One Of France’s Best Little Museums Was Founded (Surprise, Surprise) By A Hedge Fund Manager

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“Mr. Levett became a voracious buyer, assembling one of the world’s largest private collections of ancient arms and armor. Today, his scores of Greek hoplite helmets, Roman greaves and shields, along with Egyptian sarcophagi, Greek statues and ancient glass, are the crown jewels of his Musée d’art classique de Mougins.”

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Here’s One Famous Writer Who’s Very Happy With Amazon (And Pleased To Say So In Print)

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Neal Pollack: “When I waded into one conversation to say, ‘Hey, Amazon’s not so bad,’ someone referred to me as being like ‘the Vichy French, taking money to cover up crimes.’ What in the name of Bezos is going on here? There are obviously a lot of issues at play … But while everyone seems to hate Amazon, my personal experience with this supposedly evil corporate behemoth has been fantastic.”

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Study: People Eat More When Watching Action Movies

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“The faster paced TV seemed to distract viewers more, contributing to mindless eating, said Cornell researcher Aner Tal, the study’s lead author. The results, published today in the American Medical Association’s journal Internal Medicine, suggest that a steady diet of action TV could raise risks for packing on pounds.”

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Icelanders, Laplanders, Turks, Oh My! Excellent Orchestras In Unexpected Places

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David Patrick Stearns: “Symphony orchestras draw great cachet from their geographical homes: Any group with Vienna, Berlin, or Amsterdam in its name is going to command immediate attention from audiences … So can an orchestra from Turkey, Iceland, or Lapland hope to be noticed at the world’s busiest orchestra festival, [the BBC Proms]? Actually, it can.”

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“The 20th Century’s Most Important Writer” (Don’t Be Afraid)

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“Reading the work of Jorge Luís Borges for the first time is like discovering a new letter in the alphabet, or a new note in the musical scale.” Jane Ciabattari explains why she thinks everyone should read him (and not worry that his work might be “difficult”).

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Paris’s Nouveau Yiddish Culture

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“In France, which houses the biggest Jewish community in Europe, the Ashkenazi legacy has been sadly shrinking.” (What, the Sephardim are chopped liver?) “In the latter half of the 20th century, what French Jews call their imaginary Yiddishland has been reduced to a small patch. … However, there is reason for hope. In Paris, a new generation of entrepreneurs are launching initiatives to perpetuate the Yiddish way of life.”

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Science Weighs In On The Idea Of “Tortured Genius”

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The idea that “great art comes from great pain” has long-standing roots in public opinion, rumored to date back to ancient philosophers and poets, but our modern idea of the tortured genius likely stems from a glamorization of mental illness that took hold during the Romantic Era.

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Is South African Artist’s “Human Zoo” Piece Racist?

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“The Barbican in London plans to show Exhibit B at the end of September but, as I write, 12,801 people have signed a statement calling for it to be withdrawn. The petitioners describe the Barbican’s involvement as ‘an outrageous act of complicit racism’ because the show is an ‘exercise in white racial privilege’.”

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Is It Time To Reign In The Creativity Industry?

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“How did we come to care so much about creativity? The language surrounding it, of unleashing, unlocking, awakening, developing, flowing, and so on, makes it sound like an organic and primordial part of ourselves which we must set free—something with which it’s natural to be preoccupied.”

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Mafioso Memoir Wins Sicilian Book Prize; Outrage Ensues

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Malerba, a book which recounts the life, crimes and education of Giuseppe Grassonelli – an erstwhile ‘savage criminal’ by his own admission – emerged triumphant in this year’s [Leonardo] Sciascia-Racalmare prize on Sunday” – defeating a book by the daughter of a judge who was assassinated for pursuing the Mafia.

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Dancing With The (Public Radio) Stars

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Ira Glass has included dancers in the occasional live performances of This American Life. Now the dancers have returned the favor, building a new stage work with him – and the collaboration has had surprising benefits for everyone involved.

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Public Libraries Mixing New “Secret Sauce” To Get Patrons Through The Door

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“A survey by John Burke at Miami University found that 109 libraries in the US had a makerspace or were close to opening one. Others are hosting events like Wikipedia edit-a-thons, where residents plumb the library’s resources to create articles about local history. (One library even has its own farm.) This ferment is attracting patrons; a Pew Internet survey found that these new modes bring in folks who normally shun libraries, typically men and people with limited education.”

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This Year’s Burning Man Maxes Out

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“Friday’s official peak attendance of 65,922 was within the population cap of 68,000 the federal Bureau of Land Management imposed on the quirky art and music festival 110 miles north of Reno, said Gene Seidlitz, manager of the agency’s Winnemucca District. The number was down from last year’s record peak crowd of 69,613, which resulted in organizers being placed on probation for a second time in three years for violating the limit.”

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The Un-Reinvention Of The Sao Paulo Biennial

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“The challenge of developing and executing a coherent artistic agenda—a show that succeeds on its own terms—in the rickety, transitory, financially and organisationally opaque world of biennials is the default theme of the hardy breed of curators whose line of work this is.”

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