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Archive for the ‘Arts’ Category

Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

I’ve found something extremely weird to share with you today — sculptures that aren’t really sculptures…because they don’t stand still. Instead, Dutch artist Theo Jansen has created sculptures that actually move with the power of the wind.

He calls his creations ‘strandbeest’ or beach animals. They act like a new kind of species he developed on his own through the power of art, physics, engineering, and creativity.

According to Oddity Central, Jansen’s strandbeest ‘can use the power of the elements to move, store this energy for later use, and protect themselves in case of danger…In their creator’s vision of the future, the strandbeest will, at one point, develop muscles and brains that will allow them to perform complex actions.’

At this point, they are mostly powered by wind. The fact that they actually store that power for future use is a green idea that our society has started to tap into more recently.

Showing you a picture of this creation is helpful, but you don’t really get the full effect unless you see a video of the strandbeest in action…

Jansen, who is a former physicist, has held nothing back in making his art. In fact, his work might lead us to believe that going mobile with the power of wind has some validity to it. The strandbeest has already been featured at several festivals, including Burning Man, an art and expression festival in the Nevada Desert.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove 

Okay, I don’t know about you, but I think this sounds like something out of a movie…

The Associated Press reports that famous paintings worth almost $613 million dollars were stolen out of the Paris Museum of Modern Art. The heist happened overnight last night and the police believe it was done by a highly sophisticated criminal or group of criminals.

The works of art were expertly removed from their frames, leaving nothing behind. The security cameras were disabled, but one video surveillance camera caught a lone individual on tape. That does not necessarily mean that he worked alone. He entered the premises by cutting through a padlock on a gate and breaking a window. 

Some of the paintings stolen were those of Picasso and Matisse. Here is the full video report from the Associated Press: 

The Museum will be closed until further notice so that police can conduct investigations. 

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Oddity Central, if you haven’t guessed from reading my previous posts, is by far one of my favorite websites. It’s full of really weird stuff that happens all around the globe and, more often than not, contains news stories you wouldn’t find in any regular newspaper. This next post really takes the cake.

We all know different cultures have very different ways of expressing their individuality and in most cases, we need to be tolerant and respectful of those cultures. In Japan, a very special festival is held each year called Naki Sumo (or Baby Crying Festival) and, well…it’s exactly what you might think it to be.

Huge mean and scary sumo wrestlers get to hold each of these babies and get them to cry doing whatever they can to get the job done. Whichever baby cries the most is the winner. But that means that the sumo wrestlers have to work extra hard and really have their game faces on. Heh.

According to the website, 80 babies under one year old were entered into the festival this year. The Japanese believe that this ritual will cleanse their children of evil spirits and protect them. It’s actually a 400 year old tradition.

To view more pictures from the event, click here. You can view videos of this ancient practice on Google videos.

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 Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Everyone likes going to the zoo. It’s a chance to see exotic animals that you might not run into in your every day life. It’s also a chance to raise awareness for these special animals, especially those that are endangered.

The Philadelphia Zoo has recently opened a special exhibit called ‘Creatures of Habitat: A Gazillion-Piece Animal Adventure.’ Instead of having real animals in their habitats, the zoo is featuring 10 habitats with animals made out of legos instead, including penguins, polar bears, and tamarins. All the lego work has been done by Sean Kenney, a certified lego professional.

The zoo hopes that by presenting this kind of exhibit, it will give people more of a focus on just how fragile our environment is and bring awareness to the fact that we need to protect out Earth.

From the Philadelphia Zoo website: “Creatures of Habitat extends and expands upon our important conservation work that has gained focus and impact through our 150th anniversary celebration.” says Vikram H. Dewan, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Zoo. “Every child – and adult for that matter – can relate to the universal desire to protect our planet, this place we all call home. A key principle of this exhibit is to show how our world fits together and we all connect with it. Our goal remains simple: ensure we never see the day when a child’s only connection to these species is through history books.”

If you can’t make it down to the zoo, you can take a peek at the exhibit over the internet. All you have to do is log onto to philadelphiazoo.org and complete a Personal Sustainability Plan, which will guide you through what you can do to protect our most precious wildlife. 

The exhibit will be featured until October 31 of 2010. To see more pictures of the exhibit, visit treehugger.com.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

It’s always interesting to see what kinds of new fashions will pop up when it’s time to send the kids to prom. Most times, high schoolers will do anything they can to outdo each other. Girls who have the best dresses, and sometimes the skimpiest, are the envy of all their friends.

One of the finalists from a duct tape prom outfit contest.

But what about dresses that are made out of gum wrappers or duct tape?

A craze has seemingly swept a certain portion of our teenagers. After checking out pictures from Oddity Central, I was amazed at what some of these kids could do with only duct tape and a little imagination. In the case of those pictures, the prom fashionistas were awarded money for their time and effort. But what an amazing job!

Not only did they inspire each other, but they also got creative juices flowing for Iowa teenager Elizabeth Ramouson. After viewing pictures of the duct tape dresses, she made a dress out of gum wrappers.

Ramouson says she started collecting the gum wrappers about a year ago. Her boyfriend, who also dons a matching vest made out of the same colored gum wrappers, says she would buy a ton of gum, hand it out to her friends, and then collect the wrappers from them later. Her mother is so proud.

Here is a video of Ramouson’s dress:

Either way you look at it, these young kids certainly had their work cut out for them. It must have taken hours of painstaking work — not to mention working with all that duct tape or gum wrappers! This just proves that a little creativity can go a long way.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

The Addams Family, a tv show that goes way back in cable viewing history, has taken on many forms. Of course, it started as a black and white sitcom of sorts, then was transformed into a movie and a sequel (were there more than two?). But now, it has taken on a whole new face…a musical production on Broadway.

One would think that there would be much for theater artists to create, what with the morbidity and dark humor that oozes from the characters. I would picture a dark set with dark props…overall, very dark. Indeed. But what about the characters?

Critics who have seen it were let down by the new Broadway show.

‘”You’ll laugh a lot, though never during the unmemorable songs, which are supposed to be funny but aren’t,” said The Wall Street Journal. “You’re more than likely to spend a considerable part of the evening wondering how much the set cost.”‘

Ouch. That has to hurt for actors Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth, who play Gomez and Morticia Addams, respectively.

According to ABC News, ‘The New York Times said: “Being in this genuinely ghastly musical … must feel like going to a Halloween party in a strait-jacket or a suit of armor.”‘

Geez, it must be pretty bad to spark such hatred. If you still have the urge to see this musical, be my guest. But make sure you tell us about it. I hear Nathan Lane was the lesser of all evils throughout the entire play. Check out the Addams Family Musical Website for more.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Over the years, we have seen some amazing, groundbreaking musical performances. Some will go down in history. Others will hold a special place in our hearts.

Throughout quite a few of those performances, rock ‘n roll photographer Jim Marshall was there, taking pictures of some of the most famous faces in music entertainment. With his recent death at 74 years old, we remember his life and his images.

Marshall, who died in his sleep on Tuesday night, focused on the unique personalities of the human beings in his photos. His black and white images cut to the core of some of the well-known musicians from the 60s and 70s. Some of the photos were taken during musical performances, while others focused on musicians offstage.

According to the New York Times, his most famous pictures were of Jimi Hendrix setting his guitar on fire. He captured a raw energy coming from Jimi as he doused the instrument in gasoline. Others include the famous image of Johnny Cash giving the middle finger and Janis Joplin backstage with a bottle of Southern Comfort.

View a slide show of his photographs here.

Because of his reputation he was able to get access to many of the most prestigious shows. In some cases, he was the only photographer allowed in certain venues.

That being said, we thank him for his historical journey into the lives of famous musicians. We now have great rock ‘n roll images that we will never forget.

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