In Praise of Urinal Lit


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What qualifies as urinal lit? Well, technically it’s anything that someone is brave enough to scribble on a bathroom wall. I’ll admit, most of these scribbles are nonsense, as alcohol fuels a tremendous amount of urinal lit (though the same could be said, I suppose, for lit lit). Urinal lit often has a sense of urgency, as well as a clarity typically reserved for a form like haiku. The best urinal lit uses an economy of language that makes Raymond Carver seem positively prolix. The urgency of urinal lit comes from the necessary brevity of scrawling a message in a public place without being seen. Given the amount of graffiti in bar bathrooms, I’m amazed I’ve never actually caught anyone in the act.

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Alex Tzelnic — The Millions

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The ‘beautiful love affair’ between Catherine Deneuve and YSL


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At his fashion shows, Deneuve always sat front and centre in the private clients’ row, supporting her friend and wearing his couture designs, which he made especially for her. The star was his first customer at his new Prêt-à-Porter store, Rive Gauche, when it opened in 1967, and remained Saint Laurent’s muse until his death in 2008.

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Christie’s

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The architects of fantasy


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Did you know about “Fantasy Coffins”?

The Ga people used to refer to the coffins as abebuu adekai, which roughly translates as “receptacles of proverbs” or “proverbial coffins.” Put simply, coffins that are imbued with some sort of meaning. The practice of making and using figurative coffins arose from changing colonial and postcolonial policies towards the dead in Ghana—they facilitated (and still do) very public statements about familial identity, ancestral power and status in increasingly competitive environments. The cultural significance of their use has been documented in both popular media and scholarship (see Bonetti 2012; Tschumi 2008). So, attaching the qualifier “fantasy” to these coffins and the associated practices lends an overly simplistic and unrealistic sentiment to death and funerals in Ga culture. They are, in fact, highly emotional and complex.

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Kristin Otto — Africa is a Country

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True Colours


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#metoo from India. Painter & sculptor Jatin Das.

More public testimonies followed. Garusha Katoch, who was 20 years old when she started her internship at the Jatin Das Centre of Art in 2013, posted a detailed account of how Das had hugged and attempted to kiss her on her third day at work. “I can’t describe what I felt like, I really have no words for it even now,” Katoch told me. “The thing that bothers me with the Jatin Das story is that none of this is a secret, it is not even like there was a whisper network attached to him, it was freaking normal talk. Everybody knew,” Shree Paradkar, an Indo-Canadian journalist who had interviewed Das in the mid-1990s, told me when we spoke over the phone. Her account was first published on the digital news website The Wire.

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Nikita Saxena — The Caravan

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THE BALLET GIRLS WHO BURNED TO DEATH


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People consumed by their art.

Unfortunately, it ended badly for Livry. On Nov. 15, 1862, she fluffed her skirts too close to a gas lamp and went up in flames. As Livry ran in circles around the set screaming, fellow cast members and the audience watched in horror. Another dancer and a fireman tried to save her — the emperor later rewarded them for their bravery with cash — and managed to smother the flames by wrapping her in a blanket. But 40 percent of Livry’s body had been burned, and her corset melted into her ribs. She spent 36 hours wrapped in bandages in her dressing room, then another eight months recuperating, before dying of blood poisoning. Many dance scholars pinpoint Livry’s demise as the end of France’s dominant role in ballet. But her death also inspired safety measures: new designs for gas lamps, the invention of flame-retardant gauze and wet blankets hung in the wings just in case.

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Fiona Zublin — OZY

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When Pranks Become Works of Art


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A real funny prank, when things get reversed.

My friends were visual artists, writers, musicians, actors, and activists. Because of our lifestyles, we made the place a cool attraction for the “bridge-and-tunnel” tourists who drove through and pointed their cameras through the smoky windows of their Greyhound buses. We were the freak show, the animals they could mock. Fed up with this, I decided to take the freak show back to suburbia to ridicule the squares we had left behind: “Oh, look! They’re mowing their lawns and washing their cars!” The natives freaked when they saw us. One lady actually shrieked: “We’re being invaded!” I had no idea about the interest this satirical gesture would ignite. Carloads of journalists trailed the bus everywhere we went. Some were even on the bus.

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Joey Skaggs — Artsy

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Did brands’ faith in artists die with Campari’s posters?


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The historic body of work built by Campari across 70 years lost gusto with the arrival of television. Finding itself surrounded by more competitors than before the liqueur largely replaced poster design with cutting edge mediums of TV and photography, and lost its taste for all that was artistically new. Directors replaced artists, but brand directors replaced visionaries. Its east London pop-up Negroni bar of 2016 arguably cemented its place in the league of contrived. And now Cremonicini believes Campari to simply be “very much a brand”.

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Katie Deighton — The Drum

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