An extended pause by the biggest publishers could spur comic creators to pursue new projects and accelerate a shift away from comic book stores. Here, the cover of Batman Giant #4, which was expected in stores this April 1, 2020. (DC Comics)

Comics industry shut down by coronavirus

When the COVID-19 pandemic tapers off, festivals will be an important part of recovery. Here, crowds last April at the 2019 Coachella music festival, in Indio, CA. The spring festival has been cancelled and rescheduled for the fall. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP, File)

COVID-19 cancellations: Communication is key to retain trust

Dolly Parton is having a pop culture moment. The ‘Dolly Parton’s America’ podcast explores belonging and ‘home.’ Here she performs with Joel Smallbone, left, and Luke Smallbone, right at the 53rd Annual CMA Awards in Nashville, Tenn. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Dolly Parton’s broad appeal: Alienation, home & belonging

Diga, frontman of the Yellowknife-based band Digawolf, says his goal is to pursue music “without having to move south.” Here, the band, nominated as Indigenous artist or group of the year, with Diga, David Dowe and Layne Rybchinski. (Digawolf/Maia Lepage)

The Junos have been cancelled but we still need to invest in music

Three-quarters of the high-profile category Juno 2020 nominees were Ontario artists. This year's awards have been cancelled, but new efforts to boost music development across the country are needed.
Models walk the runway in the ‘We Are Handsome’ fashion show during the 2016 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Sydney, Australia. (Shutterstock)

Sportswear: indebted to Indigenous & African American cultures

Sportswear is recognized as North America’s contribution to the western fashion tradition — yet its Indigenous and African-American origins are rarely acknowledged.
The Canadian TV show ‘Hudson & Rex’ features actor John Reardon playing Det. Charlie Hudson and German shepherd Diesel vom Burgimwald as Rex.

‘Hudson & Rex’: challenging us to look at animal labour

A closer look at Canada’s hit TV show, 'Hudson & Rex', invites us to think differently about animals’ minds, work and contributions to our shared communities.
Yona Friedman in his apartment at Boulevard Garibaldi in Paris, March 2012. (Theodora Vardouli)

Architect Yona Friedman used math to design utopian cities

Around 1964, at the peak of his fame with the "Spatial City," Friedman moved away from the drawing board — and instead began using math to prove his structures were products of careful reasoning.
Joseph Morales and company in ‘Hamilton,’ the musical that opens to sold out shows in Toronto this month. The show highlights early ambition in America. (Hamilton national tour/Joan Marcus)

‘Hamilton’ tells the story of America’s founding passions

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s blockbuster portrayal of Alexander Hamilton, one of the most colourful founding fathers, opens this month in Toronto.
Jennifer Lopez performs during the halftime show at the NFL Super Bowl on Feb. 2, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

J.Lo’s body: Distressing or inspiring for mid-life women?

The tip-top physical condition of J.Lo and Shakira shouldn't cause women to throw up their hands and stop working out any more than Olympic cyclists should inspire us to quit riding our bikes.
An image from the book cover for ‘SLAY,’ one of the top 2019 five books for young critical thinkers. (Simon and Schuster)

Five great reads for young critical thinkers

A list of 5 great reads for young critical thinkers and the adults in their lives — in time for holiday gift-giving.
Two manuscripts of the visionary, writer and composer St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) survived the Dresden bombings after a librarian stashed them in a bank vault. (Avraham Pisarek/Deutsche Fotothek/Wikimedia)

Two women & a medieval manuscript heist

Two precious manuscripts hidden in a bank vault survived the Allied bombing of Dresden, but one wound up in Soviet hands — until it was smuggled home.
With over 100 issues, ‘Young Love’ was one of the longest running romance comics series. Gary Lee Watson Comic Book Collection, Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, University of South Carolina Libraries

America’s postwar fling with romance comics

During the 'love glut,' roughly 1 in 5 of all comic books were romance comics, as publishers scrambled to appease readers' appetites for scandalous storylines.
Graham Chapman as Brian in Terry Jones’s ‘Monty Python’s Life Of Brian.’ (HandMade Films/Python (Monty) Pictures//Monty Python's Life of Brian)

Terry Jones’s legacy of a surprisingly historical Jesus

'Life of Brian' is a perfect introduction to how a seemingly-irreverent parody of films about the historical Jesus can offer stronger historical insights than more earnest fare.
Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston and Nella Larsen are on this short list of enduring must-read writers. Left to right: Nobel Prize, U.S. Library of Congress, Yale archive

A must-read list: African American women writers

Here is a small list of pivotal texts by African American women from the past century.
Prince performs at Minneapolis’ First Avenue nightclub in August 1983. Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

How Minneapolis made Prince

Prince was a musical genius, but he didn't come of age in a vacuum. A human geographer explains how Minneapolis' unique musical culture nurtured and inspired the budding star.
The Goop Lab launches Jan. 24, 2020: it will likely be full of magical thinking and unproven health stories — making it a huge conflict of interest for Gwyneth Paltrow. (Shutterstock)

Gwyneth Paltrow’s new Goop Lab is an infomercial

Gwyneth Paltrow's new Netflix series, The Goop Lab, raises serious questions about the spread of health misinformation as well as the conflict of interest the show represents.
Erin Ball performs at Cripping the Arts at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, in January 2019. She balances with her hands on the arms of an old wheelchair. Behind her, two long pegs extend from her prosthetic legs. (Michelle Peek Photography for ReVision)

Radical accessibility pushes performance boundaries

Rustle your program without getting a glare at a relaxed performance — an art form in synch with the growing field of disability arts.
Portrait of Edmond Belamy, 2018, created by GAN (Generative Adversarial Network), sold for US$432,500 on Oct. 25, 2019, at Christie’s in New York. (Obvious)

The price of AI art: Has the bubble burst?

Last fall, a piece of art work created by AI to resemble 18th century classical western art sold for almost half a million dollars. But the second in the series sold for much less.
The keeper of hundreds of Kwakwaka’wakw songs, Kwaksistalla Wathl’thla (Clan Chief Adam Dick), chanting at a feast (qui’las) with Mayanilh (Dr. Daisy Sewid-Smith). (Bert Crowfoot)

Truth and Reconciliation

Indigenous song keepers reveal traditional knowledge

Ancestral Indigenous songs often encode territorial responsibilities and rights, such as in relationship with 'lokiwey' (coastal clam gardens) on the Pacific Northwest Coast.

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  1. How medieval writers struggled to make sense of the Black Death
  2. Comics vs. coronavirus: Comics industry shut down for the first time in almost a century
  3. Steve Martin’s banjo and other music played from coronavirus isolation show how the arts connect us
  4. No musical talent, no problem — there are now apps for that
  5. Apocalyptic fiction helps us deal with the anxiety of the coronavirus pandemic

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