Arts

Arts and culture

Hamilton, the Broadway musical about "the scrappy young immigrant who forever changed America" has made history, after being nominated for a record 16 Tony Awards. The nominees were announced today.

Honey, I shrunk the queso.

"The whole city is talking in music," marvels Simon, the main character of Anna Smaill's debut The Chimes, near the start of this Man Booker-longlisted novel. Young and orphaned, he's just arrived in London from his family's farm in the country. But it's not the London we know: At some point in the future, society has been reduced to a medieval level of farmers and artisans. A cataclysm called Allbreaking was responsible — not that Simon, or anyone else, remembers it.

The food glitterati will gather in Chicago Monday night for the black-tie James Beard Chef and Restaurant Awards, known as the "Oscars of the food world." Most of the categories sound like industry fare: Outstanding Restaurant Design. Best Chef: Great Lakes. Best New Restaurant. Rising Star Chef of the Year. There's not much of interest for anyone outside the foodies and food world orbit. Except, that is, for a sneakily subversive category: America's Classics.

You may have seen the crazy amounts of money spent at high end art auctions: $81 million for a Mark Rothko, $179 million for a Picasso. Now, a new memoir called The Auctioneer dishes about the tycoons, rock stars and royalty who play in this high-priced game. Simon de Pury is an art world insider who has been called the "Mick Jagger" of auctions — he once even tried to compete with the two power houses, Christie's and Sotheby's.

For decades, few films made in Cuba have found their way to U.S. theaters. But with diplomatic relations restored between the two countries, this past weekend brought not one, but two. Papa: Hemingway in Cuba, the first Hollywood film to shoot on the island nation in decades, turns out to be a dispiriting, ineptly directed affair, about which the less said, the better.

But a father-son drama called Viva is lively enough to be an art-house hit, illuminating a Havana subculture that may be almost as unfamiliar to Cubans as to Americans.

As a co-founder of the band X, John Doe helped define the punk scene that emerged in Los Angeles in the late 1970s. Doe tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that punk was about breaking rules and challenging the norms of the existing music scene.

Ballerina Misty Copeland, who made history when she became the first black female principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre last summer, now has her own Barbie doll. The doll wears a costume similar to Copeland's for her Firebird role.

Philadelphia's historic Italian Market is known for its cheeses, meats, fresh pastas and chocolate. Running 10 city blocks through south Philadelphia, it's one of the oldest and largest open-air markets in the country. But what would a tour through this vibrant neighborhood be like without the ability to see?

That's where Philly Touch Tours comes in. The guide company specializes in offering hands-on tours of Philadelphia.

Late in 1968, it was astounding to me how one of the best-loved bands could create one of the least-liked songs. It was "Revolution 9," near the end of The Beatles' sprawling White Album.

But then, I was only 7 years old and, frankly, those eight minutes of chaotic sounds and mumbled words were positively frightening. And who was that guy who kept intoning "number nine?"

From Mexico City's Zócalo to Rome's Piazza Navona, public squares have always been a vibrant part of urban life. After visiting Italy a few years back, editor Catie Marron began thinking about the different roles these public spaces have played. She asked some well-known writers to share their thoughts about famous squares around the world, and the resulting essays are gathered in a new book called City Squares.

Forget Talent, Success Comes From 'Grit'

May 1, 2016
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

No Pink, But Plenty Of Red, In Hack-N-Slash 'Fairyland'

May 1, 2016

Editor's note: This piece originally identified Jean-Francois Beaulieu as the illustrator; in fact, he's the colorist and Skottie Young both wrote and penciled.

Ricky Gervais always seems to be working on something new. Whether it's producing a TV show, writing a movie, voicing a cartoon character, or hosting the Golden Globes, the comedian keeps busy.

How do we remember our experiences when grief has consumed them? It seems like a heavy question for a book called The Square Root of Summer to tackle, and while this book does deliver on the title's promise of teenage vacation hijinks, romance, and mathematical equations, it also presents a heartrending quandary: How to move forward with a life that has been defined by loss.

The way Jimmy Santiago Baca tells it, poetry saved his life — but he's not speaking in hyperbole. Long before the poet won an American Book Award, Baca was in prison on a drug conviction, where he was facing down a prison-yard fight with another inmate.

Baca sought padding however he could get it.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the original Star Trek, so mark the occasion, we're going to play a game called "To boldly go where no man has gone before!" We'll ask pioneering journalist Lesley Stahl three questions about the original Star Trek, taken from a new oral history called The Fifty-Year Mission. Stahl covered the Watergate scandal in the 1970s and has been a 60 Minutes correspondent for 25 years.

Sunjeev Sahota has written what I suspect will be finest novel of the year. I know, it's still early in 2016, but hear me out. The subject at the heart of The Year of the Runaways is illegal immigration, which is currently the source of much hand-wringing both here in the U.S. and across the world. Sahota, a British writer of Indian origin, has written not only a timely book, but a gut-wrenching, emotionally honest one, as well.

Rob Reiner has a new film about young people who are confused, troubled, searching — and who are sometimes a pain in the rear; not to mention the heart.

Being Charlie is the story of an 18-year-old boy who runs away from rehab — again — while his father, a former film star, runs for governor of California.

Death is the great leveler. All of us — kings, peasants, beggars and billionaires, saints and gnats will all die. It's the one certainty we share, even if we differ on the fine points of what happens thereafter.

But what if someone set out to circumvent death by having themselves essentially suspended: Technically dead, but ready to be revived? Frozen in some secret location, body and head insulated separately, against the day a technology is developed to regenerate them, with some memories restored and others cast away?

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

On May 8, the CBS drama The Good Wife will be ending its seven-year run. Why now? "We wanted to go out while it was still good," says Michelle King, who created the show with her husband, Robert King.

In the kingdom of Bharata, horoscopes mean a great deal. The story the stars tell of your life is an immutable truth that will govern your interaction with the world. But Mayavati's horoscope is terrifying: It declares her to be married to death and destruction, such that her father's wives shun and blame her for every misfortune. With war looming at Bharata's borders, Maya's ill-starred horoscope casts an increasing shadow; though she'd rather live a quiet, retired life of the mind, a politically expedient marriage seems like the only thing that can save her kingdom.

Eat lean meat. Bathe regularly. Wear comfortable shoes. Those are three pieces of self-help advice from an unlikely source — 19th-century poet and essayist Walt Whitman.

As anyone who's been one can attest, new parents need all the help they can get.

While blogger, author and mother of two Asha Dornfest can't come do the night feedings, she does have a number of MacGyver-style moves that may help avert disaster — and preserve some parental sanity.

Dornfest is the author of Parent Hacks: 134 Genius Shortcuts for Life with Kids, which compiles some of the best tricks from her blog of the same name.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The real White House West Wing felt a bit like the fictional one at the center of the NBC television series The West Wing for a brief moment on Friday afternoon.

Posing as her character C.J. Cregg, who was the press secretary in the critically acclaimed show that ran from 1999 until 2006, actress Allison Janney took a surprise turn on the podium to the delight and surprise of the real White House press corps.

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