Japan college offers PhD in comics
Lovers of Japanese comics can now get a doctorate in the art form.
June 7th, 2011
01:29 PM ET

Japan college offers PhD in comics

Fans of vintage Japanese comics can now get a high degree in the art form.

Kyoto Seika University, a private college in western Japan, is launching the nation's first doctoral program in manga, according to Australia's The Age.

The institution reportedly began an online degree program in manga and anime last year, the newspaper says.

The on-campus program should prove to be popular. Kyoto Seika has already gotten requests from people overseas to do their cartoon research there.

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Filed under: Art • Education • Japan
On the Radar: Pacific typhoon; art race in California; NHL playoffs
Typhoon Songda moves away from the Philippines on Friday.
May 27th, 2011
06:38 AM ET

On the Radar: Pacific typhoon; art race in California; NHL playoffs

Three stories to watch into the weekend.

Pacific typhoon: Typhoon Songda was weakening Friday over the western Pacific but was still expected to be a Category 3 storm when it passes near the Japanese island of Okinawa on Saturday.

The Pacific Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, forecasts Songda's maximum sustained winds to be 120 mph with gusts up to 150 mph as it approaches Okinawa, home to tens of thousands of U.S. military personnel, on Saturday. The Japan Meteorological Agency forecast Songda to be a very strong storm as it approaches Okinawa.

Significant weakening was predicted, however, as the typhoon passes southeast of Japan's main islands on Sunday.

U.S. military officials on Okinawa have banned troops from consuming alcohol during the storm, saying alcohol use in such conditions puts troops and their mission in danger.

Officials in the Philippines said Songda, also known as Chedeng, killed two people there, according to the Philippine Information Agency.

Art triathlon: Scores of artists, pilots and engineers will bring their one-of-a-kind kinetic machines to race for the glory at the 43rd annual Kinetic Grand Championship.

Billed as "The Triathlon of the Art World," the event pits human-powered art sculptures on wheels against one another in a three-day race across California's northern coast.

Pilots guiding "kinetic sculptures" ranging from gigantic tricycles to hulking metallic lobsters will traverse road, water and sand on their way from the city of Arcata to Ferndale.

NHL playoffs: The Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning play Game 7 of their Eastern Conference finals Friday night in Boston.

Tampa Bay won Game 6 Wednesday at home to tie the series at three games apiece.

"Boston is 1-0 in home playoff Game 7s this year, while Tampa Bay is 1-0 on the road. Something's gotta give," writes SI.com's Adrian Dater.

Friday night's winner will take on the Vancouver Canucks for the Stanley Cup.
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Filed under: Art • California • Hockey • Japan • NHL • Philippines • Tropical weather • Weather
Easter hunt targets the work of street artist known as 'Catlanta'
April 23rd, 2011
08:20 PM ET

Easter hunt targets the work of street artist known as 'Catlanta'

Art lovers in Atlanta are on the prowl this weekend. But they're not after Easter eggs. Using social media to hunt for clues, they race from location to location seeking the ultimate prize: a palm-sized magnet shaped like a cartoon cat.

The magnets, each hand painted, are the brain child of a local artist who goes by the name of his creation: Catlanta.

To hear him tell it, the whole enterprise grew organically. The design came from a sketch of his own cats made "cuter." Initially, the artist painted the cat on walls around town but a chance discovery of magnet sheets outside a dumpster gave rise to the less permanent tag prized by fans. The artist says he’s done with spray painting, citing the controversy associated with that type of permanent marking: "I want this to be something that the city supports."

Read more about how Catlanta uses social media

While the artist has hundreds of gushing fans online, not everyone shares the excitement. Peggy Denby, who works with community groups and elected officials to eradicate graffiti, says she thinks his work may violate the city's code.

None of this seemed to bother Catlanta's fans as the Easter kitten hunt ended Saturday, with those who narrowly missed out Tweeting their tales of woe. These fans they may have another chance when the hunt resumes next week.

Click the audio link to hear the complete story:

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Look! Look! A new Seuss book!
A new book of Dr. Seuss stories will be published in September, Random House says.
April 19th, 2011
09:36 AM ET

Look! Look! A new Seuss book!

We're really not trying to be obtuse, but there's another book coming from Dr. Seuss. You could read it in a house. You could read it with a mouse.

We'll stop there. You get the idea.

"The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories by Dr. Seuss" will hit store shelves in September, according to publisher Random House Inc.

The seven stories have been published before, but never in book form. They appeared in magazines in 1950 and 1951, the publisher says.

Seuss scholar Charles D. Cohen tracked down the stories, whose fantastical illustrations will have more vibrant colors in the book than were possible in the 1950s magazines, according to Random House.


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Filed under: Art • Literature
Gotta Watch: Mardi Gras; troops come home; your new favorite band
A cow and panda go to Mardi Gras. They weren't even the weirdest people there.
March 9th, 2011
10:44 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Mardi Gras; troops come home; your new favorite band

Party Gras for Mardi Gras – New Orleans revelers let the good times roll with parties, parades and bands. Get your fill of Mardi Gras without the awful hangover.


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Filed under: Art • Gotta Watch • Military • Showbiz
March 4th, 2011
01:03 PM ET

'Archie' comic book brings record bid

Archie Comics #1 originally sold for 10 cents in 1942.

Comic book character Archie has always been a sort of awkward, goofy dude, but to at least one collector, he's a superhero.

A copy of Archie Comics No. 1 sold at auction last week for $167,300, the highest amount ever paid for a non-superhero comic book, according to Heritage Auction Galleries of Dallas.

"Archie may have a ways to go to catch the likes of Superman and Batman, his Golden Age counterparts, but you can bet that collectors sat up and took notice when this comic brought that price," said Lon Allen, managing director of comics at Heritage Auction Galleries. "This amount exceeds the priciest of Spidey and Hulk comic books we've sold, which brought in excess of $125,000 each."

Archie Comics No. 1 was published in 1942, according to Comic Book Resources, and the brand continues today.

The winning bidder, who chose to remain anonymous, had been hunting a long time for a copy in great condition, according to the auction house.

"It's not going to leave my possession until I die," he reportedly told the auction house.

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Friday's intriguing people
In addition to Charlie Sheen, producer Chuck Lorre has worked with Roseanne Barr, Cybill Shepherd and Brett Butler.
February 25th, 2011
09:53 AM ET

Friday's intriguing people

Chuck Lorre

The “Two and a Half Men” creator has not hesitated to provoke troubled actor Charlie Sheen. According to Zap2it Columnist Rick Porter, Lorre recently used vanity cards displayed at the end of the CBS program to comment on the actor’s behavior. After the February 14 program aired, Lorre’s closing remarks read: “I exercise regularly. I eat moderate amounts of healthy food. I make sure to get plenty of rest. … I don’t do drugs. I don’t have crazy, reckless sex with strangers. If Charlie Sheen outlives me, I’m gonna be really pissed.” Sheen is not Lorre’s first headache. He’s worked with Roseanne Barr, Cybill Shepherd, and in the mid-90s he created “Grace Under Fire,” starring Brett Butler, who had substance abuse issues.

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Filed under: Art • Charlie Sheen • Economy • Jobs • Most Intriguing People • Movies • New York • Showbiz • Technology • TV • Twitter • U.S. • United Kingdom
Gotta Watch: Chainsaw britches, pot for tots, history's jigsaw, Haiti's 'Earth ships'
An Oklahoma man is accused of trying to steal a chainsaw by shoving it down his pants.
February 23rd, 2011
10:51 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Chainsaw britches, pot for tots, history's jigsaw, Haiti's 'Earth ships'

The ol' cut and run - An Oklahoma man is accused of stuffing a chainsaw down his pants and running. Well, waddling is likely a better word. The best part about this absurd story is the repeated use of the term "britches" and the infamous local news standby – the old camera man re-enactment routine.


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RoboCop to return to Detroit
A man in the Philippines wears a costume in 2009 inspired by the 1987 movie "RoboCop."
February 16th, 2011
01:15 PM ET

RoboCop to return to Detroit

Thanks to "crowd funding," it looks as if Detroit will get its RoboCop statue after all.

A week after Mayor Dave Bing took to Twitter to dismiss the idea, an independent online campaign has raised more than $50,000 to build a monument to the 1987 sci-fi movie hero, the Detroit Free Press reports.


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Gotta Watch: Grammys 53.0
Lady Gaga emerges from her egg to perform at Sunday's 53rd Annual Grammy Awards.
February 14th, 2011
11:40 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Grammys 53.0

Paging Dr. Dre - If book club kept you from catching the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards last night, fret not. We've condensed the entire ceremony into two minutes. Just add water and get ready to Google Arcade Fire.

The Grammys is an opportunity for musicians who are known for dressing strange to take it up a notch, or twelve. This year's red carpet did not disappoint. Rihanna showed up as a pipe cleaner, Lady Gaga hatched with horns, Katy Perry flashed plumage and Black Eyed Peas rapper Taboo accessorized with a tasteful placement of his new self-help book. Did anyone tell these people they would have to sit for three hours?

The future of Bieber - So, chances are you spent a good portion of the evening and this morning cursing the gods of music for robbing Justin Bieber of music's greatest honor. Don't worry. Some of pop's biggest stars think he'll be just fine. Music elite weigh in on where Bieber fever might be in a decade.

Bieber beater - Before you send that email to the editor of Tiger Beat complaining about Bieber's highway robbery, take a look at the woman who did win "Best New Artist." Here name is Esperanza Spalding, and she might just have you singing a different tune.

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Museums wager French impressionist paintings on Super Bowl XLV
If the Packers win the Super Bowl, a Milwaukee museum gets a Renoir nude for its gallery.
January 28th, 2011
01:31 PM ET

Museums wager French impressionist paintings on Super Bowl XLV

Some folks paddling boats vs. naked ladies bathing – it doesn’t seem like a fair wager, at least not to this admittedly male reporter.

But that’s the bet, as the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh are putting impressionist artworks on the line for Super Bowl XLV.

If the Steelers win, Carnegie gets Gustave Caillebotte’s “Boating on the Yerres." If the Pack prevails, Milwaukee gets Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s “Bathers with a Crab.”

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports the winning museum will be able to display its spoils for three months, so neither museum is in danger of permanently losing a multimillion-dollar French painting.

Adding to the fun is that the chiefs of both museums are engaging in a spirited spat of trash talk that may belie the image many of us have about museum directors.


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Filed under: Art • Pennsylvania • Pro football • Sports • Wisconsin
Acclaimed author Reynolds Price dies
Southern writer Reynolds Price was the recipient of numerous literary awards.
January 21st, 2011
01:25 PM ET

Acclaimed author Reynolds Price dies

Reynolds Price, a renowned Southern writer and a professor at Duke University for more than 50 years, has died.

Price died of cancer Thursday at age 77, the university announced.

"With a poet's deep appreciation for language, Reynolds Price taught generations of students to understand and love literature," Duke President Richard H. Brodhead said in a statement on the university's website.

"Reynolds was a part of the soul of Duke; he loved this university and always wanted to make it better. We can scarcely imagine Duke without Reynolds Price."

Price's 1962 book "A Long and Happy Life" received the William Faulkner Award for a notable first novel. His novel "Kate Vaiden" received the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1986.


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Wednesday's intriguing people
Twenty people were shot Saturday outside a Safeway grocery in Tucson, Arizona.
January 12th, 2011
12:14 PM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

Mary Reed

Mary Reed's 17-year-old daughter, Emma, was a congressional page last summer for Gabrielle Giffords but never got a picture with her. So Reed and her daughter went to the constituent event at a Safeway in Tucson, Arizona, on Saturday, hoping for a photo opportunity.

Suddenly, gunfire broke out, and Reed was struck in the left arm. She pinned Emma to a wall to protect her and then took two more bullets in her right arm and back.

"He was literally going to have to go through me, and that wasn't going to happen," Reed told CNN affiliate KPHO.

Reed, who is recovering at home, is more concerned now with the psychological scars than the physical ones.

"My children had to witness people being killed, people dying right by them, blood everywhere. It's a very hard thing to acknowledge that's what my children had to experience," she told KPHO.


Geraldine Hoff Doyle, 'We Can Do It!' poster inspiration, dies at 86
December 30th, 2010
09:00 AM ET

Geraldine Hoff Doyle, 'We Can Do It!' poster inspiration, dies at 86

The woman who inspired the famous World War II "We Can Do It!" poster has died.

Geraldine Hoff Doyle was just 17 when a United Press photographer captured her in 1942 working at a Michigan metal factory, wearing a red polka-dotted bandanna.

Her pretty face caught the eye of artist J. Howard Miller, who had been commissioned by the government to create a series of motivational posters for factory workers.

The face on the poster was Doyle's, but the powerful muscles were not, her daughter Stephanie Gregg of Eaton Rapids, Michigan, told The New York Times.

"She didn't have big, muscular arms," Gregg said in the Times' obituary. "She was 5-foot-10 and very slender. She was a glamour girl. The arched eyebrows, the beautiful lips, the shape of the face — that's her."

Doyle abandoned the factory job after just two weeks, worried that she might injure her hands and not be able to play cello anymore, according to the Washington Post. She took a job at a soda fountain, where she met her future husband.

The poster eventually became an icon of women's empowerment, but Doyle never recognized her own face on it until 1984, when she saw it in Modern Maturity magazine, the Lansing (Michigan) State Journal reported.

Doyle was married for 66 years to dentist Leo Doyle, who died in February. They had six children, 18 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren. Geraldine Doyle died Sunday at a hospice facility in Lansing, her daughter said. She was 86.

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Filed under: Art • History • Michigan • Obituary • U.S. • War
Thursday's intriguing people
December 23rd, 2010
02:28 PM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Rafael Benitez

The volatile coach of the Inter Milan soccer team was fired Thursday after demanding the team's owner voice support for him.

Benitez had previously criticized the team's board for its unwillingness to spend money to acquire better players.

Benitez, a 50-year-old Spaniard, had been the team's coach for just six months.

"F.C. Internazionale would like to thank Rafael Benitez for his work in charge of the team, which he guided to success in the Italian League Super Cup and in the FIFA Club World Cup," a statement from the team said.

The Rev. Henry Covington

The Detroit pastor ministered to the poor and homeless out of a run-down church with a huge hole in the roof.

Mitch Albom, a Detroit Free Press columnist and author of "Tuesdays With Morrie," featured Covington in his best-selling 2009 book, "Have a Little Faith."

Covington became a Christian after giving up a life of drug-dealing and violence in New York. He created I Am My Brother's Keeper Ministries in the dilapidated Pilgrim Church in a poor neighborhood in Detroit, where he became the subject of a column by Albom in 2008.

Readers' response to Albom's column resulted in a new book and charitable foundation for Albom, a new roof for the church, and a new level of celebrity for Covington.

Covington and Albom appeared Monday on NBC's "Today" show in New York, Covington's hometown. Covington stayed an extra day to visit with family. He died in his sleep Tuesday night. He was 53.

In an emotional obituary/column Thursday, Albom referred to the night Covington's life changed:

"You were saved that night, saved from the drug dealers out for revenge, and saved from the spiral of an empty, wasted life. Your soul began its comeback. You got clean. Stayed clean. And you kept your promise. You gave the Lord not only your devotion, but your days."

Covington is survived by his wife, Annette, and four children. His funeral will be Tuesday morning at Pilgrim Church.

Kayla Watkins

The 12-year-old from Toronto recently decided to quit her coed hockey team, the Ice Dogs - not because she was the only girl, but because the father of one of her teammates called for severe restrictions on her ice time.

The father, a lawyer, drafted an agenda that identified Kayla's skill level and abilities as a liability to the team.

"It is now 14 games into the season and I have noticed that Kayla's play has not improved," the agenda reads, according to the Toronto Star.

The agenda then proposes several options for limiting Kayla's playing time.

"If Kayla is NOT amenable to the above options, the coach should find Kayla a new team to play on commensurate to her skill level for the balance of the season," the agenda reads, according to the Star.

The coach, for his part, said he wanted Kayla to stay on the team. But to spare herself the humiliation and to quiet the controversy, Kayla has switched to playing with the all-girl North York Storm.

"I felt that if I went back all the parents would have been watching every move I made and always staring at me," she told the Star. "To play hockey you shouldn't have to go through what I went through. I was just looking to have friendship and play the game I love."

James Esber

The artist's exhibit at the Pierogi gallery in Brooklyn, New York, is drawing attention for one particular work: a collection of tracings representing Osama bin Laden.

Esber gave each of 100 friends and relatives a photocopy of a drawing he made of bin Laden, a piece of tracing paper, a pencil, and red and black ink. Each person was asked to trace the drawing and color it to taste.

The result is what The New York Times calls "a dizzying, slightly hallucinatory, one-rogue rogue's gallery."

The result, titled "You, Me and Everyone Else," may say more about the artists than it says about bin Laden.

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Filed under: Art • Canada • Hockey • Italy • Michigan • Most Intriguing People • New York • Soccer • Sports
Thief steals 'Honesty' from Minn. school
December 17th, 2010
01:07 PM ET

Thief steals 'Honesty' from Minn. school

"Honesty" stared a thief right in the face, and the bandit made off with it anyway.

Perhaps he or she missed the point of John Ilg's sculpture.

The artwork, which features 316 rolled-up dollar bills placed in a wire-mesh frame to spell out H-O-N-E-S-T-Y, was jacked from Normandale Community College this week, according to the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Only a set of muddy footprints and a trail of seven rolled-up George Washingtons remained in and near the Bloomington school's fine arts building. There are no suspects, the paper said.


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November 26th, 2010
10:52 PM ET

Climate activists in Iceland use art to send message

Hundreds of red tents form the shape of a polar bear in Iceland.

Polar bears are not native to Iceland. But they have been arriving on its shores as their homes melt in the North Pole, a symbol of how climate change is affecting our world.

Or at least that's how Icelandic artist Bjargey Ólafsdóttir sees it, inspiring her contribution to the world’s first global climate art project.

"350 EARTH" is a series of giant public art displays around the planet to help raise awareness about the climate crisis before the UN Climate Meetings begin Monday in Cancun, Mexico, according to the event's organizers.

Each art installation is designed to be large enough to be visible from space, and the majority of the projects are being photographed by satellites operated by a Colorado-based company, Digital Globe.

The projects are intended to show the artists' perceptions of how climate change is affecting our world and offer visions of how to can solve the crisis.

In Iceland, Ólafsdóttir collaborated with a rescue team to create a polar bear out of hundreds of red tents at the base of a melting Icelandic glacier. The image is inspired by the Nazca lines of Peru and children's drawings, and it seeks to highlight diminishing glaciers and sea ice, as well as the uncertain future polar bears face.

"Art can convey in a different way than science the threat that climate change poses to our planet,” 350.org founder and environmental author Bill McKibben said. “The world’s best scientists have tried to wake up politicians to the climate crisis; now we’re counting on artists to help."

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Filed under: Art • Climate change • Environment
November 17th, 2010
04:45 PM ET

'American Kills' public art highlights military suicide

Sebastian Errazuriz used the side of his Brooklyn studio to highlight military suicide.

A New York-based artist is using a wall as his canvas to draw attention to the suicide rate among U.S. troops.

The simple exhibit, titled “American Kills,” compares U.S. military suicides in 2009 to the number of troops killed in the Iraq War over the same time period.

Sebastian Errazuriz, 32, used a series of black strokes on the outside of his white-cinderblock Brooklyn studio so that passersby can see at a glance the disparity between the death tolls.

“The counting of dead soldiers outside my studio was long and surprisingly eerie; it was hard to forget that every brush stroke was a soldier who had died the previous year,” Errazuriz said on his website.

The Chilean-born artist, who says he often leans on the “the dichotomies of life and death” in his art, came up with the idea after perusing Internet sites about war. He discovered there were more than twice the number of suicides in the military (304) than there were U.S. troop deaths during the Iraq War in 2009.

(Errazuriz’s sources peg the latter number at 149, while CNN’s war casualty database has a tally of 150).


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Filed under: Art • Chile • Health • Iraq • New York • War
November 17th, 2010
10:46 AM ET

Professor to implant camera in the back of his head

Professor Wafaa Bilal, known for his eyebrow-raising experiments, like having people shoot paintballs at him over the Internet, has a new idea sparking concerns.

Remember when your mom warned you she had eyes in the back of her head? She might have been onto something.

Because a New York University professor is doing exactly that - surgically implanting a camera in the back of his head in the next few weeks. Why? It's art, duh.

Professor Wafaa Bilal, who works at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts' photography and imaging department, is causing a stir because of his artistic experiment raises privacy concerns.

Bilal, who has a countdown on his website for the project - dubbed 3rdI - will have images from the camera broadcast live from the back of his head to an exhibit in a museum in Qatar scheduled to open in December.

The camera, which will be the size of a thumbnail, will be attached using a method similar to piercing, according to The Wall Street Journal, which spoke to Bilal's colleagues familiar with the project.


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Filed under: Art • New York • Technology
November 8th, 2010
12:57 PM ET

Houellebecq wins top French literary prize

Michelle Houellebecq won the Prix Goncourt.

Controversial satirist Michel Houellebecq received France's top literary award Monday.

"La Carte et le Territoire" (The Map and the Territory, published by Flammarion), Houellebecq's best-selling send-up of Paris' artistic society earned the Prix Goncourt, the prize committee announced.

Houellebecq is considered by many to be France's greatest living writer, and fans considered the Goncourt long overdue.

Critics are often taken aback at his frank descriptions of sex and his characters' morbid worldview, according to The Paris Review.

He also has been accused of misogyny and hatred of Muslims, charges he has done little to dispel, according to the review.

Houellebecq's other titles include "The Possibility of an Island," "Whatever," "The Elementary Particles," and "Human Presence."

Artists as varied as Iggy Pop and French first lady Carla Bruni Sarkozy have written songs based on Houellebecq's works.

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Filed under: Art • France • World
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