10 Best Burns by Golden Girl Sophia Petrillo

Estelle Getty

Celebrate Estelle Getty’s birthday with her feisty ‘Golden Girls’ character’s iconic laugh lines. “Look, you didn’t ask me for my opinion, but I’m old, so I’m giving it anyway.” The wig, the glasses and especially the purse that aged actress Estelle Getty’s look enough for her to play The Golden Girls’ Sicilian matriarch Sophia Petrillo were iconic. But they paled in comparison to what came out of Getty’s mouth. Sophia’s insults were legendary, as I learned growing up in the 1980s. I first discovered the show staying up a little late at my grandparents’ house (my grandmother was a huge fan from the jump) and soon found myself devouring the entire series many times over in syndication. “They give her all the best lines!” my grandma would say, laughing, and she may have been right. Within a core cast of fall-down-funny actresses, the biting and oft-bitter perfectly-timed zingers from Getty’s        …read more

Robin Williams’ Best Stand-Up through the Years

Robin Williams

On his birthday July 21, the world remembers the extraordinary impact of Robin Williams (1951-2014) on comedy and the larger entertainment world. While he’s as known for his dramatic roles in movies, such as Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting, as for his comic turns in movies like Good Morning Vietnam, it’s as a stand-up comic that Robin Williams first came to prominence in the 1970s with his free-wheeling, manic, improvisational style. After graduating from high school, Williams decided to attend Claremont Men’s College in California to study political science. He eventually dropped out to pursue acting, studying at the College of Marin and then attaining a full scholarship to the Juilliard School in 1973, one of two students that year accepted by the legendary John Housman for the advanced program. There he met lifelong best friend Christopher Reeve. However, in 1976 Williams left when Housman said there was        …read more

Top 6 Shark Movies of All Time

top shark movies

It wouldn’t be summer without ice cream, baseball and becoming irrationally scared of swimming in open water. In anticipation of ‘The Meg,’ it’s time to rewatch these top shark movies. The lazy hazy days often welcome a new shark film to scare and entertain moviegoers, and this year is no exception: The Meg, in theaters August 10, stars Jason Statham, Rainn Wilson and Ruby Rose battling the largest shark ever to save colleagues stranded in a sunken submarine. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhJhgi3S0go The jury is out on where The Meg will place in the top shark movies of all time, but to get you in the mood for August, here are our picks for the most entertaining and memorable shark movies to ever grace the silver screen (so far). 6. Sharknado https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-pXDoe5a0E It’s become a punchline for B-movie fandom: Sharknado had no intention to take itself seriously, thanks to its cliché dialogue, terrible        …read more

Long before SpaceX, Animals Were the First Launched into Space

SpaceX

The first Moon walk was on July 20, 1969. As SpaceX now looks to colonize Mars, we remember the animals sent into spaceflight. Before humans rocketed into space, nonhuman creatures got a close glimpse of the stars. The first were a group of U.S. fruit flies in 1947, used to study radiation exposure at high altitudes. They returned to Earth in perfect health. Numerous countries have taken part in space exploration with animals. France’s first astronaut was a rat named Hector, who wore a very fashionable space suit during his 1961 flight. NASA explains that animals were sent into space before humans to test the effects of long-term weightlessness and high gravitational forces. Also key: avoiding loss of human life. “These animals performed a service to their respective countries that no human could or would have performed,” NASA’s website states. “They gave their lives and/or their service in the name        …read more

Exploring the Enneagram: Discover Your Superpower and Your Kryptonite

enneagram

Learn about the 9 different personality types of the enneagram, and identify your superpower, which is also your kryptonite. The job of every good superhero is to conquer evil in their universe, and the enneagram essentially helps individuals find and maintain order in their own personal universe through awareness. Dating back to the fourth century BC, the enneagram is an ancient personality type model — illustrated by a nine-pointed geometric figure to show nine types — and it’s the topic of several recently released books, podcasts and songs. So what’s all the buzz about? And what does it have to do with superheroes? Ian Morgan Cron, host of the popular podcast Typology, says people’s fascination with the human personality seems to be growing. In an interview for Crixeo, he tells me, “Frankly I think that a lot of people listen to things like Typology because they want to figure out their crazy mother or exotic        …read more

Annapolis Shooting: 5 Lessons from the Heroes We Lost

Annapolis shooting

After the Annapolis shooting, parents asked, “How will we explain this to our children?” It’s the refrain to the mournful, never-ending rock ballad that is our national conversation on gun violence. I usually tell my kids, ages three to 10, the truth about a tragedy in an age-appropriate manner. I try to point out the helpers (thank you, Mister Rogers), and reassure them that they are safe. But I’m not sure that’s enough. While I appreciate the importance of honesty and preparedness, I want them to experience more joy than sadness and to value life. Kids should understand that each one of us is on this Earth to do amazing things. Every human being fulfills an awesome mission that couldn’t have been accomplished by anyone else. Even though most of us don’t get to see our achievements celebrated by people outside our own circles, we do, in our small way,        …read more

At-Home DNA Test Kits and Genealogy: Maybe Keep It in the Family

DNA test kit

DNA test kits claim to trace family trees and help people change behavior to prevent disease, but at what cost? My great-uncles on my mother’s side are both botanists. In fact, along with a fun little blood disorder and esophageal issues, botany runs in my family. Perhaps that’s why both of my uncles are fascinated by our family’s genealogy. Recently, my uncle Milton sent me a robust study — his true life’s work — that traces our family’s lineage all the way from the fields of Aquitaine to Cajun Country in Louisiana. Over the decades, he’s gone through every document he could get his hands on, from birth certificates to causes of death, following our family tree from its outermost leaves to a fair number of early roots. On my father’s side, a great-aunt was the dedicated recorder of our family history, from the original immigrants who traveled from Germany        …read more

Inside the Work of ‘Carry That Weight’ Artist Emma Sulkowicz

Emma Sulkowicz

One of the most intriguing artists of our time, Emma Sulkowicz opens up about events leading to the viral performance piece and continuing work. Three years before the #MeToo movement went viral, New York–based performance artist Emma Sulkowicz became famous for the 2015 performance piece Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight), in which Sulkowicz carried a 50-pound dorm mattress around Columbia University’s campus for nine months to protest the university’s lack of action against an alleged rapist. After becoming a luminary in the art world, Sulkowicz — who is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns — performed Self-Portrait (Performance with Object), in which they answered questions from visitors while standing on a platform at the Caogula Curatorial gallery in Los Angeles, California. Questions that objectified or fetishized Sulkowicz, however, had to be directed toward Emmatron, a life-sized robot in the likeness of Sulkowicz, which dispensed prerecorded answers to preset questions Sulkowicz didn’t        …read more

The Genius of Actor and Comedian Will Ferrell

comedian Will Ferrell

To celebrate his birthday on July 18, revisit the great roles of comedian Will Ferrell. He’s more than just a slapstick comic with a rubbery face. He’s an actor with 104 acting credits in 23 years, and his star isn’t waning. The critics might not be throwing around those four-star reviews any longer, but the legacy of the comedian Will Ferrell doesn’t rely on critical acclaim. If it makes him laugh, he’ll do it. A list of his memorable roles might trigger nostalgic glee: Ron Burgundy in the Anchorman films, Buddy in Elf, Frank in Old School, Brennan in Step Brothers, Mugatu in Zoolander, and the countless comedic turns during his stint at Saturday Night Live. Then there’s a roll call of all the memorably weird scenes where Ferrell has put himself out there more than most actors: He fought a baby in The Campaign, wrestled with a bear in        …read more

HBO’s ‘Sharp Objects’ and the Rise of the Antiheroine

Sharp Objects

The 'Sharp Objects' miniseries is every bit as disturbing as its source material, and it couldn’t have hit our small screens at a more perfect time. Before Gone Girl skyrocketed to the top of best-seller lists everywhere, Gillian Flynn’s 2006 debut novel Sharp Objects found a niche audience with psychological-thriller aficionados. Twelve years later, it’s come to life on our small screens in an HBO miniseries executive produced by Flynn. Devoted fans of the book can breathe a collective sigh of relief that the series is every bit as gritty and dark as its source material. There’s no “glossing over” to see here. The small-screen adaptation of Sharp Objects arrived at the ideal cultural and social moment. Its July 8 premiere scored 1.5 million live viewers, HBO’s strongest showing since Westworld’s 2016 series premiere. It’s hard to imagine the show would have seen this level of commercial success 12 years        …read more

Long Live McQueen

McQueen

The new documentary ‘McQueen’ focuses on the brilliant and destructive mind of fashion designer Alexander McQueen. With the recent passing of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade and the important surrounding conversations about mental health and suicide prevention, there’s no time more relevant for a documentary about fashion designer Alexander McQueen. While most fashion documentaries understandably cater to fashion insiders, McQueen appeals to anyone who wants to see the emotional elements and hard work put into creating an empire. Directed by Ian Bonhôte and codirected/written by Peter Ettedgui, the film is told through a five-chapter structure and contains ample footage of the designer’s life, his creative process, and his provocative runway shows as seen through interviews and his personal collection of home videos. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bO0Gx3E3KJA Lee Alexander McQueen was born in 1969 into a working-class family in East London’s Lewisham district. After leaving school at age 16, he began his career as        …read more

Dive into the Dreamy Surf-Noir Soundscape of La Luz

La Luz

La Luz’s ’60s girl-pop-surf-rock style will make you dream of sunny beach days, wherever you may be. La Luz is new to Los Angeles but not to the indie music scene. Formed in 2012 in Seattle, Washington, the band — made up of lead singer/guitarist Shana Cleveland, drummer Marion Li Pino, keyboardist Alice Sandahl and bassist Lena Simon — is popular among music critics. Their third full-length album, Floating Features, solidifies their place among the best indie rock bands. After releasing Floating Features, the band embarked on a world tour. Inspired by their relocation to LA, the record includes songs appropriately titled “California Finally” and “Walking in the Sun.” In an email interview with Crixeo, La Luz’s Shana Cleveland discussed the new album, Los Angeles and their telenovela-inspired video for “Cicada.” I read that “Weirdo Shrine,” from the previous album, was inspired by Charles Burns’ comic Black Hole. Was there an inspiration        …read more

Inspiration or Ableism? How to Tell the Difference

inspiration

Some thoughts on distinguishing true inspiration from exploitation. When I was in eighth grade I was recognized publicly at my middle school’s annual awards assembly. My parents came to the school gymnasium to see me receive accolades, and my friends cheered loudly as I walked up to the stage. But I didn’t feel proud of the award. In fact, it actually evoked a sense of shame in me, for one simple reason: I had no recollection of what I’d done to earn it, apart from being born with a degenerative eye disease that rendered me visually impaired. The Curtis White Award was given annually to a student who succeeded despite adversity. The previous year, I had cheered enthusiastically as an eighth grade boy, who was bald from chemotherapy, accepted the award. I don’t recall the exact wording my teacher used as he introduced me for the honor, but I do        …read more

Are You Back, Angelique? Animated Book App Bites into Classic Genre

animated book app

Rich’s vampire romance jumps off the digital page in this delightfully terrifying animated book app. Nothing about award-winning author Helen Rich is conventional, and she likes it that way. She’s the CEO of Medallion Press and Crixeo and the author of nine books. When she’s not typing, she devotes her time to rescuing animals through her nonprofit On the Wings of Angels, teaching poetry to underserved youth through Triple Threat Mentoring, and training and showing carriage driving horses and ponies. “I’m the only person who fields four-in-hand of horses and the four-in-hand of ponies at the same show,” she proudly admits. Oh, and she’s a Wrigley heiress, but that’s a story for another day. Her motto? “If there’s a formula, I’m going to defy it. If there’s a rule, I’m going to break it.” It’s no surprise, then, that she deviated from the norm with her vampire romance novella, Angelique, which        …read more

8 Happiness Secrets from the Countries That Mastered Happy

happiness

Dan Buettner traveled to the world’s happiest places and brought back their delightful tips. Your level of happiness isn’t set in stone. So when Dan Buettner, author of Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way, learned that there are entire countries where the average happiness level was skyrocketing (we’re looking at you, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway and Finland, according to the 2018 World Happiness Report), he decided to travel to them to discover their tricks. And remarkably, he realized that while Americans are not happy as a whole — we sadly (genuinely) ranked 18th, dropping four spots from last year — we can do better. Everyone is born with a predetermined happiness level that accounts for about 50% of their mood, says Gretchen Rubin, author of Better Than Before and Happier at Home, and host of the podcast Happier. Another 10-20% of happiness has to do with your life circumstances, including        …read more

Where Are the Tom Hanks Haters?

Tom Hanks

Calm down, most of the world. We know Tom Hanks is aggressively charming. We live in a fractured culture, where establishing any sort of mass consensus is nearly impossible. Debating who’s the greatest basketball player of all time can get people from Chicago and Cleveland throwing chairs at each other. Bring up poké and you can see otherwise mild-mannered people turn into warring Scottish clans. And politics? Let’s not even start with politics or we’ll be here all day, and half of the people reading this will hate the other half. Instead, let’s discuss something everybody can agree upon: Tom Hanks! He seems like a really nice guy, right? It’s rare to meet a Tom Hanks hater. Born July 9, 1956, the man has built each phase of his career around being likable — goofy comedian of the Big / Turner & Hooch / A League of Their Own days;        …read more

The Lasting Legacy of SpongeBob SquarePants

SpongeBob

SpongeBob has been sharing his childlike outlook on life since 1999. With a third movie coming in 2020, the famous sponge won’t be stopping anytime soon. SpongeBob SquarePants has been around my entire childhood and adulthood. I spent many evenings watching SpongeBob reruns while babysitting the kids in my neighborhood, watching their faces light up when he outsmarted Plankton’s latest scheme. It seemed no matter how many times they saw the same episode, they could still find something new to giggle at. Throughout my high school years, he became more of a symbol, and I watched him show up on peers’ clothes, backpacks and cars. Since 1999, Nickelodeon Animation Studios’ character SpongeBob SquarePants has been living it up in his pineapple under the sea in his home of Bikini Bottom. He’s a lovable sponge whose greatest joys in life are going on adventures with his best friend Patrick and making        …read more

Take a Trip Back to Middle School with the Film ‘Eighth Grade’

Eighth Grade

Bo Burnham’s ‘Eighth Grade’ seamlessly captures the stress, awkwardness and vulnerability of being a teenager. Eighth grade is a point in life where you’re no longer a child but not yet a teenager. That period is driven by insecurity, self-discovery and awkward behavior. I find myself aghast at the sight of my eighth grade school photo. My greasy, wavy, untamed hair was parted down the middle, my overgrown eyebrows were begging to be tweezed, and my smile was overcome with a mouthful of metal braces. I wanted boys to notice me, but I was too terrified to interact with them. When I want to revisit these awkward times safely, I often seek out movies set during this transitional period. Films like Welcome to the Dollhouse, Thirteen, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Dazed and Confused flawlessly capture the highs and lows of adolescence. Eighth Grade is the next dramedy to        …read more

‘The Mortified Guide’ Bares People’s Cringiest, Most Relatable Moments

Mortified Guide

‘The Mortified Guide’ lets you laugh along with brave strangers as they reveal the most embarrassing stories of their younger years. A Netflix subscription can be similar to a gym membership: You use it for a month or two and then don’t, while continuing to pay. My Netflix account often suffers this fate. When I found out The Mortified Guide would be releasing on the platform after it played The Sundance Film Festival, I made sure my account remained active. After years of hearing about the hilarity of Mortified’s live shows, which feature everyday people sharing embarrassing stories from their childhood, I could not pass up the opportunity to see a compilation. It did not disappoint. In fact, The Mortified Guide docuseries has become my go-to before-bed entertainment. Life isn’t always easy, and laughter helps you relax, lowers stress hormones, eases anxiety and tension, and generally improves mood — all        …read more

27 Malala Yousafzai Quotes to Empower You to Raise Your Voice

Malala Yousafzai

On Malala Yousafzai’s 21st birthday, read the young activist’s most inspiring quotes. There aren’t too many recognition days dedicated to college students — but Malala Yousafzai is hardly your average young adult. The UN has designated July 12, which is Yousafzai’s birthday, Malala Day in honor of the young woman who has been a prominent activist for female education since her early teens. Yousafzai’s humanitarian work came at a near-fatal cost. At age 11, inspired by her father’s activism, she began writing about life in her native Swat Valley, Pakistan, under the new rule of the Taliban. Knowing she was endangering her young life, she began publicly advocating for girls’ education. The Taliban retaliated on October 9, 2012, targeting then-15-year-old Yousafzai on a bus that was taking her and two other girls to school exams. The assassination attempt left Yousafzai critically injured with a gunshot wound to the head. A Taliban        …read more

These Cyborgs Redesign Their Own Bodies and Minds

cyborg

By treating their bodies as art, self-designed cyborgs reimagine human potential but also raise ethical questions. At the frontiers of technology and art, more and more individuals are modifying their bodies with cybernetics. Some of these people have cybernetic augmentations as replacements for limbs, organs or senses, while others modify their bodies to explore how cybernetic technology alters human perception. For two artists, Neil Harbisson and Moon Ribas, both groups of people can be classified as cyborgs. Self-identified cyborgs, Harbisson and Ribas created the Cyborg Foundation in 2010. Their goals were to promote awareness of cyborgs, help people gain cybernetic modifications and support those who already have modifications. Their catchphrase is “design yourself.” Cyborgs, they feel, are those who have self-designed, meaning they’ve conceived of their bodies as art. According to Harbisson, there are at least three, often-intersecting types of cyborgs, and he laid them out in the TED Talk        …read more

We Still Live in a Yellow Submarine

Yellow Submarine

50 years after its release, the cartoon classic ‘Yellow Submarine’ continues to delight. Once upon a time — or maybe twice — the Beatles released a full-length animated adventure for children of all ages (especially 64). Inspired by their song “Yellow Submarine,” the auditory equivalent of a cartoon, the movie depicts a psychedelic voyage through time and space set to a soundtrack of classic Beatles tunes, some of which were written for the film. This summer, Yellow Submarine returns to theaters in a glorious 4K restoration with a fresh 5.1 surround sound remix of some of the Fab Four’s best songs. (Click here for tickets.) So take a musical trip with me to the magical undersea world of Pepperland. Just be careful not to press the wrong button or pull the wrong lever in the submarine. And always watch out for Blue Meanies! BACKGROUND In case you haven’t heard of        …read more

Superhero 101: Ant-Man and the Wasp

Ant-Man and the Wasp

Ahead of ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp,’ take a leap into their comic book origins. We’re living in a superhero movie renaissance, an era where spandex-clothed heroes continually dominate box offices. Or at least it feels that way. With the genre at its height and showing no signs of slowing down, it’s no surprise mainstream audiences have been introduced to more niche heroes in recent years. Case in point: Ant-Man, a lesser-known Marvel hero who now has his own movie franchise despite never having his own long-running comic series. The 2015 release of Ant-Man, starring Paul Rudd, was a bit of a head-scratcher. Of Marvel’s long line of superhero flicks, Ant-Man is probably the most niche to nab his own feature film. Nevertheless, the film performed exceedingly well at the box office, a result that guaranteed Ant-Man a vital role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for years to come. Although Ant-Man        …read more

Viva la Vida: The Life Stories behind Frida Kahlo’s Best Paintings

Frida Kahlo

In celebration of Frida Kahlo’s birthday, July 6, explore the indomitable Mexican artist’s best paintings and the stories behind them. Frida Kahlo’s art is haunting, from tortured self-portraits to surreal works blending magical realism with her distinct folk art style. Her paintings are intensely personal, like visual diary entries, and she doesn’t shy away from the gory details of her physical and emotional pain. Every painting tells a story, and each one is a brushstroke on the canvas of her legendary life. According to Frida Kahlo scholar Hayden Herrera in her book Frida Kahlo: The Paintings, Frida was born — and died — in the “Blue House” in Coyoacán, Mexico, which is now the Museo Frida Kahlo (Frida Kahlo Museum). In her short life, Frida created 143 stunning — and sometimes disturbing — paintings. Frida Kahlo had no formal training aside from a few high school art classes, and she        …read more

Rebecca Parham of Let Me Explain Studios on the Rise of YouTube Animation

Let Me Explain Studios

Just one year after Parham quit freelancing to become a full-time YouTuber, her Let Me Explain Studios is among the most popular animation channels on the platform. When Rebecca Parham of YouTube channel Let Me Explain Studios posted a collaboration video titled “How to Creep Out Your Fav YouTubers at Cons” in May of 2017, the freelance animator could’ve never anticipated the reaction she’d get — or the life changes that were in store. The video, which featured lines voiced by fellow YouTubers TomSka, Jaiden Animations and Daneboe, sent her subscriber count soaring. Just two months later, the night before she left for VidCon, she hit 100,000 subscribers. That was only the beginning. In July of 2017 the Ringling College of Art & Design graduate quit her freelancing job and became a full-time YouTuber. With more bandwidth for what she loves, and with the support of the YouTube animation community,        …read more

Inside the Genius of Writer and Comedian Larry David

comedian Larry David

Honoring the ‘Seinfeld’ co-ccreator and ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ star on his birthday, July 2, with a deep dive into what makes the humor of comedian Larry David so special. When Susie Elman, comedian Larry David’s longtime costar on Curb Your Enthusiasm, told Rolling Stone about David’s early stand-up days, she recalled, “His material was just brilliant, as you can imagine. But there were also nights when he would just walk onstage, look at the audience and be like, ‘Nuh-uh, I don’t think so,’ and just walk off. Nobody did that!” Few anecdotes capture the essence of Larry David’s genius better than that. The main point to highlight? “Nobody did that!” Larry David lives by that motto in his role as writer/creator of Curb and Seinfeld. He isn’t interested in writing the same old cookie-cutter comedy; Larry David, celebrating his 71st birthday on July 2, would rather revel in breaking convention with        …read more

8 Most Bizarre but Effective War Tactics in History

war tactics

From papier-mâché horses to opium-laced cigarettes, these weird war tactics worked. Throughout recorded history, warring nations have devised a variety of unconventional war tactics to defeat or foil their enemies. Listed below are just eight of the most bizarre strategies. 1. Snake Bombs (Punic Wars, 190 BC) While Hannibal Barca (the great Carthaginian general) is perhaps most famous for leading an invading force of elephants across the Alps to attack Rome, his most impressive, and perhaps most creative, victory came in 190 BC against King Eumenes II of Pergamon. The battle initially began when King Eumenes and the Pergamenes sailed for Bithynia to provoke a sea battle. Realizing he was outmatched and vastly outnumbered by the Pergamene navy, Hannibal devised a brilliant war tactic. After locating the ship that carried the king, he commanded his forces to launch clay pots filled with venomous snakes directly at the ship. The clay        …read more

Burlesque Stripped Down to Its Comedic Roots

Up close and comedic with burlesque performers. Laughter is an important part of being human. We use humor to navigate unfamiliar territory and to make bad news more palatable. We use it as an outlet for stress and to make others and ourselves feel better. And of course, we use it just for fun. Is it any wonder that humor also plays a key role in burlesque? “Burlesque’s far-back history is that of comedy,” said Paige Rustles, a burlesque performer from the Pacific Northwest, in an interview with Crixeo. “I think that using comedy in current-day burlesque is so important because it allows us to tackle big and important topics in a highly accessible way.” Early burlesque was more about lampooning or satirizing social and political figures. The acts also involved scantily-dressed ladies to add to the appeal of the show. The striptease, as we know it, came much later. Actors        …read more

Why ‘The Good Place’ Is the Best Show on Television

The Good Place

‘The Good Place’ redefines the sitcom with its journey into moral quandaries. In 2017, 487 original scripted television series aired, according to FX Networks CEO John Landgraf. This is up from 182 series just 15 years earlier, in 2002. Thanks to the emergence of online services like Netflix and Hulu and the growth of original programming in that time by basic cable services like FX, the demand for original ideas is staggeringly high. Somehow in this environment, at old worn-out broadcast network NBC, The Good Place — the most original, unique and surprisingly deep sitcom in years — has emerged. Is it the best? Constrained by the limits of time and space, I haven’t seen all 487 original series produced this past year, but it’s certainly the most bold and fascinating, so I’ll take the leap and say, yes, it’s the best. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ut0ai4s4mjU Created by Michael Schur, cocreator of Parks        …read more

‘Summer Camp Island’ Promises More Magic from Cartoon Network

Summer Camp Island

In a world of reboots and prequels, Cartoon Network’s new original show ‘Summer Camp Island’ is a wonderfully odd series full of animals, magic and parents who won’t listen to their kids. In U.S. pop culture, summer camps are the perfect setting for coming-of-age stories: odd living arrangements, counselor drama, a whole new social hierarchy and, of course, no parents. Just as in Westworld, what happens at summer camp stays at summer camp. Where else can children look to teenagers as authorities on everything from hygiene to adulthood? Or, in the case of one of my personal favorites summer camp movies, Holes (2003), “camp” may in fact be a conspiracy-filled front for adults searching for something they weren’t destined to find. Plus Eartha Kitt. Summer Camp Island, which will air on Cartoon Network beginning July 7, 2018, is based on British creator Julia Pott’s Cartoon Network short film featured at        …read more

Jay-Z for Governor: Big Pimpin’ Up in Albany

I nominate another celebrity to run for governor: Jay-Z. The trend these days, apparently, is that politics and Hollywood are merging to create one giant superpower, reigning over us all in fandom and in governance. Ronald Reagan started the trend as the actor-turned-president. Since then, Dirty Harry Clint Eastwood won the mayoral race in Carmel, the Terminator was elected governor of California, Miranda from Sex and the City became a New York governor hopeful, and a former reality TV star was elected president of our nation. It seems previous on-screen appearances, fictional or otherwise, are good for the aspiring politician’s résumé. And so, I’ve now decided to nominate another celebrity as a New York gubernatorial candidate. My nominee appears on late-night television to comment on the country’s governance, writes articles on the justice system and quietly contributes to making the state a better a place. As a lifelong New Yorker who        …read more

PTSD Awareness Day: Dispel the Myths and Break Down the Stigma

PTSD

For PTSD Awareness Day, June 27, we spoke to experts about the causes, symptoms and treatment of the illness that affects millions of people each year. We’ve all heard the platitude that “time heals all wounds,” but the 7.8% of Americans who experience PTSD at some point in their lives are painfully aware this isn’t always the case. The illness, which is characterized by symptoms including flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, nightmares, avoidance and hypervigilance, causes a significant disruption in day-to-day life and can become debilitating if untreated. PTSD is accompanied by myths and misconceptions. First, there’s the damaging myth that individuals with PTSD are a danger to others. “Largely because of media, especially movie depictions, and some high-profile cases of veterans who have been traumatized becoming violent, there’s this misconception that people with PTSD are violent or dangerous,” Dr. Steve Levine, board certified psychiatrist and founder and CEO of Actify Neurotherapies        …read more

How Vincent Bal Stumbled upon the Playful Medium of Shadow Art

shadow art

The filmmaker discovered shadow art quite by accident. “I was working on a script when I saw the shadow of my teacup looked a bit like an elephant,” Bal told me in an interview for Crixeo. “I completed the image with a few strokes of my pen and, slave of social media as we all are, posted a picture on Instagram. People reacted really positive, and I liked the idea of drawing with shadows, so I pledged to make one of these drawings every day. I wanted to see if could make 100 of them. That’s now almost two years ago.” Even before this playful shadow art endeavor, Bal’s work always held a bit of whimsy. Whether he was shooting a short film on Super 8 film, then rubbing it on a sandy floor to get it to look more “grainy,” or making brightly colored, humorous commercials, Bal had fun with        …read more

Ethereum: The Birth of a Digital Renaissance?

Ethereum

What’s the future of the public experiment known as Ethereum? In the late Middle Ages, Italy was composed of various city-states: small, independent merchant republics dependent on commerce and trade to acquire wealth and power. No centralized political structures represented Italy as a whole, and each city-state boasted their own form of currency. In the banking powerhouse of Florence, it was the florin. In maritime-focused Venice, it was the Ducato. All transactions were carefully recorded through an innovation known as double-entry bookkeeping, allowing city-states to abandon feudalism for early capitalist principles. And through the realization of financial and cultural autonomy, these regions were able to fuel artistic advancement, leading to the birth of the Renaissance. Today our new version of double-entry bookkeeping is blockchain technology. Using this advancement, anyone with the know-how can declare possession of their own city-state, with the opportunity to create a currency, engage in commerce and        …read more

The Circumcision Debate: A Brief History

circumcision

Routine circumcision of baby boys for nonreligious reasons is not common today in any country other than the U.S. On his eighth day of life, a newborn Jewish boy is taken to his family’s synagogue. His mother hands him to the kvatters, who place him in the Chair of Elijah for his bris. So begins the Jewish ritual of circumcision, which tradition says seals Abraham’s covenant with God as described in Genesis 17. A Muslim family teaches their sons that the Prophet Muhammad was born without a foreskin. To emulate the prophet, Muslim boys are circumcised, usually in a hospital, sometime before the age of 12. People of many cultures and religions, including Jews, Muslims, ancient Egyptians and tribal people around the world, have practiced male circumcision for centuries. No one knows for sure exactly when it started, but some historians say it may have begun as a puberty rite        …read more

‘What If?’ Movies Reimagined: The Art of Peter Stults

Peter Stults

In his imaginative poster series, Peter Stults casts classic performers like Marilyn Monroe and James Dean in popular movies of our time. Anthony Hopkins as Trainspotting’s Renton. David Bowie as Doctor Strange. Audrey Hepburn going creepy in Black Swan. Welcome to the fever dreams of Peter Stults, a New York artist who applies his unique casting choices to films ranging from Die Hard to Inception to Captain America, inspiring us to look at Hollywood in a new light. Such intermarriages of Hollywood luminaries aren’t just for surface entertainment. When you look deeper into Stults’ choices, you can see how the affected film could be enhanced by time-traveling into an era of bespoke suits and shaken-not-stirred martinis. Sean Connery would be perfect as The Fifth Element’s main character, played by Bruce Willis, bringing a swagger that Willis might not showcase. Christopher Walken as the T-1000, the villain, in Terminator 2? Yep,        …read more