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A Cemetery of the Living

How my friend’s art connects Hollywood and ancient Egypt Last weekend, I took a trip up to Milan. My friends and I hit all the usual sightseeing spots — the big famous Gothic cathedral, the sprawling neoclassical shopping mall known as the Galleria — but I had one special destination in mind. My friend, the painter Tracy Molis, had a […]

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James Needham’s “Bathroom Selfie” Painting Continues a 40,000-Year Artistic Tradition

But to prove it, we’re gonna have to get NSFW. We’ve all gotten pulled into one of those conversations at one party or another: “Art is on the decline! No ones creates original work anymore! Music is produced by robots and armies of slave children! All we do is take selfies and mindlessly share them!” That’s […]

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The Insanity That Keeps Us Sane

We’ve got some strange ways of dealing with bad thoughts. Want to hear a cool story? In the 1280s, the Mongol warlord Hülegü Khan was getting ready to make war on the city of Baghdad — which was, at that time, the epicenter of the civilized world. The Khan sent a threat letter to the Caliph of Baghdad […]

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The “G” Word: “Gypsies” Aren’t Who You Think They Are

They’re called Roma, their culture is ancient and intriguing… and the word “gypsy” is a slur. All right my friends, let me tell you about “Gypsies” — or as they’re actually called, the Romani people, or simply the Roma. They’ve been in the news a few times lately for child abductions. They’ve got a reputation as musicians and […]

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Gidi's Story: No One Hears You Shouting From the Slums of Mombasa

Gidi’s story: a tale of a man, a city, and a piece of truth. The estate where we live is not in the slums. It’s a nice middle-class neighborhood — about ten acres with a big stone wall around them, and a whole community of small shops and apartments and houses and cow-grazing patches inside, all connected […]

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There Is No Yesterday

An interactive experience in speaking with people from the past Certain photos demand your attention: vintage mugshots of Australian criminals; portraits of soon-to-be victims of Stalin’s Great Purge, or of nomads in the desert or the steppe. You stare into these peoples’ eyes and wonder what they were thinking about, what their days were like, how their […]

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Alone in Nairobi

Night can make you feel like a stranger, even when you’re home Last night, when the power had been out for twelve hours and the sun finally set and left me in the dark, and someone knocked on my door to hand me candles, and I lit the candles and sat on the bed and listened […]

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The Revenant Is a Movie About Man

THIS CONTAINS ZERO SPOILERS. The Revenant takes place in Montana in the 1800s, but most of it could’ve happened any time since the last Ice Age, in any cold part of the earth. There’s the snow. The wind. The trees. The slow shaggy meaty animals and the quick fierce ones that bring them down. Men in heavy […]

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In Praise of Roleplay

All of us play characters. Some are truer than others. When’s the last time you threw on an outfit you’d never wear in regular life, looked into the mirror, and tried out some phrases… “You talkin’ to me?” …just to see how those words sound coming out of your mouth?

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