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5 Famous Riots and the Art They Inspired

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With the chaos in the streets of London this week, we've been reading up on other riots in history. One thing several had in common: in addition to wreaking general havoc, they've inspired hit singles, feature films and more.

1. The Zoot Suit Riots

That swinging, eponymous Cherry Poppin’ Daddies song that was all over the radio in 1997 borrows its name from the real Zoot Suit Riots that flared up in Los Angeles during World War II. The riots were born in a smoldering tinderbox of racial tensions at the time, with U.S. servicemen accusing young Latinos, decked out in their “Zoot Suits”—boxy and lavish mobster-style get-ups—of not carrying their weight during wartime. When a young Latino was killed in a mostly Mexican neighborhood of Los Angeles in 1943, it was enough to spark citywide riots, which quickly spread across the country, tripping through Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and New York before burning out.

2. The 1992 L.A. Riots

For those of us who grew up with Sublime, Dr. Dre and 2Pac singing about “April 29, 1992,” the six-day riots that tore through downtown Los Angeles in the early ‘90s can seem almost mythical. But with widespread looting, arson and murder resulting in fifty-three deaths and more than $1 billion in damage, they were all too real. The riots began the day a jury acquitted four white L.A. police officers of beating a black man named Rodney King—an incident that was famously caught on videotape.

The ultra-violent riots later inspired several documentaries, scenes in feature films, references in television shows, and scores of hit singles by, it seems, basically anyone with access to an instrument. Ice Cube, Snoop Dog, Tom Petty, Billy Idol, Tori Amos, Bad Religion, Rancid, Machine Head, Offspring, Garth Brooks, M.I.A., Lil Wayne, Ben Harper, The Black Eyed Peas and Rage Against the Machine, among many others, have all written songs about the riots.

3. The Battle in Seattle

Sparked by the World Trade Organization Conference in 1999, the famous Seattle riots began as a peaceful protest by students and activists who believed corporate globalization was unethical, but took a turn for the anarchic. A few hours into this one-day riot, the police began firing rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear gas into the crowd of protesters, many of whom had begun smashing windows, burning dumpsters, and vandalizing storefronts—thus furnishing all those famous images that later served as the backbone for documentaries, video games and songs inspired by these riots. A 2007 feature film, Battle in Seattle, loosely chronicled the events that November day, starring Hollywood luminaries like Woody Harrelson, Charlize Theron and Ray Liotta.

4. The New York Draft Riots

These four-day riots in 1863 were the largest civil insurrection in American history up to that point, apart from the Civil War itself. The riots were sparked by a new military draft aimed mostly at the working class and new immigrants, who couldn’t pay the $300 fee to get out of the war. But what began as a draft riot in midtown Manhattan quickly turned into a racist bloodletting, with gangs of Irish immigrants and white “natives” burning down churches, beating up police officers, and lynching black men, who became scapegoats for the working class’s economic troubles. Martin Scorsese’s 2002 film, Gangs of New York, ends just as the 1863 New York Draft Riots are beginning, and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich’s 2004 novel, Grant Comes East, describes the riots as part of the unfolding drama.

5. Shays’ Rebellion

This eighteenth century farmers’ riot wasn’t immortalized by either Hollywood or the music industry, unfortunately, but it did lead to the writing of the Constitution of the United States. The short story is this: Daniel Shays, a poor farmer from Massachusetts came home from fighting in the American Revolution to discover that he—and all of his neighbors—were financially wrecked due to bad fiscal policies and a lack of government regulation following the Revolutionary War. After attempting legal appeals, Shays and about seven hundred of his closest friends marched on the state courthouse, leaving pandemonium in their wake.

While many of the Continental muckity-mucks weren’t particularly alarmed by the violence—Thomas Jefferson famously dismissed it, saying, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure”—they later convened the Constitutional Convention to discuss, among other things, enlarging the central government to address the financial issues facing poor American farmers like Shays.

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Need to Calm Yourself Down? Try This Military-Approved Breathing Technique
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Whether you’re dealing with co-worker chaos or pressure to perform on a project, it’s difficult to excel at work when you're extremely stressed. Can’t escape the office? Take a cue from real-life soldiers and try a technique called tactical breathing—also known as combat breathing, four-count breathing, and diaphragmatic breathing—to lower your heart rate and regain control of your breath.

“It’s one you can use when things are blowing up around you”—both literally and figuratively—“and you need to be able to stay calm,” explains clinical psychologist Belisa Vranich, who demonstrates a version of tactical breathing in Tech Insider’s video below.

Vranich is the author of 2016’s Breathe: The Simple, Revolutionary 14-Day Program to Improve your Mental and Physical Health. Watch, learn, and—of course—inhale and exhale along with her until you feel zen enough to salvage the remainder of your workday.

[h/t Business Insider]

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10 Creepy Candles to Get You in the Halloween Mood
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Candles are always a handy household accessory, but they're especially useful around Halloween, when they can be used to light jack-o'-lanterns, summon spirits, or simply brighten a long, dark night. These spooky lights are more suited for tabletops than pumpkins, or soirees than seances, but they'll still make your upcoming costume shindig extra festive (and fragrant, to boot).

1. KISA CANDLE

PyroPet’s cat-shaped Kisa candle looks like an ordinary wax feline. But as it melts, a hidden surprise reveals itself: a macabre metallic skeleton with charred bones and bared fangs.

The Kisa candle costs $34 and comes in three colors: pink, gray, and an ultra-spooky black. Not into cats? Additional PyroPet offerings include birds, bunnies, reindeer, owls, and dragons, all with the same silver framework.

2. BRAIN CANDLE

Brain candle by Creepy Candles
Creepy Candles

This specimen-inspired candle by Etsy seller Creepy Candles would look equally at place in a mad scientist’s laboratory as it would at a Halloween soiree. A wax brain is suspended in green-tinted gel that resembles formaldehyde, but the candle itself thankfully smells like grapefruit. The Brain Candle costs $25 and is handmade to order.

3. HUMAN SPINE CANDLES

Beeswax human spine candles, set of three, by Grave Digger Candles
Grave Digger Candles

Grow a spine this Halloween—or at least buy one. These notched beeswax pillar candles are inspired by the Victorian Era, a period in which physicians created detailed wax models of flayed corpses to teach medical students the literal ins and outs of anatomy. Etsy seller Grave Digger Candles sells them in sets of three for $76.

4. OUIJA BOARD CANDLE

LED battery-operated Ouija board candle by Twisted Nightmares
Twisted Nightmares

This Ouija board-inspired, LED battery-operated candle probably won’t summon spirits, but it’s still spine-tinglingly spooky. Sold by Etsy user Twisted Nightmares, it costs $20 and requires three AAA batteries, which aren’t included with purchase.

5. BLEEDING HEART CANDLE

Bleeding Heart Candle by Cozy Custom Candles
Cozy Custom Candles

Love guts, blood, and Gothic romance? Your heart might bleed for this candle, which turns into a gushing heart when lit. Sold by Etsy seller Cozy Custom Candles, the heart-shaped light source has a white outer shell made from a high-melt point paraffin wax, while its core is made of a red-colored wax blend with a low melting point. The candle hemorrhages vital fluids as it burns, making it the perfect accessory for a bloody good time.

The Bleeding Heart Candle costs $17 and comes in multiple autumnal scents, including caramel apple, pumpkin pie, and sweet cinnamon-pumpkin.

6. PICK YOUR POISON CANDLES

Pick Your Poison candle by Mr. Toad's House of Wax
Mr. Toad's House of Wax

The “Pick Your Poison” candles by Etsy seller Mr. Toad’s House of Wax appear to have been snatched from the shelf of a Victorian apothecarist. But while labeled “Poison Hemlock Oil” and “Tincture of Wolfsbane Poison,” they smell like fresh fallen leaves, pumpkin spice, and other autumnal scents when lit. Both candles cost $21, and are embellished with a sparkly jewel and black velvet ribbon.

7. CREEPY WOODS & GRAVEYARD DIRT CANDLE

Woods & Earth candle by Geeky Girl Scents
Geeky Girl Scents

There’s nothing quite like the aroma of trees and fresh graveyard dirt on a fall night. With hints of wood and earth, this candle by Etsy seller Geek Girl Scents will make your living room smell like a haunted cemetery. An eight-ounce jar costs $15, and a 16-ounce version is also available.

8. WITCH FARTS CANDLE

Witch Farts Scented Soy Wax Candle by The Candle Crate
The Candle Crate

If you’ve ever wondered what witch gas smells like (who hasn’t?), you can find out by purchasing The Candle Crate’s flaming ode to supernatural flatulence. The Etsy seller’s “Witch Farts” candle is more Glinda the Good Witch than Elphaba, with top notes of peach, apricot, and blackberries and middle notes of mandarin, cinnamon, and rose.

The soy wax candle costs $12, and is sold alongside other witchy, Harry Potter-inspired products like “Number 12 Grimmauld Place” and “The Leaky Cauldron.”

9. GHOST REPELLENT CANDLE

Ghost Repellent candle by Nola And Neighbors
Nola And Neighbors

Even if you ain’t afraid of no ghosts, you can still keep them at bay with this “Ghost Repellent” candle by Etsy sellers Nola And Neighbors. It smells like lavender and sage, and comes with an instruction label informing owners to light it “at dusk or dawn” for best results—although the ghost’s removal is “not guaranteed.” At $17, it’s still way cheaper than hiring the Ghostbusters.

10. ZOMBIE GOLDEN GIRLS PRAYER CANDLE SET

Zombie Golden Girls prayer candle set by The Eternal Flame
The Eternal Flame

Golden Girls devotees who’d follow the Fab Four to the grave and beyond can light up their lanais with these zombie prayer candles by Etsy shop The Eternal Flame. They come in sets of four (one for each Girl, naturally) and cost $40. Color choices include white, orange, and purple.

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