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  • Dance

    Survey: Most Dancers Have Been Criticized For How Their Bodies Look

    A group of 74 female dancers, training primarily in ballet and from six vocational dance training colleges across the UK, were asked if they could recall someone ever making a “critical comment” that their body “should be a certain shape, weight, or that there was a need to diet to lose weight or increase food intake to gain weight”.

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    The Science Behind The Beats That Make You Wanna Dance

    “The results revealed that beat preference, when graphed, looks like an upside-down U on the scale of rhythmic intricacy. Overly simplistic beats are boring, it seems; overly complicated ones are befuddling. A mix of both, however, makes a sound that’s just off-kilter enough to be exciting.”

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    Two Ballerinas Take On The Mythology Of Dance

    “Providing a behind-the-scenes look at the glory and gore of ballet, both books, in their own way, uncover unjust practices in ballet which for decades have tended to be tolerated, if not excused, in the name of art.”

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    Ballet’s Most Difficult Moves, Dissected

    “What can pass in just a few musical beats during a performance – the corkscrew jumps, the ballerina who seems to fly apart in the air only to land with perfect poise – is dissected here for the speed, timing and calibrated force that audience members might miss if they blinked.” (video)

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  • Ideas

    What We Mean When We Talk About Happiness

    “‘Are you satisfied with your life?’ ‘How are you feeling?’ Does either question tell us what we really want to know?”

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    Research: Artists’ Brain Structure Is Different

    “Participants’ brain scans revealed that artists had increased neural matter in areas relating to fine motor movements and visual imagery.”

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    Study: Creative Leisure Activities Build Better Workers

    “If you’re looking for workers who are unusually innovative and/or team players who enjoy helping their colleagues, check out those who spend their free time painting, playing music, or engaging in some other form of creativity.”

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    Is America Suffering A Brain Drain?

    “For many years, the United States has benefited from a kind of reverse brain drain, which is that the best and brightest from all other countries would come to the United States to do research because we had for a very long time the most generous support for basic science. But I have seen, especially recently, the trend is starting to reverse a little bit.”

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  • Issues

    You Can’t “Habit” Your Way Into Making Good Art

    “There is no secret ingredient to artistic success; no magic routine for producing art. Copying Joan Didion’s routine won’t make you write like Joan Didion. Writing on index cards won’t turn you into Vladimir Nabokov. We are all more than the pattern of our days and the materials of our work.”

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    An Artists’ Boycott Of Putin’s Russia Could Backfire

    Judith Mackrell: “[If] artists move towards the blanket boycott [Jonathan] Jones has advocated, life can only get harder for all those artists opposed to Putin and his politics. It can only restrict their dialogue with the wider art scene and push them back towards the old cold war-era isolation.”

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    A Fund For Public Art In Los Angeles That Has Been Locked Up Tight

    “Los Angeles officials are starting to get serious about freeing up $7.5 million or more in city government funds that are earmarked for visual art, performances or other cultural events, but have been wrapped tightly for years in legal red tape.”

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    The Kept Women Of 18th-Century Paris, And The Police Who Kept Tabs On Them

    Europe’s first vice squad “compiled vast dossiers of information on the city’s elite sex workers and their patrons. But they rarely acted on that information. To this day, it remains a mystery why the Parisian police spent so much time and effort observing an underground economy it apparently had no interest in curtailing. But their files are an historian’s dream.”

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  • Media

    Oliver Stone Tells The Chinese – To Their Faces – To Make Critical Films About Mao

    At the Beijing International Film Festival: “It’s about time. You got to make a movie about Mao, about the Cultural Revolution. You do that, you open up, you stir the waters and you allow true creativity to emerge in this country. That would be the basis of real co-production.”

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    ‘The Best Documentary Ever Made On The Basis Of A Dubious Premise’

    “The filmmakers follow the narrow limits of a self-imposed rule, and their obstinacy courts cinematic disaster. They set the movie entirely within the capsules of a cable-car line in Nepal that connects the ancient mountaintop temple of the title with a neighboring village. The film’s two-hour duration is filled solely with a dozen ten-minute trips.”

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    The Ten Best Documentaries Of All Time, Per The New Yorker’s Film Blogger

    Richard Brody: “I’m the first to admit that it’s a somewhat tendentious list, with an odd preponderance of French movies. This isn’t merely the result of a personal affinity for an adoptive cinematic homeland but, rather, the crystallization of an idea.”

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    ‘Mad Men’ and the Sexual Revolution, According To Gay Talese

    Who better to take on this subject than the author of Thy Neighbor’s Wife?

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    Japan’s Big Pop Star Of The Moment Is A Hologram

    “Even by the standards of pop stars, Hatsune Miku is eccentric and protean, her mystique elusive. Her eyes are too round and blue to be real. She can be buxom or boyish, and almost painfully sultry – all in a droid-ish, understated way. … And yet she never fails to elude the paparazzi.”

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  • Music

    Pandemonium At San Diego Opera Board Meeting, Followed By New Chairman And Rescue Plan

    Karen Cohn, the board chairman who presided over the sudden plan to dissolve the company, stormed out of the meeting, as did several other members as well as general director Ian Campbell and his deputy and ex-wife, Ann. Carol Lazier, who gave $1 million toward saving the company, is now acting board chair, and she declined to say if Campbell is still affiliated with the Opera.

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    The Life Cycle Of A Pop Song

    The Awl charts the entire course, from the Conception Phase and Underground Phase, through the Indie and Hipster Phases, into and out of the Top 40, to the Shame Phase and beyond. (Not to forget the karaoke afterlife.)

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    Can Loud Music Really Make Your Ears Bleed?

    “If you are close to a sound source – such as a speaker – you are close to a lot of pressure waves. Direct sound exposure often doesn’t cause capillaries to burst, it’s the pressure.

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    Change Of Venue – Now THIS Is How To See Opera

    “Live opera is as physical as art gets, though you would never know that from sitting in any major opera house. In the Sam Wana­maker Playhouse, you can feel singers’ breath on your face; you can hear their inhalations as well as their sung exhalations, the scratch as well as the sustained tone of the violins. Some illusions are lost but with them goes a certain artifice that holds you at arm’s length.”

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    What’s Wrong With The Metropolitan Opera? No, It’s WHO’S Wrong

    In part three of a series on what’s ailing America’s flagship opera company and how to cure it, Dawn Fatale looks at engaging the public and at casting – and says the Met must stop casting five to six years in advance.

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  • People

    ‘Fecund Imagination And Exuberant Sleight-Of-Hand’: Michiko Kakutani On Gabriel García Márquez

    “[In his novels, he] mythologized the history of an entire continent, while at the same time creating a Rabelaisian portrait of the human condition as a febrile dream in which love and suffering and redemption endlessly cycle back on themselves on a Möbius strip in time.”

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    French Court Swaps Bob Dylan Out Of Hate Speech Case

    The case stems from a 2012 Rolling Stone interview in which, to some eyes, Dylan appeared to equate Croatians with Nazis. The judge ruled that, since Dylan gave the interview in the U.S., he couldn’t be liable – but the publisher of the French edition of Rolling Stone could.

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    Gabriel García Márquez Dies At 87

    “Mr. García Márquez, who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982, wrote fiction rooted in a mythical Latin American landscape of his own creation, but his appeal was universal. His books were translated into dozens of languages. He was among a select roster of canonical writers — Dickens, Tolstoy and Hemingway among them — who were embraced both by critics and by a mass audience.”

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    Jimmy Wales Talks About Information, Human Rights And Things You Don’t Want To Know

    “The Onion is my favourite humour site, a parody of news. And one of my favourite headlines in the Onion was “World death rate holding steady at 100 per cent”. So yes, in that sense, we’re all doomed.”

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  • Theatre

    Cast of ‘Fun Home’ Wades Into South Carolina’s Legislators-Against-Lesbians War

    A group of state lawmakers threatened the College of Charleston with a budget cut after a reading list for incoming freshmen included Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir. So the cast and creators of the musical based on the book are going to Charleston next week for concert performances and discussions.

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    So You Think You Can Be An Actor, Tough Guy?

    Alex Andreou: “I have worked 14-hour shifts in a travel agency, seven days a week, for six months during the Greek tourist season, with no day off. I have handled multi-billion industry investigations as a competition expert, with days and weeks which I thought would never end. None of it compares – not even close – to the self-imposed temporary obsession that preparing for a part demands.”

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    Resetting ‘Three Sisters’ Among Expats In Yemen

    The isolated Arab country “presents a conflict zone, but not one that gets international attention; far-flung but not exotic; visitors who hope to do good with varying degrees of conviction;” and the “claustrophobia” of life in an expatriate community.

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    Seattle Theatres Talk About Raising Wages

    “Despite the outcry from some restaurant and bar owners in the past few weeks, not everyone running small and midsize businesses with razor-thin margins is panicking about the prospect of a $15 minimum wage. Arts organizations large and small say they will do what it takes to increase wages.”

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  • Visual

    Legal Landscape Still Murky For Detroit Institute Of Art Collection

    “Like every aspect of the Detroit bankruptcy, the legal issues surrounding the DIA and its multibillion-dollar collection remain a landscape of uncharted territory and foggy complexities.”

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    Why Museum Directors Still Want To Curate Shows

    “If I didn’t continue to curate—even now that I have a job that oversees six museums—I would stop breathing. The strong relationship with artists gives me the energy to take on all the business that I have to do.”

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    Artists Plan To Recreate 1914 ‘Human Zoo’

    “Norway celebrates the 200th anniversary of its constitution this year, and, the artists Mohamed Ali Fadlabi and Lars Cuzner plan to re-enact one of the main attractions from the centenary in 1914: ‘The Congo Village’, in which 80 Africans were put on display, living in cabins with palm roofs surrounded by African artefacts.”

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    The Louvre Gets Its 18th-Century Groove Back

    “The Louvre Museum is preparing to reopen its 18th-century galleries on 6 June, after nearly a decade of renovation work.”

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    Man Crowbars A Banksy Out Of A Wall, Sets Off Storm Of Protest

    “It was removed by crowbar by the leader of a nearby youth club within hours of being found. Dennis Stinchcombe said he hoped to raise £100,000 for the struggling Broad Plain Boys’ Club by auctioning it. But Bristol mayor George Ferguson asked for the work to be put back on the city council-owned wall.”

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  • Words

    Random House Wins Bidding To Publish New Shirley Jackson Collection

    “The new collection, called Garlic in Fiction, is edited by two of Ms. Jackson’s children … and includes her fiction (like the short story ‘Paranoia,’ which was published for the first time in The New Yorker last summer), as well as drawings, lectures and works of nonfiction that previously appeared in women’s magazines of the 1940s and ’50s.”

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    Gary Shteyngart Resigns From Blurbing Books (Here’s His Resignation Letter)

    “It is with deep sadness that I announce that the volume of requests has exceeded my abilities, and I will be throwing my ‘blurbing pen’ into the Hudson River during a future ceremony, time and place to be determined.” (He is making exceptions, though, including all owners of long-haired dachshunds.)

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    E. L. Doctorow Wins Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction

    Called “our very own Charles Dickens” by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington, “the 83-year-old editor, professor and novelist has won almost every literary honor an American writer can receive.”

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    Adam Gopnik And Elizabeth Gilbert On The G.A.N. (Great American Novel)

    “On this week’s Out Loud podcast, Gopnik and the writer Elizabeth Gilbert … join newyorker.com’s literary editor, Sasha Weiss, to discuss how the concept of the G.A.N. has evolved over the years and how it has influenced the aspirations of American writers.” (audio)

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    A Tour Of British Isles Accents In One Unedited Take

    Professional accent and dialect coach Andrew Jack covers a dozen or so accents from England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and even the Isle of Man – all in 1’25″. (video)

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