Arts & Life

Author Michael Pollan had always been curious about psychoactive plants, but his interest skyrocketed when he heard about a research study in which people with terminal cancer were given a psychedelic called psilocybin — the active ingredient in "magic mushrooms" — to help them deal with their distress.

StoryCorps

In this StoryCorps interview, Mark Ryan asks his friend Jeremy Wolff about his decision to leave his corporate job to pursue his passion for music festivals – a decision that has led to Jeremy’s freedom. The two friends also discuss how Jeremy’s newfound freedom has pushed him towards his dream and his true purpose for being on this planet...

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In a career that spanned more than half a century, Tom Wolfe wrote fiction and nonfiction best-sellers including The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and The Bonfire of the Vanities. Along the way, he created a new type of journalism and coined phrases that became part of the American lexicon. Wolfe died Monday in Manhattan. He was 88.

Wolfe didn't start a novel with a character or a plot, but rather, with an idea. In 1987, wearing his signature white suit, Wolfe told me how he began his first novel, a panoramic story of New York Society:

Caveat lector: Some of the explicit sex scenes in Fuminori Nakamura's new novel Cult X will disturb you. Whether that's because they embarrass you or turn you on or both is very much beside the point. Not only does Nakamura have more disturbing things to share, those sex scenes point toward the worse-to-come events in most un-titillating ways.

Caryl Phillips' latest novel, based on the troubled life of the writer Jean Rhys, is a lush exploration of the costs of colonialism, the limited possibilities for non-conformist women, and egregious power imbalances between genders and races. Rhys' life — she was born in the British colony of Dominica in 1890 and sent to school in England at 16 — is a fitting canvas for Phillips' perennial themes of displacement, alienation and muddled identity.

Deadpool 2, like the 2016 film to which it is a sequel, stars Ryan Reynolds as a violent super-mercenary with the the ability to heal himself from any injury. In both films, Reynolds unleashes a logorrheic verbal torrent of meta-references to other movies — so many, so unceasingly, that their net effect is to hammer the fourth wall into a powdery dust.

"This thing you are looking at right now" he essentially says, often, "is like this other thing you have looked at in the past, when you were watching an entirely different film. Nutty, right?"

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Jessica Jones is not your typical superhero: She's a low-rent private eye with superhuman strength and PTSD from two big traumas in her past. Krysten Ritter stars as Jessica in the Netflix series based on the Marvel Comics character — and says she loves the complex role.

"I really get to sink my teeth into it," she says. "The work that I get to do and the backstory and the character building and breaking down the scripts — I'm just so invested."

Margot Kidder, who became famous for playing Lois Lane opposite Christopher Reeve in Superman, has died at her home in Montana. Kidder was 69; her acting career spanned decades, from TV series in the late 1960s to seven films in the past five years.

A cause of death has not yet been publicly released for Kidder. Her death was announced by the Franzen-Davis Funeral Home in Livingston, Mont., where she resided.

"The actress and activist passed away on Sun., May 13, 2018 at her home," the funeral home said.

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It's not often that a parent and child become masters of two different art forms, but an exhibition at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia proves it's possible: Renoir: Father and Son explores the work of 19th-century Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir and his 20th-century filmmaker son, Jean Renoir.

Like many fathers and sons, they had a loving, but complicated relationship. Take, for example, the fact that in 1920, the year after his father died, Jean married his father's last model.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. We all know springtime is a traditional wedding season. But when it comes to the dresses worn by today's blushing brides, we're seeing a much less traditional trend. In fact, other people may be blushing.

When it comes to the bridal bustline, the question these days is ... how low can you go?

"How can I say this kind of politely?" Monte Durham teases. "We have dresses cut to your navel."

[This piece discusses the plot of the novel Little Women, which was published in 1868 and 1869. You have, we hope, had a chance to read it.]

Is it only writers who can never forgive Amy March for burning her sister Jo's handwritten novel manuscript? Or is it only me?

Not so very long ago, everyone agreed when Summer Movie Season kicked off. There was no subjectivity involved. It was dictated by the calendar: Memorial Day weekend meant the arrival of the big tentpole movies that would proceed to bust blocks over the course of the sultry summer months. Simple.

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We take you now behind the scenes - the set, the mind of one of cinema's most highly-regarded directors of the 20th century.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY")

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82 Women Walk Cannes Red Carpet In Protest

May 13, 2018

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Many consider the running back Jim Brown the greatest American football player ever. But he's known as much more than an athlete — he's an activist, an actor, a thinker and a man with an alleged history of violence against women.

Here's how he's described in the opening paragraph of Dave Zirin's new biography, Jim Brown: Last Man Standing.

You Were Right, Mom

May 13, 2018

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Finally, a tribute to the old adage mother knows best. We asked you to share advice your mothers gave you that eventually made you say, Mom was right. Laura Bathke starts us off.

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The list of accolades is long for Rita Moreno. The 86-year-old is the only Latina — and one of just 12 artists overall — to have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony for her work. This weekend, she received a different kind of award — for her advocacy. The Ellis Island Honors Society is giving her a medal of honor for her work with immigrant communities.

April Showers Bring These 3 May Romances

May 13, 2018

Spring is in the air and love is all around, as these three delightful romance novels show. Whether in a New Jersey high school, a Scottish palace or Victorian England, these stories show happy-ever-after is always within reach.

My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma is a bright, sassy, and totally charming young adult love story, starring Winnie Mehta, who sees everything in her life through the lens of her beloved Bollywood films. So naturally, there's a love triangle, a prophecy, and a big song and dance number — all set in a New Jersey high school.

When Trenton Doyle Hancock was 10 years old, he made up a superhero: Torpedo Boy. The character has become the center of a complicated cosmos Hancock has developed obsessively for more than 30 years. There are drawings, paintings, sculptures — and now, a plush stuffed doll.

"Well, he looks like me," Hancock says. "He's a black guy. His face is basically my face."

Pet Moms

May 12, 2018
Jack-JackT [Flickr}

Hugging a pet may not do much for the animal, but it sure can bring the human a great feeling of companionship and comfort.  If you have a pet that likes to be hugged, you have a special friend!


Shakespeare wrote great tyrants. Macbeth, the Scot who plots a bloody route to the throne; Richard III, the brother of a king, and "rudely stamped," in Shakespeare's phrase, who murders his way into power and madness; Coriolanus, the Roman ruler who believes power in the hands of citizens is like permitting "crows to peck the eagles," and betrays his city; King Lear, Lady Macbeth, Henry VI, Julius Caesar — one of Shakespeare's themes is how men and women may lust for power, then use it in the worst way.

There are two kinds of extremely smart books: The ones that make you feel small and stupid, as if the author is telling you how far above you their intelligence lies, and the ones that makes you feel smart reading them, that demonstrate the author's respect for her reader. Rubik, the debut novel by Australian writer Elizabeth Tan, is the best example of the second kind.

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