... in the Victorian era (1837-1901), a small, tightly controlled mouth was considered beautiful. They took their cues from much of Europe's fine-art portraiture. Some say photographers even suggested those posing say "prunes" to heighten the effect. Smiling was something captured on children, peasants and drunkards, hardly something you'd want for your family legacy.Advances in dental care and ubiquitous technology: why people started smiling for the camera, and why we say cheese, with a whistling bird, some whiskey, and a little flash game thrown in for good measure. [more inside]
Then, there was the matter of oral hygiene.
Incorruptible Teeth, or, the French Smile Revolution
In 1787, Madame Vigée-Lebrun, painter to France’s royal and aristocratic elite, displayed a canvas at the Paris Salon. It was a self-portrait depicting the artist in an affectionate embrace with her daughter. Vigée-Lebrun is smiling—a sweet, broad smile revealing white teeth. There is little about this pose that seems in any way exceptional, yet exception was furiously taken. “An affectation which artists, art-lovers and persons of taste have been united in condemning,” wrote an anonymous commentator, “and which finds no precedent amongst the Ancients, is that in smiling she shows her teeth. This affectation is particularly out of place in a mother.”How the smile came to Paris (briefly), aka Grin City. [more inside]
On being a barista in San Francisco: But I had set up a trap for myself. By smiling this hard all the time, by acting so very whimsical, I could not easily reveal any part of my true and at that time rather angry self.
After 44 years, The Beach Boys' SMiLE, the most famous unreleased album of all time, has finally been released.
Even at its most remorselessly upbeat, the Beach Boys' music was marked by an ineffable sadness – you can hear it in the cascading tune played by the woodwind during Good Vibrations's verses – but on Smile, the sadness turned into something far weirder. All the talk of Wilson writing teenage symphonies to God – and indeed the sheer sumptuousness of the end results – tends to obscure what a thoroughly eerie album Smile is. Until LSD's psychological wreckage began washing up in rock via Skip Spence's Oar and Syd Barrett's The Madcap Laughs, artists tactfully ignored the dark side of the psychedelic experience. But it's there on Smile...The first of a ten-part web series on the making of the album and the new reissue has been posted on youtube, featuring new interviews and rare archival footage. The full-length 2-CD version is streaming at AOL.
More recently, Wilson has drawn fan and media attention for his thick, black beard and eccentric behavior. There's a relatively strange baseball player called Brian Wilson. [more inside]
Jedi Badminton. [SLYT] For the inner geek in you.
Today in 1966, Brian Wilson starting laying down instrumental tracks for "#1 Untitled." Eight months, 90 hours of tape, and $50,000 later, he released his "pocket symphony." [more inside]
Smiles are awesome! But what are they? Which ones make you more attractive? Who fakes them better - and how good are you at spotting a fake one (previously)? Do they spread through social networks? Does smiling make you feel better when you're down? Will they predict you living longer or having a happier marriage? If all else fails, at least a smile might make you better at gambling.
Smiling Victorians is a collection of photos of smiling Victorian (and Edwardian!) people. And one photo of the Victorianest smile of all!
It's time to smile. (SLYT)
Coup leaders urge Thai soldiers to smile Military coup leaders in Thailand — often called the "Land of Smiles" — apparently don't want to ruin that image. They've ordered soldiers to smile. Army radio broadcasts are reminding soldiers to be friendly and courteous, especially to children. Many Thais have described this as the friendliest coup ever seen in a land with a history of violent coups.
Entertainment NewsFilter: the surviving Beach Boys, including Mike Love and Brian Wilson, appeared together in public today, for the first time in ten years, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the release of Pet Sounds. Mike Love recently sued Brian Wilson for royalties and co-writing credits, again, after Brian released SMiLE, a mere 38 years after originally starting on it. The strife between the two has been ongoing for decades. As Brian grew more musically ambitious in the Pet Sounds and SMiLE era, Mike legendarily admonished Brian not to "fuck with the formula." [m.i.]
Spot the fake smiles. Can you tell the difference between a fake smile and a real smile?
"Smile," he said. I'd asked what record the music was from, but I knew as soon as I heard it. The tapes of the Smile sessions, long considered Brian Wilson's lost masterpiece, may never be released; peer-to-peer, however, can put us in touch with the album that some call the ultimate pop record, and that Wilson called his "teenage symphony to God".