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Best UK wine retailers: The local, national and online retailers of the year – decanter.com

The Decanter Retailer Awardsaims to offer wine drinkers in the UK an indispensable guide to the best wine shops and wine lists on the high street. The below winners have been awarded based on innovation, drive, creativity, energy, evangelism and even hedonism.

Decanter Retailer Awards 2019 judge Laura Clay best said it:

I knew British wine retailers were special, I just hadnt realised quite how special. Wine drinkers of the UK have never had it so good.

Wine merchants no longer just buy wine and hope to sell it. They train their staff so that they are qualified to help their customers; they run courses and tastings; they offer in-store tastings to encourage their customers to try something new; they deliver actually and physically but they also deliver knowledge, inspiration and a great deal of joy.

The best supermarkets that sell wine know they need to stock more than the big brands from the main regions and countries. They need to offer diversity along with value. The Decanter winners do this really well.

Weve highlighted this years top specialist retailers. Now its time to take a look at the best local, regional, national and online wine retailers of the year.

How the winners were chosen:Results were determined by our expert judging panelwho made their way through over one hundred entries,assessing, visiting, tasting, scoring and re-scoring before narrowing down entries to support, award and encourage those doing a brilliant job.

Enthusiasm and energy characterise this Hampton Hill wine shop, which runs buzzy events, works with the local butcher and deli, supports local charities and aims to make people welcome in a community-focused neighbourhood shop. A list topping 1,100 bins and advice from well-qualified staff help to create a wonderful wine experience for anyone shopping here.

Runner-up:Uncorked

A phoenix-like recovery after a 2018 fire in The Good Wine Shops Kew site was attributed to strong community foundations. This may be down to an enviable customer loyalty rewards programme, an enticing range and a new on-premise wine service. Theres a sincerity and genuine love of wine here, said one judge. Uncorked continues to improve its already outstanding wine list.

Runner-up:Lea & Sandeman

Last years winner Lea & Sandeman purveyors of a herculean list, 90% sourced directly from producers, with more events than ever were just pipped to the post by Vagabond. As the impressive expansion of Vagabond continues, its deliberately pared-back list, colour-coded wine-style stations and hybrid wine bar-cum-shop model all help encourage and empower wine lovers to be adventurous in an interactive and fun way.

Runner-up:Justerini & Brooks

Both Goedhuis and Justerini reported strong numbers for their Burgundy campaigns, the latters mouthwatering list and excellent service being commendable. Goedhuis won through not just on the basis of sound business basics (sensible storage policy, fair pricing, and a superb list that continues to grow and improve) but also a notably proactive and personal approach to the whole en primeur experience.

Runner-up:WoodWinters Wines & Whiskies

Loki has transformed the Birmingham wine scene and just never stands still, in the words of one judge. The original city-centre shop and bar has been upgraded, a new store opened and customer engagement improved, including successful events. Loki is now a leading British wine retailer. The WoodWinters list remains strong and the three stores are laudably community minded.

Runner-up:Lockett Bros

A fiercely competitive field saw the approachable charms and fairly priced, well-sourced range of Lancashires The Whalley Wine Shop win through as the UKs best local wine shop. Meanwhile Lockett Bros in North Berwick majors on an easygoing attitude and a newly reconfigured shop that offers cosy tasting areas and a cheese deli counter. Well worth a detour, commented one judge.

Runner-up:Lay & Wheeler

Online retail becomes more competitive by the day and wine is no exception. For a traditional mail-order merchant, The Wine Society has innovated and adapted in impressive fashion. Fully 72% of its sales are now online and its user-friendly website is rich in content, with fair prices allied to a truly outstanding list and nationwide tasting events. Lay & Wheelers majestic list, meanwhile, finds a fitting home on its engaging site.

Runner-up:The Tapas Room

Established in Cowbridge, Wales in 2017, Noble Grape is a welcome addition to the UK wine scene with a well-chosen list, personal MW service and a can-do attitude. The emphasis, according to owner Richard Ballantyne MW, is on authenticity of style and sustainability. Also open since 2017, The Tapas Room is an impressively accessible and unpretentious place to celebrate Spain in London through tapas and wine.

Runner-up:Honest Grapes

Plenty of diversity in this category a joy to judge. As runner-up, Honest Grapes is a wine merchant and club with bags of character and a dynamic feel, thats well worth getting to know. The Vinoteca wine club is a spin-off from its London wine bars and shops. The smallish list is brilliantly chosen; subscriptions are fairly priced and deliver a real sense of discovery; and food matching is a particular (if unsurprising) fort.

Runner-up:Booths

A leader among the supermarkets in terms of quality and diversity of wine range, backed up by informative staff, website and literature plus a popular Drinks Festival, Waitrose won a well-deserved second win in a row as this years Best Supermarket of the Year.

Runner-up:Tanners Wines

How to select a wine gift? Cambridge Wine Merchants helpful flow-chart choosing system starts with: How much do you like the recipient? The personal touch and sense of humour, allied to a fine wine range, engaging events and well-diversified activities and portfolio, combine to make CWM very special. Runner-up Tanners remains an outstanding wine retailer with an encouraging focus on innovation.

Runner-up:The Whisky Exchange

As well as its digital wizardry, fine wine company Cru impressed the judges with a clear and engaging sustainability initiative aimed at reducing carbon emissions (for example, by offering clients different shipping choices based on emissions calculations) and offsetting. The Whisky Exchange has had an exciting year, with a successful debut Champagne Show signalling its fruitful diversification.

Several exciting names from very different ends of the wine spectrum were in the mix for this award. Waitrose ultimately earned the accolade through bravery, creativity and laudable commitment to the wine cause. As one judge said: The pressures on them are different to many other wine retailers. And, while some large retailers batten down the hatches, Waitrose has steadily emerged as a mainstream standard-bearer for wine (and other causes, including sustainability). The safe option? Hardly.

Best UK wine retailers: The specialists

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Best UK wine retailers: The local, national and online retailers of the year - decanter.com

The Many Faces of the Occult – The Atlantic

Iqbal Ahmeds film explores a rapidly-growing sector of spirituality.

The demographic trends tell an incontrovertible story: The American church is in decline. In 2018 and 2019, 65 percent of Americans identified as Christiansdown 12 percent from the previous decade. While Christianitys numbers and influence are waning, other demographics are gaining ground; by 2051, if current trends continue, religiously unaffiliated Americans, so-called religious nones, could constitute as large a percentage of the population as Protestants.

Occultism is also on the rise. In 2014, the Pew Research Center found that 0.4 percent of Americans, or about 1 million to 1.5 million people, identify as Wicca or Paganpotentially outnumbering the 1.4 million mainline members of the Presbyterian Church. By 2050, the number of practicing pagans in America is projected to triple to 6.6 million, or 1.5 percent of the population.

To tell the story of the dramatic rise of neo-paganism in America, though, you quickly run into a roadblock. No two pagans seem to agree on the same definition of paganism, Iqbal Ahmed, who spent two years researching a large community of pagans in Southern California for his short documentary Pagans, told me. Because of this confusion, Ahmed said, its no wonder that relatively informed laypeople might have still have misconceptions about paganism.

In fact, Ahmed came to the world of paganism with his own set of preconceived notions. Paganism conjured images of 80s films about satanic cults, he said. I envisioned blood rituals, pentagrams, and hedonism. Pagans, which is featured on The Atlantic today, aims to dispel some of this haze. By focusing on an intimate community of pagans who live within 200 miles of one another and often worship together, Ahmeds film showcases paganisms diversity of people and beliefs. I found pagans of every ilk, Ahmed said. Among his films subjects are teachers, social workers, and PTA members who engage in various pre-Christian practices steeped in ceremony and superstition.

Paganism is an umbrella term. It comes from the Latin paganus, which refers to those who lived in rural areas. As Christianity spread within the Roman empire, it was mostly practiced in the cities; in the country, people who believed in the old ways came to be known as pagans. Paganism, the catchall term, came to encompass many different cultures, including Greco-Roman, Celtic, Germanic, and Slavic tribes.

According to the Pagan Federation, modern pagans can be defined as followers of a polytheistic or pantheistic nature-worshipping religion. While many meaningful distinctions can be drawn between its sub-sects, such as Wicca, witchcraft, Druidry, and Christo-Paganism, many pagans share core religious tenets. The most important principles are the responsibility for ones own beliefs and the freedom to choose ones own deity (and relationship to it). This is often expressed as Do what you will, as long as it harms none. Most pagans also revere nature, which they view as a manifestation of the divinenot as the fallen creation, as is the view of dualism.

Paganism, by its very nature, is free and often somewhat amorphous, said Ahmed. There was never any judgment within the community. It was very much live-and-let-live. Although Ahmed never met a typical pagan, he did notice some commonalities among the people he encountered in the pagan community. For one, many members of the community were disillusioned by institutionalized Judeo-Christian belief systems. They found formal religion restrictive and had negative experiences with the Christian church in their past, Ahmed said. All of the pagans that Ahmed met valued an la carte version of spirituality. They picked and followed specific aspects that worked for them, he said. The real breakdown of beliefs was really unlimited.

Ahmed quickly realized that the freedom and multiplicity of belief systems did not undermine the serious nature of these alternative spiritual practices. All of the pagans I met came very seriously to paganism itself, he said. No one casually appropriated these beliefs. Most became pagans due to a deep and underlying need to find a value system that more closely approximated their own previously unarticulated beliefs.

There was a sweet sincerity to what I saw, he added. There was a genuine spiritual connection throughout.

Of the eight major holidays that most pagans observe, Ahmed was able to attend ceremonies for four: Yule (winter solstice), Beltane (festival of the fire), Litha (summer solstice), and Samhain (the witchs new year). Each holiday celebration that I saw had very specific rituals, whether through chanting, singing, processions, or other actions, Ahmed said. Most people who identify as pagans participate in some combination of these events, though many likely perform them privately.

Pagans is a mesmerizing portrait of a little-known subculture. Ahmeds respect and fascination for the subject are evident in the films cinematic imagery and attention to deep personal detailan aspect of the film that was hard-won as Ahmed worked to gain the trust of wary participants over the course of years.

Everything surprised me about this worldthe people, the ceremonies, the humor, the authenticity, the search for personal truth, Ahmed said.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.

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The Many Faces of the Occult - The Atlantic

Vogue Editors Pick Their Best Movies of the Decade – Vogue

It's crazy to think that Black Swan came out in 2010, because it's legendary and iconic in my booksas though it's been around for decades. I still think it's one of Natalie Portman's best performances to date. And I die for Winona Ryder's role as a jealous, jaded ballerina (performance of the decade). Christian Allaire, fashion and style writer

For sheer cinematic virtuosity, I don't think anything in the last ten years can touch Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)the ultimate embodiment of Hitchcock's sentiment that a movie should be intelligible to the audience with the sound turned off. There were times while watching it when I literally couldn't believe what I was seeing, such was the gleeful intensity of the spectacleand the fact that director George Miller didn't gather an armful of Oscars for this totemic achievement only shows the Academy's raging bias against genre films, even when masterfully executed. Corey Seymour, senior features editor

The Souvenir (2019), Joanna Hoggs ruminative and largely autobiographical fourth feature film, tells two distinct, but not unrelated stories. Ones about a young woman in a harrowing on-again, off-again relationship with a dashing heroin addict; the others about that same young woman, a film student, discovering her voice as an artista journey that I found so deeply and personally moving, I spent the 20-minute walk from the theatre to my apartment absolutely dizzy with emotion. This was, for me, a decade rich with discoveryI turned 16 in 2010and Hogg spoke to that weird/banal, exciting/scary experience of figuring out what matters to you (and what you deserve) with a quiet (but no less powerful) authority. Marley Marius, features assistant

The German movie Hell (2011). I just love the apocalypse.Liana Satenstein, senior fashion news writer

For me, almost nine years later, it's still Nicolas Winding Refns style-over-substance Los Angeles noir-romance Drive. Isnt Drive crazily, gratuitously violent? Isnt Ryan Gosling as a taciturn stunt driver-hero little more than an emo, alpha-male clich? Is Carey Mulligan the least convincing working-class-L.A.-mom-with-a-convict-husband youve ever seen? Am I still in love with her? And with this ludicrously cool one-last-job-gone-wrong neon-lit thriller? Yes, yes, yes. Taylor Antrim, executive editor

I'm cheating: I'm picking four. I know that's not the point, but there are a few vectors of the decade in film that felt significant to me. First of all, Melancholia (2011) reflects the only part of the coming apocalypse I can feel smug about: having known it was coming all along, and submitting wearily to its companions, hedonism and emptiness. Watching Kirsten Dunst clomp around in a wedding dress as everyone else pretends everything is normal is the only fitting parallel to the hectic nature of our current moment. Then, there's Magic Mike: XXL (2015); much has been made of the current lustful moment, when women are more vocal about desire than they ever have been, and I believe MMXXL was what flipped the switch and permitted us to reveal the lust-addled natures we've nursed all along. On a completely different note, To All the Boys I've Loved Before soothed my eternal teen soul perfectly; as we've inched towards chaos, we've reached for simpler, lovelier things, like romantic comedies and Noah Centineo. Finally, The Farewell honors the kind of modest, tortuous, but quotidian fables we tell just to get by, and it broke my heart. Oh, wait, one more: Call Me By Your Name. Do I dare to eat a peach? Estelle Tang, senior culture editor*

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Vogue Editors Pick Their Best Movies of the Decade - Vogue

Must I Give Gifts Every Night of Chanukah? – Chabad.org

Iheard that what makes Chanukah different and special is that you get gifts foreight nights. Is that true? Am I really obligated to give a gift everynight?

Actually, there is no obligation to give giftsat all. The mitzvah of Chanukah is to light the menorah each night. We do thisto commemorate the miraculous victory of the Maccabees over the Greek-Syrianarmies, as well as celebrate the great miracle that Gd performed for the Jewswhen they rededicated the Holy Temple. There was only one flask of pure oliveoil to be found, and miraculously the oil burned for eight days. Click here tolearn how to light the menorah.

But yes, in additionto the mitzvah of lighting the menorah, there is a custom to give Chanukah gelt, a gift of money, especially tochildren. Now, should this money be dispensed only once during the holiday, oron a daily basis?

For the most part,the widespread tradition was to give Chanukah gelt once during Chanukah. However, the Lubavitcher Rebbe proposedthat Chanukah gelt be given to thechildren every night of Chanukah, even if the gifts are small. Heres why:

An underlying themeof Chanukah (and Chanukah gelt) isJewish education.

One of the reasonswhy the small band of Maccabees rose up against the mighty Greek-Syrian forcesis that the Greeks were determined to stamp outJudaism by prohibiting the teaching of Torah to the children and forcingHellenism upon the Jewish population. Once the Maccabees were victorious anddefeated the Greeks, it was necessary to renew and redouble the efforts inJewish education. In fact, theHebrew word Chanukah shares the sameroot as chinuch, education.

One of thecomponents of education is providing pupils, especially those who are lessinclined, with rewards and incentives for their learning. Thus, duringChanukah, it is customary to give Chanukah geltto children as an incentive to increase in their Judaism and Torah study.

However, theconnection between education, Chanukah and Chanukah gelt goes much deeper.

When the Greeksoccupied Israel and entered the Holy Temple, part of their intention was toeradicate the concept of holiness and spirituality and place the emphasis onmateriality and hedonism. So rather than simply destroy the holy oil, theydefiled it, symbolizing their attempt to infuse Greek ideals into thelivesand very possessionsof the Jewish people.

Therefore,Chanukah represents our rejection of materiality for its own sake. The best wayto highlight the victory of the Maccabees and how the Jewish ideals triumphedis to impart the lesson that our material possessions, and especially our extraluxuries, are meant to be infused with a higher spiritual purpose.

Thus, when wegive Chanukah gelt, we both celebrateChanukah and teach the recipients to channel their material possessions towardspiritual ends. This is accomplished by teaching them the importance of givingat least 10% (maaser) of the money tocharity,as well as using the remainder for wholesome purposes.

Based on theabove, the Lubavitcher Rebbe emphasized that especially inthese times, when the challenges of education and materialism is so great, thisimportant lesson of Chanukah should not be limited to just one night but ratherevery night (except for Shabbat, when it can be given either before or afterShabbat). However, since the prevalent custom was to only give Chanukah gelt once, usually on the fourth orfifth night, and since if one gets the same reward repetitively it loses itseducational value, the Rebbe proposed giving a larger amount on the fourth orfifth night.

Since givinggifts every night is a means to educate our children, and part of the educationinvolves teaching children about giving a portion to charity, it isntnecessary that the gifts be large, but they should seemingly be actual monetary gifts.

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Must I Give Gifts Every Night of Chanukah? - Chabad.org

Una Mullally: With the end of Le Galaxie, the glow has gone out of Irish music – The Irish Times

Hello friends, its time to say goodbye. Weve completed LE GALAXIE. Its been a true pleasure to spend the last decade with you all. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! Lots of love. Gotta go x.

Last week, the Irish band Le Galaxie signed off with a tweet accompanied by a snippet of their 2012 track Gotta Go from their EP Fade 2 Forever. The announcement was uncharacteristically low-key, especially coming from a band that used to end its live shows with the theme from Jurassic Park. It is the end of an era, not just for a band, but for the time they existed in.

On Friday night, the promising young Irish rock band Otherkin played their final show in Dublin.

The unfortunate reality is that life in a band these days is one of extreme highs and extreme lows, the band wrote in a statement explaining their end. Theres the elation after an amazing gig to the pressure of mounting bills, the pride of releasing music that youve laboured over for months to the deflation of struggling ticket sales. Its all in there and a band needs a lot of fuel in its tank to get through it. Some bands have more fuel than others and unfortunately, the day arrived where our fuel ran out.

Bands break up for all sorts of reasons. The band dynamic is a complex, intense, demanding, multi-way relationship placed under the constant strains of creative processes, creative differences, confined spaces, disconnection from place, family, partners and friends, poverty, clashing egos, the discombobulating stress of touring, exploitation, and the often destructive attempts at balancing the adrenaline high of live performance with the ensuing comedown.

The financial margins at most levels bar the top tiers of the modern music industry range from precarious to impossible. The creative, personal and financial investment not to mention time that is required to craft a song or an album is huge, and radically off-balance with the audiences consumption habits. Hunter S Thompsons assertion The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. Theres also a negative side remains true to some ways. Frame the darkness within the industry as something you can navigate, survive and excel in, and the rewards are there, if you can cope with them.

Le Galaxie emerged from the much more earnest 66e, and their debut album, Laserdisc Nights II, was released in 2011, in the depths of the recession. Before and after that, their live shows acted as a pressure valve for a generation under incredible strain. While going away drinks formed a considerable part of the social lives of people in their 20s and 30s, whose peer groups were disappearing to London, Canada, Australia, and Berlin, Le Galaxies gigs were an exercise in pausing reality. The misery and dourness of the recession created an undercurrent of hedonism and desire for relief and release. On Monday you lost your job, and on Saturday you were catching Le Galaxies glowsticks flung from a suitcase into the crowd.

My friends and I went to Le Galaxie shows to forget what was happening around us. I couldnt begin to count the number of people I danced with at their shows who no longer live here. Their festival shows were famous for guaranteeing a good time. But strip away the high-octane stage performances and concert in-jokes of waving signs declaring TUNE along with those glowsticks, and youre left with the music. With their subsequent albums, Le Club and Pleasure, Le Galaxie reached for and achieved something many artists spend a lifetime attempting: they found their own voice, their own sound, their own aesthetic, their own tone. Like most contemporary art, it was deeply and delightfully referential, and it was also sophisticated, fun, serious, and really quite brilliant. They will always be another band that could and should have been huge, but stars tend to scatter as much as they align.

The queer community, especially, responded to Le Galaxies sweaty group hug. In them, we found kindred spirits as a community well used to working out our tensions and relieving the daily grind on dancefloors. The band threw themselves into the marriage equality movement, including playing an epic fundraising party at the Academy in Dublin called Love System, more than a year before the referendum.

Le Galaxie often said that their band would not exist without Fight Like Apes, the groundbreaking and stage-trashing band led by the artist MayKay, which turned the Irish music scene on its head. It made sense then, that in their orbit of guest vocalists (such as the brilliant Elaine Mai), that MayKay eventually became a fully fledged member of the band, as Le Galaxie doubled down on magnetic front-leadership.

In some ways, bands are an exercise in hope. They are an exercise in living differently. Anyone can get a job. It takes a much more ambitious, enlivened and resilient spirit to be an artist. To live an artistic and genuinely creative (not faux-creative as in the advertising and tech industries endless attempts at kidnapping the word) life is often seen by those unfamiliar with such pursuits as juvenile, trivial, mockable, reckless. Thats probably because leading an artistic life is also a threat. It threatens conventions, capitalism and conservatism. It prioritises expression over economics, and creativity over capital. Bands, and the eras within which they exist, end, but the art is the real residue, along with the glorious attempt to create it.

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Una Mullally: With the end of Le Galaxie, the glow has gone out of Irish music - The Irish Times

Book Review: Stoned by Jo Wood captures a unique time and a side to the Stones that’s rarely seen – the AU review

Stoned, is a collection of images that have never been seen before by the general public. Consisting of over five hundred photographs, notes, artwork, newspaper clippings and other ephemera put together by Jo Wood documenting life behind the scenes of The Rolling Stones.

Photographer and hoarder (thankfully) Jo Wood has kept thousands of polaroids and rolls of film. These, coupled with personal anecdotes, make up the bulk of the book, and show just how much shes loved her life with husband Ronnie, and life on the road. It makes making life with a rockstar seem almost perfect.

But Stoned isnt just about her time touring with her ex-husbands band. Rather, it takes us through her full-on life from early teens, to meeting Ronnie, as well as the good, bad, and oodles of luggage that comes with touring. Life has definitely been hectic for the Wood family and never appears to be dull.

The book brings together an amazing collection of photographs detailing life on and off the road. Its not just photos of the band in action, but also a snapshot of the period. Its an insight into not only the immediate members of The Stones, but also the girlfriends, children, parents and pets too.

To an extent the book also shows how the industry has changed. Certainly, touring life in the 1970s and 1980s was very different from todays touring. These days the tours are much more organised. By the 1990s the shows became a production with handbooks given out to all staff.

Each chapter begins with an anecdote or story, followed by the photographs. The main bulk is from the 1980s. After that there arent as many photos or discussion. This is perhaps due to Jo and Ronnies separation, which isnt really mentioned, or perhaps its being kept for a follow-up. This means it goes from hedonism and partying practically straight to the end of the book. Its a bit of an abrupt end.Ultimately though, this book captures a unique time and a side to the Stones thats rarely seen.

Jo Woods Stoned: Photographs & Treasures from life with the Rolling Stonesis available now through Hachette Australia.

I'm mad about going to great gigs, travelling around Australia and reading a good book. I adore animals, catching up with friends and family and I think Australia is the best country on earth!

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Book Review: Stoned by Jo Wood captures a unique time and a side to the Stones that's rarely seen - the AU review

The Spaceship of the Imagination Makes Spirits Bright – Nashville Scene

Personally, I identify with the Grinch. And yet, I find these waning weeks of December particularly festive if for no other reason than they signal that the whole crass consumerist schmegegge of Christmas is on its way out. In spite of all that, local seasonal synth ensemble The Spaceship of the Imaginations annual untraditional take on the Christmas pageant was an apt reminder theres an undeniable joy lurking beneath the hype. This years cast and crew offered quite possibly the most lit time to be had inside a church outside of Kanye Wests Sunday Service.

Though the synth-band-turned-performance-troupe doesnt have an affiliation with Trinity United Methodist Church, this is the third year that the sanctuary (through its Trinity Community Commons program) has hosted local piano man, keyboard wiz and SOTI orchestrator Matt Rowland and his Carl Sagan-inspired group. This years production, whose opening night I saw Thursday, marks the 11th year Rowland has convened his group. Hes assembled an increasingly more elaborate cast of familiar faces from the various local arts and music scenes. They pooled their talents for yet another absurdist, slightly psychedelic and wholly entertaining original stage production.

I unfortunately missed last years epic multimedia showcase Krampus Gone Wild which I understand included multiple green-screen sequences. This year, the technology was dialed way back, but the production (with a cast and crew of 28) wasnt poorer for it. Many of the players doubled as puppeteers something Werner Herzog might be proud of expanding the cast to something like 35 characters as the black-clad crew of stagehands hustled diligently between scenes to swap out sets. For the first time, the vast majority of the music was original compositions. There were literally no dull moments in this impressive three-hour opus (complete with intermission, of course).

Jessica Claus, Frosty the Snowman and Aurora the Polar BearPhoto: Laura E. Partain

This years show, Ms. Claus Saves Christmas, picks up after Krampus Gone Wild. As the show opens, we find Santas former wife Jessica Claus (ace singer Keshia Bailey), still recovering from their split and trying to put her life back together in her hometown of Paducah, Ky., aka The Pitiful Pad or The Dirty Ducah, after 150-odd years at the North Pole. Meanwhile, the half-goat, half-demon European folk legend Krampus (Seth Pomeroy, a pillar of Nashvilles stand-up and sketch comedy scene) had indeed gone wild, abandoning the now-canceled Christmas holiday in favor of an eternal summer of reckless hedonism.

The world mourns the loss, while Krampus, conspiring with his sidekick and hype-man Elfy and a couple of suits from Coca-Cola, embarks on a rap career. (The beats are genuinely dope, while Krampus bars are good-bad on an MST3K level and delivered with pitch-perfect swaggering gusto.) Soon, its clear that it will be up to Ms. C. and a lovable, ragtag group of North Pole loyalists a pair of reindeer, a couple gung-ho elves, a polar bear, an adorable snow couple to get Christmas back on track.

Was the production flawless? Nah. Acting styles meshed with mixed success, lines were flubbed, marks were missed and character was often broken by fits of laughter. But when a cast is having this much fun onstage, the spirit is infectious, which is ultimately the point. Rowland and his electro quartet laid an increasingly mean and funky flavor on traditional holiday tunes, and the show culminated in a candle-lit, audience-participatory chorus of Silent Night.

As a curmudgeonly holiday hater, I felt a little tricked as I found myself holding a tiny flame inside a church while swaying to a classic carol. However, with my face still sore from laughing through most of the last few hours, how could I gripe in the wake of this inspiringly DIY spectacle and wholly Nashville tradition? The Spaceship of the Imagination has landed on a universal translation of the holiday spirit. They continue to subvert any superficial or moral objections with an undeniably fun and impressive expression of goodwill.

You've got two more chances to see the show, tonight and Saturday. Tickets are $20 and available in advance. Below, check out photos from opening night by Laura E. Partain.

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The Spaceship of the Imagination Makes Spirits Bright - Nashville Scene

Integrity in our polity – The Nation Newspaper

By Abdulwarees Solanke

Every responsible government acts in the interest of the public, as whatever a government chooses to do or not to do is the open definition of public policy.

Today, we blame our government and the leadership for every ill that plagues our land, expecting it to act with dispatch in public interest. Yet, if the government must act with the urgency and intensity we expect, it must necessarily abridge the diverse and often conflicting vested interests that have limited our ability to reach our full national potentials.

Therefore, it most step not only on the mighty cancerous toes causing extreme pains in our body polity, but also crush the feeble viral fingers of susceptible criminal toddlers.

The problem with our nation is the erosion of a national culture built on integrity, defined as an unimpaired character that stands public scrutiny demonstrated by a well-ordered private and public life devoid moral or material corruptibility.

When integrity is asphyxiated in any polity, the essence of public service is lost as hedonism and pursuit of vested interests take over the instinct of virtually every stakeholder.

We all lament that our constitution is deficient in certain areas and advocate that our nation must be guided by the rule of law. Yet we are not united around the core value of integrity that needs to be addressed for the protection of our collective national interest.

We all cry for national rebirth or reform without appreciating the depth integrity deficit in our national polity.

There are three dimensions to the compromise of this core value in Nigeria: Abdication of public service, professionalization and desecration of politics and celebration of corruption. The sin of abdication of public service is a product of desecration of the noble art of politics and condoning of corruption in public and private life in the country.

In 1925, Mahatma Gandhi, the man Indians deify as father of the nation illustrated these vices as politics without principle, wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity and worship without sacrifice.

Our nation rates very high in all these disturbing indices, needing serious and collective intervention. In discreet and practical terms, our government must make fundamental decisions that would produce radical changes in our culture of disdain. There is optimism that the various reform initiatives of the government will manifestly address these issues.

At the street level however, the understanding of reform is withdrawal of rights and privileges and curtailment of freedoms.

Therefore, it induces trepidation and rejection. Yes, reform may seem punitive (and of cause would block some vested interests), its longer term goals and objectives are to ensure equilibrium in the society by expanding access to national wealth, ensuring provision of public goods and services and guaranteeing protection of life and properties of all citizens.

The kind of urgency we want the government to address as indeed the accumulated challenges demands the initiation and pursuit of radical reform policies that must definitely inconvenience many interest groups in implementation.

They will manifest in rigid state control, seeming over-regulation of public life with strong monitoring, compliance and deterrence strategies of enforcement that look punitive in outlook.

But we cannot in a world of democracy and human rights afford official high-handedness and return to a police-state. Without being overly prescriptive, what our nation needs in this difficult moment is the regulation our public life in a manner that does not cause extreme dislocation, nor induce shock and glut.

Since our first sin in Nigeria is the abdication of public service, we need a restoration of pride in public service through consolidation and alignment of the public sector with recognition, empowerment and reward of bureaucrats and technocrats who are invaluable to national growth and development but have suffered a high degree of de-motivation and insecurity in the recent past.

The pursuit of our national reform project must be real and tangible in its criminalization of corruption in all its ramifications.

It must of cause seek to de-professionalize political offices, but ensure that only citizens with impeccable record in public and private sector management are attracted into politics to continue to serve with integrity.

The seed of our national reform should be sown in benchmarking our national core value on this vital index of good governance. Our reform agenda should the capable of exorcising the nation of the cardinal sins illustrated by Mahatma Gandhi.

In assuming public office and conducting public affairs, we must adhere to the seven principles of public life known as the Nolan Principles: These are selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

Reforming Nigeria is a hydra-headed challenge, demanding a 360 Degree attention to reach our Canaan. We must acknowledge and respect the genuine agitations of many Nigerians on the future of our country. But such agitations and expressions will be meaningless without addressing the fundamental issue of evolving a national culture built on integrity.

This should be our beacon as we engage ourselves in the subject of national rebirth or reform. Its gonna be Not business as usual. The critical and urgent nature of the reform agenda however demands a correct appreciation of the mass media in Nigeria as providing public service.

The existence of trust between the government and the press or the fourth estate of the realm, and its involvement at every phase of the policy process will smoothen our ride along the difficult path of reform and inspire our preparedness for change. After all, Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.

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Integrity in our polity - The Nation Newspaper

Hedonism II | Top Clothing Optional Resorts In Negril, Jamaica

Departure City

Albany, Ny [ALB]Albuquerque, Nm [ABQ]Allentown, Pa [ABE]Amarillo, Tx [AMA]Anchorage, Ak [ANC]Appleton, Mn [AQP]Arcata, Ca [ACV]Asheville, Nc [AVL]Aspen, Co [ASE]Atlanta, Ga [ATL]Atlantic City, Nj [ACY]Austin, Tx [AUS]Baltimore, Md [BWI]Bangor, Me [BGR]Beaumont, Tx [BPT]Bethel, Ak [BET]Billings, Mt [BIL]Binghamton, Ny [BGM]Birmingham, Al [BHM]Bismarck, Nd [BIS]Bloomington, Il [BMI]Boise, Id [BOI]Boston, Ma [BOS]Brownsville, Tx [BRO]Brunswick, Ga [BQK]Buffalo, Ny [BUF]Burbank, Ca [BUR]Burlington, Vt [BTV]Calgary [YYC]Cedar Rapids, Ia [CID]Charleston, Sc [CHS]Charleston, Wv [CRW] Charlotte, Nc [CLT]Charlottesville, Va [CHO]Chicago (Midway), Il [MDW]Chicago (O'Hare), Il [ORD]Cincinnati, Oh [CVG]Cleveland, Oh [CLE]College Station, Tx [CLL]Colorado Springs, Co [COS]Columbia, Mo [COU]Columbia, Sc [CAE]Columbus, Oh [CMH]Cordova, Ak [CDV]Corpus Christi, Tx [CRP]Dallas Love Field, Tx [DAL]Dallas/Fort Worth, Tx [DFW]Dayton, Oh [DAY]Denver, Co [DEN]Des Moines, Ia [DSM]Detroit, Mi [DTW]Duluth, Mn [DLH]Durango, Co [DRO]Edmonton Intntl [YEG]Eastern Iowa, Ia [CID]El Paso, Tx [ELP]Erie, Pa [ERI]Eugene, Or [EUG]Eureka, Ca [EKA]Fairbanks, Ak [FAI]Fargo, Nd [FAR]Flint, Mi [FNT]Fresno, Ca [FAT]Ft. Lauderdale, Fl [FLL]Ft. Myers, Fl [RSW]Ft. Walton/Okaloosa [VPS]Ft. Wayne, In [FWA]Gainesville, Fl [GNV]Grand Forks, Nd [GFK]Grand Rapids, Mi [GRR]Great Falls, Mt [GTF]Green Bay, Wi [GRB]Greensboro, Nc [GSO]Greenville, Sc [GSP]Gulfport, Ms [GPT]Halifax Intntl [YHZ]Harlingen [HRL]Harrisburg, Pa [MDT]Hartford, Ct [BDL]Helena, Mt [HLN]Hilo, Hi [ITO]Hilton Head, Sc [HHH]Honolulu, Hi [HNL]Houston Hobby, Tx [HOU]Houston Busch, Tx [IAH]Huntington, Wv [HTS]Huntsville Intl, Al [HSV]Idaho Falls, Id [IDA]Indianapolis, In [IND]Islip, Ny [ISP]Ithaca, Ny [ITH]Jackson Hole, Wy [JAC]Jackson Int'L, Ms [JAN]Jacksonville, Fl [JAX]Juneau, Ak [JNU]Kahului, Hi [OGG]Kansas City, Mo [MCI]Kapalua, Hi [JHM]Kauai, Hi [LIH]Key West, Fl [EYW]Knoxville, Tn [TYS]Kona, Hi [KOA]Lanai, Hi [LNY]Lansing, Mi [LAN]Las Vegas, Nv [LAS]Lexington, Ky [LEX]Lincoln, Ne [LNK]Little Rock, Ar [LIT]Long Beach, Ca [LGB]Los Angeles, Ca [LAX]Louisville, Ky [SDF]Lubbock, Tx [LBB]Lynchburg, Va [LYH]Montreal Mirabel [YMX]Montreal Trudeau [YUL]Madison, Wi [MSN]Manchester, Nh [MHT]Maui, Hi [OGG]Mcallen, Tx [MFE]Medford, Or [MFR]Melbourne, Fl [MLB]Memphis, Tn [MEM]Miami, Fl [MIA]Midland/Odessa, Tx [MAF]Milwaukee, Wi [MKE]Minneapolis/St. Paul [MSP]Missoula, Mt [MSO]Mobile Regional, Al [MOB]Molokai, Hi [MKK]Monterey, Ca [MRY]Montgomery, Al [MGM]Myrtle Beach, Sc [MYR]Naples, Fl [APF]Nashville, Tn [BNA]New Braunfels, Tx [BAZ]New Orleans, La [MSY]New York Kennedy, Ny [JFK]New York Laguardia [LGA]Newark, Nj [EWR]Norfolk, Va [ORF]Ottawa Mcdonald [YOW]Oakland, Ca [OAK]Oklahoma City, Ok [OKC]Omaha, Ne [OMA]Ontario, Ca [ONT]Orange County, Ca [SNA]Orlando, Fl [MCO]Palm Springs, Ca [PSP]Panama City, Fl [PFN]Pensacola, Fl [PNS]Peoria, Il [PIA]Philadelphia, Pa [PHL]Phoenix, Az [PHX]Pittsburgh, Pa [PIT]Port Angeles, Wa [CLM]Portland Intl, Or [PDX]Portland, Me [PWM]Providence, Ri [PVD]Quebec Intntl [YQB]Raleigh/Durham, Nc [RDU]Rapid City, Sd [RAP]Redmond, Or [RDM]Reno, Nv [RNO]Richmond, Va [RIC]Roanoke, Va [ROA]Rochester, Ny [ROC]Rockford, Il [RFD]Sacramento, Ca [SMF]Saginaw, Mi [MBS]Salem, Or [SLE]Salt Lake City, Ut [SLC]San Antonio, Tx [SAT]San Diego, Ca [SAN]San Francisco, Ca [SFO]San Jose, Ca [SJC]Santa Barbara, Ca [SBA]Santa Rosa, Ca [STS]Sarasota/Bradenton [SRQ]Savannah, Ga [SAV]Seattle/Tacoma, Wa [SEA]Shreveport, La [SHV]Sioux City, Ia [SUX]Sioux Falls, Sd [FSD]Spokane, Wa [GEG]Springfield, Il [SPI]Springfield, Mo [SGF]St. Louis, Mo [STL] St. Petersburg, Fl [PIE]Syracuse, Ny [SYR]Toronto Pearson [YYZ]Tallahassee, Fl [TLH]Tampa, Fl [TPA]Traverse City, Mi [TVC]Tucson, Az [TUS]Tulsa, Ok [TUL]Vancouver Intntl [YVR]Victoria Intntl [YYJ]Winnipeg Intntl [YWG]Washington Natl, Dc [DCA]Washington/Dulles, Dc [IAD]Wenatchee, Wa [EAT]West Palm Beach, Fl [PBI]White Plains, Ny [HPN]Wichita, Ks [ICT]Wilkes-Barre/Scranton [AVP]

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Hedonism II | Top Clothing Optional Resorts In Negril, Jamaica

What to Expect at Hedonism | Hedonism II

Departure City

Albany, Ny [ALB]Albuquerque, Nm [ABQ]Allentown, Pa [ABE]Amarillo, Tx [AMA]Anchorage, Ak [ANC]Appleton, Mn [AQP]Arcata, Ca [ACV]Asheville, Nc [AVL]Aspen, Co [ASE]Atlanta, Ga [ATL]Atlantic City, Nj [ACY]Austin, Tx [AUS]Baltimore, Md [BWI]Bangor, Me [BGR]Beaumont, Tx [BPT]Bethel, Ak [BET]Billings, Mt [BIL]Binghamton, Ny [BGM]Birmingham, Al [BHM]Bismarck, Nd [BIS]Bloomington, Il [BMI]Boise, Id [BOI]Boston, Ma [BOS]Brownsville, Tx [BRO]Brunswick, Ga [BQK]Buffalo, Ny [BUF]Burbank, Ca [BUR]Burlington, Vt [BTV]Calgary [YYC]Cedar Rapids, Ia [CID]Charleston, Sc [CHS]Charleston, Wv [CRW]Charlotte, Nc [CLT]Charlottesville, Va [CHO]Chicago (Midway), Il [MDW]Chicago (O'Hare), Il [ORD]Cincinnati, Oh [CVG]Cleveland, Oh [CLE]College Station, Tx [CLL]Colorado Springs, Co [COS]Columbia, Mo [COU]Columbia, Sc [CAE]Columbus, Oh [CMH]Cordova, Ak [CDV]Corpus Christi, Tx [CRP]Dallas Love Field, Tx [DAL] Dallas/Fort Worth, Tx [DFW]Dayton, Oh [DAY]Denver, Co [DEN]Des Moines, Ia [DSM]Detroit, Mi [DTW]Duluth, Mn [DLH]Durango, Co [DRO]Edmonton Intntl [YEG]Eastern Iowa, Ia [CID]El Paso, Tx [ELP]Erie, Pa [ERI]Eugene, Or [EUG]Eureka, Ca [EKA]Fairbanks, Ak [FAI]Fargo, Nd [FAR]Flint, Mi [FNT]Fresno, Ca [FAT]Ft. Lauderdale, Fl [FLL]Ft. Myers, Fl [RSW]Ft. Walton/Okaloosa [VPS]Ft. Wayne, In [FWA]Gainesville, Fl [GNV]Grand Forks, Nd [GFK]Grand Rapids, Mi [GRR]Great Falls, Mt [GTF]Green Bay, Wi [GRB]Greensboro, Nc [GSO]Greenville, Sc [GSP]Gulfport, Ms [GPT]Halifax Intntl [YHZ]Harlingen [HRL]Harrisburg, Pa [MDT]Hartford, Ct [BDL]Helena, Mt [HLN]Hilo, Hi [ITO]Hilton Head, Sc [HHH]Honolulu, Hi [HNL]Houston Hobby, Tx [HOU]Houston Busch, Tx [IAH]Huntington, Wv [HTS]Huntsville Intl, Al [HSV]Idaho Falls, Id [IDA]Indianapolis, In [IND]Islip, Ny [ISP]Ithaca, Ny [ITH]Jackson Hole, Wy [JAC]Jackson Int'L, Ms [JAN]Jacksonville, Fl [JAX]Juneau, Ak [JNU]Kahului, Hi [OGG]Kansas City, Mo [MCI]Kapalua, Hi [JHM]Kauai, Hi [LIH]Key West, Fl [EYW]Knoxville, Tn [TYS]Kona, Hi [KOA]Lanai, Hi [LNY]Lansing, Mi [LAN]Las Vegas, Nv [LAS]Lexington, Ky [LEX]Lincoln, Ne [LNK]Little Rock, Ar [LIT]Long Beach, Ca [LGB]Los Angeles, Ca [LAX]Louisville, Ky [SDF]Lubbock, Tx [LBB]Lynchburg, Va [LYH]Montreal Mirabel [YMX]Montreal Trudeau [YUL]Madison, Wi [MSN]Manchester, Nh [MHT]Maui, Hi [OGG]Mcallen, Tx [MFE]Medford, Or [MFR]Melbourne, Fl [MLB]Memphis, Tn [MEM]Miami, Fl [MIA]Midland/Odessa, Tx [MAF]Milwaukee, Wi [MKE]Minneapolis/St. Paul [MSP]Missoula, Mt [MSO]Mobile Regional, Al [MOB]Molokai, Hi [MKK]Monterey, Ca [MRY]Montgomery, Al [MGM]Myrtle Beach, Sc [MYR]Naples, Fl [APF]Nashville, Tn [BNA]New Braunfels, Tx [BAZ]New Orleans, La [MSY]New York Kennedy, Ny [JFK]New York Laguardia [LGA]Newark, Nj [EWR]Norfolk, Va [ORF]Ottawa Mcdonald [YOW]Oakland, Ca [OAK]Oklahoma City, Ok [OKC]Omaha, Ne [OMA]Ontario, Ca [ONT]Orange County, Ca [SNA]Orlando, Fl [MCO]Palm Springs, Ca [PSP]Panama City, Fl [PFN]Pensacola, Fl [PNS]Peoria, Il [PIA]Philadelphia, Pa [PHL]Phoenix, Az [PHX]Pittsburgh, Pa [PIT]Port Angeles, Wa [CLM]Portland Intl, Or [PDX]Portland, Me [PWM]Providence, Ri [PVD]Quebec Intntl [YQB]Raleigh/Durham, Nc [RDU]Rapid City, Sd [RAP]Redmond, Or [RDM]Reno, Nv [RNO] Richmond, Va [RIC]Roanoke, Va [ROA]Rochester, Ny [ROC]Rockford, Il [RFD]Sacramento, Ca [SMF]Saginaw, Mi [MBS]Salem, Or [SLE]Salt Lake City, Ut [SLC]San Antonio, Tx [SAT]San Diego, Ca [SAN]San Francisco, Ca [SFO]San Jose, Ca [SJC]Santa Barbara, Ca [SBA]Santa Rosa, Ca [STS]Sarasota/Bradenton [SRQ]Savannah, Ga [SAV]Seattle/Tacoma, Wa [SEA]Shreveport, La [SHV]Sioux City, Ia [SUX]Sioux Falls, Sd [FSD]Spokane, Wa [GEG]Springfield, Il [SPI]Springfield, Mo [SGF]St. Louis, Mo [STL]St. Petersburg, Fl [PIE]Syracuse, Ny [SYR]Toronto Pearson [YYZ]Tallahassee, Fl [TLH]Tampa, Fl [TPA]Traverse City, Mi [TVC]Tucson, Az [TUS]Tulsa, Ok [TUL]Vancouver Intntl [YVR]Victoria Intntl [YYJ]Winnipeg Intntl [YWG]Washington Natl, Dc [DCA]Washington/Dulles, Dc [IAD]Wenatchee, Wa [EAT]West Palm Beach, Fl [PBI]White Plains, Ny [HPN]Wichita, Ks [ICT]Wilkes-Barre/Scranton [AVP]

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What to Expect at Hedonism | Hedonism II

Top 10 photography shows of 2019 | Culture – The Guardian

10Eamonn Doyle: Made in Dublin

Photo London, Somerset HouseAlongside his creative collaborators production designer Niall Sweeney and sound artist David Donohoe Irish photographer Eamonn Doyle created an ambitious nine-screen projection for Photo London. It was an immersive experience that threatened to overwhelm, but, once surrendered to, unfolded to its visceral soundtrack at a furious pace. Looming figures flitted across the viewers vision in constantly unfolding juxtapositions, making Doyles native city seem more Ballardian than Joycean.

Marian Goodman, LondonA long-awaited major London show for Nan Goldin, her first since the Whitechapel Gallery retrospective in 2002, Sirens is shadowed by her recent addiction to Oxycontin and the direct action anti-Sackler activism she has embraced since her recovery. Two of her new works, Sirens and the viscerally unsettling slideshow Memory Lost, draw deeply on lived experience. The latter in particular uses her signature diaristic approach to explore memory, mourning, death and dislocation. Tough, heartbreaking and utterly compelling. On until 11 January. Read the full review.

Tate Modern, LondonAn ambitious, sprawling and constantly surprising retrospective of an artist too long considered in the reflective light of Pablo Picasso, with whom she had a turbulent relationship. Her career began in earnest in 1932, when Henriette Markovitch, painter, became Dora Maar, photographer. The creative trajectory that followed took her from fashion to portraiture to street photography and on into surrealist-inspired experiments in photomontage and camera-less photography. An expansive portrait of a restless spirit. On until 15 March. Read the full review.

Tate Britain, LondonBritains most famous living photographer drew the crowds to Tate Britain for this expansive retrospective, drawn from an archive that stretches back 60 years. Best known for his war photography, the show reminded us of the wealth of other defining documentary images from closer to home: post-war working class life in Londons East End, the declining landscapes of the industrial north, poverty and homeless in the capital. Comprising over 250 photographs, all hand-printed by McCullin in his darkroom, it was a celebration of, and an elegy for, a time when photojournalism and documentary photography indelibly shaped our view of the world. Read the full review.

Les Rencontres dArlesOn the back of her acclaimed first book, Ex-Voto, which merged landscapes of contemporary sites of religious pilgrimage with starkly haunting portraits of latter-day pilgrims, the young English artist won the Audience Award at Arles for The Faithful. Here, the central subject of stark monochrome prints and a quietly compelling film was a young Orthodox nun named Vera, who works with captive wild horses in a convent in rural Belarus. The end result was another austere and affecting exploration of contemporary religious devotion.

Jeu de Paume, ParisPeter Hujars reputation has risen steadily since his death in 1987, his often deftly composed portraits possessed of an acutely intimate undertow. Hujar came of age in the downtown art scene in New York, his creative life bookended by two defining cultural moments: the Stonewall riots in 1969 and the Aids crisis of the 1980s. He once described his approach as uncomplicated, direct photographs of complicated and difficult subjects. They include avant-garde artists, gay activists, intellectuals and drag queens; among the most celebrated are a reclining Susan Sontag and, posing languorously on her deathbed, Warhol superstar Candy Darling. On until 19 January.

Hayward Gallery, LondonDevoted to the formative years in which Diane Arbus honed her dark vision, In the Beginning showed how her sensibility and signature style a crucial shift from 35mm to square format took shape on the streets of New York. Around two thirds of the 100 plus prints on view had not been seen before in the UK; what they revealed was a precocious talent for the eccentric and the perverse, whether tattooed strong men, circus performers, self-styled outsiders or passing strangers. Still unsettling, still singular. Read the full review.

The Photographers Gallery, LondonFor all their quiet stillness, Dave Heaths portraits possess an intensity that is by turns melancholic and unsettling. In that most exuberant of decades, the 60s, Heath emerged almost unseen as a master of solitude and introspection. His images, as this deftly-curated exhibition highlighted, instil a thoughtful silence in the space around them. An illuminating survey of a quiet American photographer who was a master of mood and sequence.

National Portrait Gallery, LondonA long overdue British retrospective showed the full range of Shermans work, from the iconic early series Untitled Film Stills (1977-80) to the more elaborately constructed Sex Pictures, which still shock in terms of their sheer grotesquery. She is a conceptual shapeshifter, whose one brilliant idea turning the camera on her transformed self in order to exaggerate and illuminate myriad female archetypes is one of the most fascinating creative journeys of our time. Read the full review.

Les Rencontres dArlesIn the 1970s and 80s, self-taught Czech photographer Libue Jarcovjkov relentlessly chronicled her wild life during a time of political repression. The results, shot in edgy monochrome, were one of the revelations of this years Arles photo festival. Jarcovjkovs diaristic approach brilliantly captures the low rent hedonism and self destructiveness of a semi-clandestine bohemian milieu. But there is something energetic, even joyful, in her laying bare of her own reckless life. Often, she is her own subject, the captions a kind of defiantly nihilist manifesto: I understand nothing and dont care. Life is pelting along too fast to understand. Im rarely sober. Elsewhere, she shot on the nocturnal streets and in dive bars, parties and scuzzy bedrooms, capturing the long nights and hungover days of a repressive, and thus doggedly dissolute, time in her homeland. Uncompromising and grittily poetic, Evokativ took me by complete surprise and stayed with me for days afterwards.

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Top 10 photography shows of 2019 | Culture - The Guardian

FPI says it found condoms and alcohol at DWP, wants Governor Anies to ban EDM festival in the future – Coconuts

Despite protests by hardline groups, Djakarta Warehouse Project (DWP), one of the largest EDM music festivals in Asia, went ahead smoothly last weekend so smooth that condoms and alcohol were found at the venue, according to one hardline group who were evidently displeased by the discovery.

According to the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), who were among those who criticized Governor Anies Baswedan for allowing immorality into the capital through events like DWP, its members found evidence to support its claim in the shape of condoms and alcohol at DWP, which was held in JIExpo Kemayoran, Central Jakarta.

Related:

FPI slams Governor Anies Baswedan for allowing DWP and giving Colosseum an award

Pro-pribumi group protests EDM fest DWP, tells Governor Anies to cancel event and not betray them

There was alcohol, condoms, and a few other things. The objects are with us, FPI Secretary General Munarman told Detik today.

FPI and several ulemas met with the Jakarta governor on Tuesday, and we showed the evidence of the haram (forbidden by consumption or use by Muslims) goods that were sold at the DWP venue.

Munarman added that FPI have asked Anies to ban DWP and other events that promoted hedonism and morality from taking place in Jakarta in the future.

Neither Anies nor Ismaya Live, the festivals promoter, have issued any public statements in response to FPIs demand.

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FPI says it found condoms and alcohol at DWP, wants Governor Anies to ban EDM festival in the future - Coconuts

Kurtenbach: The Raiders are leaving behind a fanbase with a passion you cannot buy – East Bay Times

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OAKLAND We are long past the point of fighting the inevitable, of forlorn thoughts of what could have no, what should have been.

The Raiders are gone.

They havent packed up yet the team facility in Alameda will be operational for a few more weeks but Sundays game, a 20-16 last-minute loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, marked the final moment that the Raiders belonged to Oakland, the symbolic end of an era.

They soon will soon fill up some boxes, put them in trucks, and head to Las Vegas to a new stadium, a new team facility, and what they think will be a brighter, more lucrative future.

But in that 560-mile move, the Raiders will be leaving their soul behind.

Things in Nevada will never be as good as they were in Oakland. At best, it will be a novelty in a city that has endless entertainment options.

And Ill bet dollars to cents that in a few years the Raiders will be the ones pushing forlorn thoughts what could have no, what should have been.

The Raiders have been fixing to leave Oakland for so long that no one not even those who booed them off the field Sunday and showered them with bottles can blame the team for finally exiting. The citys pension crisis and performative politics combined with Mark Davis leadership of the franchise created impossible barriers to an East Bay future for the Raiders, and when the state of Nevada likely duped offered nearly a billion dollars and the NFL agreed to back the move in a more-than-emotional capacity, the relocation to the desert became a no-brainer.

The NFL is big business after all, and in Las Vegas, the Raiders who reportedly ranked last in the league in revenue this past season will no longer be the leagues pauper.

Davis, who will be able to keep the family business in the family, is thrilled, though tact required him to push mixed feelings in public for the next few weeks. The NFL is thrilled, too. The cartels little-brother franchise will soon be able to live on its own, and the league will have access to Las Vegas for big events. All Roger Goodell had to do was co-sign a loan. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

The Raiders new Las Vegas stadium is being pushed as a place to see and to be seen.

Raiders fans comprise the only fanbase in sports that can rightly call itself a nation. Such is their nomadic history, their decentralization, and devotion to the squad. Raiders fans will travel from the Bay, from Los Angeles (where there are still millions of fans), and everywhere else the first few years in the desert.

But I dont think that will last long.

Theyll go. Theyll see it. And after that, theyll stay home. Televisions are pretty great these days.

And why go back? There will be no tailgating scene in Las Vegas; they didnt build enough parking lots. No Black Hole in the stadium, either; that might scare off tourists.

This new stadium couldnt be a starker departure from the Coliseum. The Coliseum was a den of hedonism for the common man. It was featureless and amenity-free, a place youd go only if you were so into football and drinking that youd forget the home team played only one playoff game in the last 17 years.

No, this new stadium will be a den of hedonism for a different clientele the whales of Las Vegas. The new digs will be full of the club levels, VIP seats, and luxury experiences that have left the 50-yard-line seats at Levis Stadium empty and a good chunk of fans in bunkers (away from the poors) at Chase Center. The Raiders dont want blue-collar in Las Vegas, they want the fans in the upper deck to be blue with envy.

Anecdotally, it seems as if the die-hard Raiders fans who would come to all eight (thats the one preseason and seven regular-season) home games at the Coliseum are going to make the trip to Vegas once, maybe twice a year.

Eventually, people will stop making trips even that infrequently.

The money that was usually spent on gas, meat for the grill, and beer (and a bottle of something hard to pass around the tailgate) will be spent at the casino. How many Saturday night crap-outs will have to happen before those field trips to Vegas become more and more infrequent?

Meanwhile, the new local market is smaller than Sacramento. But Im sure it will make up the difference, though (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group)

The Raiders move to Las Vegas has all the makings of a second Chargers debacle. The Bolts have played 16 road games a year since moving to Los Angeles, and the Rams arent doing much better. But the NFL is scrambling to figure out how to solve that problem now theyre inviting a second problem to form.

The Coliseum wasnt even filled for Sundays final game and that was with the tarp still on Mt. Davis.

Once the novelty of the new Vegas digs wears off once whats left of the fanbase visits the desert I expect that there will be plentyof Broncos orange, Chiefs red, and whatever-the-visiting-fanbases color is in Las Vegas. Itll be a blast of a field trip for them.

The success of the NHLs Vegas Golden Knights, who sell out the 17,000-plus seats at T-Mobile Arena 41 nights (but mostly weeknights) a season, is often cited as a reason why the Raiders will be successful in Nevada. But I dont think that analysis is taking into account that the Knights were first to market (a huge advantage in any business), were wildly successful the first year in town (making the Stanley Cup Final), and that new Raiders stadium holds nearly four times the people and will be used mostly on Sunday afternoons.

Have you ever been in Las Vegas on a Sunday afternoon? Its a somber scene with people heading to the airport and a few trying to win back what was lost. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

The kind of fans who would show up to this East Bay dump might have dwindled in number over the years, but you cant say that those who stuck around didnt care. They cared more than any of us could know.

It was the kind of passion, the kind of devotion, you cant buy.

But now the team is gone and the traditions and rituals that came with watching them here the things that made a Raiders game the last bastion of old-school football culture will have nowhere to be channeled. The Raiders just wont be The Raiders anymore.

Try as they might, theyll never be able to recreate what they had here.

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Kurtenbach: The Raiders are leaving behind a fanbase with a passion you cannot buy - East Bay Times

The Raiders franchise will never be the same after their move from Oakland – ClutchPoints

The NFL is all about money and the Oakland Raiders are making a financial decision by moving to Las Vegas. However, their decision could end up being a big mistake that may hurt the franchise forever.

After moving to Las Vegas, it will mark the second time that the Raiders have moved out of Oakland with the first being to Los Angeles. Of course, the Raiders later decided to move back to Oakland after their stint in Los Angeles. If the Raiders are smart, they will decide to follow suit after relocating to Las Vegas and get back to Oakland as soon as possible.

The biggest issue for the Raiders is they are leaving behind their most loyal fans. The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum isnt a great NFL stadium, but that was part of the lure of the team. Going into the black hole was something no team wanted to do, and they had one of the best home-field advantages in all of football. Dieter Kurtenbach of The Mercury News put the issues with moving to Las Vegas best.

Raiders fans comprise the only fanbase in sports that can rightly call itself a nation. Such is their nomadic history, their decentralization, and devotion to the squad. Raiders fans will travel from the Bay, from Los Angeles (where there are still millions of fans), and everywhere else the first few years in the desert.

But I dont think that will last long.

Theyll go. Theyll see it. And after that, theyll stay home. Televisions are pretty great these days.

And why go back? There will be no tailgating scene in Las Vegas; they didnt build enough parking lots. No Black Hole in the stadium, either; that might scare off tourists.

This new stadium couldnt be a starker departure from the Coliseum. The Coliseum was a den of hedonism for the common man. It was featureless and amenity-free, a place youd go only if you were so into football and drinking that youd forget the home team played only one playoff game in the last 17 years.

Raiders fans supported their team no matter if the team had 12 wins or two wins. In Las Vegas, its going to be hard to find that same type of loyalty and fans will quickly turn. Its worth noting, Las Vegas is also a great travel city so there will be plenty of fans from other cities flying in to see their favorite team.

After the first couple of seasons, dont be shocked if Raiders home games resemble how some of the Los Angeles Chargers home games have appeared the last couple of seasons with many fans of the away team in attendance.

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The Raiders franchise will never be the same after their move from Oakland - ClutchPoints

Misery, not hedonism, appears to be driving increased drug use among Gen Xers and Boomers – Illicit Trade

Over the past few years, numerous surveys have revealed that Millennials and members of Generation Z are less keen on the consumption of illegal drugs and alcohol than their immediate forebears. In fact, the US Centers for Disease Control and Preventions most recent Youth Risk Behaviour Survey showed that alcohol, drug and cigarette consumption have been falling consistently among American teens for at least the past decade. The study also showed that young people in the US are having less sex. Until recently, similar trends were being observed in the UK, where alcohol and drug consumption among young people have also been following a general downward trend for several years now.

Yet despite this, the number of drug-related deaths in both countries is on the rise. Back in August, data from the UKs Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that drug poisoning deaths rose by 16% in 2018. Last August,the CDC saidthat drug overdoses were estimated to have killed just over 72,280 people in the US in 2017, which represented an increase of some 10% on the previous year. All of this suggests that members of Generation X and Boomers are accounting for a growing proportion of both nations problem drug use and drug-related overdose deaths; a trend that appears to be being borne out both statistically and anecdotally.

Back in 2017, the UKs ONS revealed that people aged between 40 to 49 had the highest rate of drug misuse deaths across England and Wales for the first time ever in 2016. This led to people of that age group being dubbed the Trainspotting generation after the Irvine Welsh novel that was popular during their youth. According to ONS researchers, the emerging trend of older people suffering a higher a number of drug overdose deaths was down to the fact that many addicts in the 40 to 49 age group were beginning to lose lengthy battles with substance abuse habits that might have been begun decades ago due to poor physical and mental health.

In a more recent assessment released this August, the ONS said that people born in the 1960s and 1970s [were] dying from suicide or drug poisoning in greater numbers than any other generation. The ONS said that while the reasons for rising drug and suicide deaths in this age group were complex, a high number of those who lost their lives lived in some of the most deprived parts of England.

While it might be easy to conflate drug problems among Boomers and Generation Xers with the hedonistic times in which they came of age, other studies have also suggested that this might be too simplistic a view. In a paper published in April, researchers at Vanderbilt University in the US state of Tennessee noted that high levels of depression, suicidal ideation, drug use and alcohol abuse identified among middle-aged white Boomers was beginning to impact the youngest members of Generation X. Lauren Gaydosh, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Health and Society and Public Policy Studies at Vanderbilt, forecast that midlife mortality may begin to increase across a range of demographic groups, adding: Public health efforts to reduce these indicators of despair should not be targeted toward just rural whites, for example, because were finding that these patterns are generalised across the population.

Earlier this month, new figures published by the UKs National Health Service (NHS) revealed that the number of English pensioners aged over 90 being admitted to hospital after suffering from psychological and behavioural disorders following cocaine use had risen ten-fold over the past decade. This came almost a year after similar data revealed that the number of over-45s in the UK seeking medical attention after suffering serious mental health problems as a result of drug use had risen by 85% over the previous decade. Speaking with the Guardian at the time, Ian Hamilton, Associate Professor of Addiction at the University of York, said: [Older people] are more likely to have had longer drug-using careers, so they will need longer in specialist drug treatment. However, unfortunately treatment services are being directed to offer abstinence-based services rather than maintaining this group on substitute drugs like methadone.

Both ONS studies and the Vanderbilt paper suggest that rising problem drug use and overdose deaths among older people in both the UK and the US have little to do with them being children of the second summer of love or having grown up believing heroin chic was the epitome of cool. Instead, evidence indicates that the growing number of people experiencing problems with drugs in later life appear to be among the most vulnerable in society, suggesting that labelling them with nicknames such as the Trainspotting generation might at the very least be treating the problems they face with undue flippancy.

While it may be the case that some Boomer or Gen X drug users might have been living with a habit for decades, it would seem that many are pushed to use illicit substances as a result of the undesirable life situations in which they have found themselves, and not as part of ill-advised efforts to relive the hedonism of their youth.

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Misery, not hedonism, appears to be driving increased drug use among Gen Xers and Boomers - Illicit Trade

Your Weekly Horoscopes Are Here! November 15th – November 22nd – InStyle

If you celebrate your birthday this week:

Your Year Ahead

Fate is fickle, my friend. She can give with one hand and then take just that much more with the other. But heres a year when Lady Luck lays down some new ground rules. Theres still hard work ahead but for good rewards. If wondering where to focus your attentions, love seems the obvious answer. Socially, youre vivacious. Youre also finally blessed with finances and fun. Dont question where the extra cash comes from. Its how you spend it that counts. Retraining would also be of benefit. Expand your skills, and you could even be courting fame - or at the very least, a skyrocketing lifestyle.

Aries (March 21 - April 20)

Best Day: Saturday 16th

This week tests your sense of stability. Financial uncertainty features, so avoid get-rich-quick schemes. The same goes for former lovers who might stray back within reach. It would be wise to remember why you broke up in the first place. If youre trying to lose weight, boredom is your worst enemy - so avoid snack attacks by keeping on the go.

Taurus (April 21 - May 20)

Best Day: Sunday 17th

If I say theres change on the way, promise not to run? While things may be flowing a tad too swiftly for your liking, youll soon get the hang of it. Perhaps youre being asked to retrain, or take an unexpected detour? Whatever happens, know that the heavens are steering you in the right direction. Follow your dreams, Taurus. The time is right.

Gemini (May 21 - June 21)

Best Day: Wednesday 20th

Like it or not, sometimes the best things happen when theyre least expected. Sure, there may be issues to deal with, but youre likely to find that each one is relatively minor. Be patient, too, in matters of the heart; theres no hurry for a decision. A change of living arrangements could also either frustrate, or delight you.

Cancer (June 22 - July 22)

Best Day: Friday 15th

Recently, work has seemed like a war zone and youre tired of petty politics. Whats more, youre angry. This week, however, encourages restraint. That doesnt mean allowing others to take you for granted - just dont let them to hijack your hard work by losing your temper. Stay calm, and youll be the one reaping the rewards.

Leo (July 23 - August 23)

Best Day: Thursday 21st

Time for some lateral thought, Leo. Instead of hurriedly grappling for difficult or, perhaps, unattainable aims - stop rushing and take the time to look at things from a different viewpoint. Theres still much to learn, and living by a new set of rules or being open to new experiences could be just what you need.

Virgo (August 24 - September 22)

Best Day: Friday 15th

Theres tension in the air, which you cant help but sense. While your level head usually keeps you out of trouble, less sensible minds seem determined to stay on a collision course. Dont buy into trouble just because others are deliberately egging you on. Youre stronger than that. And others know it.

Libra (September 23 - October 23)

Best Day: Monday 18th

Some of that old magics back, Libra. If dreams can come true, theyll do so now. And dont expect it to be a solo journey. Youre ready and able to contact every friend youve ever made on this beautiful planet. This is what happens when youre left unsupervised - pleasure takes priority. Simply, enjoy.

Scorpio (October 24 - November 22)

Best Day: Tuesday 19th

This week has an important feel about it, where most Scorpios get to move in a new direction. Others may want to intrude on your plans, but if a situation is no longer working for you - dont ignore this chance to discard overly-heavy burdens. By lightening the load, life becomes easier. Love wins a generous time slot too.

Sagittarius (November 23 - December 21)

Best Day: Sunday 17th

Sweep the more boring issues of life to the side for the time being. Youre overcome by a spirit of adventure. But if youre considering romantic escapades, you could be a tad disappointed. Your best ventures this week come via travel or study. So spread your wings, and fly off in a new direction.

Capricorn (December 22 - January 20)

Best Day: Friday 15th

Capricorns work hard, but maybe its time to pass the baton to someone else for a while. This is a week for catching up on things that arent all that important and for paying attention to more pleasurable desires. Basically, a slow moving Mercury suggests a touch of hedonism, if thats what it takes to balance you out.

Aquarius (January 21 - February 18)

Best Day: Thursday 21st

It is said that in life, timing is everything. Just the right words at the right time can heal, open doors - even open hearts. Being in the right place, at the right time is often how we are blessed with incredible opportunities in our lives. And when time is on our side, we can be powerful. So, go ahead Aquarius - be powerful.

Pisces (February 19 - March 20)

Best Day: Saturday 16th

Traditional interpretations say that yours is the sign of the mystic. Pisceans absorb energies that less intuitive signs miss, though this can make you particularly vulnerable to stress. Not this week. For now, the cosmos keeps you constantly on the move, and trailblazing along that road to success. Even so, youre also granted chances to play.

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Your Weekly Horoscopes Are Here! November 15th - November 22nd - InStyle

Dialogue with Tom Wright about History and Eschatology Part Two – Patheos

BEN: One of the real strengths of this book is that you are able to chronicle the intellectual history from ancient Epicureanism to the present and show how the dominant world view today is not much different from ancient Epicureanism in the way it brackets out God and the supernatural from history and natural causation. Since most of our audience will associate Epicureanism with hedonism, the pleasures of the palate and the flesh, explain what you mean by Epicureanism, and how it still informs modern presuppositions about the nature of the world.

TOM: Ancient Epicureanism was indeed known by its opponents at least! as hedonism. This, however, was at least in part a slur, since the serious Epicureans (represented by Lucretius) knew that over-indulgence in fleshly pleasures was counter-productive. They recommended a cooler, more detached pursuit of pleasure. But Epicureanism was far more than a charter for pleasure, whether licentious or restrained. It was a worldview, competing with Stoicism and the various forms of Platonism as it still does. Stoicism saw the gods and the world as bundled up together in various kinds of pantheistic mix; Epicureanism saw the gods as completely detached from our world (though made ultimately of the same stuff), so that the gods dont interfere in our world and nothing we can do will affect them. Since there is no divine action in the world, the world makes itself through the random movement of atoms, which sometimes swerve and, bumping into one another, produce different forms of life. This is the direct ancestor of modern evolutionism (not the biological theory of evolution, but the worldview which preceded it by a century or more on the a priori assumption that, with God or the gods absent from the world, the world must proceed under its own steam). Epicureanism is therefore at the root a theory about how the world works; a theory which allows for the existence of the gods but which insists that they are not involved in our world, nor we in theirs.

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Dialogue with Tom Wright about History and Eschatology Part Two - Patheos

Rocket ships, sex cults, and South African connections – Peter Mark Kendall tells us all about his thrilling role in the true-life TV show that’s…

Cape Town - Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction, and in the case of Strange Angel the truth couldn't get any stranger.

Based on the true-life story of Jack Parsons, played by Jack Reynor, the gripping show explores how Parsons would build rocket ships by day and perform magic sex rituals by night in 1940s Los Angeles.

According to Vice, Parsons was a literal rocket scientist who invented the first castable solid-state rocket fuel in 1942. But he has mostly been written out of history due to his involvement in the occult movement, Thelema, which is a complicated set of magical, mystical, and religious beliefs formed by Aleister Crowley.

Ati reports that Crowley was popularly known as "the wickedest man in the world" and encouraged his followers to "Do What Thou Wilt". This meant mostly fulfilling individual desires, particularly sexual ones. Parsons reportedly used his rocketry business to buy a mansion in Pasadena which became a den of hedonism that allowed him to explore sexual adventures.

In Strange Angel rocket science and sex come together in the most explosive manner.

'CAPE TOWN IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE I'VE EVER BEEN TO'

It's a Friday night in the office and I'm waiting on the line to speak to Peter Mark Kendall, who plays the role of Richard Onsted in the mystery drama. Onsted, a much more conservative and careful character, is the perfect sidekick to madman Parsons in the TV show which is currently available for streaming on Showmax in South Africa.

Peter - known for his role in shows like The Americans, Girls, and Chicago Med - is no stranger to South Africa at all. In fact, his whole family have their roots firmly planted in Mzansi's soil. "My family is from South Africa," he confirms over the phone from New York City where it's early morning. He adds: "They came to the United States in '85. I'm the youngest of four kids and I was the only one born in the States."

The 33-year-old star recently visited SA's shores with his family: "It was a wonderful trip we had this past summer and it was actually my first time to South Africa. Most of our family are still over there so we went to my cousin's wedding and I got to go with my mom, and my dad, and my wife. It was kind of their first trip back in a significant way since they left in '85 so it was really a wonderful and meaningful trip for my family."

I ask if he'd be keen on filming in South Africa, to which Peter immediately responds: "OMG, you know when we were in Cape Town and I could see some of the productions happening. I was just like gosh that's such ait's the most beautiful place I've ever been to and I'd love nothing more than to work there, so if you could do anything to make that happen that would be great," he jokes before adding: "I think it's the most special place I've ever been to so I'm dying to go back."

'LIKE SOMETHING YOU WOULD READ IN A NOVEL'

We then turn the conversation back to the show and his character. "When I first got the script, I didnt really realise that this was based on a true story. It was only after I had considered doing it that I found out it was very much based on the true story of Jack Parsons and the people that was kind of orbiting him in at that time in Los Angeles and it just seemed kind of stranger than fiction.

He adds: "It was like something you would read about in a novel. So, the thing about my character particularly was that I was struck and drawn to his brilliance in maths, and science, and aeronomics and all of that but then his inability to connect with people in the day-to-day real-life. It's a great kind of exercise as an actor to be so adept at one thing and then struggle in something that we all do every day."

Playing a rocket scientist is no easy feat and Peter had to rely heavily on his theatrical background and studies. According to IMDb, Peter attended McDaniel College, where he received a BA in Theatre and Jazz Studies. He then received his MFA in Acting from the Brown University/Trinity Rep Program.

"I think as actors we do our best, especially when we're working on characters who have a very extensive knowledge of one thing or one niche area, to understand the subject but when it's literally rocket science that can be quite daunting. Especially if you're trying to sound and portray it so comfortably and authentic.

"Sometimes you feel like a fraud because you have to say all these jargon mathematical and scientific language. The tough part for me was trying to make it seem like I know what I'm talking about. I did as much research as I can to have some kind of idea of what's going on to help the story go forward.

"Really, it's just repetition and getting your mouth around those words and those terms just well enough that you can say it with confidence. If you believe what youre saying, then hopefully the audience would believe in what you're saying."

'LIKE A SNOWBALL GAINING SPEED AND GOING OUT OF CONTROL'

Strange Angel takes its time to unfold and goes from slow-paced to thrilling as the series picks up speed. Peter agrees, saying: "The first season is kind of a slow burn. It unfolds at a slower pace and sets up the exposition and who these people are and then there's a great tone shift from season 1 to season 2 where it feels kind of like a snowball gaining speed and going out of control.

"I think of that as great storytelling. I really appreciate shows that take their time and are a bit ambiguous in their storytelling and kind of makes you lean in. When the audience kind of has to do a little work too and try to figure out what's going on."

He adds: "It has a kind of film noir feel to it and there's like a danger in that there's so much at cost for all of these people not just in the personal world but in the natural kind of zoomed out world too.

"What these people are doing is going to affect the entire world and that's really significant."

Strange Angel is undoubtedly worth the watch if you're looking for something with a lot more meat around the bones. Stream it now on Showmax!

(Photos: Frank W. Ockenfels/CBS/Showmax)

READ NEXT:British star Ed Stoppard on filming in South Africa, working with Rolanda Marais, and preparing for his thrilling TV role in Trackers

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Rocket ships, sex cults, and South African connections - Peter Mark Kendall tells us all about his thrilling role in the true-life TV show that's...

Toro Y Moi reinforces his own creative progression at the House of Blues – Vanyaland

Watching singer, songwriter, and producer Chaz Bundick better known as Toro y Moi gracefully mature as both a performer and frontman has been utterly gratifying. His debut album, 2010s Causers of This, introduced us to a not only crooner who executed lyrics with a crushed velvet delivery, but also someone who retreated into their craft.

Subsequent records like Anything In Return, What For? and Boo Boo slowly broke the mold and served as bold markers of his evolution. His discography overflows with experiments; Toros brand of electro-pop psychedelia fuses effortlessly into his appreciation of funk and disco. His show this past Wednesday (November 6) at Bostons House of Blues reinforced his creative progression.

His most recent projects, last months Soul Trash and Januarys Outer Peace, find Toro at the intersection of hypnotic R&B seduction and electronic desolation. His ability to play up both simultaneously has become his specialty, and Wednesday night revealed that he earnestly embraces this juxtaposition. He was still the hyper-focused musician determined to get every detail correct, but he also showed off his more playful and fun side with confidence.

The steely burn and severity of New House was complimented by the hedonism of Ordinary Pleasure. The urgent pleading of Girl Like You was cheerfully balanced with the precocious Freelance. The smooth sensuality of Monte Carlo was followed up by the infectious and pulsating Rose Quartz. His catalogue is multifaceted and vast and it also stays true to the complex nature of art-making.

As Toro stood as the epicenter of the rollercoaster ride, he demonstrated a controlled calm that comes with years of perfectionism. His output has been admirably consistent for the last few years, and with each and every project, its as if he dives into a new and more authentic version of himself. Whatever Toro y Moi does next is bound to be unpredictable but innovative and the world cant wait for it.

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Toro Y Moi reinforces his own creative progression at the House of Blues - Vanyaland

Why Eden Sank to Grief | Cole S. Aronson – First Things

A biweekly column about Jewish things.

The first sin is the most interpreted event in history. Why did they eatand what should we learn? The wily serpent elicits from Eve the Lords injunction against eating from the tree of knowledge, and then:

St. Thomas writes at S.T.II-2-163: The first inordinateness of the human appetite resulted from his coveting inordinately some spiritual good. . . . Now he would not have coveted it inordinately, by desiring it according to his measure as established by the Divine rule. Hence it follows thatman'sfirstsinconsisted in his coveting somespiritualgoodabove his measure: and this pertains topride. Im afraid that St. Thomas has not helped us much in understanding the first sin, as all sins of commission traduce Gods prescribed measure. Surely knowledge is a spiritual good, and surely man desired it inordinately. But substitute anything for knowledge and you can still explain the sin in question. St. Thomas has defined sin, but said little about its first particular instance.

Rashi, the medieval Ashkenazi exegete, writes that Eve was seduced by the serpent into wanting to be a god (St. Thomas, in fairness, also writes that man wanted to be like God, but only in the sense, true of all sinners, that by his own natural power he might decide what was good.) The serpents offer is that the fruit of the tree of knowledge will admit Eve into the heavenly ranks. Eves goal, according to Rashi, was a kind of theological revisionism.

The medieval Jewish commentators, broadly speaking, do not think that Edenic man wanted to join the angels. Nachmanidess reading is typical: Eve sensed the pleasure to be derived from eating. This, I think, is the straightforward reading of the text. Eve does not want to join God. She has appetites that God enjoins her from satisfying, but the Bibles description of her mind indicates she wants less and not more to do with divinity. Eve was a voluptuary, maybe, but not a devil.

Lets follow Nachmanides and investigate Eves hedonism. The Bible relates Eves thoughts moving from lower to higher pleasures. First: The fruit can sate Eves hunger. By muting the distinguishing feature of the tree of knowledge, Eve evinces her animal nature. Shell consume this fruit as she would any other fruit.

Eves second thought is that the tree is beautiful. Her gluttony is now refined by aesthetic sensibility. Eating will satisfy her, but the tree pleases Eve already. The first two moments of Eve's deliberation have nothing to do with the knowledge of good and evil, or for that matter with the prospect of divinity. Her mind is far from the serpents enticement and therefore from overt hostility toward God.

Eves final thought is that the tree is delightful for wisdom. Some commentators have assimilated this last moment into the Hedonism Thesis. Its true that the Hebrew adjective nechmad, which Ive rendered as delightful, adverts the reader to the trees effect on Eve, rather than the trees intrinsic qualities. But the adjective modifies the tree, not Eve. Furthermore: I have followed many translations in rendering above the Hebrew lhaskil as for wisdom. But that is not exact. Lhaskil is not a noun, but a causal verb. Sacrificing flow for precision, we should say that the tree was delightful to bestow wisdom. The least forced reading is that the tree, as sources of knowledge go, is a delightfully fruitful one. The emphasis is on the quality of the trove, not the sensations of the discoverer.

Eves sin is to ignore God in favor of a lesser source of meaning. Subtler than an outright rebel,Eve considers herself neutral with respect to Gods injunction. She wants to replace God not with herself, but with wisdom. I suggest that Eve was the first philosopher, but not just any sort of philosopher. She does not wonder after the stars. She wants to know what truly matters.

I do not think the Bible is suggesting an opposition between wisdom and obedience, or, if you like, between Athens and Jerusalem. There is almost nothing the Bible praises more highly and frequently than knowledge of the sort Eve is after. And indeed, God justifies expelling Adam and Eve on the view that they are now like us, knowing good and bad, earthly only because mortal. But the true servant of God consecrates to his creator not only the things human beings find most instinctively pleasurablefood, sexbut also the elevated things. Knowledge of the good ranks among the highest of these things, because God is defined by perfect wisdom and perfect goodness. If God wanted to know the extent of his finest creatures devotion, he devised the perfect test: to see whether man would forego the highest activity of the Divine image in favor of concord with the Divine will.

The teaching of the Garden of Eden is that the twin imperatives of religious love, to imitate God and to obey God, are really not twins at all; rather, the latter rules over the former. There is a radical irreconcilability between God and man. Your ways are not my ways, says Isaiah in the name of the Lord. Which means that whoever loves God from other than a fearful distance does not truly love him.

Cole S. Aronson studies at Yeshivat Har Etzion in the Judean hills.

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Why Eden Sank to Grief | Cole S. Aronson - First Things


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