Arts & Life

Tony Award-winning director Diane Paulus has a knack for developing works that make it to Broadway. She premiered Finding Neverland, Pippin and The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass., before bringing those productions to Manhattan. Now, Paulus has another potential hit on her hands: her musical adaptation of the 2007 indie film Waitress.

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Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

"Would like to have seen a photo of the completed hat."

That's what one commenter noted when we ran a story on Aug. 8: "He's Just Woven The World's Finest Panama Hat. But Who Will Buy It?"

Now, we did have a nice photo of the hat weaver himself, Simon Espinal, who lives in Pile, a village hidden in the hills of Ecuador's coastal lowlands.

And there is a close-up of the top portion of the hat, which gives a pretty good idea of what it looks like.

Though Larry Wilmore had always hoped to be a performer, his early career was as a comedy writer. He wrote for shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and In Living Color, and he created The Bernie Mac Show. He moved in front of the camera as The Daily Show's "senior black correspondent" in 2006. So when Stephen Colbert ended The Colbert Report last year, Comedy Central tapped Wilmore to host the replacement show.

Hardly a day goes by without some new form of technological menace rearing its head, from the outfitting of drones with handguns to the hacking of cars' navigation systems. It's a fear — and fascination — that science fiction author Chuck Wendig cranks up to 11 in his new cyber-thriller, Zer0es.

This is one in a series of essays running this week and next about the state of television in 2015. The series is based on developments at the recent Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif., where broadcast and cable networks, along with streaming services like Netflix, presented new and existing shows to TV critics and reporters.

Everybody loves to talk about brands, right? What's more exciting than brands?

"Can you tell a story that doesn't begin, it's just suddenly happening?" asks a character in Adam Johnson's short story collection, Fortune Smiles. And you can, of course; the best stories stretch well beyond their first and last words. They're more than the opening scene; they invite the reader to imagine what came before and what will come after. They're alive and they're limitless.

Fortunately for those of us who are suckers for novelty, every year fruits and vegetables seem to come in more bewitching colors, shapes and flavors. In recent years, we've been transfixed by Glass Gem Corn and the vibrant orange Turkish eggplant.

The star of the film Grandma and the Netflix series Grace and Frankie married her partner of 42 years, Jane Wagner, in 2013. She spoke with Fresh Air about being more open about her sexuality.

"I've been out for ... 10 or 11 or 12 years or something. I mean, finally somebody printed it. ... [If asked about her sexuality during a 1989 interview with Terry Gross] I probably would have said something like, um ... 'yes, I am.' I couldn't have lied — it would have been too diminishing to lie."

After the Republicans held their lively first debate, you heard people saying what they always say nowadays — that our media-driven political discourse has become shallow and petty, even clownish. Hearing this, an innocent young person might believe that, not so long ago, America was a latter-day Athens in which political arguments were magnificent in their purity and eloquence.

This is one in a series of essays running this week and next about the state of television in 2015. The series is based on developments at the recent Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif., where broadcast and cable networks, along with streaming services like Netflix, presented new and existing shows to TV critics and reporters.

'Dark, Dark' Doings In A Slick Debut Thriller

Aug 18, 2015

I am slightly embarrassed to admit I had never before encountered the term "hen party" before reading Ruth Ware's suspenseful debut novel In a Dark, Dark Wood. Like so many phrases that describe all-female gatherings, such as quilting bee or kaffeeklatsch, that hen business has a slight cluck of the patronizing to it. That one of the main characters here is nicknamed "Flopsy" doesn't help things along any.

New York Times reporter Stephanie Clifford's ambitious debut novel, Everybody Rise, about a young social climber desperately trying to claw her way to the top of New York's Old Money society, takes its title from the last lines of Stephen Sondheim's bitter toast of a song, "The Ladies Who Lunch." But its inspiration (like that of Sophie McManus' The Unfortunates, another much buzzed first novel this summer) springs from Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth.

It might seem unusual for an exhibit to focus on a man who sold paintings rather than the artists who painted them. But there was one particular 19th century Paris art dealer who shaped the art market of his day — and ours — by discovering artists who became world-wide favorites. He's now the subject of a major exhibition in Philadelphia.

In ancient times, farmers worried about losing precious grain to spoilage during wet winters. So they figured out how to malt grain and brew it into beer, thus preserving a nutritious source of calories. In The Comic Book Story of Beer, due out in September, we get a graphical tour of such pivotal moments — from the cradle of agriculture to the modern-day craft beer heyday.

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