Performing Arts


Who Really Invented the Smiley Face?

It's supposedly the 50th anniversary of the original design of the iconic image, but its history since then is surprisingly complex with millions of dollars at stake

A traditional Punch and Judy puppet show.

Are Punch and Judy Shows Finally Outdated?

For a wife-beating, baby-squashing scofflaw, Mr. Punch has done pretty well for himself

Artist Anatole Kovarsky’s image from the cover from the November 24, 1962 issue of The New Yorker

American Myths: Benjamin Franklin’s Turkey and the Presidential Seal

How the New Yorker and the West Wing botched the history of the icon

Penn Jillette demonstrates the art of fire breathing.

Penn Jillette Reveals the Secrets of Fire-Eating

The more talkative half of the famed magic duo says that even for professionals, this magic act is a tough act to swallow


The World’s Largest Collection of Coffee Cup Lids

With over 500 different disposable plastic lids, the architect-collector has pieced together a history of American innovation and culture


Political Animals: Republican Elephants and Democratic Donkeys

Politicians and parties may flip-flop but for more than 100 years, the political iconography of the Democratic donkey and the Republican elephant has remained unchanged

The front and back of the Building Stories box

Designing Lives and Building Stories, Chris Ware’s Comic Book Epic

In Building Stories, cartoonist Chris Ware presents the banality of everyday life as a stunning comic epic


The Pee-Chee Folder: Illustrated by the Most Interesting Man in the World

Illustrator Francis Golden could barely remember the project that became an iconic school supply


The Scene of Deduction: Drawing 221B Baker Street

From pen-and-ink sketches to digital renderings, generations of Sherlock Holmes fans have undertaken drafting the detective's famous London flat

Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes searching for clues on his mobile phone

A Modern Sherlock Holmes and the Technology of Deduction

A modern Sherlock Holmes requires a modern tool. Today, his iconic problem-solving magnifying glass has been replaced by the indispensable cell phone

Powell and Lealand No. 1

Sherlock Holmes and the Tools of Deduction

Sherlock Holmes’s extraordinary deductions would be impossible without the optical technologies of the 19th century


The Mystery of 221B Baker Street

Our series on Design and Sherlock Holmes begins with an investigation into the location of the famous detective's London flat

The cover to Brian Eno's Ambient 1: Music for Airports

Music for Airports Soothes the Savage Passenger

Brian Eno's Music for Airports is a sound environment created specifically to complement the experience of waiting in an airport terminal

Uniforms for Pan Am (1969-1971), United (1968-1970), and Southwest (1995-2004)

Judging an Airline by its Uniform

What flight attendant uniforms say about airline brand identity, cultural attitudes, and passenger psychology

Naomi Braithwaite's footwear sketches for a design course at London College of Fashion

How Ideas Become Shoes: Creativity in Process

Using shoe design to understand human creativity

Marc Jacobs high-top wedge sneaker

Such Great Heights: The Hidden Architecture of Elevator Shoes

How a shoe designed to address male inadequacy has become a symbol of female fashion sense


Who Is Linda Tatersmith?

If flashy package design lure people into eating factory-extruded chemical slurries, why shouldn’t it work to trick food addicts into eating vegetables?

According to magician Teller, "Neuroscientists are novices at deception. Magicians have done controlled testing in human perception for thousands of years."

Teller Reveals His Secrets

The smaller, quieter half of the magician duo Penn & Teller writes about how magicians manipulate the human mind

Illusionist/director/writer Teller of the film "& Teller 2" poses for a portrait during the 11th annual CineVegas film festival held at the Palms Casino Resort on June 13, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Teller Speaks on the Enduring Appeal of Magic

The magician famous for being mute as a performer says that magic is all about the unwilling suspension of disbelief

Woman's four-piece ball gown.  Europe, circa 1868.

Costume’s Cultural Reveal

The Los Angeles County Museum aims to draw new visitors and historic insights with a landmark costume acquisition

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