Arts + Life

Arts + Life
9:56 am
Fri April 12, 2013

The Downside Of Flexibility: A Plea For Must-See TV At A Must-Watch Time

In a scene from Friends' eighth season, Joey (Matt LeBlanc) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) react to Rachel's pending pregnancy. The birth of the baby was a major plot point of the Emmy-winning season of the series.
Warner Bros. Televison

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 9:10 am

I remember riding the bus to school in the early 2000s, listening as the older kids argued passionately about was going to happen on that night's episode of Friends. In the background, radio ads on the local Top 40 pop station dramatically intoned that maybe Rachel was finally going to admit she really loved Joey and not Ross, but you wouldn't know unless you tuned in to NBC at 8:00 on the dot.

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Arts + Life
9:14 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Short And Sweet: Celebrating D.C.'s Cherry Blossoms With Haiku

Cherry Blossoms on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Lizzie Chen NPR

Originally published on Tue August 6, 2013 11:37 am

The cherry blossoms are finally in bloom in Washington, D.C., and what better way to celebrate these beautiful Japanese gifts than with a haiku? Our callout on Facebook and Twitter yielded hundreds of spring haiku submissions. With the help of Ellen Compton, Roberta Beary and Kristen Deming of the Haiku Society of America, we selected 20 and made videos inspired by the top three.

streetlamps in the haze ...
this morning the stone lions
catch cherry blossoms
— Judy Totts

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Arts + Life
7:13 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Book News: DC Comics Introduces First Transgender Character

An image of Batgirl from the cover of "Batgirl 19," in which it is revealed that Batgirl's roommate is transgender.
DC Comics

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Arts + Life
2:32 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

'Matilda' Brings Beloved Book To Broadway

The Broadway cast of Matilda the Musical, including Olivier Award-winning actor Bertie Carvel as the barbaric headmistress Miss Trunchbull.
Joan Marcus

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 5:49 pm

Matilda is a well-loved book by Roald Dahl, who's been called the greatest children's storyteller of the 20th century. It's about a much-put-upon little girl with tremendous gifts. Now, Matilda has been turned into a Broadway musical.

The British import, which won last year's prestigious Olivier Award and features a revolving cast of four little girls in the lead role, opens in New York tonight.

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Arts + Life
2:57 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Crowdsourcing Creativity At The Cinema

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone is one of five celebrity directors taking part in a Canon-sponsored experiment called Project Imaginat10n. His short film, the inspiration for which was crowdsourced via the Internet and social media, focuses on familial loss and the process of grieving.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 9:00 pm

These days, if they can't find a producer to fund their latest film, a lot of artists turn to crowdsourcing sites like Kickstarter to raise money for production.

But here's a new twist: a project headed up by director Ron Howard that is crowdsourcing the inspiration.

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Arts + Life
2:14 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

How Code-Switching Explains The World

Comedy Central's sketch comedy duo Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele have frequently referenced code-switching in their humor.
Ian White Comedy Central/AP

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 9:56 am

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Theater
3:20 pm
Fri April 5, 2013

'Kinky Boots' Walk Cyndi Lauper To Broadway

Struggling shoe-factory owner Charlie (Stark Sands, left) is inspired by drag queen Lola (Billy Porter) to make high-quality high-heeled boots for men who perform as women in the Broadway adaptation of the cult film Kinky Boots.
O and M Co.

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 10:01 am

If you ask Billy Porter, one of the lead actors in the Broadway musical Kinky Boots, what the show's about, he's got a succinct answer:

"It's about two people who have daddy issues," Porter says. "And one of them just happens to wear a dress."

Porter would be that guy: He plays Lola, a fabulous drag queen who inadvertently helps save a failing shoe factory in the English Midlands. And he gets to sing fabulous songs — by Cyndi Lauper.

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Theater
5:50 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Nora Ephron's 'Lucky Guy' And Tom Hanks Make Their Broadway Debuts

Nora Ephron's final play, Lucky Guy, tells the story of controversial New York columnist Mike McAlary, played by Tom Hanks. (Also pictured: Peter Gerety as John Cotter).
Boneau / Bryan-Brown

Originally published on Mon April 1, 2013 8:57 pm

Several years ago, when Nora Ephron handed Tom Hanks an early draft of Lucky Guy, her play about tabloid journalist Mike McAlary, he had a pretty strong reaction.

"I said, 'Well, that guy's sure a jerk!' I used another word besides jerk — I know what you can say on NPR," he says. "And she laughed and she said, 'Well, he kinda was. But he was kinda great, too.'"

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Arts + Life
12:03 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Tina Fey, Movie Star? Not Quite Yet, She Says

Tina Fey stars as Princeton University admissions counselor Portia Nathan in the new comedy Admission. Fey says the movie's frankly manic depiction of the college application melee appealed to her.
David Lee Focus Features

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 10:55 am

Writer, actor and producer Tina Fey stars in a new movie out today called Admission, a film that's nominally about getting into college. Fey plays an admissions officer at Princeton University, one of those diligent bureaucrats who cull thousands of applications in search of a small cadre of brilliant young people who will be the freshman class.

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Arts + Life
12:03 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Now And Then: Rephotographing Iraq

Maya Alleruzzo AP

A lot of photographers are revisiting 2003 this week — the year the U.S. invaded Iraq — and sharing photos from the years of war that followed. Even more literally, Associated Press photographer Maya Alleruzzo revisited various sites photographed during the war to see what has changed and what hasn't.

One scene speaks volumes: Today, shoppers pass through a busy shopping district in Baghdad. But in the 2008 photo, taken by Hadi Mizban for AP, the sidewalk is covered in fresh stains from a bombing that killed 22 people.

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Arts + Life
12:47 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

'The Simpsons' Better Than 'Cheers'? It Is To Laugh

Ted Danson, playing the role of bartender Sam Malone, keeps Rhea Perlman, playing waitress Carla Tortelli, under control as Shelley Long, portraying Diane Chambers, left, returns to the set of Cheers during taping of the final episode in 1993.
Mark Terrill AP

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 12:41 pm

For the last couple of weeks, Vulture has been running a "Sitcom Smackdown," a contest between 16 sitcoms of the last 30 years to determine an eventual champion.

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Arts + Life
3:00 pm
Sun March 17, 2013

2013 Pritzker Winner Toyo Ito Finds Inspiration In Air, Wind And Water

Dome in Odate (multipurpose dome), Odate-shi, Akita, Japan
Mikio Kamaya Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects

Originally published on Sun March 17, 2013 7:48 pm

Toyo Ito, a 71-year-old architect based in Japan, is the winner of the 2013 Pritzker Architecture Prize. The jury honored Ito for his more than four-decade career, in which he has created architecture that "projects an air of optimism, lightness and joy ... infused with both a sense of uniqueness and universality."

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Television
2:45 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

A New TV Type: The Spunky, Obsessive Female 'Hummingbird'

Amy Poehler plays Leslie Knope on NBC's Parks and Recreation.
Colleen Hayes NBC

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 6:44 pm

It's pilot season, that time of year when television networks create and test new shows with hopes of turning out the next big thing. But whatever new plots they come up with, it's safe to say that they will turn to the safety of a limited number of character archetypes: the lovable loser, the charming rogue, the desperate housewife.

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Arts + Life
4:41 am
Mon March 11, 2013

For John Baldessari, Conceptual Art Means Serious Mischief

Courtesy the artist/John Baldessari Studio

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 2:14 pm

There are certain creations that have defined beauty for generations: Renoir's pudgy, pink nude; Rothko's brilliant blocks of color that seem to vibrate; Michelangelo's naked young man in marble, with a slingshot on his shoulder.

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Arts + Life
12:01 am
Fri March 8, 2013

For Berry Gordy, Broadway Is Memory Lane

Valisia LeKae, Sydney Morton and Ariana Debose play the Supremes in the show.
Andrew Eccles

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 11:50 am

There's hardly an adult anywhere in the world who wouldn't recognize at least some of the music of Motown.

The R&B label changed the course of music in the United States and made household names of Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder and The Jackson 5. Now, the man who created Motown — Berry Gordy — is headed to Broadway to tell his version of how it all began.

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Arts + Life
9:35 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Valerie Harper, TV's 'Rhoda,' Reveals She Has Terminal Brain Cancer

Actress Valerie Harper, when she was "Rhoda," in the early 1970s.
CBS /Landov

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 10:10 am

Saying that she doesn't think about dying, she thinks "of being here now," actress Valerie Harper has revealed to People magazine that she has terminal brain cancer.

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Arts + Life
10:41 am
Mon March 4, 2013

'Don't Underestimate The Guts' Of This Modern Leading Lady

Laura Osnes appears in the title role of a new Broadway production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. Though her career began unconventionally, she's already had considerably conventional success.
Carol Rosegg

Originally published on Sat March 2, 2013 11:04 am

This weekend, a new adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein television classic Cinderella opens on Broadway. It stars Laura Osnes, the ingenue of the moment. But Osnes' career path has had an unusual trajectory.

Six years ago, the then-21-year-old was newly wed and fresh out of Minnesota. She landed on Broadway in the lead role of Sandy in a revival of Grease. It's not surprising that that show, about teenagers, would cast unknowns in the leads, but how she and her co-star, Max Crumm, got there was unconventional, to say the least.

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Arts + Life
9:04 am
Fri March 1, 2013

In Hindu Ritual, Nepali Women Are Banished Once A Month

Wearing her school uniform, Jaukala, 14, poses for a photo in the family's chaupadi shelter, a squat shed measuring approximately 1 meter by 2 meters, in Rima village, Achham, Nepal. A tarp serves as a temporary roof to this structure, still under construction. Jaukala must sleep here while she has her period.
Courtesy of Allison Shelley

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 2:33 pm

It took a long journey, several 10-hour jeep rides, and many bumpy unpaved roads for photographer Allison Shelley and writer Allyn Gaestel to reach the rural villages in Nepal where women practice chaupadi.

Chaupadi is a traditional Hindu practice that banishes menstruating women — considered unclean — from the rest of the house. According to Shelley and Gaestel, they are not allowed to touch kitchen utensils, share the same water source, go to school, or sleep inside the home during their periods.

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Arts + Life
3:05 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Historical Vocab: When We Get It Wrong, Does It Matter?

Linguist Geoff Nunberg finds that in the film Lincoln, screenwriter Tony Kushner oscillates between old and modern meanings of "equality."
DreamWorks/Twentieth Century Fox

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 7:12 pm

Has there ever been an age that was so grudging about suspending its disbelief? The groundlings at the Globe Theatre didn't giggle when Shakespeare had a clock chime in Julius Caesar. The Victorians didn't take Dickens to task for having the characters in A Tale of Two Cities ride the Dover mail coach 10 years before it was established. But Shakespeare and Dickens weren't writing in the age of the Internet, when every historical detail is scrutinized for chronological correctness, and when no "Gotcha!" remains unposted for long.

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Arts + Life
9:56 am
Mon February 25, 2013

Real-Life Shipwreck Survivor Helped 'Life Of Pi' Get Lost At Sea

Steven Callahan survived for 76 days adrift in an inflatable life raft. This 2002 photo shows Callahan with an improved life raft he designed after his ordeal. While enduring shark attacks, rain and helpless drifting, Callahan dreamed of a better survival vessel. Once he returned to land, he spent almost two decades designing this one, featuring a rigid exterior, a removable canopy and a sail.
Pat Wellenbach Associated Press

Originally published on Sun February 24, 2013 8:06 am

In Life of Pi, one of the nine Oscar nominees for Best Picture this year, a boy suffers a shipwreck and is lost at sea. It's a fictional story, of course, based on a novel, but director Ang Lee nevertheless wanted the movie to have depth and realism. But how do you add a realistic edge to someone drifting alone in the sea? For most people, even those in the imaginative business of movie-making, it's hard to picture the perils and isolation of months without rescue.

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