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Category Archives: Zeitgeist Movement

To Do This Weekend: Rico Nasty, Art Garfunkel, and Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live! – Washington City Paper

Posted: July 8, 2017 at 4:10 am

Hear an orchestra accompany a mysterious movie, listen to some local rock, or see a legend sing his greatest hits.

Success in pop music is more the result of timing than talent, and in the ever-changing world of hip-hop, you have to read the zeitgeist before you can, to paraphrase Kanye, pop a wheelie on it. Perhaps no one in the DMV is better at reading the rap zeitgeist than Rico Nasty, a young woman from Largo who calls her music sugar trap, as in trap-rap with a sweet edge. Her mixtape cover of the same name finds her smiling like Mona Lisa with an assault rifle in hand, flanked by unicorns and teddy bears. Shes bound to be as divisive as Lil Yachty and Lil Uzi Vert, but the Great Rap Hope baton might end up in her hands anyway. Rico Nasty performs with Dae World and O Slice at 8 p.m. at Songbyrd Music House, 2477 17th St. NW. $10$12. (202) 450-2917. songbyrddc.com. (Chris Kelly)

EAT THIS

With its new chef settled in, The Riggsbyhas a new brunch menu worth splurging on this weekend. Try a "New Crab Benedict" with miso-crab hollandaise sauce and Duroc pork ($19), short rib hash with a 60-minute egg, crisp potato, red pepper, and horseradish hollandaise sauce ($22), or for something sweet, Anson Mills cornmeal griddle cakes with homemade berry compote, strawberry Chantilly, and lavender honey ($14). Brunch is offered Saturdays and Sundaysfrom 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Riggsby, 1731 New Hampshire Ave. NW. (202) 787-1500.theriggsby.com. (Laura Hayes)

OH AND ALSO

Friday: Early aughts college rock comes to Merriweather Post Pavilion when Dispatch and Guster play a double bill with Marco Benevento. 7 p.m. at 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. $46$56.

Friday: Help raise money for the DC Abortion Fund while drinking and dancing to tunes by The Perfectionists and DJ Tezrah at the Black Cat's IndepenDANCE: A Pro-Choice Prom. 8 p.m. at 1811 14th St. NW. $25$30.

Friday: Enjoy the music of John Williams and the mysteries buried in Hogwarts when the National Symphony Orchestra performs the score of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stonewhile the movie screens live at Wolf Trap. 8:30 p.m. at 1551 Trap Road, Vienna. $35$58.

Saturday:Art Garfunkels ethereal voice was forged in the fires of the 1960s, during the burgeoning civil rights movement and the televised atrocities of the Vietnam War. If he sounds weathered now, it is only because his clear voice, seemingly delicate yet resiliently sturdy, has suffered a few chips and cracks from bearing a good portion of the worlds pain and relief. Garfunkel still gets on stage to deliver Simon & Garfunkels longstanding hymns of hope like The Boxer or Bridge Over Troubled Water, but now mixes in some of his own favorites by artists like the Everly Brothers, Randy Newman, the Gershwins, and other masters of American song. Read more >>>Art Garfunkel performs at 8 p.m. at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, 2700 F St. NW. $39$99. (202) 467-4600. kennedy-center.org.(Jackson Sinnenberg)

Saturday: See the story of a boy who never grows up when you travel to Sidney Harman Hall for a screening of the National Theatre's Peter Pan. 2 p.m. at 610 F St. NW. $10$20.

Saturday: D.C.-based folk soul duo Oh He Dead takes the stage at DC9 with opening act Caz Gardiner, the local reggae rock singer. 9:30 p.m. at 1940 9th St. NW. $13$15.

Sunday:If there is a God, he/she/they/it sure must love the 90s. How else can you explain the 90s revival pop culture is currently in the midst of? This year also gave us the quiet return of one of the most quintessential 90s shows (even if it technically premiered in 1988):Mystery Science Theater 3000. Creator Joel Hodgson portrays a janitor named Joel who is trapped on a spacecraft by mad scientists and forced to watch shitty B-movies with his three robot friends, Tom Servo, Crow T. Robot, and Gypsy. Seeing Hodgson and his bots live will feel like youre watching terrible movies with your funniest friends.Read more >>>The shows begin at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. at The Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. $39.50$299. (202) 888-0050. thelincolndc.com.(Matt Cohen)

Sunday: Beloved author Neil Gaiman discusses his work, reads stories, and answers questions when he speaks at Wolf Trap. 8 p.m. at 1551 Trap Road, Vienna. $25$65.

Sunday: Close out the weekend at U Street Music Hall, where Kap G and J.R. Donato take the stage with Paper Paulk. 7 p.m. at 1115 U St. NW. $20.

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To Do This Weekend: Rico Nasty, Art Garfunkel, and Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live! - Washington City Paper

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The True Cost Of Our Avocado Obsession – Vogue.co.uk

Posted: at 4:10 am

Erwan Frotin

Later this year, somewhere in central London, a daily extravaganza called Avolution will celebrate the avocado as a curious quirk of our time. Here, adults will be given the opportunity to frolic in a plastic-avocado ball pit, to sew avocado-shaped cushions and even button themselves into avocado sumo suits and smash into each other in a game of human guacamole. For those watching from the sidelines there will be chips and you guessed it avocado dips. Avolution evolved (of course it did) from last years grossly successful avocado appreciation brunch, Avopopup, also the brainchild of event organiser Meredith OShaughnessy. From quinoa-dipped to ice cream to macarons, Avopopup dished up six courses of avocado, and there are plans in the works to take the concept to America and Dubai. According to OShaughnessy, The avocado has captured peoples imagination because it is a fruit which doesnt take itself too seriously.

Which could just be the crowning of hipster absurdity, although Miley Cyrus did get an avocado tattooed on to her left tricep. And yet the fruit, whose name derives from the Aztec ahuacatl (meaning testicle, because it grows in pairs and hangs heavy from its tree), has become absurdly, ubiquitously popular. Every day, 3 million new pictures of it whole, halved, slathered on wholemeal gluten-free toast are posted on Instagram. (And thats not counting the many, many avocado memes todays ultimate measure of cultural influence that regram across social media bearing cute messages of the lets avocuddle variety.) Last year, 5 million avocados passed through Pret A Mangers kitchens, more than double the number that did in 2013, and today 12 of its products contain avocado, which is savvy because avocado sells. In 2015 British shoppers spent 142 million on their avocados, while in the same year, in America, the largest global avocado consumer, 4 billion were eaten (an estimated 300,000 of them in Los Angeles). Over in China, 33 shipping containers of avocados are delivered weekly on to its shores; three years ago the country didnt import a single avocado.

The avocados meteoric rise owes much, in recent years, to celebrity endorsement. Gwyneth Paltrow is a fan, Kim Kardashian too, and after Nigella Lawson showed the television-watching public how to cook avocado on toast, Waitrose reported a 30 per cent rise in sales. But before the avocado got among this heady company, there were PR firms pushing it. In the Nineties, New Yorks Hill & Knowlton etched the fruit into the public consciousness by turning them into a cheerful cartoon, while Londons Richmond Towers distributed pamphlets with recipes and explanations. The avocado might have been first tasted on British shores in the 17th century, brought back from South America by explorers, but it only became widely available more recently. (Sainsburys and Marks & Spencer had a public squabble over which was first to put an avocado on its shelves. It was Sainsburys, in 1962.) It was marketed then as the avocado pear, because of its shape, but the suffix was soon lost as uninitiated shoppers were eating it like one. Nonetheless, the avocado gained traction in a postwar, post-ration era that was hungry for new experiences. Cue the Seventies and avocado vinaigrette, prawn cocktail dolloped in halved avocados, avocado bathroom suites. The avocado had arrived.

Its pleasingly tasteless, versatile flesh is not, however, the summation of the fruits appeal. The avocado is now outselling satsumas in December, because it is good for you. Really very good for you. It is an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids, otherwise known as healthy fats, which can reduce bad cholesterol and heart disease. It is high in fibre (which promotes healthy digestion and reduces the blood-sugar spikes that make you feel hungry); it is a source of protein, potassium (which keeps blood pressure low and maintains the electrical gradient in the bodys cells) and folate (which plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair). Then there is the fruits beguiling, bankable mix of vitamin E (fights free radicals, repairs damaged skin), vitamin K (used by the body in blood clotting) and vitamin C (which keeps cells healthy). It is good for you even when you dont eat it. Applied to the skin, its oils omega 9 and oleic acid, which is the closest naturally occurring chemical to the skins own oils are highly moisturising. Skin beneath an avocado mask becomes soft and supple, says facialist Abigail Jones.

For a growing global spending community beguiled by wellness that annoyingly ubiquitous, zeitgeist-fuelled noun that denotes anything remotely connected to the pursuit of health the avocado is manna. It can be used to thicken green juices, as a vegan substitute for dairy and meat, and it requires little preparation before eating. The act of simply smashing an avocado into a palatable pure and adding lemon juice, salt, pepper and chilli flakes suddenly gives you access to a wider movement in which people feel more connected to their food because they have prepared it (even if that preparation took less than two minutes), and more connected to their bodies because they have chosen an avocado to put into them. As a symbol, then, the avocado is democratic; it says anyone can be healthy, and inhering in its chipper green flesh are all the smiling, sunny connotations of those ridiculously good-looking health bloggers Deliciously Ella, the Hemsley sisters, Madeleine Shaw who promote it.

Little wonder, then, that there is now an avocado deficit near-on a luxury food crisis in which demand for the avocado is exceeding supply. Prices have risen: at the time of writing, a single avocado on Ocado is 29p more expensive than it was in March last year. They are big business, too so much so that in Latin America, where avocado trees have been growing since 7000BC, the fruit has earned the nickname green gold because it yields more profit per acre than most other crops, including marijuana. Problem is, asis often the way with big business, growing green gold in increasing quantities can inflict unpalatable social and ecological costs.

The Mexican state of Michoacan sits in the southwest of the country. Its wide, white beaches border the Pacific Ocean, and from there the verdant hills climb towards a volcanic field the last eruption was in 1952 that has left a fertile legacy of ash in the soil. As a result, many crops grow very well in Michoacan (better, in fact, than anywhere else in Mexico), and that includes the avocado, which likes altitude 1,500 metres or more above sea level and rain. Ninety-two per cent of Mexicos avocado production comes from this state, which becomes all the more impressive when you consider that between 2015 and 2016 Mexico exported one million tonnes of avocados 800,000 more than its closest competitor, Indonesia.

It is Mexicos widely publicised tragedy that where there is money made, drug cartels circle, savvy to the opportunities of business diversification. By 2012, Michoacans avocado production, like its lemon and timber industries, was crippled by extortion, kidnapping and many, many murders, all at the bloody hands of Los Caballeros Templarios a cartel that swears allegiance to a bastardised version of a medieval chivalric code. Under its deadly influence, illegal plantations had sprung up all over the state, felling ancient pine species to make room, resulting in soil erosion and a diminished winter home for the monarch butterfly. In February 2013, the avocado growers who were still in business (and many smaller farmers unable to pay the extortionists were not) clubbed together to hire heavily armed private militias to protect their crops. The Mexican government didnt just allow this; many journalists, including Camilo Olarte an investigative reporter who spoke to Vogue from Mexico City believe it helped to fund them.

The armed militias succeeded where even the army had failed. Olarte tells me that from 2013 to 2015, all was relatively calm. There were no more extortions. The avocado producers were paying only $100 per month to the drug cartels. They were happy, he says. But Michoacan is a complicated place, and Olarte has been observing new volatilities in recent months. There are more than 20,000 avocado producers in Michoacan, but the foreign export of their avocados is almost entirely controlled by the APEAM trade association. When the association lowered the price it set for the fruit, there was nearly an armed rebellion. The growers went on strike. That was October last year. Whether it is now under control is not very clear. What was clear was the effect this strike had on Americas market supply. Guacamole was dropped from New York restaurant menus, while grocers in the city doubled their prices for the fruit. Circumstances that could become entrenched if Donald Trump really does build that wall and inflict its gargantuan cost on Mexico, via a 20 per cent tax on imports, as was briefly mooted by a White House press secretary. Today the atmosphere in Michoacan remains tense. Some roads are now controlled by an armed militia that has set up roadblocks to limit movement into municipalities. In Tierra Caliente Spanish for hot land an area that sprawls across a corner of Michoacan and is fecund with opium and ephedra plants (which are later turned into methamphetamine), there may be a worrying foreshadowing of what is to come elsewhere in the state. There is a new cartel at work there, known as H3, says Olarte. It is using extraordinary violence. Homicides are as high now as they were in 2012. H3 is a breakaway militia: it once defended agriculture in the region and is now criminalised.

Erwan Frotin

All of which seems a quantum leap from the city clich of brunch served on a distressed wooden table by a waiter in a plaid shirt, featuring bread that accommodates food intolerances, and, of course, avocado. But the chances are, that trendy avocado was Mexican after all, the country supplies 45 per cent of the international market and in particular it grows the Hass variety, heralded as the most delicious avocado cultivar thanks to its high fat content. When I ask Avolutions OShaughnessy if it is important to her where she sources the many avocados her customers will eat, she is quick to respond. We dont buy avocados from Mexico. But is this the right approach? Olarte tells me of a group of radical farmers who are trying to bypass the control of the avocado associations and export directly to foreign countries. The logic here is clear: fewer people involved in the production chain, so fewer weak links for exploitation. It would be a gross generalisation to suggest that every Mexican avocado lines the pockets of drug cartels, even if Olarte says that all of Michoacans economy is, in an indirect sense, linked to them. Boycotting Mexican avocados could punish small farmers who depend on their sales. Although the clear issue for the conscious consumer is that there is no way to be sure you are buying the right Mexican avocado.

Mexico is not the avocados only troubled home. Chiles avocado groves are located in a range of latitudes similar to those in California, but in the southern hemisphere. So when California has its winter, Chile can fill the gap in the market. It is the eighth-largest producer of avocados in the world, but many of its valleys dont have nearly enough water to cater for this scale of export: before an avocado is picked, it will have drunk a whole bathtub of water. Jessica Budd, a senior lecturer in geography at the University of East Anglia, last visited La Ligua in Chile in 2014, where she witnessed what happens when a valley is drained to feed the fruits considerable thirst. The whole landscape was dry, bare and dusty, she says. Fields were abandoned, some no longer viable for any agricultural purpose. Many of the smaller farmers were forced to abandon their farms and seek paid labour elsewhere.

In the end, the availability of water is a question of money. During a drought the big avocado farms, owned either by multinational companies or rich Chilean landowners, can afford to bring water in on trucks or, more typically, to use expensive machinery to make their wells deeper, meaning the water table for the whole region drops, and those who can afford only shallow wells are left without water either for their crops, or to drink. Groundwater in Chile is very prone to theft because there is hardly any government regulation, says Budd. In fact, small farmers who diversify into green gold are given grants to do so by the government, masking the risk involved in their new business. Unlike traditional crops maize or beans avocado saplings take three years to grow into a fruit-bearing tree. Thats three years without income. When the fruits come in if the fruits come in they are highly labour-intensive to pick by hand. Avocados are susceptible to drought and disease, which can knock out the whole crop not just for that year but for good. Few small farmers would have the finances to restart the process; instead they would be (and have been) ruined.

Later, Budd says something surprising. No one in La Ligua views the avocado plantations as sustainable farming. They are perceived as a 10-year cash crop. After that the trees will be old, the soil eroded and worthless, unable to support any crop without significant amounts of fertiliser. The long-term plan is just to move on and find a new patch.

There is some good news. In Peru, the World Bank identified areas in which the Hass avocado would grow well, and embarked on a long-term project to educate communities on sustainable avocado farming, while also offering them financial support to set up their farms. The Dominican Republic has a huge potential for increased avocado production, and the avocado (although not always the Hass variety) grows very easily in its high tropical fields. Spains avocado production is small, but the government is beginning to see the value of investing in it; while Israeli avocados are grown with exemplary practice (when the fruit isnt destroyed by frost). Anyone who really cares about the environment should never buy an avocado from New Zealand in a British grocer, as each fruit generates 1.36 tonnes of carbon emissions but it is worth noting for markets near the country that the avocado grows well there (so well, in fact, that in the past year there has been a spate of large-scale thefts from farms). And in California, which until last winters storms had been experiencing its sixth year of drought, agricultural scientists are working with producers to create an avocado that needs less water. For the organic purist, the pro-s-pect of the ultimate health food being genetically modified will be unappealing. But for areas where Wholefoods doesnt have a store, it may save livelihoods, even lives.

The simplest course of action would, of course, be to eat fewer avocados, to reclassify them in the cultural cognisance as a weekly treat instead of a daily necessity. But, as avocado advocate and wellness tastemaker Madeleine Shaw tells Vogue, When they are so good, its hard not eating one after another. To experience avocado health benefits, Shaw recommends half an avocado a day. And she is not totally unaware of the problems besetting the avocado market. When you eat too much of anything, she muses, it puts a strain on resources. And avocado trees take a long time to grow. They arent like berries although, technically, the avocado is a berry. She just hopes that pressure on the market will mean that new farms will emerge closer to Britain. I suspect Shaw doesnt know very much about avocado farming, despite her uncle owning a plantation in New Zealand.

There are actually alternatives to avocados. You could always get your hit of mono-saturated fatty acids, fibre, potassium, vitamin E and folate by frying kale in olive oil, and washing that down with a satsuma for some vitamin C. And when you do buy avocados, you can shop responsibly. A Soil Association organic sticker will mean that this independent body has verified the practices of the farm that grew the avocado. Try to resist buying ready-ripened avocados because supermarkets ripen fruit by pumping hot air through them, a further pollutant. Avocados can ripen easily at home: that old trick of putting the fruit in a paper bag with a banana for a day or two really does work. If you need an avocado to be soft instantly, wrap the fruit in foil, bake it in the oven at 200C for 10 minutes to release its own ripening agent, ethylene gas, and then leave it to cool. On the flipside, every year thousands of avocados go to waste because they spoil in peoples cupboards. So eat that avocado, because wherever it came from, a considerable cost went into producing it.

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Society Has Turned the Shattered iPhone Screen Into a Mark of Shame – Motherboard

Posted: at 4:10 am

Going to work on Monday with a freshly cracked phone screen is like walking into the office with a black eye. Inquisitive coworkers will ask how it happened. Others may notice, but they'll refrain from making comments. But unlike black eyes, your cracked screen won't heal on its own, and costs more than a bag of frozen peas to fix.

The spiderwebbed phone screen is also a conspicuous detail in social situations. Not everyone will vocally call it out, but some will wonder: Did you break your phone when you drunkenly fell out of a cab? Potential suitors may jump to conclusions: Did a jealous ex smash it in a fit of rage? Why haven't you fixed it? If this is how you treat your phone, can you provide for another person?

The state of your iPhone screen and model are indicators of status. Noted Apple affiliate and rapper Drake says his "side girl got a 5S with the screen cracked" at the beginning of "Portland." An outdated model with a cracked screen? Drake doesn't care about you. Drake is an Apple Genius warning us, "Don't come around thinkin' you gettin' saved," when you bring in that broken phone. In this way, we are all the side girl.

Chance the Rapper, who's also released exclusive music through Apple, mentions in the first verse of "Blessings" he "walked into Apple with cracked screens and told prophetic stories of freedom." Chance is flexing his wealth here: He can afford to repair his phone multiple times, or even more flexingly, that he has multiple Apple devices.

Louis the Child, a band of two adults named Robby and Freddy, highlight the broken iPhone screen as proof of recklessness. Their song "Weekend" starts with "Last night / too turnt / No water, ripped shirt / iPhone screen cracked / Did I pay the bar tab?" Even the owner of a cracked iPhone judges thyselfwhen you see a cracked screen, you wonder: What else have I possibly done?

Since the iPhone first fell into (and out of) of our hands in 2007, Apple has been conditioning us to think its screens are inherently fragile. It's become part of the zeitgeist, reflected in hit songs spanning multiple genres.

The iPhone isn't alonethe Samsung Galaxy S8 is by all accounts the most fragile smartphone on the marketbut until our devices become more durable, manufacturers are exposing customers to a deluge of prying questions, judgement, and embarrassment. We're all walking around, our screens bearing proof of weekend stumbles, impromptu karate matches, and other business that would otherwise go undiscovered.

This hyper focus on aesthetic creates a phone that looks beautiful until you drop it. And then you can't even lick it.

The broken screen is a conversation starter, whether you'd like to have that conversation or not. Consumers do not deserve to wear a sign that says "Ask me about a very expensive mistake I made recently, even though I just told this story five minutes ago."

Sure, you could get a case. But case selection exposes you to another unique set of criticisms. Do you want to be the doofus with a bulky Otterbox? Unless you're doing something that involves a helmet-mounted GoPro, it looks wildly unnecessary. You don't wear football pads to commute to workwhy does your iPhone? Also, why don't they make the whole plane out of the black box?

Cases have become such an essential part of the iPhone, using an uncovered device is described as an intense, dangerous, and deeply sexual experience.

How did it get this way?

The lip on the case of my vintage 4S, required to protect the screen. Image: Ashwin Rodrigues

In 2000, Steve Jobs famously bragged about the Mac OS X operating system's icons looking "so good you want to lick them." This hyper focus on aesthetic creates a phone that looks beautiful until you drop it. And then you can't even lick it.

The power balance between Apple and consumer is so skewed, there's a fight for the right to simply fix the iPhone. "Right to Repair" bills put pressure on Apple and other phone manufacturers to sell replacement parts and provide instructions on how to complete repairs.

Without donning a stylish tinfoil hat (Apple doesn't make one yet) it's clear the iPhone's fragility may be connected to Apple's motive for profit. Materials stronger than Gorilla Glass exist, but make the phone too expensive per unit (in the case of "unbreakable" sapphire glass) or not sexy enough (in the case of plastic.) And if you're willing to have your entire view of phone manufacturers shattered, or at least cracked, consider the unfounded but compelling theory that our phones are getting bigger as humans remain the same size on purpose, so we're more likely to drop them.

In my experience, the common response to my concerns about our overly fragile phones is victim-blaming: Just don't drop your phone. That's not the point. Everyone drops their phone: drunk, sober, clumsy, responsible, toddler, and senior. Technology is supposed to work for us. Why should we adapt to a faulty technology, instead of demanding it gets better?

A mobile repair kiosk in San Francisco. Image: Ashwin Rodrigues

When The Shattering occurs, we no longer ask, "Why did that happen?" Instead, we instinctively ask ourselves a number of hard questions that are second nature by now: Will the phone still work? Should I pay to get the screen fixed? Should I just wait for the next iPhone to come out?

Based on the number of shattered iPhones I see in the wild, we're a hopeful bunch. In the meantime, we're left trying to figure out a reasonable alibi for our cracked screensone that doesn't require us to reveal our weekly Thursday rollerblading lessons.

On the upside, Apple is making noticeable concessions in response to the right to repair movement. It's a great step, but consumers are still far behind. The iPhone's fragility is so entrenched in our minds, we've forgotten its root cause. We shouldn't be asking for help getting tools to fix our screens, we should be asking for a more durable device.

For these reasons, I switched from iPhone to Android last year. I got an LG Nexus 5x, a plastic phone as design-forward and dependable as a Toyota Corolla.

I've dropped my phone least 71 times in the 15 months I've owned it. In our iOS-centric world, I'm sometimes ridiculed for my texts showing up green instead of blue (another Apple psyop, in my opinion). But I get to keep my privacy and rollerskating spills to myself, thanks to its durable screen. Hopefully the iPhone catches up soon.

Motherboard staff is exploring the cultural, political, and social influence of the iPhone for the 10th anniversary of its release. Follow along .

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Fringe review: The "F" Word – NOW Magazine

Posted: at 4:10 am

THE F WORD by the company (SaMel Tanz). At the Al Green Theatre. July 8 at 3:30 pm, July 9 at 8:30 pm, July 10 at 5 pm, July 11 at 2:45 pm, July 13 at 1:45 pm, July 15 at 6:15 pm. See listing. Rating: NNN

Hot on the heels of Lipstique comes another Fringe Festival exploration of dance and feminine power.

There are some striking similarities in the two works most noteworthy the use of Maya Angelous poem Still I Rise. Chalk it up to the zeitgeist and an idea whose time has clearly come again.

I wanted to love The F Word, but it needs a good edit. While the choreography is inventive and the dancers are skilled (especially in the high-octane urban dance sections), the message gets muddy when the movement stops.

Poorly delivered banal prose and kitschy forays into visual comedy just distract from the genuine power of this groups fine dancing.

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Visual Art: True to Life British Realist Painting in the 1920s and 1930s at Scottish National Gallery of Modern … – Herald Scotland

Posted: July 7, 2017 at 2:09 am

THE BEST known story of British art in the 1930s is in the grounds outside the National Gallery of Modern Art. A reclining figure, a rock form with holes Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth these are the sculptors, the artists which we remember. But it is not the only story of art in the 1930s, as this new exhibition amply and rather fabulously demonstrates.

There are 58 painters in this large but not unwieldy show, the first-ever exhibition of a forgotten generation working in the realist tradition. The realism was not just in their staggering detailed technical attention to the depiction of the world around them, but in their subject matter, from changing technology to the evolving role of women. A diverse grouping never a movement these disparate artists flew in the face of abstraction and expressionism to convey their own perceptions of life in the interwar period, often deliberately evasive (yet not entirely dismissive) of the horrors of the war which much of the population had just been through.

And what a hugely surprisingly and eye-opening show it is. The aesthetic is in many ways instantly familiar, for this is partly the art of the iconic 1930s railways posters, of the age of the new leisure pursuit, of fitness and health in the face of austerity and poverty. This is the age when the lido became popular, when swimsuits, so we are told in the blurb next to Harold Williamsons stylishly posed swimmer, Spray (1939), were made from a new latex fabric, rather than baggy wool.

In similar vein, James Walker Tuckers Hiking (c.1936), a healthy vista of young women in shorts and what passed, then, for walking shoes, pouring over a map of the Cotswolds, rucksacks and billy cans on their backs. Its a scene so overflowing with health, cleanliness and a curious freshness of light (which is, in part, down to Tuckers choice of tempera as medium) that it seems to echo the calls of those such as the Sunlight League, founded in 1922, to restore sunlight to our malurbanized millions, to those residing in the dirty, polluted cities which Ruskin had once denounced.

There is much cleaning up of dirty situations in these frequently luminous images, much idealizing of (nonetheless realistic) landscape. Edward Wadsworths view, again in egg tempera, of the notorious red light district, Rue Fontaine de Caylus, Marseilles (1924), is a pastel-hued vista of vertiginous clothes lines hiding the dark doorways off the street below.

Darkness is more evident in the portraits of Gerald Leslie Brockhurst, a society painter society that included Marlene Dietrich and the Duchess of Windsor whose luminous oils are represented here by Dorette (1933), a striking portrait of the woman who was to become his lover, and By the Hills (1939), a painting so glamorous the word was that the painter had used real lipstick for the lips. Both are painted in front of Italianate backgrounds, reminiscent of Leonardo da Vinci.

Brockhurst, who also worked as a printmaker, was just one of many looking back art historically to the classical period, to Italy, to the Netherlands in an attempt to reinvigorate, to mark a sea change from the time and reality of war.

There are many striking portraits here, sometimes of athletes or gymnasts, sometimes of wives, families, evacuees and domestic scenes. Meredith Framptons immaculate Woman Reclining has a glossy luminosity, a pared-back classicism emphasized by the simple white dress, the red shoes, the almost complete absence of visible brush strokes.

Further on, there is Bernard Fleetwood Walkers more tactile, vulnerable and human portrait of evacuees, Children in the Country (1942). And then, subverting but reinforcing the genre, there are Alan Beetons curious but striking oils of lay figures posed or left in a chair, doll humans given the scrutiny, as his peers noted, of a Dutch master.

Stanley Spencer is the name most will know from this era of realism, and there are a number of his works here, not least in a room of religious tableaux. These works, by various artists, are all largely transposed to more modern or contemporary classical (the 1920s equivalent of a theatre director putting everyone in grey suits) settings, notably Spencers unfussy St. Veronica Unmasking Christ (1921).

In a further change in style, the dour brilliance of Winifred Knights (1899 1947) whose The Deluge is a masterpiece of balletic, angular movement, an instant sombre rush of figures and supplicant hands, moving in one wave away from the flood which threatens to consume them.

In the final room, harking back to Victoriana in its very traditional tableaux yet capturing the zeitgeist, there is Charles Spencelayhs stoic First World War veteran, sitting in his lonely parlour on the eve of World War Two, staring into the distance as if the cipher for all the unexpressed fears of all the painters and workers, hikers, debutantes and swimmers of the interwar years. It is an emotive image, quietly capturing the futility, the remembered horror, and placing it right in the heart of the realists intricately detailed domestic arena.

True to Life: British Realist Painting in the 1920s and 1930s

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern Two), Edinburgh until October 29

http://www.nationalgalleries.org

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Dan Delmar: How some polling can breed discrimination – Montreal Gazette

Posted: at 2:09 am

Modern politicians recognize that an abundance of demographic data can pollute policy decisions, Dan Delmar writes. Dario Ayala / Montreal GAZETTE

Political polling can be informative and enlightening when it gauges public opinion with relative accuracy. When political parties and media rely too heavily on polls that divide electorates along cultural lines, however, demographic data could inspire less enlightened ideas.

One such idea, still far too accepted in pluralistic democracies, is that the views of minority citizens are worth less than views of those who belong to the cultural majority.

In Quebec, polling among francophones is common practice, but it merits some reflection ahead of next years provincial elections. Though reflexively dividing the electorate along linguistic lines could in part be a reflection of institutionalized nationalism, it is widely accepted industry practice and by no means unique to Quebec pollsters.

Political prognostication might not be an exact science, but it is a legitimate private-sector endeavour. Works like Le Code Qubec can reveal fascinating truths about this society, truths that work in favour of arguments for diversity.

As unimpeachable as pollsters believe their methodologies to be, surveys are often commissioned by political parties and others interested less in demography and more in manipulating data to further exclusionary narratives.

There is nothing inaccurate or unethical with, for instance, a Quebec newspaper reporting on polls like last months describing, as the Montreal Gazette did, the key francophone-only category, which actually decides who wins the election because it is spread in many ridings across Quebecs capacious political map.

What is less ethical is having much of the political class fostering a climate where its encouraged to shamelessly appeal almost exclusively to the majoritys perceived sensibilities over the long-term collective interests of Quebecers.

Anglophones also receive unwarranted preferential treatment.

Just as attempting to capture the francophone zeitgeist can be myopic, prioritizing anglophone concerns as the second-most relevant category also contributes to repressing the views of less historically privileged minority groups. In polls, they are often lumped into the allophone or other category, a smorgasbord of ethnics whose identities and priorities are rarely worth quantifying, let alone considering in legislation.

One neednt look far to find examples of destructive demographics.

South of the border, Donald Trumps presidential campaign relied heavily on mass outrage but it was also successful because of the sophisticated microtargeting of white voters in key Rust Belt districts. The consequences for minorities of his narrow appeal, from travel bans to the elimination of basic social services, are becoming more frightening by the day. Gerrymandering electoral districts based on racial demographics will only further cement institutional discrimination.

While language-based policies are less toxic than the racial kind, both are discriminatory. They are also becoming less effective by the day, as millennials and younger Canadians children of multiculturalism defy long-held stereotypes.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron could be seen as examples of successful millennial-driven leadership with more universal appeal. Modern politicians recognize that an abundance of demographic data can pollute policy decisions and, since all citizens are theoretically equal in a democracy, much of this data should ultimately be considered immaterial to crafting truly successful political movement.

All polling could be limited in the days or preferably weeks leading up to a vote rather than only the day of (the guideline currently enforced by Elections Canada), but unfortunately, there are few simple solutions. Bans on cultural polling would be unfeasible in an age of widely available Internet metadata, and possibly unconstitutional.

The onus is on political parties and, to a lesser extent, the polling industry to self-regulate and resist the temptation to use data to place greater value on one group of citizens over another. Political polling is most valuable when it measures impressions, not identities.

Dan Delmar is a political commentator and managing partner, public relations, with TNKR Media

twitter.com/DanDelmar

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Oakland overflowing with beer gardens – San Francisco Chronicle

Posted: July 5, 2017 at 11:08 pm

On a recent weekday in Oakland, only a few hours before the Temescal neighborhoods post-work crowd found its way to Arthur Macs Tap & Snack, Walter Pizarro, 36, and his wife, Regina Chagolla, 31, sat down at a picnic table in the shops beer garden.

It isnt the kind of place we look for, but its convenient, said Chagolla, who admitted that she and her husband prefer the cozy confines of dive bars. You kind of see these places popping up everywhere.

Fueled by a confluence of economical and cultural factors, beer gardens are multiplying across Oakland at a dizzying rate, outpacing most other Bay Area cities. Its a trend mirrored in Oaklands rise of craft brewers; of the 15 active small beer manufacturer licenses in the city, all but two have been issued since 2014. Over a dozen beer gardens now call the city home, all of which have opened since 2010; however, that number has doubled in the last 18 months alone and there are more on the way.

In particular, Temescal has become a hub. Temescal Brewing, around the corner from Arthur Macs, opened in 2016, and Roses Taproom, just opened last weekend, is a few blocks north. More beer gardens are coming, including a controversial proposal from Golden Road, which is owned by Anheuser Busch InBev, the worlds largest beer corporation. It, too, is in Temescal.

American beer gardens can be traced back to Germanys biergartens, which themselves were born of necessity. In the 16th century, when breweries were banned from making beer during the summer, brewers built cellars in cool areas, often close to riverbanks, to store their wares for consumption between May and September. To cool the spaces even more, breweries planted trees and covered the cellars with gravel. Tables and chairs soon followed, as did the crowds.

Just like those early German pioneers, the Bay Areas modern beer gardens seem to have tapped into a thirsty audience.

Its a trend that isnt new to the Bay Area. Back in 2011, Biergarten in San Franciscos Hayes Valley was considered a pioneer in aesthetics for its use of shipping containers. Zeitgeist has long been a San Francisco destination, and like Biergarten, still draws crowds on sunny days.

In the Bay Area, where dinner and drinks for two at a mid-level restaurant regularly exceed $100, beer gardens have become a cheaper, family-friendly alternative. Arthur Macs menu, for example, is built around $4 pizza slices and $7 beers.

The appeal goes beyond value for consumers, according to Joel DiGiorgio, the owner of Arthur Macs who also had a hand in the opening of Drakes Dealership in Oakland and Westbrae Biergarten in Berkeley. He pointed out that many young people are struggling to find real estate thats relatively affordable and spacious enough, especially for a growing family.

On any given afternoon, the crowd at many Oakland beer gardens has a smattering of young children with their parents, baby strollers parked next to pints. For consumers, beer gardens have become a replacement for dining rooms and backyards, DiGiorgio said. They no longer have that space they may have had generations ago.

Photo: Michael Short, Special To The Chronicle

A pedestrian passes by on MacArthur Boulevard as people sit in the sun at Arthur Mac's Tap and Snack beer garden.

A pedestrian passes by on MacArthur Boulevard as people sit in the sun at Arthur Mac's Tap and Snack beer garden.

A napkin box sits on a picnic table at Arthur Mac's Tap and Snack beer garden in Oakland.

A napkin box sits on a picnic table at Arthur Mac's Tap and Snack beer garden in Oakland.

People sit in the sun at Arthur Mac's Tap and Snack beer garden in Oakland on June 24, 2017.

People sit in the sun at Arthur Mac's Tap and Snack beer garden in Oakland on June 24, 2017.

A dog sits in the sun between tables at Arthur Macs. The Temescal area has become home to several of Oaklands growing number of beer gardens, raising questions over gentrification.

A dog sits in the sun between tables at Arthur Macs. The Temescal area has become home to several of Oaklands growing number of beer gardens, raising questions over gentrification.

Taps Arthur Mac's Tap and Snack beer garden in Oakland.

Taps Arthur Mac's Tap and Snack beer garden in Oakland.

A beer sits in the counter above a daily pizza on display at Arthur Mac's Tap and Snack.

A beer sits in the counter above a daily pizza on display at Arthur Mac's Tap and Snack.

Children play in a sandbox as parents socialize at Arthur Mac's Tap and Snack in Oakland.

Children play in a sandbox as parents socialize at Arthur Mac's Tap and Snack in Oakland.

Jing Yu, right, chats with her friend Sarah Kleinman over drinks at Arthur Mac's Tap and Snack beer garden in Oakland.

Jing Yu, right, chats with her friend Sarah Kleinman over drinks at Arthur Mac's Tap and Snack beer garden in Oakland.

Grace and Rob McGuinness of Oakland sip their beers at Arthur Mac's Tap and Snack beer garden.

Grace and Rob McGuinness of Oakland sip their beers at Arthur Mac's Tap and Snack beer garden.

Sever Henna Papineau delivers slices of pizza to Suz Sillett, left, and Tamara Ooms at Arthur Mac's in Oakland.

Sever Henna Papineau delivers slices of pizza to Suz Sillett, left, and Tamara Ooms at Arthur Mac's in Oakland.

Arthur Mac's Tap and Snack beer garden in Oakland.

Arthur Mac's Tap and Snack beer garden in Oakland.

People sit in the sun at Arthur Mac's Tap and Snack.

People sit in the sun at Arthur Mac's Tap and Snack.

Oakland overflowing with beer gardens

For business owners, Oaklands beer garden market is not yet viewed as saturated, a fact that continues to spur the rapid transformation of the citys bar scene. Craft beer is popular right now, and beer gardens have become a logical, cost-efficient move for many entrepreneurs hopping on the trend.

Our initial thinking was pretty basic, and I imagine not too uncommon: rent and construction costs are crazy high, and were going to spend all our cash on installing a production brewery, said Sam Gilbert, founder of Temescal Brewing, which opened last year. So why not turn the parking lot into pleasant place to hang out, and let good weather and good beer do the rest?

On the corner lot next to Gilberts brewery is a Churchs Chicken. On the opposite side toward 41st Street is Harmony Missionary Baptist Church. The beer garden property is surrounded by fencing and stocked with tables, umbrellas, cinder blocks and plants or as Gilbert describes it, DIY-able stuff. Temescal Brewings construction was driven by local labor, a Kickstarter campaign and the contributions of a few artists.

That never would have been possible working on an interior space of the same size, Gilbert said.

Up the road, Roses Taproom also reaped the benefits of a crowdfunding campaign. Its a relatively small operation a small, seven-barrel brewhouse capable of producing about 215 gallons per batch twice a week but the outdoor drinking space follows a similar design scheme of other setups with wooden benches and plants.

The most common refrain among bar owners is a simple one: With lower costs, beer gardens are better suited for a tumultuous industry, despite being subject to the whims of weather.

Server Mana Shimamura and general manager Nathan Guarrasi joke around as they pour beers for customers at Arthur Mac's Tap and Snack.

Server Mana Shimamura and general manager Nathan Guarrasi joke...

Oakland is cheaper. Licenses are cheaper, rent is cheaper and labor is cheaper, said Thad Vogler, owner of Bar Agricole and Trou Normand, two cocktail bars in San Francisco, where a Type 47 liquor license, which allows for the sale of hard liquor, can cost upward of $300,000. Meanwhile, a Type 41 beer and wine license in Oakland can cost $3,000 to $5,000.

Its difficult separating the idea of gentrification from the beer garden movement. The craft beer industry itself is overwhelmingly white, especially in the Bay Area. And neighborhoods like Temescal are still home to Eritrean, Latin American and Korean restaurants, not to mention the minority-run doughnut-wielding corner stores.

We all have to be aware of it, and we have to make sure we do what we can to keep people from being displaced, said DiGiorgio, an Oakland native whose father lives a mile or so from Arthur Macs. Gentrification became a nasty word when displacement became a component of it. At its core its just taking an area of lower income and bringing it and everyone there up to where its middle income. Thats a good thing.

From 5 p.m. until around 10 p.m., bike racks outside of Arthur Macs and Temescal Brewing slowly fill to capacity, suggesting a significant customer base from the local community. The workforce at many beer gardens is overwhelmingly composed of Oaklanders; three-quarters of the staff at Arthur Macs, for example, live in the neighborhood. Most walk to work.

Its much easier to staff in Oakland as more and more restaurant workers are settling there, Vogler said.

Trends rarely come with a clear indicator of their shelf life, but when it comes to beer gardens, several proprietors admitted they can see the boom lasting a few more years, especially in the East Bay.

On a recent Saturday at Temescal Brewing, a group of 20- and 30-year-olds, clad in T-shirts, sunglasses and skinny jeans, sipped craft beers while posting pictures on Instagram with captions waxing poetic about the weekends paradisaical weather. Its a familiar scene scattered across neighborhoods from Broadway in Uptown to the warehouses of West Oakland, with no signs of slowing down at least for now.

Theres certainly some novelty to the idea, Gilbert said, before adding a final thought: Chances are pretty high that the 101st Bay Area beer garden will jump the shark and folks will get bored.

Justin Phillips is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: jphillips@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @JustMrPhillips

Prominent Oakland Beer Gardens

Beer Revolution: 464 Third St. (Opened 2010)

Telegraph: 2318 Telegraph Ave (2012)

Brotzeit Lokal:1000 Embarcadero (2013)

Lost & Found: 2040 Telegraph Ave. (2014)

Classic Cars West: 411 26th St. (2015)

Drake's Dealership: 2325 Broadway (2015)

Temescal Brewing: 4115 Telegraph Ave. (2016)

Stay Gold: 2635 San Pablo Ave. (2016)

7th Street Cafe: 1612 Seventh St. (2016)

Degrees Plato: 4251 MacArthur Blvd. (2017)

Arthur Macs: 4006 M.L.K. Jr Way (2017)

Old Kan Beer Co.: 95 Linden St. (2017)

Roses Taproom: 4930 Telegraph Ave. (2017)

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Oakland overflowing with beer gardens - San Francisco Chronicle

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Guelph Hillside artists chosen ‘with resistance and protest in mind’ – GuelphMercury.com

Posted: at 11:08 pm


GuelphMercury.com
Guelph Hillside artists chosen 'with resistance and protest in mind'
GuelphMercury.com
She said this movement has largely been influenced by changes to the United States political system and the shifting zeitgeist of U.S. culture. We're looking to reinvigorate faith in the social function of art, she said. We look to particular ...

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Handover book launch relocated after Asia Society says Occupy leader Joshua Wong can come but can’t speak – South China Morning Post

Posted: at 9:10 am

Hong Kong 20/20: Reflections on a borrowed place contains some of the most moving pieces you will read about how Hong Kong has changed in the last 20 years. The launch of the book of essays, fiction, poems and cartoons by PEN Hong Kong also turned out to be a test of this citys tolerance of dissent.

The Asia Society Hong Kong Center was the original venue for the launch and readings by contributors but it had one condition: that Joshua Wong Chi-fung, one of the contributors, did not speak at the event.

The executive committee of PEN Hong Kong, a non-profit organisation supporting literature and freedom of expression, voted to hold the event elsewhere instead of accepting a demand to exclude the Occupy movement student leader. PEN Hong Kong believes building a strong community means generating conversation, not stifling it, said Jason Y. Ng, President of PEN Hong Kong.

In respect to our discussions with PEN Hong Kong, despite earnest efforts to collaborate on a programme design, we were unable to come up with one that would be mutually compelling to our respective target audiences, said the Asia Society press office.

The Foreign Correspondents Club subsequently took over as host. Wong, secretary-general of Demosisto, didnt attend in the end because he was taking part in the Black Bauhinia protest in Wan Chai ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinpings visit.

Apart from political celebrities like Wong, veteran journalists such as Stephen Vines, Louisa Lim and Ilaria Maria Sala have turned their pens to more personal pieces and, in Salas case, fiction that still capture the zeitgeist as well as their professional writings.

Award-winning writer Mishi Sarans contribution is a short story called Walking Through Hong Kong. Like most of the pieces collected here, the tone is dark: I understood at that moment that we were all trapped in the same dark cinema. The Exit sign had wavered and then had blinked off. It was too late to leave.

Last year, the Asia Society called off a screening of a documentary about the 2014 Occupy movement at its Hong Kong centre, citing a need for neutrality.

PEN Hong Kong is crowdfunding for a Chinese version of the anthology.

You can order the book here.

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Handover book launch relocated after Asia Society says Occupy leader Joshua Wong can come but can't speak - South China Morning Post

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Straddling two worlds – The Hindu

Posted: July 4, 2017 at 8:14 am


The Hindu
Straddling two worlds
The Hindu
While the play is a while away from being considered a masterful work, it clasps in its palm an adequate sense of the Zeitgeist to which it belongs. The staging is tight and innovative, working with both text and movement, even if a consistent grammar ...

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Straddling two worlds - The Hindu

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