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Anecdotes from the Archive

In 1892 Live Music Was Just a Phone Call Away


Between cds, mp3s, live streams, satellite radio, and even conventional AM/FM radio, it’s hard to imagine being without near-instantaneous access to music. While it may seem like only recently that we’ve been able to listen to music via our phones, it turns out people were doing just that over 100 years ago. The July 2, [...]

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Comedy about Isaac Newton Enlightens

Actor Haskell King in a scene from the play Isaac

Isaac Newton, the giant of classical physics and co-inventor of calculus, was a pill. His anti-social and arrogant ways are well documented, providing a small comfort to people today who might feel daunted by the towering achievements of this 17th-century genius. Yet, there is no denying his foundational importance to science, known at the time [...]

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Is Football to Blame for Players’ Suicides?

Nedra McClyde and Ron Canada in Headstrong at the Ensemble Studio Theatre

High-profile suicides of professional football players have mounted in the past several years—Terry Long (2005), Andre Waters (2006), Dave Duerson (2011) and Ray Easterling (2012) all killed themselves following retirement and bouts with diagnoses likely related to the thousands of hits they fearlessly underwent as players. The conditions vary but have overlapping qualities: post-concussion syndrome, [...]

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Roots of Unity

Has Anyone Ever Flipped Heads 76 Times in a Row?

What are the odds? Image: Evelyn Lamb

Tom Stoppard’s absurdist play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead begins with one of them, Guildenstern (or is it Rosencrantz?), flipping coins. “Heads,” Rosencrantz says, and takes the coin. Guildenstern flips again. “Heads,” Rosencrantz says, and takes the coin. Another flip. “Heads.” Again, “Heads.” Soon we find out that Guildenstern has flipped 76 coins, and all [...]

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