Culture: High & Low With Carolina A. Miranda
Follow-up: Coachella or Basel? Answers to our decadent excess quiz!

These days it can be so hard to distinguish our decadent excesses in the name of culture. Every event, be it musical or artistic, seems to come with bright lights, interesting food and people wearing weird outfits. Which means that the various iterations of the high-brow Art Basel art fairs aren't all that aesthetically different from the hippies getting down to Kanye at Coachella.

I was so struck by the similarities, in fact, that I made a quiz, which you should take before you look at the answers, found in the slide show embedded in this post.

Coachella or Basel? Does it matter? Somebody tell me where the beer tent is ....

Find me on Twitter @cmonstah.

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The Bjorkatastrophe in verse: A girl critic takes her beating heart to MoMA

"Once there was a girl, a girl who lived alone in a lava field in a forest."

So begins the audio guide to the Björk retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. It goes downhill from there. Way downhill.

This rambling narrative poem, created by the Icelandic writer Sjón in collaboration with Björk, takes the viewer on a metaphor-stuffed ride through the exhibition -- at least I think they're metaphors -- chronicling the work of the experimental singer and composer. Its general purple-ness is made more abhorrent by the fact that it serves as the spine of this very thin show.

Instead of supplying the viewer with any sort of background, context or influences that may inform Björk's work, the audio guide dispenses phrases such as, "a song could be saved like a coconut with purple hair" and "she was a mother girl now, a girl mother."

But there is more. Oh, so much more.

Such as: "The girl brought to life the forces that had shaped her."

Or: "The girl knew she was ready to say I do and the young...

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Datebook: Suburban strangeness, a master of noir, skewering the powerful

Paintings that capture the strangeness of Huntington Beach, the latest from an icon of punk graphics and a longtime painter who still sets his sites on the rich and the powerful. Plus: a tour of downtown Los Angeles modernism and a performance that is all about art in museums. Here’s what we have in the Datebook:

Ed Templeton, “Synthetic Suburbia,” at Roberts & Tilton. The photographer and painter presents a new series of paintings and drawings inspired by the people and surroundings of his home base of Huntington Beach. Stylized images show a solitary figure watering a garden from the comfort of a lawn chair while a girl in a bikini keeps her cellphone stuffed in her top for safekeeping, a cigarette dangling precariously from her lips. His figures are engaged in the mundane but touched by the weird. Opens Saturday at 6 p.m. and runs through May 30. 5801 Washington Blvd., Culver City,  

Raymond Pettibon, “From my bumbling attempt to write a disastrous musical, these...

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Coachella or Art Basel? Can you identify these scenes of decadent excess?
Roundup: Art world lessons -- how to get an MFA in an hour, nudity on Facebook

A museum tallies its anniversary gifts, a free MFA (in less than an hour!), a digital vault for historic works of video art, a new biennial grows in Chicago, and a high fashion movement in Congo. Plus: The low pay of part-time college faculty, and an artist proposes swapping a decayed house for great work of public sculpture in Kansas. Lots going on in the Roundup:

— Roughly a quarter of part-time college faculty and their families are on public assistance, according to an analysis by UC Berkeley. 

— An artwork based on surveillance survives a court challenge. 

— Russian artists try to find a way to work around obscenity laws

— Critic Jerry Saltz writes a worthwhile long read on museums as historical warehouses in a period dominated by the contemporary on the occasion of the opening of the new Whitney Museum in New York.

— LACMA has pulled in all kinds of new gifts on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, including a canvas by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and a new Monet. 

An MFA...

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'Sábado Gigante' has, for better and worse, defined Spanish-language TV

Some television shows are around so long that you assume that, like zombies and certain plastics, they simply cannot die. That was certainly the case for "Sábado Gigante," the weekly Spanish-language variety show hosted by Chilean presenter Don Francisco that has been around in one form or another since John F. Kennedy was president. It has lived longer than the "Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" (30 years), "Saturday Night Live" (40 years) and "General Hospital" (52 years).

So, the announcement that the show would be retired come September has sent the Internet into a tailspin of CAPS LOCK EMOTING and exclamation point abuse. In the last 18 hours, I've seen perfectly rational adults post social media status updates that read: "NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!" and "I'm not sure I want to live in a world without Sábado Gigante."

For more than half a century — the show has been on the air for 53 years — "Sábado Gigante" has been the face of Spanish-language television in the U.S. But over time, that face...

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