Top 10 Australia Culture On this week 15/11/2020 (COVID-19 EDITION)

Finger your brain.


10) Life on Venus? Or Much Ado About Nothing?

19th November

What: Several weeks ago, a team of astronomers reported the detection of phosphine on Venus. If this stinky, toxic, perhaps biogenic gas does exist on Venus as reported, we stand to learn something profound. If clever chemists succeed in identifying a nonbiological source that produces phosphine, we will learn about the limitations of using atmospheric biosignatures to infer life. If they fail, this discovery increases our already high motivation to go to Venus and study its atmosphere in situ with 21st-century instruments. To discuss this amazing discovery and its consequences for the search for life beyond Earth are two astronomers: Clara Sousa-Silva, co-author of the study about phosphine on Venus and David Grinspoon, astrobiologist and member of the SETI Institute’s Science Advisory Board. The speakers will discuss whether or not phosphine detected on the planet next door is a signature of alien biology and how we might one day send a space probe to find out.

Why: Pepper your internet history of Pornhub, Reddit and Uber Eats with some dignity-preserving science.


9) An Unjust Burden: Climate Change and the Vulnerable

18th November

What: Join an online conversation with Belinda Archibong, Malo Hutson, and Wolfram Schlenker moderated by Alex Halliday concerning the complex implications of climate change.

Why: Because the name Wolfram Schlenker requires at least half an hour’s participation in anything.


8) On Psychedelics and Spirituality

20th November

What: Join somatic psychologist Francoise Bourzat and psychedelic therapist Danielle Herrera for a conversation exploring the interconnection of spiritualty and psychedelics. Francoise and Danielle offer an exploration of psychedelics as a tool for spiritual healing and transformation while also touching on the cultural appropriation of Indigenous practices and traditions within psychedelic spirituality in addition to sharing common psychedelic experiences that can lead to spiritual transformation such as the dissolution of self and a sense of non-duality. Explore how psychedelics can be used to expand human consciousness and deepen our relationship to ourselves and the universe.

Why: Make your meandering rants about the nature of life when you’re getting f***ed up far more technically accurate.


7) Designing Hamilton

17th November

What: Join a conversation with Costume Designer Paul Tazewell discussing his Tony Award-winning designs for the Broadway musical Hamilton, along with his illustrious nearly thirty year career on Broadway, in regional theater, film, television, dance, and opera.

Why: We don’t quite understand the world’s obsession with Hamilton, but we can wholeheartedly understand anyone’s obsession with an exquisitely crafted codpiece.


6) Theater of War for Frontline Medical Providers: Mount Sinai

20th November

What: Theater of War for Frontline Medical Providers is an innovative project that presents dramatic readings by acclaimed actors of scenes from ancient Greek plays to help nurses, doctors, EMS, first responders, administrators, and other heath care providers engage in healing, constructive discussions about the unique challenges and stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic. This event will use Sophocles’ Philoctetes and Women of Trachis to create a vocabulary for discussing themes such as personal risk, death/dying, grief, deviation from standards of care, abandonment, helplessness, and complex ethical decisions, the project aims to foster connection, community, moral resilience, and positive action.

Why: Pair your late lunch of American tragedy with a Greek one.


5) Changing the Narrative: Native Americans and Racial Justice

17th November

What: “In this conversation, we will think together about what we know about Native Americans. We will explore what we’ve learned — and are now rethinking — about indigenous peoples in this country, including our history of territorial acquisition, missions and forced conversion, broken treaties, boarding schools, reservations, Hollywood images of cowboys and Indians, and school lessons about Columbus and the first Thanksgiving.” This conversation is facilitated by Lyn Fine, and is one of a series of twice-monthly “Conversations on Moving Toward Racial Justice: What Can I Do?” offered by Jewish Gateways.

Why: It’s not about the difficulties of facing your own ignorance; it’s about recognising the superiority you’ll gain over your friends and loved ones by revealing their ignorance.


4) Black Culture Matters: Media, Music, and Memory

21st November

What: Black Culture Matters is a series hosted by the African American Studies Institute (AASI) at Prince George’s Community College, revolving around this year’s theme: Resisting De-humanization through the Humanities. The goal of this series is not to declare the value of Black lives to those who do not wish to acknowledge it. The goal is, instead, to examine the ways in which people of African descent have expressed their own humanity, to affirm the meaning-making with which they have resisted being “thingified.”

Why: In other words; fetishise feet, statues, sock puppets, gags, whips, enemas, consensual pain, pregnancy, ghosts, tentacles, piss or electricity, not race.


3) Clarice Smith Virtual Lecture Series: Bisa Butler 

21st November

What: Explore the past, present, and future with fiber artist Bisa Butler as she discusses how familial, educational, and societal influences inspired her to blend the line between art and craft. Butler is known for creating monumental quilted portraits of Black life and cultural identity with striking originality that share multilayered historical meanings and stories. Learn more about how Butler’s matrilineal sewing legacy, patrilineal Ghanaian roots, and the AfriCOBRA art movement resonate in her inventive quilting technique.

Why: Remove the cloak of ignorance! Throw on the quilt of slightly less ignorant!


2) Ta-Nehisi Coates in Conversation with Adam Serwer

21st November

What: Join Bookshop Santa Cruz as they welcome bestselling, award-winning author Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me) to discuss his acclaimed novel The Water Dancer with Adam Serwer, staff writer at The Atlantic. Their conversation will also explore the state of the US post-election, truth-telling, and the idea that stories and mythology can persuade and change attitudes when facts alone cannot.

Why: Because you can’t just quit US politics cold turkey. You have to taper off or you’ll get the shakes.


1) “¡Printing the Revolution!” Virtual Exhibition Preview

20th November

What: Celebrate the opening of the landmark exhibition ¡Printing the Revolution! The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now, which unites historic civil rights era prints alongside works by contemporary graphic artists for the first time. Join artists Juan Fuentes, Ester Hernandez, and Zeke Peña for a moderated online conversation about the social justice roots of their work and the importance of Chicanx graphics in American visual culture.

Why: We all know it’s the inverted exclamation mark that’s actually going to sell this thing. Admit it, the whole schtick after didn’t matter once you saw that saucy piece of punctuation.

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