History Schmistory: February 22. “As bad as Moose Murders?”

1983: After 13 dismal previews, the notorious Broadway flop Moose Murders opens and closes on the same night at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre. It is now basically the standard by which all horrible plays that find their way to the Broadway stage are compared, and it pretty much loses every time. NY critics were literally in competition to see who could write the most witheringly scornful review.
Here’s some highlights:

“…The only stage play I ever saw presented in stereo-odoriferous Smellovision.” -John Simon

“Those of us who have witnessed the play… will undoubtedly hold periodic reunions, in the noble tradition of survivors of the Titanic.” -Frank Rich

“…Would insult the intelligence of an audience consisting entirely of amoebas” -Brendan Gill

In fairness, we have never seen or read the play, but from the reviews it seems likely that Eugene O’Neill didn’t just roll in his grave, he’s been rotating on a spit ever since. Zing!

History Schmistory: February 21. “The new phone book’s here, the new phone book’s here!”

1878: The first telephone book is issued in New Haven, Connecticut. It was basically one cardboard page with a list of 50 businesses that could afford to have telephones. There was no number system yet, as every connection could be made by one operator at a switchboard. Over the next hundred years the phonebook took a giant step, partly by becoming just that; a giant step, perfect for reaching the cookie jar and other such unobtainables. Today it appears the phone book is doomed of extinction. Should we do away with phone books altogether? Who knows, maybe in another hundred years, they might be the only thing left to keep us warm. Let’s hope not.
-In the meantime here’s some other cool stuff you can do with them…

GO THERE! …or wait until it’s finished.

The Sanctuary of Truth is a temple in Pattaya, Thailand, visualized by Thai businessman Lek Viriyaphant in 1981. The sanctuary is an all-wood building filled with Visionary art carvings based on traditional Buddhist and Hindu motifs. A team of 250 carvers contribute to the project, which is technically not scheduled to be completed until 2025. But at this point we think it’s awesome enough to check out as is.

Art Stop: Trucking Around the World

Russian artist, Andrey Gordeev takes us on a unique journey with his series,  Around the World in Twelve Months, where we see the world from the perspective of the indispensable truck driver. Stereotypes lovingly included :)



View the whole series here!

History Schmistory: February 11. Science fiction meets Television, and the “robot”.

1938: BBC Television produces the world’s first ever science fiction television program, an adaptation of the Karel Capek play R.U.R., (Rossum’s Universal Robots.) The play, first produced in Prague in 1921, introduced the term “robot” to the English language and to science fiction as a whole. The adaptation begins in Rossum’s humanoid factory, where subservient machines called robots are built. These popular robots were so incredibly lifelike and efficient, able to think comprehensively and make their own decisions, that they were often mistaken for humans. Of course, the robots at this point have begun to rebel against their owners and by the end they wipe out the entire human race.
-Oh yeah, spoiler alert! Pretty sure you saw that coming, though.
Well, R.U.R. is really where it all started!

Culture Buzz: Shadows of their former selves…

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/34/Wayang_%28shadow_puppets%29_from_central_Java%2C_a_scene_from_%27Irawan%27s_Wedding%27.jpg

These aren’t your mamma’s shadow puppets! Unless your mamma is a Javanese puppet master. The incredibly detailed puppets of Wayang Kulit, the ancient Indonesian brand of shadow theater, continue to enchant audiences to this day, bringing to life the magical stories of Hindu-Javanese folklore on a simple backlit cotton screen. Kulit means skin, and refers to the buffalo leather construction of the puppets that are painstakingly chiseled with very fine tools and supported with carefully shaped buffalo horn handles and control rods.
Got a sheet, a bright light and a buffalo? Then, by all means, TRY THIS AT HOME!
-Maybe use construction paper though :)

GO THERE! Scandinavian Subterranean Art!

Warning: If you take a trip to Stockholm, you may never leave the subway. It is, after all, the longest art exhibit in the world

History Schmistory: January 17. Toot-Toot!

1929: Popeye the Sailor Man, a cartoon character created by Elzie Segar, first appears in the Thimble Theatre comic strip. Deluded children begin eating spinach with the hopes of growing freakishly large forearms.

popeye-37117_640

GO THERE! A panoramic view of the past…

Ever wonder what it’s like to live in ancient times? Well, artist Yadegar Asisi’s fantastically intricate panoramic displays are so massive, they might make you feel a little like that guy from Assassin’s Creed. His most recent project, on display at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, takes us back to the ancient city’s heyday, 129 AD.

By asisi GmbH (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

GO THERE! Great art in Florence: FREE

Our two favorite things: Florence and FREE! Great tips on free art you can see in Florence. Now’s a great time to go. Heck with the kids. How many soccer games can a parent see? Leave ‘em with Grandma and head East to the Old Country while the tourists are few and the gustatory pleasures are many!

photo: BBC

 

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