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The debate about whether games are a legitimate art form is a never-ending back-and-forth that's actually getting a bit tiresome at this point. At the very least, though, outside bodies are beginning to recognize that games at least contain artistic elements that are worthy of consideration in their own right. Thus, we have thatgamecompany's hauntingly beautiful, cello-heavy Journey soundtrack being nominated for a Grammy this year in the Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media category.

The Austin Wintory-composed soundtrack (which you can listen to in its entirety here) will compete directly with works by well-known film composers such as John Williams (The Adventure of Tintin), Howard Shore (Hugo), and Hans Zimmer (The Dark Knight Rises). Wintory tweeted his speechless reaction to the nomination announcement and the outpouring of support he received following it. "I don't think I've ever felt genuinely overwhelmed before until last night, reading everyone's messages," he wrote. "You are all SO wonderful."

The soundtrack debuted at No. 8 on Billboard's "Soundtrack" charts (and No. 114 on the overall chart) by selling 4,000 copies in a week, putting it behind Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock as the second-best-selling video game soundtrack ever. The game itself became the fastest-selling downloadable game ever on the PlayStation Network after its release earlier this year.

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Ultra-Orthodox Jewish bride Nechama Paarel Horowitz fulfils the Mitzvah tantz during her traditional Jewish wedding with Chananya Yom Tov Lipa, the great-grandson of the Rabbi of the Wiznitz Hasidic followers, in the Israeli town of Petah Tikva near Tel Aviv, Israel. The Mitzvah tantz, in which family members and honored rabbis are invited to dance [...]

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The older you get, the more the icons of your childhood become real people, suffering from the inevitable passage of time; a normal thing for everyday folk, but shocking when those you worshiped and idolized as a kid get old, gain weight, or even die. This weekend, when Whitney Houston passed away all too early I was flooded with memories of dancing to her songs as a child, and even watching The Bodyguard 100 times. Today, I’m not sure I would watch anything Kevin Costner was in, but when that movie came out I was obsessed- I went and bought the CD and listened to every song on it on repeat. I have never been a religious person, but my favorite song on that album surprisingly was her version of Jesus Loves Me that she sings for a few seconds in the movie. Maybe it was her gospel roots, but she made that song sound so good. When she died, I googled “Whitney Houston, Jesus Loves Me” hoping to find the studio version, only to discover that the night before she died she unexpectedly got on stage at a pre-Grammy party and grabbed the mic and sang one verse of Jesus Loves Me. Her voice was shot, and she looked almost shy, but somehow I think that is an appropriate and beautiful last performance for a woman who is unfortunately going to be remembered as much for her astounding talent as for squandering it away through drugs and alcohol. I hope that she knew she was loved by many and she has found some peace wherever she may be now. Below is Whitney’s Jesus Loves Me if you want to hear it, as well as the video for I Wanna Dance With Somebody, one of the all-time best Whitney songs ever, although it is hard to choose. It is almost impossible not to be cheered up this video. I think the red skirt is my favorite, but the one-sleeved orange dress is equally fantastic. I also love when she pulls on the chain. Either way, she kills it and this video still makes me want to dance.

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Without preamble, the three-piece band cuts loose. In the spotlight, the lanky singer flails furious rhythms on his guitar, every now and then breaking a string. In a pivoting stance, his hips swing sensuously from side to side and his entire body takes on a frantic quiver, as if he had swallowed a jackhammer… He is Elvis Aaron Presley, a drape-suited, tight-trousered young man of 21, and the sight and sound of him drive teenage girls wild. All through the South and West, Elvis is packing theaters, fighting off shrieking admirers, disturbing parents, puckering the brows of psychologists, and filling letters-to-the-editor columns with cries of alarm and, from adolescents, counter-cries of adulation.

Teeners’ Hero, Time, May 14, 1956

In the mid-1950s, the post-war Eisenhower era of social conformity in America was at its peak, and musically, the most threatening image appeared to be Bill Haley’s kiss-curl as he sang “Rock Around The Clock.” That all changed on Jan. 28, 1956, when a raw and electric Elvis Presley made his breakthrough on the CBS program Stage Show. Presley’s good looks, sensuous moves and mesmerizing voice made him a sensation overnight. But it wasn’t until a third appearance on the show that Presley truly challenged the status quo. On Feb. 11, the singer performed “Heartbreak Hotel” and by April, the single would be #1 on the Billboard chart. At last, teenagers had music of their own to swoon over while their parents continued listening to Frank Sinatra and Mario Lanza.

Presley would continue that momentum throughout 1956, a pivotal year that is the subject of a new box set collection on the musician. Young Man With the Big Beat, released by Sony Legacy on Sept. 27, features five discs of audio and a booklet of rare images, interviews and day-to-day chronology of Presley’s breakthrough year.

The set charts the King of Rock an Roll’s whirlwind year as he became a multi-million selling recording artist, movie star and national phenomenon. On March 23, 1956, two days after RCA released his debut album, Elvis Presley, the musician flew to Los Angeles for a screen test with producer Hal Wallis. In addition to lip-synching “Blue Suede Shoes” with a string-less guitar, his acting potential was tested by two mock scenes from a forthcoming Burt Lancaster movie, The Rainmaker. Wallis, convinced that Presley’s charisma would translate well on the big screen, immediately drafted a seven-picture contract.

While in California, Presley made his first appearance on The Milton Berle Show on April 3, where he won the crowd over with a comedy sketch act as Berle’s pretend twin-brother, Melvin. It was Presley’s second appearance on the show a couple months later, however, that really made headlines. The singer’s grinding hip motions during a June 5 set angered television critics and earned Presley the nickname “Elvis the Pelvis.”

Presley dealt with all this indignation maturely, telling one publication: “My pelvis had nothin’ to do with what I do. I just get kinda in rhythm with the music, I jump around to it because I enjoy what I’m doin’… I’m not tryin’ to sell any sex, I’m not tryin’ to look vulgar and nasty.”

Several weeks later, on July 1, Presley appeared on The Steve Allen Show, clad in a tuxedo, performing his new single “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You.” As if this stiff attire wasn’t humiliating enough, he then had to perform his next single, “Hound Dog” to an actual sad-faced live basset hound. It seemed the establishment was keen to ridicule this “young upstart,” who in many a critic’s mind, was contributing to juvenile delinquency across America.

But Presley would get vindication soon enough. “Hound Dog” went on to sell more than three million units within six months and reached number one on the Billboard singles chart. Finally the cynics, who initially considered Presley to be a passing fad, were silenced. Even television host Ed Sullivan, who had said he wouldn’t touch Presley with a 10-foot pole, succumbed to the magic, booking him for three appearances on his primetime show, the first of which was recorded in Hollywood on Sept. 9 and watched by 60 million viewers.

With all his music success, Presley’s dream of film stardom was also fully realized when he began work on his first motion picture for 20th Century-Fox, Love Me Tender, on Aug. 16. As an avid moviegoer, he admired James Dean and Marlon Brando and longed to follow in their footsteps. Presley went on to make more than 30 feature films during his career, and though he never became the “serious” actor he aspired to be, he got incredibly close with astute performances in both MGM’s Jailhouse Rock (1957) and Paramount’s King Creole (1958).

Presley’s final single during his remarkable year was the title track from Love Me Tender, which premiered at the Paramount Theater in New York on Nov. 16. The single sold 2.5 million as Presley’s second album, Elvis, topped the charts. In December, the singer returned to his hometown of Memphis, where it all began for him in 1954. There, he returned to Sun Studio to meet up with old labelmates Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins, and a local photographer captured the “million-dollar quartet” for posterity. As the year came to an end, Presley’s life returned to some kind of normalcy as he played touch football with friends at a local community center on Dec. 27. But the respite was temporary; Presley’s life would never again be that simple.

Young Man With the Big Beat will be released by Sony Legacy on Sept. 27 and is also available from Elvis1956.comIt contains the complete 1956 masters and more than three hours of bonus material, including outtakes, rare live recordings and a 84-page booklet of liner notes, rare photos and day-by-day chronology of the musician’s breakthrough year.

Roger Semon is a music producer and consultant who was nominated for a Grammy in 1992 for Elvis Presley—The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll box set.

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Integrating images as menu items

The ability to have images as menu items sounds like a common and straight forward task. Surprisingly, Drupal never has had this ability built into core, but there are a few modules that will help us accomplish our goal. Sprite Graphic Menu is probably the easiest one to use and the one that will be covered in this article.

It is possible to write some custom code using regex in your template.php which could parse the title field of a menu item to look for image filename extensions and then alter the menu output to print that menu item as an image. But wouldn't it be nice if a module could extend the current menu system and provide an image upload field. Even better, how about some CSS options to provide our own sprite background positioning. This is exactly what Sprite Graphic Menu does for us.

The current process is a bit janky and will hopefully be improved. Example: You will not see the image upload field when first creating a menu item. You must create the menu item and then edit it, then the image upload and configuration options will be displayed on the form.

Screenshot of Sprite Menu Graphic Configuration

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Matthew Curry was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1975. He grew up between Detroit, MI, and Wilmington, DE. Having majored in Illustration at Rhode Island School of Design, he is currently a twice Grammy nominated designer, illustrator, painter, and the principal of the award winning design studio, Imagefed, based in Washington DC.

mc3a Paintings by Matt Curry

mc3b Paintings by Matt Curry

mc3c Paintings by Matt Curry

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A sparrow in Central Park. (Daniella Zalcman for The Wall Street Journal)


The tents at Lincoln Center were decorated Tuesday ahead of Mercedes-Benz Fall Fashion Week. (Rob Bennett for The Wall Street Journal)


Firefighters responded to 13 Conselyea St. in Brooklyn on Monday. (Photo by Amy Sussman for The Wall Street Journal)


Tuna nigiri sushi at Sushi Yasuda in Manhattan. (Ramsay de Give for The Wall Street Journal)


Alla Verlotsky, the Ukraine-born, New York-based film programmer, distributor and producer, at her home office in Manhattan. (Mustafah Abdulaziz for The Wall Street Journal)


The casket of Officer Michael J. Califano was carried into a church on Thursday. (Ken Maldonado for The Wall Street Journal)


Artist Laurie Simmons at her studio in Manhattan. (Mustafah Abdulaziz for The Wall Street Journal)


New York Mets mascot Mr. Met prepared for the team’s trip to spring training in Florida. (Ken Maldonado for The Wall Street Journal)


Executive pastry chef Zac Young’s signature chocolate absinthe donuts at Flex Mussels in Manhattan.
(Daniella Zalcman for The Wall Street Journal)


The wine cellar at a historic mansion known as the Brady House in Westchester County. (Photo by Amy Sussman for The Wall Street Journal)


Former Long island schoolboy and current Tennessee star, Tobias Harris, plays a game against Alabama on Saturday. (Mike Belleme for The Wall Street Journal)


Grammy nominated musician Chandrika Tandon played a Tambura, a traditional Indian stringed instrument, in her home on the Upper East Side. (Philip Montgomery for The Wall Street Journal)


FDNY Lieutenant Robert E. Lee was lauded for rescuing a 43-year old woman he found in the stairwell of a five-story building fire in the Bronx early Wednesday morning. (Rob Bennett for The Wall Street Journal)


The Lunar Parade in Chinatown wound down Mott Street on Sunday in celebration of the Chinese New Year. (Natalie Keyssar for The Wall Street Journal)

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