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10 Fascinating Art Forms You’ve Never Heard Of

Art is a concept that people spend their lives trying to pin down. Many come to the conclusion that art cannot be defined. Others claim to have developed a narrow and precise conception of what art really is. Regardless of art’s true definition, artists, art critics and art students alike can agree that it comes in all different forms. An art form is the specific shape or quality an artistic expression takes — for example, some of the most common ones are painting and drawing. What you use to make a piece of art typically helps to determine what form you work within. The world of artistic expression is limitless — you can take nearly anything and turn it into a beautiful work. These 10 fascinating art forms are unique and exciting ways to explore new realms of artistic expression.

  1. Sticky Note Art: Sticky notes have become a dynamic medium for artistic expression. From vibrant neon pink to classic yellow, sticky notes offer a beautiful array of color and contrast for any artist. Several artists have employed sticky notes in many different artistic genres. While some use sticky notes to add color and vibrancy to sculptures they’ve designed, others use them in performance art pieces, requesting audience participation with writing on the notes. The uniform square shape translates well to creating pixilated-like portraits (such as the one featured above). In whatever way they are used, sticky notes are a creative and colorful way to express oneself through art.
  2. Sand Animation Art: As an art form that cannot be preserved, sand animation is extremely interesting and unique. While most art pieces are meant to outlast their creators, sand art disappears and evolves within mere moments. An artist working within this form creates a series of images by drawing lines and figures with one’s hands in the sand. A sand animator typically utilizes an overhead projector or light board to display their art within the sand. Sand animation is in constant movement and is, therefore, extremely interactive. The audience watches as the images take shape, become masterpieces, and eventually get swept away into something new.
  3. Fumage: Simply put, Fumage is a way of painting with smoke. Originating in the 1900s, Fumage is a technique that many famous artists have employed. An artist uses the smoke from the flame of a candle, match, or kerosene lamp to develop different impressions upon a surface. Fumage creates an airy and fluid appearance. Many artists use this effect to add movement and life to landscape scenes or their depictions of living creatures. Jennifer Kincaid, an artist currently using Fumage in her artwork, creates images with the shapes and designs accidently created by smoke.
  4. Sound Art: Focused on creating visual art that produces sound, sound artists create a wide variety of pieces. Most Sound Art pieces come in the form of installation, sculpture, or performance. Because Sound Art interacts with both the audience’s visual and auditory senses, it has the amazing ability to illuminate and explore the distinct relationship between vision, hearing, and perception. Some Sound artists construct sculptures that have sounds powered by wind, while others create artistic experiences that fuse sound and visual art.
  5. Batik: Similar to the technique of tie dying, Batik is an ancient form of textile coloring, involving natural dyes and wax. In many ways, Batik is the opposite of painting. An artist applies wax to the areas of cloth that he or she does not want color to appear. The cloth is then soaked in dye, where color adheres to all areas of the fabric that do not have wax on them. Batik fabrics have been wildly popular both as clothing and as fine art.
  6. Futuristic Art: As technology continues to develop and expand, everyday more and more material becomes outdated. Several artists have begun collecting this material and making it into something new. Deemed "archeologists" of the modern world, these artists use computer parts and electronic equipment to design creative and unique sculptures. Futuristic Art gives new existence to old and outdated electronics, rendering them once again meaningful and alive.
  7. Gourd Art: There are many forms of art that involve taking objects you would not be traditionally thought of as art and transforming them in to creative masterpieces. Gourd art involves creating works of art by painting, carving, and cutting dried gourd shells. While this medium may sound strange, it is a tradition that dates back to ancient African and Asia as well as several Native American tribes.
  8. Rock Painting: Like gourd art, rock painting involves taking something found in nature and changing the ordinary into something memorable and unique. Artists throughout the world use river rocks and stone as their canvas. Many artists use rock art as a way to demonstrate the natural beauty and rich history the place in which they live holds.
  9. Rock Sculptures: Another art form involving ordinary natural objects, rock sculptures are thought to physically and metaphorically represent balance and stability. Artists take rocks and stones and arrange and stack them in an artful and majestic ways. Rock sculptures are forms of interactive and installation art. Many rock sculptures are constructed in their natural place on a beach or trail and left for the passersby to wonder and enjoy.
  10. Scratchboard Art: You’ve probably seen scratchboard art at some point without really realizing it. Scratchboard art uses a surface (usually cardboard or some other sort of stiff poster board) that is covered first with a layer of hard white chalk (and sometimes colored chalk) and then painted over with black ink. An artist will use some sort of sharp tool, such as a knife or stylus, to scratch off the black paint and reveal white marks. Because an artist using scratchboard develops their picture with white marks rather than black marks they must create their picture backwards. The process sounds complicated, but is really quite simple to understand. Scratchboard art develops highly detailed pieces with gripping movement and precision.

10 TV Shows That Were Defined By Their Cities

It takes more than just a few establishing shots to make a city come alive on TV; it takes time, effort, and a determination to make the setting as much a part of the story as the human characters. Some of the most memorable TV series in recent history were defined by their cities in a huge way. A good way to tell how big a role a given city plays in a TV show is to imagine the story taking place somewhere else; if the move seems impossible or even just weird, or if it would fundamentally change the nature of the stories, chances are the show is one that was totally married to its location. Some of the cities aren’t even real, but they’re still woven into the identity of their series. These 10 TV shows are by no means an exhaustive round-up of those types of series (or cities, for that matter, since New York gets recycled a few times), but they are some of the best examples of how to mix story and setting to create something unique.

  1. Taxi: The use of taxis alone pretty much relegates this TV show to the Northeast, but it was the brilliant mix of New York citizens that gave the show its charm. The comedy won 18 Emmy Awards over five seasons, and though it was anchored by Judd Hirsch’s morose Alex Rieger, it boasted supporting turns by Danny DeVito as the gleefully offensive fireplug Louie De Palma and Christopher Lloyd as ex-hippie burnout Reverend Jim. The show was a brilliant, ragged-edge comedy about a group of taxi drivers who wanted to be doing anything else with their lives than driving other people around Manhattan, and the city’s metropolitan yearnings became as much a part of the show’s vibe as anything else.
  2. The Wire: There are great TV shows, and then there is The Wire. The drama from David Simon ran for five seasons on HBO, missing out on awards but earning viewers through word of mouth and sheer power. Set in Baltimore, the series begins by detailing the drug war there but soon expands to discuss immigration, education, politics, and the media, all filtered through the lives of characters cobbled from actual city residents. The location shooting went even further to establishing the show’s look and feel. It’s impossible to imagine the show set anywhere else.
  3. Sex and the City: Although its reputation has since been tarnished by a pair of movies that were not, to put it kindly, well-received by critics, Sex and the City the TV series was a pop culture phenomenon that owed some of its success to the way it deftly explored relationships from the perspective of a modern New Yorker. Everything about Carrie Bradshaw and her friends could only happen in New York: the food, the neighborhoods, the shops, and the overall tone of day camp for grown-ups is pure Manhattan. In L.A., the show would be D.O.A.
  4. Mad Men: Mad Men isn’t just about the golden age of Madison Avenue; it’s a throwback to a sleek, bygone New York that’s made as much of nostalgia as history. The AMC drama compellingly re-creates 1960s-era New York right down to the cars and costumes, and that allure of a city that maybe never existed in the first place is a big part of what spurs people to watch.
  5. Veronica Mars: The short-lived teen drama hopped from UPN to The CW before being canceled after three-low rated seasons, but the cult hit was beloved for its strong writing and engaging characters. One of those characters was the city itself where the action took place: the fictional Neptune, California, a town divided into clear-cut classes of rich and poor. The rivarly between the haves and the have-nots fueled most of the indivual story lines while also coloring the larger arcs that dealt with conspiracies, disappearances, and murder. Neptune isn’t real, but it nevertheless defined the series.
  6. The Simpsons: The Simpsons has never just been about Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie: it’s about Springfield itself, and all its bizarre residents. Defiantly existing everywhere and nowhere, Springfield is a cartoony town that’s alternately close to the desert, mountains, ocean, or whatever else the story calls for. If the show were set in the real world, or even a more realistic fake one, it wouldn’t have a fraction of the charm.
  7. Seinfeld: Seinfeld may have masked its most famous exterior shots — like the way it only showed the "Restaurant" portion of the Tom’s Restaurant sign — but the show was New York through and through. Entire plot lines revolved around NYC transportation, taxis, parking, movie theaters, dining experiences, plays, musicals, you name it. When Jerry and George take a trip to L.A., they’re noticeably out of their element. (Too many cars, too much sunshine.)
  8. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Creator Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer started life as a movie set in Los Angeles, but the TV show shifted the action to the fictional Sunnydale, California. This wasn’t just for the sake of convenience (or to make it easier to shoot on a back lot); the town of Sunnydale was located on top of what the series called a "Hellmouth," a kind of gateway between worlds that would conveniently create monsters for the heroine to fight. As a result, Sunnydale became inextricably tied to the show’s identity and vibe, gaining so much character that people on the show would joke about the city’s problem with monsters. It’s fitting, then, that the end of the series culminated in (spoiler alert for a show that ended eight years ago) a battle that destroyed the town.
  9. Justified: The FX drama Justified has a lot going for it — including Timothy Olyphant wearing a cowboy hat and shooting bad guys, which is always awesome — including its gritty look at Southern life as defined by the poor citizens and criminals of Harlan, Kentucky. The show rotates settings between Harlan and Lexington, but Harlan’s the hometown of Olyphant’s Raylan Givens, and it’s the small-town vibe that fuels the show. From the accents to the moonshiners, the show is defined by its Southern quirks, and it wouldn’t be the same anywhere else.
  10. Boardwalk Empire: Boardwalk Empire is a chronicle of a changing America during Prohibition and the gangster era, and it takes place in and around Atlantic City, New Jersey, and that city’s infamous boardwalk. Although some of the stories spread out to New York and Chicago, the heart of the show is Atlantic City and its crooked politicians and bent cops. There are plenty of crime stories to tell from the era, but none like this one. Without the boardwalk, there’s no empire.

25 Books Every Cinephile Should Read

There are movie fans; there are film lovers; and then there are cinephiles. Full-on cinephilia is that encompassing passion for movies that grips people of all ages, pushing them to see every movie they can get their hands on, and memorize every scrap of information they can that relates to their love. If you’re a cinephile, you’re probably an avid reader, too; it’s rare to find one who isn’t. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of movie-related books put out every year, but a good portion of them only skate along the surface of movie history and production. They’re not bad books per se, they’re just not at the level needed to satisfy the curiosity and cravings of hard-core movie lovers. That’s where these titles come in. They’re among the best of the best, ranging from in-depth criticism to detailed production diaries, and from sweeping historical narratives to explorations of the modern film scene. Whether you’re an ardent cinephile or a genuine fanatic, you owe it to yourself to check these out.

Film Production

  1. The Devil’s Candy: The Anatomy Of A Hollywood Fiasco, Julie Salamon: The film version of The Bonfire of the Vanities was critically drubbed when it hit theaters in December 1990, and audiences didn’t like it, either: it grossed just over $15 million domestically, compared with its budget of $47 million. (And that doesn’t even count ads.) Julie Salamon, a film critic for The Wall Street Journal, sat in on production from the beginning, and her wide-ranging account offers a fascinating look at how the sausage gets made in Hollywood. As is often the case, a cinematic failure made for an amazing story of what not to do, and the book is a riveting read.
  2. Making Movies, Sidney Lumet: Director Sidney Lumet’s 1996 memoir is as much about the craft of moviemaking as it is his own role in it, and he digs down into every area to discuss the inner workings of artists, writers, costume designers, and pretty much everyone who has a hand in making a movie. Lumet pulls back the curtain and talks frankly about how much of a grind it can be to actually shoot a film. If the pay weren’t so over-the-top, no one would do it.
  3. The Big Picture: Money and Power in Hollywood, Edward Jay Epstein: Edward Jay Epstein has been an investigative writer and reporter since the mid-1960s, when he made waves with a book criticising the Warren Commission. In 2000, he published The Big Picture, a fascinating look at the film industry through the lens of financial acquisition. The book is a great resource for those film lovers who recognize the inherent fickleness of awards and glamour and want to learn more about how the movies they love are actually bought and sold.
  4. Picture, Lillian Ross: Picture deserves a spot on every cinephile’s shelf not merely for its reporting, but for the fact that it was one of the first books to really look behind the veil at Hollywood. Tell-alls and making-ofs are commonplace now, but when Picture came out in 1952, it felt like a revelation. Lillian Ross’ rich book chronicles the making of the 1951 film adaptation of The Red Badge of Courage, and its rightly praised for its accuracy, wit, and the skill with which it explores the personalities that populate the industry.
  5. Final Cut: Art, Money, and Ego in the Making of Heaven’s Gate, the Film That Sank United Artists, Steven Bach: Heaven’s Gate is film industry shorthand for "notoriously expensive flop." The production suffered notorious scheduling and budget overruns, and the shortened cut was met with disastrous reviews. (The director’s cut wouldn’t be widely available until home video.) Steven Bach was a v.p. at United Artists, the film’s producer and distributor, at the time of the project, and his warts-and-all book is like watching a train wreck in slow-motion. The film’s failure winds up pulling UA down with it. It’s a valuable and engaging history lesson from someone who had a front-row seat to the show.
  6. Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood and Screenwriting, William Goldman: William Goldman is a screenwriting legend, with titles like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Princess Bride to his name. Predictably, his memoir shines a helpful light on the writing process and how it plays into the broader production of a film.
  7. Fiasco: A History of Hollywood’s Iconic Flops, James Robert Parish: Rather than just focus on the making of one film, James Parish’s book takes a broader approach to understanding Hollywood’s most notorious flops. As a result, he’s able to capture the real zeitgeist behind the movie industry, which is that success can always be derailed by the perfect storm of ego, ambition, and sketchy financing. A compelling history of movies that Hollywood would just as soon forget.
  8. Understanding Movies, edited by Louis Giannetti: Louis Gianetti’s text is used in classrooms nationwide, and it’s easy to see why. His detailed write-ups of film theory and production make for a fantastic guide to the field, no matter how much knowledge or experience you have. Well-written and genuinely comprehensive.
  9. The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, J.W. Rinzler: J.W. Rinzler’s follow-up to the epic The Making of Star Wars is just as indispensable. In addition to cobbling together dozens of interviews and original sources, Rinzler illustrates how the making of a pop culture phenomenon can take an enormous toll on those responsible for living up to their own high standards and past successes. The book is as much a production diary as an exploration of a moviemaking movement.

Film History

  1. Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-and-Rock ‘N’ Roll Generation Saved Hollywood, Peter Biskind: Peter Biskind has chronicled other Hollywood eras with books like Down and Dirty Pictures (the Sundance era) and Seeing Is Believing (the 1950s). But Easy Riders, Raging Bulls is among his best, chronicling the rise of the movie brat generation and the filmmakers who came of age in the 1970s, including Scorsese, Coppola, and Spielberg. A great look at modern Hollywood history.
  2. Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood, Mark Harris: Entertainment reporter Mark Harris uses the films of 1967 and the Oscar nominees for the spring 1968 ceremony as a springboard for a brilliant examination of the generational divide in mid-century Hollywood as well as the shifting landscape of blockbusters, integration, and production. Compulsively readable.
  3. Film History: An Introduction, Kristin Thompson and David Bordwell: There’s a reason that Thompson and Bordwell’s text is on its third (at least) edition: the writing and analysis are some of the best out there, period, in textbooks or others. Volumes like this can often be a little pricier for the average cinephile, but they’re well worth the investment for the quality of the product.
  4. The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, David Thomson: Critic David Thomson has contributed to The New York Times and Salon, among others, but he’s probably best known in movie-fan circles for his sprawling, opinionated biographical dictionary of film, which summarizes the lives and films of hundreds of stars and creators with a critic’s wit and dismissal. It’s erudite and often hilarious, and it’s as entertaining to read in large sections as it is to look up random actors.
  5. The Studio, John Gregory Dunne: Essayist and novelist John Gregory Dunne covered a lot of ground in his lifetime, and his late-1960s book The Studio highlighted what he could do when he focused his skills on the film industry. The narrative plumbs the depths of 20th Century Fox during the production of films like Doctor Dolittle and Planet of the Apes, and he strips away the glamour to show how brutal the business can be. This would make a great companion read with Harris’ Pictures at a Revolution.
  6. Rebels on the Backlot: Six Maverick Directors and How They Conquered the Hollywood Studio System, Sharon Waxman: The 1990s saw the rise of a generation of filmmakers who managed to stay true to their respective visions while working outside or parallel to the studio system, eventually bringing Hollywood around to their way of thinking. This book from Sharon Waxman (founder of explores the careers of Quentin Tarantino, David Fincher, Steven Soderbergh, and more, making for an insightful look at some still-fresh history.
  7. Naming Names, Victor S. Navasky: The Red Scare’s still a touchy subject in Hollywood; even decades after the HUAC hearings, many stars weren’t willing to forgive Elia Kazan for appearing as a "friendly witness" back in the day, and they refused to stand or applaud when he received an honorary Oscar. Victor Navasky’s skillful book delves into this complicated topic with grace, and it remains one of the best texts for learning more about a contentious period in film history whose effects are still felt today.
  8. Hit & Run, Nancy Griffin and Kim Masters: Jon Peters worked his way up from hairdresser to studio chief, and Hit & Run chronicles the whole insane ride. He and producer Peter Guber managed to squeeze a few hits out at Sony despite having little to no idea how to make a good movie. Peters also tried to get the Superman franchise off the ground, as would be recounted later in a (very NSFW) public talk from Kevin Smith. The book’s a great reminder of how people fail upward in Hollywood.
  9. The Whole Equation: A History of Hollywood, David Thomson: Thomson’s sprawling work dips in and out of different eras in film history in an attempt to synthesize a century of output into one understandable picture, and he gets closer than just about anyone else. Ever opinionated, the author’s mix of personal and professional history makes for a guided tour of cinematic history, and one that’s well worth taking.

Film Criticism

  1. The American Cinema: Directors and Directions, 1929-1968, Andrew Sarris: One of the most noted American film critics of the 20th century, Andrew Sarris championed the auteur theory stateside after its French birth. This iconic volume breaks down sound-era films through the 1960s by director, and it’s required reading for every film lover, theorist, and aspiring critic.
  2. For Keeps, Pauline Kael: If you’re going to read Sarris, you also have to read Kael. Throughout her time with New York Magazine, Kael changed the way people write about movies. She was brilliant and highly opinionated, and she went ten rounds with Sarris over the appropriateness of the auteur theory. A fierce voice that needs to be heard.
  3. Good Scripts, Bad Scripts: Learning the Craft of Screenwriting Through 25 of the Best and Worst Films in History, Tom Pope: Pope’s simple but extremely helpful guide breaks down a variety of screenplays, analyzing their structure, flow, and content to find out why some movies work and others don’t. It’s a great resource for critics and fans of all stripes, especially if you want to try your own hand at writing a screenplay.
  4. Farber on Film: The Complete Film Writings of Manny Farber, edited by Robert Polito: Manny Farber’s life spanned the 20th century, and this mammoth collection of his criticism captures the voice of one of the strongest critics who ever put pen to paper. His most famous (or infamous) essay dealt with "termite art," his term for movies by directors who were able to burrow down into topics in contrast with the bloated "white elephant" films of their colleagues. This book is the first one to collect his work in its entirety.
  5. The Way Hollywood Tells It: Story and Style in Modern Movies, David Bordwell: Author and blogger David Bordwell is no stranger to academia, having penned textbooks and essays for years. This book deals with modern Hollywood and argues that what we consider to be current narrative styles actually have their roots in the movies of 50 years ago. Bordwell’s definitely a name for cinephiles to know, and this book is well worth a read.
  6. Film Theory and Criticism, edited by Leo Braudy: Currently a professor at the University of Southern California, Leo Bruady is sharp mind and able film critic. This selection of essays and arguments cover a wide array of films, theories, and histories, making for a fantastic reference guide and educational tool for anyone interested in the history of film analysis.
  7. Film Noir: An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style, edited by Alain Silver and Elizabeth Ward: This detailed, intense guide to the history of American noir is truly for cinephiles, packed as it is with upper-level lingo and references to a variety of lesser-known films and filmmakers. But that’s what makes it so worthwhile. Real cinephiles are all about digging deeper into genres, history, and movies in general, and this guide was born of that kind of love. A great read for noir lovers and film freaks everywhere.

Top 10 Most Famous Young Fashion Designers

Breaking into the fashion industry is extremely difficult, especially if you’re young and inexperienced. It can take years to develop a portfolio and save up enough money to start your own line, and even longer before anyone notices it. There’s no age limit for becoming a successful fashion designer, but you do need to possess technical skills, design knowledge and be able to showcase an individual style, like these 10 famous young fashion designers have.

  1. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen may be known for their role as Michelle Tanner on the TV series Full House, but these young 24-year-olds have made an even bigger splash as successful fashion designers. The twins began their fashion careers when they launched their namesake clothing line for girls ages 4-14 that is sold exclusively at Wal-Mart stores across America. In 2007, the Olsens launched their contemporary collection, called Elizabeth and James, which features vintage-inspired garments and accessories you’d see in their expanding wardrobe. Then, they created The Row, a critically-acclaimed high-end clothing line that launched in 2010. Their newest venture is the stylish and budget-friendly clothing line called Olsenboye that’s available at JCPenney.
  2. Zac Posen: Zac Posen has had a wildly successful career as a young fashion designer. The 30-year-old designer has dressed everyone from Natalie Portman, Kate Winslet and Gwyneth Paltrow to Jennifer Lopez. His beautiful, feminine garments and streamlined aesthetics have earned him numerous awards and praise in the fashion industry. Posen received formal fashion design education at Parsons The New School for Design, and graduated from the womenswear degree program at the University of the Arts London. After college, Posen showcased his collection in GenArt’s Fresh Faces in Fashion New York show, which helped launch his career and namesake label at 21 years old.
  3. Cecilia Cassini: Cecilia Cassini is living out her dream of becoming a fashion designer at the tender age of 10. This little fashionista holds the title of the youngest fashion designer in the country. Cassini specializes in designing clothes for young girls that are colorful, chic and have a touch of couture. Her one-of-a-kind dresses, skirts and tops are sold at Fred Segal and on her personal web site. Cassini’s namesake label has garnered national attention from fashion designers, celebrities and the media for her impressive designs and inspiring story of success. Since she was four, Cassini has been cutting and putting together clothes, and learned how to sew by practicing on her very own sewing machine.
  4. Kira Plastinina: Kira Plastinina is a Russian fashion designer, whose high-end line called Kira Plastinina Lublu has had international success. Her clothing line is known for its edgy styles and girly flare that features lots of pinks, prints and metallics. Plastinina’s love for fashion began in childhood, when she started drawing beautiful gowns and designing clothes for her dolls. Kira’s father, Sergei Plastinin, made her designer dreams come true when he funded her very own fashion line at 14 years old, making her the world’s youngest fashion designer at that time. Her first store was opened in Moscow, and now she has more than 120 stores worldwide.
  5. Christian Siriano: Christian Siriano is a young fashion designer whose talent was first showcased on the small screen as a contestant and winner of the fourth season of Project Runway. Winning the televised competition enabled Siriano to start his own label. His clothing line, Christian V. Siriano, debuted at New York Fashion Week in 2009 and his fall 2009 collection was picked up by Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and other specialty stores. Since then, Siriano has collaborated with several labels, including Payless, Victoria’s Secret, Puma and LG Group to create a fashion phone.
  6. Marios Schwab: Marios Schwab is a London-based fashion designer who’s known for his strong attention to detail and clever interpretations of natural forms. The young and exciting designer garnered a great deal of attention for his spring/summer 2008 runway collection that featured garments that looked inside out. Schwab’s craftsmanship is truly unique and constantly evolving as he finds new ways to accentuate the female figure. Schwab studied fashion at the Esmod fashion school in Berlin and completed his MA in womenswear fashion at Central Saint Martins. He launched his own label in 2005 and received critical acclaim for the debuted collection.
  7. Ainsley Hansen: Ainsley Hansen is a famous newcomer within the fashion industry. Following her graduation from the Sydney Institute of Technology, Hansen got a job as a stylist for Australia’s Next Top Model. This young Australian designer launched her collection, called Generic Sameness, at the 2009 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week to glowing reviews. Hansen’s line includes traditional pieces with futuristic flare, which she says is inspired by "the progression of globalization." Her ability to combine international trends with hybrid clothing makes her line truly one of a kind.
  8. Roksanda Ilincic: Roksanda Ilincic may be considered a newcomer in the fashion industry, but her collection is well-known among Londoners and her high-profile clients, such as Kate Hudson, Margherita Missoni and Rosamund Pike. Ilincic is known for her avant-garde designs that are both sensible and glamorous. Ilincic graduated from Central Saint Martins and launched her namesake label in London in 2005. Since then, she’s branched out and tried on different looks, but has always stayed true to her hand-sewn trademark.
  9. Phillip Lim: Phillip Lim is a young fashion designer whose line, 3.1 Phillip Lim, has become an instant success. Lim is known for adding a contemporary twist to everyday classics. His chic and individual styles are created for both men and women. Lim found his way into the fashion industry after quitting a job at Barneys in Beverly Hills and landing an internship with Katayone Adeli. Lim eventually launched his own collection with business partner, Wen Zhou, at the age of 31. In 2005, 3.1 Phillip Lim was debuted at New York Fashion Week and received critical acclaim. Since then, Lim has received numerous awards and years of commercial success.
  10. Geren Lockhart: Geren Lockhart is the mastermind behind her fashion line Geren Ford. Lockhart started her brand in 2002 after traveling the world and seeking influence from the art, music and architecture she witnessed. She is known for creating unique, but functional clothing that’s colorful and chic. Lockhart unexpectedly entered the fashion industry after she designed a pair of pants and discovered her passion for fashion. She left her advertising job to study design at Parsons. Her strong attention to detail and practicality for the modern woman has made Lockhart a favorite among critics and customers.

10 Most Influential African-American Film Directors

The African-American filmmakers on this list have spent their lives and careers dealing with a double-edged sword: being a successful black director means some people just want them to make movies, while others want to see them specifically address only the grievances and history of their own race. Finding a balance between the two is tough, and those who’ve pulled it off have done what all skilled directors do: they’ve used their personal history and worldview as a lens through which to project their stories onto American screens. They’re all worth exploring, and they’ve all contributed in major ways to the filmmaking world.

  1. Spike Lee: Easily the most well-known black director working today, as well as one of the most talented and energetic filmmakers of the past 30 years, period. Spike Lee has been making amazing movies since blowing up in 1986 with She’s Gotta Have It. (Trivia: It was Fab Five Freddy’s appearance in that film as a hound and flirt that inspired the lines that became Tone Loc’s hit "Wild Thing." Impress your friends.) His impressive filmography has mined his own life for material as much as what it means to be a black man in today’s America, and Lee’s never shied away from asking tough questions or showing the complicated ways people relate to each other, as in Do the Right Thing. Even his more genre-oriented stuff like the crime thrillers Clockers and Inside Man have used race as a springboard for other issues. He’s pretty much fearless, and he’s a titan of American movie-making who casts a long shadow and has acted as a kind of pioneer for other aspiring African-American directors.
  2. John Singleton: Like Lee, John Singleton blew onto the scene with a dramatic look at modern African-American life in 1991’s Boyz N the Hood, which earned him Oscar nominations for directing and the original screenplay. The film set the tone for much of Singleton’s work and announced that here was a filmmaker willing to take an uncompromising (if melodramatic) look at real, oftem inner-city life. His films have helped shape that genre to a huge degree, from Poetic Justice to the underseen Baby Boy. He also updated The Sons of Katie Elder with the revenge flick Four Brothers. As he’s said, "I want to be a true American filmmaker, in the sense that my films tell stories that can only really happen in America. They aim to speak to the universality of the human experience, but they’re quintessentially American films."
  3. Melvin Van Peebles: Melvin Van Peebles holds a place in filmmaking history largely because of the strength and influence of one movie: 1971’s Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song. (That’s the correct spelling.) He wrote it, produced it, directed it, and starred in it, which in 1971 was a fantastically revolutionary undertaking for an African-American storyteller. He assembled it on a shoe-string budget, landed small distribution, and scored a hit based almost entirely on word-of-mouth buzz. The movie also broke the mold by showing a black anti-hero beating the cops and getting away with it. It was so popular that it ushered in the entire blaxploitation genre, as well as films like Shaft. The film also marked the debut of Melvin’s son, Mario, who would go on to direct a number of films including oneabout his father’s iconic movie.
  4. F. Gary Gray: After cutting his teeth on music videos for songs like Ice Cube’s "It Was a Good Day" and tracks by Cypress Hill, F. Gary Gray jumped to the big screen with the 1995 comedy Friday, which starred Ice Cube and Chris Tucker as a pair of friends in a rundown part of L.A. who have to come up with money for a drug dealer. The sequels weren’t nearly as entertaining or well-received as the original, and it’s probably no coincidence that Gray wasn’t involved in them. Gray continued to explore predominantly African-American stories with Set It Off, though he’s since taken a more mainstream approach with things like Law Abiding Citizen. Still, Friday was pretty much the standard for ’90s-era urban comedies, and it hasn’t been topped since.
  5. Tyler Perry: Tyler Perry is probably better than anyone else at branding. He’s turned his name into a trademark for a type of film and comedy, some of them revolving around the matriarch Medea (played by Perry in drag) but just as many dealing with family issues in well-meaning but occasionally broad strokes. The man’s ridiculously proficient, too: he’s put out at least one film a year since 2005, often writing, directing, producing, and starring in them. He’s a cottage industry unto himself. He’s also expanded his reach into TV, turning one of his films into the TBS series Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, which landed Perry a 100-episode deal (!) worth $200 million (!!) after the pilot episode aired to strong ratings. Perry’s taken his fair share of knocks from filmmakers like Spike Lee who deride his work as "buffoonery," but there’s no denying there’s also an audience for Perry’s stuff. For better or worse, he’s an example of how you can turn yourself into a one-man film store and promotional machine.
  6. The Hughes brothers: Twin brothers Allen and Albert Hughes are not known for their subtlety. Their first two films — Menace II Society and Dead Presidents — were gritty portrayals of violence and black youth, from modern gangs to the criminals of the Vietnam era. After that, the slowed down considerably, helming American Pimp and From Hell before taking almost a decade off before returning with The Book of Eli. Despite the hiatus, they remain staples in the field and some of the most well-regarded filmmakers in their genre.
  7. Gordon Parks: Gordon Parks is mostly remembered today for directing Shaft, and though that film definitely deserves the recognition it gets for its place in pop culture history, Parks was a much more important pioneer than some people realize. In 1969, he wrote and directed The Learning Tree, based on his own semi-autobiographical novel of growing up in a United States plagued with de facto segregation. Distributed by Warner Bros./Seven Arts, the film is noted for being the first major-studio release directed by an African-American. Both Learning Tree and Shaft were eventually selected for preservation in the National Film Registry after the Library of Congress deemed them culturally significant. Parks was also a poet and photographer.
  8. Antoine Fuqua: Antoine Fuqua’s career started slow: mixed in with The Replacement Killers and Bait (which starred Jamie Foxx several years before his critical comeback) were a few straight-to-video offerings of his music video and concert work with Usher and Toni Braxton. But 2001’s Training Day took him to another level, thanks to Denzel Washington’s crazed performance as a crooked cop. The film was rightly praised for its commitment to authenticity: Fuqua shot on location in many gang-run neighborhoods, a decision that would influence other filmmakers and push them to make their crime films similarly realistic.
  9. Carl Franklin: Carl Franklin was an actor long before he made movies, appearing in a variety of TV series from the 1970s through the 1990s. His 1992 film One False Move was originally relegated to video before positive buzz saved it, and he followed that with the gripping neo-noir Devil in a Blue Dress. Franklin’s a talented filmmaker, but he’s also been candid about how he wants to use his race and experience as fuel for his films without letting them define them completely. "I am interested in the universal values of the black experience," he’s said.
  10. Oscar Micheaux: It’s not Oscar Micheaux’s fault that he’s mostly forgotten today, but that doesn’t make it less of a tragedy for such a groundbreaking African-American filmmaker to go unsung. Born in 1884, Micheaux produced and directed dozens of films in his lifetime, and he’s generally regaded as the first black feature filmmaker. His works dealt head-on with what it meant to be black in America at a time when African-Americans were beaten and repeatedly told they were inferior. The silent The Homesteader, his first feature, follows an African-American man who feels torn between his affection for a white woman and his sense of racial loyalty. His films require a careful eye today — race relations in the U.S. having changed pretty drastically in the past 90 years — but there’s no denying his place in filmmaking and African-American history. He’s an influence on all storytellers, whether they know it or not.

10 Things We Couldn’t Do Without Robots

Since the advent of robots, work has been shared between man and machine. But, as robots become more technologically advanced and autonomous, they learn how to do jobs faster and better than humans. Their precision, intelligence and endless energy levels make them the perfect employees for a wide variety of jobs that humans just can’t afford to do. Here are 10 things we couldn’t do without robots:

  1. Military Services: Military robots are some of the most high-tech and important robots used today. These state-of-the-art machines save lives by performing extremely dangerous tasks without endangering humans. Some common robots used by the military are Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) robots, which are capable of examining suspicious packages and surrounding areas to find and even deactivate improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and mines. They can even deliver unexploded ordinance for examination and proper detonation. The military also uses unmanned aerial vehicles for reconnaissance missions, to scope out enemy movements, find hidden explosives and give the Air Force a wide-angle surveillance of their battlespace.
  2. Car Production: Robots are used in the automobile industry to assist in building cars. These high-powered machines have mechanical arms with tools, wheels and sensors that make them ideal for assembly line jobs. Not only do robots save more money in manufacturing costs, but they also perform tough tasks at a pace no human could possibly do. Robots also make car manufacturing safer because they can take on dangerous and difficult jobs in place of humans. Automotive industry robots are capable of performing a wide range of tasks such as installation, painting and welding, and aren’t restricted by fatigue or health risks, therefore making them an incredibly useful and irreplaceable part of car production.
  3. Space Exploration: One of the most amazing areas of robotics is the use of robots in space. These state-of-the-art machines give astronauts the chance to explore space in the most mind-boggling ways. The most commonly used space robots are the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) and the Remote Manipulator System (RMS), which are both used in a variety of space missions. ROVs can be unmanned spacecraft that orbit freely or land when it makes contact with an outer space surface and explore the terrain. Both capture remarkable data and visual footage that would never be humanly possible without the assistance of robots. RMS mechanical arms also help astronauts perform very important and difficult tasks during space missions.
  4. Remote and Minimally-Invasive Surgery: Robot-assisted surgery has truly changed the face of medicine by expanding surgeons’ capabilities in ways no human could. Surgical robots are directed by human surgeons who use a computer console to move instruments attached to robot arms. The surgeon’s movements are translated by a computer and then performed on the patient by the robot. Today’s surgical robots are so advanced that it’s possible for surgeons to perform remote surgery without physically being in the operating room or even in the same country! Robot-assisted surgery has improved the limitations of minimally invasive surgery and has many advantages over traditional open surgery, including greater precision, smaller incisions, less pain and decreased blood loss. Surgical robots, such as the da Vinci Surgical System, are used for gynecologic, colorectal, prostate, throat cancer surgeries, as well as bariatric surgery, angioplasty and bypass surgery.
  5. Underwater Exploration: Underwater robots have radically changed the way we see the world from the ocean floor. Underwater robots can dive longer and deeper than any human, and they provide an up-close look at marine life. These amazing machines are equipped with sensors, high-definition cameras, wheels and other technology to assist scientists when they explore docks, ocean floors, dams, ship bellies and other surfaces. The most common underwater robots used today are the remote-operated vehicles (ROVs) that are controlled by humans sitting in the command center. ROVs are connected by cable to ships and are the best tool for gathering data and images of life under water.
  6. Duct Cleaning: Duct cleaning is done best by a robot that can actually fit into these hazardous and tight spaces. Robots provide a more effective and efficient cleaning than manual brushes. It’s also safer for industrial and institutional markets to use robots because workers are not exposed to harmful chemicals or enzymes that come from dust mites. Duct cleaning robots are used in hospitals and government buildings that may have hazardous or contaminated environments, as well as embassies and prisons for a shorter and more secure cleaning. Using duct cleaning robots translates to quicker, safer, cheaper and more effective duct cleanings without the need of a human.
  7. Fight Crime: Police robots help fight crime without risking the lives of police officers. Law enforcement officers use an array of high-tech and remote-controlled robots that are equipped with front and back cameras, infrared lighting and a speaker to search for criminals and find their location without endangering a police officer. State-of-the-art tools like the Robotex robot is waterproof, can climb stairs and flip itself over and has a 360-degree camera to help catch criminals. Other equipment, such as the Andros F6-A, are used by police agencies during hostage situations. This heavy-duty robot is capable of shooting off a water cannon or weapon in order to detain a criminal and protect those who are in danger.
  8. Fix Oil Spills: As we saw in the 2010 BP oil spill, robots play a critical role in fixing oil spills. Underwater robots are used to explore the well site and interact with the problematic equipment. Engineers use remote-operated vehicles (ROVs) that dive to great depths and stay submerged for much longer than any human ever could. ROVs are remote-controlled submarines that are operated by humans sitting in the command center. These high-tech robots are connected by cable to ships and are used to collect video footage and information from fiber-optic sensors that help engineers better understand the problem and intervene when necessary. ROVs have hydraulic arms with interchangeable tools, such as saws and cutters, which are used for intervention tasks. Even after the well is capped, robots are used to patrol the well site and make sure oil is no longer escaping.
  9. Investigating Hazardous Environments: Robots have become increasingly important for investigating and researching hazardous and dangerous environments. These robots are capable of entering an active volcano to collect data or a burning building to search for victims. Robots such as the Scout Throwable Robot are used by law enforcement agencies and fire departments to help find information about people stuck inside a building, and even have the ability to detect grenades or explosives in the area. These unmanned robots also save lives because they prevent people from having to enter the hazardous environment before they knowing what to expect.
  10. Commercialized Agriculture: Farming has been performed by man since the beginning of time, but throughout the years robots have been introduced to the world of commercial agriculture. Like manufacturing jobs, robots have the ability to work faster, longer and more efficiently than humans in agriculture. Robots remove the human factor from this labor intensive and difficult work. They can be taught to navigate through farmland and harvest crops on their own. Robots can also be used for horticulture needs, such as pruning, weeding, spraying pesticide and monitoring the growth of plants.

9 Unforgettable Oscar Moments

Let’s be honest: the Oscars are almost punishingly long and given to excess. Every year, it feels like the show gets longer and longer, and something always happens to derail the whole procedure. (Usually interpretive dancing, but there are other culprits.) Occasionally, though, the confluence of performers and presenters makes for something genuinely surprising, whether it’s an unplanned breakdown in the show or a chance for an award-winner to get a lot looser than anyone had predicted. Those are the moments that everyone talks about the next day, and the ones that make the whole show worth it.

  1. The Streaker: The 1970s were a weird and mostly terrible time, as evidenced by the fact that streaking took off and became a kind of national pasttime. For reasons unknown, people thought it was the ultimate prank or protest act to run naked across playing fields and public stages. At the 46th Academy Awards in the spring of 1974, a naked dude went screaming by presenter David Niven, who was there to introduce Elizabeth Taylor and the Best Picture category. The audience laughed, particularly at Niven’s dry, witty rejoinder after the streaking: "Isn’t it fascinating to think that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings?" Years later, Oscar business manager Robert Metzler said he believed that the entire stunt had been planned, down to Niven’s ostensibly ad-libbed line. Whatever the case, it was a memorable moment. Only in the ’70s.
  2. Adrien Brody Puts the Moves on Halle Berry: In the spring of 2003, at the 75th Academy Awards, Adrien Brody became the youngest recipient of the Best Actor award in history (he was 29) for his performance in Roman Polanski’s The Pianist. Halle Berry was presenting the award, and the whole thing was chugging along like normal until Brody leaped to the stage and swept Berry up in his arms and kissed her. It’s hard to blame the guy: winning an Oscar before you hit 30 is license to go a little nuts for a few minutes. Brody even nodded to the event the next year when he was presenting the Best Actress statue by taking a hit of breath freshener before reading the winner’s name.
  3. Brando Reinforces Every Weird Rumor About Him: Marlon Brando’s performance in The Godfather was just one of the many iconic roles the big man brought to life. No one’s ever going to argue that point. But Brando was notoriously raisin-cakes off the set, known for being temperamental and demanding. In the spring of 1973, when he won the Best Actor trophy for Godfather, he didn’t even accept the award. Instead, he sent Sacheen Littlefeather, a Native American activist, to speak on his behalf and actually decline his acceptance of the award in protest of the way Native Americans were being treated by the federal government. The guy knew how to make a statement, that’s for sure. Still, the event was stagey (Littlefeather, born Marie Cruz, wore an authentic dress that came off a bit too dramatic), and Brando could probably have made his point better had he shown up to use the soapbox himself.
  4. Elinor Burkett Goes Kanye: At the 82nd Academy Awards in early 2010, Music by Prudence won the Best Documentary Short Subject award. The director, Roger Ross Williams, took the stage to give his speech like normal, but things quickly got weird when he was elbowed aside by a woman named Elinor Burkett. The two had worked on the film until a difference of opinion drove them apart, so when Williams said his thank-yous, Burkett jumped at the chance to get some of the limelight, too. Unfortunately, it looked weird and mean when she clambered to the microphone, and public opinion pretty much unanimously sided with Williams, who had directed the film and was listed as its major creator. The whole bit was incredibly awkward.
  5. Cuba Gooding, Jr. Makes His Mark: Cuba Gooding, Jr. had been appearing in films since the late 1980s, and he broke out in 1991’s Boyz n the Hood, but it was 1996’s Jerry Maguire that turned him into a household name and gave him a catch phrase. When he won Best Supporting Actor at the 69th Academy Awards the following spring, he went adorably bonkers in his acceptance speech, professing his love for everyone and jumping around the stage while refusing to bow out when the music tried to play him off. It was a nice moment, and though Gooding failed to live up to the promise of the award in later days (Boat Trip, anyone?), it was nice to see his work celebrated for a night.
  6. Roberto Benigni Makes Everyone Wonder if They Made the Right Choice: Roberto Benigni’s Life Is Beautiful is a tough sell: setting a wacky comedy in a Holocaust death camp is usually a recipe for disaster. But Benigni pulled it off, and in the spring of 1999 he won the Best Actor trophy for his work. When his name was called, he ran across the theater on the backs of the seats before launching into a heartfelt if often impenetrable acceptance speech. It was just crazy enough to give him a national image of a guy willing to bounce off the walls in any situation, and he never quite found a way to change that perception. He hasn’t made it back to the big race since.
  7. Tom Hanks Blows the Doors Off: Tom Hanks won Best Actor two years running for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump, but it was his acceptance speech for Philadelphia that stole the show that night. Speaking in the spring of 1994, he made a public declaration of his love and admiration for the gay figures who had influenced his life. A speech like that feels normal 17 years after the fact, but at the time, Hanks was bucking some serious public discontent by bringing it up; aside from seeing a few red ribbons, a lot of home viewers probably didn’t want to think about the AIDS crisis. It’s a moving, heartfelt bit of oratory, and a big moment in the public perception of gay men and women.
  8. Chris Rock Takes No Prisoners: The best Oscar hosts are those who don’t particularly feel beholden to any sense of gravitas or prestige when they take the gig, but who instead use their wit to make jokes about the industry and the world at large. Jon Stewart was good at this, and the tag-team of Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin was pretty solid, too. But Chris Rock scorched the earth when he hosted the 77th Academy Awards in 2005. His monologue was pointedly political (this was two years after Michael Moore’s disastrously timed tirade about the war) and willing to take shots at the industry’s racial divide. Unsurprisingly, he hasn’t hosted again since.
  9. Will Ferrell, Jack Black, and John C. Reilly Bring the Joy: Comedies don’t get a lot of love at the Oscars, which is a shame. In a musical number mourning their lack of trophies that proved just how great they are anyway, Will Ferrell, Jack Black, and John C. Reilly joined forces for one of the most entertaining bits in recent Oscar history. It was funny, sweet, and short. These guys should really be allowed to host.

10 Broadway Flops You Probably Blinked and Missed

Cats. Les Miserables. The Phantom of the Opera. These aren’t just Broadway shows; they’re institutions. Les Miz clocked more than 6,600 performances in its Broadway run from 1987-2003, and Cats logged almost 7,500 between 1982 and 2000. Phantom has been running since 1988, for crying out loud, and is showing no signs of stopping as it closes in on 10,000 (!) performances. Those shows are entrenched in pop culture. But there are just as many shows on the other end of the spectrum, plays and musicals that met with disaster and left town as quickly as they arrived. Some were undone by reviews or lack of interest; others fell victim to poor production issues. A few never even properly opened. Their titles aren’t on the tip of anyone’s tongue. They almost feel like dispatches from an alternative universe, but they’re not. These are real Broadway offerings that came and went in the blink of an eye. Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of them:

  1. Carrie: Shockingly, turning a campy horror story about a telekinetic girl who murders her entire high school class on prom night into a Broadway musical was not a good idea. Stephen King’s first novel made the leap to the big screen with Brian De Palma’s creepy 1976 adaptation, but the stage version was a step back for everyone. With a book by Lawrence D. Cohen (who wrote the film’s screenplay) and music by Michael Gore and lyrics by Dean Pitchford (the duo who composed the song "Fame"), the show debuted in a four-week run in England. Technical issues plagued the production from the get-go; for just one example, the fake blood dumped on Carrie kept shorting out her mic, necessitating a rewrite in which she was merely spattered with the stuff. The show made the journey to Broadway in 1988, but audiences and critics were not welcoming. It closed after 16 previews and only five official performances, as backers took their cash and ran. It was one of the most costly flops of its time.
  2. Glory Days: Sometimes things just don’t work out, no matter how hard you try. That’s the lesson learned by the creators of Glory Days, which started life in a Virginia theater and earned decent reviews for its month-long run in early 2008. The show, about four friends from high school who reunite a year after they graduate, got a glowing write up in The Washington Post and moved to Broadway with preview performances beginning in late April and an official opening set for May 6. That opening would be the only official performance for the show, which closed immediately, thanks to harsh New York reviews and "low advance sales".
  3. Breakfast at Tiffany’s: Breakfast at Tiffany’s is renowned for being so bad that it never officially opened. The source material was hot stuff in the 1960s, thanks to the success of Truman Capote’s 1958 story and the 1961 film version that cemented Audrey Hepburn’s role as an icon. So the 1966 musical should’ve been a hit, right? Nope. Despite a book by Edward Albee (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) and music from popular songwriter Bob Merrill (who contributed to everyone’s childhood), the musical was a shambles. Albee was actually the second writer, and he reworked the original book by Abe Burrows almost completely. Constant rewrites meant the show never stayed the same or had a chance to find its rhythm, and the show often ran for four hours. The musical closed after four preview performances.
  4. Dance of the Vampires: This one’s got a weird history. In 1967, Roman Polanski directed a horror-comedy called Dance of the Vampires that was released in the U.S. as The Fearless Vampire Killers. Thirty years later, the story was turned into a German stage musical that premiered in Vienna and ran for three years. That version was well-received and re-created in theaters across the continent. In 1998, plans were made to import the show to Broadway, and this is pretty much where the wheels came off. Jim Steinman — a composer and songwriter probably best known for working with Meat Loaf and penning "Total Eclipse of the Heart" with Bonnie Tyler — was tapped to reshape the music and lyrics, and the new version injected a lot more cheeseball humor. (Steinman at one point compared it to a mix of Mel Brooks and Anne Rice, perhaps not understanding how awful that sounded.) Steinman was also set to direct, though he’d never done so before, and the creative differences among the production team lent the musical a disjointed air. The fall 2001 opening was understandably derailed by 9/11, and after a ridiculous 61 previews, the show officially opened in December 2002. Just shy of two months later, after 56 performances, the plug was pulled. Critics and audiences hated it, and the show became a notorious, fleeting flop. Steinman also shamelessly repurposed "Total Eclipse of the Heart" with minor lyrical changes, too:
  5. Teaneck Tanzi: The Venus Flytrap: Originally staged in London, this play made the jump to Broadway in 1983. The show had been a success in England, so producers assumed and hoped it would make more money stateside. Blondie’s Debbie Harry was cast in the lead role of Tanzi, a woman who becomes a professional wrestler, though she split the role with Caitlin Clarke because of all the real wrestling required. Weirdly, Andy Kaufman co-starred as the referee, likely as a way to play up his own wrestling-inspired antics at the time. Yet the play closed after only one performance. Not a good time for Harry, whose biggest musical hits were behind her, too.
  6. Merrily We Roll Along: Inspired by a 1934 play, this 1981 musical with songs from Stephen Sondheim was a misstep for the composer after the success of Sweeney Todd. The New York tryouts were met with walkouts and scathing reviews, and it took 52 previews before the show officially opened in November 1981. The book by George Furth was cited as problematic, and no one really responded to it. It ran for only 18 performances before shutting down, and though it’s been revived a few times since, the original stands as a testament to the fact that, even with a good creative crew, things can still go totally wrong.
  7. Moose Murders: Arthur Bicknell’s Moose Murders is a farcical mystery that was so rejected by audiences that it opened and closed in the same night. The story revolves around a family and some guests who are trapped in a lodge during a snowstorm and who pass the time playing a murder mystery dinner game that (for reasons probably best left unexplored) leads to attempted incest and a number of real homicides. The play’s reputation soon took on a life of its own, and it remains one of the most notorious turkeys in Broadway history.
  8. A Doll’s Life: What must this pitch meeting have been like? "Hey, Henrik Ibsen is one of the most respected playwrights of all time, and A Doll’s House is a classic. You know what it needs? A sequel!" A Doll’s Life was a meta version of the original play, set behind the scenes at a rehearsal of A Doll’s House and detailing what happened to the main character after the first play ended. The book and lyrics from Betty Comden and Adolph Green (Singin’ in the Rain) were panned, and the show opened and closed in September 1982 after 18 previews and a mere five official performances.
  9. Frankenstein: Maybe audiences were just waiting for the stage version of Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein. In January 1981, a stage version of Frankenstein played one official performance after 29 previews, then abruptly closed. The production was budgeted at $2 million, the most expensive drama in Broadway history at that point; $2 million then is about $4.66 million now. The show was undone by budget issues and stinging reviews, not to mention constant script rewrites. In the end, the show was a lumbering monster that got out of control. Sounds familiar, somehow.
  10. Rachael Lily Rosenbloom (And Don’t You Ever Forget It): Here’s another train wreck that never officially opened. Paul Jabara wrote the music, lyrics, and book, and while that kind of one-man passion project can sometimes work, here it just backfired. After Bette Midler, Jabara’s top choice, passed on the musical, Tom Eyen came in to rewrite the book. When previews began in late November 1973, though, the cast and crew realized that there were just too many problems with the songs and story. (The plot followed a young woman from working in a fish market to being a Hollywood gossip columnist, and the songs were disco-flavored.) The producers ran a small notice in the newspaper on December 1 that the show would be closing before its official opening, which ironically sent demand for preview tickets skyrocketing. It was an ironic hit for a show doomed to failure.

10 Films That Were Disowned By Their Directors

Nobody ever sets out to make a bad movie, but that doesn’t stop them from getting made. Filmmaking is a complicated, contentious process, so much so that the final product is often so far from what the creators intended that they disavow any knowledge or involvement. Sometimes this comes in the form of taking their name off the film itself and using a pseudonym; other times, they just own up to the mistakes and admit that, yes, the finished movie is pretty terrible. No attempt to rationalize the movie can make it any better, so why try? The films on this list range from deply flawed to just about unwatchable, and all of them inspired their directors to publicly disown them via apologies, disclaimers, or fake names hastily appended to the opening credits. They’re worth checking out, if only to see how something so big can go so wrong.

  1. Alien 3: Alien 3 was the first feature film from David Fincher, who got his start doing commercials and music videos. He would go on to make some amazing thrillers and dramas — The Game, Seven, the fantastic Zodiac, The Social Network — but his first film was a remarkably sloppy affair undone by overbearing executives and a troubled production. The script went through multiple drafts before Fincher was brought on board, resulting in a product that lacked focus or vision, and he was also saddled with technicians who were not his first picks. As Fincher would say years later, "There’s nothing worse than hearing somebody say, ‘Oh, you made that movie? I thought that movie sucked,’ and you have to agree with them, you know?" The film met with tepid critical response and brought low a franchise that had been riding high on two sci-fi classics, Alien and Aliens.
  2. American History X: Released to critical acclaim in 1998, American History X got Edward Norton an Oscar nomination for his role as a former neo-Nazi. But director Tony Kaye — another first-time feature helmer — was, by his admnission and the accounts of others, a terror to work with. Kaye objected to cuts and suggestions made by New Line Cinema as well as edits made by Norton, and he was so opposed to the longer version the studio opted to release that he petitioned to have his name removed and replaced with Alan Smithee, an industry psuedonym used by directors and other technicians who want to disassociate themselves from projects after release. His petition was unsuccessful, but he remained passionately opposed to the released version of the film, saying his shorter cut was better. The film’s profile actually raised the public’s awareness of the Smithee name, something that would come to haunt the industry.
  3. Catchfire: This 1990 film was disowned by director Dennis Hopper even before it was released, prompting the use of the Alan Smithee name in place of his own for the director credit. Hopper released a longer version that he liked for cable that was titled Backtrack — equally as vague — but hated the studio’s theatrical cut. Either way, audiences didn’t seem to care for it, and most people forget that it starred Jodie Foster, as well.
  4. The Underneath: Between his stunning debut with Sex, Lies, and Videotape and his late-1990s resurgence with Out of Sight, Steven Soderbergh directed a few films that met with middling reception at best. One of these was 1995’s The Underneath, starring Peter Gallagher (whose presence pretty much dates the film as a ’90s experiment anyway) and based on an old noir novel. The film is mostly forgotten today, in part thanks to Soderbergh’s desire to downplay it, calling it "kind of a mess" that did nothing for his work but help him figure out how to use certain color and light.
  5. Fear and Desire: It doesn’t matter how big a Stanley Kubrick fan you consider yourself to be; you have probably never seen his first feature film, 1953’s Fear and Desire. The war movie met with decent appraisal from critics, but it wasn’t a financial success, and Kubrick quickly distanced himself from the film in terms of tone and content. Years later, upon hearing of a retrospective showing, Kubrick referred to the movie as a "bumbling amateur film exercise"; a little harsh, but then again, the film is indeed markedly below the standard Kubrick would set with Dr. Strangelove, 2001, and The Shining. Bootlegs abound, but there’s never been a legit home video release.
  6. Hellraiser IV: Bloodline: Shockingly, the third sequel to Hellraiser had issues from the get-go. Director Kevin Yagher, primarily (and still) known for his work as a make-up artist, envisioned a dark, graphic film that relied more on plot than the appearance of the creepy Pinhead character that had become the series’ trademark. The movie studio disagreed, and Yagher eventually left the project when his ideas couldn’t match theirs. Director Joe Chappelle was brought in to finish the film, which was credited to Alan Smithee. Yagher returned to make-up work, and future Hellraiser movies were relegated to the straight-to-video market.
  7. Supernova: Credited to "Thomas Lee" instead of real director Walter Hill, Supernova was a stinker that threatened to taint any and all involved. It’s too bad James Spader and Angela Bassett couldn’t use fake names, either. The shlocky sci-fi thriller ropes in everything from aliens to exploding stars, but the end result is just about unwatchable, earning a 10 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
  8. Woman Wanted: Kiefer Sutherland directed this 2000 drama, and watching just one minute makes it easy to see why he disowned it and had his name taken off. It’s almost laughably bad, suffering from a lack of pacing, energy, and interesting story. Theories abound as to just what went wrong — how much of the error is Sutherland’s direction, how much was inserted by the studio or editor — but the bottom line is that it’s just plain bad. Try not to laugh when you watch this:
  9. Solar Crisis: This should have been a cake walk: budget of $55 million, sci-fi action story about a crew trying to save the Earth from the Sun’s impending flare, and a cast featuring (seriously) Charlton Heston. Yet director Richard Sarafian’s name was replaced with the popular Smithee credit, and the film’s theatrical release was almost non-existent. Those are two pretty big indicators that the final product’s a disaster. Thank goodness it’s on Netflix, though, where its infamy will live forever.
  10. An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn: This one is a trip down the rabbit hole. Burn Hollywood Burn was conceived as an industry satire about a director named Alan Smithee who has his movie re-cut by the studio. Smithee then asks to have his name taken off the film, but he learns that the only available alternative is, well, the Alan Smithee pseudonym that’s been used for years. It’s a cute but very inside-baseball premise, but the movie wound up fulfilling its own prophecies when director Arthur Hiller hated the final cut so much that he had his name removed and replaced with — you got it — Smithee. So it’s a movie directed by Alan Smithee about a movie directed by Alan Smithee who wants people to think his movie wasn’t directed by Alan Smithee, but a fake Alan Smithee. Needless to say (for those who are still following all this), the film didn’t do well at all, grossing just over $45,000 on a $10 million budget. The debacle prompted to Hollywood to officially retire the fake name.

10 Artists Not Appreciated in Their Time

Artists don’t always receive the attention and praise they want when they want it. Some of the most beloved and influential artists in history struggled to get their masterpieces noticed and sold during their lifetime, only to become famous after their death. These artists pushed the envelope with unorthodox styles, techniques and genres that were rejected and criticized at the time, but proved to be successful and widely admired later on. Here are 10 artists who were not appreciated in their time:

  1. Vincent Van Gogh: Today, we consider Vincent Van Gogh to be one of the greatest and most influential painters of all time, but that wasn’t the case when he was alive. Van Gogh’s work received little to no recognition during his lifetime. His paintings were often described as being too dark and lacking the bright liveliness seen in Impressionist paintings of the time. Van Gogh produced more than 900 paintings during his lifetime, but only sold one painting, Red Vineyard at Arles. After Van Gogh committed suicide, his brother’s wife collected his artwork and letters to make sure his work was recognized.
  2. Paul Gauguin: Paul Gauguin was an influential 19th century French Post-Impressionist artist who was not well appreciated until after his death. Gauguin was later recognized for his experimental use of colors and synthetist style that was distinguishably different from Impressionism. His work was influential to the French avant-garde and many modern artists, such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Arthur Frank Mathews. Gauguin’s art became popular after his death and many of his painting were in the possession of Russian collector, Sergei Shchukin. Although his paintings are rarely for sale, they could sell for as much as $39.2 million a piece.
  3. Domenikos Theotokopoulos "El Greco": The Greek painter, sculptor and architect was a major influence in the Post-Byzantine art movement, but was highly under appreciated during his lifetime. El Greco was a truly unique artist and one that never belonged to any conventional school. El Greco’s contemporaries found his dramatic and imaginative work to be puzzling. Critics called him a "mad painter" and considered his expressionistic style to be a sign of his insanity. It wasn’t until the 20th century that El Greco received recognition for his fantastic work and artistic influence.
  4. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was a French painter who created groundbreaking artwork during the Post-Impressionism movement, but didn’t receive recognition during his lifetime. His paintings were exciting and provocative, capturing the gaudy Parisian nightlife and people at work. Toulouse-Lautrec was very skilled in depicting people and his paintings often looked more like drawings emphasized by long, thin brushstrokes. One of the reasons Toulouse-Lautrec remained unnoticed was because he lived in brothels for quite some time, painting prostitutes. It wasn’t until after his death in 1901 that his mother, the Comtesse Adele Toulouse-Lautrec, and his art dealer began to promote his art and paid a French museum to house his work.
  5. Georges-Pierre Seurat: Georges-Pierre Seurat was a French Post-Impressionist painter who is best known for his painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. Seurat was a trend-setting artist, who took a scientific approach to painting by using colors to conjure certain emotions and feelings of harmony. He created artwork based on certain techniques using lines, various dark, warm and cold colors at different intensity levels. Seurat even developed Pointillism, a painting technique that uses small dots to form a larger image, which was widely ridiculed by critics. It wasn’t until after Seurat’s death that his creative style and fascinating painting techniques received worthy recognition.
  6. Claude Monet: Claude Monet may have been the leader of the Impressionism movement and is one of the greatest painters of all time, but his unique style and philosophy wasn’t always well understood or well liked. Monet broke the mold when he began painting nature and landscapes, using short brushstrokes and light colors. His work and other Impressionists’ paintings were rejected by society and art exhibitions because it went against the traditional style and method of painting. Impressionism continued to live on past Monet’s death and set the foundation for Post-Impressionism.
  7. Johannes Vermeer: Johannes Vermeer is a Dutch painter who is best known for his domestic interior scenes of middle class life and portraits. Although Vermeer received some recognition during his lifetime, he was never very successful or wealthy, and left his family in debt after his death. Vermeer produced few paintings throughout his career and spent a great deal of time perfecting his work and experimenting with different colors and pigments. After his death, Vermeer was recognized for his 17th century genre pieces and masterful use of light. Today, Vermeer is celebrated as one the best painters of the Dutch Golden Age.
  8. Julia Margaret Cameron: Julia Margaret Cameron was a British photographer who was known for her beautiful Arthurian-themed and celebrity photographs. Cameron had an important influence on modern photography, specifically for her closely cropped portraits, but her work wasn’t always appreciated. During her time, Cameron’s style was often rejected and criticized. It wasn’t until 1948, well after her death, that her photography got noticed and her portraits were praised.
  9. Paul Thek: Paul Thek was a painter, sculptor and installation artist who became best known for his beeswax sculptures and installations that were made to look like meat. Although popular in Europe, Thek struggled to draw visitors to his exhibitions in the U.S. After Thek died of AIDS in 1988, he has slowly but surely gained appreciation in America for his unique sculptures and artistic charm.
  10. Henry Darger: Henry Darger was an American writer and artist who is best known for his drawings, watercolor paintings and fantasy literature. Darger’s most famous piece of work is his fantasy manuscript, titled The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion. However, his whimsical folk art did not garner much attention during his lifetime. The reclusive artist was self-taught and his contemporary style wasn’t always appreciated or recognized. After his death, Darger’s work was praised for its composition and brilliant use of color. He is now considered to be the most famous outsider artists of all time.


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