WCBE

Arts + Life

Arts + Life

There was a time, around 1975, when all the most-watched TV shows — All in the Family, Maude, The Jeffersons, Good Times — had one thing in common: They were produced by Norman Lear. Now, at the age of 93, Lear is featured in a new documentary about his life and career called Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You.

Click the link above to listen as we quiz Lear on Learjets, the private planes that became the must-have accessory for the very rich starting back in the 1960s.

For most of her career, Carmen Herrera's paintings of brightly colored geometric shapes went unnoticed, while her male counterparts — Barnett Newman, Ellsworth Kelly and Frank Stella — got plenty of attention for similar work. Herrera finally made her first sale at 89. And now, at 101, it seems she's getting her due at last. The Cuban artist's work can be seen at the Tate in London, MoMA in New York, and she has an exhibition coming to the Whitney Whitney Museum of American Art in September.

Imagine William Shakespeare's play The Merchant of Venice set in post-Civil War Washington, D.C.; and now make half of the characters former slaves. Suddenly, it's a completely new play; but it still looks at some of the same themes, including how your actions reflect your beliefs. That new play is Aaron Posner's District Merchants, currently on stage at Washington's Folger Theatre. (This fall, it will also be produced by South Coast Repertory outside of Los Angeles.)

Georgia O'Keeffe, Edward Hopper and George Bellows were very different artists, but they did have at least one thing in common: They all studied with painter William Merritt Chase. Now, the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., is marking the centennial of the artist's death with a retrospective.

"You walk around these galleries and the paintings are gutsy and bold and scintillating and brilliant," says Dorothy Kosinski, director of the Phillips.

Sorry to disappoint Trekkies who still believe, but the actual USS Enterprise did not really take up much space.

That famous starship of Mr. Spock and Capt. James Tiberius Kirk in the original Star Trek TV series — which turns 50 this year — was a model. Quite a large one, to be fair: 11 feet long and about 200 pounds, made out of blow-molded plastic and wood. But not life-sized.

And for more than a decade, it hung in the gift shop of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space museum in Washington, D.C.

[Spoilers ahead for the finales of both Veep and Game Of Thrones. Obviously.]

Chaos isn't a pit. Chaos is a ladder.

-- Petyr Baelish, Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 6

Well then, why don't we send WARSHIPS into the South China Seas? I WANT! MY NOBEL! PEACE PRIZE!

-- President Selina Meyer, Veep, Season 5, Episode 10

Last night on HBO, two venal, scheming rulers saw their secret machinations come to ruinous ends — literally ruinous, for one of them.

Can a computer write a sonnet that's indistinguishable from what a human can produce? Computer scientists at Dartmouth College tried to answer that question with a competition that NPR's Joe Palca reported on as part of his series, Joe's Big Idea.

Actor Tony Hale is really comfortable playing doormat characters. The two roles he's gotten the most attention for — Gary Walsh on HBO's Veep and Buster Bluth on Fox's Arrested Development — both fall squarely into that category.

"I guess I just do emasculated and meek very well," Hale tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

"Nostalgia," a wise man once wrote, "is the nutrient agar upon which nerd culture grows."

It's not every day that an actress has a television show written specifically for her, but that's exactly what happened with Ellie Kemper and the Netflix series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

"I still am not sure what in my face screams 'bunker-cult victim' to [show creators Robert Carlock and Tina Fey], but something did, so they went with that," Kemper jokes to Fresh Air's Ann Marie Baldonado.

In this age of social media, where nothing is either sacred or secret, author J.K. Rowling wants nothing short of a miracle. She has asked theatergoers who attend previews of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in London not to reveal the plot of the play.

She made her request in a video posted online after previews began.

Artist June Leaf, Still Moving Fast At 86

Jun 19, 2016

June Leaf was trained in ballet, but she's been making visual art since she was a kid. That's a long time – she's 86 and the subject of a new retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.

Much of Leaf's work tells stories, often about relationships, and especially her relationship with her husband, the renowned photographer Robert Frank — who's far better known than his wife. Now, the Whitney retrospective is the museum's way of saying: It's time to pay attention to June Leaf.

Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. moved with his family to Chicago, where he was to spend a year laying the groundwork for bringing the civil rights movement to the North. The campaign came to be known as the Chicago Freedom Movement — a broadening drive against segregation, which was often as thorough in practice in the northern states as in the South, especially when it came to housing.

Bernard Kleina was there, too. The Chicago native and former Catholic priest documented the King-led demonstrations in the city — and he did so in rare color photographs.

A lot of what we read and watch comes to us through recommendation algorithms. Amazon tells us: People who bought this book also bought this other book, and Netflix says: Because you watched this movie, we think you should watch this other movie. And we welcome our new recommendation robot overlords!

But this summer, we're going old school — because we haven't found an algorithm that says: If you loved this movie, you'll devour this graphic novel. (Or like this podcast, enjoy this short story ... you get the idea.)

Remember that meteorite that smashed into Russia a few years ago, with enough people filming it as it came to Earth to cause a brief Internet sensation?

My wife's the reason anything gets done

She nudges me towards promise, by degrees

She is the perfect symphony of one

Our son is her most beautiful reprise

We chase the melodies that seem to find us

Until they're finished songs, and start to play

When senseless acts of tragedy remind us

That nothing here is promised, not one day

This show is proof that history remembers

Summer is always a weird time for the TV industry.

These days, in a #PeakTV world where hundreds of scripted shows air every year, there is no downtime. Which means viewers will see a dizzying number of new and returning TV shows this summer on broadcast, cable and online — close to 100 series, by my count.

Amid the darkness looming over the nation following Sunday's shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., Broadway's brightest stars shone at the 70th annual Tony Awards at the Beacon Theatre in New York City.

Host James Corden and the night's biggest winners paid emotional tribute to the 49 people killed in the attack and the more than 50 people wounded.

Earlier in the day, organizers had released a statement saying that the show would go on and be dedicated to the families and friends of those affected by the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

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