The British Museum Acquires 19 Rare Picasso Prints

filed under: art, museums
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Pablo Picasso, “The Rehearsal,” 1954 © Succession Picasso/DACS 2016

The British Museum is cementing its reputation as a major destination for Pablo Picasso fans. The London-based museum, which already holds more than 550 works by the Spanish-born artist, recently purchased 19 rare prints the artist made between the 1940s and 1950s, according to BLOUIN ARTINFO.

The museum’s goal is to fully represent Picasso’s work as not just a painter, but a print maker, showing off his skills in etching, lithography, aquatint, and linocut. Of the newly acquired works, 16 are linocut, a variation on woodcut using linoleum, and three are aquatint, a method that uses an etched copper plate to create a print that looks much like a watercolor.

Six of the mint-condition prints feature Picasso’s muse, Françoise Gilot, with whom he had two children. One of those works features a pregnant Gilot with their toddler son playing at her feet, while another is a moody black portrait of her only a few months before she left him. Also in the collection of 1955 aquatints is a portrait of Jacqueline Roque, Picasso’s future wife. There are also portraits of Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, a friend of Picasso’s and a major dealer of 20th century French art, especially for Cubist painters.

The purchase of the new prints (worth millions, according to The Guardian) “now stands us among the most important public collections of Picasso in the world,” the museum’s director, Hartwig Fischer, said in a press release.

The British Museum will display the new prints between January and March 2017. They’re also available to view by appointment in one of the museum’s study rooms.


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September 30, 2016 – 6:30pm

5 Bulletproof Facts About Marvel’s Luke Cage

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Marvel’s resident Hero for Hire, Luke Cage, is ready to go solo when his very own Netflix series debuts on September 30. While this will be many people’s first taste of Cage, the character has actually been around for more than 40 years, and his impact stretches well beyond the streets of Harlem. From his debut as one of Marvel’s only minority comic book characters, to his obscure connection to a Hollywood star, here are five facts you need to know about Luke Cage.


In the early 1970s, Marvel saw that pop culture was changing as more ethnic diversity found its way into TV and film. To make sure it didn’t fall behind, the publisher made an effort to introduce more African American superheroes into its books, and for inspiration the company had to look no further than the film movement that defined the early parts of the decade: blaxploitation.

Over-the-top, anti-establishment films like Shaft and Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song featured black characters in urban settings that audiences could actually recognize. The unique tone and gloriously violent flair of these movies attracted audiences of all races, so it was only a matter of time before the comic book industry got its own black hero to root for. To capitalize on this movement, writer Archie Goodwin and artists John Romita Sr. and George Tuska created Luke Cage, who made his debut in his very own series Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1 in 1972. The book was also Marvel’s first solo title starring an African American hero; the Black Panther’s creation preceded Cage’s, but he didn’t receive a solo book until he starred in Jungle Action in 1973 and his own self-titled book in 1977

Set in Harlem, Cage uses his superhuman strength and bulletproof skin—which he gained in an experiment—to protect the people of his old neighborhood, as long as they could afford his services (he was a hero for hire after all). Over the decades, Cage shed his ’70s blaxploitation schtick and transformed into a full-fledged part of the Marvel Universe, eventually becoming an Avenger and TV star.


Today, Luke Cage and Iron Fist may be one of the most popular duos in comics, but the only reason these two characters were ever paired up to begin with was because, well, no one really bought their books. Iron Fist’s solo comic book title was canceled in 1977 due to low sales, but Marvel didn’t want to give up on the character so easily. So that same year, Fist was teamed up with Cage, whose own comic wasn’t exactly a cash cow for the publisher.

Together, the duo saw a renaissance, as Cage’s solo comic book title was renamed Power Man and Iron Fist starting with issue #50 and sales went up. Separately, Fist and Cage weren’t moneymakers for the House of Ideas, but together, their team-up book lasted nearly another decade, ending with #125 in 1986.


Nicolas Cage is a notorious comic book junkie—he has owned some of the most expensive issues in the world, he’s a regular sight at comic conventions, and he even played a superhero in the Ghost Rider movies. Comic books are also his namesake.

Nicolas Cage was born Nicolas Coppola, part of the famous Coppola film family that includes director Francis Ford Coppola. To avoid the murkiness of nepotism in Hollywood, though, he decided to change his name to Nicolas Cage, getting his inspiration from Marvel’s Luke Cage, one of his favorite comic characters.


Luke Cage’s creator, Archie Goodwin, wanted the African American roots and street slang of the character to feel authentic, especially in the wake of a successful movie like Shaft. Well, the Marvel comics don’t use the type of real-world profanity used in blaxploitation films, so Goodwin had to be creative, while still retaining that “authentic” feel of the streets. His solution became Cage’s oft-mocked catchphrase, “Sweet Christmas!”

As the Cage character evolved, the catchphrase was dropped, especially as he was put into more serious books that didn’t rely on his exploitative ’70s roots. Though that won’t stop Luke Cage star Mike Colter from saying it a few times in the new show. 


Quentin Tarantino isn’t the type of director to adapt someone else’s story too often, but he almost made an exception in the 1990s, when he entertained the thought of bringing Luke Cage to the big screen. Cage is apparently a favorite of Tarantino’s from his childhood, and after 1992’s Reservoir Dogs the director briefly thought about going to Marvel with his idea for the character. But during an interview with Nerdist, Tarantino said it was actually his comic book fan friends that turned him off the idea:

“In the case of Luke Cage, it was my comic geek friends that almost talked me out of it, because I thought Larry Fishburne back in the day would’ve been a great Luke Cage, and they were talking about Wesley Snipes. And I could see them both, but it was like ‘I think Fish would be better.’ And they go ‘Yeah … he could work out and everything, but he doesn’t have the bod that Wesley Snipes has, and Luke Cage needs to have the bod.’

“And I literally was so turned off that that would be their both starting and ending point, that it literally put it in my head that, if I do a comic book movie, it should be an original character. It should be something I create rather than try to fit in.”

Though the idea of a Tarantino-directed Luke Cage movie is intriguing, film fans can’t argue with the project that he actually decided to go with next: 1994’s Pulp Fiction.

September 30, 2016 – 6:00pm

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The German Teens Who Rebelled Against Hitler (Plus: Why Dogs are Smarter Than Babies)
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Newsletter Item for (73451): The German Teens Who Rebelled Against Hitler
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8 Memorable Comics Screw-Ups
Retrobituary: Olive Oatman, the Pioneer Girl Who Became a Marked Woman
10 Old-Fashioned Swears to Spice up Your Cussin'
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Mark Twain owned 19 cats at one time.
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Here Are the Most Popular Transactions Made Through Venmo

filed under: money, tech
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Ten years ago—maybe even five years ago—asking your roommate to “Venmo you” for the pizza you just split might have earned you some confused looks. The mobile payment service has since become part of our cultural vernacular. In the first month of 2016 alone, over $1 billion in transactions were made through the app. Venmo payments are fee-free for users connected through their debit card or bank account and they’re simple to send and request. It’s easy then to see why the app is a popular choice for Millennials, a group that’s less likely to pay with cash or checks than older generations.

As for what the app is actually being used for, LendEDU discovered that the answer is just about everything. The student loan marketplace recently looked at more than 500,000 transactions to determine which types of payments are the most popular. When a user transfers money, they’re required to indicate what the payment is for. They don’t necessarily have to go into detail: In fact, emojis are often the descriptor of choice. You can see the top choices below.

According to LendEDU, the house and flying money emojis are commonly used for rent and utilities while the pizza and beer emojis are pretty self-explanatory. The text descriptions they looked at reflect these trends. Food was the top category with popular terms including dinner, groceries, and pizza. Rent/utilities came in second followed by fun, transportation, and alcohol. The five most-used individual terms were as follows: food, Uber, rent, fantasy (football), and bills. It’s important to note that in addition to being brief, payment descriptions are also allowed to be inaccurate. So it’s probably safe to assume that the majority of users who helped “strippers” break the top 100 were joking (hopefully the same can be said for “kale,” which somehow places in the 21st spot, above “drinks,” “cable,” and “brunch”).

While a lot of people use the app for minor expenses, a significant portion of users also seem to trust Venmo with larger payments like rent. If you’re among the app’s big spenders, it may be worth looking into the app’s security policies if you haven’t already done so. Google Wallet is one payment app alternative that offers extra protection like fraud monitoring and MasterCard’s liability coverage.

[h/t LendEDU]

All images courtesy of LendEDU.

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September 30, 2016 – 5:30pm

‘Toy Story’-Inspired Vans Are Coming Soon

Soon, you’ll be able to wear your love for Pixar on your sleeve and your feet. io9 reports that the Disney-owned computer animation film studio is collaborating with skatewear label Vans to create a line of Toy Story-inspired shoes.

Details like availability and pricing are currently under wraps, but Vans recently previewed a few images of the sneakers on social media. One pair is white, purple, and green—just like Buzz Lightyear’s spacesuit—while another is cow-printed, and pays homage to Woody’s cowboy style. They even have the name “Andy” doodled on their soles. 

Vans’s website refers to the line as a “Holiday collection,” so it’s a safe guess that its Toy Story sneakers will be officially unveiled later this fall or winter. For more info, you can sign up for email updates online, or check out some pictures below.

[h/t i09]

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September 30, 2016 – 5:00pm

Newsletter Item for (51362): 4 Changes to English So Subtle We Hardly Notice They’re Happening


4 Subtle Changes to English People Hardly Notice


Some changes to language are sudden and obvious—like, say, the introduction of “YOLO” or “selfie” to our vocabularies. But others happen slowly, over hundreds of years. These four subtle linguistic shifts were spotted by analyzing large digital collections of text and transcribed speech.

4 Changes to English So Subtle We Hardly Notice They're Happening