The absence of women rockers such as Chrissie Amphlett (pictured here in 2006) from an Oz playlist promoted by the prime minister speaks volumes about how women are excluded from the music canon. Joe Castro/AAP

Music

Why Scott Morrison’s white, male music playlists matter

The PM's Spotify playlists are significant as they offer insight into what he sees as valuable in popular culture. They also remind us how women are excluded from the music canon.
A tourist photographs the stupa of human remains at Choeung Ek Genocidal Center. Caroline Bennett

Tourism

Dark tourism: why atrocity tourism is neither new nor weird

A new Netflix series focusing on tourism to sites of historic disasters or atrocities delivers no more than a contemporary version of a freak show.
Still from 'The Matrix', 1999

Close Up

The great movie scenes: The Matrix and bullet-time

When it was released in 1999, The Matrix introduced a new type of image: bullet-time. Bruce Isaacs explains why it has become one of the most influential special effects in the history of cinema.
Biologists are gathering evidence of green algae (pictured here in Kuwait) becoming carbohydrate-rich but less nutritious, due to increased carbon dioxide levels. As science fiction becomes science fact, new forms of storytelling are emerging. Raed Qutena

Friday essay

Friday essay: how speculative fiction gained literary respectability

As we enter the age of the Anthropocene, there is a growing recognition of different kinds of 'un-real' storytelling.
The performers in Sutra, which saw its Australian premiere at the OzAsia Festival. OzAsia Festival

OzAsia Festival

Sutra brings a state of grace to the stage

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s fusion of the choreographic universe of contemporary dance with the kung fu techniques of the famed Shaolin monks is both masterful and unexpected
In Ancient Greek texts, the king Lycaon is punished for misdeeds by being turned into a wolf. Wikimedia

Halloween

The ancient origins of werewolves

The earliest surviving example of man-to-wolf transformation is found in The Epic of Gilgamesh, from around 2,100 BC. But the werewolf as we now know it first appeared in ancient Greece and Rome.
Darcy, played here by Colin Firth in the 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, has morphed from dreamboat to vampire in recent fiction. BBC

Fiction

Mr Darcy as vampire: a literary hero with bite

A Mr Darcy Halloween costume anyone? How the brooding hero of Pride and Prejudice has been reinvented as a vampire.
Watching with a parent, checking the facts, and exposure therapy can all help a child process a scary movie. Shutterstock

Halloween

How to watch a scary movie with your child

There are various techniques that can soften the fear factor of a scary film: from talking about it to providing facts that contextualise the plotline.
Hydra 1960, including Leonard Cohen (bearded, left) and Redmond Wallis (centre right in cotton shirt). Photographer unknown. Reproduced with the permission of Dorothy Wallis.

Essay

Friday essay: a fresh perspective on Leonard Cohen and the island that inspired him

Leonard Cohen's final (posthumous) book was released in Australia this week. Another new book sheds light on Cohen's life on Hydra in the 1960s and the relationships he forged with Antipodeans seeking liberation there.
Australian literature has a long history of appropriating and misrepresenting Aboriginal culture. Tom Williams

Books

Australian literature’s legacies of cultural appropriation

Non-Indigenous writers, if they wish to engage ethically with Indigenous culture, must learn to respect it as a form of property grounded in kinship and country.
Roxy Jacenko and daughter Pixie (centre) at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia in 2016. Pixie’s Instagram account has more than 100,000 followers and she has a signature line of hair bows. Dan Himbrechts

Friday essay

Friday essay: family as ‘brand’ – the rise of the digital mumpreneur

A growing number of parents are making money out of their children by turning them into social media celebrities. But the chimera of corporate branding is no antidote for lives lived in precarious times.
Othello and Desdemona, Henri Jean-Baptiste Victoire Fradelle, circa 1827. Wikimedia

Music

Decoding the music masterpieces: Rossini’s opera, Otello

“They have been crucifying Othello into an opera,” Lord Byron later wrote after watching Rossini's opera. But the performance does much to highlight the play's racial politics.

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