07 Apr 2024

Broken Rhythms And Short Tricks, Huh?

Q. Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943) is one of our favourite composers. And, as you’ll see below, his music often features in ‘most loved composer and classical music’ charts. But, was this Semyonovo-born composer always so beloved? . A. A few days ago, Classic FM reported out on their annual ‘Classic FM

28 Mar 2024

Basquiat Brings It In

Q. Which artists have been engaging people over the last year? . A. We can find some answers in Artnet’s 2023 Intelligence Report. As they combed through searches in their Price Database, Artnet found… Top 10 Most Searched Artists. By Mid-Year 2023 i.    Pablo Picasso ii.   Andy Warhol

09 Mar 2024

Puzzling Out Pen Names

Q. Who are some well-known authors with pseudonyms? . A. For a litany of reasons – some personal, some driven by brutal societal biases –  authors have long tossed their birth names for noms de plume. Some of these pseudonyms have been adopted for entire writing careers, others for an

26 Feb 2024

Silence Of The Hobbits

Q. If the TV overlords were kind enough to keep their feet off the gas during movie credits, we might notice one name coming up over and over again for musical score: Howard Shore. Who is he? . A. Composer Howard Shore is responsible for scoring movies from ‘Silence of

13 Feb 2024

Art For The Dead

Q. It is hard to know what to make of massive cemeteries with row after row of identical, machine-polished, brown headstones. Everything is so perfectly ordered: not so many people hanging about, not so many markers to distinguish one gravestone from another. Where can we find cemeteries rich with artful mementos designed

25 Jan 2024

Favourite TV Theme Songs

Q. You have to listen to one TV theme song, twice a day, for a year. Which one will you pick? Which TV theme songs and pieces do people hold most dear? . A. As of writing, Ranker has over 21,000 voters choosing their favourite TV theme songs. The winners?

09 Jan 2024

Rachel Ruysch’s Stunning Flowers

Q. Who was Rachel Ruysch – the painter behind so many gorgeous 18th Century Dutch floral paintings? . A. Born 1664 in the Hague, Ruysch’s colourful life included: ten children, a much coveted position as a court painter, sustained critical and financial success, and a lower profile yet supportive artist

20 Dec 2023

Those Sugar Plum Fairy Bells

Q. Which instrument creates the bell-like sound we hear in The Nutcracker’s ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’, Harry Potter’s ‘Hedwig Theme’, ‘It’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’ from Mister Rogers, and Willy Wonka’s ‘Pure Imagination’? . A. That beautiful bell sound comes from a celeste, or celesta. When

07 Dec 2023

Most Memorable Movie Characters

Q. It’s the dream: create a character so riveting that people remember details about them years, even decades later. All the more brilliant if the perfect actor steps into the role with flair and nuance. Who are the movie characters who sit most vividly in your brain? If you were

25 Nov 2023

American Gothic

Q. It’s one of the world’s most recognizable paintings. From the moment that the Art Institute of Chicago put Grant Wood’s ‘American Gothic’ on display, visitors were intrigued. What on earth was the story here? What indeed. . . A. The story starts with an Iowa-born artist’s sugar problem… Grant