When the stage lights go up at Chicago's Goodman Theatre on Monday evening, more than 20 high school students will each have a moment to step into the spotlight and perform a monologue from one of the plays written by the late August Wilson. Chicago's contest is one of several regional finals that strives to introduce students to the Pulitzer Prize winner's work. It's also a lead-up to the national August Wilson Monologue Competition that will be held on Broadway later this spring.
You'd think that in telling a story whose novelty is in its veracity, retaining some semblance of that truth might be important. But wrestling history into narrative has its challenges, and things can get hazy when it comes to the facts in a historical drama. So it seems like the next logical step in telling a story with a relationship to truth might be that if you're going to fudge things, at least make it entertaining. Please, pull an Argo.
Cookbook author Diane Morgan first got to thinking about root vegetables after two encounters at her local farmers market in Portland, Ore. She was burdened down with celery root, Morgan says, when a woman stopped her to ask what she was holding and what she planned to do with it.
"It's amazing," Morgan replied. "You can eat it raw, you can eat it cooked, you can turn it into a fabulous soup."
The opening shot of Cristian Mungiu's Beyond the Hills may look somewhat familiar. As in the Romanian writer-director's previous film, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, a young woman strides purposefully while a handheld camera follows mere inches behind. She's on a mission to help a close friend, her resolve demonstrated by the way she marches against two lines of travelers who've just disembarked from a train.
Arnel Pineda's journey from obscurity to international fame as the new frontman for the rock band Journey is the narrative thread that drives Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey.
Credit Cinedigm Entertainment Group
Journey takes a pragmatic-old-pros approach to integrating its new lead singer; though Don't Stop Believin' emphasizes Pineda's rags-to-riches story, it's clear from the film that the band's main goal is the continuity of its business and brand.
Some bands are born of passion and deep camaraderie, a collective desire to rebel against authority — or at least to look cool. Others are born because a major label threatens to drop them if they don't find a lead vocalist.
This still from the alphabetically themed horror anthology The ABCs Of Death is the only one publishable on a website that caters to a broad audience — which says a lot about the tone and content of the 26 short films included.
Despite a reputation for unevenness, anthology films still hold a certain appeal. There's the opportunity to see a few shorts — a form that tends to get bulldozed by feature films due to the economic realities of the industry. There's also the chance to see a number of directors all in once place, trying out something different; it's the cinematic equivalent of a rock 'n' roll supergroup.
The Newsroom, starring Jeff Daniels, is one of the most popular American TV series in China. It's a favorite among a cadre of young, informal translators who see it as a way to challenge conventional Chinese thinking.
Credit Nick Briggs / AP/PBS
At least three translating groups in China focus on British drama Downton Abbey. For many young Chinese, it provides a window onto a foreign world of privilege and class dynamics.
Every week, thousands of young Chinese gather online to translate popular American movies and TV shows into Mandarin. Some do it for fun and to help people learn English, while others see it as a subtle way to introduce new ideas into Chinese society.
Among the more popular American TV shows on China's Internet these days is HBO's The Newsroom. One reason is an exchange between a college student and a news anchor played by Jeff Daniels. The young woman asks the aging newsman why the United States is the greatest country in the world.
Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 2:54 pm
A swarm of locusts that has devastated crops in Egypt made its way into neighboring Israel this week. And with Passover just around the corner, many news outlets couldn't resist noting the shades of the biblical tale of Exodus, when the insects were one of 10 plagues that descended upon Pharaoh and his people.
Back in 1988, it wasn't until the 62nd round of the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft that the Los Angeles Dodgers finally picked Mike Piazza. Nobody expected him to make it in the big leagues. But he did. He made his major league debut with the Dodgers on Sept. 1, 1992, and he hit his first home run just 12 days later.
EISENBERG: ...everyone, for what we've all been waiting for. It's our Ask Me One More final round. This final elimination round will determine this week's ASK ME ANOTHER champion. So we're going to bring back the winners from all of our previous rounds. From Two Tickets to Parodies, we have Matt Carman.
In the 17th century, fugitive slaves founded a free community in the mountains of northeastern Brazil. They called it Palmares. Contemporary accounts describe the courtyards and the fountains, the churches and council meetings of that sprawling settlement, which survived for decades before a concerted military effort by Portuguese colonists wiped it out in 1695.
Do you remember those school assignments where you were asked to make up a story based on a picture? With Mary Coin, Marisa Silver looks long and hard at an image that has been seared into our nation's consciousness — Dorothea Lange's iconic Depression-era photograph "Migrant Mother" — and compassionately imagines the lives behind it. The result is a fresh angle on the Great Depression and a lesson in learning how to really look and see.
When the streaming video service Netflix decided to begin producing its own TV content, it chose House of Cards as its first big project. Based on a BBC series, the show stars Kevin Spacey and is directed by David Fincher, and it has quickly become the most watched series ever on Netflix.
You don't read poetry. That's fine. Nobody does anymore. I'm not going to make you feel bad about that. But if there is one book I've pressed on more people in the past decade, it is Anne Carson's Autobiography of Red. And I'm here to tell you its sequel has just been published, and that it's pretty much the biggest event of the year.
Autobiography of Red was a novel written in verse, a crossbreed of poetry and prose that retold the myth of Geryon and Herakles, aka Hercules.
Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 10:58 am
It wasn't the fish heads poking out of the Stargazy Pie that stopped more than a few of our readers cold. It was the eyeballs.
"Not a lot of food nowadays has eyes; what's up with that?" one reader asked in commenting on a recent Salt post that featured a photo of the historic dish, which involves whole fish (eyes and all) poking out of a pie.
Whenever I think of the circus (which, admittedly, is rarely), the first thing that comes to mind is Bruce Davidson's famous photograph of a forlorn clown smoking a cigarette and clutching a fistful of wilted flowers in the mud outside a ratty circus tent. Fittingly, I first saw this striking image on the cover of Heinrich Boll's 1963 novel, The Clown. The titular protagonist isn't the creepy backyard children's entertainer we've come to associate with the form. He's troubled and high-strung, and sees himself first and foremost as an artist — and something of a mystic, to boot.
This is not the first time Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid has taken a risky approach to a novel. His The Reluctant Fundamentalist was written entirely in the second person. The bearded narrator of that book sits at a tea stall in Lahore, talking about his drift toward extremism while directly addressing "you," the reader, who is taken to be an increasingly jumpy and terrified American across the table.
Mohsin Hamid's newest novel, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, takes its structure from the genre of self-help tutorials. Chapter 1: Move to the City. Chapter 2: Get an Education. Chapter 3: Don't Fall in Love (the book's nameless protagonist, who transforms from rural peasant to corporate tycoon, fails to follow this last directive). After all, the dogged pursuit of success doesn't happen in a vacuum.
Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 10:42 am
I've always thought caraway to be an underappreciated spice. It holds none of the historical significance of cinnamon, cloves, pepper or other prized spices that for centuries drove commerce among Asia, Africa and Europe (and that ultimately led to the discovery of the Americas).
In flavor, it lacks the Mediterranean perfume of its cousin fennel or the allure of cumin, another close relative. Its aroma is sharp and slightly aggressive, and if you bite into a seed on its own, there is, at first, a certain soapiness to its flavor.
Twenty years ago, theatrical clowns Bill Irwin and David Shiner collaborated on a Broadway show called Fool Moon — a giddy mixture of slapstick, improv and audience participation that proved such a success that it came back to Broadway for two more runs and toured both the U.S. and Europe. Now Irwin and Shiner have put together a new show called Old Hats, and it's been receiving rave reviews off-Broadway.
Irwin and Shiner's rubber-faced, loose-bodied clowning hasn't gotten easier over two decades.
Some months ago, a fellow writer told me that Joyce Carol Oates was writing a vampire book. It turns out there is some truth in this seemingly far-fetched statement, just as there are grains of truth sprinkled throughout The Accursed, a sprawling tale of terrible events afflicting Princeton high society between 1905 and 1906. Oates began drafting the novel in 1984, when she first moved to this best-known of New Jersey college towns and became interested in its history. She put the project aside for many years but returned to it — and completed it — in 2012.