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The Digest of Arts, Culture and Ideas
Updated: 2 min 39 sec ago

Hemingway for Hotels: The Ritz-Carlton’s Flash Fiction Ads

August 22, 2014 - 2:59pm

“It could almost be a writing workshop prompt: tell a story, do it in six words, go for the wow effect – and that’s exactly what the Ritz-Carlton wants. Recently, the hotel company launched a campaign inviting social media friends and followers to provide six-word stories about their Ritz-Carlton experiences with the hashtag #RCMemories.”

Met Opera Settles Contracts With Last Remaining Unions

August 22, 2014 - 2:56pm

“The Metropolitan Opera announced Thursday night that it had reached labor settlements with the last of its unions, including those representing its costume and wardrobe departments, hair and makeup artists, scenic artists and designers, camera operators and others.”

How The Elevator Changed Everything

August 22, 2014 - 2:40pm

Elisha Graves Otis’s invention didn’t just make whole new styles of architecture possible, writes Jonathan Glancey, it deeply affected our entire culture.

Asking For Advice Doesn’t Make You Look Dumb – Rather The Contrary

August 22, 2014 - 2:35pm

“Down deep, most people are most afraid of this one thing: sounding dumb. New research shows that people shy away from asking for help for fear of appearing less competent, but that this is an unfounded fear: Asking for advice actually makes you seem more capable.”

Pulp Thrillers In Egypt And The State Of The Egyptian Nation

August 22, 2014 - 2:27pm

“The golden age of illicit crime fiction translation – from the 1890s through the 1960s – corresponds to the construction of the Egyptian nation, from colonial rule and monarchy to President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s nationalization project. … And now, as authorities attempt to restore law and order, the crime genre is making a comeback.”

Iraqi National Museum Partly Reopens For First Time Since 2003 Looting

August 22, 2014 - 1:54pm

“The newly renovated halls feature more than 500 artifacts that mainly date back to the Hellenistic period (312-139 B.C.), some of which were retrieved and renovated after the looting of the museum following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.”

The Classical Music World Is Rife With Drink And Drugs! (Says Yet Another Tattletale)

August 22, 2014 - 1:30pm

“Addiction problems are widespread among classical musicians, for many reasons,” she says. “There is the lifestyle, the odd hours, working weekends, post-concert socialising. Many players use alcohol and beta-blockers to control their performance anxiety and then, after the ‘high’ of a performance, musicians can struggle to ‘come down’ and therefore drink to relax.”

The Character That Embodies The Entire History Of “The Simpsons”

August 22, 2014 - 3:33am

The story of barkeep Moe Szyslak – “his oddball beginnings, his pugnacious heart, his rages and joys and astonishing depths – is, in many ways, the story of how The Simpsons went from being a catchphrase-laden pop-culture supernova to one of the most influential cultural works of the late 20th century.”

I Had Never Seen “The Simpsons”, The Show That Gave My Generation Its Soul

August 22, 2014 - 3:31am

The Simpsons debuted in 1989, which means millennials have been watching it since elementary school. … The word ['meh'] is so important to my millennial lexicon that a search of my Gchat history displays ’1-20 of many,’ yet by age 30 I had never seen a moment of the show that popularized it.” So Megan Greenwell started binge-watching, and got an education …

Where Will Amazon Start Using Delivery Drones (Since It Can’t In The U.S.)?

August 22, 2014 - 2:40am

In India – specifically in Mumbai and Bangalore, where the e-retailer has large warehouses. Service could start as early as this autumn.

Sympathy For The Devil: Laura Miller Feels Bad For Amazon, Sort Of

August 22, 2014 - 2:35am

“Lately Amazon has become the Goofus of publishing news, the surly, inconsiderate and gauche kid who never seems to get anything right. … Its pronouncements come in Amazonspeak, a language bred in a corporate echo chamber and the cheerleading threads of its self-publisher forums.”

“Urlo” – Translating Ginsberg’s “Howl” Into Italian

August 22, 2014 - 2:22am

“In their letters, Ginsberg answers [the translator's] questions about ‘Kaddish’ and other poems, describing his mother’s ‘paranoiac complaints … used as surreal fragments’; defining cultural references (‘Woody Woodpecker is an allied cartoon character, hero of a series of cartoon disasters in technicolor’); explaining how ‘the LSD poem’ was ‘written at Stanford’s Mental Health Experimental Lab’.”

How Bookslut Became A Tarot Card Reader

August 22, 2014 - 1:20am

Jessa Crispin: “We all tell ourselves stories, as a way to understand and cope with what’s happening. … Stories were my way in. Those figures in the cards became characters and plot points. I would pull one card every morning, and then look for that character or that plot point in my own life. That argument I keep having with my ex, the one that never resolves? Five of swords.”

David Hallberg Keeps Fans Updated On The State Of His Foot

August 22, 2014 - 12:37am

“It was the kind of post you might see on a friend’s Instagram account – a quick note Thursday that the ankle surgery went well, lasted a good four hours, and that his foot ‘must be elevated for over a week so I’ll have time to read and watch god knows what on YouTube.’”

To Be Or Not To Be: Playwrights On Suicide And Its Complications

August 22, 2014 - 12:25am

Charles McNulty: “Suicide is an intensely private act that provokes an immense public reaction. It bequeaths to those left behind fundamental questions about the value of existence, the fragility of our social bonds and the hidden life of even those closest to us. For all of these reasons, suicide has been a central concern of drama from its beginnings in 5th century B.C. Athens. What can we learn from the way playwrights have dealt with the complex subject of self-slaughter?”

SoundCloud To Introduce Ads So It Can Pay Musicians

August 21, 2014 - 11:49pm

“With 175 million monthly listeners, SoundCloud is the second biggest streaming music service in the world behind YouTube. Yet it hasn’t paid royalties to the creators and rightsholders of that music … Today, SoundCloud is taking its first step [to change that], albeit in a carefully-controlled way with a select group of invited partners in the US for its new ‘On SoundCloud’ initiative.”

One Guy And A Bunch Of Cardboard Boxes Win Edinburgh Fringe Best Play Prize

August 21, 2014 - 6:16pm

“A one-man play performed by an illusionist amid a sea of cardboard boxes has won the most coveted theatre prize at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Performance artist Geoff Sobelle’s show [The Object Lesson] will be heading from a tiny room at Summerhall arts centre to the Brooklyn Academy of Music after scooping the prestigious Carol Tambor Award.”

Even After A Decade On Broadway, “Wicked” Is Casting (Exactly) The Same Spells

August 21, 2014 - 5:56pm

“The producers have been careful, not to say monomaniacal, about replicating the experience they gave audiences in the opening months. … My return visit also confirmed how significant … young fans remain to the show’s success. The audience at the evening performance I attended teemed with bopping tweens and their families.”

Poet Simin Behbahani, 87, The “Lioness Of Iran”

August 21, 2014 - 5:28pm

A two-time Nobel Prize nominee and one of the country’s most revered writers, “she was a fierce feminist who subverted the form of Iran’s traditional ghazals, love poems traditionally written by male admirers to women. Behbahani flipped the ghazals and wrote hers to men. She used them to write about a mother’s anguish over the loss of her son in the Iran-Iraq war and the horrors of stoning women to death.”