal of obtaining human symbiosis with artificial intelligence (AI) begins by connecting electrodes throughout the brain and reading its neuron signals en masse. Gathering huge amounts of data from the signals gradually teaches Neuralink’s software how they are used by the brain to communicate with the rest of the body, ultimately leading to a certain amount of replication and direction. The possibilities of such a capability seem endless.

[ click to continue reading at Teslarati ]

Posted on August 24, 2020 by Editor

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The Magic Knife

from ADWEEK

A Knife Brand Brilliantly Used Rust to Create an Outdoor Ad Highlighting Its Durability

The corrosion of the outdoor ad is made to contrast with the product in the center

BY PATRICK KULP

The billboard gradually rusted to reveal the silver silhouette of a knife. JCDecaux

Austrian manufacturer Tyrolit may have confused some people on the streets of Vienna when it first posted a blank sheet of metal bearing only a small brand name as a billboard.

But over the course of the next few weeks, the display would gradually rust to reveal the silver silhouette of a knife at the center and the tagline “Flawless Forever,” sealed behind a protective layer amid an expanse of reddish brown corrosion. 

The clever use of media, which was orchestrated in collaboration with agency Heimat’s office in Wien, Austria, is designed to demonstrate the durability of the Swarovski Group-owned brand’s Iceline line of cutlery.

[ click to continue reading at ADWEEK ]

Posted on August 23, 2020 by Editor

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I Heart UFOs

from Rolling Stone

How UFO culture took over America

by Stephen Rodrick

Aliens tom delonge ufo area 51
Illustration by Sean McCabe for Rolling Stone. Images in illustration by Getty Images

Aliens are calling me, but first I have to buy Lunchables. Soon, I’ll be heading into the Nevada desert. I will not be alone. It is pre-pandemic September, and tens of thousands of seekers are reported to be descending on Hiko and Rachel, two no-stoplight towns 150 miles north of Las Vegas. The two map specks are the closest civilian outposts to Area 51, a highly guarded military installation where, legend says, a hangar holds a gravity-propelled craft that travels between galaxies and through wormholes based on technology acquired from aliens and, according to one rock star, Nazi scientists who escaped to Argentina.

[ click to continue reading at RS ]

Posted on August 22, 2020 by Editor

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Double Cheese is a $1.50 Extra

from CBS Los Angeles

Business Booming At Local Pizzerias Even As Cheese, Pepperoni Harder To Come By

By CBSLA Staff

PASADENA (CBSLA) — In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, there have been shortages of toilet paper, hand sanitizer and coins, but now some pizza places are reporting a shortage of pepperoni and higher prices for cheese.

“The price has gone up,” David Valian, owner of Big Mama’s and Papa’s Pizza, said. “I think since there’s like a meat shortage going around.”

The thin slice of meat — a mix of pork and beef — is the number one pizza topping according to an industry resource, and its one that the popular Pasadena joint has run into issues keeping in stock.

“A couple of weeks ago, we were having some trouble sourcing pepperoni,” Valian said. “We always have to go back and try to find more.”

[ click to continue reading at CBS LA ]

Posted on August 16, 2020 by Editor

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Paranoiac Pakula

from Inside Hook

What the Paranoid ’70s Thrillers of Alan J. Pakula Can Teach Us About 2020

Revisiting the American director’s “Klute,” “All the President’s Men” and “The Parallax View”

BY MONICA CASTILLO

Alan J. Pakula’s 1970s “paranoia trilogy” connects to 2020.
Alan J. Pakula’s 1970s “paranoia trilogy” connects to 2020.

Early in The Parallax View, reporter Joe Frady (Warren Beatty) chases after clues to a string of mysterious deaths in a remote fishing town. The locals don’t take kindly to the outsider asking questions, but the friendly sheriff intervenes and offers to take Frady to the spot where one of the victims drowned. Even though it looks like Joe’s relieved for a break in his story, he’s still on guard, nervously surveying the way people are looking at him and doubting the sheriff’s assuring grin. Something’s not right. When the sheriff takes Joe to the river, he pulls a gun, and it’s up to Joe to figure a way out of a conspiracy into which he’s suddenly thrust. 

That heightened sense that no one can be trusted and that there are greater invisible forces at work help give Alan J. Pakula’s “paranoia trilogy” of the 1970s its moniker. Starting with Klute in 1971, followed by The Parallax Viewin 1974, and ending with All the President’s Men in 1976, Pakula’s films paint a bleak picture of a nation united in chaos. These movies reacted to the tumult ushered in by the Watergate scandal. The Pentagon Papers had revealed a number of ugly truths about the Vietnam War and exposed the existence of COINTELPRO, an illegal FBI surveillance program that intended to destabilize leftist political groups. One of Pakula’s films reckons with the ordeal explicitly: in All the President’s MenWashington Post reporters Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) and Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) piece together the full story behind the Watergate breakin. The other two are more subtle in their approach. In Klute, sex worker Bree Daniels (Jane Fonda) quickly learns that she can’t rely on police protection to rid her of a dangerous stalker.

[ click to continue reading at Inside Hook ]

Posted on August 15, 2020 by Editor

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Roaring 20 II

from The Wall Street Journal

Coronavirus Lockdowns Usher In the New Roaring ’20s

An underground social economy is growing to escape state prohibitions.

By Allysia Finley

Opinion: Progressives to Cities: Drop Dead

States with strict coronavirus lockdowns seem to be reliving the Roaring ’20s. Alcohol is legal in the 21st century’s version of Prohibition, but with restaurants, bars and other social spaces shut down, governors in California, New Jersey and New York are struggling to crack down on illicit summer soirees and speakeasies. 

As in the 1920s, driving gatherings underground has encouraged other illicit behavior, including violence. Last week police busted up a party at a Santa Monica, Calif., mansion with hundreds of revelers….

[ click to continue reading at WSJ ]

Posted on August 14, 2020 by Editor

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Everyday Strangers

from DNyuz

The Benefits of Talking to Strangers

I’m a lifelong extrovert who readily establishes and relishes casual contacts with people I encounter during daily life: while walking my dog, shopping for groceries, working out at the Y, even sweeping my sidewalk. These ephemeral connections add variety to my life, are a source of useful information and often provide needed emotional and physical support. Equally important, they nearly always leave me with a smile on my face (although now hidden under a mask!).

In recent months, under stay-at-home orders because of the coronavirus pandemic, many people lost such daily encounters. I, on the other hand, have done my best to maintain as many of them as possible while striving to remain safe. With in-person time with family and close friends now limited by a mutual desire to avoid exposure to Covid-19, the brief socially distant contacts with people in my neighborhood, both those I’ve known casually for years and others I just met, have been crucial to my emotional and practical well-being and maybe even my health.

The benefits I associate with my casual connections were reinforced recently by a fortuitous find. During a Covid-inspired cleanup I stumbled upon a book in my library called “Consequential Strangers: The Power of People Who Don’t Seem to Matter … But Really Do.” Published 11 years ago, this enlightening tome was written by Melinda Blau, a science writer, and Karen L. Fingerman, currently a professor of psychology at the University of Texas, Austin, who studies the nature and effects of so-called weak ties that people have with others in their lives: the barista who fetches their coffee, the person who cuts their hair, the proprietor of the local market, the folks they see often at the gym or train station.

In an interview, Dr. Fingerman noted that casual connections with people encountered in the course of daily life can give people a feeling that they belong to a community, which she described as “a basic human need.”

[ click to continue reading at DNyuz ]

Posted on August 3, 2020 by Editor

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Rockers CIA

from The Daily Beast

CIA, Guns, and Rasta: Inside the Making of Reggae’s Most Iconic Film

Rockers is an absolutely wild movie with a backstory that’s much, much wilder.

by Patricia Meschino

Rockers is, arguably, the finest reggae movie ever made. 

The 1978 film tells the story of a financially struggling drummer, Leroy “Horsemouth” Wallace (portraying himself), who buys a motorbike with the intention of making extra money by distributing producers’ records to shops across the island. When the bike is stolen by an upper-class organized crime ring, Horsemouth and his friends set out to retrieve it and take back most of the criminals’ ill-gotten goods and distribute them to Kingston’s ghetto dwellers.

The skeletal plot is best summarized as a Jamaican reinterpretation of the legend of Robin Hood meets Italian director Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves, yet Rockers mesmerizes as a kaleidoscopic view of late ’70s reggae, one of the most fascinating eras in Jamaican music’s trajectory, and in its respectful, almost mystical presentation of Rastafarian culture, a relatively unknown way of life at the time of the film’s international debut. 

Made on a budget of $250,000 and directed by Theodoros “Ted” Bafaloukos, Rockers caused a near riot at the Cannes Film Festival in 1979 when crowds clamoring for tickets to the four scheduled sold-out screenings jammed the streets surrounding the theater and refused to leave. A review in the French daily Le Monde enthused, “Rockers is not a film, it is a work of art. So good it is difficult to believe, yet it is real.”

Rockers secured U.S. distribution in 1980; 40 years later, the film continues to be widely screened, critically lauded, and now, meticulously documented in a spectacular 320-page coffee table book, published by Gingko Press. Rockers: The Making of Reggae’s Most Iconic Film, was initially written by Bafaloukos in 2005 (he died in 2016 at age 70, due to complications from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma). Featuring many previously unseen, stunning black and white and color photos taken in New York City and throughout his travels to Jamaica in the mid to late ’70s, the Rockers book chronicles Bafaloukos’ personal narrative as vividly and insightfully as it does the landmark film bearing its name.

[ click to continue reading at TDB ]

Posted on August 2, 2020 by Editor

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Evel Toys

Posted on August 1, 2020 by Editor

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Sunshine Of The Eternal Bob Ross

from The Atlantic

Why Is Bob Ross Still So Popular?

Twenty-five years after his death, the painter who gave us “happy little trees” is more ubiquitous than ever.

Story by  Michael J. Mooney

“Every day’s a good day when you paint.” —Bob Ross (1942–1995)

Staring at the empty canvas on the easel in front of me, I couldn’t understand how this—nothing—might somehow transform into even a rough approximation of the Bob Ross painting we were using as a model. That painting was classic Bob Ross: a snowy landscape bursting with color, a world of glimmering trees and vibrant shrubs around a slick, icy pond. Gazing at it evoked that feeling you get sitting by a fire on a crisp, cold night. No way I could make anything like that.

I was in a room on the side of a big-box craft store in the suburbs north of Dallas, about to start a class taught by John Fowler, a Bob Ross–certified instructor—which means that he spent three weeks in Florida learning the wet-on-wet painting technique Ross employed on television. A tall, bespectacled man in his 60s, with a light beard and a deep voice and soothing cadence reminiscent of Ross himself, John explained that he has a few things in common with the puffy-haired painter. They both spent many years in the Air Force, for example, and both retired with the rank of master sergeant. I’d learn he also uses some Bob Ross vernacular, sprinkling instructions with expressions such as “We don’t make mistakes, we just have happy accidents.”

[ click to continue reading at The Atlantic ]

Posted on July 28, 2020 by Editor

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The Immune Among Us

from BBC

The people with hidden immunity against Covid-19

By Zaria Gorvett

There's growing evidence that some people might have a hidden reservoir of protection from Covid-19 (Credit: Getty Images)
There’s growing evidence that some people might have a hidden reservoir of protection from Covid-19 (Credit: Getty Images)

While the latest research suggests that antibodies against Covid-19 could be lost in just three months, a new hope has appeared on the horizon: the enigmatic T cell.T

The clues have been mounting for a while. First, scientists discovered patients who had recovered from infection with Covid-19, but mysteriously didn’t have any antibodies against it. Next it emerged that this might be the case for a significant number of people. Then came the finding that many of those who do develop antibodies seem to lose them again after just a few months.

In short, though antibodies have proved invaluable for tracking the spread of the pandemic, they might not have the leading role in immunity that we once thought. If we are going to acquire long-term protection, it looks increasingly like it might have to come from somewhere else.  

But while the world has been preoccupied with antibodies, researchers have started to realise that there might be another form of immunity – one which, in some cases, has been lurking undetected in the body for years. An enigmatic type of white blood cell is gaining prominence. And though it hasn’t previously featured heavily in the public consciousness, it may well prove to be crucial in our fight against Covid-19. This could be the T cell’s big moment.

[ click to continue reading at BBC ]

Posted on July 24, 2020 by Editor

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A Wrinkle In Picasso

from The Sun

Secret Picasso painting found HIDDEN beneath famous artwork – after strange ‘wrinkle’ was spotted

by Harry Pettit

A sketch of a pitcher, mug and what appears to be a newspaper propped up against a table or chair has been found hidden under Pablo Picasso’s painting, Still Life

DRAWINGS by legendary artist Pablo Picasso have been discovered hidden beneath one of his most famous paintings.

The sketches of a mug and what could be a newspaper were scribbled on a canvas eventually used by the Spanish genius for his 1922 work “Still Life”.

Picasso, who is thought to have made roughly 50,000 artworks during his lifetime, was known to reuse canvases by painting over previous drawings.

The new find by researchers at the Art Institute of Chicago is unusual in that he appears to have blocked the drawing from view using a “thick white layer” of paint before crafting the abstract piece, Live Science reports.

[ click to continue reading in The Sun ]

Posted on July 23, 2020 by Editor

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Stone on SCARFACE

from MovieMaker

When Scarface Was In Trouble: Oliver Stone Looks Back in An Exclusive Excerpt From Chasing the Light

By Oliver Stone

Before Scarface launched a boatload of T-shirts, posters, memes, and dubious imitations of Al Pacino’s cocainized Tony Montana, the film, written by Oliver Stone, was just a movie in trouble. 

In this excerpt from his new memoir Chasing the Light: Writing, Directing, and Surviving Platoon, Midnight Express, Scarface, Salvador, and The Movie Game, Oliver Stone recalls how he found himself caught between Pacino, Scarface director Brian De Palma, and Scarface producer Marty Bregman after a rough-cut screening of the movie that would soon become beloved as a classic of ’80s excess. Everything would work out, of course—in just a few years, Oliver Stone won the Academy Award for Best Director for Platoon, which also won Best Picture. Pacino and Bregman continued their long professional collaboration with Sea of Love and another De Palma film, Carlito’s Way

De Palma’s next film after Scarface was Body Double, another very ’80s, freakishly watchable film that wasn’t an immediate success but has earned a ravenous cult following. And soon after he made another Al Capone-indebted gangster epic (one that got more initial respect than Scarface), The Untouchables. Stone eventually reunited with Pacino, this time as a director, in the adrenalized but surprisingly affectionate Any Given Sunday, another Miami-set tale of machismo, greed, and desperation. 

Here’s Oliver Stone, recalling that fateful screening.

[ click to continue reading at MovieMaker ]

Posted on July 21, 2020 by Editor

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Back To The Horror

from The Atlantic

Why Low-Budget Horror Is Thriving This Summer

These dirt-cheap productions are making money, finding eager audiences, and garnering critical praise during a largely dead box-office season.

by DAVID SIMS

The gory thrills of Becky make the film solid drive-in theater viewing. QUIVER

Only during a global pandemic would the biggest film in the U.S. be not a superhero blockbuster or a Fast and the Furious sequel, but a low-budget horror movie about a teenage boy in the suburbs doing battle with a witch living next door. Thanks to the coronavirus disrupting the usual summer release schedule, The Wretched now belongs to a tiny group of films that have topped the U.S. box office for five weekends in a row, including Titanic and Avatar. Yes, those massive movies made a little more money (The Wretched pulled in a healthy $1.7 million at drive-in theaters) and faced slightly tougher competition. But it’s still surreal to acknowledge that, for the entire month of May, cinemagoers were most drawn to a weird little film with a naked woman wearing a deer skull on its poster.

And yet, most of the other films that have conquered the box office this summer are also dirt-cheap horror efforts: Becky, which features the comedy star Kevin James as a murderous neo-Nazi; Followed, a haunted-house thriller that plays out entirely on a computer screen; and, most recently, Relic, an Australian horror drama that was well received at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Under normal circumstances, these films would’ve followed a similar release pattern—a limited U.S. theatrical run combined with instant availability to rent online. Now they’re practically the only new films available for viewing at the country’s outdoor screens, with regular theaters shut down by the pandemic. It turns out that inexpensive horror flicks, which have been part of the Hollywood ecosystem as long as cinema has existed, are thriving as a result of a sparse film landscape and a largely quarantined moviegoing populace.

[ click to continue reading at The Atlantic ]

Posted on July 20, 2020 by Editor

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