When we visited Taipei, my wife and I made it our singular goal to eat at Modern Toilet, even though we knew the bathroom-themed restaurant had caught on and was a bit of a tourist trap. That same spirit has been reignited in me, and my next trip to Seoul cannot come soon enough. I will not leave that city until I grab me some fresh, hot Poop Bread.
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If Mozart had thought to populate The Abduction from The Seraglio with Vulcans and Klingons, he most certainly would have.
Instead, this adaptation was left to Josh Shaw, Artistic Director of the Pacific Opera Project (POP). Their production of The Abduction premiered at the Southern Illinois Music Festival, and had a short run in the Los Angeles area.
I did not get a chance to see it, but this review made me wish I had.
POP has translated that German “libretto,” or text, into English. And moved the harem to planet M113. And the Turkish Pasha? A Klingon Warlord. Don’t question it. The results are strangely glorious. And whether you are a rabid Star Trek fan or just versed enough to get by in pop culture, this zany and pitch-perfect opera triumphs in pure laugh-out-loud hilarity.
Opera is becoming harder and harder to sell, but the love for classic Star Trek is not dead. The production brings to mind the fan-made series Star Trek Continues, a fan-made passion project that feels to me like Waiting for Guffman in space; and another fan-made series, the even more impressive Star Trek Phase II, whose New Voyages is looking very snappy.
Ronald Wimberly is a comics and animation artist, the author of Vertigo's Prince of Cats, and a character designer for Black Dynamite: The Animated Series. Wembly has illustrated a work experience he had while coloring an X-Men comic. His story, Lighten Up, appears on the excellent blog The Nib, a site devoted to "political cartoons, comics journalism, humor and non-fiction."
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When the Congressional Science committee wants to talk about the cold weather, and when NASA has to defend their budget by explaining why NASA is important, it can make people who believe in facts... a bit tense.
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Casting Call Woe Tumbler
Acting is a crappy business, but the world needs actors, and since we live in a time when digital production and distribution has democratized filmmaking, anyone can be a casting director. Exhibit A is a new tumblr, Casting Call Woes, which has netted a foul-smelling collection of ripe ones from the sea of DIY casting calls.
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Publisher Taschen will release Psychedelic Sex (NSFW) later in March, written by Eric Godtland and Paul Krassner. Photos are lifted from posters, comics, and men's magazines between 1967 and 1972, and together form a fascinating cultural capsule proving: a) Austin Powers was real and b) any potentially liberating cultural trend is eventually subsumed by the same old shit.
An early proposal for the US highway system came from the National Highways Association. That wasn't a government office and didn't have much influence on congress, but as an evangelizer of "good roads," the NHA presented citizens with one of the first visions of interstate travel. Its 1913 maps advocate for three types of highways: main roads, truck roads, and links. Such infrastructure was not only important for national defense, but also for moral turpitude:
The precedent for our current roadmap, below, came from the American Association of State Highway Officials in 1926. A huge version of the map, with routes you're likely familiar with, is available by clicking on the image at the bottom of the io9 story.
A Map Of The First Proposed U.S. Highway Network [io9]
The gnostic paradox of young, tech-savvy traditionalists, who see through everything except their own conspiracy theoriesRead the rest
Internet harassment doesn’t just stay on the internet any more. Banned from 4chan, the 'net's worst trolls are making life hell for "social justice warriors."Read the rest
According to a survey using Yelp data, Marylanders and Virginians love Peruvian food, Ohioans love soup, Coloradans love gluten free, and West Virginians love hotdog. Other trends:
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Meet the professional victimizer.Read the rest
That tell-tale wedding of relentless hostility and ethical affectation is a peculiar youth subculture spilling out into the open web. Get ready for more of it.Read the rest
The mainstream media finally discovered the Internet's latest subculture of hostile, cynical, easily-led youngsters. Matt Binder
on the narcissists, grifters and creeps arriving in its wake.Read the rest
There's a fascinating story in the American Buddhist magazine Shambala Sun about the Burmese Buddhists who are killing and harassing their Muslim neighbors. Thoughtful and full of context, it is very much worth a read.
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: "The Secrets of Strangers," directed by Rocsi Diaz (106th + Park, Entertainment Tonight
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visits an establishment where pop culture and history merge into a light show of singular magnificence.Read the rest
A web-based hitchhiking platform has been successfully tested in the Lawrence, Kansas
area. (Wooo, Lawrence!) Now, it's expanding to the rest of the country.
Not, like, modern misinformation on the Internet, but longstanding cultural myths, with characters and the gravitas that comes with being really, really old. Max Gladstone writes about his favorites at Tor
. I'm a big fan of the origin story of the Maya hero twins
Hunahpú and Xbalanqué, as told in the Popol Vuh.
Filmmaker, writer, and trans activist Andrea James
on the current state of post-disruption journalism and its unhealthy addiction to Twitter, and LGBT brain drain.Read the rest
All this week Pacific Standard will be publishing profiles of people who have "opted out"
— from hippie homesteaders to anti-government survivalists.
Pesco's post earlier today
about a cleric who issued a fatwa against one-way trips to Mars got me wondering about how Muslim prayer works off-planet. After all, the timing and orientation of those daily prayers are based on Earth time and Earth geography. Fascinatingly, the Malaysian Space Agency actually convened a conference of 150 Islamic scientists and scholars
to answer those very questions back in 2006. In a video, Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, the first Malaysian astronaut, explains how life on the ISS changed (and didn't change) his religious life. (Thank you, Ty!)
recalls her adventures working with porn spambots in the 1990s, and the strange mixture of nostalgia and disappointment that remains.Read the rest
Today, we are gluten sensitive. In the past, we might have had the vapors, or melancholy, or consumption. Throughout history, some diseases, even ones that are very real, have taken on social meaning and social cachet — becoming part of lifestyle identities as much as they are a part of biology. (And diseases might have a meaning in one social context that they don't have in others. Think about the difference between depression and depression when you are a teenager with a big poetry obsession.) The Fashionable Diseases research project is trying to bring these social meanings to the forefront. They've got a series of podcasts
now, and a conference coming up in July
In Doylestown, Pennsylvania, there is a poured-in-place castle made of concrete and filled with archaic technology — a museum of tools that people no longer use because they've all been replaced by industrialization. You can visit
Clipboard-sized, unsettling, endlessly mutating pseudolore with dark and scary themes. Creepypasta is going mainstream
. [Aoen Magazine]
Prior to the mid-19th century, squirrels were thought of as fantastic woodland creatures, rather than the urbane, city-dwelling vermin they are today. In fact, the available evidence suggests that, up until this point, there really weren't a whole lot of squirrels living in cities in the United States — at least, not with the ubiquity that they now do. What changed? A couple of things, according to a paper published in The Journal of American History. First, human architects and city planners got really into the idea of urban greenspace for the first time, constructing elaborate parks like Central Park in New York. Second, the humans then imported squirrels from the countryside to add to the bucolic ambiance they were hoping these parks would foster. The rest, as they say, is all rodent breeding and natural selection.
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The BBC's in-house linguists have an interesting piece about pronouncing words in Xhosa
— a major language spoken in the region of South Africa where Nelson Mandela grew up. (Helpfully included in the story: How to pronounce "Xhosa".)
To linguists, the central feature of Valleygirl Dialect is the tendency to make a statement sound like a question. For decades, this has been considered not just part of Valleyspeak, but part of female speech. That's changing. Like, dudes are totally doing it, too.
As food goes globalized, UNESCO has started thinking about preserving cuisine as a cultural artifact
, the same way it might preserve an ancient city. Japanese food got the nod last week
I'm really enjoying Jason Colavito's reviews of The History Channel's hilarious/infuriating hit show Ancient Aliens
. What makes them better than the average blog? Colavito is an author who has written extensively about the anthropology of pseudoscience, and the connections between pseudoscience, religion, and science fiction. So his recaps are less about debunking the claims made on Ancient Aliens
(because, really, that's just too damn easy) and more about exploring where those claims come from, pop-culturally, and what makes them so appealing, to begin with. Fascinating stuff.