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Virgil Thomson (1896)

Sat, 25 Nov 2017 05:00:00 GMT

(image) An influential American music critic and composer, Thomson studied in Paris. There, he met Gertrude Stein, with whom he wrote the operas Four Saints in Three Acts and The Mother of Us All. He also wrote several film scores. As music critic for New York's Herald Tribune, he delivered gracefully written criticism that was respected for its concern with music rather than the performers. What unusual method of composition was Thomson known for reviving? Discuss



Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864)

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 05:00:00 GMT

(image) Toulouse-Lautrec developed his interest in art as a teen during a lengthy convalescence after breaking both his legs in separate accidents. At 21, he set up his own studio in Paris, but alcoholism brought about his early demise at 36. Even so, he left an enormous and influential body of work, which captured the atmosphere of Paris brothels and cabaret life with intense colors and remarkable objectivity. His lithographs and posters are now world-renowned. What cocktail is he said to have created?



Franklin Pierce (1804)

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 05:00:00 GMT

(image) In 1852, the Democratic party of the US was split into hostile factions, none of which could muster sufficient strength to secure the presidential nomination. The charming and unobjectionable Pierce was nominated as a compromise candidate. He unexpectedly trounced his opposition in the general election despite being largely unknown beforehand. However, Pierce proved unable to mediate slavery-related political troubles. As a testament to his unpopularity, he was the first US president to do what?