Arts & Life

Code Switch
6:17 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

Superhero Super-Fans Talk Race And Identity In Comics

As part of Orion Martin's project, X-Men of Color, he reimagined this famous X-Men cover by recoloring two characters as brown. This cover comes from a storyline in which mutants are being rounded up and exterminated by the government.
Orion Martin

The X-Men comic franchise has proven remarkably sturdy in the half-century since its launch. It's spawned dozens of animated series and four major Hollywood films with a fifth due out this summer. Part of that is due to its central premise — a minority of superpowered humans called mutants are discriminated against by their government and fellow citizens — which has functioned as a sci-fi allegory for everything from the civil rights movement to the AIDS crisis.

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Author Interviews
5:32 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

American Literature And The 'Mythos Of The Boozing Writer'

The title of Olivia Laing's new book was taken from Tennessee Williams' 1955 play, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.
John Lent AP

Originally published on Sun January 12, 2014 1:24 pm

There is a long history of alcoholism in American literature. The heavy drinking of writers like Ernest Hemingway and Hart Crane inspired a kind of myth of the American writer as a genius armed with a typewriter and a bottle of whiskey. The success of writers like Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald also gave rise to the belief that alcohol somehow stoked their creativity.

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Theater
5:32 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

Bringing 'Dead Authors' To Life For Book-Smart Comedy

The late science fiction author H. G. Wells, shown here in 1944, is the ostensible time-traveling host of the Dead Authors Podcast. Comedian Paul F. Tompkins plays the role at the Upright Citizens' Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles.
Erich Auerbach Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 6:40 pm

H.G. Wells looks remarkably good for having died in 1946.

That's because he's being played by comedian Paul F. Tompkins.

Tompkins assumes the role every month for a series called "Dead Authors" at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles.

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Movie Interviews
12:37 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

'Osage' Hits Close To Home For Writer Tracy Letts

From left, Meryl Streep, Julianne Nicholson and Juliette Lewis star in August: Osage County.
Claire Folger The Weinstein Company

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 12:53 pm

The movie August: Osage County has just opened, with its all-star cast.

Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch and more play various members of the Weston clan. They converge on their Oklahoma home when the patriarch, Beverly, who is a poet somewhat past his rhymes, goes missing.

His wife, Violet, gobbles pills, some of which are for the pain of mouth cancer and some of which are just because.

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Author Interviews
10:05 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Healing The Wounds Of Memory's 'Impossible Knife'

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 12:53 pm

Hayley Kincain is 15 years old and on the run — with her father, Andy.

He's come home from the war in Iraq, both honored for his service and haunted by it. He drinks and does drugs, can't hold a job, is unreliable behind the wheel of his big rig, and often seems to be the real adolescent in the family. Father and daughter try to stop running by moving back to Andy's hometown in upstate New York. But the war still goes on inside of him, and threatens to make Hayley one more casualty.

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Health
10:05 am
Sat January 11, 2014

The Cigarette's Powerful Cultural Allure

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 12:53 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

So people still smoke in spite of the many good reasons not to. It certainly is addictive, but the cigarette also has a certain allure. Think of a man leaning into to light a lady's cigarette, or the pack preferred in a tense moment. Cigarettes are part of our culture. Richard Klein has written a book about that, "Cigarettes are Sublime." He joins us from New York City. Thanks so much for being with us.

RICHARD KLEIN: It's my pleasure.

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Book Reviews
7:02 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Finding Flight In 'The Invention Of Wings'

Robyn Golding iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 1:32 pm

I don't remember how old I was when I discovered some of the more harrowing chapters of human history — the Holocaust and American slavery — but I do remember convincing my young self that I would have been brave had I lived in those times. I would have hidden my Jewish friend Anne Frank; I would have been a station on the Underground Railroad. I would have stood up for humanity and against injustice.

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Author Interviews
5:32 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Doctorow Ruminates On How A 'Brain' Becomes A Mind

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 1:55 pm

When does our brain become our mind? Our heart? How does it become us, whatever we are? And how do we live with memories when they begin to burst inside?

E.L. Doctorow's new novel is called Andrew's Brain, and it plunges inside the brain of a man who tells the story of trying to outrun the memories rattling around in there, of a disaster he blames on himself, a daughter he couldn't hold close, and an indelible crime that overwhelms his world.

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Code Switch
5:25 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Who Gets To Be A Superhero? Race And Identity In Comics

Orion Martin reimagined several iconic X-Men covers, recasting the superheroes as people of color. The move sparked a discussion on race in comics, both on the page and in the writers' rooms.
Orion Martin

Originally published on Sun January 12, 2014 7:20 pm

The X-Men comic franchise has proven remarkably sturdy in the half-century since its launch. They've spawned dozens of animated series and four major Hollywood films with a fifth due out this summer. A big part of that is due to its central premise — a minority of superpowered humans called mutants are discriminated against by their government and fellow citizens — which has functioned as a sci-fi allegory for everything from the civil rights movement to the AIDS crisis.

Read more
Music News
5:24 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Sax Great Jimmy Heath 'Walked With Giants,' And He's Still Here

Jimmy Heath and friends at a session at New York's WOR Studios in 1953. Left to right: Miles Davis, Kenny Drew, Art Blakey, Jimmy Heath.
Temple University Press / Jimmy Heath collection

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 11:31 am

In the room he uses as a practice space and office in his apartment in Corona, Queens, Jimmy Heath recalls a hit record from long ago.

"It's a song Bill Farrell, a popular singer, had years ago," he says, and then sings: "You've changed, you're not the angel I once knew / No need to tell me that we're through / It's all over now, you've changed." Then the 5'3" musician with the big sound picks up his tenor saxophone and blows.

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