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3

The normalization of live theatre through TV live musicals

Every major broadcast network has at least one or two live TV musicals in the works for the next few years, and will this help to normalize musical theatre for the masses, or steal the magic. Hamilton has helped to usher in a different era of musical theatre, but is it drawing the elitism out of the art form, by facilitating the creation of broadcasts like this?

  • Interesting topic. The rising popularity of these live TV musicals certainly merits further critical exploration. That said, I take slight issue with your choice of the word "normalization," as it implies that musical theatre (i.e. an artform that, at least since the 1980s, quite literally exists for bourgeois consumption and merchandising) is something esoteric. Musical theatre has always been prominently positioned within the mainstream, and is one of the few forms of theatre to which that label still applies; I really don't think that television is a necessary mediator for acclimatizing the general public to the concept of musicals -- they're not exactly broadcasting Edward Bond or Sarah Kane. Perhaps there are better ways of approaching the subject. Two come to mind: 1) Aesthetically, regarding how this televisual intermediation affects the performance's fundamental theatrical elements. Is liveness enough to constitute "theatre"? Does the audience on the other side of a screen genuinely care if what they're watching is live, or are they missing out on the potential virtues of cinematic editing? Is there an appeal to simply knowing that the show is theatrical, even when not experiencing it in an actual theatre? If so, what and why? How does this differ from simply making a film adaptation of classic musicals? 2) Economically, regarding how television distribution allows a wider audience to experience Broadway productions (whose tickets are quite expensive, not to mention inaccessible to those living outside of New York and other major metropolitan areas). This, I believe, is more in line with what you may have meant by "normalization," as it allows people who otherwise would not have had a chance to see these plays an opportunity to see a version of them in performance. I see potential for an analysis of ratings, sponsorships, and funding models as a means of assessing the financial success or failure of this new distributional tactic. – ProtoCanon 1 year ago
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  • Interesting topic....and definitely one worth exploring. One of the fascinating aspects of the theater is the confined environment and this type of unity within the crowd. One performance will not be an exact replica of another---part of what makes the theater so unique. A crucial component of theater is the fourth wall--the impenetrable invisible barrier between the audience and the actor--which, ironically feels breached during a televised performance? I would have to disagree with the idea of elitism and broadcasts as analogous, especially due to the high-cost of the theater today, and making this once enjoyable, frequent venture, less common among 'average' folk. The price of tickets are astronomical and really is a disservice in a society that supposedly upholds the importance of a cultured society through the medium of art. – danielle577 1 year ago
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  • I love reading anything about theatre, especially musicals. In your suggested analysation though, be careful you're not looking at two separate topics here. Hamilton has indeed created a new generation of theatre-lovers and reinvented the genre of musical theatre. And live TV musicals have done this in their own way too; perhaps the discussion is more pointed towards where the future of musical theatre is heading, or, what is attractive about these refreshing works to a modern audience? – OJames 1 year ago
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  • This is a really good topic.I think TV broadcasts can make theatre a little more accessible, it can introduce the theatre in a similar way that Hamilton has introduced theatre to new audiences. It also comes without the cost of making trips to the West End or Broadway. You don't really lose the elitism of theatre because you still have the west end and broadway. Perhaps the focus is on the future of musical theatre, there is the live versions (And I don't think they will ever really go away), tv broadcasts and things like Todrick Hall's Straight Outta OZ on youtube. – RJRStClair 1 year ago
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  • I love the concept of theatre becoming more accessible to the public through TV broadcasts, but it would be interesting to also consider how this topic might also harm or stagnate theatre as an art form. It's true that more people would be able to see shows, but the shows that pull in the viewership numbers TV networks want will probably be already-popular spectacle musicals or reboots of classics. Would smaller, newer, and weirder shows get a chance to shine? Would straight plays be given some airtime, or would the definition of "theater" switch wholly to musicals in the eyes of the public? Also, as people have pointed out before, the experience of watching a taped show and being in the theater are very different. Not necessarily a bad thing, just something to consider. – ohnomegan 2 days ago
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10

How have women in the arts been erased by their husbands and male relatives in history?

Frida Kahlo and many other female artists in history have been overshadowed by men- often men close to them that could easily socially overpower them. During her life, Kahlo was the lesser known artist between her and her husband- Diego Rivera far overshadowed her until after her death, and during her life she only had one solo exhibition of her work in her home country. Who are some of the female figures in the arts, specifically visual arts but also literature and other mediums, who have been made to stand in others’ shadows? Could be an interesting topic to help bring awareness to lesser-known female artists, or show a different perspective for artists that are now well known after their deaths.

  • Insightful topic! That would be interesting - there is an architect called Denise Scott Brown who had a firm with her husband Robert Venturi. Despite her undeniable skill and leadership within their duo, he was awarded a Pritzker Prize for the firm's work (the highest accolade in architecture) and she did not. Scott actually boycotted the award ceremony in protest! Such an unknown story, but I'm sure its not an isolated incident in the creative industry – danielleraffaele 3 months ago
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  • An example that immediately came to mind was the Victorian artist and poet Elizabeth Siddal. She is best known for her involvement in the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and as the model for the famous John Everett Millais painting, 'Ophelia'. Her husband, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, painted her frequently and by all accounts, they had a very happy marriage. Siddal was a very talented artist and her work almost always included themes consistent with the rest of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, but because she was a woman a lot of it faded into obscurity. – katyharrison 3 months ago
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  • The term "erased" does not quite seem appropriate for this topic, because it denotes that the female artist's work was somehow done away with, and if that is so, we would not have evidence of their work at all. The term "overshadowed" would serve the topic idea better, for their are many female artists subjugated to the backgrounds of their men, husbands, or creative groups. We have to remember the social customs of the times that these women artists lived in and consider that many of these women had reasons that caused them to remain in the shadows for the different time periods, such as when female independence was not socially acceptable and doing so could mean having to sacrifice her security and or survival. It might be a good idea to convey your point by narrowing the time period you cover so that you can add more breadth to the art historical context of the artists you choose to mention. Hope that helps! – mckelly 2 months ago
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  • Hatshepsut is a great example to use, a lot of what she worked towards was defiled after her reign in Ancient Egypt. – Zohal99 1 week ago
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15

Where Are the Female Monsters?

With the recent release of The Shape of Water, we have been reminded of our love of monsters. But when it comes to them, they are so often male. While female monsters exist, they tend to be either human-coded (think recent vampires) or sexy (think mermaids). But where are the truly terrifying females? The closest I can personally come up with is the Other Mother from Coraline. You may explore the significance of what a female monster would bring to the table.

  • An interesting topic full of potential! I've always personally been fascinated by the idea of monstrosity and subversion, and more often than not, monsters, descended from myths and stories, reflect the fears and concerns of the age. Female monsters in general tend toward either the young and seductive (think Sirens, Medusa) or the old, haggard and mystical (Witches, Hags, Baba Yaga). I think these inclinations are worthy of exploration. Crash Course has an excellent overview of the latter in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OCPQG4bMFs. But most of all I do think its pertinent that there aren't too many contemporary versions of female monsters, and maybe the current social and political climate might play some part in that as well. But i like it! – Matchbox 3 months ago
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  • Have you considered perhaps widening the definition of 'monster' to include the monstrous? I've often felt that the most convincing monsters are found within the Far Eastern horror genre, i.e. Korean, Japanese, Pinoy etc. It's surprising how often these monsters are female, insofar as they assume a female human form, possess a human female or give the appearance of being female. The morality issue also seems to differ from western monsters and their actions, whilst often driven by the need for revenge or to avenge some perceived wrong doing, tend to orientated towards the ultimate redemption of the 'monster'. I'd recommend 'Audition' (1999), directed by Takashi Miike, 'The Doll Master' (2004), directed by Jeong Yong-ki and the infamous 'Ring' cycle of films, directed by Hideo Nakata. – Amyus 3 months ago
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  • I love this idea! I would also add that female(-coded) monsters are not only sexy, but that their monstrousness generally seems to arise precisely from the extent to which they are sexually attractive and the uninhibited, aggressive way in which they are able to display and pursue their sexual appetites. Female vampires, werewolves, demons, women with vagina dentata and so on seem to be so terrifying because they threaten dominant ideas of acceptable female existence and sexual conduct, namely that of submissiveness, deference and docility. – HangedMaiden 3 months ago
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  • Great topic. The egg-laying mama alien in the Alien films is pretty monstrous! – JamesBKelley 3 months ago
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  • Interesting topic, especially since I would argue we are conditioned to think of monsters as male from childhood. For example, Sesame Street played host to exclusively male-coded monsters for decades. The rationale was that they couldn't show a female-coded monster with extreme personality traits (e.g., Cookie Monster's obsession with cookies) without drawing the ire of feminist advocates. But I say that's baloney. Female monsters, such as Rosita and Zoe, were eventually added to the cast, but you'll notice they tend to act more human and far less neurotic than their male counterparts. While horror on Sesame is not kosher, male monsters are allowed to be a little scary or strange at times. Females are not. I've noticed some of the same trends in adult media as well. For instance, the "monster" behind the Hound of the Baskervilles was a male, and the hound itself was always referred to with male pronouns. Frankenstein and Dracula? Male again (more human-coded, but still). Werewolves? Overwhelmingly male (the one exception I can think of is Once Upon a Time's Ruby/Red). Aragog? Sauron? Gollum? Basilisks? Male, male, male...ugh, somebody get me some estrogen! And as you mention, if you do see a female monster of any kind, she's often motivated primarily by revenge, or is in a subservient role (see Voldemort's serpent Nagini). I'm with you--give me a female monster who poisons victims or rips their throat out just because hey, it's her idea of a good time! – Stephanie M. 3 months ago
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  • It would be really awesome if you all had a section specifically for music. – tylerbrown13 2 months ago
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  • the book "Anime from Akira to Princess Mononoke" has a few chapters on women's roles (in anime in particular, obviously) as the monster/Other/abject. that could be an interesting source for whoever takes this topic! – ees 3 weeks ago
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  • Elsa Lancaster in Bride of Frankenstein is probably the best known. – Joseph Cernik 3 weeks ago
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  • In Stephen King's IT, Pennywise is actually female. Jaws is female. In the Godzilla with Matthew Broderick, Godzilla is female. There are female Titans in Attack on Titan. Their female energy is often ignored, though. It'd be interesting to explore why feminity is ignored in female monsters (or how it isn't. are the creators of these monsters misogynistic, etc.). And, there's the whole trope of Momsters (mother monsters) that could be explored. Most recently, I'm thinking, hereditary? – M K Keane 3 weeks ago
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6

The Evolution of the Popular Monster

Monsters have greatly evolved in popularity throughout time. From the vampires of Dracula’s era to the witches of the 1990s to the zombies of the 2010s, we have seen certain monsters grow in popularity to reflect the social and political anxieties of their time. Create an outline of the recent history of monsters, and predict what types of monsters the current era will rely on for social critique and escapism.

  • I agree that there is an identifiable connection between the popularity of a particular monster and the society it is presented in. This topic will get a little tricky because of the diversity of our popular culture now so I would recommend picking a specific genre: tv, film, comic, or literature. Otherwise it will be hugely inaccurate. Part of what needs to be discussed here also is the particular representation of the type of monster, for instance vampires are presented in numerous ways that tend to be related to both a context and a social reflection, we seem to be slowly moving off the "sexy vampire" and back towards the "vicious monster" but it depends on where you are looking. A lot to talk about in this topic! – SaraiMW 3 months ago
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  • Would cyborgs fit in there, maybe around the 1980s to 1990s, with The Terminator and with Star Trek's The Borg? I agree with SaraiMW that focusing on one particular type of monster might make for a more focused and successful essay. – JamesBKelley 3 months ago
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  • Horror movies (and monster movies by extension) often carry the seeds of social commentary Reference the movies "Get Out". "Invasion of the Body Snatchers", the plethora of films that came out using the trope of cell phones turning people into zombies/crazed killers/possessed by ghosts. How do horror stories reflect the real fears of the society they arise out of? – Kidcanuck 3 months ago
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  • Yes, all of this! – ivyskiss 3 months ago
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  • Many 1950s era monsters came as a result of nuclear testing, some as a result of the fear of Communist subversion. I don't see a dominant influence in monster create today. Will a clear influence emerge that is reflected in monster creation? – Joseph Cernik 3 weeks ago
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  • This is a fascinating and diverse subject area. In addition to the above monsters, there seems to be a continued portrayal of most ghosts as female. Aside from the obvious problem with their having any gender, why would society be so comfortable with vicious ghosts like the one in The Grudge, yet so uncomfortable with portraying living women in this way. Do women have to be supernatural to let out anger or violence? Also, I think older, supernatural monsters have been edged out by actual human ones, such as serial killers or even abusive husbands. One of the most frightening is often a neighbor or even the guy who used to own your house, as in Cold Creek Manor, or Bates Motel! – SharonGenet 2 weeks ago
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9

Defining a true fan

It is becoming a more and more common divisive argument between us: what truly makes someone a fan of an actor or a musician or a movie? Over time it has become less credible to simply enjoy a finished product (regardless of its category) and more about the politics of who knows the most facts, easter eggs, and can quote the most lines/lyrics etc. It is becoming more and more evident that the intentions of those who claim to belong to a fanbase, are becoming less satisfied with the simple act of belonging to a group of likeminded individuals and instead about outcompeting our neighbours. What credits a claim to being a fan of something?

  • Very interesting, especially considering how many fandoms are out there and the "fan wars" that often occur within them. – Stephanie M. 3 months ago
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  • I feel like this article could have a conclusion on whether the term 'true fan' should be used - whether it is sufficient to use to discriminate between fans OR take the angle that the whole fan label debate is ridiculous and shouldn't be competitive. – Abbey 3 months ago
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  • Could also include fan interactions, how they interact within the fandom whether it is toxic or supportive. Some fandoms are family whereas others can be horrible to be in. – maggieveach 3 months ago
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  • Might be interesting to look at the price of fame as well as the positives and negatives of fandoms. There is a great book called 'I Was Born For This' by Alice Oseman about this theme. :) – Zohal99 3 weeks ago
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2

Why mumble rap is a thing today?

Thinking about how mumble rap has become today’s pick of development. How exactly mumble rap is effecting society with meaningless lyrics and demobilizing people’s thoughts.

  • This is a very interesting topic as it something very current. If you can define what exactly what Mumble rap and how artists use it then it can be something very engaging to read. Also try yo figure out its origins and how it became the thing it is today – cbo1094 1 month ago
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  • You could bring sound poetry into this! It's kind of mumble rap for spoken word poetry. – DanielleBrylDam 3 weeks ago
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1

Reboots, Remakes and Reunions: is there any original content left or are we forced to try to remake the past

In the wake of Halloween (2018)’s trailer (which looked pretty cool), I can’t help but wonder why we’re rebooting and remaking so many stories. I’m reminded of when Andrew Garfield was cast as the "new" Spiderman. And then, Tom Holland. The uproar. The hate. It (2017). The Star Trek reboots. Top Gun’s getting a sequel. Older sitcoms are getting reunions. We’re revisiting these old universes, these old characters, these old stories. Some of it is nostalgic for the older generations. Some of it is outrageous and insulting. I’m left wondering what will be remade from my youth, fearing who will be the next Iron Man (and crying about it). What’s with the demand for these reunions. Who’s deciding to remake these movies? Are we so scared of the new, we revert back to the old, or are we out of new? Is that well all dried up?

  • This is a great topic and one that's being discussed a lot lately. I'd recommend checking out Lindsey Ellis's video essay on the 30 year cycle. I think it's also worth mentioning that a lot of the most revered achievements in cinematic history are based on books (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Nosferatu), folk stories (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and most everything else in Disney's repertoire), plays (The Jazz Singer, Casablanca, the vast majority of mid-century movie musicals such as West Side Story-- which, in turn, is based on Romeo and Juliet-- which is based on Ovid's Pyramus and Thisbe, incidentally), and historical events (The Titanic via the sinking of the titular ship, Texas Chainsaw Massacre via the Ed Gein case, Amadeus via the life of Mozart). Adaptation seems to be a fact of art one way or another, but there is something different of films directly adapting and spinning off other important films, as the marketing and viewership is fueled specifically by nostalgia and fandom more than anything else. On an unrelated note, you may want a snappier title for this; what you have currently is a bit of a mouthful, and the phrasing is a little awkward. Maybe limit it to 5-7 words? – TheCropsey 1 month ago
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  • Very interesting topic, but I would like to put the comic book movies in a different category. Since they are based on characters that pretty much do not age in the original medium (generally speaking, yes, there is Kingdom Come, Batman Beyond etc), they have to be rebooted, i.e. recast, in order to keep on going. You cannot have Superman, who is supposed to not age, being played by the same actor for 20 years. Also, please distinguish between reboot and sequel. The line can be blurry sometimes, but there are distinctions. Battlestar Galactica 2003 was a reboot/re-imagining of the original series, not a sequel. Scream 4 was a sequel, not necessarily a reboot etc. – tanaod 1 month ago
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  • This is definitely an interesting topic. A lot of things that were cool at one point, tend to disappear, and then come back to attract an audience that's nostalgic for that property. Movies are getting more expensive, so past properties with an established audience pose a lesser risk than creating a new idea from the ground up. – cbo1094 4 weeks ago
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3

Why we need public art in our cities

Currently, well over half of the world’s population lives in a city. That number is expected to do nothing but rise in the future. A greater concentration of people means less room for each individual, and places greater importance on shared public spaces. In much of North America, there has been little concern for beauty within our cities – perhaps because we historically imagined we had such a surplus of land that everyone could have their own space that could be made beautiful to their standards. As our personal spaces shrink, how can we be sure that public art and other placemaking techniques are given importance in city budgets? What argument can we make in support of public art and the benefit it confers to residents of a city?

  • Part of this discussion could be about the interpretation of urban art. For example how does legal aerosol art fit into the concept of public art? Consider also international or national art trends, such as the painted cows that appeared in different cities around the world. – SaraiMW 1 month ago
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