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Racy KATERINA Billboard Rejected by Javitz Center

from The San Francisco Chronicle

Publishers embrace, and ponder, audiobooks’ rise

NEW YORK (AP) — As the audiobook market continues to boom, publishers find themselves both grateful and concerned.

The industry gathered over the past week for BookExpo and the fan-based BookCon, which ended Sunday at the Jacob Javits center in Manhattan. The consensus, as it has been for the past few years, is of a stable overall market: physical books rising, e-book sales soft and audio, led by downloaded works, expanding by double digits.

…Conventiongoers lined up to meet Sally Field, Tony Kushner and Charlaine Harris, among others. They also stood (and sat) patiently for the once-notorious James Frey, whose “Katerina” will be publushed this fall by Gallery Books, a Simon & Schuster imprint.

A decade ago, Frey’s addiction memoir “A Million Little Pieces” was revealed as being extensively fabricated and the author himself was chewed out on television by Oprah Winfrey, but not before her initial endorsement had helped the book sell millions. But Winfrey and Frey later reconciled, Frey now openly writes fiction and Gallery is openly promoting his old work, whether billing “Katerina” as “Written in the same percussive, propulsive, dazzling, breathtaking style as ‘A Million Little Pieces'” or highlighting the memoir in a billboard ad for his new novel.

“‘A Million Little Pieces’ is a beloved and brilliant book, regardless of the controversy, so we did not think twice about using it in our advertising,” Gallery spokeswoman Jennifer Robinson said.

But one change was made for the convention.

“The Javits Center did reject our first design for the billboard as it showed a bit too much flesh,” Robinson said. “We had to make a little less of ‘Katerina’ visible.”

[ click to continue reading at the Chronicle ]

Posted on June 11, 2018 by Editor

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Won’t You Be My Neighbor

from The Village Voice

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” and Mister Rogers Insist Humanity Can Be Better Than This

by LARA ZARUM

If your cold, cold heart doesn’t melt at some point during Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, the documentary about Fred “Mister” Rogers, well, I don’t know what to do for you. Watching this movie is like freebasing sincerity — a scarce resource in our current entertainment hellscape. It’ll give you warm fuzzies for days.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? takes us back to an honest-to-God simpler time, when the idea of a minister with an “abiding interest in children,” as one newscaster describes Rogers in the doc, didn’t immediately raise eyebrows. Early in the film, the late Rogers — whose legendary children’s show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, aired for more than thirty years starting in 1968 — expresses his desire to help children make sense of the world “through the mass media.” He made this comment back when television was still a fairly newfangled technology, and when a few well-intentioned folks like Mister Rogers thought to use “mass media” to spread wholesome education rather than dogged consumerism.

Through archival footage of Rogers both on and off the set of his iconic show, as well as interviews with his family, friends, and former crew members, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? draws a flattering yet complex portrait of its subject, who died of cancer in 2003. What is most remarkable is Rogers’s grasp, even in the medium’s nascent years, of how television can shape young minds. “What we see and hear on the screen is part of who we become,” he insisted. Rogers understood, earlier than most, that television — that oh-so-intimate medium that catches us at home, unguarded, the screen perhaps just inches away from our faces — profoundly alters the way we see one another and ourselves. “Television,” young Rogers argued, “has the chance of building a real community out of an entire country.”

[ click to continue reading at The Village Voice ]

Posted on June 10, 2018 by Editor

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The Water Wars

from the LA Times via Bristol Herald Courier

One of LA’s oldest community gardens thrived for decades. Then the water wars began

For more than 40 years, Italian, Mexican, Croatian, Filipino, Indonesian and Laotian gardeners have built productive mini-farms on the parcels. Jason Neubert / Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — The old Italian men pass their mornings near the top of the hill, tending thick grape vines and rows of fava beans, smoking crumbling Toscano cigars, staying out of the house. If you try to call Francesco “Frank” Mitrano at home, his wife will brusquely tell you that he’s at “the farm.”

The farm is a patch of soil by the 110 Freeway, where he harvests enough tomatoes from his crop to make spaghetti sauce for his family’s weekly Sunday dinner. “Twenty-one people,” he exclaims.

A half-century ago, Filipino seafarers re-created a piece of the old country on this weedy hillside in San Pedro.

Italian fishermen quickly joined them, as did others with horticultural skills honed all over the world — Mexico, Laos, India, Japan, Indonesia, Croatia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Arizona and Lawndale.

More than 250 parcels are connected by a maze of trails and pipes and hoses. Avocado trees soar as high as 60 feet. Giant banana leaves, ratoons of sugar cane and bright orange guavas — set amid a jumble of sheds, trellises, fences and retaining walls — give the hill the look of a rural village carved from jungle.

The community garden — thought to be the oldest in Los Angeles — grew quietly and off the grid, with unlimited water and little oversight.

But now, in a time of drought, it faces an existential crisis after the city drastically cut its water supply.

Though the heavy rains helped last year, the plots they have nurtured for decades are getting thirstier every day.

Mitrano, 83, barrel-chested with a burl of a nose and a sail rigger’s forearms, sneered at the hose that dribbled at his feet.

“No hay presion,” said Mitrano, using Spanish, the lingua franca of the garden. There is no water pressure.

[ click to continue reading at Bristol Herald Courier ]

Posted on June 9, 2018 by Editor

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Andrew Solomon On Suicide

from The New Yorker

Preventable Tragedies

By Andrew Solomon

Anthony Bourdain was almost inconceivably high-functioning; the gap between public triumph and private despair is treacherous. Photograph by Mike Coppola / Getty

The pattern of highly accomplished and successful people committing suicide is transfixing. It assures the rest of us that a life of accolades is not all that it’s cracked up to be and that achieving more will not make us happier. At the same time, it reveals the fact that no one is safe from suicide, that whatever defenses we think we have are likely to be inadequate. Kate Spade’s handbags were playful and fun. Her quirky look was unmistakable and bespoke exuberance. Anthony Bourdain was almost inconceivably high-functioning, and won so many awards that he seemed ready to give an award to his favorite award. High-profile suicides such as these cause copycat suicides; there was a nearly ten-per-cent spike in suicides following Robin Williams’s death. There is always an upswing following such high-profile events. You who are reading this are at statistically increased risk of suicide right now. Who knows if Bourdain had read of Kate Spade’s suicide as he prepared to do the same thing? We are all statistically more likely to kill ourselves than we were ten years ago. That increased vulnerability is itself depressing, and that depressing information interacts with our own unguarded selves. If life wasn’t worth living for people such as Bourdain and Spade, how can our more ordinary lives hold up? Those of us who have clinical depression can feel the tug toward suicide amped up by this kind of news. The gap between public triumph and private despair is treacherous, with the outer shell obscuring the real person even to those with whom he or she had professed intimacy.

There has long been an assertion popular in mental-health circles that suicide is a symptom of depression and that, if we would only treat depression adequately, suicide would be a thing largely of the past. We learn of Kate Spade’s possible marital woes as though marital woes rationalized a suicide. It is true that, in someone with a significant tendency to suicide, external factors may trigger the act itself, but difficult circumstances do not usually fully explain someone’s choice to terminate his or her own life. People must have an intrinsic vulnerability; for every person who kills himself when he is left by his wife, there are hundreds who don’t kill themselves under like circumstances.

[ click to continue reading at The New Yorker ]

Posted on June 8, 2018 by Editor

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Karma

from Real Clear Life

Plot Twist: The Strange Story of Douglas Parkhurst

He became a hero in the last moment of his life—but did he redeem himself?

By Steve Huff

It was the first day of June, the unofficial beginning of summer, and a maroon car was careening across a Little League baseball field in Sanford, Maine’s Goodall Park. Players rushed to get out of the way as the driver—police later identified her as 52-year-old Carol Sharrow— barely missed them, curving toward home base then away again. She was looking for an exit and spotted a gate. More kids were in danger on the other side.

A witness named Justin Clifton later told a Maine news station what happened next. He said he “saw the car pull out of the […] and this guy had some kids with him.”

Clifton said that when the car “came to the gate, the older guy pushed the kids right out of the way. He took the hit for the kids.”

So, Douglas Parkhurst, age 68, died taking that “hit for the kids.” The Vietnam vet was the hero of the moment and a tragic one at that. A man who in photos appeared ruddy, fit for his age, with a winning smile. It was a moving, powerful story.

For the second time in five years, Douglas Parkhurst’s name was in the news along with the phrase “hit-and-run driver.”

The first time was a very different story.

[ click to continue reading at RCL ]

Posted on June 6, 2018 by Editor

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Kate Spade Gone

from NPR

Fashion Designer Kate Spade Found Dead In Apparent Suicide

by AMY HELD

Kate Spade, the designer who built a billion-dollar brand of luxury handbags and accessories, was found dead in her Park Avenue apartment in Manhattan on Tuesday. She was 55.  Bebeto Matthews/AP

New York Police Department officials said that police received a call around 10:30 a.m. and that officers found Spade unconscious and unresponsive in the bedroom of her Park Avenue apartment. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

“It was a suicide,” NYPD spokeswoman Arlene Muniz told NPR, without providing further details.

The exact cause of Spade’s death will be determined by a medical examiner.

[ click to continue reading at NPR ]

Posted on June 5, 2018 by Editor

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von Furstenberg III

from WaPo via SFGate

Fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg is ready for her third act

Diane von Furstenberg in her New York office. As the designer tries to step back from the brand she has long defined, she is setting lofty new goals for the future. Photo: Photo For The Washington Post By Jesse Dittmar / Jesse DittmarPhoto: Photo For The Washington Post By Jesse Dittmar

NEW YORK – After more than 45 years in fashion, Diane von Furstenberg has been looking for a graceful exit. She is 71, and she has designed a lot of frocks. But the one that matters most is the classic wrap dress, a few yards of slinky jersey that manage to flatter not all but most figures. It’s not cheap, but it isn’t terribly expensive. It has a knack for being appropriate in a multitude of situations. And it comes with its own empowering narrative: that women can have dominion over their own reality with a single sexy, authoritative dress.

That’s a heck of a lot more than most fashion brands have done for women.

The dress landed her on the cover of Newsweek in 1976. It made von Furstenberg – who married and divorced a European prince and dazzled this city’s disco society – even richer and more famous. It gave her independence.

But now, von Furstenberg is ready to be done with fashion. “I don’t want to do another color palette,” she says. “I’ve had three acts. The first was the American Dream, the young girl coming to New York, the wrap dress, blah, blah, blah. The second: I started over. Now, I’ve been thinking, now is the time for the third act. How do I turn this into a legacy, so the legacy will last after me?”

[ click to continue reading at SFGate ]

Posted on June 4, 2018 by Editor

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Whopper Juniors and Chocolate

from The Telegraph

Macon woman turns 105, credits chocolate

BY WAYNE CRENSHAW

Virginia Pair Witherington holds a photo of herself in her younger days during her 105th birthday party on Sunday.Virginia Pair Witherington holds a photo of herself in her younger days during her 105th birthday party on Sunday. Wayne Crenshaw wcrenshaw@macon.com

MACON, GA – Virginia Pair Witherington puts it simply when asked her secret to living to 105, and not looking near her age to top it off.

“Because I take care of myself,” she said among a din of noise as she celebrated her birthday with friends at La Parrilla Mexican Restaurant on Sunday. She turns 105 on Monday.

She worked 30 years as a bookkeeper for the Macon Water Authority, among other places. Her late husband, Joe Witherington was Macon’s first engineer, said Mary Ussery, who says Witherington “adopted” her about 12 years ago. They have been close friends ever since.

“Nana gives really good advice,” Ussery said. “She lives by her philosophy. She’s kind to everyone. She’s the most graceful person I’ve ever met.”

Ussery said Witherington has previously credited her long life to living well and eating a lot of chocolate. She also loves Whopper Juniors and pizza.

[ click to continue reading at The Telegraph ]

Posted on June 3, 2018 by Editor

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Crucifixion Find

from LIVE SCIENCE

How Jesus Died: Rare Evidence of Roman Crucifixion Found

How Jesus Died: Rare Evidence of Roman Crucifixion FoundThis cross was erected inside the Roman Colosseum as a monument to the suffering of early Christians in Rome. The Christian Bible describes the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as occurring in Jerusalem under Roman rule at the beginning of the Christian era.
Credit: Jared I. Lenz Photography/Getty

The body of a man buried in northern Italy 2,000 years ago shows signs that he died after being nailed to a wooden cross, the method used for the execution of Jesus described in the Christian Bible.

Although crucifixion was a common form of capital punishment for criminals and slaves in ancient Roman times, the new finding is only the second time that direct archaeological evidence of it has been found.

A new study of the skeletal remains of the man, found near Venice in 2007, reveals a lesion and unhealed fracture on one of the heel bones that suggests his feet had been nailed to a cross. [8 Alleged Relics of Jesus of Nazareth]

[ click to continue reading at LIVE SCIENCE ]

Posted on June 2, 2018 by Editor

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$100k Levi’s

from Fox News

Vintage pair of Levis, 125 years old, go for close to $100,000

The vintage look just got a whole lot more expensive. A buyer in Southeast Asia has purchased a pair of 125-year-old Levis for almost $100,000.

And you thought your jeans cost a pretty penny.

The jeans, originally bought in 1893 by Solomon Warner, a storekeeper in the Arizona Territory, have a drastically different look than today’s Levis. Warner’s jeans had but a single rear pocket, a button fly and no belt loops — remember, men favored a good set of suspenders back in the day.

The denims, size 44 with a 36-inch inseam, suggest that Warner was no small man.

Warner, it turns out, had a colorful history that had nothing to do with his jeans. He established one of the first stores selling American dry goods in Tucson, and survived being shot by Apaches in 1870.

[ click to continue reading at Fox News ]

Posted on May 31, 2018 by Editor

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Tsar Ivan The Terrible And His Son Attacked

from Reuters

Famous Russian painting damaged in vodka-fueled attack

Andrew Osborn

MOSCOW (Reuters) – One of Russia’s most famous paintings, which depicts Tsar Ivan the Terrible cradling his dying son, has been badly damaged after a man attacked it with a metal pole after drinking vodka.

The canvas, “Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on November 16, 1581,” was completed by renowned Russian realist Ilya Repin in 1885 and portrays a grief-stricken tsar holding his own son in his arms after dealing him a mortal blow, a historical incident whose veracity some Russian nationalists dispute.

The gallery in central Moscow where the painting was displayed, the State Tretyakov Gallery, said a man had attacked the canvas just before closing time on Friday evening.

It said he had somehow got past a group of gallery employees, picked up one of the metal security poles used to keep the public back from the painting, and struck its protective glass covering several times.

“As a result of the blows the thick glass … was smashed,” the gallery said in a statement. “Serious damage was done to the painting. The canvas was pierced in three places in the central part of the work which depicts the figure of the tsarevich (the tsar’s son).”

[ click to continue reading at Reuters ]

Posted on May 28, 2018 by Editor

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Punk Rock Porn

from The Daily Beast

The Punk-Rock Porn Movie That Lays Waste to the Patriarchy

Acclaimed queercore filmmaker Bruce LaBruce’s ‘The Misandrists’ centers on the men-overthrowing Female Liberation Army. And it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before.

by 

“Pornography is an act of insurrection against the dominant order,” states Big Mother (Susanne Sachsse), the matriarch of an all-female boarding school, in The Misandrists, and those familiar with the work of writer/director Bruce LaBruce (Otto; or Up with Dead People, Gerontophilia) will immediately recognize it as a sly proclamation of his own philosophy.

For the past thirty years, whether helming short or feature-length productions, or working as a writer and photographer, LaBruce has pushed boundaries with a pure, unadulterated transgressive spirit. An assured filmmaker who rose to prominence as a vanguard of 1990s queercore cinema, he’s akin to a more extreme John Waters, blending philosophy and comedy with explicit sexual material in order to poke, prod and reproach any and all status quos.

Having spent much of his career making films about—and with—gay male actors, LaBruce turns his strict attention to the fairer sex with his latest, although it’s not fairness that his female protagonists are after, but rebellion and domination. Playing like the bonkers bastard child of The Beguiled and Cecil B. Demented, The Misandrists (debuting in New York on May 25, and L.A. on June 1) situates itself in Ger(wo)many circa 1999, at a remote institution of revolutionary learning run by Big Mother, the charismatic leader of the Female Liberation Army (FLA), who sports long bleached-white locks and two crutches to help her get around. At this forested place of higher learning, Big Mother tends to a group of girls committed to the cause of overthrowing the hegemonic capitalist patriarchy and establishing a system in which women don’t simply stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their male compatriots, but cast them aside in order to establish an estrogen-infused new world order.

[ click to continue reading at TDB ]

Posted on May 27, 2018 by Editor

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The Oldest Tree In Europe

from National Geographic

Oldest European Tree Found—And It’s Having a Growth Spurt

A Heldreich’s pine discovered in southern Italy has been thriving in a remote part of a national park for 1,230 years.

By

Picture of millennium-old pine tree, named Italus,Scientists determined the age of this 1,230-year-old Heldreich’s pine, nicknamed Italus, using a novel combination of tree-ring analysis and radiocarbon dating. PHOTOGRAPH BY GIANLUCA PIOVESAN

A craggy pine tree growing in southern Italy is 1,230 years old, making it the oldest tree in Europe that has been scientifically dated.

Moreover, the ancient pine seems to be living it up in its old age, researchers reported last week in the journal Ecology. Examinations show that the tree had a growth spurt in recent decades, where larger rings were added to its trunk even though many trees in the Mediterranean region have been experiencing a decline in growth.

The discovery shows that some trees can survive for centuries even when subjected to extreme changes in climate. This ancient pine, for example, would have germinated in a cold period during Medieval times and then lived through much warmer temperatures, including periods of drought. (Find out how scientists brought a 32,000-year-old plant back to life.)

[ click to continue reading at Nat Geo ]

Posted on May 26, 2018 by Editor

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Bowie Outside Rehearsal

Posted on May 24, 2018 by Editor

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The Return of the Second Incarnation of The Funk

from PASTE

George Clinton & Parliament Just Ambushed Us With a New, Digital-Only Album, Their First Since 1980

By Ellen Johnson

If you’re in the frame of mind that funk has been asleep for approximately the last 38 years, you’ll be pleased to know it’s awake now: George Clinton and Parliament just dropped their first new album since 1980, a surprise, digital-only recording called Medicaid Fraud Dogg, streaming now. Clinton, the deeply influential forefather of funk (and all its winding genre successors), formed Parliament in the early ‘70s as part of his famed Parliament-Funkadelic collective. The group teased this release earlier in the year with a single called “I’m Gon Make U Sick O’Me,” but their most recent LP was 1980’s Trombipulation. Medicaid Fraud Dogg, as the title might suggest, examines the shortcomings of America’s modern medical institutions—in the most funky way possible.

In April, the groovy maestro also announced he’ll be retiring from touring. But don’t worry, Clinton is still currently on the road as part of the international Parliament-Funkadelic 2018 tour, the dates for which you can find on the Parliament website. This weekend’s May 26 show at the famous Greek Theatre in L.A. will kick off the final leg of Clinton’s touring excursions, wrapping up a year from now in May 2019, according to a press release.

Much of today’s hip-hop, rap R&B and trap music can be traced back to sounds defined by the legendary Clinton and his groovy cooperatives. As he recently pointed out in an “Ask Me Anything” Reddit thread, he’s following that funk lineage, listening to “Flying Lotus, Cardi B, Kendrick Lamar, Jay Z’s new album, Tra’Zae, and all that shit coming out of Atlanta. All that trap shit. I’m trapped in it.” Fragments of hip-hop and rap can certainly be heard on Medicaid Fraud Dogg, such as the Scarface-featuring “I’m Gon Make U Sick O’Me,” though Clinton also retains his distinctly funky warp, recognizable in his music as early as Parliament’s 1974 record Up For The Down Stroke.

[ click to continue reading at PASTE ]

Posted on May 23, 2018 by Editor

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$17 Billion Holy Grail, Waiting For Retrieval

from WBUR

‘Holy Grail Of Shipwrecks’ Found Near Colombian Coast, Woods Hole Says

By Mark Pratt, The Associated Press

A Spanish galleon laden with gold that sank to the bottom of the Caribbean off the coast of Colombia more than 300 years ago was found three years ago with the help of an underwater autonomous vehicle operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the agency disclosed for the first time.

New details about the discovery of the San Jose were released on Monday with permission from the agencies involved in the search, including the Colombian government.

“We’ve been holding this under wraps out of respect for the Colombian government,” said Rob Munier, WHOI’s vice president for marine facilities and operations.

The exact location of the wreck of the San Jose, often called the “holy grail of shipwrecks,” was long considered one of history’s enduring maritime mysteries.

The 62-gun, three-masted galleon, went down on June 8, 1708, with 600 people on board as well as a treasure of gold, silver and emeralds during a battle with British ships in the War of Spanish Succession. The treasure is worth as much as $17 billion by modern standards.

[ click to continue reading at WBUR ]

Posted on May 22, 2018 by Editor

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“Beyond The Streets”

from artnet

Beyond Banksy: This Massive LA Exhibition Dramatically Expands the Story of Graffiti

The Roger Gastman-curated “Beyond the Streets” trains a light on the studio work of famed street artists.

Walking through “Beyond the Streets,” the sprawling, adventurous show of diverse work by street artists housed in a 40,000-square-foot warehouse north of LA’s Chinatown, the opening scene of the seminal street art documentary Style Wars flickered into my mind. In it, a group of young New York graffiti artists stand in the street anxiously waiting for a subway train to pass on the elevated tracks above them. As cars emerge from their underground lairs freshly decorated with graffiti, the artists cheer for joy—a joy not shared by aggravated commuters as the spray-painted trains continue their slow journey across the city.

In its way, “Beyond the Streets,” curated by graffiti historian Roger Gastman, marks the arrival of that lumbering journey to a new destination, one where the venue has shifted along with the assumed reaction of the urban audience.

New York in the 1970s offered little hope for its youth. Bombing the trains afforded some of them a fleeting glimpse of fame as their masterpieces trudged along the tracks. For decades, graffiti and street art remained linked to vandalism, gang violence, crime, and blight, associations deliberately cultivated by municipalities, politicians, and the media, all of whom had their own reasons for making this urban art form a visual scapegoat for the societal ills of which it was merely a symptom.

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on May 20, 2018 by Editor

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Welcome To The 50-year Rage Cycle

from The Guardian

Why are we living in an age of anger – is it because of the 50-year rage cycle?

From passive-aggressive notes on ambulance windscreens to bilious political discourse, it feels as though society is suddenly consumed by fury. What is to blame for this outpouring of aggression?

by Zoe Williams

Anger for G2‘Unprocessed anger pollutes the social sphere. Every outburst legitimises the next.’ Illustration: Ben Boothman at Agency Rush

A neighbour objected to a young couple from Newcastle being naked in their own home. “We are sick of seeing big bums, big boobs and little willy,” was the core message of the note, crescendoing to: “We will report you both for indecent exposure.” It is such a small thing, banal, without consequence. It connects to no wider narrative and conveys nothing but the bubbling discomfort of human beings living near each other. Yet when Karin Stone (one of the nakeds) posted the note on Facebook, 15,000 people pored over it. An Australian radio show interviewed her. I have got to be honest, I am heavily emotionally invested in the story myself and I do not regret a second of the time I have spent reading about it.

There is a through-line to these spurts of emotion we get from spectatorship: the subject matter is not important. It could be human rights abuse or a party-wall dispute; it does not matter, so long as it delivers a shot of righteous anger. Bile connects each issue. I look at that note, the prurience and prissiness, the mashup of capital and lower-case letters, the unlikeliness that its author has a smaller bum or a bigger willy, and I feel sure they voted for Brexit. The neighbours are delighted by their disgust for these vigorous, lusty newlyweds, I am delighted by my disgust for the neighbours, radio listeners in Australia are delighted. We see rage and we meet it with our own, always wanting more.

There was the mean note left on the car of a disabled woman (“I witnessed you and your young able-bodied daughter … walk towards the precinct with no sign of disability”); the crazed dyspepsia of the woman whose driveway was blocked briefly by paramedics while they tried to save someone’s life. Last week, Highways England felt moved to launch a campaign against road rage, spurred by 3,446 recorded instances in a year of motorists driving straight through roadworks. Violent crime has not gone up – well, it has, but this is thought mainly to reflect better reporting practices – but violent fantasies are ablaze. Political discourse is drenched in rage. The things people want to do to Diane Abbott and Luciana Berger make my eyes pop out of my head.

[ click to continue reading at The Guardian ]

Posted on May 16, 2018 by Editor

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Art From Autism

from artnet

The World’s Earliest Artists May Have Been Autistic, Scientists Say in a New Study

Could human artistic creativity be an evolutionary development?

Photo taken on June 16, Detail of a replica of “La Caverne du Pont-d’Arc”, or Chauvet cave. Photo: JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK/AFP/Getty Images.

Autistic humans may have been some of the world’s earliest artists. In a paper published in British academic journal Open Archaeology, scientists have identified a link between 33,000-year-old cave drawings, autism, and the survival of pre-historic humans during the Ice Age.

According to medical researcher Barry Wright and archaeologist Penny Spikins, the wintery conditions of the Ice Age contributed to the natural selection of individuals on the autism spectrum. The pair’s paper posits that autistic humans’ ability to concentrate on complex tasks for long periods of time helped them memorize their surroundings and recognize elaborate patterns—both essential skills for finding food.

“We suspect that the early development of inherited autism was in part an evolutionary response to ultra-harsh climatic conditions at the height of the last Ice Age,” Spikins told the Independent, “Without the development of autism-related abilities in some people, it is conceivable that humans would not have been able to survive in a freezing environment in which finding food required enhanced skills,” she said.

Posted on May 15, 2018 by Editor

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Tom Wolfe Gone

from Vanity Fair

How Tom Wolfe Became … Tom Wolfe

Michael Lewis delves deep into the archives of the legendary reporter turned novelist to discover what made the man in the white suit the voice of a journalistic generation.

BY MICHAEL LEWIS

Tom Wolfe, in his New York City study, in 2012. He started wearing white suits in 1962 because it was the custom in summer in his hometown of Richmond, Virginia. Photograph by Gasper Tringale.

I was 11 or maybe 12 years old when I discovered my parents’ bookshelves. They’d been invisible right up to the moment someone or something told me that the books on them were stuffed with dirty words and shocking behavior—a rumor whose truth was eventually confirmed by Portnoy’s Complaint. The book I still remember taking down from the shelf was Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers. The only word in the title I understood was “the.” The cover showed a picture of a bored-looking blonde housewife nestled in the lap of a virile black man. It seemed just the sort of thing to answer some questions I had about the facts of life. It didn’t. Instead, it described a cocktail party given in the late 1960s for the Black Panthers by Leonard Bernstein in his fancy New York City apartment. I’d never been to New York City, or heard of Leonard Bernstein, the conductor of the New York Philharmonic, and had only a vague notion of who or what a Black Panther revolutionary might be—and none of that turned out to matter. The book started out with this weird old guy, Leonard Bernstein, rising from his bed in the middle of the night and having a vision of himself delivering a speech to a packed concert hall while being heckled by a giant black man onstage beside him. I remember thinking: How would anyone know about someone else’s bizarre private vision? Was this one of those stories that really happened, like Bart Starr’s quarterback sneak to beat the Dallas Cowboys, or was it made up, like The Hardy Boys? Then, suddenly, I felt as if I were standing in Leonard Bernstein’s apartment watching his waiters serve appetizers to Black Panthers:

“MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM. THESE ARE NICE. LITTLE Roquefort cheese morsels rolled in crushed nuts. Very tasty. Very subtle. It’s the way the dry sackiness of the nuts tiptoes up against the dour savor of the cheese that is so nice, so subtle. Wonder what the Black Panthers eat out here on the hors d’oeuvre trail? Do the Panthers like little Roquefort cheese morsels rolled in crushed nuts this way, and asparagus tips in mayonnaise dabs, and meatballs petites au Coq Hardi, all of which are at this very moment being offered to them on gadrooned silver platters by maids in black uniforms with hand-ironed white aprons?”

Were the books grown-ups read supposed to make you laugh? I had no idea but …

[ click to continue reading at Vanity Fair ]

Posted on May 14, 2018 by Editor

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P¡NK is so Punk

Posted on May 1, 2018 by Editor

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Merd!

from The Telegraph

French museum discovers half of its collection are fakes

by David Chazan

Collioure in the Pyrenees by Étienne Terrus. The museum discovered half of the paintings it believed were by the artist were forgeries Collioure in the Pyrenees by Étienne Terrus. The museum discovered half of the paintings it believed were by the artist were forgeries

A state-owned French art museum has discovered that more than half of its collection consists of worthless fakes and experts fear that other public galleries may also be stuffed with forgeries.

An art historian raised the alarm after noticing that paintings attributed to Etienne Terrus showed buildings that were only constructed after the artist’s death in 1922.

Experts confirmed that 82 of the 140 works displayed at the Terrus museum in Elne, the artist’s birthplace in southern France, were fakes.

[ click to continue reading at The Telegraph ]

Posted on April 28, 2018 by Editor

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Returning ‘Firing Line’

from Deadline

‘Firing Line’: PBS Reloads Public-Affairs Show With Host Margaret Hoover

by

EXCLUSIVE: PBS is bringing back an iconic property after nearly two decades. The pubcaster said today that a new version of Firing Line, the William F. Buckley-hosted public-affairs show it aired from 1966-99, will premiere in June. The new host is political strategist and commentator Margaret Hoover.

Produced by WNET/Thirteen, the weekly series will bring together the brightest minds and freshest voices from across the political spectrum to engage in a contest of ideas about important issues confronting our nation, PBS said. Firing Line with Margaret Hoover will launch at 10 AM Saturday, June 2, on New York’s Thirteen, which will air the first three episodes before the series bows on PBS stations nationwide.

The pubcaster said the show will maintain the character of the original Buckley-fronted series, providing a platform that is diligent in its commitment to a balanced exchange of opinion. The series, PBS notes, comes at a time when meaningful discourse in needed more than ever.

[ click to continue reading at Deadline ]

Posted on April 27, 2018 by Editor

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Grand Unified Math Finally?

from New Scientist

Theorem of everything: The secret that links numbers and shapes

For millennia mathematicians have struggled to unify arithmetic and geometry. Now one young genius could have brought them in sight of the ultimate prize

By Gilead Amit

numbers artwork

IF JOEY was Chloe’s age when he was twice as old as Zoe was, how many times older will Zoe be when Chloe is twice as old as Joey is now?

Or try this one for size. Two farmers inherit a square field containing a crop planted in a circle. Without knowing the exact size of the field or crop, or the crop’s position within the field, how can they draw a single line to divide both the crop and field equally?

You’ve either fallen into a cold sweat or you’re sharpening your pencil (if you can’t wait for the answer, you can check the bottom of this page). Either way, although both problems count as “maths” – or “math” if you insist – they are clearly very different. One is arithmetic, which deals with the properties of whole numbers: 1, 2, 3 and so on as far as you can count. It cares about how many separate things there are, but not what they look like or how they behave. The other is geometry, a discipline built on ideas of continuity: of lines, shapes and other objects that can be measured, and the spatial relationships between them.

Mathematicians have long sought to build bridges between these two ancient subjects, and construct something like a “grand unified theory” of their discipline. Just recently, one brilliant young researcher might have brought them decisively closer. His radical new geometrical insights might not only unite mathematics, but also help solve one of the deepest number problems of them all: the riddle of the primes.

[ click to continue reading at New Scientist ]

Posted on April 25, 2018 by Editor

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A TRUE HERO – Give this man every award and accolade available

Posted on April 24, 2018 by Editor

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Friedkin Returns

from The Guardian

William Friedkin: ‘You don’t know a damn thing, and neither do I’

The Exorcist director returns to his demonic roots with a new documentary, but he’s not interested in discussing your skepticism

A video clip featuring William Friedkin recently experienced a small level of virality among online film circles, in which the film-maker dresses down Nicolas Winding Refn after the younger director declares his own film Only God Forgives to be a masterpiece. Friedkin repeatedly calls for a medic, compares Refn’s film unfavorably to Citizen Kane, and most memorably, uses a vivid metaphor that puts the “anal” in “analogy”.

Friedkin, speaking on a drizzly afternoon in his suite at New York’s Carlyle Hotel, wants to make it clear that he bears no ill will to Refn. “I like him! He’s a nice guy. I like him very much.” But the larger truth underlying their charged exchange persists: William Friedkin simply does not give a damn.

He’s aged 82 now, and seven years out from the release of his last film. (That was 2011’s chicken-fried neo-noir Killer Joe, a classically Friedkinian work in its marriage of extreme, lurid material with tightly controlled aesthetic rigor.) He’s on the press circuit once again because he’s finally got a new film to promote, an entirely self-funded documentary titled The Devil and Father Amorth. The project dips back into Friedkin’s past as the man behind The Exorcist, chronicling the real-life purging of a demon by a Vatican higher-up. Skeptics will be tempted to place the words “real-life” in scare quotes, and the film doesn’t mount a particularly convincing case as to why they shouldn’t have that caveat. It’s here that Friedkin’s blithe disregard for what the general public thinks emerges as the source of all his power; believe him or don’t believe him, it’s all the same as far as he’s concerned.

[ click to continue reading at The Guardian ]

Posted on April 22, 2018 by Editor

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4 ’68 Radicals

from The LA Times

Four radical and radically original pieces of music that blew up the modernist status quo in 1968

By MARK SWED

On a cold Berkeley morning early in December 1968, I cut class and joined a queue on Telegraph Avenue, waiting for Discount Records to open. The line wasn’t as long as the one I’d joined for the Beatles’ White Album a week or two before, but it was sizable and included many of the same fans. This time our impatience was for the first recording of Terry Riley’s transformative “In C.”

“In C,” which had premiered in San Francisco four years earlier, would ultimately be credited with formulating the Minimalist movement in music that Steve Reich (who performed in the “In C” premiere), Philip Glass and later John Adams would further pioneer and eventually make mainstream. Minimalism would herald an unexpected inventive return to consonance, traditional harmony and pulse, all of which had little appeal to modern music, academic or avant-garde.

I later carried the LP, which came with the score of the piece (a first) into a class on fugue writing. I hadn’t known at the time that Riley had taken the same class with the same professor, composer William Denny, a dozen years earlier when he was a student at the University of California.

Denny was a refined and mild-mannered musical conservative who could bring himself to teach in the afternoon only after he had a few cocktails with lunch. He required us to write only in ink using fountain pens equipped with music nibs. We studied the same 19th-century French textbook that Debussy railed against at the turn of the 20th century.

Riley’s “In C” violated all that Denny held holy. It is simply a collection of 53 melodic motives, all in or around the key of C. Any instrument or vocalist — and any number of them — can play or sing. Each motive is repeated, over a pulse, as long as each performer wants before moving on.

When he saw my recording of “In C,” Denny became startlingly apoplectic. Riley, he said, had been a brilliant student, and now look what he had done! Centuries’ worth of contrapuntal development that led to Bach’s sublime fugues and Bartok’s wondrous string quartets was seemingly discarded by the stroke of a musical anarchist. I was told not only that I couldn’t bring that sacrilege into the classroom, but to get it out of the music building and that the only place for it on campus was the trash can.

That’s when I knew the revolution had begun.

[ click to  continue reading at LAT ]

Posted on April 21, 2018 by Editor

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Miloš Forman Gone

from The LA Times

Miloš Forman, Oscar-winning Czech director of ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’ dies at 86

By GINA PICCALO

Miloš Forman came of age as a filmmaker under the watchful eyes of the Soviets in postwar Czechoslovakia. And though he blossomed in exile in 1970s America, his memory of totalitarianism would forever be his muse.

In every one of his films, from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Ragtime” and “Amadeus” to “The People vs. Larry Flynt” and “Man on the Moon,” Forman celebrated real-life outsiders and eccentrics who challenged the establishment with heroic self-expression.

Forman died Friday at age 86 at Danbury Hospital, near his home in Warren, Conn., according to a statement released by his agent. A winner of two Academy Awards for directing “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975) and “Amadeus” (1984), Forman was nominated again in 1997 for “The People vs. Larry Flynt.” His earlier films “The Fireman’s Ball” and “Loves of a Blonde” were nominated for best foreign language film.

Born Feb. 18, 1932, outside Prague, Forman was the youngest of three brothers. His father, a Jewish army reservist from World War I and university teacher, was arrested for disseminating banned books to his students. His Protestant mother was arrested after shopping at a local grocery where anti-Nazi propaganda was found. Both died in concentration camps, making Forman an orphan at age 10.

[ click to continue reading at LAT ]

Posted on April 14, 2018 by Editor

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All Hail HAL!

from The New York Times

What ‘2001’ Got Right

By Michael Benson

FRANKFURT, Germany — It’s a testament to the lasting influence of Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke’s film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” which turns 50 this week, that the disc-shaped card commemorating the German Film Museum’s new exhibition on the film is wordless, but instantly recognizable. Its face features the Cyclopean red eye of the HAL-9000 supercomputer; nothing more needs saying.

Viewers will remember HAL as the overseer of the giant, ill-fated interplanetary spacecraft Discovery. When asked to hide from the crew the goal of its mission to Jupiter — a point made clearer in the novel version of “2001” than in the film — HAL gradually runs amok, eventually killing all the astronauts except for their wily commander, Dave Bowman. In an epic showdown between man and machine, Dave, played by Keir Dullea, methodically lobotomizes HAL even as the computer pleads for its life in a terminally decelerating soliloquy.

Cocooned by their technology, the film’s human characters appear semi-automated — component parts of their gleaming white mother ship. As for HAL — a conflicted artificial intelligence created to provide flawless, objective information but forced to “live a lie,” as Mr. Clarke put it — the computer was quickly identified by the film’s initial viewers as its most human character.

This transfer of identity between maker and made is one reason “2001” retains relevance, even as we put incipient artificial intelligence technologies to increasingly problematic uses.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on April 2, 2018 by Editor

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29 Pastas

Posted on March 6, 2018 by Editor

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Geeks On Acid

from The Miami Herald

LSD is ‘harmonizing’ for the brain — and can change your personality for years, studies find

BY JOSH MAGNESS

Two recently released studies show how LSD can affect the brain.Two recently released studies show how LSD can affect the brain. Wikimedia Commons

Your brain on LSD is kind of like jazz improvisation.

That’s according to Selen Atasoy, a research fellow at the Center for Brain and Cognition at the Pompeu Fabra University in Spain. She was among the authors of a study published in the journal Scientific Reports that found the psychedelic drug can reorganize your brain in a “harmonizing” way.

“Just like improvising jazz musicians use many more musical notes in a spontaneous and non-random fashion,” she told PsyPost in an interview, “your brain combines many more of the harmonic waves (connectome harmonics) spontaneously yet in a structured way.”

Twelve people were examined for the study, with some taking LSD and some a placebo drug. Researchers examined their brain with an MRI scan both during and after the subjects listened to music.

[ click to continue reading at Miami Herald ]

Posted on March 3, 2018 by Editor

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Dark Age Sex

from AEON

The salacious Middle Ages

Medieval people feared death by celibacy as much as venereal disease, and practiced complex sexual health regimens

by Katherine Harvey

In the popular imagination, the history of sex is a straightforward one. For centuries, the people of the Christian West lived in a state of sexual repression, straitjacketed by an overwhelming fear of sin, combined with a complete lack of knowledge about their own bodies. Those who fell short of the high moral standards that church, state and society demanded of them faced ostracism and punishment. Then in the mid-20th century things changed forever when, in Philip Larkin’s oft-quoted words, ‘Sexual intercourse began in 1963 … between the end of the Chatterley ban and the Beatles’ first LP.’

In reality, the history of human sexuality is far more interesting and wild. Many prevailing presumptions about the sex lives of our medieval ancestors are rooted in the erroneous belief that they lived in an unsophisticated age of religious fanaticism and medical ignorance. While Christian ideals indeed influenced medieval attitudes to sex, they were rather more complex than contemporary prejudices suggest. Christian beliefs interacted with medieval medical theories to help shape some surprising and sophisticated ideas about sex, and a wide variety of different sexual practices, long before the sexual revolution.

The case of the French cleric Arnaud de Verniolle illustrates the sophistication of medieval sexuality. One day in the early 14th century, when Arnaud was a student, he had sex with a prostitute. Several years later, he confessed this lapse to the Inquisition, explaining that:

At the time they were burning the lepers, I was living in Toulouse; one day I did it with a prostitute. And after I had perpetrated this sin my face began to swell. I was terrified and thought I had caught leprosy; I thereupon swore that in future I would never sleep with a woman again.

Arnaud’s tale is not unusual. Many medieval men found themselves with undesirable symptoms after a brothel visit, and attributed their plight to their sexual behaviour. Among the various medical miracles attributed to St Thomas Becket, for example, was the cure of Odo de Beaumont, who became leprous immediately after a late-12th-century visit to a prostitute. Much has been made of the medieval tendency to interpret disease as a product of sexual sin. Too much. In fact, the medieval tendency to see disease as sexual sin was not solely based on moral judgments – there were also strong medical elements.

[ click to continue reading at AEON ]

Posted on March 1, 2018 by Editor

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E=MCwhat?

from Forbes

The Three Meanings Of E=mc^2, Einstein’s Most Famous Equation

by Ethan Siegel

The particle tracks emanating from a high energy collision at the LHC in 2014. Composite particles are broken up into their components and scattered, but new particles

For hundreds of years, there was an immutable law of physics that was never challenged: that in any reaction occurring in the Universe, mass was conserved. That no matter what you put in, what reacted, and what came out, the sum of what you began with and the sum of what you ended with would be equal. But under the laws of special relativity, mass simply couldn’t be the ultimate conserved quantity, since different observers would disagree about what the energy of a system was. Instead, Einstein was able to derive a law that we still use today, governed by one of the simplest but most powerful equations ever to be written down, E = mc2.

There are only three parts to Einstein’s most famous statement:

  1. E, or energy, which is the entirety of one side of the equation, and represents the total energy of the system.
  2. m, or mass, which is related to energy by a conversion factor.
  3. And c2, which is the speed of light squared: the right factor we need to make mass and energy equivalent.

What this equation means is thoroughly world-changing. As Einstein himself put it:

“It followed from the special theory of relativity that mass and energy are both but different manifestations of the same thing — a somewhat unfamiliar conception for the average mind.”

Here are the three biggest meanings of that simple equation.

[ click to continue reading at Forbes ]

Posted on February 28, 2018 by Editor

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