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Critics may sneer but pro-wrestling is a highly theatrical form. Tracy Nearmy/AAP

RAW theatre: pro-wrestling belongs on the arts pages

A bawdy, sexist, overblown spectacle that celebrates a particularly regressive form of masculinity? The same might be said of a good deal of theatre – not to mention culture generally.
Through his music, Lead Belly rejected the stereotype that country music was the domain of white artists, while blues music was reserved for blacks. Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Lead Belly’s music defied racial categorization

Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection depicts the fully-formed artist – a blues musician, yes, but also a performer of string-band, country and pop songs.
The debate around whether or not Taylor Swift should be in the running for Triple J’s Hottest 100 has sparked useful discussion about the role of the youth broadcaster. EPA/JASON SZENES

Taylor Swift, Triple J and what the youth market really wants to hear

This Monday on the Australia Day public holiday, Triple J’s annual Hottest 100 for 2014 will be announced live across the afternoon and evening. While the countdown is usually the ABC radio station’s highest…
Sir Paul McCartney thinks it’s ridiculous (but flattering) that people formally study The Beatles. EPA/Robert Voss

Hey, Sir Paul! Studying popular music doesn’t actually kill it

Sir Paul McCartney has been making some waves. On New Year’s Eve, Kanye West released a new single, Only One, a collaboration with The Beatles great on keys. On Twitter, Kanye’s fans reacted, wanting to…
Australiana is back with a vengeance in popular culture. AAP Image/Angie Raphael

Pass the Iced VoVos: the resurrection of Australiana

There’s a trend you might have noticed emerging in an array of Australian popular cultural forms at the moment. It announces the return of locally-grown pride: albeit one taken through the route of irony…
Matthew McConaughey embodies the heroic scientist in Interstellar. Paramount

Scientists as Hollywood heroes

Interstellar’s protagonists spend a significant portion of the movie’s 169-minute running time giving mini-lectures – sometimes with props and a little whiteboard – on theoretical physics. The characters…
In the realm of pop culture, ‘killer clowns’ have really proliferated and fostered coulrophobia – the fear of clowns. Mark Crossfield

Are clowns scary? Ha ha aaaargh

When Australian singer and TV personality Mark Holden appeared as a clown recently on Channel 7’s Dancing with the Stars, his supposedly “bizarre” behaviour sparked furious debate and complaints to the…
Bible literacy’s up in this electric chapel. Teemu Rytky

Bible literacy is going up, not down – thanks, Lady Gaga

Easter is here, and while some might reflect on the resurrection of Christ, I’m wondering at another miracle of sorts that we’re witnessing – the renaissance of the Bible in popular culture. The run up…
Is Annie Lennox really the only notable female composer? EPA/MARK KEHOE

Is Annie Lennox really the only notable woman composer?

Last week, Jude Kelly, artistic director of London’s prestigious Southbank Centre, was the most recent arts luminary to wonder in public why women in music are rarer than English cricket victories in Australia…
Minami Minegishi, member of Japanese pop group AKB48, made a tearful public apology on AKB48’s YouTube channel. YouTube

AKB48, headshaving and the sexual politics of J-Pop

Japanese pop star Minami Minegashi made headlines worldwide after shaving her head and making an dramatic public apology on Youtube for violating her pop group AKB48’s strict no dating policy. While shocking…

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