Pop Culture

'Modern Warfare 3' Video Game Hits The Shelves

By Jared Bowen   |   Wednesday, November 9, 2011
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Nov. 10, 2011

Watch the segment that aired on Nov. 8 on WGBH's Greater Boston.

BOSTON — They came, they bought and now they're off to save the world — after school that is.

"I have class until three, when I get back I'll finish my work and then probably play it all night," said student Mike Donahoe.

"Modern Warfare 3," the third video game in the wildly popular "Call of Duty" series, went on sale at midnight Monday night – but sales are already expected to top last year's video game installment, "Black Ops," which made over $650 million dollars in sales in its first week. "Modern Warfare" producer Mark Rubin said the success of these games comes from listening to customers.

"What we've done with 'Modern Warfare 3' is come into our own and understand our audience and find out what they want to get out of 'Call of Duty.'" Rubin said.

The new game has players act as "Special Operation" forces, defending U.S. and European targets against a Russian invasion. The series, known for its extreme violence and realism, even includes a controversial scene where a girl is killed in a truck bombing. Rubin says it's about being as realistic as possible.

"We're trying to tell a story that shows the impact of war and the impact it has on civilians and non-combatants. Our games show that it's challenging for the soldiers but also for everyone else in the world."

"I had this on reserve two months ago, in the summer for my son. I called him in Israel, he ordered it in Israel and then he came here," video gamer Nir Plag said.

Student Robert Mast also just bought "Modern Warfare 3." "I'm going to be playing this all day. I have an English essay, but I'll probably just do that later. I just can't wait," Mast said.

According to Activism, the games' publisher, six million people play the game every day making it one of the world's best selling game series, as customers like Nir Plag and Robert Mast can attest.

A New Movie: Starring You.

By Arthur Smith   |   Monday, July 25, 2011
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From our partners at NPR,

Director Kevin MacDonald embarked on a new project last year to capture a snapshot of everyday life all around the world.

YouTube users from over 192 countries uploaded more than 4,500 hours of video to his channel, all of it shot on a single day: July 24, 2010.

MacDonald and his team, which included directors Ridley and Tony Scott, took that footage and made it into a 90-minute documentary called, aptly, Life in A Day.

"We were looking for stories which resonated, or more than that, served as a metaphor for something bigger in life," McDonald told weekends on All Things Cohsidered host Guy Raz.

One of those resonant moments came from a Japanese father and son going through their morning routine. In between brushing his teeth and watching TV, the young boy says good morning to a shrine to his deceased mother.

"It's a masterful piece of filmmaking, maybe unintentionally," MacDonald tells Raz, "but it highlights what I'd call the aesthetic of amateurism. There's a beauty in the home-video style."

MacDonald says watching the film is a philosophical experience, and can change how one sees the world.

"It made me realize that cultural differences, which are the things we're mostly preoccupied by, those things are actually the superficialities of life," he says. [Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]

Wacky Warner Wevue

Thursday, October 14, 2010
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The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour

Monday, December 10, 2012
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The Planetarium Laser Show Returns — with a Twist

By Anne Mostue   |   Tuesday, June 19, 2012
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June 20, 2012

laser show

A tangle of "laser" light projections on the planetarium's 57-foot domed screen. Sweet. (Museum of Science)

BOSTON — Do you remember Friday nights at the Museum of Science in high school and college? Laser lights, special effects and Pink Floyd and Zeppelin. This summer it's back — but with a local band and a 21st-century touch. 
"The technology is video projection, but like video projection on steroids," said David Rabkin, director of the Museum of Science planetarium.
To be exact, it isn't actually a laser show.
"It's all digital video, there's no lasers involved," he explained. "The range of colors and the detail and the motion that we can do now, there's just no comparison. It's a completely different media."
Using the same 3-D digital animation software that engineers at Pixar use, the Museum of Science staff have animated an album's worth of '70s-style rock music by the band Ghosts of Jupiter.
The result is a trippy movement through space, the human body and whirling geometric shapes. At times it can even induce a little vertigo.
The show is purely entertainment, Rabkin said, in keeping with the previous, popular laser shows.
"It was sort of this cultural icon, and I think sort of a rite of passage is a good way to think about it. Sort of a touchpoint in Boston," he said.
Rabkin called this the most technologically advanced digital theater in New England, thanks to a $9 million renovation that was completed last year and funded through the Charles Hayden Foundation and private donations.
And he was eager to point out that the museum isn't just for children. The new animation and other planetarium shows are attracting lots of adults, including Ghosts of Jupiter guitarist Johnny Trama.
"When I first came to town I think I was here every weekend. That's why this is like really cool," Trama said. "Back then it was just a couple of squiggly lines in the dark. Now it's — I mean, you're literally flying through space. It's pretty cool."
"The Ghosts of Jupiter: Music Experience" opens June 22 at the Museum of Science.

'America': A Gleefully Violent Pop-Culture Pushback

By Ella Taylor   |   Saturday, May 12, 2012
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About the Authors
Jared Bowen Jared Bowen
Jared Bowen is WGBH’s Emmy Award-winning Executive Editor and Host for Arts. 
Arthur Smith Arthur Smith
Arthur Smith is the former editor of WGBHArts. Executive producer for digital education at WGBH, Arthur, an amateur pianist and singer, was previously a freelance classical music reviewer for the Washington Post for 9 years. He has also worked at an opera company, and ran the information service and publications programs for OPERA America, the national service organization for the art form.  Since 1991, he has been the program annotator for Vocal Arts DC, a classical song recital series based at Washington's Kennedy Center. 


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