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Arts + Life

Arts + Life

Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet has defined tragic young love for centuries: Boy and girl from feuding families fall in love. Boy slays the girl's cousin for killing his friend in a duel. Girl swallows a sleeping potion. Boy thinks she's dead. Boy swallows poison. Girl wakes, sees boy dead, and stabs herself. They're both really dead. Families mourn and reconcile.

Media magnate Sumner Redstone quietly celebrated his 93rd birthday late last month. He subsequently marked the occasion by seeking to toss his protege off the board of the trust that will run Redstone's holdings after his death, including Viacom, one of the world's largest media conglomerates.

In 2010, 12-year-old Nathan Eyasu became one of the first skateboarders in Ethiopia.

He bought an old board off a guy on the street for a dollar, learned some tricks off YouTube, and proceeded to shock his neighbors like Marty McFly in Back to The Future.

"They'd be like, 'Is there a magnet in there?' " Eyasu says, laughing. "Nobody knew what skateboarding is."

Finally! Cease your clamoring, millennials!

Last week, Sony Pictures announced that it had signed action star/sirloin slab Dwayne Johnson to star in a Doc Savage film. Last night came reports that Sacha Baron Cohen has been attached to Warner Bros.' upcoming big screen adaption of classic hero/gadabout/mesmerist Mandrake the Magician.

I first met David at a departure gate in the Miami airport. It was January 2010, and Haiti had just been hit by the devastating magnitude 7.0 earthquake. The Port-au-Prince airport was heavily damaged, all flights were canceled, and we were trying to figure out how to get there.

Growing up, the only thing Scott Rudin wanted to do was become a theater producer. "I never had a fantasy of doing anything else or being anything else," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I used to read [The New York Times'] Arts & Leisure [section] and obsess over, 'David Merrick has five shows running on Broadway! What would that be like?' "

Over the past few days, we've seen image after image of Muhammad Ali: triumphant in the ring, joking on talk shows and shakily lifting the Olympic torch at the 1996 Atlanta games. He's remembered these days as an athlete and a humanitarian, and that was, definitely, Ali. But so was the defiant, incisive Ali.

Muhammad Ali: A Poet In And Out Of The Ring

Jun 6, 2016

I don't believe it's odd or unreasonable, at a time like this, to wonder if our culture still breeds heroes.

Sure, there are people out there now defying expectations, performing heroic feats, fighting just wars, and redefining our perceptions of human capacity and invention.

But Muhammad Ali is gone, and he was certainly the last of his kind.

It's strange to describe the apparent purchase and forgiveness of nearly $15 million in medical debt as "impish," but bear with me.

I Am Still The Greatest

Jun 6, 2016

I have always believed in myself, even as a young child growing up in Louisville, Ky. My parents instilled a sense of pride and confidence in me, and taught me and my brother that we could be the best at anything. I must have believed them, because I remember being the neighborhood marble champion and challenging my neighborhood buddies to see who could jump the tallest hedges or run a foot race the length of the block. Of course I knew when I made the challenge that I would win. I never even thought of losing.

Robert Cenedella, the titular painter in the briskly entertaining new documentary Art Bastard, is a New York artist who has spent years battling the New York art establishment. To be clear, he is a bastard, in that he was born to parents who weren't married. But also in that he's an inveterate troublemaker — a mocker of other artists — who can be a thorn in the side of even people who are trying to help him.

NBC hyped its new Maya & Marty variety series, starring Maya Rudolph and Martin Short, as a sort of whimsical variety show. What actually emerged Tuesday night, on the other hand, was a slack Saturday Night Live imitator for the prime-time summer nights where reruns used to live.

How does an artist know when a work is finished? Sometimes it's a deliberate decision. Other times, the decision is made by fate or circumstance. Now, an extensive exhibition at The Met Breuer Museum in Manhattan is exploring great works of unfinished art.

The Unfinished show has an intriguing subtitle: "Thoughts Left Visible." The exhibit showcases works made over some 600 years, which offer glimpses into the creative process and sometimes reveal artists' anger or despair.

We were very excited to be invited to participate in the Vulture Festival in New York on May 22, where we taped this live episode in front of a fantastic crowd. We wanted to have reliable weapons at our disposal, so in addition to our great producer, Jessica Reedy, who handled all the logistics and other tricks of her trade, we brought Audie Cornish to be our fourth chair.

The original Roots miniseries, based on the 1976 Alex Haley novel tracing his own family tree from African tribal life to American slavery and freedom, was a phenomenon.

ABC showed it over consecutive nights in January 1977, not because it was expected to earn huge ratings but because network executives were afraid it wouldn't. So they crammed the entire miniseries into an eight-day prime-time marathon, which aired, by coincidence, during a massive winter storm that snowed in much of the Northeast.

Artist Georgia O'Keeffe didn't spend her entire career painting large, lavish flowers.

The curator of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, N.M., says that comes as a surprise to many people. Now, the museum has purchased The Barns, Lake George, a rarely seen 1926 abstract painting that makes the point and helps the institution tell more of her story.

Things are going well for Marc Maron. He has a new comedy special; he has interviewed both President Obama and Saturday Night Live's Lorne Michaels on his podcast, WTF; and his IFC show, Maron, is in its fourth season.

"The way kids speak today, I'm here to tell you." Over the course of history, every aging generation has made that complaint, and it has always turned out to be overblown. That's just as well. If the language really had been deteriorating all this time, we'd all be grunting like bears by now.

At London's annual Chelsea Flower Show, the flora is fit for a queen: shaped in her likeness and crafted in honor of her 90th birthday. The new princess has her own chrysanthemum too.

But this year's event, which opens Tuesday, kicks off with a warning from the Royal Horticultural Society: Britain has a "lost generation of gardeners."

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