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Posted on March 12, 2021 by Editor

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NFT ART

from NBC News

Digital artwork sells for record $69 million at Christie’s first NFT auction

The first purely digital work sold by an established auction house brings blockchain into the world of fine art.

By Michela Moscufo

Image: Beeple
Digital art collage by Beeple, Christie’s Auction House / AFP – Getty Images

Christie’s auction house sold its first purely digital artwork Thursday for a record $69 million, the highest price paid for an NFT, or nonfungible token.

The work, “Everydays: The First 5000 Days,” is by Mike Winkelmann, who goes by the name Beeple. The work is a collage of 5,000 drawings, one created and posted every day for the past 13 and a half years.

Originally created with pen and paper and now mostly illustration software, the sketches run the gamut from an angular line drawing of his first baby to Hillary Clinton and well-known cartoon characters.

The winning bidder owns the work in the form of a unique string of code, called a nonfungible token. The piece has no physical presence and will be “delivered directly from Beeple to the buyer, accompanied by a unique NFT encrypted with the artist’s unforgeable signature and uniquely identified on the blockchain,” Christie’s said.

[ continue reading at NBC ]

Posted on March 11, 2021 by Editor

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Shapira’s Scroll

from DNYUZ

Is a Long-Dismissed Forgery Actually the Oldest Known Biblical Manuscript?

Is a Long-Dismissed Forgery Actually the Oldest Known Biblical Manuscript?

In 1883, a Jerusalem antiquities dealer named Moses Wilhelm Shapira announced the discovery of a remarkable artifact: 15 manuscript fragments, supposedly discovered in a cave near the Dead Sea. Blackened with a pitchlike substance, their paleo-Hebrew script nearly illegible, they contained what Shapira claimed was the “original” Book of Deuteronomy, perhaps even Moses’ own copy.

The discovery drew newspaper headlines around the world, and Shapira offered the treasure to the British Museum for a million pounds. While the museum’s expert evaluated it, two fragments were put on display, attracting throngs of visitors, including Prime Minister William Gladstone.

Then disaster struck.

Charles Simon Clermont-Ganneau, a swashbuckling French archaeologist and longtime nemesis of Shapira’s, had been granted a few minutes with several of the fragments, after promising to hold his judgment until the museum issued its report. But the next morning, he went to the press and denounced them as forgeries.

[ click to continue reading at DNYUZ ]

Posted on March 10, 2021 by Editor

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ALPHA BETAS Exclusive Clips

from RCR News Media

Check Out Bonus Scenes from ALPHA BETAS, a New Animated Series Featuring Some of YouTube’s Biggest Gaming Personalities #Video

By Davey N

In Alpha Betas, video games are powering the world thanks to a massive, top-secret CIA program. In the comedic style of Rick & Morty meets Westworld, the show follows an elite virtual strike force of four top gamers as they drop into the virtual realms of video games to fix potentially world-ending issues. Known as the Alpha Team, these four willfully reckless and dangerously arrogant guys are the tip of a five-hundred billion dollar US Government spear sent to be heroes in high-octane pixelated worlds.

Here’s a few new scenes to get what Alpha Betas is all about:

[ click to continue viewing at RCR ]

Posted on March 9, 2021 by Editor

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ALPHA BETAS otw

from BubbleBlabber

Alpha Betas: A New Mission Takes Hold In The Go Home Clip

by John Schwarz

The final clip for Alpha Betas is here in anticipation of the comedy pilot which premieres on March 13th.

The half-hour comedy stars leading gaming influencers VanossGaming, BasicallyIDoWrk, I AM WILDCAT and Terroriser, and the project marks the first long-scripted television series from the group, who bring a collective audience of over 40 million fans across social media.

In #AlphaBetas​, video games are powering the world thanks to a massive, top-secret CIA program. The show follows an elite virtual strike force of four top gamers as they drop into the virtual realms of video games to fix potentially world-ending issues. Known as the Alpha Team, these four willfully reckless and dangerously arrogant guys are the tip of a five-hundred billion dollar US Government spear sent to be heroes in high-octane pixelated worlds.

[ click to continue reading at BubbleBlabber ]

Posted on March 8, 2021 by Editor

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Sam and Aaron Taylor-Johnson to Tackle Rothko

from Deadline

‘Rothko’: Sam Taylor-Johnson To Direct Art-World Drama With Russell Crowe, Aisling Franciosi, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, More — EFM Hot Package

By Andreas Wiseman

Russell Crowe, Aisling Franciosi, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Sam Taylor Johnson / Mega

Sam Taylor-Johnson (Fifty Shades Of Grey) is to direct starry drama Rothko, which will chart how Kate Rothko, the daughter of revered U.S. painter Mark Rothko, was drawn into a well-publicised legal battle to honor her father’s legacy.

We can reveal that the film will star rising actress Aisling Franciosi (The Nightingale), Oscar-winner Russell Crowe (A Beautiful Mind), Golden Globe-winner Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nocturnal Animals), Golden Globe-nominee Michael Stuhlbarg (Call Me By Your Name) and BAFTA-winner Jared Harris (Chernobyl).

Crowe will play artist Mark Rothko and Franciosi will portray his daughter Kate.

[ click to continue reading at Deadline ]

Posted on March 6, 2021 by Editor

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Tia Mowry’s Favorite Books

from Marie Claire

Tia Mowry Shares Her All-Time Favorite Books in ‘Shelf Portrait’

She has a gorgeous library in her bedroom!

By Marie Claire

Tia Mowry’s chic library, located in her room (a dream!), is filled with a variety of books alongside her “shrine of accomplishments,” as seen in Marie Claire’s latest episode of Shelf Portrait, where celebrities, influencers, and famous bookworms invite us inside their homes to show off their personal libraries.

Mowry proudly has her first book, Oh, Baby!, displayed on her shelf, as well as candles, flowers, sage, and pictures. In the video, she reveals her five favorite books of all time are James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces (everybody is struggling with something in their life and this books speaks to that), Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret (she says it changed her life!), Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements (it gave her so much wisdom), Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist (it’s all about looking for the signs), and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love (the ultimate lesson that women can create their own journey).

[ click to continue reading at Marie Claire ]

Posted on March 4, 2021 by Editor

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Magnes and The Real Porsche

from Inside Hook

Street Racing Through LA With Magnus Walker, The World’s Most Notorious Porsche Collector

The stories behind Magnus Walker and Daniel Malikyar’s new photo series are almost better than the images themselves. Almost.

BY ALEX LAUER

Magnus Walker Porsche 277 in the LA River
Magnus Walker, left, in his 277, a highly modified Porsche 911. Daniel Malikyar via Santo Gallery

“Yesterday I drove a $4 million Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport, which was really impressive,” says Magnus Walker, “but it’s a car that is way out of my league.” 

From looking at his Instagram, you wouldn’t believe any car is out of Magnus Walker’s league. One day he’s cruising around in a six-figure Ferrari in Los Angeles, another he’s testing the chops of the new Ford Bronco in the middle of nowhere. You see, Walker has become one of the most recognizable Porsche collectors and customizers in the world — known as much for his signature “Outlaw” builds as his signature dreadlocks and Gandalf beard — and with that repute comes the opportunity to drive all manner of rarefied automobiles, if not own them. Despite that access, there’s still plenty left on his vehicular bucket list, and that’s where Daniel Malikyar comes in.

Together, the two collaborated on a new photography series in which they set out to “[capture] the fine art of urban racing” in L.A. The images, which are available for purchase through Santo Gallery in limited-edition prints starting February 19, sit at the intersection of old-school hot rods in car magazines and new-school car porn on Instagram feeds. That dichotomy comes straight from the creators: Walker is a 53-year-old gearhead and British expat, while Malikyar is a 26-year-old Afghan-American virtuoso, the co-founder of Santo with a portfolio of gripping photography and film work that belies his years. 

[ click to continue reading at Inside Hook ]

Posted on March 3, 2021 by Editor

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Gaming With Spotify

from WIRED

How to Bust Your Spotify Feedback Loop and Find New Music

Does the algorithm know you too well? Here’s how to shake up your recommendations for a more varied listening experience.

by VICTORIA TURK, WIRED UK

a girl laying down listening to music PHOTOGRAPH: JUSTIN PAGET/GETTY IMAGES

IF YOU’RE LISTENING to music right now, chances are you didn’t choose what to put on—you outsourced it to an algorithm. Such is the popularity of recommendation systems that we’ve come to rely on them to serve us what we want without us even having to ask, with music streaming services such as  Spotify, Pandora, and Deezer all using personalized systems to suggest playlists or tracks tailored to the user.

Generally, these systems are very good. The problem, for some, is that they’re perhaps really too good. They’ve figured out your taste, know exactly what you listen to, and recommend more of the same until you’re stuck in an endless pit of ABBA recordings (just me?). But what if you want to break out of your usual routine and try something new? Can you train or trick the algorithm into suggesting a more diverse range?

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on March 1, 2021 by Editor

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Fred Segal Gone

from Deadline

Fred Segal Dies: Iconic Retailer Who Defined L.A. Fashion Was 87

By Bruce Haring

Fred Segal, who was a fashion icon in Los Angeles for more than 60 years, has died because of complications from a stroke, his representatives confirmed Friday. He was 87.

“In 1961, Fred Segal created a retail scene that defined Los Angeles fashion and sparked a revolutionary shift in style that has transcended the last six decades. Fred Segal pioneered the shop-in-shop concept and experiential retail, resulting in a brand built on heritage, inclusivity and love that changed the face of retail forever,” read a statement.

Fred Segal’s became known as a high-end fashion boutique with a young and hip vibe. The stores lured customers including the Beatles, Elvis, Diana Ross, the Jackson Five, Nicole Kidman and Jefferson Airplane, among many others.

When Segal opened his West Hollywood store, 85 percent of the inventory in the 350‑square‑foot store was blue. Later, in a 700-square-foot store on Santa Monica Boulevard, Segal’s form-fitting fashion was a big hit. That led to a jeans-only store on Melrose at Crescent Heights in 1960 in the heyday of that retail strip, and he soon created the first “Jeans Bar.” Fred Segal’s denim designs for men and women were selling for $19.95 when jeans were typically $3.

[ click to continue reading at Deadline ]

Posted on February 26, 2021 by Editor

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Etna Anew

from Associated Press

Mt Etna’s latest eruptions awe even those who study volcanos

ROME (AP) — Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano, has awed even seasoned volcanologists in recent days with spectacular spurts of lava lighting up the Sicilian sky each night.

The latest eruption overnight petered out by around 0900 GMT Tuesday, according to Italy’s National Institute for Geophysics and Volcanology. 

For over a week, Etna has been belching lava, ash and volcanic rocks on a regular basis. The nearby Catania Airport closed temporarily, and residents of the town of Pedara said it appeared one day last week as if it were raining rocks as a thick blanket of ash covered the town.

[ click to continue reading at AP ]

Posted on February 23, 2021 by Editor

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Mad Madlib

from The New Yorker

The Obsessive Beat-Making of Madlib

The producer’s new album, “Sound Ancestors,” a collaboration with Four Tet, distills his eclectic, globe-trotting approach to sampling.

By Hua Hsu

Madlib and Four Tet
Illustration by Saddo

Madlib has always seemed more concerned with making music than with the question of what to do with it. The forty-seven-year-old producer and multi-instrumentalist has estimated that he makes hundreds of beats a week, many of which he never shares with anyone. His beats are a form of homage. He listens carefully to an old record, trying to squeeze every musical possibility out of it, to follow every path not taken. Sometimes it’s therapeutic. The week that Prince died, Madlib mourned by making tracks built on Prince samples. Following the death of his collaborator J Dilla, and then that of MF DOOM, he stayed awake for days, making hundreds of hours of music. Since the nineties, Madlib has essentially been building a private, ever-expanding library of beats, which spans everything from hip-hop, jazz, and soul to German rock, industrial music, Brazilian funk, and Bollywood. He has released dozens of albums under just as many aliases. Sometimes the aliases splinter off to form side projects. For Madlib, making music is as elemental as eating or sleeping, though he claims to do very little of the latter.

Madlib, born Otis Jackson, Jr., was brought up in Oxnard, California. His father was a soul singer, and his mother was a pianist. As a teen-ager, he and his brother, Michael, who raps and produces as Oh No, formed a hip-hop collective called the Crate Diggas Palace. Madlib’s first major release came in 1999, when the Lootpack, a trio made up of Madlib and his high-school friends Wildchild and DJ Romes, put out “Soundpieces: Da Antidote!” In the next few years, he began to channel his work ethic into a universe of alter egos. One of his most famous albums, “The Unseen,” from 2000, which is credited to an alter ego named Quasimoto, was the result of an experiment. He didn’t like the sound of his own voice, so he pitch-shifted his vocals and rapped from the perspective of a slick-talking, squeaky-voiced alien prankster with a fondness for marijuana.

In the early two-thousands, Madlib began applying the logic of hip-hop, where anything can be taken apart and put back together, to jazz music. He started by playing the melodies of his favorite tunes on the keyboard. Then he taught himself other instruments, which he played alongside samples, becoming a one-man ensemble. He invented a roster of jazz musicians with names like Monk Hughes, Ahmad Miller, and Joe McDuphrey. He wasn’t a virtuosic soloist; rather, his work skillfully pursued hazy textures and stoned vibes. His jazz noodling culminated in the excellent album “Pardon My French,” which came out last year—one of three credited to him in 2020. It was released by a group called the Jahari Massamba Unit, a collaboration between Madlib and the Detroit drummer and producer Karriem Riggins (who is real).

[ click to continue reading at TNY ]

Posted on February 2, 2021 by Editor

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Space Court

from GMA Network

Dubai creates ‘space court’ for out-of-this-world disputes

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Dubai announced Monday the creation of a “space court” to settle commercial disputes, as the UAE—which is also sending a probe to Mars—builds its presence in the space sector.

The tribunal will be based at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts, an independent British-inspired arbitration centre based on common law.

[ click to continue reading at GMA ]

Posted on February 1, 2021 by Editor

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The Reddit Boys Revenge

from Vanity Fair

“You Meet Insanity With Insanity”: The GameStop Redditors Who Upended Wall Street Are Doubling Down

by Jessica Camille Aguirre

Wall Street can seem like a citadel, so it is with unreserved glee that many have kept tabs on the GameStop saga this week. For once, the underdogs were getting flush—and even better, seemingly screwing over hedge funds in the process. On WallStreetBets, the Reddit forum where it all began, retail traders are rallying one another to stay aggressive and hold against downward pressure on the stock, whose value was sinking by Thursday afternoon. An I.T. worker in Atlanta who bought in on Monday after reading about GameStop on the forum said he watched the value of his position lose and then regain around $100,000 over the course of 24 hours, and he’s not abandoning his shares anytime soon.

“It does feel like a gang-up on Wall Street, which has suffered no repercussions from the pandemic,” the I.T. worker said. “Jobless claims, jobless claims, every week we see them going higher and higher, all the chaos with Brexit, all the stuff that’s happening. Like, we can’t go outside, but you guys are making a profit. What the fuck?” On WallStreetBets, it’s to no small amount of admiration that DeepFuckingValue, one of the first users to go bullish on GameStop, who has since been identified by the Daily Mail as 34-year-old financial adviser Keith Patrick Gill, continues to post his daily tally from staying long on the video game store chain. Midweek, that was almost $50 million (from a reported initial investment of some $53,000), but the next day, it had dived by more than $14 million

What happened was this: A few hedge funds, reading what they thought was the writing on the wall, bet against GameStop by shorting its stock, predicting that a brick-and-mortar store had no future in the COVID-delineated online economy. So retail traders bought the stock in droves and pushed its value up, knowing that traders would eventually have to buy the stock back at the higher price in order to cover their positions, losing money in the process. GameStop isn’t the first short squeeze Wall Street has seen, but it’s one of the first that originated in the online forums where day traders using popular platforms like Robinhood have coalesced during the pandemic. Some major funds were caught in the squeeze, including Melvin Capital and Citron Research, and total losses from the short positions in U.S. companies were estimated to be more than $70 billion as of Thursday. Redditors rejoiced over Wall Street’s pain, and CNBC’s Jim Cramer said the masses ganging up against institutional money could be finance’s new paradigm. “There is definitely a level of nervousness here,” said a hedge fund manager named Westley, who asked not to have his last name published. 

[ click to continue reading at VF ]

Posted on January 28, 2021 by Editor

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Life on Eartha

from Vanity Fair

Transformative Life

Kitt’s 1989 autobiography, Confessions of a Sex Kitten, tracks an icon’s incredible journey from abused child to outspoken star.

BY HADLEY HALL MEARES

Eartha Kitt Performing in London November 1989
GERAINT LEWIS/ALAMY.

Eartha Kitt was many things: a nightclub chanteuse who could sing in seven languages; a movie star; an activist, dancer, singer, comedian…and Catwoman. She created iconic cultural moments, purring hits like “Santa Baby,” “I Want to Be Evil,” and “C’est Si Bon.” Her lovers were American aristocrats like Charles Revson, the founder of Revlon (he even created a lipstick shade for her) and film industry scion Arthur Loew Jr. An eccentric grand dame, swathed in Balmain and sipping champagne, she was a cabaret legend, creating magic on the stages of The Carlyle and the Persian Room.

But Kitt’s greatest creation was herself. In her 1989 autobiography, Confessions of a Sex Kitten, she tells the epic story of her self-made life in poetic, precise prose. “I have no idea how old I am. Believe it or not, I have no paper that says I was ever born,” she wrote. “Maybe that’s why they call me a legend, because I don’t really exist.”

[ click to continue reading at VF ]

Posted on January 22, 2021 by Editor

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Bernie Sits

from WIRED

He Made a Viral Bernie Meme Site. Now He Has to Keep It Going

Nick Sawhney’s “Bernie Sits” puts Sanders anywhere on Google Street View. 

by BRIAN BARRETT

Bernie sitting with a mask on

BY 9 PM ET last night, Nick Sawhney knew he was in trouble. 

Just a half hour earlier, still steeped in the afterglow of Joe Biden’s inauguration, Sawhney had pushed live a website that lets you put a viral image of Bernie Sanders—seated, mittened, alone—atop any Google Street View image. The meme had already reached a fever pitch, with the Photoshop faithful placing the senator from Vermont in everything from Mortal Kombat to Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks. But Sawhney’s creation, born out of a group chat with friends, added layers of personalization, ease of use, and absurdity; because it fixes Sanders in the same coordinates regardless of his location, he occasionally looks as though he’s floating, or sitting on a car, or in an otherwise unlikely orientation.

The site gained traction on Twitter slowly at first; friends retweeting, then friends of friends. A few verified accounts joined in. And then, as wonderful and perfectly timed internet creations do, it snowballed.

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on January 21, 2021 by Editor

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The Death of Flash

from The LA Times

Why the end of Flash animation marks the end of an era for creativity on the web

By CAROLINA A. MIRANDA

A message to uninstall Flash appears above a Flash-based work of art by Rafaël Rozendaal titled "Future Physics," from 2007.
A message to uninstall Flash appears above a Flash-based work of art by Rafaël Rozendaal titled “Future Physics,” from 2007.(Screengrab by Carolina A. Miranda / Los Angeles Times)

It was a tale of sex and death and Teletubbies.

In 1998, programmer and animator Tom Fulp released an online video game titled “Teletubby Fun Land” that featured the characters from the British children’s television program getting drunk and stoned and engaged in acts of devil worship. One of the game’s narratives showed a version of Po (the red one) getting it on with a sheep. 

As the site grew in popularity, the BBC, which aired “Teletubbies,” grew appalled. In 1999, the British broadcaster demanded that Fulp, then a college student, take the site down. He initially acquiesced, but within days, “Teletubby Fun Land” was right back up — with Fulp noting that parody was protected under laws governing free speech.

“As far as I have always known, Mad magazine makes a living out of doing the same thing,” Fulp told Wired at the time. “I am pretty sure U.S. laws protect me.”

[ click to continue reading at LAT ]

Posted on January 4, 2021 by Editor

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Fripp & Toyah Do Black Dog

Posted on January 3, 2021 by Editor

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Mary Ann Gone

from Deadline

Dawn Wells Dies Of Covid-19: Mary Ann On ‘Gilligan’s Island’ Was 82

By Erik Pedersen

Dawn Wells, best known for playing the girl-next-door castaway Mary Ann on the iconic CBS comedy series Gilligan’s Island, died Wednesday morning in Los Angeles of complications due to Covid-19. She was 82.

Wells, who was Miss Nevada in the 1959 Miss America pageant, beat out 350 actresses for the role of Mary Ann Summers. She also appeared in more 150 series and several movies during her career as well as on Broadway.

Wells’ naive country character on Gilligan’s Island was juxtaposed with that of Tina Louise’s Ginger, a sultry movie star. The rather-stereotyped dueling characters fueled a debate that continues among fans today: Mary Ann or Ginger.

[ click to continue reading at Deadline ]

Posted on December 31, 2020 by Editor

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Homogenized by COVID

from Vox

The year reality collapsed into pixels

What I learned from spending 2020 working, learning, and entertaining on the same screen.

By Alissa Wilkinson

By the time the friendly robot Wall-E makes it to outer space in the Pixar movie that bears his name, the audience is ready to meet the humans. Years earlier, when Earth became overrun with the detritus of overconsumption, those humans absconded on spaceships owned by the giant corporation that sold them all that stuff, leaving little robots like Wall-E behind to clean up the planet. Now Wall-E has found a way onto the ship where the humans are. What will he find? Astronauts? Lord of the flies? An advanced, enlightened iteration of the species?

Nope. Human civilization, left to its own devices on a giant vessel owned by a corporation, has more or less devolved into full-time consumers. Earth’s descendants are effectively blobs — they sit in comfy chairs that cruise around the ship all day, wearing pajama-like outfits that can change colors at the touch of a button, with personalized screens to look at whenever they’re not sleeping. They’ve forgotten how to walk or interact with other people or do anything offscreen at all. In fact, the screens are so engrossing that although these humans are surrounded by other humans on other chairs with other screens, they never actually look at each other. Instead, the screens are portals to their entire reality. They’re where people order food, watch entertainment, talk to one another, and, most importantly, learn about what they should buy next.

[ click to continue reading at Vox ]

Posted on December 30, 2020 by Editor

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Pierre Cardin Gone

from BBC

Pierre Cardin: French fashion giant dies aged 98

GETTY IMAGES

Legendary designer Pierre Cardin, whose futuristic and stylish designs helped revolutionise fashion in the 1950s and 60s, has died at the age of 98.

The French fashion giant, whose career spanned more than 70 years, helped usher in the post-war “golden age” of couture with his modern style. 

He broke ground by bringing designer styles to the masses with some of the first ready-to-wear collections.

A business pioneer, he also licensed his name for a wide range of products.

Cardin was born in Italy in 1922 but moved to France as a child. He began his fashion career in Paris working for firms including Christian Dior, for whom he helped create the New Look collection in 1947.

He set up his own fashion company in 1950 and made his name with visionary designs like the iconic bubble dress in 1954 and his Space Age collection in 1964.

At the end of the 1950s, he launched his first ready-to-wear collection for the Printemps department store. While pop stars and actors like the Beatles and Lauren Bacall were seen wearing Cardin, his cutting-edge designs were also within reach of ordinary customers.

[ click to read full obit at BBC ]

Posted on December 29, 2020 by Editor

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Willie

from Slate

An Interview With Willie Nelson at 87: “I Didn’t Ever Think I’d Get This Old”

By JONATHAN L. FISCHER

As part of Slate’s project on the 80 most influential Americans over 80, we spoke to some members of the list to reflect on aging, work, and life in their ninth decade and beyond. Willie Nelson, 87, is an iconic singer-songwriter and one of the originators of outlaw country music. His latest album, First Rose of Spring, is his 70th; his 71st, the Frank Sinatra tribute That’s Life, will be released in February. Slate spoke with Nelson by phone last week. The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Jonathan L. Fischer: A lot of your songs that I love have the feeling of being sung by an old soul. Your outlaw country years, even before then—it sounded like it’d been done by someone who’d lived a lot. When you were younger, what did you think about being old? And now that you’re older, what do you understand about being young?

[ click to continue reading at Slate ]

Posted on December 28, 2020 by Editor

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“My own dog, gone commercial!”

from The Atlantic via MSN

Charlie Brown’s Inside Job

by Caitlin Flanagan

For half a century, it’s been one of the most significant phrases in American Christianity. A prelude to something sacred in an unlikely place: the Gospel of Luke, King James translation, as recited by Linus van Pelt in A Charlie Brown Christmas.

My parents were atheists; I knew almost nothing about Christianity as a child, although I got the lay of the land when I was sent to Catholic school in sixth grade. Before that, my parents—especially my mother—actively worked to keep me and my sister free from religion, Christianity in particular. But we had our gods. Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny reigned over us, with great kindness and generosity, and if we came, eventually, to a crisis of faith, we dealt with it privately. My sister and I understood that our feelings about Christmas were very important to our parents. The brief—transmitted in the silent language of the family—was to be happy, because our parents had had terrible childhoods, and instead of working out their pasts in psychoanalysis or “involvement,” they threw themselves into these perfect Christmases. It was the most wonderful, extremely tense time of the year.

[ click to continue reading at MSN ]

Posted on December 26, 2020 by Editor

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Besottedness

from The Atlantic

What Drives Writers to Drink?

Seeking in the eloquent benders of Dylan Thomas and Herman Mankiewicz an answer to an ancient riddle

by JAMES PARKER

A portrait of the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (1914–1953) sitting in an unidentified bar in the early 1950s. (Weegee / International Center of Photography / Getty)

The drunk guy. What are you going to do with the drunk guy? He’s holding forth, he’s sucking up air, he’s rhetorically inflated, he’s ruining everything, and no possible appeal to decency or art can stop him. A bucket of cold water might answer. Or a Vulcan nerve pinch. Otherwise, you’re just going to have to take it, you and everyone else, sinking deeper into a kind of frozen grave of disaffection, an icy bed of umbrage, as he goes on and on, drunk on himself, drunk on being drunk, drunk.

And it’s even worse if the drunk guy is a writer. Because not only are writers very tricky—viciously down on themselves, impossibly in love with this or that, squirting little shafts of bile or ambrosia from secret writer glands—they also have language. Their drunk-guy monologues will not, unfortunately, be without interest. They might even be—as lights flutter out in the brain—somewhat creative.

David Fincher’s Mank, now streaming on Netflix, and Steven Bernstein’s Last Call, which I saw recently in a fantastically deserted AMC theater, both feature protracted drunk-writer monologues, because both movies have a drunk writer for a leading man. In Mank, it’s Herman “Mank” Mankiewicz, the screenwriter who gave us Citizen Kane; in Last Call, it’s Dylan Thomas, the Welsh poet who gave us … Dylan Thomas. Mank was brilliant; Thomas was a genius. Drunk guys that they frequently were, neither man, to put it mildly, was without insight. What can they teach or impart to us about writing and booze?

[ click to continue reading at The Atlantic ]

Posted on December 24, 2020 by Editor

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Speed Buggy Back

from MSN

An Oil Scion Is Giving a ’60s-Era Dune Buggy a New Lease on Life

by Hannah Elliott

(Bloomberg Businessweek) — The centerpiece of Phillip Sarofim’s Los Angeles home is his garage. The immaculate space holds two of the most collectible cars in the world: his Ruf CTR Yellowbird and Lancia Stratos Zero, a wedge-on-four-wheels in burnt caramelized orange.

It’s fair to say the venture capitalist, oil scion, and former Avril Lavigne paramour has access to pretty much whatever his heart desires. But his recent acquisition of Meyers Manx LLC runs slightly counter to the image of that blue-chip garage.

Sure, the fiberglass-tubed Manx dune buggies gained global attention when Steve McQueen drove one in 1968’s The Thomas Crown Affair. An edition from that year sold for $55,200 at an RM Sotheby’s auction in 2019. But at 1,200 pounds, just 90 horsepower on its four-cylinder engine, and not even the courtesy of a radio, the open-top rambler with knobby wheels is better suited to cruising deserted beaches than the Monaco promenades where you’d find that Lancia.

[ click to continue reading at MSN ]

Posted on December 23, 2020 by Editor

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VG Rising

from MarketWatch

Videogames are a bigger industry than movies and North American sports combined, thanks to the pandemic

COVID-19 lockdowns expected to help global gaming sales rise 20% to nearly $180 billion in 2020, and experts don’t see growth taking a hit in 2021 after release of next-gen Playstation, Xbox

By Wallace Witkowski

Videogames have grown to resemble competition-based, interactive movies, and the COVID-19 pandemic has propelled the industry to make more money than movies and North American sports combined. 

Global videogame revenue is expected to surge 20% to $179.7 billion in 2020, according to IDC data, making the videogame industry a bigger moneymaker than the global movie and North American sports industries combined. The global film industry reached $100 billion in revenue for the first time in 2019, according to the Motion Picture Association, while PwC estimated North American sports would bring in more than $75 billion in 2020.

[ click to continue reading at MarketWatch ]

Posted on December 22, 2020 by Editor

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Christmas Star Rising

from CNN

Watch for the ‘Christmas Star’ as Jupiter and Saturn come closer than they have in centuries

By Ashley Strickland

The two largest planets in our solar system are coming closer together than they have been since the Middle Ages, and it’s happening just in time for Christmas — hence the nickname of the “Christmas Star.” While it’s not an actual star, the two planets will certainly make a bright splash in the night sky.

On the night of December 21, the winter solstice, Jupiter and Saturn will appear so closely aligned in our sky that they will look like a double planet. This close approach is called a conjunction. The fact that this event is happening during the winter solstice is pure coincidence, according to NASA.

“Alignments between these two planets are rather rare, occurring once every 20 years or so, but this conjunction is exceptionally rare because of how close the planets will appear to one another,” said astronomer Patrick Hartigan, a professor of physics and astronomy at Rice University in Houston, in a statement

“You’d have to go all the way back to just before dawn on March 4, 1226, to see a closer alignment between these objects visible in the night sky.”

[ click to continue reading at CNN ]

Posted on December 21, 2020 by Editor

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Cave Man Need Pubes On Face

from WIRED

Facial Hair Is Biologically Useless. So Why Do Humans Have It?

Pubes protect you; head hair keeps you warm. But beards and mustaches seem to exist for mainly ornamental reasons.

by JOSH CLARKCHUCK BRYANT

man smiling

THIS STORY IS adapted from Stuff You Should Know: An Incomplete Compendium of Mostly Interesting Thingsby Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant.

There are really only two types of facial hair: beards and mustaches. Every style of facial hair you’ve ever seen is one of these two, or a combination of both.

Think about it like part of a Linnaean taxonomy of human traits that we just made up but totally makes sense, where facial hair is a family, beards and mustaches are each a genus, and their many varieties are individual species that could interbreed, as it were, to create hybrid subspecies like the duck-billed platypus of the facial hair family, the soul patch.

This might seem self-evident when you take a second to think about it, but then why would you be thinking about this at all unless you work in the relatively booming beard care industry or you’re a pogonophile—a lover of beards and the bearded. The Economist wrote about that very philia in a 2015 article about the growing trend of beardedness while reporting from the National Beard and Mustache Championship that was taking place in Brooklyn that year … obviously. (A year earlier, in February 2014, the New York Post ran a story about men in Brooklyn paying as much as $8,500 for facial hair transplants in order to grow better beards.)

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on December 20, 2020 by Editor

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B.E-E. Cancelled

from The Independent UK

Bret Easton Ellis: ‘Being cancelled has endeared me to part of the population’

After his recent collection of essays stirred controversy, the author has written the script for a slasher horror movie. He tells Ed Cumming why today’s social media storms are nothing compared with what he faced for writing American Psycho

(AFP via Getty Images)

Until last year, Bret Easton Ellis had been drifting from the public eye. Thirty-four years had passed since the instant celebrity that followed Less Than Zero, a stylish, nihilistic vision of Los Angeles published in 1985 when its author was just 21. The furore over American Psycho, his third and most famous novel, had long since faded into literary history, even after a resurgence around the 2000 film that starred Christian Bale as its corporate psychopath antihero, Patrick Bateman.

Ellis was prone to the odd misjudged tweet, in particular during 2012, a bumper year in which he variously claimed the American actor Matt Bomer was “too gay” to play the lead in 50 Shades of Grey, said the director Kathryn Bigelow was overrated because “she’s a very hot woman” and, most memorably, invited his followers to “bring coke now” to a party he was at. But by last year he had gone quieter on social media, too. Sober after a lifetime of well-documented excess, Ellis seemed to be charting a quieter course, writing screenplays and making podcasts.

Then he published White, a collection of musings about, among other things, safe spaces, Twitter, liberal hysteria over Trump, #MeToo, the radical beauty of Richard Gere in American Gigolo, Black Lives Matter, the Oscar-winning film Moonlight, and snowflake millennials – “Generation Wuss”, whom he declared unable to handle criticism. The essays – and interviews promoting them – provoked a barrage of criticism. The Guardian called it a “nonsensical, vapid book, written by a man so furiously obsessed with his right to speak that he forgets to say anything”. In the London Review of Books, James Wolcott noted Ellis’s gift for “upsetting the maximum number of people with the minimum amount of effort”. Ellis was back in the news, portrayed more as a middle-aged crank than a bad boy.

Now, nearly two years since White’s release, Ellis claims to have been baffled by the reaction. “I was shocked,” he says. “It was an argument about aesthetics, and unfortunately the meaning got twisted. I never saw it as a proclamation or politics. I saw it more about cultural history. The reaction was politicised. It was terrible, because I really don’t feel that way at all. My boyfriend’s a millennial.” He often refers to his millennial boyfriend, Todd, a musician, in a way that reminds me of how Captain America uses his shield to block attacks but also as something to throw at his enemies. “Still, we were prepared,” he adds. “We knew it was going to freak the media out, and it did. It was nothing compared to American Psycho, when there were protests and people throwing blood on bookstores and telling me my career was over.”

[ click to continue reading at The Independent ]

Posted on December 19, 2020 by Editor

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Banksy’s Bristol Sneeze

from artnet

It’s a New Banksy! A Mural of a Woman Sneezing Has Appeared on the Side of a House in Bristol

The work is the anonymous street artist’s latest health-related message.

by Brian Boucher

A new mural by Banksy has appeared on the side of a house in the southern UK city of Bristol. The piece shows a woman in a headscarf sneezing, with her dentures flying several feet out of her mouth and a graphic spray of saliva following them. She is doubled over by the force of the sneeze and has lost her grip on her purse and cane.

Two days after Brits began to receive the first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, the piece seems to issue a gross reminder that, one step toward herd immunity notwithstanding, citizens ought to continue to wear their masks to avoid spreading the deadly virus via droplets, or in this case gobs, of saliva.

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on December 17, 2020 by Editor

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The Selfish Meme

from WIRED

The WIRED Guide to Memes

Everything you ever wanted to know about Nyan Cat, Doge, and the art of the Rickroll.

by ANGELA WATERCUTTEREMMA GREY ELLIS

What Is A Meme The Definitive WIRED Guide

MEMES AND THE internet—they’re made for each other. Not because they’re digital visual communication (though of course, they are that), but because they are the product of a hive mind. They are the shorthand of a hyper-connected group thinking in unison. And, friends, the web hive mind is a weird (often funny, sometimes dangerous) place. 

The term “meme” comes from evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. For Dawkins, cultural ideas were no different than genes—concepts that had to spread themselves from brain to brain as quickly as they could, replicating and mutating as they went. He called those artifacts memes, bits of cultural DNA that encoded society’s shared experiences while also constantly evolving.

But Dawkins coined the term in 1976, in his book The Selfish Gene, long before the modern internet, before memes morphed into what they are now. Back then, Dawkins was talking about passing along culture—song melodies, art styles, whatever. Today, denizens of the internet think of memes as jokes passed across social media in the form of image macros (those pictures of babies or cats or whatever with bold black-and-white words on them), hashtags (the thing you amended to what you just wrote on Twitter), GIFs (usually of a celebrity, reality star, or drag queen reacting to what you just wrote on Twitter), or videos (that Rick Astley video people used to send you).

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on December 16, 2020 by Editor

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Spliffs In The Temple Tonight

from artnet

Did Ancient Hebrews Get High During Temple? A New Archaeological Discovery Suggests They Did

Archaeologists confirm what your Jewish friends already suspected: ancient religious services were way more fun.

by Sarah Cascone

Frankincense, myrrh, and… cannabis? Archaeologists have discovered traces of weed on an ancient Israelite altar, suggesting that getting high was a religious ritual for the Hebrew people.

The discovery was made using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry testing on an Iron Age Judahite shrine at Tel Arad, in Israel’s Negev desert. The cannabis altar was in the inner sanctum of the temple, known as the cella, or holy of holies.

“We know from all around the Ancient Near East and around the world that many cultures used hallucinogenic materials and ingredients in order to get into some kind of religious ecstasy,” Eran Arie, curator of Iron Age and Persian Periods archaeology in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem told CNN. “We never thought about Judah taking part in these cultic practices. The fact that we found cannabis in an official cult place of Judah says something new.”

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on December 15, 2020 by Editor

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Charley Pride Gone

from AP

Charley Pride, a country music Black superstar, dies at 86

By MARK KENNEDY

NEW YORK (AP) — Charley Pride, one of country music’s first Black superstar whose rich baritone on such hits as “Kiss an Angel Good Morning” helped sell millions of records and made him the first Black member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, has died. He was 86.

Pride died Saturday in Dallas of complications from Covid-19, according to Jeremy Westby of the public relations firm 2911 Media.

“I’m so heartbroken that one of my dearest and oldest friends, Charley Pride, has passed away. It’s even worse to know that he passed away from COVID-19. What a horrible, horrible virus. Charley, we will always love you,” Dolly Parton tweeted.

Pride released dozens of albums and sold more than 25 million records during a career that began in the mid-1960s. Hits besides “Kiss an Angel Good Morning” in 1971 included “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone,” “Burgers and Fries,” “Mountain of Love,” and “Someone Loves You Honey.”

[ click to continue reading at AP ]

Posted on December 12, 2020 by Editor

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