In a post-Amelie world, it's easy to forget good ole David the Gnome, the lovable sylvan creature who graced my youth as a member of the Nick Jr. TV squad. Gnomes were never really my thing, but I had a soft spot for David and his secret world. Seems like Aram Chavez, Stephanie Walker, Vanessa Chavez and Duke Fonner had a similar experience... except totally different, because they always wondered why there were no hispanic gnomes. And so, Gnombre was born, a new gnome which adds some Latin flavor to the typically European gnome that we all know and love. Not gonna lie, really need this Gnombre hanging out on my desk. Seems like a real chill guy. — Mike M.
Brain Storm was put together much like you'd expect a piece of science journalism to be: with numerous interviews with leading brain scientists, years of research at a facility for brain injury rehabilitation and education, and multiple public conversation sessions about the brain. But Brain Storm isn't the next cover story for Scientific American or Discover Mag, it's a dance performance, staged by Providence-based group Everett, a cross-disciplinary, cross-generational, and cross-cultural ensemble of dance and theater artists. Their work examines new developments in brain research and neurological revolutions, like the ability to map the spectrum of human emotions, beliefs, and tendencies. — Daniella J.
"Dancer/artist/entrepreneur" is not exactly the first phrase that might leap to mind if you're asked to consider women's role in popular hip-hop — but Michele Byrd-McPhee is on a mission to prove that the reality of this thriving sub-culture is way, way different. Her festival, which began in Philadelphia and recently relocated to New York, is produced by women, for women, and is (duh!) all about women. Each year, it gives center stage to an elite group of female artists from all over the world who are asked to exhibit work, teach, and perform. And let me be the first to say it: Damn, these ladies can dance! — Cassie M.
A few years back, Chris Remo, Jake Rodkin, and Sean Vanaman created a video game podcast called Idle Thumbs so they could share their conversations about the game industry beyond their close circle. Turns out a lot of people were just as interested in hearing what they had to say, tuning in weekly to listen as Chris, Jake, and Sean held candid, often humorous discussions about games and culture. Though they had a loyal audience, the costs of running the free podcast simply became too much. But fear not! The Idle Thumbs team is ready to stage a comeback, and offering exclusive music, games, and artwork as rewards. Based on the early enthusiasm of backers, looks like Idle Thumbs won't be idle for long. — Cindy A.
If the last thing you want to be is the invisible jerk who's speeding down the Manhattan Bridge at midnight on a bike with no lights, Brad Geswein and Slava Menn have got you covered. After their friend had his bike lights stolen and was subsequently hit by a car, the two MIT grad school buddies decided to do their part in making city biking safer. So they've created The Defender — a bright, waterproof and virtually unstealable bike headlight that looks like the cylinder of a revolver. When I dream of bike safety (hey, it happens), I dream of this. — Nicole H.
I've been noticing (and definitely loving) a trend of lady folksters on Kickstarter. Martha Burns is the latest — I'm entirely taken with her sweet, simple story, her lovely voice, and her declaration that she sings, specifically, "very old songs." ("Back when the phonograph was a brand new sensation!" "Songs that people traveled across mountains to record!") I love the way cultural ephemera can serve as catch-alls for historical anecdote. It's wonderful to find out about the world through a song that has been, and will continue to be, sung again and again and again. Comforting. — Cassie M.
We all know someone who is or was, "waiting till marriage." I grew up in the Bible Belt, then went to a Catholic university, so this was more the rule than the exception. It was a nice thing to shoot for -- political/patriarchical/historical implications aside -- romantically speaking. THE ONE! One day we would meet The One who was "worth waiting for," and we'd get married (probably pretty soon after we met them for reasons that in retrospect are quite clear) and live happily ever after, guilt- and baggage-free. But when are sex and relationships ever that simple? Jesus Don't Let Me Die Before I've Had Sex is a feature-length documentary that examines evangelical Christians and the complicated promises they make (or at least strive to make). The title is taken from one of the interviewees and the subject matter seems to be handled with compassion and nuance in a time where most discussions of sex and morality are incredibly polarized and lack both candor and humanity. — Meaghan O.