Curious Minds: Starstruck: Fame and Celebrity in the Modern Age


Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema Tue, May 15, 2018 10:00 AM
Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema Tue, May 22, 2018 10:00 AM
Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema Tue, May 29, 2018 10:00 AM
Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema Tue, Jun 5, 2018 10:00 AM
Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema Tue, Jun 12, 2018 10:00 AM
Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema Tue, Jun 19, 2018 10:00 AM


Remove the forces of fame and celebrity from today’s culture and the world is unrecognizable. With the introduction of mass media—photography, radio, film and newspapers—stardom went from an incidental element in marketing, to the engine driving everything from politics and sexuality to fashion, art and even our dreams. Beginning with the dawn of the movies, Starstruck will offer a panoramic journey through the global dominion of celebrity over the past century—from the rise of the Hollywood star system, to the intermingling of celebrity and politics, and the role the internet plays in hard-wiring the idea of celebrity into our brains. From Bogart and Bergman, Mick and Marilyn, to Oprah and Obama, this series will show you fame like you’ve never seen or thought about it before.

This lecture series is presented by film writer Geoff Pevere, who has been writing, teaching and broadcasting about movies, media and popular culture for more than 30 years. A former film critic with The Toronto Star and regular contributor to The Globe and Mail, he runs, a website devoted to the depiction of crime in pop culture.

May 15: Starstruck: A World in Thrall
Just how obsessed is our culture with celebrity? Has it come to the point where fame has become so deeply entrenched in our value systems that we no longer notice it? How did it get this way?

May 22: First Flickers: The Origins of Fame in the 20th Century
What happens when the normally intimate traits of human communication—voices, eye contact, fear, desire—are recorded and magnified for mass consumption? What draws us to Mary Pickford’s smile, Lauren Bacall’s whistle, and Sinatra’s golden voice? What turns ordinary human gestures into the stuff of legend?

May 29: Sealed With a Kiss
From the pouty lips of Mick Jagger to the “bedroom gaze” of Marilyn Monroe, celebrity has capitalized on its power to both feign and magnify intimacy. What has this done to influence our sense of how a human should behave? Is the dream more real than reality itself?

June 5: That Special Something
Fame may be an almost monolithic presence in our world, but it remains almost mystical. Who gets famous and why? Why is it so fleeting with some and so generously patient with others? Focusing on the Hollywood Star System and the musical giants of the 1960s, we’ll ask a deceptively simple question: is there a formula to fame?

Further Viewing | Rebel Without a Cause — Tuesday, June 5, 1:00 PM

June 12: Star Power
Over the last half century, cultural icons like Bob Dylan and Jack Nicholson have used their fame to carve out a measure of artistic and financial independence-and with it, the perception of authenticity. We’ll explore how the shift in all forms of mass entertainment, from marketable asset to independent producer, has solidified fame not just as a lucrative commodity but as a powerfully influential cultural force.

June 19: All By Myselfie: Fame in the Digital Era
Warhol’s fifteen minutes now seems both an eternity and an eternity ago. As technology becomes hard-wired into our collective DNA, fame has never been more accessible—and fleeting. How is celebrity evolving in the internet age? How is it reshaping art and politics?

Further Viewing | Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words — Tuesday, June 19, 1:00 PM & Saturday, June 23, 1:30 PM

Additional Information

Tuesdays, May 15 - June 19 - 10:00 AM

Six-week course: $63 (Members: $54, $42, Free) - REGISTER NOW
Single class: $21 (Members: $17, $14, Free)

Doors will open one hour before the first class. Registrants will receive supplementary materials in advance of their first class.

See all Curious Minds courses for Summer 2018

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