Archive for ‘Art’

September 21, 2018

Mission School

Barry McGee

Margaret Kilgallen

The Mission School (sometimes called ‘New Folk’ or ‘Urban Rustic’) is an art movement of the 1990s and 2000s, centered in the Mission District in San Francisco.

Artists of the Mission School take their inspiration from the urban, bohemian, ‘street’ culture of the Mission District and are strongly influenced by mural and graffiti art, comic and cartoon art, and folk art forms such as sign painting and hobo art.

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September 11, 2018

Barbie Liberation Organization

Igor Vamos

The Barbie Liberation Organization or BLO, sponsored by RTMark (an anti-consumerist activist collective), are a group of artists and activists involved in culture jamming.

They gained notoriety in 1993 by switching the voice boxes on talking G.I. Joes and Barbie dolls. The BLO performed ‘surgery’ on a reported 300–500 dolls and then returned them to the shelves of stores, an action they refer to as reverse shoplifting or ‘shopgiving.’ This action resulted in girls opening their new Teen Talk Barbie to hear it say phrases such as ‘vengeance is mine’ and boys hearing their G.I. Joe say ‘The beach is the place for summer.’

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August 16, 2018

Yacht Rock

Doobie Brothers

Yacht rock (originally known as the ‘West Coast Sound’) is a broad music style and aesthetic identified with soft rock. The term, coined in the 2000s by the makers of the online video series of the same name, was derived from its association with the popular Southern Californian leisure activity of sailing.

The term describes one of the commercially successful genres of its era, existing between the late 1970s and early 1980s. Drawing on sources such as smooth soul, smooth jazz, R&B, funk, and disco, common stylistic traits include high-quality production, clean vocals, and a focus on light, catchy melodies. The genre is often described as having ‘more emphasis on the melody than on the beat’ and ‘light emotions.’

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August 7, 2018

Tim’s Vermeer

Hockney–Falco thesis

Tim’s Vermeer is a 2013 documentary film, directed by Teller (of the comedy magic duo Penn & Teller), produced by his stage partner Penn Jillette and film producer Farley Ziegler, about inventor Tim Jenison’s efforts to duplicate the painting techniques of Dutch master Johannes Vermeer, in order to test his theory that Vermeer painted with the help of optical devices.

Tim Jenison is the founder of NewTek, a company working in various fields of computer graphics, most notably the 3D modelling software ‘LightWave 3D.’ Jenison, himself both an engineer and art enthusiast, becomes fascinated with the paintings of Johannes Vermeer, the 17th-century Dutch painter, whose paintings have been described as having a photographic quality to them.

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August 1, 2018

Star-crossed

Pyramus and Thisbe

Star-crossed‘ or ‘star-crossed lovers’ is a phrase describing a pair of lovers whose relationship is often thwarted by outside forces. The term encompasses other meanings, but originally means the pairing is being ‘thwarted by a malign star’ or that the stars are working against the relationship. Astrological in origin, the phrase stems from the belief that the positions of the stars ruled over people’s fates, and is best known from the play ‘Romeo and Juliet’ by Shakespeare. Such pairings are often said to be doomed from the start.

It also refers to destiny and the inevitability of the two characters’ paths crossing. It usually but not always refers to unlucky outcomes, since Romeo and Juliet’s affair ended tragically. Further, it connotes that the lovers entered into their union without sufficient forethought or preparation; that the lovers may not have had adequate knowledge of each other or that they were not thinking rationally.

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July 4, 2018

Marc Maron

Marc Maron (b. 1963) is an American stand-up comedian, podcaster, writer and actor.

In 2009, Maron began hosting the twice-weekly podcast ‘WTF with Marc Maron’ where he interviews comedians, authors, musicians, and celebrities in his garage in Highland Park, Los Angeles. From 2013 to 2016, he starred and executive produced in his own IFC television comedy series, ‘Maron,’ a loosely autobiographical show, revolving around his life as a twice-divorced, sober comedian running a comedy podcast out of his garage. Since 2017, he has co-starred in the Netflix comedy series ‘GLOW.’

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June 7, 2018

Swan Song

led zeppelin

The swan song is a metaphorical phrase for a final gesture, effort, or performance given just before death or retirement. The phrase refers to an ancient belief that swans sing a beautiful song just before their death, having been silent (or alternatively, not so musical) during most of their lifetime. This belief, whose basis in actuality is long-debated, had become proverbial in ancient Greece by the 3rd century BCE, and was reiterated many times in later Western poetry and art.

In Greek mythology, the swan was a bird consecrated to Apollo and was therefore considered a symbol of harmony and beauty.

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May 15, 2018

Socks and Sandals

Kyle Gass Band

Wearing socks and sandals together is a controversial fashion combination and social phenomenon that is discussed in various countries and cultures. In some places it is considered a fashion faux pas.

The earliest evidence of wearing socks and sandals is documented at an archaeological site in England. The discovery suggests that old Romans wore socks with sandals at least 2,000 years ago. The earliest known surviving pair of socks were designed for use with sandals. Dating from 300–500, they were excavated from Oxyrhynchus on the Nile in Egypt.

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April 14, 2018

Twelfth Night

She's the Man

‘Twelfth Night, or ‘What You Will” is a comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written around 1601–02 for a festival marking the close of the Christmas season, on the twelfth night after Christmas Day, called the Eve of the Feast of Epiphany. The play centers on the twins Viola and Sebastian, who are separated in a shipwreck. Viola (who disguises herself as Cesario) falls in love with Duke Orsino, who in turn is in love with the Countess Olivia. Upon meeting Viola, Countess Olivia falls in love with her thinking she is a man.

The play expanded on the musical interludes and riotous disorder expected of the occasion, with plot elements drawn from the short story ‘Of Apollonius and Silla’ by English author Barnabe Rich, based on a story by Italian writer Matteo Bandello. 

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March 19, 2018

Sheats Goldstein Residence

Jackie Treehorn

The Sheats Goldstein Residence is a house designed and built between 1961 and 1963 by American architect John Lautner in Beverly Crest, Los Angeles, just a short distance from the Beverly Hills border. The building was conceived from the inside out and built into the sandstone ledge of the hillside; a cave-like dwelling that opens to embrace nature and view.

The house is an example of ‘American Organic Architecture’ that derives its form as an extension of the natural environment and of the individual for whom it was built. Lautner, an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright, sought to create unique structures that solved the challenges of their sites.

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January 12, 2018

Sweater Curse

knitting

The sweater curse, or the ‘curse of the love sweater,’ is a knitting folktale which claims that if a knitter gives a hand-knit sweater to a significant other, it will lead to the recipient breaking up with them. In an alternative formulation, the relationship will end before the sweater is even completed. In a 2005 poll, 15% of active knitters said that they had experienced the sweater curse firsthand, and 41% considered it a possibility that should be taken seriously.

Despite its name, the ‘sweater curse’ is treated in knitting literature not as a superstition governed by paranormal forces, but rather as a real-world pitfall of knitting that has rational explanations. Several plausible mechanisms for the sweater curse have been proposed, but it has not been studied systematically.

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December 7, 2017

Tommy Wiseau

Tommy Wiseau is an American actor and filmmaker. He produced and directed ‘The Room’ (2003), which has been described by many critics as ‘one of the worst movies ever made’ and has gained cult film status. He also directed the 2004 documentary ‘Homeless in America’ and the 2015 sitcom ‘The Neighbors.’

Wiseau is secretive about his early life. In various interviews, he has claimed to have lived in France ‘a long time ago,’ asserted that he grew up in New Orleans, and described having ‘an entire family’ in Chalmette, Louisiana.

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