Arts & Life

A Blog Supreme
8:03 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Facing Illness, An Improviser Learns The Art Of Patience

Dayna Stephens.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 10:07 am

Dayna Stephens is a patient musician. The 34-year-old tenor saxophonist and composer fashions supple, searching improvisations that brim with melodic cogency. His compositions often exude a widescreen sensibility with languid, narrative-like passages, suspenseful interludes and sumptuous harmonies.

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Book Reviews
7:03 am
Tue July 2, 2013

You'll Want To Hang Up On These 'Secret Conversations'

Originally published on Sat July 20, 2013 5:34 pm

A country girl from Grabtown, N.C., Ava Gardner arrived in Hollywood in 1941 knowing she couldn't act but, gorgeous as she was, she never had to let that slow her down. Her beauty — which reportedly intimidated Elizabeth Taylor — won her not just film roles and studio-paid acting lessons, but the attentions of all-American boy Mickey Rooney, whom she married and divorced before she turned 21. She had a similarly brief union with bandleader Artie Shaw — she called those two her "starter husbands" — before a tempestuous, headline-making marriage to Frank Sinatra.

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First Reads
7:03 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Exclusive First Read: 'Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish'

David Rakoff, seen here in 2010, worked on Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish for a decade, finishing shortly before his death in 2012.
Larry Busacca Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 10:03 am

  • Listen to the Excerpt

David Rakoff was a mainstay on public radio's This American Life, and the best-selling author of Fraud, Don't Get Too Comfortable, and Half Empty. He died of cancer in 2012 at the age of 47, shortly after finishing Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish, a short novel in verse that jumps from decade to decade, tracking a panoply of American characters across the 20th century: 1920s slaughterhouse workers, 1950s office girls, AIDS victims and '80s yuppies.

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Code Switch
4:45 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Does Disney's Tonto Reinforce Stereotypes Or Overcome Them?

Johnny Depp says that with his portrayal of Tonto in The Lone Ranger, he tried to "right the wrongs of what had been done with regards to the representation of Native Americans in cinema."
Disney

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 1:00 pm

The Lone Ranger has long been a fictional hero, taming the Wild West with his trusty Indian guide, Tonto. The faithful companion helps the white man fight bad guys, and does so speaking in pidgin English.

Tonto made his first appearance on the radio in the 1930s, voiced by a non-Native American actor, John Todd. In the series, Western settlers face down what they call "redskins" and "savages." And trusty Tonto is always on hand to interpret the smoke signals.

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The Salt
5:27 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Taking High-Heat Tandoor Techniques To The Backyard Grill

Punjabi Lamb Kebabs, like many tandoor dishes, can also be made on gas or charcoal grills.
Christopher Hirsheimer

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 7:24 am

In America, summer grilling generally means heading to the backyard and throwing some hot dogs, burgers and maybe vegetable skewers on the fire. But in India and Pakistan, where summers last for seven months, grilling takes on a whole new level of sophistication.

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Movie Reviews
4:41 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Branagh Imagines Mozart's 'Magic Flute' In Wartime

Pamina (Amy Carson) and Tamino (Joseph Kaiser) in Kenneth Branagh's production of Mozart's The Magic Flute.
Revolver Group

Mozart's The Magic Flute, the last opera he lived to complete, has some of his most sublime and sublimely comic music. Technically, it's more of a musical comedy, what in German is called a Singspiel, a play with songs and spoken dialogue. I was excited to learn that it was filmed by Kenneth Branagh, whose Shakespeare movies I really admire. Mozart's mixture of fairy tale and high morality presents a great opportunity for a filmmaker; in 1975, Ingmar Bergman released a version for Swedish television that has become a beloved classic.

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Author Interviews
2:34 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

From Kids' Books To Erotica, Tomi Ungerer's 'Far Out' Life

Tomi Ungerer's 1967 book Moon Man follows its lonely protagonist as he visits Earth for the very first time.
Tomi Ungerer

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 4:00 pm

Children's-book writer Maurice Sendak learned a lot from author and artist Tomi Ungerer. In Far Out Isn't Far Enough, a new documentary about Ungerer, Sendak says, "I learned to be braver than I was. I think that's why [Where The Wild Things Are] was partly Tomi — his energy, his spirit.

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The Salt
1:58 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Sandwich Monday: The Famous St. Paul Sandwich (of St. Louis)

This exists.
NPR

Originally published on Thu July 4, 2013 12:28 pm

Since Sandwich Monday began, certain sandwiches have been our white whales: the Hippogriff Burger, a Reuben signed by J.D. Salinger, an Actual White Whale sandwich. Also, the mysterious St.Paul sandwich, native to St. Louis: It's an egg foo young patty, with lettuce, pickle and mayo, on white bread. But we finally caught one.

Miles: This is the same sandwich my Model U.N. group made the first time we all got high together.

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The Two-Way
12:57 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Jim Kelly, Actor In 'Enter The Dragon,' Dies

This 1973 photo released by Warner Bros. Entertainment shows Jim Kelly as Williams in a scene from Enter the Dragon. Kelly, who played a glib American martial artist in the movie, died Saturday of cancer at his home in San Diego. He was 67.
AP

Jim Kelly, who rose to fame in the Bruce Lee classic Enter the Dragon and went on to star in several blaxploitation films, has died. He was 67.

NPR's Hansi Lo Wang reported on Kelly's death for our Newscast unit. Here's what he said:

"Black Belt Jones, Three the Hard Way and Black Samurai — all starring Jim Kelly as an African-American martial arts master — busy looking good in a funky Afro.

"Kelly's break-out role was in the Bruce Lee classic Enter the Dragon.

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The Two-Way
8:07 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Book News: Penguin, Random House Complete Publishing Mega-Merger

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

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