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The American Folk Art Museum to Launch Online Benefit Auction of Contemporary Art

The American Folk Art Museum (AFAM) announced today the forthcoming launch of an online benefit auction presented in partnership with Artsy. The auction opens at 5:00 p.m. ET on November 3, 2021.

Over 50 artists have contributed artworks to this important initiative, including Cindy Sherman, Sanford Biggers, KAWS, Trenton Doyle Hancock, LeRone Wilson, Nicole Eisenman, Nicolas Party, Amy Hill, Marcel Dzama, Jenny Holzer, Karla Knight, James Siena, Polly Apfelbaum, and Betty Tompkins.

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Altercation: Networks of Paranoia

Regular Altercation readers will have noticed by now that one of this newsletter’s hobbyhorses is the manner in which the dangerous lunacy that currently rules the conservative movement has long been normalized as just one side in a “both sides” political debate in which truth (or even sanity) has no intrinsic value. I read a few MSM pieces this past week that offer some insight as to how we arrived at this benighted political moment.

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2021-22 USC Women's Basketball Season Outlook: Lindsay Gottlieb (SHS 1995) Era Begins

The science of success is a complex field. Fortunately, the USC women's basketball program has a special kind of scientist hard at work concocting a working formula for a new realm at Troy. The 2021-22 USC roster, helmed by new head coach and basketball scientist extraordinaire Lindsay Gottlieb, is teeming with talent and balance — ingredients that Gottlieb is eager to formulate into a competitive and successful program.

"We have depth and versatility in ways that are exciting to me," Gottlieb said. "I have to go into my mad scientist mode to figure out how to use everyone effectively and turn what we have into a winning basketball team. I'm also excited that they are so bought in and willing to be pushed to reach a level we haven't reached yet."

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Exponential Tech Doesn’t Serve Social Good- Douglas Rushkoff (SHS 1979)

We all want to do good. Well, a great many of us want to do good. We recognize that the climate is in peril, corporations are dangerously extractive, wealth disparity is at all-time highs, our kids are self-destructively addicted to social media, politics has descended into a reality TV show with paranoid features, and that civilization itself has only about another 20 years before some combination of the above threats makes life unrecognizable or even unsustainable.

The good news, at least according to the majority of invitations I get to participate in conferences and with organizations, is that there’s an app or technology or network or platform or, most often these days, a token that can fix some or all of this. The latest frame around the technosolutionist frenzy is called web 3.0, which has come to mean the decentralized sort of internet characterized by TOR networks (basically, Napster and BitTorrent where everything is hosted everywhere) and the blockchain (a new form of automated ledger).

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University Teams Demonstrate ‘Cool’ New Technologies for the Moon, Mars

Ten university teams designed and built systems intended to harvest water frozen below the surface of the Moon and Mars. The teams put their prototypes to the test during the 2021 Moon to Mars Ice & Prospecting Challenge held September 23-25 at the Hampton Roads Convention Center in Hampton, Virginia.

Taking top prize of $6,000 was the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) team from Cambridge with HYDRATION III: High Yield Dihydrogen-monoxide Retrieval And Terrain Identification On New worlds.

"I think one of the determining factors in the MIT’s excellent performance was the test program they set up," said Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman, MIT team faculty advisor and former NASA astronaut. "They tried to duplicate as closely as possible the conditions they would face in the actual competition, and that allowed them to refine the hardware, software, and procedures. They followed the famous advice we give to anyone working on a space project, test like you are going to fly, and fly like you tested!"

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Aaron Sorkin (SHS 1979) on Scott Rudin: “Scott Got What He Deserves”

On October 5, more than 18 months after COVID-19 shut down Broadway, To Kill a Mockingbird will reopen at the Shubert Theatre. Aaron Sorkin’s hit adaptation of Harper Lee’s novel, now the highest-grossing American play in Broadway history, will return with original stars Jeff Daniels, as Atticus Finch, and Celia Keenan-Bolger, in her Tony-winning performance as Scout Finch. But according to Sorkin, the show will not be exactly like it was during its first run. The Oscar-winning scribe and director Bartlett Sher have spent several weeks in rehearsals making subtle changes to the play that better fit the current time and the societal reckoning brought on by the Black Lives Matter protests that occurred during a global pandemic.

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Tovah Feldshuh (SHS 1966) Returns to Mizner Park in TOVAH IS LEONA!

Six-time Tony and Emmy nominee Tovah Feldshuh (SHS 1966) will return to Boca Raton's Mizner Park Cultural Center on Saturday October 16th and Sunday October 17th for three performances of her acclaimed one woman show Tovah is LEONA! The show, in which Feldshuh assumes the persona of real estate mogul and hotelier Leona Helmsley, played to sold-out houses in January 2019.

As Helmsley, the disgraced doyenne comments and sings about anything and everything - from her meteoric rise from office temp to trophy wife, from wheeler-dealer to hotel magnate, to her relationship with real estate rival Donald Trump.

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How My Desire to Run Again Pushed Me to Walk

I only began to understand why I was so stubbornly devoted to running when I couldn’t do it anymore. That’s where I was when I woke up in an emergency room on the morning of April 6, 2020, with a traumatic brain injury sustained during a dumb middle-of-the-night fall.

The last thing I remember I’d gone downstairs to the kitchen at 4 a.m. to get a snack. My husband heard a crash and found me unconscious, blood pooling from a large gash at the back of my head. When I woke up six hours later in an E.R., my left side was a bit weak, but more important, my muscles on that side couldn’t properly coordinate basic movements.

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Bring on the art: Smith College and UMass Amherst join local galleries in new September exhibits

When it comes to art, September has usually been an especially busy time in the Valley, as college galleries and museums unveil new exhibits to welcome back students and faculty, and area galleries display their monthly changes as well.

Last fall, the pandemic shut down college art museums to the public and in most cases to students. But the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Smith College are now welcoming visitors back, and area galleries are offering new work, making September 2021 something of a return to normal.

Here’s a selected look at what’s on tap. Check for COVID-19 safety protocols and limitations for all venues.

To welcome visitors back, The Smith College Art Museum has three main exhibits on view. “SCMA Then/Now/Next” juxtaposes some of its earliest holdings with newer ones, and it’s also been arranged, staff say, to reflect the museum’s ongoing drive to give more exposure to art from previously underrepresented artists and cultures.

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Did the Homepage Kill the Internet?

One of things I really loved about the early net was how open and free it felt. Before the internet was even the internet, Al Gore was talking about the possibility of an “information superhighway” connecting educators and researchers with one another as well as one another’s work. We never thought in terms of destinations. It was more about the journey, the search, and the connections.

The “places” online, if you could even call them that, were just repositories of files. One of the first times I was on the net, I was looking for some song lyrics. I did some Gopher searches (simple, command-line stuff) and ended up downloading the files I needed from a server in Tel Aviv. There was no sense of place. I didn’t go there.

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