HBO’s Watchmen Premiere: All The Big References To The Original Comic Book

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Comic book characters pictured from Watchmen

One of the most revered books out there, comic or otherwise, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen is the inspirational touchstone for HBO’s newest TV drama from The Leftovers’ Damon Lindelof.

The Watchmen TV show is a current-day sequel to the original tale, though taking place in a different location and centering on mostly different characters. Regardless of the differences, a plethora of comic-friendly references and easter eggs were infused throughout Watchmen’s premiere as plot-setting connective tissue.

Below is a list of all the big Watchmen comic references that showed up in the TV show’s premiere episode, titled “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice.” From follow-up weirdness to the main story’s shock ending to the appearance of a certain blue superhero, Watchmen was a smorgasbord of “Wait, did you catch that?” moments that deserve quick rewinds. And without further ado, here’s a mostly sequential order of the biggest comic-inspired highlights. (Check here if you need a new copy).

The Blood On The Boy’s Face

Once the orphaned boy wakes up in the field, following that harrowing opening, he has a splotch of blood on his head that definitely feels like a reference to the blood on The Comedian’s button that kicks off Watchmen and serves as one of its most identifiable symbols. This particular reference comes up very obviously at the end of the episode, but it’s worth pointing out that Damon Lindelof also found a way to work a bloodied face into the start of his story. Metaphors abound.

Mirrored Storytelling

The millionth reason Watchmen remains a celebrated and respected work is because Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons were so meticulous about filling the comics with reflected and repeated art, dialogue and situations; examples include Chapter 5’s palindromic nature, Doctor Manhattan’s photograph obsession, the somewhat prescient Black Freighter text and much more.

Beyond all of the Rorschach masks that don’t move, HBO’s Watchmen already made some use of this narrative style in its opening episode. The biggest example, of course, would be the episode starting off with a celebratory film strip of a heroic black man roping up a foul white dude, and then ending with a potentially wicked black man looking very much like he hung a white lawman from a tree. To top it off, the guy in the wheelchair was holding the same note as the kid from the beginning, indicating that this is either a near-impossibly old version of that kid, or perhaps his son. Who’s the hero here?

Electric Cars

Within the alternate world of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen, it would appear that all vehicles are powered electrically, with zero reliance on gasoline for fuel. Though the TV premiere doesn’t take viewers into an assortment of planes, trains and automobiles, it looks like the world help steady with electric car power since the main narrative’s timeline, without the need to revert back to cruder forms.

Rorschach Mask And Journal

Yes, this is one of the most obvious entries on this list, and it won’t be the last one. It’s still worth mentioning that the Seventh Cavalry was founded on the basis of Rorschach’s worldview, and the white supremacist cult uses his signature mask as a unifying symbol (and disguise). Is his journal their Bible, or more of a manifesto?
Masks As “Faces”

Throughout Watchmen’s comic story, Rorschach refers to his mask only as his “face,” particularly whenever he gets arrested and has it taken from him. On the Watchmen TV series, Don Johnson’s Judd tells Tim Blake Nelson’s Looking Glass, “Pull your face down,” in reference to the latter slipping his reflective mask back on. It’s interesting that Damon Lindelof has the authorities using that wording, as opposed to only the Seventh Cavalry adopting it.

Doctor Manhattan Appears

Watchmen’s mystery-laden build-up kept fans in the dark on how many original characters would appear on the HBO show, and thankfully, the pilot doesn’t get too far before dropping some concrete proof that Doctor Manhattan is still on Mars, and has been for the past 30+ years.

Doctor Manhattan showed up on a news program via satellite footage, in which he could be seen destroying a large and elaborate castle he’d created. (Find out more about that from my interview with director and EP Nicole Kassell.) In general, the situation echoed the blue being’s Mars structure in the comic, although in the TV show, Manhattan’s castle appeared to be a mock-up of the dwelling that Jeremy Irons’ character (almost definitely Adrian Veidt) lives in. Very interesting.

Vietnam, Robert Redford And More

It would have been strange had HBO’s Watchmen changed things up here, but it was confirmed early on that Vietnam is still the 51st state in the U.S., and the American flag represents that with an alternate look. Regina King’s Angela was born outside of Saigon, which is a somewhat deeper connection to the country than the brutal scene in the source material with The Comedian and Doctor Manhattan.

Robert Redford (currently sorta retired in our world) is still the President of the U.S. in Watchmen’s universe after a slew of successive terms, and his predecessor Richard Nixon is part of Mouth Rushmore’s quartet. Redford has his detractors for sure, earning him the name “Sundance-in-Chief.”

Smiley Faces

As mentioned already, The smiley face button is an iconic symbol within Watchmen’s pages, with The Comedian’s yellow button echoed in a variety of ways. The same goes for HBO’s Watchmen, of course. Beyond a few arguable examples, the most overt visual smiley reference occurred when Regina King’s Angela showed her class how to make moon cakes. With the camera below a glass mixing bowl, Angela cracked a bunch of eggs, and after the yolks initially resembled a yellow Rorschach design, they quickly settled into the smiley face layout. Notice that “bloodied eye,” too.

Clocks

The Doomsday Clock is another one of Watchmen’s central visual anchors, and the TV show picks up where the comic book left off. Nine times out of ten, if a clock appears on the screen, it’s going to be set between 11:00 and 12:00, in reference to the atomic age catastrophe monitor. In the school, for instance, It looked as if the clock was somewhere around 11:25 a.m. Everyone should be probably be worried when we start seeing times much closer to 12:00.

It’s also no coincidence that the Seventh Cavalry uses adopted a clock’s sounds as its troubling chant: “Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.” (Though I do wonder why maybe-Veidt’s pocketwatch didn’t follow suit.)

Squids Are Everywhere

Watchmen’s comic book conclusion remains bizarrely surreal all these years later, and Damon Lindelof addresses the Veidt’s squid catastrophe in a big and mysterious way. Though it was one gigantic squid creature that Veidt transported to New York, the TV show’s characters dealt with a temporary rain storm, only with tiny living squids serving as the raindrops.

A squid storms seems like one of the most hilariously disturbing events that could happen in any given day, but Watchmen’s characters are clearly used to it. Angela is quick to get out and wipe the windshield, and there are city cleaning vehicles that were created specifically for removing squids from the streets. But how did things get to this point?

The Minutemen

Within the Watchmen mythos, the first team of vigilante heroes was called the Minutemen, which is with whom The Comedian made a name for himself, both as a hero and as a rapist. (The first versions of Nite Owl and Silk Spectre were also involved.) Much controversy swirled around the various Minutemen members, and within HBO’s Watchmen, those more sordid stories are being showcased through the dramatized TV anthology American Hero Story, a distinctly different AHS than the one airing on FX.

Dirigibles

One of the more curiously unexplained details within Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen is the pronounced use of skybound dirigibles, often with ads emblazoned. The transportation method made an appearance in HBO’s Watchmen, too, promoting the American Hero Story series.

Continue on to Cinema Blend to read the complete article.

Making Room with Marie Kondo

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Marie Kondo dressed in all white seated in front of a bright window with sparce livingroom furniture

By Sara Salam

Marie Kondo makes room for meaningful objects, people, and experiences.

Literally.

The organizational guru behind her #1 New York Times bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and the Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, Kondo prescribes a simplified approach to organizing space.

The intention behind her decluttering philosophy is to “end up with a clutter-free home that is better able to bring more joy and prosperity into your life.”

Her emphasis on achieving serenity and inspiration sets her apart from other approaches to organizing space, rather than organizing for organizing-sake.

How She Got Started

Kondo began her tidying consultant business as a 19-year-old university student in Tokyo, where she wrote her capstone project about tidying. For a time, she was an assistant at a Shinto shrine.

By her mid-twenties, her consulting business had a waitlist. It was these prospective clients who encouraged her to write a book, which would become The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

In 2010, Kondo’s book proposal won first prize in a publishing training course called “How to write bestsellers that will be loved for ten years.” Tomohiro Takahashi, an editor at Tokyo self-help and business publisher called Sunmark, made the winning bid.

Coupled with savvy marketing and a TV spot tidying the space of a well-known comedian, Kondo propelled herself into the hearts and minds of what are now considered her “Konverts.”

Today, she is a globally renowned tidying expert. Her journey represents a story of female empowerment, that pursuit of your passion can lead you to remarkable places.

Why is Kondo so popular?

Kondo’s approach encourages moving away from things that do not serve us, things which ultimately induce stress, in favor of a simplified, serene way of living.

Stress By Mess

Kondo knows mess causes stress in people’s lives.

She also knows there are simple things we can do to exert control over our mess, especially in areas such as our living and work spaces.

For example, the physical characteristics of living and work spaces, including features like crowding, clutter, noise, and artificial light, have been shown to affect mood and health in populations ranging from young children to senior citizens, according to a study in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

In the same study, researchers found women who described their homes as “cluttered” or full of “unfinished projects” were more depressed, fatigued, and had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol than women who felt their homes were “restful” and “restorative.”

Kondo’s KonMari Method addresses these effects head on with her emphasis on tidying and simplifying space, to maximize its manga, or magic.

Her Method

Marie Kondo gives folding lesson to young woman while both seated on the floor
Otti Logan, 16, gets a folding lesson from zen tidiness guru Marie Kondo who comes to the U.S. for the first time and visits the Logan family for her TV show broadcast in Japan. (Photo by Joanne Rathe/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

“The KonMari Method is the foundation of all my work,” Kondo says. “It teaches people that the act of tidying your home will help you identify your values and what sparks joy in you. When you’re equipped with this knowledge, you will begin to improve all aspects of your life.”

Kondo’s mindful approach to organization offers six basic rules of tidying:

  1. Commit yourself to tidying up.
  1. Imagine your ideal lifestyle. Kondo asks her clients, What does the beginning and end of your day look like? Having a clear image of your ideal life will help you stay motivated and you will begin to create the life you’ve longed for.
  1. Finish discarding first. Before getting rid of items, sincerely thank each item for serving its purpose.
  1. Tidy by category, not location.
  1. Follow the right order. Begin with clothes, followed by books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and, finally, sentimental items.
  1. Ask yourself if each item sparks joy. Thank them with gratitude for their service – then let them go.

Spark Joy

Kondo reiterates the definition of what “sparks joy” varies across individuals. The KonMari Method as a practice does not require living a minimalistic lifestyle.

In an interview with Man Repeller, Kondo addresses the concept of having a lot of stuff.

“It’s not a good or a bad thing, it just stems from a difference in sensitivities and value systems,” Kondo points out. “If you’re someone who owns a lot of things and doesn’t want to let anything go, I would suggest trying to organize your drawers by folding your clothing in the correct way – just once! – and see how you feel. You might be surprised to find that having an organized space actually sparks joy.

“The ultimate goal of tidying is to discover how you’d like to live in your home.

“Less stress, more joy.”

Optimizing Productivity

Kondo uses a zoom-out-zoom-in approach as it relates to optimizing productivity. First, and critically, she considers how she wants to spend her time, starting with years, then narrowing in on quarters, months, week, all the way down to daily routines. This approach lends itself to aligning how she spends her time with her priorities at any given point in her life.

“Currently, my goal is to work as efficiently as possible so I can spend more time with my children,” Kondo says. She shares five tips that help balance time between family and work:

  1. Start your morning with good energy – Kondo’s morning rituals include opening her windows to let fresh air in and burning incense.
  1. Make a daily to-do list – She includes everything on this list, including laundry and email correspondence.
  1. Coordinate with your partner – Sharing what each person undertakes helps you realize the number of tasks necessary to live comfortably together, and what kinds of tasks are best suited for each person, Kondo believes.
  1. Clear your mind – When she needs to reorganize her thoughts, Kondo writes down everything that’s on her mind using a blank sheet of paper. She identifies what she calls tangled feelings, and clarifies which issues she can and can’t control.
  1. Create a nighttime routine Kondo’s nighttime routine consists of spending time with her children, returning items to their designated home, thanking them for their work that day.
Socks and tights are seen arranged in a drawer in small boxes as recommended by Kondo
Socks and tights are seen arranged in a drawer in small boxes as recommended by Kondo. PHOTO BY SARA KAMOUNI / AFP VIA GETTY )

“For me,” Kondo says, “work-life balance is about being aware of what you’re currently working toward and communicating that with your loved ones.”

Kondo has two young children and is married to Takumi Kawahara, whom she met during his college years. They married in 2013. Together, they established KonMari Media, Inc. in 2015, of which Kawahara assumed the role of CEO. He led the global expansion of the business, including the distribution of books, media channels, and the KonMari Consultant program, which is active in over 30 countries. He’s also an executive producer of their Netflix show.

Kondo and Kawahara blend their personal and professional relationship in such a way that balance and happiness are at the center: their kids.

Even their kids participate in tidying.

On her website, Kondo explains using the KonMari Method to expose children early on to the concept of tidying. She suggests to narrate as you tidy, so that the children can learn from you as they’re taking part. Show the children that tidying and playing go together, than after you play, everything has a home to return to. Don’t forget to be mindful that space is finite, so be aware of new toys, diapers, etc.

Applying the KonMari Method

The KonMari Method can be applied to many aspects of life, such as your finances, your career, and your mind.

The common theme? Imagining what you want your life to look like, making a plan, prioritizing, and forgoing anything that doesn’t spark joy.

Finances

“After tidying, my clients are more mindful about what they purchase, and they avoid buying in excess,” Kondo said in a special with NBC News. “I do believe it is important to use this self-awareness to guide your spending habits and let go of any tendencies or habits that are hindering you from meeting your financial goals (and your ideal lifestyle, overall).”

Marie Kondo and Co-founder and CEO of KonMari Media, Inc Takumi Kawahara speak on stage at Cannes
Marie Kondo and Co-founder and CEO of KonMari Media, Inc Takumi Kawahara speak on stage in Cannes, France. (Photo by Richard Bord/Getty Images for Cannes Lions)

Career

In a piece with Her Money, the KonMari Method is applied to streamlining your career trajectory. Some tips include being mindful of taking off-time from your devices, learning to say no to projects or tasks that add stress, making to-do lists, and finally, finding a way of doing more of what brings you joy at work, and off-loading or delegating the things that aren’t consistent with your career goals.

Mind

Kondo sat down for a conversation with best-selling author of Eat Pray Love and Big Magic Liz Gilbert about tidying the mind. Kondo asked Gilbert to share any advice she has for people who want to come to terms with difficult realizations related to living a life you don’t want for yourself.

“You can’t do work on yourself and not do work on the space you live,” Gilbert said. “And you can’t do work on the space you live and not do work on yourself. So, if you’re too afraid to look into the scary attic in your mind, look into the scary attic in your home. It will be a portal, a doorway, that will take you into the parts of yourself that you’ve been afraid to look at.”

Gilbert believes your home is a portrait of yourself; it needs to be treated accordingly.

the life-changing magic of tidying up book cover
New York Times Best Seller List – The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Kondo’s “Konverts”

Kondo has garnered over three million followers on Instagram, where she shares “tidy hacks” that help optimize the use of space. One such hack: emptying your dishwasher before guests arrive, so clean-up following their departure is more efficient.

She has nearly 400,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel. Her Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo was viewed over one million times within two weeks of its launch in January 2019. She also has a free app her fans can utilize.

Kondo recently launched The Shop at KonMari, which includes products ranging from décor and living, tidying and organization, tabletop and entertaining, cooking and kitchen, bath essentials, aromatherapy, and books.

In response to her rise in popularity, Kondo’s company employs over 200 consultants – all certified in the KonMari Method – to meet the demands of clients who seek her organizational expertise. She herself is no longer available for hire due to her commitments running the business.

Fundamentals

Ultimately, Kondo believes expressions of gratitude will lead to a joy-filled life.

“I think you should always be honing your sensitivity to joy and letting go with gratitude of anything that doesn’t contribute to your happiness.

Sorry, caffeine won’t make you more creative, but it may help you solve problems

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smart afro american girl entrepreneur use computer, work training company career development seminar sit table hold takeout mug coffee in office

Famous authors and artists are commonly photographed alongside a trusty mug of coffee, but that cup of joe is more likely to help the Great American Manager. Caffeine, it turns out, does not improve creativity, but it significantly enhances problem-solving, according to a new study.

This is news, given how strongly we associate coffee with creative occupations and lifestyles. The study, published today in Consciousness and Cognition, followed 80 participants after they consumed either a placebo or 200 mg of caffeine—the equivalent of 12 ounces of coffee—and then tracked their problem-solving, creative idea generation, working memory, and mood. While problem-solving abilities improved significantly, the caffeine had no effect on memory or creativity. Subjects also reported feeling “less sad.”

Previous studies have shown that caffeine improves alertness, focus, attention, and motor skills, but little research existed on creativity.

This means that caffeine helps some kinds of thinking, specifically convergent thinking, such as when you need correct answers, for instance, while taking a GRE or MCAT or recalibrating a budget.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

Men Design ‘Leather’ Material Out of Cactus—and It Could Replace the Need for Animals in Fashion Industry

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two men fashion designers looking at differnt fabric

Two men have succeeded in developing an alternative to animal leather made out of Mexican cactus—and it could save millions of animals worldwide.

Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez are responsible for creating their vegan fabric out of the nopal cactus. Although it took them two years of research and development to design the fabric, they perfected its manufacturing process in July and debuted it to the fashion world in Milan, Italy back in October 2019.

The entrepreneurs realized the environmental impact of animal leather after they both spent years working in the furniture, automotive, and fashion industries. Upon quitting their jobs, they co-founded Adriano Di Marti to design their innovative leather replacement.

Their patented “Desserto” fabric is made out of cactus leaves that are harvested sustainably every 6 to 8 months. The material is designed to breathe easily while still being durable and partially biodegradable.

In addition to the cactus-based material also requiring a minimal amount of water to develop, it is grown organically in the state of Zacatecas.

The material, which has been made available in a variety of colors using natural dyes, has now been used to make everything from bags and automotive seating to shoes and jackets.

WATCH THE VIDEO:

Continue on to the Good News Network to read the complete article.

Why Paul Williams, Hollywood’s most prolific black architect, drew upside down

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Paul Revere Williams is seated at his desk holding up a design sketch

By Evan Nicole Brown

Los Angeles’s architectural landscape, much like its population, is a vibrant blend of different colors, shapes, and influences. The diversity of styles—from Googie to Spanish Colonial Revival—reflects the myriad cultures and languages that punctuate the city’s streets. But the people of color who developed the city have largely been left out of its urbanist history.

During old Hollywood’s heyday at the turn of the 20th century, the celebrity elite famously lived in neighborhoods like Beverly Hills, Hancock Park, and the hills of Bel Air. What is less well-known is that many of these dazzling estates were designed by Paul Revere Williams, the first black architect certified to work on the West Coast.

A new documentary from PBS, Hollywood’s Architect: The Paul R. Williams Story, chronicles the design work of a man who desegregated California’s architecture industry.

Williams was known for designing homes for the silver screen’s biggest stars, such as Frank Sinatra and Lucille Ball. The hourlong documentary, written, directed, and produced by Royal Kennedy Rodgers and Kathy McCampbell Vance, features several of the architect’s private properties peppered around greater Los Angeles. “He tapped into the desire of his clients to live lavishly and elegantly, in a way they never had,” says Vance. “His strength was that he designed for the client, [whereas] some architects have a design style and the clients adapt.” Known for a suave personal style and natural eloquence, Williams convinced clients that he was capable of designing a residence fit for their uniquely luxurious lifestyle—beyond the obvious talent he possessed, which many tried to ignore because of his race.

“He was known for combining styles, and on paper it sounds like kind of a mismatch,” says Rodgers. A designer showcase house [we feature in the documentary] was Tudor Revival on the outside and then there’s a Baroque landing and a staircase with some Spanish influence . . . on paper it sounds like it could be a disaster, but it’s not. He brought all styles together and made it work.” Williams was also celebrated for his ability to cater his designs to the immediate environment; one such example, a Brentwood home that was saved from demolition in 2013 by Disney CEO Bob Iger, is built around a prominent tree, thus melding the indoors with the outdoors. “Some architects might’ve cut down that tree because you could build a bigger house, but he kept the tree [and made the house] fit the site,” Vance says.

Williams’s mark is seen on commercial buildings throughout Los Angeles’s grid of sun-soaked streets, too. The iconic script of the Beverly Hills Hotel sign is written in Williams’s hand. He also collaborated on the eye-catching Space Age design of LAX’s Theme Building. “One of the things that he set out to do was to make sure that when you were at work, you felt at home,” Vance explains. “So if you look at the Music Corporation of America headquarters and Saks Fifth Avenue [on Wilshire Boulevard] . . . they’re made to be comfortable and lived in so you don’t feel like you’re toiling away—you feel relaxed in the beautiful environment. They look like living rooms in homes.”

Hollywood has long held the reputation of a community filled with liberal creatives—many of them American immigrants and California transplants. But Williams’s ability to cultivate personal and professional relationships with Hollywood’s wealthy, white community was not without injury.

“Everything he did was to make the client feel comfortable,” Vance says. “That’s where the upside-down technique came from.” Sadly, and impressively, Williams developed a style of drawing his design sketches in an inverted fashion, because it allowed him to sit across from his white clients, knowing they’d prefer to not sit next to him. This subtle yet violent adjustment speaks to the flattening many black creators feel forced to perform on themselves to take up less space, even while having a seat at the table, doing work they’ve been sought out to do.

Williams’s career as one of Los Angeles’s preeminent architects spanned decades; he opened his own practice and became the first black member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 1923, and retired in 1973. In this time, he designed close to 3,000 buildings, but his sheer prolificness was eclipsed only by his stunning ability to design spaces in neighborhoods that redlining kept him out of. (Williams did, however, design several structures in L.A.’s black community as well, namely the 28th Street YMCA in South Central and Broadway Federal Bank in Mid-City.)

The documentary rightly credits Williams’s granddaughter, Karen Hudson, with keeping his legacy alive after his death in 1980: “When he retired, his reputation retired with him,” Vance says. “I don’t know that there was a movement to make him known, and that’s where Karen comes in.” Hudson conducted much of the research the film relies on, including hiring photographers to document her grandfather’s creations and building an exhaustive list of all the properties he built.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

Adelfa Callejo sculpture, Dallas’ first of a Latina, expected to land downtown in Main Street Garden park

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bronze statue of Adelfa Callejo

The bronze statue of Adelfa Callejo, a staunch civil rights advocate believed to be the first practicing Latina lawyer in Dallas, will soon land in a downtown park — right next to the University of North Texas Dallas College of Law and the municipal court building.

A Dallas City Council committee on Tuesday accepted the $100,000 sculpture as a donation with plans to place it in Main Street Garden. It would be Dallas’ first sculpture of a Latina, according to city staffers.

Dallas city officials and the Botello-Callejo Foundation Board agreed to the new location after Mayor Pro Tem Adam Medrano quietly delayed the plan to place it in the lobby of the Dallas Love Field Airport, which is in his district. Medrano didn’t respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

The Dallas City Council is expected to approve the donation at its Feb. 12 meeting. The board wanted to tie the sculpture’s public unveiling to the six-year anniversary of Callejo’s death, which was in January 2014, after a battle with brain cancer.

The foundation’s board commissioned the roughly 1,000-pound piece by Mexican artist Germán Michel shortly after she died. It is currently being stored in a Dallas warehouse.

Callejo’s nephew J.D. Gonzales said he was thrilled the sculpture will be downtown near the university, where it’ll be visible to students and attest to her trailblazing in education and law.

“I hope that what Adelfa stood for, and what she did and what she accomplished lives on forever,” Gonzales said.

Monica Lira Bravo, chairwoman of the Botello-Callejo Foundation Board, said she met with Medrano and Council member Omar Narvaez last month to discuss where to place the sculpture.

Lira Bravo said she suggested Main Street Garden Park as an alternative after the two council members expressed concerns over the Dallas Love Field Airport option.

Continue on to the Dallas Morning News to read the complete article.

The Global Search for Education: Global Create-a-thon Makes the “A” in STEAM as Important as Every Other Letter

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A group of sudents pose at the Global Create-a-thon

Creative problem solving is as important as STEM, and a day-long hack-a-thon based in California is putting the focus on creativity instead of coding.

A developer in today’s world needs more than engineering, math and tech skills. The process of creating product is also about design-thinking, creativity and communication competencies.

While attending an Adobe Education Leader summit, educator Lisa Gottfried came up with the idea of producing the first-ever Create-a-thon to showcase student creative work.  With sponsorship from Adobe, she was able to launch her initiative, a day-long design challenge workshop in which the best creative work was ultimately presented at the Napa Lighted Art Festival. Students were given an entire day to explore, create, make and share their works of art with international artists in the festival. Gottfried is now in the process of expanding the program.

Lisa Gottfried is recognized internationally for innovation in education. She is an Adobe Education Leader and teaches Digital Design at New Technology High School. She is also an adjunct professor for Touro University, California in the Innovative Education Master’s program.

The Global Search for Education welcomes the Founder of Global Create- a-thon, Lisa Gottfried.

Lisa, what makes Global Create-a-thon unique to other programs like it?

This project is completely student created and student-run. All important decisions are made by the leadership team or the entire class. I, as a teacher, do not own the project as much as I collaborate with the students throughout the program. I and their mentors help the student leaders to navigate the entire project.  This means that the rigor for this project goes up tenfold. Students really own the success of the project and own their own learning in a way they have not experienced with other projects.

Also, where else can students get the chance to have their artwork seen by over 20,000 visitors on a 70-foot-long wall?  It’s one thing to make artwork for your teacher, but when the stakes have been raised this high and the risk is this big, the payoff in student buy-in is palpable.

We’ve made a big effort to make creating artwork as accessible as possible to all students, no matter their skills in art or their skills in digital design.  This project can be done with paper and pencil, or with computers and advanced Adobe software skills, which makes it an exciting way to collaborate with students from around the world, regardless of their access to technology or their technical skills.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced getting schools to participate in your program?

We have had so many educators express interest in participating in our project with their students that recruitment has not been an issue. The challenge has been in getting all our ducks in a row so that we have the right supportive tutorials and clear directions for how to turn work in.  Establishing systems for receiving the work so that we are ready to curate a show has meant that students in charge of the event have had to really think through all the ramifications for every systems decision they make. Our long-term vision for the future is that our show tours different lighted art festivals in major cities around the world.

Continue on to CM Rubin World to read the complete article.

Designing a Safer Football Helmet

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image showing the new design of a football helmet

Private company VICIS and its academic partner, the University of Washington, have created a football helmet that aims to make playing the sport safer.

Designed with a soft shell that acts like a car bumper and vertical struts inside the helmet that bend and buckle, this product seeks to mitigate the forces that lead to concussions and brain injuries.

The innovative project is one of three final winners in Head Health Challenge II, which was part of the Head Health Initiative, a four-year, $60 million collaboration between the NFL, GE and Under Armour to accelerate diagnosis and improve treatment for traumatic brain injury.

The project has received two grants totaling $750,000 for continued research and development.  “Current helmets were designed against skull fracture, they were modeled primarily after motorcycle helmets,” says Dave Marver who is CEO and co-founder of VICIS.

The company started the project as a collaboration with the University of Washington to develop what they called the Zero1 Helmet.

Marver says current versions of football helmets “are not optimized to prevent or mitigate traumatic brain injury or concussion.” He says: “They don’t slow acceleration, which is the force that’s thought to cause concussion.”

The Zero1 helmet has passed the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment tests, which means it can be used on NFL fields. “The Zero1 helmet is designed to address not just linear forces acting upon football players’ heads but also angular and rotational acceleration,” Marver says. “The idea is pretty simple and rooted in physics. If force is the product of mass and acceleration and you can’t change the mass of a football player (football players can deliver up to one ton of force), a helmet must address acceleration if it’s going to impact force.”

Product Features/Technology

  • LODE Shell – Deformable Outer Shell

o Absorbs impact load by locally deforming, like a car bumper. Automotive safety engineers

have used local deformation to protect people for decades.

  • RFLX Layer – A Columnar Structure That Mitigates Impact Forces

o A highly-engineered columnar structure that moves omni-directionally to reduce linear and

rotational forces. This proprietary layer of columns bends and buckles upon impact, making

it effective against both linear and rotational forces. The columnar geometry used in the

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Source: VICIS

Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation Announces the Julio Iglesias Scholarship

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Julio Iglesias in tuxedo smiling clapping hands with joy

A Music Student with Financial Hardship Will Receive a Four-Year Scholarship, Worth up to $200,000 USD Toward a Bachelor’s Degree at Berklee College of Music in Boston

Deadline to Apply is April 10, 2020

MIAMI (DEC. 16, 2019)— The Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation® announced today that it is accepting applications for the Julio Iglesias Scholarship from music students admitted to Berklee College of Music who are interested in Latin music. The four-year Prodigy Scholarship, which holds a maximum value of $200,000 USD, was created five years ago in an effort to support music education and Latin music genres, and will be awarded to a student who is exceptionally gifted and needs financial assistance to complete a bachelor’s degree in music starting in the Fall 2020 semester.

Julio Iglesias is considered an enduring star on the world stage and the best-selling Latin artist of all time. Recipient of a GRAMMY®, 2001 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year™ honor, and the Recording Academy® Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019, the singer/songwriter has recorded in multiple languages and sold more than 300 million records worldwide.

“I’m proud to offer a promising student the opportunity of a formal music education at one of the best schools in the world through the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation,” said Iglesias. “Through this scholarship, I hope to expand my legacy helping to build the next generation of Latin music ambassadors.”

“We are pleased to announce our sixth annual Prodigy Scholarship in association with music legend Julio Iglesias,” said Manolo Díaz, Senior Vice President, Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation. “We are grateful for Julio’s support and commitment to inspire future generations of Latin artists to achieve greatness.”

Every year, the Foundation’s Scholarship Committee carefully evaluates applications from a highly competitive pool of aspiring musicians on a variety of skills and under rigorous policies. As of today, the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation has allocated a remarkable $5 million USD in scholarships, grants, musical instrument donations, and educational events worldwide. Previous artists who have co-sponsored Prodigy Scholarships include Enrique Iglesias (2015), Juan Luis Guerra (2016), Miguel Bosé (2017), Carlos Vives (2018), and Emilio and Gloria Estefan (2019).

For application, guidelines, and for the latest news, please visit the official website of the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation at www.latingrammyculturalfoundation.com. As part of the process, students must complete two audition videos, submit two letters of recommendation and answer two essay questions. The materials can be submitted in English, Spanish or Portuguese. The deadline to apply is April 10, 2020, by 11:59 p.m. EDT. After reviewing the guidelines that can be found on our website, submit any questions to LGCF@grammy.com.

ABOUT THE LATIN GRAMMY CULTURAL FOUNDATION:
The Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation was established by The Latin Recording Academy® to promote international awareness and appreciation of the significant contributions of Latin music and its makers to the world’s culture, and to protect its rich musical legacy and heritage. The Foundation’s primary charitable focus is to provide scholarships to students interested in Latin music, as well as grants to scholars and organizations worldwide for research and preservation of diverse Latin music genres. Take action in supporting our mission by donating today via our Facebook page. For additional information, please visit us at www.latingrammyculturalfoundation.com. For the latest news and exclusive content, follow us at @latingrammyfdn on Twitter and Instagram, and Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation on Facebook.

ABOUT BERKLEE COLLEGE OF MUSIC:
Berklee was founded on the revolutionary principle that the best way to prepare students for careers in music is through the study and practice of contemporary music. For 70 years, the college has evolved to reflect the current state of the music industry, leading the way with baccalaureate studies in performance, music business/management, songwriting, music therapy, film scoring, and more. In June 2016, the Boston Conservatory merged with Berklee, creating the world’s most comprehensive and dynamic training ground for music, dance, theater, and related professions. With a focus on global learning, the Berklee campus in Valencia, Spain, offers graduate programs and study abroad opportunity, while Berklee Online serves distance learners worldwide with extension classes and degree-granting programs. The Berklee City Music Network provides after-school programming for underserved teens in more than 40 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. With a student body representing more than 100 countries, abundant international undergraduate and graduate student populations (33 and 53 percent respectively), and alumni and faculty who have won more than 360 GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY Awards, Berklee is the world’s premier learning lab for the music of today—and tomorrow. Learn more at berklee.edu.

ABOUT JULIO IGLESIAS:
Julio Iglesias is the most celebrated artist in Spanish and Latin music history. Recipient of a GRAMMY, The Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year in 2001, and the Recording Academy™ Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019, Iglesias is the best-selling Latin artist of all time with more than 300 million records sold in 14 languages. Photo Credit: Jesús Carrero

11-year-old ballerina dances into history as 1st black lead in NYC Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’

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Charlotte Nebres smiling holding a large Nutcracker

Four years ago, Misty Copeland became the first African American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in the American Ballet Theatre’s 75-year history. Now, an 11-year-old girl is also breaking barriers as the star of the New York City Ballet’s holiday production of George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker.”

In a story first reported by The New York Times, Charlotte Nebres, a student at the School of American Ballet, danced her way into ballet history as New York City Ballet’s first black Marie, the young heroine of a show that dates back to 1954.

The annual production also includes a diverse cast of other young leads this season, including Tanner Quirk, Marie’s Prince in the ballet, who is half-Chinese; Sophia Thomopoulos, the ballet’s second casting of Marie, who is half-Korean and half-Greek; and Kai Misra-Stone, Sophia’s Prince, who is half-South Asian.

“It’s pretty amazing to be not only representing S.A.B., but also representing all of our cultures,” Nebres told “The New York Times.” “There might be a little boy or girl in the audience seeing that and saying, ‘Hey, I can do that too.'”

Charlotte, who was just 6 years old when Copeland became the first female African American principal at American Ballet Theater, recalled being inspired when she saw Copeland perform for the first time.

“I saw her perform and she was just so inspiring and so beautiful,” she told The New York Times. “When I saw someone who looked like me on stage, I thought, ‘That’s amazing.’ She was representing me and all the people like me.”

Charlotte Nebres in Ballet outfit holding on to ballet bar with her coachCharlotte, whose mother’s family is from Trinidad while her father’s side of the family is from the Philippines, is becoming a trailblazer herself with the role of Marie.

For Charlotte’s mother, Danielle Nebres, the experience for her daughter is a meaningful one, because she was also a dancer growing up.

Nebres, who described Charlotte as quiet and artistic, said, “You don’t know what people are seeing in your child, and they are definitely seeing something in her.”

Although Charlotte is making waves being cast as Marie, the 11-year-old is just enjoying the moment and doing what she loves most: dancing.

Continue on to ABC News to read the complete article.

Latin superstar Juanes’ enduring impact through music and philanthropy

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Juanes is on stage singing and playing guitar

By Jovane Marie

When Colombian superstar Juanes takes the stage, the atmosphere shifts. His influence is apparent, from the fanatic cheers of the audience as they sing along word-for-word to the permanent fixture of phones poised to capture each moment. With more than 15 million albums sold worldwide, to say he is a legend is undebatable.

This was the exact scene this past September at L’ATTITUDE, a business-focused annual conference, which focuses on how U.S. Latinos are fueling American economic growth. The artist was in attendance not only to serenade the crowd with a moving rendition of “La Camisa Negra” (a favorite from his ground-breaking album “Mi Sangre”) but also to share his thoughts on how Latinos are dominating mainstream music and the importance of their contributions.

It’s a perspective Juanes is more than qualified to speak on.

With a career spanning longer than three decades, 26 awarded Grammys and Latin Grammys combined, a history of philanthropic endeavors, and his naming last June as the 2019 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year, Juanes has firmly positioned himself as one of Latin music’s leading global ambassadors and a committed voice for advocacy and inclusion.

It may seem a massive undertaking to be such an influential artist—maintaining a long-standing industry presence, constantly expanding your creative artistry, supporting new artists, and managing philanthropic efforts—but Juanes insists that only one thing is necessary to make it so.

“Si quieres ser artista, sigue tu corazón,” he told the L’ATTITUDE crowd. “If you want to be an artist, stick to your heart.”

Follow the Music

Considering Juanes’ background, it comes as no surprise that he ended up so fully enraptured by the magic of music. Raised in his native Colombia, he began playing the piano when he was only 2 years old, and at 7 learned the guitar from his father and brothers.

Juanes and Camillo Cabello perform on stage
Juanes and Camila Cabello perform onstage during The Latin Recording Academy’s Person of The Year Gala. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

“I started to play guitar and sing because of my family, really—my brothers, sisters and parents all loved music,” he told NPR. “They were always singing folk music, so those beginning years were filled with sambas and chacareras and vallenatos and tangos.”

By the time his teenage years rolled around, however, his tastes had changed, leading to the start of a career with a musical sound far removed from the folk songs of his youth. At age 17, along with friends André García, Fernando “Toby” Tobón and José David Lopera, he formed the rock band Ekhymosis (Greek for “bruise”).

Inspired by the music of Metallica, the band aimed to “create

Colombian rock” through their thrash and heavy metal rhythms. Their first demo spoke to a simultaneous effort to describe the troubled environment of their hometown in Medellín, marking the beginning of a consistent pattern of speaking out against injustice and violence through socially conscious songs.

At the time, Medellín, influenced by the reign of Pablo Escobar and civil war, had the highest homicide rate in the world. Juanes was not spared from the effects of this harrowing environment, losing a cousin to violence in the early 90s. The experience encouraged him to try to use his gift of music to effect change.

“I realized that music has the power to bring people together, to change things,” he said. “That has been my mission.”

By the time Juanes made the decision to go solo in 1998—ten years after the band’s formation— the award-winning group had released eight albums.

“I just felt like I was missing something—that I needed to go back to my roots, my essence,” Juanes said of his solo journey. “And that’s what I’ve done ever since. I try to mix both the folk side and the rock side to create a contemporary sound.”

The formula has certainly paid off…in spades.

Juanes holds his big donation check for his Fundacion Mi Sangre foundation
Juanes poses for a photo with a donation made to his foundation, Fundacion Mi Sangre, at Hard Rock Cafe – Times Square in New York City.(Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

Released in 2000, his first solo album, “Fíjate Bien,” earned him two Latin Grammy Awards, while his second, “Un Día Normal” (released in 2002), was certified multi-platinum in multiple countries across Latin America.

It was his third album, however—”Mi Sangre”—that positioned him as an international force and cemented him as a global ambassador for the Latin music genre. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart, produced three consecutive number one singles, was certified Gold, Platinum, or Multi-platinum in 14 countries, and won three Latin Grammy Awards.

Since the release of “Mi Sangre” in 2004, Juanes has released four more albums, including 2017’s “Mis Planes Son Amarte,” a full visual concept album featuring the artist’s first song in English.

His eighth solo album, set for release in November 2019, has already produced a Latin Grammy- nominated single in “La Plata”—a Colombian folkloric tune mixed with pop reggaeton that is close to the singer’s heart.

“This song is light and happy…I’m very excited,” he gushed about the single, which features emerging Columbian trap artist Lalo Ebratt of the collective Trapical Minds. “It has to do with Colombia, and with my roots, and with who I am.”

The Juanes Effect

Juanes’ worldwide appeal is undeniable. He has performed everywhere from the Nobel Peace Prize concert in Oslo to Sesame Street, and has been recognized by TIME Magazine as one of the World’s 100 Most Influential People.

And while many Latin artists eventually “cross-over” to record English language albums in an effort to expand their audiences, he waited almost 30 years to record “Goodbye for Now,” his first English song. The move was deliberate and based, he said, on a desire to respect his fan base while adapting to the changing musical landscape.

“Singing in Spanish is very important because it is the language in

Karla Martinez, John Cena, Juanes and Ana Patricia Gamez are seen on the set of ‘Despierta America’ to promote the film ‘Ferdinand’in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/WireImage)

which I think and feel,” he explained. “But I am also conscious of the fact that the world and the way we communicate is changing. I do love Anglo music, and now that I’m a little bit more familiar with the language, I feel like it’s more honest for me to do it.”

It may have taken him some time to release a track in English, but Juanes has effortlessly maintained a presence in the mainstream American music scene, nabbing several groundbreaking firsts in the process of building his musical empire.

His performances at the 84th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (2010), The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (2014), The TODAY Show Plaza concert series (2014), and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (2017) marked the first time any of these platforms had featured a performing artist singing exclusively in Spanish. And, in 2015, he performed “Juntos”—the first Spanish song featured in over a decade at the Grammys.

For Juanes, these historic performances speak to the ability of music to transcend language.

“It’s really a magical feeling,” he explained. “People come to our shows or listen to these performances, and they respect the fact that we sing in Spanish. They are paying attention to the melodies and the arrangement and the music itself, and it’s a beautiful gift. It’s just the magic of music.”

A Voice for Change

Growing up a witness to prevalent violence in his hometown of Medellín had a profound effect on Juanes that has reverberated beyond his lyrics into a passion for philanthropy.

In 2006, he created the Mi Sangre Foundation in response to Colombia’s needs in the treatment of landmine victims. Under the umbrella of psychosocial support, peace education, and peace building project programs, the organization “helps children, teenagers, and youth heal wounds of the soul by creating safe environments and strengthening social fabrics while enabling the participation of families, the community, and the educational sector.” The venture, which has provided support for thousands of landmine victims, is a labor of the heart.

Recording artist Juanes performs onstage during MusiCares Person of the Year honoring Fleetwood Mac
Recording artist Juanes performs onstage during MusiCares Person of the Year honoring Fleetwood Mac at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)

“The name Mi Sangre [My Blood] is inspired by the same sentiment as my album of the same name—it’s about my children, my children’s children, my land, my roots. It’s what’s important to me,” Juanes said of the foundation. “When I heard firsthand the stories of people who had been directly affected moved me to the point that I said, ‘I want to do something.’”

The artist also co-founded the Paz Sin Fronteras (Peace Without Borders) effort, a series of free outdoor concerts aimed at uniting people across borders and promoting non-violent conflict resolution.

His efforts have earned him a multitude of humanitarian awards, appointments, and recognition, including Colombia’s National Peace Prize, a position as a Goodwill Ambassador for nonprofit organization United for Colombia, France’s highest cultural honor for social activism (L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres), and a namesake recreational park in Medellín, which provides rehabilitation space for people with disabilities.

For Juanes, however, the recognition isn’t the end goal. In his eyes, it’s all about making a difference.

“I do these things because they matter for me and to me,” he explained. “I often think about what we as a people are doing here in this world and why we are here. And what I know for sure is that we are not alone…we need to help each other.”

A Continuing Legacy

Juanes’ legacy of artistic innovation, support for emerging artists, and humanitarian recently manifested into yet another recognition—one reserved for the most culturally impactful Latin musicians.

Last June, the Latin Recording Academy announced that as part of its milestone 20th anniversary, the singer, composer, musician, and philanthropist would be named the 2019 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year.

Juanes performs at the 2nd Annual L'Attitude Conference
Juanes performs at the 2nd Annual L’Attitude Conference – LatiNExt Live on September 26, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images)

Bestowed upon musicians of Ibero American heritage in acknowledgement of their artistic achievements in the Latin music industry, fellowship, and philanthropic efforts, past honorees have included Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Shakira, Ricky Martin, and Carlos Santana.

“Juanes is young, but legendary, an artist who has inspired us through his amazing music for many years and—while doing so—he vigorously campaigned for political, social, and positive change around the world,” said Gabriel Abaroa Jr., president/CEO of The Latin Recording Academy. “His leadership and his philanthropic work, in addition to his positive messages that transcend music, speak volumes about his many contributions to the community, and we are truly honored to recognize him as this year’s Latin Academy Person of the Year.”

The designation is just the latest addition to the multi-talented artist’s ever-growing legacy, and a reaffirmation that he is fulfilling his destiny.

“I’m doing what I believe I was brought to do—to create music that raises awareness, renews hearts, and generates change,” Juanes shared. “And I hope I have many years left to connect through art, to play my guitar, and to continue chasing the sun.”