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Monday, Apr 27, 2015
Although Old Hollywood tried its darnedest to shoehorn great African-American performers as secondary players, in the otherwise blasé Irene, those players steal the show.

The team of producer-director Herbert Wilcox and actress Anna Neagle, who would later marry each other, made many English films and, for RKO, three old-fashioned musicals that revived older American hits to mediocre effect. The first of these, Irene, is now on demand from Warner Archive.


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Monday, Apr 27, 2015
by Timothy Ferris
The Hubble Space Telescope “enhanced the very idea of what we call ‘culture'". See its some of its most popular offerings here.

Excerpted from “Hubble’s Greatest Hits”, by Timothy Ferris. Full article in National Geographic, April 2015, on newsstands now. Copyright © 2015. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Photos courtesy of Zoltan Levay, the imaging team leader at Space Telescope Science Institute and National Geographic. See more photos for this article here on National Geographic.


It didn’t amount to much at first.


Credit: National Geographic

Credit: National Geographic


Launched into orbit aboard the space shuttle Discovery on April 24, 1990, amid flurries of hope and hype, the Hubble Space Telescope promptly faltered. Rather than remaining locked on its celestial targets, it trembled and shook, quaking like a photophobic vampire whenever sunlight struck its solar panels. Opening its protective front door to let starlight in perturbed the telescope so badly that it fell into an electronic coma. Worst of all, Hubble turned out to be myopic. Its primary light-gathering mirror, eight feet in diameter and said to be the smoothest large object ever fashioned by humans, had been figured perfectly wrong.


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Monday, Apr 27, 2015
The latest installment of Pop Unmuted talks about pop artists who are far into their careers, starting with the latest Brian Wilson album. No Pier Pressure.

Pop Unmuted is a podcast dedicated to in-depth discussion of pop music from varying critical and academic perspectives. On Episode 11, Scott Interrante and Kurt Trowbridge are joined by Toronto-based music blogger Bill Smith and Music and Culture undergraduate Missy Kyzer to talk about pop artists who are far into their careers and what they do or don’t do to stay relevant. We start with a discussion of Brian Wilson’s latest solo album No Pier Pressure and close, as always, with out Unmuted Pop Songs recommendation segment.


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Monday, Apr 27, 2015
Generally regarded as a failure, we consider Murdered: Soul Suspect's effort to produce a game focused on investigation rather than on gunplay.

Action is most often the word that one expects to hear when talking about console games released by big publishers.


Square Enix’s effort to release a game focused on investigation rather than on gunplay resulted in what is generally considered a failure, the ghost detective game Murdered: Soul Suspect. This week we consider what went right and went wrong in the resulting product.


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Friday, Apr 24, 2015
Seattle quintet Ivan & Alyosha's "Modern Man" is a driving, earnest rock number that you can find on their forthcoming LP, It’s All Just Pretend.

It’s All Just Pretend finds the Seattle outfit Ivan & Alyosha expanding from a quartet to a quintet, with drummer Cole Mauro joining Pete Wilson (bass), Tim Kim (guitar) and founding members Tim Wilson (lead vox, guitar) and Ryan Carbary (guitar, piano). While the allusion to The Brothers Karamazov in the band’s name might suggest a certain highfalutin literary pretension about their music (a la the Decemberists), but such is not the case. Nor, however, is their music All Just Pretend. As the album cut “Modern Man” (stream it below) evinces, these five musicians are in the business of writing straightforward and honest music. It helps that it rocks, too, as the ‘70s classic rock tone on “Modern Man”‘s guitars evince.


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