8 Best TED Talks to Inspire You

best TED Talks

Looking for more happiness, focus, creativity? Here are the best TED Talks to put you on track for your best year yet. TED Talks have long been the go-to videos for inspiring, thought-provoking ideas from a variety of experts and leaders. Following are the eight best TED Talks, each under 20 minutes, if you're looking to find your calling, expand your creativity and confront your fears. 1. ‘There’s more to life than being happy’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9Trdafp83U Author and writer Emily Esfahani Smith upends the long-held theory that we should all be happy as we saunter through this mortal coil. Rather, she says, we should focus on these four pillars of living a meaningful life: belonging, finding purpose, transcendence and storytelling. Essentially, Smith encourages us to seek belonging in relationships or a community, which helps us feel valued. Finding valuable work is important in order to feel like you’re contributing to society,        …read more

‘Calvin and Hobbes’ and Bill Watterson: A Phenomenon and a Recluse

Calvin and Hobbes

‘Calvin and Hobbes’ first appeared on November 18, 1985. The strip has remained relevant for more than 30 years, and its creator has stuck to his principles through it all. It was one of those things moms say to their kids to impress them about their jobs, as if being an outstanding AP teacher weren’t enough. But of course, I was just a young boy. Name-dropping has its effects. “Bill Watterson graduated from Chagrin Falls,” she told me. Chagrin Falls High School in Northeast Ohio, that is. The school where my mom’s now taught for 22 years. Calvin and Hobbes, the revolutionary comic strip, made Chagrin Falls’ own Bill Watterson a household name. Calvin and Hobbes had always reminded me of home. The precocious Calvin and his stuffed tiger live in an idyllic Midwestern town with many Chagrin Falls characteristics. In one of the first Calvin and Hobbes strips, for        …read more

Fallen Artists: Should We Suspend Judgment When Heroes Fall?

suspend judgement, open-minded

It can be difficult to remain open-minded when a beloved artist is accused of terrible things. There’s a saying: Don’t ask how the sausage is made. You may enjoy the end product. Maybe you’re even able to suspend judgment about its dubious origins. Sometimes even when there’s no denying the truth of a thing, some will still choose to look away. Because the love of the thing is just that great. When it comes to scandals swirling around our favorite (or once-favorite) celebrity artists, it’s tough, no doubt about it. I’ve written a fair amount about art — movies, video games, music — and of those subjects I’ve covered, I always tackle them with levity in mind. Top-10 lists to give you something to read on your lunch break or during a trip to the bathroom. And when it’s not a top-10 list, when there is a precise point to        …read more

Lights, Camera, Superhero Toys in Action!

superhero toys

Take a peek behind the scenes, where four incredibly imaginative photographers bring superhero toys to life. Let’s talk about superhero toys. First, they’re not just for kids. Second, keeping them wrapped up in their original packaging makes sense if you’re a collector, but it’s not much fun. Third, there’s a not-so-underground global group of photographers who are unwrapping their toys in order to capture stunning images. They don’t need real people for subjects — they’re happily geeking out with superhero toys. Here are four photographers that bring superhero toys to life, with fantastic results. Overcast in the UK UK-based Darylle Lacey told Crixeo that toy photography is “about keeping an eye out, looking under those hedgerows and not being afraid to get down on your belly and play with toys.” He used to keep his toys on a shelf, but by discovering toy photography he’s learned to “play again in        …read more

13 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were in the Visual Arts

From Michael Jackson to Lucy Liu, did you know these 13 celebrities worked in the visual arts? We know their faces, voices, performances and general fame, but what about their paintings, photographs, sketches and “Faberge-style eggs”? Whether brilliant or just...interesting, this work is well worth seeing. Here are 13 celebs you may not have known were so serious about the visual arts. Michael Jackson The King of Pop is often recognized as a polymath of sorts who excelled as a singer, dancer, composer and even inventor, but he was also an accomplished visual artist who created realistic sketches and fanciful cartoons, many of which can be viewed online. One of his most-discussed works is an impressively mature rendering of Jackson’s idol Charlie Chaplin drawn when Jackson was only nine years old. Some later works, like this caricature of the singer with musical collaborator Paul McCartney and this self-portrait of the artist as        …read more

Hallyu: Why the Whole World Is Riding the Korean Wave

hallyu wave

The ongoing popularity of Korean dramas and movies demonstrates the power of Hallyu. In 2016 two Korean movies garnered attention at a worldwide stage. Celebrated director Park Chan-wook surprised the audience at the Cannes Film Festival with his erotic psychological thriller The Handmaiden and director Yeon Sang-ho had a summer hit in his hands with his first live-action movie, the zombie thriller Train to Busan. Since the late ’90s, the flux of Korean entertainment ensured continuing worldwide interest in the small peninsula. Hallyu (Korean word for “Korean wave”) entails k-drama, k-pop, fashion, food, beauty and movies. According to some, its popularity can even be seen as an example of cultural power “that threatens the dominance of American culture.” Let’s examine the history of Korean entertainment. The Korean entertainment industry is relatively young, and the flux of its worldwide popularity is tied to the historic and economic turmoil of the country.        …read more

Escape into 5 Popular YouTube Comedy Channels

YouTube comedy

In need of a laugh? Look no further than these YouTube comedy channels. YouTube is a bottomless wealth of content. Whether you need a tutorial on how to repair your dishwasher, achieve the perfect eyebrow arch, defeat a difficult boss in a video game, or de-slime okra, someone on YouTube, without a doubt, has you covered. You’ll also find many talented YouTube comedy creators on the platform. Join us as we check out some side-splitting channels on YouTube. 1. REACT The setup for a standard episode of one of the most popular YouTube comedy channels couldn’t be more genius in its simplicity. You plunk someone down in a seat — the Fine Brothers’ regulars span generations from grade school kids to senior citizens — and you have them react to something. Whether it’s the new viral trend, a strange food, a video game, a Try Not to Laugh challenge or select        …read more

14 Instagram Comic Artists Who Just Get It

Instagram artists, comic artist

We can’t guarantee you’ll make it through your week if you don’t follow these 14 comic artists on Instagram. Many adults have fond memories of asking their parents for the comics section of the newspaper on sleepy Sunday mornings. Now, however, most people get their news online, and comics are being consumed digitally as well. With more than 200k Instagram posts tagged with the hashtag #comicstrip, it’s never been easier to get your daily dose of art combined with comedy. It may not be exactly the same thing as spreading the colorful pages of the Sunday cartoons across the kitchen table, but we can guarantee that the following Instagram comic artists are funnier and more relatable than your average Garfield cartoon (sorry, Garfield). Be sure to follow these 14 Instagram comics and then warn your friends to prepare to be tagged in dozens of your favorite funny posts. 1. Catana Comics (@catanacomics)        …read more

Can’t Deal? Stick a Meme on It

meme, memes

Once associated with the sillier side of the web, memes are leaping into the contemporary art world. There’s no point in sugarcoating the situation. It’s already been a tough old year. Long, unspooling and gargantuan, it’s been a car crash of a situation and no matter the angle you take on the events, there’s no getting around the fact. When times are tough, though, humanity has a habit of rising from the ashes, phoenixlike, and making something out of the mess. Such has been the job of the meme this year. Once ironic and laden in barely-disguised sarcasm, the meme came into its own, helping artists and creatives alike make sense of a world that has become increasingly confusing. How many times do you receive memes throughout the day? Once? Ten times? A hundred? Whatever your number, the digital crumb probably features somewhere in your inbox. Sprinkling a touch of universal        …read more

8 Urban Legends That’ll Bring You to Tears (of Laughter or Fear)

urban legends

Looking for the perfect campfire story with those s’mores? Break out these 8 urban legends. Whether you’re headed off the grid and need screen-free entertainment or you just love a good story to tell, urban legends are excellent source material. Even better is when you can adjust the story to your current location, adding to the scares or laughter it may provoke. And of course a healthy debate over whether it’s true or completely fabricated (that’s what makes them so much fun to share). Here are eight urban legends to turn to when imaginative storytelling is in order. 1. Deadly Candy ‘Ms. Davis’ candy wrapper collage on canvas by Laura Benjamin. If you want to keep your kids away from candy, share this urban legend while road-tripping through unfamiliar terrain. When children started going missing in a small rural county in Texas, the community blamed The Candy Lady. She would        …read more