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What you missed in the newsletter: Sesame Street turns 50

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50 years ago, this was the closest thing to a smartphone. (Giphy)

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Hi, art lovers!

Watching Sesame Street before lunch was such a staple of my preschool routine, I've been desperately craving Zoodles all week. That is to say, I've been thinking a ton about Sesame Street lately, and it's all because of this feature story.

The show turns 50 (!!!) on Nov. 10, and while I was digging around for a Canadian angle (because this is CBC Arts), I wound up stumbling on Matthew Hayday's research. He's a professor at the University of Guelph, and the history of Sesame Street in Canada is more complicated than you might realize. Did you ever hear about mommy-and-me protests to bring back Big Bird when stations threatened to yank the show? Me neither. And did you know that a lot of the segments we watched growing up were meant to teach kids about Canadian identity? Personally, that was lost on me at age three...though I still know every word to this song

What impact did the show have on you? Thinking about that question, I love that this project by Alex Da Corte exists. He's based in Philadelphia — and he must have felt Sesame's influence more than most of us. Big Bird and Oscar (and a bunch of other childhood faves) pop up in this installation (Rubber Pencil Devil) that appeared at the Carnegie International last year. (This Art21 doc takes an in-depth look. Watch here.) What he says at the beginning of the video is one major hat-tip to the power of Sesame: "How do I know my life, how do I know my politics, how do I know my religion, how do I know my love? I probably learned it from my family, but mostly, I probably learned it from TV."

Want more Sesame Street history? Here's a thorough recap of the last five decades via PBS. Or nerd out on 50 years of Sesame Street music. This New York Times feature unpacks the making of a classic educational banger...and so, so, so much more. (Everything is considered, right down to whether a Muppet can convincingly play a saxophone.) And, just because I'm a lifelong trashketeer — though maybe not as committed as this guy — here's the "Grouch Anthem" from Follow That Bird. (Oscar's stars-and-stripes backdrop is misleading. The flick was totally shot in Ontario.)

And because we promised you eye candy

( Thom Pastrano)

If minimalist posters "tickle" your fancy...(Elmo by Thom Pastrano. From his series The Streets.)

( Instagram/@benjaminbenmoyal)

File under: things to do with a box of VHS tapes. (Recycled fashion by designer Benjamin Benmoyal.)

( Instagram/@alexandrakehayoglou)

Could this be the ultimate nap spot? (Gorgeous textile installation by Alexandra Kehayoglou.)

( Instagram/@threadstories)

Before you go and hit up Canadian Tire for a new ski mask, inspo c/o Irish artist @threadstories.

You've got to see this

50 years ago, the world's top artists flocked to Halifax - Back in the '70s, NSCAD's Lithography Workshop helped transform the city into an unlikely hot spot for the world's conceptual artists. It was over by the end of the decade, but now it's back for a new generation. Go inside the project that's reviving its legacy.

About that thing that's happening in Halifax - Get a behind-the-scenes look at the NSCAD Lithography Workshop! We've produced an entire series about the project, and this is the first episode. Here, artist Shary Boyle explains the story behind her print, Cephalophoric Saint.

Take a walking tour of Africville - Like much of Halifax's Black community, Shauntay Grant's family called Africville home for generations. Its history inspired Grant's latest children's book, and she wants readers to feel her love for the place. She took Amanda Parris on a tour. Watch.

Follow this artist


Sfé R. Monster (@sfemonster) - Sfé designed this logo for Transgender Awareness Month, and you can read all about it here. A prolific comics artist, Sfé splits their time between Vancouver and Halifax, which might account for the extremely coastal setting of webcomic Eth's Skin. (The story's set in a more supernatural than usual B.C.)

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Until next week! 



Leah Collins is the Senior Writer at CBC Arts.