Entertainment & Pop Culture
Entertainment and leisure activities have been a part of culture in one form or another since the ancient times. Dance performances, live music, and storytelling have a long tradition throughout history, even as the styles and available methods of delivery have shifted dramatically.
Featured content, September 21, 2023
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Acting is a performing art that involves much more than just being able to cry on command. Actors exercise supreme control over their voice, body, and facial movements so as to effectively and believably convey the emotional experience of the characters they represent. Although theatrical productions, television, and movies each carry unique technical demands for the actor, skilled actors can move from one medium to another without a diminution of talent, as is borne out by celebrated actors such as Laurence Olivier, Judi Dench, Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, and Viola Davis.
Comic Strips & Superheroes
Spider-Man, Batman, Wonder Woman, Iron Man: in the early 21st century, superheroes such as these rose to staggering global prominence. Movies featuring characters from Marvel Comics or DC Comics regularly drew in high global box office earnings, and the likenesses of these characters could easily be spotted adorning clothing, toys, backpacks, and more. Prior to the rise of modern comic books, their precursor, the comic strip, held court. Early comic strips were produced in Europe before the form began appearing in American magazines in the late 19th century. In 1933 the first true comic books were released. Five years later, DC Comics introduced Superman, the character who truly launched the superhero genre.
The world of dance is expansive and covers a wide variety of styles and forms, encompassing tap dancing, ballet, modern dance, line dances, and much more. Dance is a universal language that can communicate emotions directly and sometimes more powerfully than words.
Entertainment Awards & Festivals
There may be no business like show business, but that doesn't mean that the people of show biz wouldn't like to be recognized with an award every once in a while. Honors like the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, Emmys, and Tonys recognize outstanding work in film, television, and theater, whereas honors such as the Grammy Awards and the Juno Awards celebrate excellence in music. Additionally, annual film festivals around the world honor exceptional works and performances with awards such as the Cannes film festival's Palme d'Or and the Berlin International Film Festival's Golden Bear. Music festivals such as the Montreux Jazz Festival (in Switzerland) and Lollapalooza (in Chicago) feature performances by a variety of artists and groups.
The necessity of food for survival is something that all humans have in common, but the trends of diet and food consumption can vary considerably from region to region. Find out more about the ingredients, dishes, and drinks that fuel people around the world.
Leisure & Nightlife
When it comes to free time, everyone has his or her own activity of choice. While some may like to repose with a nice game of bridge, poker, or chess, others may find bungee jumping or bullfighting to be more engaging, and still others would rather opt for hiking or archery. Luckily, there's no shortage of leisure activities available for those who have the time, resources, and inclination to pursue them.
There's always been a certain sense of magic surrounding the movies. Good movies are remarkably effective at conveying drama and evoking emotion, and they allow spectators to immerse themselves in the world of the film. Emerging at the end of the 19th century, this art form became one of the most popular and influential media and was perhaps the first truly mass form of entertainment.
Movie, TV & Stage Directors
Although directors are often invisible to the audience in plays, shows, and movies (Alfred Hitchcock and his film cameos being one notable exception), they play an important role by controlling the evolution of the theatrical or dramatic performance. When there are actors involved, the director often oversees and shapes their performances as well. Although the auteur theory holds that the director is the major creative force in a performance, the role of the director actually varies a great deal, not only according to the medium in question but also according to the extent to which he works with actors.
Rosin up your bows and get to work on those sonatas! Classical music encompasses a wealth of different musical forms, including the symphony, concerto, and fugue, among many others. It can be written for musical instruments (such as an orchestra or a string quartet) or for vocal groups (as in choral music). Most of the best-known composers of classical music worked during the last 600 years in the Western tradition; even people disinclined to seek out classical music may recognize passages from some of these composers' standout works, such as Ludwig van Beethoven's Für Elise, Antonio Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, and Georges Bizet's Habañera (from the opera Carmen).
Music, Contemporary Genres
Hey, what's that sound? Music pervades many aspects of contemporary everyday life; it appears in commercials, blares from speakers in stores and restaurants, accompanies commuters on the way to work, and energizes gym-goers when their motivation is flagging. Music festivals such as Lollapalooza (in Chicago) and the Sziget Festival (in Budapest) attract enormous crowds by featuring an extensive lineup of musicians over several days. Today's music can be divided into any number of categories and subcategories, encompassing genres such as pop, jazz, rock, alternative, country, electronic, rap, and much more.
Music Theory & Compositions
Why do the opening notes of Beethoven's famous Symphony No. 5 sound strong and driving rather than leisurely and soothing? The answer can be found by turning to music theory, the study of the concepts and compositional methods involved in the creation of music. Music theory examines musical qualities such as timbre, tone, pitch, and texture, as well as compositional elements such as rhythm, dynamics, tempo, and more.
Not everyone is gifted with an exceptional singing voice. That's where instruments come in! The principal types of musical instruments are percussion, stringed, keyboard, wind, and electronic instruments. Musical instruments have been used since the earliest times, and modern technology has in many cases simplified or improved the construction of instruments, while mechanization has made possible the mass production of instruments of all kinds. It remains true, however, that the production of an instrument of the highest quality still demands the highest degree of individual skill.
Television & Radio
Is it true that video killed the radio star? When broadcast radio came into prominence early in the 20th century, it delighted the public by providing news and entertainment with an immediacy that had been unimaginable beforehand. Radio developed into the first electronic mass medium, but broadcast radio's popularity was eclipsed by television, which appeared about 1945. Television, which was originally conceived as a potential medium for education and interpersonal communication, ultimately evolved into a vibrant broadcast medium that offered a diverse slate of news and entertainment to people all over the world. By the early 21st century, the Internet made it possible to watch TV anywhere, anytime, on small portable devices.
Movie, TV & Stage Development & Production
Before the director can call “Action!” for the first time, there’s a lot that must be done to get a movie, television show, or theatrical production ready for production or rehearsal. Screenwriters, producers, and distributors all come into play before a project moves on to the process of hiring the cast and crew, designing and building sets and costumes, creating storyboards, and more. Cinematographers, animators, and special-effects artists are among those who may be called upon to shape the look and feel of a production, ensuring its maximal success when it hits theaters or screens.
There's no business like show business! Nothing quite matches the immediacy and electricity of a live dramatic performance, a fact which may help explain why the art form has persevered from its ancient origins up through the present day. During the 20th century, live theater demonstrated an unexpected tenacity in the face of tough competition from film, television, video, the Internet, and other media.