Arts & Life

It's not often that an actor is encouraged to toss back a real cocktail while on stage. But at the nightly performances of the off-Broadway play Drunk Shakespeare, having a drink — or five — is actually required.

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In the 2012 best-selling novel Me Before You, an idealistic young Englishwoman named Louisa Clark becomes the caretaker of a wealthy businessman left paralyzed from a motorcycle accident. They fall in love. Then tragedy strikes, and Louisa is left to pick up the pieces.

Many of this year's books are sad. It's hard not to read the current political turmoil, the icy sense of dividedness, into these poems, though many of them deal as much with private as with public pain. Needless to say, this year's poetry books are powerful.

Gay bars and living rooms across the country were stocked Thursday night with gaggles of expectant fans milling about, waiting for Mama Ru to come home.

And come home she did — packing her three latest Emmys, a platinum-blonde wig and 10 of her embattled children, all returning to compete for a new shot at gold in the Olympics of drag.

At One NASA Lab, Art And Science Share The Same Orbit

Jan 28, 2018

Nestled among palm trees at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens near Pasadena, Calif., there's a mysterious, metallic structure that curls like a nautilus shell. It's called the Orbit Pavilion, and it was created by a team of artists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratories, or JPL.

Step inside the 17-foot-tall structure and you'll hear otherworldly sounds triggered by the tracking signal of 19 orbiting satellites above Earth.

In recent years, these three words have become part of your visual landscape: Black Lives Matter.

You'll see the phrase on T-shirts, on yard signs, on billboards in front of churches and other organizations. You may also see other T-shirts and signs in response, proclaiming "all lives matter" or "blue lives matter."

Naming the Cat

Jan 27, 2018
Mindy Norton

This is Gypsy.  If you look closely, you will see her "tipped" left ear.  The tip was surgically removed to indicate she has already been spayed, to alert anyone who might find her, to prevent unnecessary surgery in the future.  


In Arvin Ahmadi's debut novel Down And Across, 16-year-old Scott Ferdowsi hasn't quite figured out what he wants to do with his life. That worries his Iranian-American parents, who believe their son lacks grit and doesn't take advantage of the opportunities they work hard to give him.

"He's tried every club at school, switches his future path every five seconds, [and] he can't quite nail down what that future path will look like," Ahmadi says.

Krysten Ritter is best known for her roles as Jane on Breaking Bad and the sullen titular superhero on Jessica Jones. She's now written a new novel, a thriller about environmental pollution and other dark secrets, called Bonfire.

We've invited her to play a game called Keeping Up With The Other Jones — three questions about some other interesting people named Jones.

Click the listen link above to see how she does.

Nnedi Okorafor's Binti trilogy is now complete: The Night Masquerade is the final instalment in a series she's described as "African girl leaves home. African girl returns home. African girl becomes home." It's a beautiful proposed structure, a Hero's Journey that rings truer for me than Joseph Campbell's, resonating deeply with my experiences of diaspora, roots, and community.

January is not generally known for its prestige movie premieres. Audiences are usually still catching up on Oscar nominees, which means critics have to look further afield for interesting films. This year, I happened on a comedy that won't be opening in the U.S. for a while — but it struck a chord.

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Updated Saturday at 11:47 a.m. ET

The National Gallery of Art in Washington says it has postponed two upcoming solo exhibitions following allegations of sexual misconduct against their artists, Chuck Close and Thomas Roma.

Close, a painter and photographer, is best known for his close-up portraits of faces — many of them famous, such as Brad Pitt and Kate Moss. Roma, a photographer, taught at Columbia University until recently and focuses his work on scenes in Brooklyn, N.Y.

The maze-running part of The Maze Runner trilogy wrapped up about two-thirds of the way into the first film, leaving it to exist only as a metaphor for fresh-faced young people getting treated like laboratory rats.

At Ayame Japanese Market, owner Akemi Eguchi surveyed the contents of one of the freezers — the one tucked behind the imported DVDs and rice cookers. She identifies red bean sweets, melon bread ("Famous with American anime kids," she notes), pickled vegetables, and daikon radish.

Spread around the store are a few more coolers stocked with dumpling skins, fresh-cut fish and meat. Then there are four short aisles packed with brightly-colored candy, hair products, curries, thin packets of instant miso soup and tea.

Film And TV Trivia

Jan 26, 2018

Ask Me Another is a non-fictional quiz show. But sometimes, game shows pop up in movies and television, which is the subject of this game. We'll play an audio clip in which a fictional character is asked a trivia question on a game show. Contestants ring in and provide the correct answer to that question and, for a bonus point, try to name where the clip comes from.

Heard on Mary Wiseman: Live Long And BLEEP

The Hairy Ape

Jan 26, 2018

The answers to questions in this final-round game all contain the letters A-P-E in consecutive order. Like Grape Nuts, everyone's favorite cereal that contains neither grapes nor nuts.

Heard on Mary Wiseman: Live Long And BLEEP

Mystery Guest

Jan 26, 2018

Jackie Faherty is looking for something, and it's up to Ophira and guest musician Julian Velard to guess what that thing is. Can you figure out our Mystery Guest's secret before they do?

Heard on Mary Wiseman: Live Long And BLEEP

It's A Mystery

Jan 26, 2018

We've rewritten Ed Sheeran's song "Thinking Out Loud," in which "people fall in love in mysterious ways," to be about other famously mysterious things. So if you like your wedding songs with a touch of conspiracy theory, you'll love this game.

Heard on Mary Wiseman: Live Long And BLEEP

This, That, Or The Other

Jan 26, 2018

"Vignette": is it a celebrity fragrance, a winning word at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, or the name of a contestant on RuPaul's Drag Race? Players who guess the category correctly can undertake the ultimate challenge, publicly spelling the word for extra points.

Heard on Mary Wiseman: Live Long And BLEEP

Mary Wiseman: Live Long And BLEEP

Jan 26, 2018

Cadet Silvia Tilly is not your average Star Trek character. She's bubbly, talkative, and friendly. It turns out, one of the showrunners has a three-year-old niece who inspired this child-like character, played by Mary Wiseman, on the new Star Trek: Discovery. "And then I am a giant three-year-old, so I kinda fit in there really well," Wiseman told host Ophira Eisenberg.

That's Not So Great

Jan 26, 2018

Sure, they call it the "Great" Wall of China, but it's really just thousands of miles of stacked bricks—how great can it be? See if you can guess what "great" thing we're talking about, based on our totally over-it one-star reviews.

Heard on Mary Wiseman: Live Long And BLEEP

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Can We Trust The Numbers?

About Alan Smith's TED Talk

For years, Alan Smith analyzed the most reliable demographic data in the U.K. – the census. He noticed people's perceptions conflicted with reality, and wondered if there was a way to bridge the gap.

About Alan Smith

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Can We Trust The Numbers?

About Joy Buolamwini's TED Talk

Facial analysis technology is often unable to recognize dark skin tones. Joy Buolamwini says this bias can lead to detrimental results — and she urges her colleagues to create more inclusive code.

About Joy Buolamwini

Hospital shows are a network TV staple. There are more than 625 episodes of just Grey's Anatomy and ER combined — and Grey's is still going. Just as last season, NBC found a hit in the fairly traditional family drama This Is Us, ABC has gotten lucky with the hospital show The Good Doctor.

Casey Affleck will not be presenting the trophy for best actress at the upcoming Academy Awards, his publicist confirmed to the Associated Press Thursday.

It is customary for the previous year's best actor to return to present the best-actress award. Affleck won the award for his performance in Manchester By the Sea.

This week New Orleans hosts a peppery performance that was almost lost to the past.

Conductor Paul Mauffray discovered a program for the 1894 show Tabasco: A Burlesque Opera while rifling through historic music in his hometown, which celebrates its 300th anniversary this year.

Have a Nice Day, a bitter and cynical black comedy ripped straight from a doodlepad in the Chinese underground art scene, is the closest any movie has gotten lately to punk rock. It's animated, but the animation is crude and cheap by design, like Beavis and Butt-Head for Economics PhDs. The style serves the same purpose as music does for Iggy Pop: noise for the cause.

In 2012 Ben Lewin made The Sessions, an irreverent and perceptive fact-based dramedy with John Hawkes as a horny, lovelorn polio survivor in an iron lung, and Helen Hunt as his sex surrogate. Lewin, too, had polio as a child, which may account for his nuanced ability to picture the disabled as, you know, people who happen to be carrying an extra load.