This week, most of the major figures in film-making will gather in Hollywood for the 89th annual Oscars ceremony.
Many years before the Fifty Shades franchise was conceived came its singular predecessor. In 1954, a woman using the pseudonym Pauline Reage published a slim volume bearing the title l’Histoire d’O (Story of O).
If you imagine each thought going through your mind as a seed destined to grow the events of your future, how do you feel about the quality of the seeds you’re planting? Are they growing success, joy, and love, or bitterness, pain, and disappointment?
There are two paths before you: One of them takes you to Heaven, a place more beautiful than you can imagine. The other takes you to Hell, a land full of darkness, despair, and wretched individuals. You are to choose a path.
In his dazzling book Far from the Tree, Andrew Solomon points out that while we are all members of the tribes we are born into (part of our family, our geographical area, our native language, and our era), we also must seek out the tribe that celebrates our specialness.
Just like adults, children use humour in their everyday lives. Some like to make fun of themselves whereas others like to laugh at the expense of others.
Roughly 90% of humans are right-handed and this is one of the traits that separates us from most other primates who don’t really show any overall preference for left or right handedness.
Time is money, as they say. As a culture, we hate the notion of wasting time, of losing time, and we often find ourselves running out of time, fighting against the clock. Doing nothing is almost sinful. But what really is a waste of time?
A common argument for the value of the arts is the claim they cultivate empathy. Reading literature, viewing quality cinema and listening to fine music refine our sensibilities and make us better and more humane – or so the argument goes.
The transformation of U.S. television that began in 2015 – with more companies distributing television content over the internet – continued in 2016.
Do you remember being taught you should never start your sentences with “And” or “But”?
The Merlin Bird Photo ID mobile app can identify hundreds of North American species it “sees” in photos, thanks to machine-learning technology.
There are many social norms that dictate gift-giving, including when, how and what to give as gifts. Interestingly, these norms don’t seem to be about making sure that recipients get the gifts they want.
It’s the time of year where retailers bombard us with advertisements and special offers of magical gifts to delight our nearest and dearest.
Disney’s Christmas release transports us to the seas of Polynesia, where a young girl – Moana – takes on a leadership role and risks everything to save her tribe and her community.
Have you ever found yourself dreading a leisurely activity you had eagerly scheduled days or weeks in advance?
One of my fondest Christmas memories happened many years ago when I was co-hosting a radio show with Jim Kirkwood called The Good News Hour. We decided to do something extra special one year, so we worked up a volunteer army of helpers from our listeners to feed the largest homeless shelter...
Once upon a time a little Being was sitting by a stream…sighing, sad, and just a bit frightened. At that same moment, as the fates would have it, Solomon, the wise old owl, happened to be flying by just overhead...
A blank canvas. An empty music score. A newly opened Word document or electric circuit simulation. Trying to harness creativity at will haunts artists, scientists, technologists, and even bureaucrats. How can we open our minds and wander into new, innovative territory?
Pulitzer-Prize-winning poet Robert Lowell said that Bob Dylan wasn’t a poet because he “leaned on the crutch of his guitar”. The Nobel committee clearly disagree – they awarded him the Nobel Prize in Literature. Indeed, Dylan has leaned on poetry more than any other musician, before or since.
The human mind: It’s the best drama machine around. It’s portable. It runs day and night. It requires only imagination to operate. It cranks out some of the best stories around. Just feed it a few tidbits of hearsay, half-truths, some emotional charge, some childhood memories (the more traumatic, the better), and voilà...
Denis Villeneuve’s alien movie Arrival, which has just reached cinemas, is the latest in a long sci-fi tradition of “first contact” narratives.
New statistical analysis identifies Christopher Marlowe as a likely coauthor of all three of William Shakespeare’s Henry VI plays.
A long time ago, a girl named Li-Li got married and went to live with her husband and mother-in-law. In a very short time, Li-Li found that she couldn't get along with her mother-in-law at all.
For the last 30 years or so the rise of creative writing programmes in universities has been met with seemingly unending howls of derision from all quarters.
Leonard Cohen has died, and the lights have gone out all around the world. His death shouldn’t have come as any surprise: as he wrote to his muse Marianne, just weeks ago,
As a researcher who investigates some of the potential side effects of humor, I spend a fair bit of time verifying the funniness of the jokes, photos and videos we present to participants in our studies.
After years of sales growth, major publishers reported a fall in their e-book sales for the first time this year, introducing new doubts about the potential of e-books in the publishing industry.
As the new NBA season begins, the Golden State Warriors find themselves in an unfamiliar role: villain.
If you’re reading this in a comfortable chair, surrounded by tasteful soft furnishings and perhaps even a candle or two, that sense of cosiness you’re feeling might just be hygge.
Truly creative people are more interested in the process of creating than its side effects. They do not create in order to get something else. The joy of creating is reward enough in itself. Awards and accolades are not the goal; they are the byproducts of the goal.
There’s been a great deal of excitement over Bob Dylan winning the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature. It’s rare for artists who have achieved widespread, mainstream popularity to win.
While meditations, exercise, and vacations all have the potential to reduce negative stress, if your relationships are lousy or you hate your work or your creativity is being stifled, you will remain stressed out. Your life choices, positive and negative, determine your wellbeing...
In New York I am going to have late-afternoon tea with a rather unusual artist. She works in a bank on Wall Street, but one day she had a dream: she had to go to...
Have you noticed that many children’s tales end with a victory of the heart? The hero, after following a tortuous path of struggles, dreams and hopes, always manages to fulfill their heart’s desire, while sometimes discovering it at the same time....
More than two million viewers watched some of the Thursday night NFL football game on Twitter each of the last three weeks, and several million more used it to watch the first presidential debate.
Even when we are not competing with other people, we can often feel like the world around us is competing for our time, money, and attention. One of the most resisted — and most productive — tools in The Artist's Way was one called "Reading Deprivation." Today, when I...
From stadiums to galleries, the new frontier for today’s mega pop star is high art. Mass popularity has its charms – sales, world tours, legions of followers – but the legacy-conferring power of art is now the ultimate sign of one’s status within Western culture.
Something happened the other day that highlighted why we do what we do, and why I love helping ordinary people find the extraordinary humor and playfulness in every day life. We've been traveling around the northeast for the past three weeks and one thing the northeast has is -- tolls. Now I can imagine that being a toll-taker takes its toll. Same old same old...
Historians don’t like simple stories. Tales of the past that contain facile explanations or glib conclusions never seem to satisfy
A new study offers some of the most conclusive evidence to date that intelligence is linked to chess skill—a hotly debated issue in psychology. The results refute the idea that expertise is based solely on intensive training.
With the release of a new film about Edward Snowden, the man who revealed secret documents detailing a massive U.S. government spying program, the debate about his character continues.
A new fabric harvests energy from both sunshine and motion at the same time.
Fifty years ago – on Sept. 8, 1966 – TV viewers were transfixed by the appearance on screen of a green-hued, pointy-eared alien called Spock. But beneath the makeup, actor Leonard Nimoy fretted that this would be the end of his promising career.
If you worry that people today are using social media as a crutch for a real social life, a new study may set you at ease.
U.S. institutions of higher education and U.S. local governments are under extraordinary pressure to cut costs and eliminate from institutional or governmental ledgers any expenses whose absence would cause little or no pain.
As electronic music shape-shifts its way through the early years of the 21st century, the influence of dub – reggae’s stripped-down mutant version – on contemporary production is becoming more apparent. In “Remixology”,
While many are fascinated by tattoos for their aesthetic value, their graphic history reveals how they have acted as a means of suppression and exclusion but also as a form of resistance to restrictive social codes.
For a black film and media student at the University of Cape Town, Spike Lee’s “Do The Right Thing” (1989) was a revelation. I watched it on a DVD one afternoon with my friend Frank in one of the damp tutorial rooms in the Arts Block on Upper Campus, only a few steps away from where Cecil John Rhodes’ statue stood.
More than 20 percent of all Americans have at least one tattoo, and for millennials that number jumps to almost 40 percent. What could be more intimately a part of you than a work of body art permanently inked into your skin?
You might think the political movie of the moment would be one of the half-dozen or so superhero pictures where the world is engulfed by chaos and a strongman comes to its rescue.
OK. Confession time. I’ve seen Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” at least 50 times. I know the entire screenplay of the director’s cut off by heart. I have owned three different VHS versions, three different DVD versions (including a very collectable 12" laser disc) and have downloaded the ever-expanding online FAQ. Sad, isn’t it?
If you are committed to the pleasures of reading you may be pleased to discover that there is evidence to suggest that reading fiction is good for you.
The launch of augmented reality game Pokémon Go has been a resounding success for Nintendo and app developer Niantic. Reports suggest it to be the most popular mobile game in US history, with the number of daily active users at times surpassing Twitter, Facebook, and Tinder.
I had better confess straight away: I love reading historical fiction. So much so that I actually recommend to my Renaissance students that they read it too. Putting fictional flesh on historical bones can teach us a lot – about storytelling and, yes, also about history.
Children need to play. They need the tactile touch of gooey finger paint rather than the sanitary experience of brushing their fingers across a touch pad to make color magically appear on a screen. They need to dig in the dirt, and get dirty. They need to splash in water and get wet.
The imminent release of Ghostbusters, a reboot of the 1984 cult movie of the same name, has been accompanied by fears that the new film might not be as good as the first.
There’s no better way to escape the stresses and strains of work and – for many at the current juncture – the acute anxiety of geopolitics, than to put your reading into “romance” gear.
If your project/plan/interaction is not running smoothly, if you're running into obstructions and trying too hard, receive the message here from Noelle Sterne's article. Apply its precepts to your life in general, and you'll see how her insights/suggestions/observations fit perfectly.
I’ve received many a bouquet of flowers in my life, but the one that stands out as the most romantic was a little bunch of wildflowers presented to me many years ago by my then-partner. He kissed me hello and shrugged, “I saw these growing on the side of the road. They were so pretty and colorful, made me think of you."
Amid reports that Daniel Craig has hung up his Bond boots once and for all, speculation about who will take his place is rife.
Prince’s autopsy has determined that the artist died of an accidental overdose of the synthetic opioid fentanyl. The news comes on the heels of the death of former Megadeth drummer Nick Menza, who collapsed on stage and died in late May.
It’s never too late to pick up a musical instrument. In fact there are many reasons why it’s a great idea, particularly in old age.
Have you ever been listening to a great piece of music and felt a chill run up your spine? Or goosebumps tickle your arms and shoulders?
Music and movies are umbilically entwined in the films of Martin Scorsese. It’s almost impossible to think of his cinema without the propulsive accompaniment of a track by The Rolling Stones, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, a Neapolitan street singer or any number of other smaller and even obscure doo-wop, Latino, Brill Building and r “n” b wonders of the 1950s, 60s and early 70s.
Geezers and girls literally ain’t allowed to use slang words like “emosh” (emotional) anymore. The head teacher and staff of an academy in Essex, England appear to have taken great pleasure in banning the type of slang used in reality television series TOWIE, including many of the words in the above sentence, in a bid to improve the job prospects of their students.
Research shows meaningful films, in particular those that depict values of love, kindness, and connectedness, go a long way toward changing your worldview.
Music and dance are far from idle pastimes. They are universal forms of expression and deeply rewarding activities that fulfil diverse social functions. Both feature in all the world’s cultures and throughout history.
Netflix has been in the headlines a lot recently, and not in a good way. There’s news about competitor Amazon launching a monthly video service, subscription fees going up, its library of content shrinking and lower global subscriber gains than the company had anticipated.
Just as the world was recovering from the shock of the untimely death of Prince, Beyoncé released Lemonade, her sixth studio album and her second “visual album”. Unlike its predecessor, which featured individual music videos for each track, a single one-hour film was aired on HBO to coincide with the release.
How’s this for a shock, horror headline: “Tone-deaf professor of Music at Liverpool University”. Can it be true? Well, up to a point, yes. It’s complex.
The long-anticipated Captain America: Civil War has just hit cinemas. The latest instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe brings to a head a problem that has been brewing for years: whether superheroes should be directed by government organisations.
Laughter plays a crucial role in every culture across the world. But it’s not clear why laughter exists. While it is evidently an inherently social phenomenon – people are up to 30 times more likely to laugh in a group than when alone – laughter’s function as a form of communication remains mysterious.
In 2013, 27 percent of adults aged 65 and older belonged to a social network, such as Facebook or LinkedIn. Now, the number is 35 percent and is continuing to show an upward trend.
With digital content, it's a self-perpetuating cycle, where the stronger content provider becomes even stronger over time
Many rural Americans feel the lasting effects of the 2008 recession every day. Wages have been stagnant for the past decade, and jobs have returned to cities at a rate 4 times faster than in rural communities. For many blue-collar workers, this type of financial difficulty can strain all aspects of life, from career opportunities to family relationships.
So, there is to be a fifth Indiana Jones film. Sadly, the much-loved movies don’t represent the average day at work for most archaeologists, but there is more truth to Indy’s swashbuckling adventures than you may think. Crystal skulls
The death of Harper Lee is big news. Bigger than the deaths of most major writers. Why? It isn’t because she made worldwide headlines last summer due to the controversy over the recent publication of Go Set A Watchman.
It was with some trepidation that I went to watch The Danish Girl. Prior to its release the film had already attracted accusations of transphobia for director Tom Hooper’s decision to cast the cisgender actor Eddie Redmayne in the title role of Lili Elbe, a trans woman.
Auld Lang Syne was famously written by the Scottish national bard, Robert Burns. What is less well known is that the melody was not the one he intended. The one that became famous was first attached to the song in the late 1790s and Burns, who died in 1796, knew nothing about it.
A man winds his way through the muck and mire of a 19th-century American port – Nantucket, centre of the world’s whaling industry. He knocks on a door, enters, and begs an exhausted looking man to tell him his story in exchange for his life savings.
Christmas has become a cultural event, associated with the giving of gifts and lavish meals with friends and family. But the traditional understanding of Christmas is that it’s a Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus.
Indeed, the past year saw audiences becoming more and more amenable to adopting new ways to watch TV shows, with live audiences for broadcast and cable programs declining sharply.
Intellectuals, academics and artists play a unique role in society: they preserve and defend both freedom of expression and the morality of choices. Artists can use their work as a means to communicate messages of dissent and hope in the face of injustice, repression and despair.
In certain corners of the internet a modern myth celebrates the idea that Ben Rich, the former CEO of Lockheed Martin “Skunk Works” – the legendary and highly secretive wing of Lockheed Martin concerned with aircraft development – concluded a 1993 presentation at UCLA with the blockbuster line: “We now have the technology to take E.T. home.”
Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday on December 12 is being celebrated with all the requisite fanfare: Alex Gibney’s HBO documentary Sinatra: All or Nothing at All, CBS' Sinatra 100 All-Star Grammy Concert, exhibits at the Lincoln Center and Grammy Museum, a London Palladium show and a number of book publications.
Bad sex. Isn’t it enough to have had it without having to read it as well? A poorly written sex scene can be viscerally dreadful. While porn is fundamentally unrealistic, bad sex in prose that’s not explicit can be excruciating.
A film adaptation of the celebrated Scottish novel Sunset Song is arriving at a time of recurrent European financial crises and a war in the Middle East that is sucking in many of the world’s major powers for the second time in a generation.
Most people think of rest as the times when we stop work or movement in order to relax, sleep, or recover strength. But historians and anthropologists have discovered that what counts as rest has varied a lot over time and across cultures.
An insistent clamour of bells and horns recurs throughout Carol, evoking the stifling, heavy atmosphere of conformity that overlay early 1950s America. An older woman, the wealthy, strikingly beautiful Carol (Cate Blanchett), starts an affair with young salesgirl and aspiring photographer, Therese (Rooney Mara).
In the past 150 years Lewis Carroll’s Alice has undergone innumerable transformations. Instantly popular, she quickly escaped her original novelistic environment, appearing in Victorian Punch caricatures, on magic lantern slides and on stage.
We’re exposed to music for nearly 20% of our waking lives. But much of our musical experience seems to be a mystery. Why does some music bring us to tears while other pieces make us dance? Why is it that the music that we like can make others agitated?
My mission in this article is to share with you what I’ve learned and observed as a longtime coach of graduate students and writer of creative projects. Here are some techniques, tools, and tough questions to ease the trek for yourself and everyone around you...
At first, deciding about television was a simple matter of thoughtful grading. A slow matter, too, as I had been watching television for all these days and never thought of grading it. How I grade: Every news event in a half-hour newscast, would earn a grade from me, its viewer.
Are we not more important than our cell phones? Our “batteries” run low as well. Few people are as urgent to charge their own batteries as they are to charge up their cell phone. We push and push ourselves to keep going and we don’t pay attention to our own battery or need to be recharged.
I found the film Suffragette utterly stirring. This came as something of a surprise to me. The voluminous press coverage has been unanimous: the film’s uniqueness lies in its focus on working class women’s struggle for the vote.
Within ourselves we contain seeds of great creativity. We are usually afraid of our own powers so we like to distract ourselves with hundreds of little mundane things rather than look in the mirror and see our real selves. Modern society encourages us to get lost in the world of social media where others are praised for their creativity and we hide in their shadows...
“No matter by which culture a woman is influenced she understands the words wild and woman, intuitively.” [Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run with the Wolves.] Something about the way those two words — wild and woman — were placed alongside each other set up a commotion inside me, a response to a longing I couldn’t name.
Psychologists have advanced a new theory linking neurotic unhappiness and creativity, arguing that natural worriers may also have highly active imaginations and be more creative problem-solvers.
Jon Stewart opened his final episode of The Daily Show with “full-team coverage” of Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate, featuring current and returning Daily Show correspondents from throughout Stewart’s tenure, including Stephen Colbert.