Short Attention Spans? Why, That’s Just A Sign Of How Smart We’re Getting

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“The world is faster, faster, faster these days. That’s the current reality, and it’s not going anywhere. Leaving a page that isn’t loading isn’t a character fault; it’s smart. You can get the information you were after elsewhere, and you can get it faster. If we really valued what we were made to wait for, well, we would wait.”

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How The Summer Festival Has Gone Big Time (Mainstream, Commercialized)

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“Long gone are the painted Volkswagen buses, talk of “free love,” and shoulder-length hair for men, but it’s only recently that the festivals associated with those things have also begun to disappear, replaced by a new breed of festival that’s tailored to a different group entirely: hipsters.”

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Women’s Project Theater Gets A New Producing Artistic Director

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Lisa McNulty, “who has been the artistic line producer at Manhattan Theater Club since 2006, will begin her new job on Aug. 11. She has a long history with the 36-year-old Women’s Project Theater, whose mission is to produce plays written and directed by women.”

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New York City Is Introducing A New ID Card (And It Wants Cultural Groups To Help)

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“To broaden the appeal of a card that will be available to all New Yorkers early next year but is designed to help those who do not have a driver’s license or other official identification, the administration has asked some of the city’s most prominent cultural institutions to offer benefits, like memberships or discounted tickets, to cardholders.”

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British Government Backs Down On Cuts To Music Education

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“This is undoubtedly good news. That extra £17 million (the government says £18 million, but no-one quite understands their arithmetic), means the total amount spread around the music hubs will rise to £75 million. This will reverse the decline of recent years, which has been steep.”

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80s Band Duran Duran Sues Its Own Fan Club

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“The band, known for hits such as Notorious and Hungry Like the Wolf, are claiming that Chicago-based company Worldwide Fan Clubs have breached contract by not paying the band promised revenue.”

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How Popular Culture Of The 1920s Became Obsessed With King Tut

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“The tomb’s discovery, at the start of the Roaring Twenties, followed the global upheavals of World War One. Mass media was able to bring news of objects being carried out of the tomb to a wider audience, faster than ever before. America, in particular, became obsessed by “King Tut” – as he became known. Even US President Herbert Hoover used the name for his pet dog.”

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Why Do Our Brains Leap To Stereotypes?

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“In essence, they write, our minds are hard-wired to categorize information and create mental shortcuts (attribute A is associated with behavior B). This helps us retain knowledge using minimal mental effort, and provides a needed sense of structure to an otherwise chaotic universe. In doing so, however, nuances and complications tend to be discarded.”

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Met Opera’s Peter Gelb Gives Unions Ultimatum: Contract In One Week Or Lockout

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“The labor strife at the Metropolitan Opera took on a new urgency Wednesday when its general manager, Peter Gelb, sent the company’s orchestra, chorus, stagehands and other workers letters warning them to prepare for a lockout if no contract deal is reached by next week.”

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Six Arrested In $1M StubHub International Hacking Case

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“Six individuals in Russia and the United States have been charged with taking part in a broad international hacking scheme that attacked over 1,600 StubHub users’ accounts and fraudulently purchased more than $1 million in tickets.”

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Hollywood’s Favorite Non-Dance-Movie Choreographer

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“If you’ve seen a movie in the last 20 years, chances are you know the choreographer Marguerite Derricks’s work, if not her name. Austin Powers’s epic go-go dance through the streets? Ms. Derricks’s idea. Abigail Breslin’s climactic strip routine in Little Miss Sunshine? Ms. Derricks was just off camera, encouraging Ms. Breslin to claw like a tiger. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s tango in Mr. and Mrs. Smith? Well, Ms. Derricks was Ms. Jolie’s first partner.”

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“Titus Andronicus” At Shakespeare’s Globe Took Out More Than 100 Audience Members

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“More than 100 people either fainted or left the theatre after being overcome by on-stage gore – making it a strong candidate for the most potent show in British history. … Those who fainted included The Independent‘s reviewer.”

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Zohra Sehgal, 102, Indian Actress On Three Continents

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Western film and TV viewers knew her as the go-to actress for feisty Indian old lady roles (Bend It Like Beckham, Bhaji on the Beach, Masala, Jewel in the Crown, Dr Who). Yet she had a seven-decade stage and movie career in the subcontinent: she toured as a young dancer with Uday Shankar, and worked in Bollywood well into her 90s.

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Despite All Ukraine’s Troubles (And A Near-Cancellation), The “Cannes Of The East” Goes Ahead

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The Odessa International Film Festival “almost didn’t happen [this year], after the annexation of Crimea in March, and the events of 2 May, when 43 pro-Russian activists died in Odessa in a fire started in unclear circumstances. The festival was, however, eventually given the go-ahead, albeit on a drastically reduced budget, and helped by a crowdfunding campaign.”

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Does This Make Me Sound Insecure? The Linguistic Tics That Reveal Self-Doubt

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“Like a scarlet sock in the load of white wash, insecurity has the irksome power to stain our speech and writing, interfering with the immaculate poise we’d like to project. Yet if you know what linguistic tics to look for, you can recognize self-doubt (and perhaps bleach the fuchsia from your pants before anyone notices).”

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Self-Improvement, Original Sin, And The West’s Spiritual Crises

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“Most people assume the western church shares the same creation story as Jews, Muslims, and Orthodox Christians.” Not so: the doctrine of original sin is unique to Western Christianity. “The search for salvation from an inherently broken self has defined modernity as much as it did Christendom. The need for redemption has shaped the language of the market, technological innovation, advertising, politics and, most obviously, self-help movements. But what is new is for there to be so little consensus on how to find salvation.”

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Wallace Shawn Shows Just How Much Ibsen Changed Everything

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“I was listening this morning to a Norwegian doctor who’s been in Gaza and working in a hospital in Gaza, risking his neck and going through a kind of unimaginable hell. And I was thinking, well, he’s there because of Ibsen. He wouldn’t be there if that man had not influenced his society in such an extraordinary way.”

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John Hurt On Acting Beckett’s Krapp

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“I’ve always felt that Krapp is an autobiographical piece. You do feel, all the time, that it’s Sam saying, ‘There but for the grace of …’ For me it’s a kind of essay in aloneness – and an essay on self-deception, too, which Krapp is well aware of. He is like any addict. One side of him says ‘I shouldn’t do this’ and the other side says ‘But I’m going to – and what’s more you know I’m going to’.”

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Do Creative Geniuses *Have* To Be Nuts?

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“Neuroscientist and literary scholar Nancy C. Andreasen tries to answer the question: If high IQ does not indicate creative genius, then where does the trait come from, and why is it so often accompanied by mental illness?” (audio)

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When Richard Strauss Faced Down American GIs

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Alex Ross investigates the truth behind the famous old World War II story of how Strauss convinced U.S. soldiers not to commandeer his house by telling them, “I am the composer of Der Rosenkavalier and Salome.”

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Saving Canada’s Most Iconic Record-Store Sign

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“Since selling its final CD in 2007, Torontonians have been waiting to find out what would happen to the flashing neon discs that used to lure them into Sam the Record Man’s flagship store for nearly 40 years. … City officials were able to finally secure the storefront’s fate earlier this month – on top of a mid-rise tower one block away.”

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Take That, Ken Burns! Why “Drunk History” Sorta Works As Documentary Television

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“The show is exactly what the title says. A narrator … gets very, very drunk, on camera. As she downs her whiskeys or fancy cocktails, she delivers a historical account … It is ridiculous – and very funny. The surprising part is that it’s also a perversely effective way to deliver historical information.”

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Spain’s Prado Museum Missing 885 Artworks

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“A spokesperson for the museum downplayed the situation, telling the paper that many works had been lost over the years to fires and even armed conflict, but without proof of destruction or loss the records for these works remain.”

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What Happened To Charlotte’s Brave Experimental Theatre?

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“Was there really no alternative to euthanizing a company that had achieved so much over its 22-year history?”

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The Next Big Musical Tool – Your Phone

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“Your phone is now a recording studio, a music school, and a Guitar Center. Thousands of music apps enable you to do everything from autotune your voicemail greeting to compose a symphony.”

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What We Lose Of Books In E-Readers

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“Regardless of their printed contents, books tell their own alternative stories, whether this be from smudges on the pages, or edges crinkled from a spilt drink; corners curled or margins dotted with sneaky annotations. Before self-service check-out systems, you could always tell how popular a library book was by how many pages were glued to the inside page, stamped with a list of past loan due dates.”

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This Year’s Booker Prize Nominees (Americans Included)

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“Thirteen novels were named on the longlist for the prize which for more than 40 years has rewarded only Commonwealth writers. The rules changed last year, sparking fears that it would quickly be dominated by Americans.”

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Why Don’t We Have Alternative “Director’s Cut” Versions Of Books?

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“While the film industry eventually embraced the notion of a director’s cut and ran with it – ran, in fact, with the idea of releasing multiple versions of films, each definitive in its own, idiosyncratic way –publishing did not. Despite a few exceptions, there seems to be very little enthusiasm today for multiple editions of the same contemporary book.”

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This Year’s National Medal Of Arts Winners

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It’s a “diverse roster of big names in the arts, literature and entertainment – including Linda Ronstadt, dancer-choreographer Bill T. Jones, author Maxine Hong Kingston, Broadway composer John Kander and L.A.-nurtured visual artist James Turrell — will receive the National Medal of Arts from President Obama.”

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