Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Entertainment in the 19th Century UK

In the aftermath of the collapse of the Spanish, Portuguese, Roman, Chinese and Mughal empires, the 19th Century was typified by the growth in the influence of Britain and the United States on the world stage. Not least of all was their influence on entertainment.

Perhaps the biggest, and longest lasting influence is the massive impact of British writers on the literature world. The 19th Century was a hot bed for classics. Charles Dickens lived and worked throughout the middle period of the 19th Century on classic fiction like Oliver Twist (1937-1939), A Tale of Two Cities (1851) and Great Expectations (1861).

It wasn't just Dickens that was active during the century; Arthur Conan Doyle wrote about Sherlock Holmes for the first time, the Bronte's brought us Jayne Eyre, Agnes Grey and Wuthering Heights and Rudyard Kipling gave us Young Mowgli. There were also sinister twists in Mary Shelly's Frankenstein (1818), Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Grey (1891) and Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886).

In music, it was the European composers that let the way in the wake of the might of Beethoven and Back from the previous century. Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) and Claude Debussy (1862-1918) were prolific composers throughout the latter half of the century. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky produced Swan Lake (1876), The Nutcracker (1892) and the 1812 Overture (1880). Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) developed his operatic masterpieces La Traviata (1853) and Rigoletto (1851). Frediric Francois Chopin (1810-1849) and Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) were also big proponents in establishing the credentials of classical music in the 19th Century.

Famous plays that hit the entertainment news of the time include Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Ernest (1895) and George Bernard Shaw's Candita (1894). Anton Checkov's The Seagull was also written in the 19th Century. It originally led to him renouncing theatre due to the bad reception it provoked in 1896, however, it's revival in 1898 was met with critical acclaim. It's no great surprise that a lot of the great works of theatre originated in the latter years of the 19th Century, as this was the formative years of the Belle poque.

The era also saw the initial development of moving pictures as a form of entertainment. Although, they did not gain real prominence until the early 20th Century, so it's fair to say that the 19th Century was largely untouched by film as a medium for entertainment.

However, what was big throughout the 19th Century was the show. Figures like Buffalo Bill established successful shows that travelled throughout the United States and Europe.

The 19th Century also gave the world an abundance of artists, although, some of them were not recognised until the 20th Century. Vincent Van Gogh, for example, died in relative obscurity, only to be considered one of history's greatest painters posthumously. A similar story can be seen in the works of William Blake. However, there were a great many artists that rose to prominence in the 19th Century, including Paul Czanne, John Constable, Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet, Edvard Munch, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Auguste Rodin, Joseph Turner and Whistler.

The 19th Century was forged under the might of the British Empire and the industrial revolution, giving rise to a wealth of artistic creativity in the arts and entertainment world. With the abolition of slavery and the rise in socialism as an intellectual paradigm, the masses were starting to be considered more highly, however, the reality is that entertainment in terms of popular music, theatre, art and literature were predominantly the domains of the rich during the 19th Century. Although, the technological and economical advances that began in the late 19th Century, retrospectively called the Belle Epoch, paved the way for the arts and entertainment to have more of a mass audience in the 20th Century.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Entertainment News and the Critic

Entertainment news publications and online editions have sections written by critics. These could be movie reviews for a film that has released at a theater near you. It could also be the music reviews for an album that is slowly climbing up the charts. Critics have been panned by artists for centuries. Many artists relegate critics to the sidelines with the strong belief that they have taken up criticism only because they have not been able to create art themselves. But that opinion is not free from fallacy. Critics do their job and that job has a purpose.

The primary job of the critic is to inculcate good taste among audiences and viewers. Entertainment news portals are their media. Because a large chunk of the people read these entertainment news sites, the critics can reach out to more people with their views and opinion about things. The movie reviews that they write tell the audience what they can expect from the movie. They tell you if the movie ticket is worth your money or not. I'm not saying that you accept their opinion as gospel truth, but when learned critics say something, they must have some reason for doing so.

In the field of music, critics have a special to play as well. Music reviews inform and educate listeners about the trends of modern music. Being a connoisseur in music and performing arts, the critic manages to pack in his knowledge about music when he writes music reviews. The opinion of the critic is important for music reviews because the critic is well-aware of the different genres of music, be it Eastern, Western, jazz, blues or reggae. The critic pours out his knowledge on the entertainment news pages. Readers of these columns can only benefit from the learned wisdom of the critic.

Critics hold a lot of sway over the business aspect of the entertainment industry. Viewers go to the theaters mainly on what the opinion of the movie reviews is. They generally tend to head to the theaters with a pre-conceived idea formed by the reading of the critic's opinion. The same happens in case of music reviews. Sales of albums feel the effect of a critic's analysis, and if the critic happens to be someone of repute or from a respected publication, the impact is deeper. Music reviews are also important links in understanding the flow and direction modern music is taking.

Having said all these, I'm not saying that the critic is always right in his assessment. There are numerous examples of movies trashed by critics in the movie reviews but they have gone on to become blockbusters. Some, which the critics hailed as cinematic masterpieces, didn't find an audience. The viewer or the listener, in case of music reviews, is the ultimate judge. Critics writing for entertainment news publications can only claim to be guides. They point out certain aspects and the viewer has to decide if he agrees with the sensibilities of the critic in those aspects.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Mixed Martial Arts - What Is It?

For many centuries, men and some women, from around the world, have learned time honored martial arts, such a tae kwon do and jiu jitsu. These sporting and fighting disciplines teach young athletes about training, concentration, force, mental power, speed, agility, balance, and many other important lessons in life! The blockbuster movie of the 1980's The Karate Kid, was of course, just Hollywood, but it did show some truth, in that; young Daniel was mentored by a Karate expert who had learned what was passed down for generations by his family!

When you combine some mixed martial arts, and throw in some wrestling and boxing... NOW you are talking exciting, keeps-you-on-the-edge-of-your seat competition! Located in the beautiful state of Hawaii, is a fabulous school that teaches boys and men of all ages, about this exciting fighting technique, which is truly a sport that continues to grow in popularity and always has exciting new developments. Since the inception in 1993 of the UFC, Mixed Martial Arts have made their mark and have continued to gain more fans and more participants!

The sport has grown to gigantic proportions, and for good reason; it attracts some of the biggest, toughest fighters from around the world, and creates an incredibly exciting and entertaining sport to watch. In fact, the current exciting news is that B.J. Penn is headed to Philadelphia for the upcoming UFC 101 which will be an amazing event.

All of the latest MMA and UFC news ticket to the exciting sport is out there everywhere! You see it on TV and news everyweek more and more. For those who live in Hawaii, you can now get way more information about this cutting edge school that teaches the exciting and physically demanding sport of MMA, and it will transform you or your youngster into a lean, mean, fighting machine!

There are many schools around nation wide. You can just about find a school practically anywhere you live. Not just MMA fighting but you can find karate, tae kwon do, judo, MMA, muay thai, escrima, kendo, even sumo depending on where you live. you can pretty much just lok in the phone book and find a place to train.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Zagreb's Cinemas and Art Museums

What I love most about Zagreb is its contribution to the arts with its numerous cinemas and museums. Are you a movie buff? If you want to catch a movie in Zagreb the biggest chain of movie theatres is called Cinestar. It features the latest Hollywood movies and is designed to entertain people. It is important to note that all Hollywood movies have Croatian subtitles and only animation movies for kids have voiceovers in Croatian. There are two Cinestars located on Branimirova Street and Avenue Mall.

For those who like to watch artsy fartsy films, there are several smaller cinemas that showcase independent films in Zagreb such as Kinoteka, Kic, and Dokukino Croatia.

If you plan to come visit Zagreb in the autumn, in October, the city hosts the annual Zagreb Film Festival, which features a variety of commercial and independent films from Croatia and abroad. Last year in 2009, they showed some of my favourite films: New York, I Love you; 500 Days of summer; and I Killed My Mother.

Are you an art lover? The good news is that there are several art museums in Zagreb that are located within walking distance in the centre, which makes it convenient to go museum hopping in a few days. If you are interested in Croatian art, you should go visit the Modern Gallery. Situated in the heart of the city on A. Hebranga street, the Modern Gallery is one of my favourite museums because it has the most important collection of the top 650 paintings and sculptures from Croatian artists dating back from the 19th and 20th century.

The second museum that I visited was the Museum of Arts and Crafts located on Marsala Tita square showcasing Croatian artists and their paintings along with intricate crafts and sculptures that are all interesting to look at. Lastly, you should visit the Art Pavilion in Zagreb. It has been open since 1898 and if you love art, this museum exhibits Croatian and international artists of modern art.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Case Study on Social Networking Website Development for Music, Arts, Dance and Entertainment

A public relations company in multiple sectors like entertainment, social activities and it enabled services wanted to develop a social media networking website. The company offered services to individuals as well as corporates. They have offices in major cities of Africa. The company was started by a group of four enterprising visionaries. They had a vision to build a platform for common folks and artists in Africa to come together and collaborate on music, art, dance, and entertainment.

Business Case for the website
Every African in some ways is connected to music, dance or art in his/her own way. They have a natural desire to showcase the artistic talent and stories to community members and the world at large. With easy access to Internet, they have found a new medium to share their entertainment content with the community. While there are several communication channels developed in other parts of the world, the African community needed a platform to showcase their talents in performing arts music, dance, painting etc. The PR company recognized this opportunity to develop a niche social networking website that leveraged the power of user generated media.

This website was distinctive over other Social networking websites due to its focus on media driven collaboration by users via music, videos, pictures and articles. The website also proposed to bring together celebrities like actors, singers, musicians, choreographers, entertainment writers, bloggers and journalists to shape the future of entertainment in Africa. This ambitious project also received encouragement from government levels.

Features in Social Networking Website
This social media networking website helped the African community express and connect with friends, relatives and colleagues through blogs, forums, chat, internal messaging and other communication tools.

The website has dedicated sections that offered quality information and entertaining news, reviews, interviews about the entertainment industry in Africa updated by the seasoned professionals.

Important features of the website are:

  • Streaming Media
  • Blog
  • Internal Messaging
  • Forums
  • Friends - invite, groups
  • Polls
  • Events
  • User feedback - reviews, voting, like, bookmarking, favorites
  • User Categories - The site administrator can monitor the user activity and based on member performance & categorize the member as regular user, writer or an artist.
  • Artist Showcase - This section features artists from various walks of entertainment.
  • The website is unique in a way that it offers a rich and intuitive interface to upload, share and review entertainment media - music, videos, articles, news and blogs.


This social networking website has been developed in open source platform - LAMP.

The social networking website development company also used Ajax both in the front end and back end sections which significantly improved the user experience and improved user interface. The website also offered API (Application programming Interface) to software developers to create widgets and applications. These widgets and applications can seamlessly use the activities and information from our website with other platforms.