What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

Dr. Lucky: Why Hollywood's "Burlesque" Is a Sham

November 24, 2010, 12:00 AM

Burlesque has been creeping into mainstream American culture for the past decade, and tomorrow it gets the Hollywood treatment. "Burlesque," starring Christina Aguilera and Cher, comes out on Thanksgiving, but—with a PG-13 rating and nary a pastie or G-string in sight—it departs from most current definitions of burlesque. Director Steven Antin defends his family-friendly film, saying that the notion of burlesque as a "second-rate striptease" is a misunderstanding of its 19th century roots. "I wanted to bring back what burlesque originally was," he says.

But Dr. Lucky, one of New York's preeminent burlesque performers (who also happens to have a Ph.D.), takes issue with that statement. In her Big Think interview, she tells us that burlesque has gone through many iterations since coming to America from Europe in 1868, and you can't call any of these versions more authentic than the other. "The fact that he’s saying, this is 'original burlesque,' and I’m not going to have any g-strings or pasties like they do in burlesque now because it’s tawdry, then ... it just seems like picking and choosing what you want." It is true that the art form did not become associated with the striptease until the 1920s, but if he really wanted to show "original" 19th century burlesque, he would have to do a parody of a classical text, she says. "Back then, burlesque was all about social parody; it was about inverting the content of what was being produced...sort of like “Saturday Night Live” or Weird Al Yankovich."

And one thing that has remained relatively constant about burlesque is that it has historically been a "working-class art form" focused on on satire and escapism. Trying to "class it up" by putting it in fancy nightclubs perverts its whole sensibility, she says. "That's a nightclub performance—which is fine—but I don't understand why people want to use the word burlesque." But ultimately, if the film gets more people to come out to more performances, Dr. Lucky thinks that's "awesome."


Dr. Lucky: Why Hollywood's ...

Newsletter: Share: