Search Results for “Vanguard”

August 20, 2021


Society of the Spectacle

The avant-garde (French: ‘advance guard’ or ‘vanguard’) are people or works that are experimental, radical, or unorthodox with respect to art, culture, or society. It is frequently characterized by aesthetic innovation and initial unacceptability.

The avant-garde pushes the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm or the status quo, primarily in the cultural realm. The avant-garde is considered by some to be a hallmark of modernism, as distinct from postmodernism. Many artists have aligned themselves with the avant-garde movement, and still continue to do so, tracing their history from Dada through the Situationists and to postmodern artists such as the Language poets of the 1980s.

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December 1, 2016

Sunset Strip

viper room

The Sunset Strip is the name given to the mile-and-a-half stretch of Sunset Boulevard that passes through West Hollywood, California. It extends from West Hollywood’s eastern border with Hollywood at Havenhurst Drive, to its western border with Beverly Hills at Sierra Drive. The Strip is probably the best-known portion of Sunset, embracing boutiques, restaurants, rock clubs, and nightclubs that are on the cutting edge of the entertainment industry. It is also known for its trademark array of huge, colorful billboards.

As the Strip lies outside of the Los Angeles city limits and was an unincorporated area under the jurisdiction of the County of Los Angeles, the area fell under the less-vigilant jurisdiction of the Sheriff’s Department rather than the LAPD. It was illegal to gamble in the city, but legal in the county. This fostered the building of a rather wilder concentration of nightlife than Los Angeles would tolerate.

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August 7, 2014

Right To Be Forgotten


Memory Hole

The right to be forgotten is a nascent legal concept arising from the need to ‘determine the development of [one’s] life in an autonomous way, without being perpetually or periodically stigmatized as a consequence of a specific action performed in the past.’ France law began recognizing this new right in 2010. Critics claim the laws are vague, unenforceable, and potentially a threat to open access to information, which is an existing legal right in many countries. There are also concerns about its interaction with the right to privacy and whether it would decrease the quality of the Internet through censorship and a rewriting of history.

Many nations have very strong domestic freedom of speech laws, which would be challenging to reconcile with the right to be forgotten. Some academics see that only a limited form of the right to be forgotten would be reconcilable with US constitutional law; the right of an individual to delete data that he or she has personally submitted. In this limited form, individuals could not have material removed that has been uploaded by others, as demanding the removal of information could constitute censorship and a reduction in the freedom of expression.

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October 16, 2012

Uranium Club

heisenberg by david levine

‘Uranprojekt,’ informally known as the ‘Uranverein’ (‘Uranium Club‘), was an attempted clandestine scientific effort led by Germany to develop and produce atomic weapons during World War II.

This program started in April 1939, just months after the discovery of nuclear fission in January of that year, but ended quickly, due to German invasion of Poland, where many notable physicists were drafted into the Wehrmacht (Nazi military). However, the second effort began under the administrative auspices of the Wehrmacht’s Heereswaffenamt (HWA, ‘Army Ordnance Office’) on the day WWII began (September 1, 1939).

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October 7, 2012

Project A119

Lunar Research Flights

Project A119, also known as ‘A Study of Lunar Research Flights,’ was a top-secret plan developed in the late 1950s by the United States Air Force. The aim of the project was to detonate a nuclear bomb on the Moon to boost public morale in the United States after the Soviet Union took an early lead in the Space Race. The existence of the project was revealed in 2000 by a former NASA executive, Leonard Reiffel, who led the project in 1958.

A young Carl Sagan was part of the team responsible for predicting the effects of a nuclear explosion in low gravity. Project A119 was never carried out, primarily because a moon landing would be a much more acceptable achievement in the eyes of the American public. The project documents remained secret for nearly 45 years, and despite Reiffel’s revelations, the US government has never officially recognized its involvement in the study.

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May 21, 2012

Magic Realism

one hundred years of solitude

Magic realism is an aesthetic style or genre of fiction in which magical elements blend with the real world. The story explains these magical elements as real occurrences, presented in a straightforward manner that places the ‘real’ and the ‘fantastic’ in the same stream of thought. One example, is when a character in the story continues to be alive beyond the normal length of life and this is subtly depicted by the character being present throughout many generations.

On the surface the story has no clear magical attributes and everything is conveyed in a real setting, but such a character breaks the rules of our real world. The author may give precise details of the real world such as the date of birth of a reference character and the army recruitment age, but such facts help to define an age for the fantastic character of the story that would turn out to be an abnormal occurrence like someone living for two hundred years.

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February 13, 2012


plastic flamingo


Camp is an aesthetic sensibility that regards something as appealing or humorous because of its deliberate ridiculousness. The concept is closely related to kitsch, and things with camp appeal may also be described as being ‘cheesy.’

When the usage appeared, in 1909, it denoted: ostentatious, exaggerated, affected, theatrical, and effeminate behaviour, and, by the middle of the 1970s, the definition comprised: banality, artifice, mediocrity, and ostentation so extreme as to have perversely sophisticated appeal. American writer Susan Sontag’s essay ‘Notes on ‘Camp” (1964) emphasised its key elements as: artifice, frivolity, naïve middle-class pretentiousness, and ‘shocking’ excess. Camp as an aesthetic has been popular from the 1960s to the present.

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January 14, 2012

Larry Levan

larry levann by keith haring

Larry Levan (1954 – 1992) was a DJ best known for his decade-long residency at the New York City night club Paradise Garage, which has been described as the prototype of the modern dance club. He developed a cult following who referred to his sets as ‘Saturday Mass.’ Influential US DJ François Kevorkian credits Levan with introducing the dub aesthetic into dance music. Along with Kevorkian, Levan experimented with drum machines and synthesizers in his productions and live sets, ushering in an electronic, post-disco sound that presaged the ascendence of house music.

Born, Lawrence Philpot, Levan was openly gay and got his start alongside DJ Frankie Knuckles at the Continental Baths, as a replacement for the DJ from The Gallery, Nicky Siano. Levan’s DJing style was influenced by Siano’s eclectic style, and by The Loft’s David Mancuso, who briefly dated Levan in the early 1970s. As Knuckles was still trying to make his way in the New York club scene, Levan became a popular attraction perhaps due to his ‘diva persona,’ which he developed in the city’s notoriously competitive black drag ‘houses.’

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September 27, 2011



Nazisploitation is a subgenre of exploitation film and sexploitation film that involves villainous Nazis committing criminal acts of a sexual nature often as camp or prison overseers in World War II settings. Most follow the standard women in prison formula, only relocated to a death camp or Nazi brothel, with an added emphasis on sadism, gore, and degradation.

The most infamous and influential title (and the one that set the standards of the genre) is perhaps ‘Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS’ (1974), a Canadian production. Its surprise success and sequels led European film makers, mostly in Italy, to produce dozens of similar films depicting Nazi atrocities. While the Ilsa series and Salon Kitty were profitable, the other films were mostly box-office flops and the genre all but vanished by the mid 1980s.

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