Inside The USSR’s Secret Hoard Of Erotica

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“It was the kinkiest secret in the Soviet Union: Across from the Kremlin, the country’s main library held a pornographic treasure trove. Founded by the Bolsheviks as a repository for aristocrats’ erotica, the collection eventually grew to house 12,000 items from around the world, ranging from 18th-century Japanese engravings to Nixon-era romance novels.”

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George Saunders On How Chicago Made Him Funny

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“I think I got the idea that the high-serious and the funny were not separate. The idea that something could be gross and heartfelt at the same time. Some of the funniest things in South Chicago were also the most deeply true – these sort of over-the-line, rude utterances that were right on the money and undeniable. Their truth had rendered them inappropriate; … they responded to the urgency of the moment.”

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This Man Is Not The Walt Disney Of Japan

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“There is one famous animator who rebukes modern technology in favor of hand-drawn, 2-D conventions. His grumpiness knows no bounds … From his hard-line environmentalism and anti-Fabian leanings to comparing, in July of 2010, the act of using an iPad to public masturbation, he has painted himself as a Luddite with rigorous creative standards that have resulted, ironically, in his becoming an entertainment icon.”

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A Debate About Reading On EBooks Versus Paper

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“There is some evidence that reading on screen can result in less comprehension and even affect sleep patterns. But the research here is complex and inconclusive and, in any case, it is actually doing something far more interesting than telling us which medium is superior. It’s making us think more about what it means to read.”

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Philadelphia Arts Struggle With Major Changes In Its Arts Funding Support

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“Philadelphia’s art funding has been through a tumultuous period the last few years, with major foundations like Annenberg moving to Los Angeles, the Pew Charitable Trusts – which funds the Center for Arts and Heritage – moving to Washington D.C., and the William Penn Foundation putting a lot of its money behind audience development.”

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Promoting New Plays By Women Playwrights – So What Kind Of Advocacy Is This?

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“We thought the point of 50-50 in 2020 for women playwrights was to force the industry into a tacit affirmative action plan. (50-50 in 2020 meant 50 percent of new plays produced would be by women by the year 2020.) We thought it was born of that boiling ’00s moment in which Emily Glassberg Sands made public her research on gender inequality on new-play production, fitting neatly with the larger national conversation about gender parity in American life, especially in business.”

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Stephen Sondheim Backpedals On Disney’s Changes To ‘Into The Woods’

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After last week’s New Yorker post, Sondheim has released a statement saying that the article “has created some false impressions about my collaboration with the Disney Studio … The fact is that James [Lapine, who wrote both the show and the movie] and I worked out every change from stage to screen with the producers and … director.”

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Top Posts From AJBlogs 06.23.14

Maybe The Ka-Nefer-Nefer Dispute Isn’t Over
AJBlog: Real Clear Arts | Published 2014-06-24

From Jeffrey Nytch: Entrepreneurial transformation (1)
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Another Great Job Opens Up — In London
AJBlog: Real Clear Arts | Published 2014-06-24

Why The Morgan’s Roger Wieck Is A Surprising Proselytizer
AJBlog: Real Clear Arts | Published 2014-06-23

After 100 Years, Does Chaplin Still Matter?

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“Charlie Chaplin was famous in a way that no one had been before; arguably, no one has been as famous since. At the peak of his popularity, his mustachioed screen persona, the Tramp, was said to be the most recognized image in the world.”

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