The Democratic Cup

The Democratic Cup

Since the advent of online journalism, social media, and the increasingly partisan landscape of cable news, Americans have started to do something that researchers call “self-segregating” when it comes to learning about politics and current events. Many of us are watching, just not together: according to a recent Pew Research Center analysis of Nielsen Media Research data, the 2016 presidential election has led to an 8 percent jump in prime time viewership of cable news. The revenues for the three major channels, CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC, are projected to increase by 10 percent to about $4 billion this year. That’s certainly good for TV, but it’s probably not good for us.

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Shopping for a Modernist Holiday Tablescape at the Cooper Hewitt

Shopping for a Modernist Holiday Tablescape at the Cooper Hewitt

One of my favorite holiday memories from my school days on East 91st Street (where I sported a very fashion-forward plaid jumper until age 11) is of browsing the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum‘s gift shop in search of exquisite, handmade Christmas ornaments and educational stocking stuffers. To the delight of design lovers everywhere, the 1902 Carnegie Mansion that the Museum calls it home is now the site of a brand new shop full of inventive and wonderful things just in time for the holidays.

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They Ferment for Each Other

They Ferment for Each Other

You’ve probably heard the one about the guy who raised $75,000 on Kickstarter to fund a nebulous potato salad project with no business plan, no recipe, and no particular sense of what kind of potato salad he was interested in making. I wish him well, but it’s high time the Internet supported a group of savory snack food entrepreneurs with a viable plan for scaling up, and some surprising health and environmental benefits to offer their neighborhood and customers. A new pickle company has emerged in Philadelphia, going by the evocative name Gary Ducket, founded by five guys who love brine and sustainable farming practices.

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The (Tortured) Soul of Wit

The (Tortured) Soul of Wit

Try to imagine Grumpy Cat as a professor of German literature at an Ivy League university, haunted by deep misgivings about his role in academia. Now imagine that he has opposable thumbs, an iPhone and a love of wry German aphorisms, and you might end up with something pretty close in spirit to Eric Jarosinski’s Twitter feed, @NeinQuarterly. Nein’s avatar is a stylized rendering of lovable Frankfurt School misanthrope Theodor W. Adorno, who is depicted sporting a monocle that he didn’t wear in real life, but plausibly could have. 

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The Material Is The Message

The Material Is The Message

Most works of contemporary art that you find in galleries and museums are finished by the time they’re on view; in the case of performance art that unfolds in real time, a “work of art” isn’t really an object but an experience or an interaction. This summer, the Philadelphia Art Alliance has invited a group of artists called the Miss Rockaway Armada to create something that is part performance, part salvage operation and part sleight of hand. It demonstrates that the processes of designing and building something can tell a story. And what’s their story?

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Handmade for Japan: Aid Through Art

Handmade for Japan: Aid Through Art

Anxiously reading the headlines about Japan’s unfolding nuclear crisis in the wake of last week’s earthquake and tsunami, I’ve been looking around for effective ways to help the relief effort.

A benefit auction starting March 24th offers a great way to send much-needed funds to Global Giving’s Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund, a grassroots organization that is well-equipped to deploy supplies and aid across the country. Handmade for Japan, which was organized just one day after the earthquake on March 12th by Ayumi Horie, Kathryn Pombriant Manzella and Ai Kanazawa, will raise money for Global Giving with an eBay auction featuring the work of artists from the US and Japan.

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Handmade Holiday

Handmade Holiday

An outlet mall sweater that will never fit. Fancy toiletries so heavily perfumed you can’t bear to keep them in the house. A DVD of an Adam Sandler movie that you wouldn’t have gone to see when it was in the theaters. “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”.

This December, millions of gifts will be bought, wrapped, shipped, opened — and either returned, or consigned to obscurity in the basement.

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