Fine Arts

Social Studies (X) - Fine Arts (X)

Art and Transformation | Waste Land Film Module

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In this Waste Land film module, students will meet some of the residents and works of the world’s largest landfill, located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This module speaks to the theme of transformation, the power of art to transform society, and the connection between human dignity and human rights in Brazil.

Are MP3s & Vinyl Better than Live Music? | PBS Idea Channel

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People can be pretty passionate about what format is best when it comes to music and what is most "authentic" when it comes to performances. Based on how much people like to brag about what band they saw live and how many times, we clearly value the authenticity of the live performance above all else. But when we see a performer live, we're judging them based on what we know from the mp3 or record that we've already listened to countless times. What is a song "supposed" to sound like? As music has evolved from solely performance into media, the issue of what the most authentic even is has become increasingly complicated. So which is the most authentic? Watch the episode and tell us what you think!

What Does The Doctor Mean to You? | PBS Idea Channel

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It's the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who! Whovians everywhere are excited to see what the newest Doctor will bring to the character. That made us ponder the question: what makes the Doctor, "the Doctor?" Eleven different doctors have played the role over the past 50 years, and each was unique, with different personalities and characteristics. But besides the physical symbols surrounding him - the Tardis, the sonic screwdriver - are there larger cues that indicate the man is in fact "the doctor?" 

Does It Matter What Evangelion's Creator Says? | PBS Idea Channel

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Neon Genesis Evangelion may be the ultimate anime. More than just Mecha, NGE is dark and emotional, taking on serious topics such as depression, free will and a host of other intense material. But, creator, Hideaki Anno says that we're all reading way too much into it. Are his words the final say on this piece of media? Or, are the author's ideas of his own work equal to the interpretations of anyone else?! 

Does Reality TV Affect Our View On Surveillance? | PBS Idea Channel

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The "Reality TV" genre is mega popular, a massive cultural force, even though it's not really "reality." Contrived situations and manipulated scenarios make these shows entertainment rather than documentation, but they still feature real people who are willing to have their lives recorded. As a culture, we've become accustomed to watching people, but how does that affect our ideas about being watched, especially given the recent NSA controversies?

How is Jurassic Park A Commentary on Capitalism? | PBS Idea Channel

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It doesn't matter if it was intended or not: the film Jurassic Park (as does its source book) accurately illustrates investment and risk, money as motivation, negligent management of capital, and profit as the ultimate end goal. But can anything in our culture avoid this metaphor of capitalism? By stepping back and looking at all media in our culture, we can see echoes of the capitalism theme everywhere.

How is Ms. Marvel Changing Media for the Better? | PBS Idea Channel

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Popular media generally has a problem with representation. Fictional worlds are often designed by and for straight white males, and this can subtly affect how audiences view the real world. Comics are no exception, portraying muscular white males, or exaggerated expressions of the female form. But those traditions are being broken. One of the most exciting new characters breaking this mold is the new Ms. Marvel: Kamala Khan. Kamala is a teenage Pakistani-American Muslim girl, a far cry from the comic pantheon of Captain Americas and Supermans. So is Kamala a step in the right direction for media representation? 

How Mighty is Taylor Swift's Pen? | PBS Idea Channel

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Join us for a discussion about Taylor Swift. The mega-popstar seems to be at the top of the music industry lately, with her killer new album 1989, her decreeing of Spotify's deficiency, and her general awesomeness and authenticity. Connected to that authenticity, much has been noted about Swift writing her own music. Could her power of the pen be the very source of her industrial power? 

Is YouTube Making Us Smarter? | PBS Idea Channel

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Did you know there's a place where you can learn just about anything you'd like? It's true! It's called YouTube! Sure, YouTube has hundreds of thousands of hours of deliciously time-wasting content, but it's much more than just a black hole of pet videos and funny clips. If you know where to go, YouTube has some of the best educational content on the planet! Although watching Kahn Academy all day might be a bit dry, the creativity of YouTube creators has allowed "education" to be transformed in a variety of amazing and engaging ways. YouTube probably won't replace schools anytime soon, but it's a pretty awesome alternative. 

Why Are There So Many Super Hero Movies? | PBS Idea Channel

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The past fifteen years have produced a plethora of superhero films. It's hard to even remember a time before Batman, Spiderman, and Captain America dominated the summer box office. So, are movie studios just lazy and out of ideas? Or is something else going on? Superheroes are authority figures who put their world in order. They are also the products of the culture from which they originate. So what does it say about our cultural state of affairs that we willingly consume six or more superhero flicks a year? 

Why Do We Hate Selfies? | PBS Idea Channel

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Despite being possibly the world's most annoying habit, selfies are undeniably a major part of modern visual language. They may be the lowest common denominator of the art of photography, but they are also a legitimate form of communication ("a picture is worth a thousand words" comes to mind). But maybe all the hate comes from a confusion about what selfies actually are! Is it possible they're not actually "photographs" but a totally different form of communication? Could they even be important and meaningful? 

Will Kickstarter Replace Hollywood? | PBS Idea Channel

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You may have heard about the recent overwhelming success of the Veronica Mars movie Kickstarter, or you might have contributed yourself. This is a big moment for fan communities, with Kickstarter giving them the opportunity to challenge the closed gates of the Hollywood system. Although its funding is nowhere near the amount Hollywood invests in moviemaking each year, crowdfunding is a much better indicator of what the audience wants to see, the one area in which Hollywood has failed in time and time again.

Yule Tube! | PBS Idea Channel

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Happy Holidays from your friends at Idea Channel! The yule log is a fascinating tradition, isn't it? Three-plus hours of footage of a burning log - a holiday symbol of home and family - first broadcast in the 1960s for poor city folk without fireplaces of their own. This simple, beautiful, long-form programming is a holiday miracle! 

Protest | The Nance

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Watch as the characters unionize and prepare to protest the censorship of 1930s burlesque shows in this excerpt from The Nance starring Nathan Lane. Under the leadership of Mayor La Guardia, police cracked down on burlesque performers in the 1930s, accusing them of violating decency laws. This comedic play dramatizes the discrimination of homosexuals and other performers in the burlesque theater scene of the era.

The Raid | The Nance

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Chauncey Miles, a homosexual burlesque performer, explains to his roommate that the theater was raided by police for violating decency laws in this excerpt from the play The Nance. In this comedic scene, Chauncey mocks the trumped-up charges while Ned tries to understand what laws were broken.

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