Cultureteca 17.01.06

Cultureteca 52

The 73rd Golden Globes: Awards and Red Carpet

The 73rd Golden Globe Awards were held last Sunday evening, broadcast live from The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California, with Ricky Gervais hosting for a fourth occasion. The Revenant and The Martian proved the big winners, taking the Best Motion Picture awards in the categories of Drama and Musical or Comedy, while their leading men, Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon, went home with the two prizes for Best Actor. Brie Larson won Best Actress – Drama for Room, and Jennifer Lawrence Best Actress – Musical or Comedy for Joy, while in television the two awards for Best Series went respectively to Mr. Robot and Mozart in the Jungle. Jon Hamm was well endowed for the final series of Mad Men, Gael Garcia Bernal and Oscar Isaac were among the major film stars credited for their small screen performances, and Lady Gaga was awarded for her role in the miniseries American Horror Story: Hotel.

As the first headline event of the awards season, eyes were equally focused on the red carpet, where there was a predominance of white and diaphanous gowns among the women. Meanwhile Leonardo DiCaprio’s sloppy trousers and Eddie Redmayne’s spotted jacket – never mind Jason Sudeikis’ incongruous Air Jordans – left Harrison Ford and Paul Dano as the evening’s best dressed men, well attired alongside Calista Flockhart and Zoe Kazan.

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Architect Gareth Hoskins Dies Aged Forty-Eight

Monday morning brought news of the death of Gareth Hoskins, the Scottish architect renowned for his redesign of the Royal Museum building as part of Edinburgh’s National Museum of Scotland. Hoskins, who was forty-eight years old, suffered a heart attack while watching a fencing competition on 3 January, and died on Saturday at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

He had attended George Watson’s College and the Mackintosh School of Architecture at the Glasgow School of Art, and trained also in Florence, before founding Hoskins Architects in Glasgow in 1998. The firm established a second base in Berlin in 2010. Alongside the redevelopment of the Royal Museum, which was completed in 2011, Hoskins Architects redesigned Aberdeen Art Gallery and the World Museum in Vienna, and developed the Mareel Cinema and Music Venue in Shetland. Hoskins also served as the Scottish government’s National Healthcare Design Champion between 2006 and 2010, working on health centres, care homes, and hospices across the United Kingdom. In 2010 he was awarded an OBE for services to architecture.

Hoskins Architects Royal Museum

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NFL Confirms Rams’ Return to Los Angeles

‘The Los Angeles Rams are back’ the NFL proclaimed on Tuesday, after team owners voted 30-2 to ratify the Rams’ immediate relocation from St. Louis to Los Angeles. The Rams will eventually play at owner Stan Kroenke’s Los Angeles Entertainment Center, which is currently under construction in Inglewood at an estimated cost of $2.66 billion, and should be ready for the 2019 season. In the meantime they will play their games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in the University Park neighbourhood.

The franchise began as the Cleveland Rams back in 1936, before moving to Los Angeles ten years later, one year after winning the 1945 NFL Championship Game. In the process the Rams became the first NFL team on the West Coast of the United States, and they remain to this day the only NFL champions to play the following season in another city. After the 1994 season, the Rams moved to St. Louis, the highlight of their time in Missouri coming when they won Super Bowl XXXIV in 1999, courtesy of a 23-16 victory over the Tennessee Titans.

The Rams had been joined in Los Angeles by the Raiders in 1982, but like the Rams the Raiders departed ahead of the 1995 season, returning to Oakland. So LA began its twenty-one year term without a team in the NFL. To make their journey back to LA now, the Rams had to see off rival bids from the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers, who had joined forces to propose a new stadium in Carson. Instead the Raiders will work with the NFL towards a stadium solution in Oakland, while the Chargers face a one-year option to decide if they went to join the Rams in Inglewood: an outcome which appears likely, despite San Diego preparing for a June vote which would grant the team $350 million in public funding, and the NFL promising $100 million to both the Chargers and the Raiders if they remain in their current markets.

This will be the first relocation in the NFL since the Houston Oilers moved to Nashville in 1997. Now St. Louis finds itself in a hapless position, without a team to call its own given that the Cardinals left for Phoenix before the 1988 season. St. Louis had submitted plans for a $1.1 billion stadium on the city’s riverfront in the hopes of retaining the Rams, but Kroenke was determined to return to LA, the country’s second biggest media market.

Los Angeles Rams 1

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Porn Film Pages of Death Discovered by Oregon Historical Society

On Tuesday the Oregon Historical Society uploaded a hitherto thought lost anti-pornography film from 1962. The faded 16mm print of Pages of Death, which runs to 27 minutes, was discovered late last year in the society’s Moving Image collection. The film was produced by the Hour of St. Francis radio programme, which was syndicated out of St. Joseph’s Church in Los Angeles, and distributed by the Citizens for Decent Literature, a group founded in Cincinnati by the Roman Catholic anti-pornography campaigner Charles Keating, who later played a prominent role in the savings and loans scandal of the 1980s.

John Larch, Vivi Janiss, and Paul Picerni star in the film, with the former American football player and at the time CBS sportscaster Tom Harmon providing narration. Pages of Death depicts an investigation into the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl, with the blame falling squarely on printed pornographic matter rather than the young male perpetrator. Indeed, the clerk at Baker’s Variety Store responsible for stocking the ‘smut’ read by Paul Halliday – the son of a local councillor – receives the sternest condemnation from the police, his reading matter apparently teaching children that ‘it’s okay to try perversion just for kicks!’.

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Google Doodles for Charles Perrault

The French author Charles Perrault was born 388 years ago on Tuesday, and Google marked the occasion with a series of three Google Doodles created by the artist Sophie Diao. Perrault is considered the founder of the modern fairy tale, his 1697 collection Tales and Stories of the Past with Morals (Histoires ou contes du temps passé) drawing from folklore to furnish us with the stories of The Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Puss in Boots, and Cinderella, in darkly moralistic versions which were later adapted by the likes of the Brothers Grimm, Tchaikovsky, and Walt Disney.


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SpaceX Posts Recap of Falcon 9 Launch and Landing

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Ai Weiwei Forces Lego Rethink Over Bulk Orders

Responding to a controversy involving the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, this week Lego announced that is changing its policy on bulk purchases. Ai had used Lego in his art before – in September 2014 he unveiled a series of installations in the abandoned prison of Alcatraz on the theme of human rights, with ‘Trace’ using 1.2 million Lego bricks to create portraits of 176 prisoners of conscience and exiles –  but when he attempted to place an order with the company last September for a new work on political dissidents, Lego informed him that their policy was to reject requests that might associate their products with a political agenda.

Ai said nothing at first, but when a new Legoland theme park in Shanghai was announced a few weeks later, he went public with Lego’s stance. As members of the public offered to donate their bricks, he set up Lego collection points across cities worldwide, and used the incident to inspire the exhibit at Australia’s National Gallery of Victoria.

Lego’s statement, published on Tuesday, notes that ‘As of January 1st, the LEGO Group no longer asks for the thematic purpose when selling large quantities of LEGO bricks for projects. Instead, the customers will be asked to make it clear – if they intend to display their LEGO creations in public – that the LEGO Group does not support or endorse the specific projects’. Ai responded to the news by sticking Lego to his face for a series of photographs posted via Instagram.

Ai Weiwei Lego

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Sistaaz of the Castle at Foam Amsterdam

The collection Sistaaz of the Castle went on display with Foam Amsterdam on Wednesday, and will run for one week at Gashouder as part of MBFWA OFF SCHEDULE during FashionWeek Amsterdam. The project is a collaboration between photographer Jan Hoek and fashion designer Duran Lantink, and features colourful images of transgender sex workers in South Africa, with a playful sense of humour and an aesthetic that draws from the world of pop art.

Hoek and Lantink travelled to Cape Town and began working with six women who they met through the sex workers education and advocacy group SWEAT: Coco (25), Cleopatra (23) Sulaiga (30), Gabby (29) Flavinia (33) and Joan Collins (57). Hoek asked each of the women to devise fantasy outfits which Lantink then created, and the women posed sitting atop giant hamburgers because, in Hoek’s words, ‘the girls always say trans girls can eat like boys’. Most of the women are homeless, living under a bridge near Cape Town’s Castle of Good Hope. The collection comprises both Hoek’s photographs and Lantink’s fashion pieces, a print publication is due in March, and the artists intend to return to Cape Town later in the year to present Sistaaz of the Castle in its original location.

Sistaaz of the Castle

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Astronomers Observe Most Luminous Supernova

This week a group of astronomers published a paper in the journal Science, reporting on their observation of what is being called the most luminous supernova ever detected. The exploding star was first spotted in June, but continues to radiate vast amounts of energy: at its peak, it shone with a brightness 570 billion times stronger than the sun, making it around 200 times more powerful than the typical supernova.

Supernovas occur during the final stages of a massive star’s life, when a dramatic explosion causes an intense but short-lived brightness as the stellar material is expelled at velocities up to 30,000 kilometres per second. The rapidly expanding shock waves which result stir up interstellar gas and dust, and supernovas constitute the major source of elements heavier than oxygen.

This particular supernova was sighted 3.8 billion light-years from Earth, by the All Sky Automated Survey for SuperNovae using its four telescopes at Cerro Tololo, Chile. Researchers believe that its energy has been boosted by a magnetar, a small and highly compact star which exists as a remnant of the explosion. Professor Christopher Kochanek, a member of the discovery team from Ohio State University, explained to the BBC World Service’s Science In Action:

‘The idea is that this thing at the centre is very compact. It’s probably about the mass of our Sun, and the garbage into which it is dumping its energy is about five to six times the mass of our Sun, and expanding outwards at a rate of, let’s say, 10,000km/s. The trick in getting the supernova to last a long time is to keep dumping energy into this expanding garbage for as long as you can. That’s how you get maximum bang for your buck.’

Supernova 1

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Reebok x Kendrick Lamar Classic Leather

A week on Thursday, Kendrick Lamar was the musical guest The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where he debuted his song ‘Untitled 2’, and sat down to discuss the video games he played as a child, To Pimp a Butterfly, and his encroachment upon Michael Jackson’s record for Grammy nominations. Kendrick received 11 nominations ahead of the ceremony which will take place on 15 February in Los Angeles: one short of Jackson’s record, which was set in 1984 on the back of Thriller.

Kendrick was wearing his latest Reebok sneaker, the Kendrick Lamar Classic Leather. The follow up to the Ventilator, the inaugural shoe in the collaboration which appeared back in July, the Kendrick Lamar Classic Leather was released yesterday. It features a premium grey suede upper, on top of an off-white midsole and a gum outer, and like the Ventilator it gestures towards Los Angeles’ rival gangs the Crips and the Bloods, with ‘RED’ and ‘BLUE’ debossed alternately on the left and right heels, and the word ‘NEUTRAL’ adorning the tongue.

Kendrick Lamar Classic Leather 1

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Tsai Ing-wen Elected Taiwan’s First Female President

On Saturday the Republic of China, better known as Taiwan, went to the polls to elect a President, Vice President, and all 113 members of the Legislative Yuan. Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party was elected President with 6,894,744 votes, for 56.1% of the popular vote. Her running mate Chen Chien-jen will take the position of Vice President, while the DPP also secured a majority in the legislature. In the process Tsai Ing-wen becomes Taiwan’s first female President and only the second President allied to the DPP, while the DPP takes sole control of the Yuan for the first time in the party’s short history. 

At the end of World War II, the Chinese Civil War – which had begun all the way back in August 1927 – resumed with the balance of power shifted in favour of Mao Zedong’s Chinese Communist Party. They were fighting the Nationalist Government of what was then known as the Republic of China, which was led by Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang. When Mao Zedong proclaimed the People’s Republic of China on 1 October 1949, Chiang and the Nationalists retreated to the island of Taiwan, and made Taipei their temporary capital.

The Kuomintang ruled the island of Taiwan as a military dictatorship until 1987, regarding the sovereign state as a continuation of the Republic of China, which remains Taiwan’s official title. In 1986 a major step towards democratisation saw the Democratic Progressive Party formed as the first official party of opposition. The state’s first presidential elections took place in 1996, and in 2000 Chen Shui-bian of the DPP was elected President, marking the first transition of power in the Republic of China’s history.

Where the Kuomintang first sought to regain control over the Chinese mainland, today the party seeks unification with China, which regards the island as a breakaway province and has threatened military action in response to any declaration of independence. Tsai Ing-wen and the DPP on the other hand support independence, albeit tentatively, with Tsai saying in her victory speech, ‘I also want to emphasise that both sides of the Taiwanese Strait have a responsibility to find mutually acceptable means of interaction that are based on dignity and reciprocity. We must ensure that no provocations or accidents take place’.

Tsai Ing-wen narrowly lost out in 2012 to the incumbent Ma Ying-jeou of the Kuomintang, who managed 51.6% of the popular vote to Tsai’s 45.6%. Eric Chu, the Mayor of New Taipei, was chosen in October to stand for the Kuomintang this time round, and against the backdrop of a flagging economy, widening disparities in wealth, and growing concern over trade relations with China, he led his party to a low of 31% of the popular vote, immediately announcing his resignation as Chairman. The turnout for the election was reported at 66.27%.

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No Reunion, But Friends to Appear on NBC Special

At the Television Critics Association’s press tour in Pasadena on Wednesday, NBC announced what many outlets were soon reporting as a Friends reunion, almost twelve years since the cast departed with ‘The Last One’. But by Sunday it had been made abundantly clear that this isn’t quite the case: while five of the show’s six stars will come together for a special in tribute to the director James Burrows, Matthew Perry won’t be present, as he is in London completing rehearsals for his play The End of Longing, and David Schwimmer reiterated ‘There’s no Friends reunion’.

Burrows directed fifteen episodes of Friends, and also worked on series including The Bob Newhart Show, TaxiCheers, and Frasier. He recently completed his 1,000 episode of television, with the special commemorated to him due to air on NBC on 21 February. According to his publicist Lisa Kasteler, Perry may still tape something for the tribute.

Friends 1

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David Bowie by Helen Green

Finally this GIF has been circulating all week as a form of tribute to David Bowie. The illustrations, by the artist Helen Green, were originally created to mark Bowie’s sixty-eighth birthday last year.