How Far Will Human Beings Go To Keep Themselves Distracted? (Zap!)

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“Considering the many challenges life has to offer, entertaining yourself with your own thoughts for a few minutes seems like one of the easier hurdles to overcome. … But it turns out that people find this assignment incredibly hard. And, according to new research, they’ll even resort to giving themselves electric shocks to keep themselves entertained.”

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‘Star Wars’ Becomes A Malay Shadow Play

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The art of shadow puppetry may be thriving in Bali and Java, but the Malaysian version has been steadily losing ground to films and video games. So a video game creator and an old master puppeteer decided that George Lucas’s sci-fi saga is as epic a myth as the Ramayana – and that Luke, Leia and Darth Vader are more audience-friendly than Rama, Sita and Ravana. (includes video)

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A Festival’s Censorship Exposes A Polish Culture War

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“On June 20, the organizers of the Malta International Theater Festival, which takes place annually in Poznan and is one of the largest such events in this part of Europe, gave in to a coalition of Catholic fundamentalists and right-wing hooligans and canceled the performance of “Golgota Picnic,” after repeated accusations that the play was blasphemous.”

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What Will Happen To English As More And More People Worldwide Speak It?

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“Interestingly, about two-thirds of English-speakers are not first-language speakers of English. … What happens to a language when it becomes everybody’s? Shaped by the mouths of billions of non-native speakers, what will the English of the future look like? A look into the past can give us an idea. English is of course not the first language [to have been] learned by lots of non-natives. When languages spread, they also change. And it turns out, they do so in specific directions.”

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Truth In Classical Music (And Opera) Advertising?

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“The Opera America ads taken as a whole tell a story. Is it the story of a groundswell of new works among a vast array of companies that would seem to no longer take their cue from the Met? Is it a story of the end of fear of the new driving programming decisions?”

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What’s It Like To Be A Docent In The Hellhole Factory Where You Used To Work?

Robert Shelton Domino Sugar

“Shelton is the only volunteer on the floor of the provocative [Kara Walker] installation who ever worked at Domino’s sugar refinery. Of the several ‘interpreters’ who are on hand to answer visitor questions, his is the only intimate connection to the factory. He found out about the exhibit through an article in the New York Times and knew immediately he wanted to be involved.”

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Hard Day’s Night Was A Hard Act To Follow For Music Documentaries

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“Not only was it an astute embodiment of the phenomenon we might call ‘Beatletime’ – frantic, fractured, breathless and intoxicating – it was born of speed itself. To be ready when the lights went down for the command performance before Princess Margaret in London in July, 1964, the movie had to be shot and completed in only four months.”

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New York City’s New Arts Education Plan

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“New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced on Tuesday their plan to put $23 million toward hiring 120 new arts teachers and boosting arts resources in public schools across the city. The plan uses additional money from this year’s budget to guarantee the growth of arts programs in 2015.”

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What We Can Learn From The Worst Movies Ever Made

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“At the very least, the worst movies ever made offer some comfort: Even in absolute disaster, there’s something to be learned about why we make entertainment, and how it can go wrong. Occasionally, the failure even succeeds, albeit on a different rubric than the one it originally had in mind.”

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NY Public Library Looks To Reinvent

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“The library hasn’t selected an architect for the project, which will include traditional reading rooms and bookshelves. But officials said they also want to create fun, collaborative spaces, stocked with tools for creative projects. It hasn’t been decided whether these spaces would be located in the Schwarzman building, the branch across the street, or both.”

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