Monday, 13 May 2013

Ópera Rock, Felizmente há Luar: Open Invitation

Dear colleagues,

As you may (or may not!) remember, I mentioned a musical that is going to be on stage on the 31st of May (and ONLY on the 31st) - Musical Ópera Rock: Felizmente Há Luar. I know that some of you live far away, others are not that interested bla, bla know what I mean right? The same old story - we want and we cannot go. We don´t want to go and thus we will ignore this message so I shall say on advanced...I won´t be offended if you do not or you cannot go!
Anyway, if you are (THAT) interested, here is some information on the musical - (it is on page 19)
how to buy your ticket (I think it is cheap...3.66 euros)
Also, a map with the Theater´s location - I took the liberty to put Oriente as the starting point. You should also now that you can take the ferry to Barreiro and then the train or bus to Baixa da Banheira.
If you have any questions or doubts, please do not hesitate to ask me!

Ana de Fátima

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Hey everyone, here's my power point on my presentation about Art Deco Architecture in the United States.

- Carlos Henriques

Art Deco

Hello everybody!

Here is my presentation on Art Deco, along with some introductory notes so you won't feel too lost. It is impossible to talk about everything, so if you want to see and learn more about this subject, Google is your friend! Another option is to just take a walk outside and look around — there must be an Art Deco building somewhere near you.

(Please let me know if the download doesn't work.)

Have a nice Sunday!
- Rita Monteiro

Monday, 29 April 2013

Hey everyone,

here's my contribution: my presentation about "Women and Tattoos in the 20's".

You can download the powerpoint here --->

by Rodolfo Vieira

Friday, 26 April 2013

1920's Jazz Presentation

Hello everyone.

Here is the "Jazz in the 1920's" Powerpoint. If someone needs help in any aspect regarding the ppt feel free to ask.

Francisco Ribeiro

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Surrealist Games

Dear coleagues, 
As promised, here are the photos of the surrealist games presentation!

"then distinguishing psychiatry sciences damage psycopathy
with psycopathy based institute of blackwood college
blackwood said evidence clear interview programmes useless

even weighty psychopaths treating non-offenders programmes provided treatments"

Ana Tomaz

I hate Mondrian! Sort of...

So, maybe I don’t really hate him that much. I guess I just don't like his “squares” paintings.
Seriously, the man painted a bunch of red, blue and yellow squares, and was hailed as a ground-breaking artist for it.
If I don’t like his paintings, then why am I writing about him? Because squares!
Although I dislike Mondrian, he was truly innovative for his time and one of the greatest names of Modernist Art.
So, here is a short description of who Piet Mondrian was and what he did. I warn you right away: he was a very “square” painter. If you google Mondrian (DO IT!), you will find A LOT paintings with red, blue and yellow squares. Oh, and also cars, shoes, dresses and apples with those patterns.

Piet Mondrian (born Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan in 1872) was a Dutch painter. His work marked the transition from the Hague School and Symbolism to Neo-Impressionism and Cubism (more like “squarism” – See? I just invented a word! Give me credit for it!). He is most famous for his contributions to the De Stijl movement, also known as Neoplasticism.
This movement was founded in the Netherlands in 1917 by painter, designer, writer and critic Theo Van Doesburg. The neoplastic artists’ tried to express a utopian ideal of spiritual harmony and order, by painting squares! I’m kidding! Seriously, though…
In fact, they advocated pure abstraction and universality, reducing their visual compositions to the essentials of shape (horizontal and vertical directions) and colour (primary colours, black and white).

Mondrian’s first works were mostly landscapes and pastoral images, borrowing from the Hague School of artists, with either naturalistic or impressionistic features. These first paintings marked his initial search for a personal style and were what can be called “representational”, drawing inspiration from Pointilism and Fauvism (The Red Mill and Trees in Moonrise).
For a few years (1911-14), Mondrian lived in Paris, where he contacted with Picasso and Georges Braque, whose cubist style influenced the painter’s work. His depictions of trees show experimentations with Cubism (The Grey Tree, 1912).
His turn towards Abstraction, which would become his defining feature (along with squares!) in the Modernist movement after 1920, began during WWI, when he stayed at the Laren artists’ colony with Bart van der Leck and van Doesburg, which led to the creation of the De Stijl/Neoplasticism movement. From here on out, he only painted squares! Squares, squares, squares!
His works from the late 1930s-early 1940s showed Mondrian’s turn from his signature “black and white canvas with blue, red and yellow squares”-paintings. In my snoopy and yet humble opinion, these paintings are better than his “usual stuff” and some of them are actually incredible. His Composition with Four Yellow Lines (1933) presented yellow lines instead of black ones (he was such a rebel). Broadway Boogie-Woogie (1943) represents the city grid of Manhattan and the boogie-woogie music, which Mondrian loved.

Mondrian died of pneumonia in 1944 and was buried in the Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn. In his time, Mondrian was considered the founder of the most modern art.

I still do not see the appeal of Composition with Yellow, Blue, and Red. However, to be fair, he does have some very interesting and visually striking works after 1933.

I think you can find, if not all, most of his works in this link:
Here are some other useful links, if you want to know more about Mondrian and “Squarism”:
·         Yves Saint Laurent’s dress based on Mondrian’s painting:

Monday, 22 April 2013

Lawless - Great movie about the Prohibition

I don't think many people are actually checking out the blog, so I wonder why continue to post stuff...

Anyway, we mentioned movies and some of us seemed to place a lot of importance on the cast of a movie...I wonder what really defines an actor as a star...Anyway I leave you a suggestion for a must see movie about the Prohibition era. Watch it not for the "stars" but for the incredible story, and all the tiny elements that make a movie a piece of art. (wanna watch it for free? google: Lawless putlocker)

"Lawless is a 2012 American crime drama film directed by John Hillcoat. The screenplay by Nick Cave is based on the historical novel The Wettest County in the World (2008) by Matt Bondurant. The film stars Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, and Guy Pearce. Lawless centers on the brothers Jack, Forrest and Howard Bondurant, who sold moonshine in Franklin County, Virginia, during Prohibition in the United States. The film was in development for about three years before it was produced. It screened at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and was theatrically released on August 29, 2012."


Sunday, 14 April 2013

It’s the Great Machine, Charlie Brown!

Alright, so perhaps it was more like a giant pumpkin.

However, I think the same level of astonishment and wonder felt by Charlie in the 1966 TV Special applies to our period from a technological point of view. In fact, the 1920s were very prolific years in the machine-inventing area.

Here is a list of some of the machines invented in this period:
  • Traffic lights (1920): the first 4-way three colour traffic light was invented by police officer William L. Potts In Detroit, Michigan
  • Hair dryer (1920): the first handheld household hair dryer was not very efficient and overheated easily, but it beat the alternative: prior to this invention, women used to blow-dry their hair by attaching a pipe to a vacuum cleaner
  • Lie detector/Polygraph (1921): invented by John A. Larson, a medical student, and Leonarde Keeler, a detective, it measured the heartbeat and breathing rate to check whether the person was lying or not
  • Convertible (1922): the credit for envisioning and building the first practical retractable manual hardtop system belongs to Ben P. Ellerbeck; however, the first power-operated convertible was made by Georges Paulin in 1934 (a Peugeot 402BL Éclipse Décapotable) – side note: Paulin was a dentist.
  • Bulldozer (1923): invented by a farmer, James Cummings, and a draftsman, J. Earl McLeod.
  • Instant Camera (1923): although Edwin Land is credited with creating the first commercial instant camera in 1948, the first actual instant camera was invented in 1923 by Samuel Shlafrock.
  •   Pop-Up Toaster (1926): Charles Perkins Strite invented it in 1919 and Waters-Genter Company developed the first consumer pop-up toaster in 1926, which could simultaneously toast both sides of the bread and turn itself off automatically after making the toast. It was called the TOASTMASTER! – Thank you, Charles P. Strite for making my breakfast come true in an easy, non-life threatening way!
  • Drive-through (1928): City Center Bank, today known as UMB Financial Corporation, opened the first drive-up window. A few years later, the Grand National Bank in St. Louis opened a drive-through with a slot for night deposits. Today, drive-through rules the world!
Honourable mentions go to objects which were invented in this period as well, but cannot be considered machines because, well, they don’t have, like, engines or anything. Here they are:
  • Jungle Gym (1920), by Sebastian Hinton
  • The Band-Aid (1920), by Earle Dickson
  • Cotton Swabs, a.k.a. Q-Tips (1923), by Polish-born American Leo Gerstenzang – side note: he originally named them “Baby Gays”. Seriously.
  • Cheeseburger (1924 or 1926, the dates are a little fuzzy), by Lionel Sternberger.
  •   Bubble Gum (1928)! Invented by an accountant, Walter Diemer, marketed under the name “Dubble Bubble”. Its sales exceeded 1.5 million dollars in its first year.
  • The Tampon (1929) was made by Dr. Haas and sold under the name Tampax.
So, now you can all sleep better at night, knowing where your breakfast and your bubble gum come from.
Also, J. Earl McLeod, the man who invented the bulldozer, is NOT the Highlander, so don’t go trying to cut his head off!

Don’t forget to be awesome,
Sara Santos.

Jiddu Krishnamurti

"Jiddu Krishnamurti (May 12, 1895 – February 17, 1986) was a speaker and writer on philosophical and spiritual subjects, and was widely considered as a World Teacher. His subject matter included: psychological revolution, the nature of mind, meditation, inquiry, human relationships, and bringing about radical change in society. He constantly stressed the need for a revolution in the psyche of every human being and emphasized that such revolution cannot be brought about by any external entity, be it religious, political, or social."

"Krishnamurti was born into a Telugu Brahmin family in British India. In early adolescence, he had a chance encounter with prominent occultist and theosophist Charles Webster Leadbeater in the grounds of the Theosophical Society headquarters at Adyar in Madras. He was subsequently raised under the tutelage of Annie Besant and Leadbeater, leaders of the Society at the time, who believed him to be a "vehicle" for an expected World Teacher. As a young man, he disavowed this idea and dissolved the Order of the Star, an organization that had been established to support it."

"He claimed allegiance to no nationality, caste, religion, or philosophy, and spent the rest of his life traveling the world, speaking to large and small groups and individuals. He authored many books, among them The First and Last Freedom, The Only Revolution, and Krishnamurti's Notebook. Many of his talks and discussions have been published. His last public talk was in Madras, India, in January 1986, a month before his death at his home in Ojai, California. His supporters, working through non-profit foundations in India, Great Britain and the United States, oversee several independent schools based on his views on education. They continue to transcribe and distribute his thousands of talks, group and individual discussions, and writings by use of a variety of media formats and languages."

                                                                                                                                                   ~ César ~

Saturday, 13 April 2013

The MGM's Lion

I saw this picture and I just had to post it here.
It shows how one of the most iconic image from cinema was made.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Helen Keller

Helen Adams Keller (June 27, 1880 June 1, 1968) was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. The story of how Keller's teacher, Anne Sullivan, broke through the isolation imposed by a near complete lack of language, allowing the girl to blossom as she learned to communicate, has become widely known through the dramatic depictions of the play and film The Miracle Worker. Her birthday on June 27 is commemorated as Helen Keller Day in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania and was authorized at the federal level by presidential proclamation by President Jimmy Carter in 1980, her 100th birthday. A prolific author, Keller was well-travelled and outspoken in her convictions. A member of the Socialist Party of America and the Industrial Workers of the World, she campaigned for women's suffrage, labor rights, socialism, and other radical left causes. She was inducted into the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame in 1971.

                                                                                                                                                   ~ César ~

Dame Rebecca West

Dame Cicely Isabel Fairfield (21 December 1892 – 15 March 1983), DBE, better known as Rebecca West, or Dame Rebecca West, was an English author, journalist, literary critic and travel writer. A prolific, protean author who wrote in many genres, West was committed to feminist and liberal principles and was one of the foremost public intellectuals of the twentieth century. She reviewed books for The Times, the New York Herald Tribune, the Sunday Telegraph, and the New Republic, and she was a correspondent for The Bookman[disambiguation needed]. Her major works include Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (1941), on the history and culture of Yugoslavia; A Train of Powder (1955), her coverage of the Nuremberg trials, published originally in The New Yorker; The Meaning of Treason, later The New Meaning of Treason, a study of World War II and Communist traitors; The Return of the Soldier, a modernist World War I novel; and the "Aubrey trilogy" of autobiographical novels, The Fountain Overflows, This Real Night, and Cousin Rosamund. Time called her "indisputably the world's number one woman writer" in 1947. She was made CBE in 1949, and DBE in 1959, in recognition of her outstanding contributions to British letters.

                                                                                                                                                   ~ César ~

Sunday, 7 April 2013

"I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it."

All hail our Ford!

So, I know that we are studying the 1920-1940 periods. But, since we were talking about film critics the other day, I thought it was only fitting to acknowledge the death of one very important (and funny) American film critic: Roger Ebert.
Roger Ebert, who passed away on April 4th at the age of 70, was a journalist, film critic and screenwriter. He wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times for over 40 decades and won the Pulitzer Prize Criticism in 1975. He published more than 20 books and a lot of collections of reviews. He was also an advocate for disability rights, a recovering alcoholic, a memoirist and a regular contributor to the New Yorker’s cartoon caption contest. Man, this guy was busy!
Along with Gene Siskel, Ebert helped popularize film reviewing with the shows Sneak Previews and At the Movies. They also coined the expression “Two Thumbs Up”, for when both critics gave the same film a positive review (which, as I gather, was not often). In 2005, Ebert was the first film critic to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 2002, Ebert was diagnosed with cancer of the thyroid and salivary glands. Later he became unable to speak and ear due to complications in surgery. However, he continued to write in print and online, since he could no longer host shows.
His final published reviews were for The Hostand From Up on Poppy Hill, which got a 2.5 out of 4. He reviewed Terrence Malick’s To the Wonder, but it wasn’t published.
Ebert also compiled "best of the year" movie lists beginning in the 1960s, which helped provide an overview of his critical preferences. Last year’s choice was (unsurprisingly) Argo.
He is considered by many one of the best and most important film critics in America. Here is what George R.R. Martin (of course I had to mention him at some point in this blog!) said about Roger Ebert:
“Roger (somehow I think of him as 'Roger,' not 'Ebert,' though I never met him in the flesh, and spoke to him only once, by telephone, in the early 1970s when both of us were young and dinosaurs roamed the earth) has been my favorite film critic since forever. I did not always agree with him, but I always found him insightful and fun to read. He was not just a terrific critic, he was a terrific WRITER.
He was One of Us too. A fan, and an SF fan at that. In his youth, he wrote for fanzines, and he even published a few short SF stories in Ted White's AMAZING and FANTASTIC along about the same time I was publishing in those selfsame magazines. If he had not gone on to be the world's best film critic, he might well have been a successful SF writer.
A brilliant man, a good life. I give him two thumbs up.”

He was also an extremely funny man. Some of his comments on the films he HATED are delightful. I leave you here with a few of them:
Armageddon, one star. OK, say you do succeed in blowing up an asteroid the size of Texas. What if a piece the size of Dallas is left? Wouldn't that be big enough to destroy life on Earth? What about a piece the size of Austin? Let's face it: Even an object the size of that big Wal-Mart outside Abilene would pretty much clean us out, if you count the parking lot.
The Brown Bunny, zero stars. I had a colonoscopy once, and they let me watch it on TV. It was more entertaining than The Brown Bunny. (When the movie’s director responded by mocking Ebert’s weight, Ebert said, “It is true that I am fat, but one day I will be thin, and he will still be the director of The Brown Bunny.")
Jason X, half star. "This sucks on so many levels." Dialogue from "Jason X"; rare for a movie to so frankly describe itself. "Jason X" sucks on the levels of storytelling, character development, suspense, special effects, originality, punctuation, neatness and aptness of thought.

Mad Dog Time, zero stars. "Mad Dog Time" is the first movie I have seen that does not improve on the sight of a blank screen viewed for the same length of time. Oh, I've seen bad movies before. But they usually made me care about how bad they were. Watching "Mad Dog Time" is like waiting for the bus in a city where you're not sure they have a bus line.... "Mad Dog Time" should be cut into free ukulele picks for the poor.
Spice World, half star. Spice World is obviously intended as a ripoff of A Hard Day's Night which gave The Beatles to the movies...the huge difference, of course, is that the Beatles were talented--while, let's face it, the Spice Girls could be duplicated by any five women under the age of 30 standing in line at Dunkin' Donuts.

Good Luck Chuck, one star. There is a word for this movie, and that word is: Ick.
Freddy Got Fingered, zero stars. This movie doesn't scrape the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't below the bottom of the barrel. This movie doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels.

 His tweets are also something different (through Buzzfeed):
·         After 3D re-re-re-release, George Lucas plans to bring "Star Wars" to radio, vaudeville, puppet shows and medieval pageant.
·         One man, one wife, says Romney--whose great-grandfather had five wives, and great-great-grandfather had 12.
·         Trump: How did Obama get into Harvard? Me: How did Bush get into Yale? Why didn't Trump get into the Hair Club for Men?
·         Sarah Palin rummages online frantically erasing her rabble-rousing Tweets like a Stalinist trimming non-persons out of photos.
·         Self-help books are bullshit. Read a good book. That'll help you.
Don't forget to be awesome,
Sara Santos

PS: There is this really good website called mental_floss. It has all sorts of fun fact stuff about all areas of culture: HISTORY, LITERATURE, FILMS, TV SERIE, PRESIDENTS, LANGUAGE, BRAINY GAMES, and SCIENCE!
Like, did you know the expression OMG was first used in a letter to Winston Churchill in 1917?
Or if you are really interested in theories on Parallel Universes...(Spoiler: there are no scientific experiments to support any of the current theories!)

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Le Ballet Mécanique(1924)

Ladies and Gentlemen may I present you: Le Ballet Mécanique by Fernand Léger

Fernand Léger was a French artist. His work ranges from Cubism and abstractionism in the 1910s to realist imagery in the 1950s.

This film made in 1924 demonstrates the concern with the mechanical world.



The Shape of Things to Come


I was going through the blog and I noticed that we haven’t really touched on one of the most interesting themes (by interesting I actually mean cool! But cool is too informal.) of the early 20th century: SCIENCE FICTION! (cue 2001: A Space Odyssey score)

Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels is considered the first truly scientific work of literary fantasy, along with Voltaire’s Micromégas (1752) and Kepler’s Somnium (1620-30). In fact, authors (and also awesome brainiacs) Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov call Kepler’s narrative the first work of science fiction.
In the 19th century, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and The Last Man, along with Edgar A. Poe’s story about a trip to the moon helped define the form of the science fiction novel. In the second half of the century, Jules Verne (one of the gods in my pagan temple) earned the title of “Father of Science Fiction” (a title shared with H.G. Wells – yet another god in my temple – and Hugo Gernsback, founder of the pioneering sci-fi magazine Amazing Stories – the famous Hugo Awards, presented annually by the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) have been named after this guy) with works like Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, From the Earth to the Moon and Around the Moon.
However, the early 20th century was the period when sci-fi started to be recognized as an actual literary genre with two very important sci-fi authors: H.G.Wells and Edgar Rice Burroughs.
American author Edgar Rice Burroughs (September 1, 1875 – March 19, 1950) was the creator of a number of series depicting life on other planets, namely Venus (starting with Pirates of Venus in 1934) and Mars (who hasn’t heard of John Carter of Mars?), but also at the Earth’s core, such as the Pellucidar Series. His most famous series are the Barsoom Series (starting with Princess of Mars in 1912 and ending with John Carter in 1964) and the Tarzan Series (starting with Tarzan of the Apes in 1912 and ending with Tarzan and the Castaways in 1965). He was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2003.
H.G. Wells (21 September 1866 – 13 August 1946) introduced a new perspective into sci-fi literature, weaving together technological advancement and socio-political views. His stories often come embedded with a kind of warning to the human perpetual hunger for progress and control over nature (The Island of Doctor Moreau being the most flagrant example in this particular case). Wells dubbed himself a socialist (for a while he was a member of the Fabian Society) and his views as such are reflected in the stories he wrote: class and inequality are present in The Time Machine, where humanity is divided into two groups, the rich, who have reverted back to a natural state as childlike adults (Eloi=leisured classes), and the ape-like troglodytes who live in darkness underground and surface only at night (Morlocks=working class).
Men Like Gods (1923) features a utopia located in a parallel universe, where Marxism is denounced and wireless internet is described. The Shape of Things to Come (1933) is set between 1933 and 2106; in this book, Wells predicts the WWII breaking out with a European conflagration from the flashpoint of a violent clash between Germans and Poles at Danzig in January 1940 and establishes a world state as the solution for mankind’s problems. Although Wells’ most famous works have been written prior to the 20th century, he went on contributing to science fiction until 1941, not just with fiction but also with non-fictional books, thus earning a place in our class discussion.

H.G.Wells’ beliefs and their influence in his works is a very interesting subject for those who are (like me) die-hard sci-fi worshippers. Matters such as class, socialism, Zionism, Eugenics, world government, Darwinism and evolution, can be spotted throughout most of his stories. I should warn H.G.Wells’ beginners that his books are not an easy read: they are very descriptive and full of ideologies which may clash with common understanding. But they are worth poring over.
…And don’t think you can learn as much by watching Spielberg’s War of the Worlds. The only thing he managed to get right was the tripod-shaped aliens.

Now go play some board games.

Don’t forget to be awesome,
Sara Santos.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Boardwalk Empire

"Boardwalk Empire is an American television series from premium cable channel HBO, set in Atlantic City, New Jersey during the Prohibition era (1920s and 1930s). It stars Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson. The show was adapted by Emmy Award-winning screenwriter and producer Terence Winter (of The Sopranos) from a book about historical criminal kingpin Enoch L. Johnson by Nelson Johnson, titled Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City.

The pilot episode, directed by Martin Scorsese, was produced at a cost of $18 million. On September 1, 2009, HBO picked up the series for an additional 11 episodes. The series premièred on September 19, 2010. The series was renewed for a third season, which premièred on September 16, 2012. On October 2, 2012, HBO announced that the series was renewed for a fourth season.

Boardwalk Empire has received widespread critical acclaim, particularly for its visual style and basis on historical figures, as well as for Buscemi's lead performance. The series has won twelve Emmy Awards and has received 30 nominations, including two for Outstanding Drama Series. The series also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama."

You can easily stream or download it from here (All episodes averaging 150Mb in size):
                                                                                                                                                                  ~ César ~

Monday, 25 March 2013

First Lady of the World

"Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (/ˈɛlɨnɔr ˈroʊzəvɛlt/; October 11, 1884 – November 7, 1962) was the longest-serving First Lady of the United States, holding the post from 1933 to 1945 during her husband Franklin D. Roosevelt's four terms in office. President Harry S. Truman later nicknamed her the "First Lady of the World" in tribute to her human rights achievements."

"Born into a wealthy and well-connected New York family, the Roosevelts, Eleanor had an unhappy childhood, suffering the deaths of both parents and one of her brothers at a young age. At 15, she attended Allenwood Academy in London, and was deeply influenced by feminist headmistress Marie Souvestre. Returning to the US, she married Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1905. The Roosevelts' marriage was complicated from the beginning by Franklin's controlling mother, and after discovering Franklin's affair with Lucy Mercer in 1918, Eleanor resolved to seek fulfillment in a public life of her own. She persuaded Franklin to stay in politics following his partial paralysis from polio, and began to give speeches and campaign in his place. After Franklin's election as Governor of New York, Eleanor regularly made public appearances on his behalf."

"Though widely respected in her later years, Roosevelt was a controversial First Lady for her outspokenness, particularly for her stands on racial issues. She was the first presidential spouse to hold press conferences, write a syndicated newspaper column, and speak at a national convention. On a few occasions, she publicly disagreed with her husband's policies. She launched an experimental community at Arthurdale, West Virginia for the families of unemployed miners, later widely regarded as a failure. She advocated for expanded roles for women in the workplace, the civil rights of African Americans and Japanese Americans, and the rights of World War II refugees."

"Following her husband's death, Eleanor remained active in politics for the rest of her life. She pressed the US to join and support the United Nations and became one of its first delegates. She served as the first chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights, and oversaw the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Later she chaired the John F. Kennedy administration's Presidential Commission on the Status of Women. By her death, she was regarded as "one of the most esteemed women in the world" and "the object of almost universal respect". In 1999, she was ranked in the top ten of Gallup's List of Most Widely Admired People of the 20th Century."
                                                                                                                                                                    ~ César ~

Sunday, 24 March 2013

A Thought Provoking Woman

"Charlotte Perkins Gilman (July 3, 1860 – August 17, 1935) was a prominent American sociologist, novelist, writer of short stories, poetry, and nonfiction, and a lecturer for social reform. She was a utopian feminist during a time when her accomplishments were exceptional for women, and she served as a role model for future generations of feminists because of her unorthodox concepts and lifestyle. Her best remembered work today is her semi-autobiographical short story The Yellow Wallpaper which she wrote after a severe bout of postpartum psychosis."

"After moving to Pasadena, Charlotte became active in organizing social reform movements. As a delegate, she represented California in 1896 at both the Suffrage Convention in Washington, D.C. and the International Socialist and Labor Congress which was held in England. In 1890, she was introduced to Nationalism, a movement which worked to "end capitalism's greed and distinctions between classes while promoting a peaceful, ethical, and truly progressive human race." Published in the Nationalist magazine, her poem, Similar Cases was a satirical review of people who resisted social change and she received positive feedback from critics for it. Throughout that same year, 1890, she became inspired enough to write fifteen essays, poems, a novella, and the short story The Yellow Wallpaper. Her career was launched when she began lecturing on Nationalism and gained the public's eye with her first volume of poetry, In This Our World, published in 1893. As a successful lecturer who relied on giving speeches as a source of income, her fame grew along with her social circle of similar-minded activists and writers of the feminist movement."

Other quotations:
“The first duty of a human being is to assume the right functional relationship to society -- more briefly, to find your real job, and do it.”

“There was a time when Patience ceased to be a virtue. It was long ago.”

“To swallow and follow, whether old doctrine or new propaganda, is a weakness still dominating the human mind.”

"It is not that women are really smaller-minded, weaker-minded, more timid and vacillating, but that whosoever, man or woman, lives always in a small, dark place, is always guarded, protected, directed and restrained, will become inevitably narrowed and weakened by it."

"The softest, freest, most pliable and changeful living substance is the brain -- the hardest and most iron-bound as well."

"A house does not need a wife any more than it needs a husband."
                                                                                                                                                   ~ César ~

George Bernard Shaw

"George Bernard Shaw (26 July 1856 – 2 November 1950) was an Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama, and he wrote more than 60 plays. He was also an essayist, novelist and short story writer. Nearly all his writings address prevailing social problems, but have a vein of comedy which makes their stark themes more palatable. Issues which engaged Shaw's attention included education, marriage, religion, government, health care, and class privilege."

"He was most angered by what he perceived as the exploitation of the working class. An ardent socialist, Shaw wrote many brochures and speeches for the Fabian Society. He became an accomplished orator in the furtherance of its causes, which included gaining equal rights for men and women, alleviating abuses of the working class, rescinding private ownership of productive land, and promoting healthy lifestyles. For a short time he was active in local politics, serving on the London County Council. In 1898, Shaw married Charlotte Payne-Townshend, a fellow Fabian, whom he survived. They settled in Ayot St Lawrence in a house now called Shaw's Corner. Shaw died there, aged 94, from chronic problems exacerbated by injuries he incurred by falling from a ladder."

"He is the only person to have been awarded both a Nobel Prize in Literature (1925) and an Oscar (1938), for his contributions to literature and for his work on the film Pygmalion (adaptation of his play of the same name), respectively. Shaw wanted to refuse his Nobel Prize outright because he had no desire for public honours, but accepted it at his wife's behest: she considered it a tribute to Ireland. He did reject the monetary award, requesting it be used to finance translation of fellow playwright August Strindberg's works from Swedish to English."
                                                                                                                                                   ~ César ~

Maslow vs Freud

These two were not creators of art, but were two of the most successful in the field of Psychology, true interpreters of human behavior and personality.

It's impossible to actually quantify their influence in society and the arts, but you need only to grasp a bit of what their theories were all about to realize their influence has been massive.

"Sigmund Freud (German pronunciation: [ˈziːkmʊnt ˈfʁɔʏt]; born Sigismund Schlomo Freud; 6 May 1856 – 23 September 1939) was an Austrian neurologist who became known as the founding father of psychoanalysis." 

"In creating psychoanalysis, a clinical method for treating psychopathology through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst, Freud developed therapeutic techniques such as the use of free association (in which patients report their thoughts without reservation and in whichever order they spontaneously occur) and discovered transference (the process in which patients displace on to their analysts feelings derived from the sexual experiences and fantasies of their childhood), establishing its central role in the analytic process. Freud’s analysis of his own and his patients dreams as wish-fulfilments provided him with models for the clinical analysis of symptom formation and the mechanisms of repression as well as for further elaboration of his theory of the unconscious as an agency disruptive of conscious states of mind. Freud postulated the existence of libido, an energy with which mental process and structures are invested and which generates erotic attachments, and a death drive, the source of repetition, hate, aggression and guilt. In his later work Freud drew on psychoanalytic theory to develop a wide-ranging interpretation and critique of religion and culture."

"Abraham Harold Maslow (April 1, 1908 – June 8, 1970) was an American psychologist who was best known for creating Maslow's hierarchy of needs, a theory of psychological health predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualization. Maslow was a psychology professor at Brandeis University, Brooklyn College, New School for Social Research and Columbia University. He stressed the importance of focusing on the positive qualities in people, as opposed to treating them as a "bag of symptoms."

Maslow's hierarchy of needs
File:Maslow's hierarchy of needs.svg

"Humanistic psychologists believe that every person has a strong desire to realize his or her full potential, to reach a level of "self-actualization". The main point of that new movement, that reached its peak in 1960s, was to emphasize the positive potential of human beings. Maslow positioned his work as a vital complement to that of Freud"

"It is as if Freud supplied us the sick half of psychology and we must now fill it out with the healthy half."

"To prove that humans are not simply blindly reacting to situations, but trying to accomplish something greater, Maslow studied mentally healthy individuals instead of people with serious psychological issues. He focused on self-actualising people. Self-actualizing people indicate a coherent personality syndrome and represent optimal psychological health and functioning."

"This informed his theory that a person enjoys "peak experiences", high points in life when the individual is in harmony with himself and his surroundings. In Maslow's view, self-actualized people can have many peak experiences throughout a day while others have those experiences less frequently."

"Maslow based his theory partially on his own assumptions about human potential and partially on his case studies of historical figures whom he believed to be self actualized, including Albert Einstein and Henry David Thoreau. Consequently, Maslow argued, the way in which essential needs are fulfilled is just as important as the needs themselves. Together, these define the human experience. To the extent a person finds cooperative social fulfillment, he establishes meaningful relationships with other people and the larger world. In other words, he establishes meaningful connections to an external realityan essential component of self-actualization. In contrast, to the extent that vital needs find selfish and competitive fulfillment, a person acquires hostile emotions and limited external relationships—his awareness remains internal and limited."
                                                                                                                                                   ~ César ~

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Déjà entendu

Hello, Everybody!
(Now imagine this greeting in the voice of Dr. Nick from The Simpsons)

So, I know that you probably do not want to hear about any more of that “folk stuff” from last class. However, for those who may be interested in getting to know this side of American music a little bit better, I am posting two videos: the first one is the 16-minute documentary by Alan Lomax (it is really good, because you get an overview of how folk came to be); the second video is a recording taken from a documentary about Lomax, where you can see how music was an important element in the lives of prison-farm workers.

Also, for those who may want to get acquainted with folk music but do not want to dwell too much on the past, there are some really good folk/indie folk/folk rock musicians which you can listen to. Here is a small list (I am sure you know most of these names anyway, because they are kind of famous):
  • Ani DiFranco
  • Bon Iver (although Bon Iver is considered indie folk, I have serious doubts about it, but check it out anyway. It is awesome! Holocene)
  • Damien Rice (IRISH!)
  • The Decemberists
  • Devendra Banhart (Venezuelan-American musician)
  • Don McLean (American Pie)
  • Fleet Foxes
  • Great Lake Swimmers (Canadian folk rock)
  • The Head and the Heart (indie folk-pop)
  • Iron & Wine
  • The Lumineers (Stubborn Love)
  • The Mountain Goats (This Year)
  • Mumford and Sons (English, but too good not to mention)
  • Noah & the Whale
  • Of Monsters and Men (Icelandic indie folk: yup, it’s a thing)
  • Steve Earle (The Galway Girl)
Now go and enjoy your Easter Holidays.
And, you know...
Don't forget to be awesome,
Sara Santos.