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Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘The Goop Lab’ and the endless quest for optimization

(02/14/20 5:04am)

Just 20 seconds into her new Netflix show “The Goop Lab,” Gwyneth Paltrow lays her cards on the table: “It’s all laddering up to one thing,” she says, seated at the head of a conference desk. Her skin is glowing, her blonde hair tumbles neatly down either side of her face and a large window behind her fills the room with natural light. 


GOVERNANCE, Inc., where performance art meets academia

(02/06/20 5:05am)

When the Rubenstein Arts Center opened Feb. 3, 2018, one of its first exhibits was an installation titled “sound/play/space,” which invited children to play with a “Synthball.” This device, a silicon ball, produced different synth sounds as it was lifted, spun, dropped or moved in any direction. In a short video clip of the exhibit, the children are fascinated by the product, which is just one of several experiments from a speculative agency called “GOVERNANCE, Inc.”


Indie folk collective Mountain Man hopes to spread joy with immersive ‘Cosmic Prom’

(01/16/20 5:06am)

The hushed three-part harmonies of Durham-based indie band Mountain Man grew out of a college dorm over 10 years ago in rural Vermont. According to the band’s oft-repeated story, then-student Amelia Meath heard a song coming from her dorm’s living room. Captivated by the music, she rushed downstairs to find Molly Sarlé, who taught her “Dog Song.” Meath then taught the song to her friend Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, and soon, the three were recording an album together.


From ‘A Trip to the Moon’ to ‘Interstellar’: ‘Space on the Silver Screen’ explores it all

(11/20/19 7:09pm)

In 1902, a rocket landed in the moon’s eye, and audiences were in awe. Pirated versions of George Méliès’ silent black-and-white film “A Trip to the Moon” screened in theaters across the United States to rows of captivated eyes. That year gave birth to a new genre of film — one that would later spawn multi-million dollar budget deals, elaborate theme parks and zeitgeist-defining, imagination-widening stories. 


FKA twigs twists sound and story in ‘Magdalene’

(11/16/19 5:01am)

Mary Magdalene is one of the first women history robbed. Popular culture tells us she was a former prostitute, but at the origin of this legend is an old, powerful white man: Pope Gregory I, who conflated Mary Magdalene with an unnamed “sinful woman” found elsewhere in the Bible. Fifteen hundred years later her image has hardly recovered. In “Magdalene,” FKA twigs’ second full-length LP, the British musician and performer imagines that Mary Magdalene is Jesus’ lover and equal, turning on its head the traditional, patriarchal narrative.


Recess interviews: Duke theater professor and playwright Neal Bell

(11/01/19 7:30pm)

Currently professor of the practice in the department of theater studies at Duke, Neal Bell has an accomplished career as a playwright that includes an Obie award in 1992 for sustained achievement in playwriting and the Edgar Award for the best mystery play of 2005. In anticipation of Duke Players’ staged reading of his new play “The Report From Planet X” this Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. in Brody Theater, Recess talked to Neal Bell about his career and his latest project.


Artist Daniel Aguilar Ruvalcaba has a philanthropic challenge for David Rubenstein

(10/30/19 4:40pm)

It is a normal Tuesday evening commute — until, as I stare out the smudged windows of the C1, I notice something peculiar: A man is watching me. He’s seated squarely, unmoving, behind the second-floor windows of the Rubenstein Arts Center, looking out onto Campus Drive and whoever goes past.



Trick mirrors, orchid crowns and jawlines: The art of the scam

(09/26/19 4:03am)

I have a time limit set on my Instagram use. Some days, as I’m lying in bed, aimlessly scrolling through images of burnt-orange sunsets and golden retrievers, a notification will command my vision and fill me with guilt — but only briefly. Often, in the instant my eyes mindlessly scan over the reminder that I’ve “spent 15 minutes on Instagram today,” my right thumb lunges toward the “OK” button, and the notification disappears. I move on, only slightly deterred in my dead-eyed scrolling.


Growing up is complicated on Frankie Cosmos’ ‘Close It Quietly’

(09/12/19 4:02am)

A quick scan of Greta Kline’s album-packed Bandcamp page reveals something curious: she can’t seem to settle on a name. Over the course of a few years and a few dozen albums, she goes from “ingrid superstar” to “ingrid” to “zebu fur” to “frankie cosmos.” And those are just the big ones — at times she’s also “greta,” “GRETA,” “the ingrates,” “Frankie Cosmos and the Emptiness” and “frankie cosmos & the emptiness.”


‘It's never too late’: DEMAN Weekend keynote speakers share their paths to arts and media careers

(09/05/19 4:03am)

When Dave Karger, Trinity ’95, entered Duke’s Career Center as a first-year to seek an internship in the entertainment industry, he was met with surprise — the employees do not typically encounter first-years. Still, that one visit led Karger to an unpaid summer internship in New York. Now, as a TCM host and correspondent for the Today Show and IMDB, Karger traces his career back to that first-year visit.