Arts & Culture

On Jan. 25, 1996, a new rock musical by a little-known writer, Jonathan Larson, gave its first performance. Friends and family filed into a small off-Broadway theater to see Rent. The show was a retelling of La Boheme, set on the Lower East Side of New York, as people were dying of AIDS. It became an international phenomenon, winning the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award, among others, but the performance almost didn't happen. Early that morning, Larson died of an aortic aneurysm. I spoke with some of the people who were there that night.

During a career spanning more than six decades, Cicely Tyson has brought to life iconic roles in theater, film and television — from Sounder to The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman to Roots to How to Get Away with Murder. They've offered previously unseen images of the sweep and humanity of Black life.

And now, in a new memoir, Just as I Am, she finally sets forth her improbable journey, from the typing pool at the Red Cross to award-winning actor and icon of style.

Photographer and explorer, Gemina Garland-Lewis has always been drawn to nature and wildlife. Garland-Lewis takes us through her journey of growing to love bird photography alongside her partner on their land, nicknamed "La Isla," in Baja California Sur, Mexico.

As I sit with my back against a charred, fallen palm tree, I can't help but hear my mother's words in my head: "I hope you don't like birds now just because of a guy." My eyes alert as I scan for various woodpeckers and sparrows, camera in hand, and I wonder if there may be some truth in what she said.

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Helen was "the face that launched a thousand ships" — the Spartan queen, seduced by the son of a Trojan king, leaving her husband to send Greek sailors and soldiers to retrieve her, and kicking off an epic and bloody war.

That classic tale has been told and re-told for generations — and there's now a new version with a twist: The stories of the women are the focus, not the stories of the men.

For January, 3 Romances That Prove Love Is Ageless

Jan 24, 2021

This month in Romancelandia, true love and a happy ever after are possible at any age. Whether it's a teenager's first love, a 50-year-old's forever love, or somewhere in the middle, these three outstanding novels show it's never too early — or too late — for that HEA.

Mexican film directors have enjoyed success at the Academy Awards in recent years. Alfonso Cuarón won an Oscar for directing Gravity in 2014, and for Roma in 2019. Alejandro González Iñárritu won one in 2015 for directing Birdman and the following year for The Revenant. And Guillermo del Toro won his Oscar for directing The Shape of Water in 2018. Now, the "Tres Amigos," as they're known, may welcome uno más: up-and-coming filmmaker Fernando Frías de la Parra.

Veteran Broadcaster Larry King Dies At 87

Jan 23, 2021

With his trademark suspenders and deep baritone voice Larry King spoke with presidents, world leaders, celebrities, authors, scientists, comedians, athletes — everyone. The Peabody Award-winning broadcaster died Saturday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 87.

The death of the famed interviewer was announced on King's Twitter feed in a posting from his production studio, Ora Media. No cause of death was provided, but King had recently been hospitalized with COVID-19.

You might know Mandy Patinkin from The Princess Bride, or Sunday in the Park with George, or Homeland, or ... TikTok, where he has nearly 1 million followers.

Since Patinkin is such a TikTok star, we've invited him to play a game called "Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock." Three questions about the original tick-tock stars: clocks.

Click the audio link above to find out how he does.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Michelle Buteau

Jan 22, 2021

On New Year's Day 2020 Netflix released the first season of the socially-distanced reality series The Circle, hosted by this week's Ask Me Another guest, comedian Michelle Buteau. In The Circle, contestants live in isolation and can only communicate via the internet: a premise that became everyone's reality about two months later.

Buteau confessed she wasn't initially onboard with the concept: "A competition, and you can catfish people? Absolutely not, sir! Rude!"

The Titular City

Jan 22, 2021

Documentary filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (Love Fraud) guess the names of cities that are named after objects, or visa versa. What was that joke about Hungary and Turkey, again?

Heard on Michelle Buteau: 'The Circle' And Van Halen.

Is It A Lizard?

Jan 22, 2021

From the Showtime docu-series Love Fraud, directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady answer the most important question of all: Is it a lizard?

Heard on Michelle Buteau: 'The Circle' And Van Halen.

International Movie Changes

Jan 22, 2021

Sarah Marshall and Michael Hobbes from the You're Wrong About podcast test their knowledge about international cinematic changes.

Heard on Michelle Buteau: 'The Circle' And Van Halen.

A Whale of a Quiz

Jan 22, 2021

Hosts of the podcast You're Wrong About, Michael Hobbes and Sarah Marshall, join Ophiria Eisenberg and in-house blue whale Jonathan Krillton for a multiple-choice game about whales. To translate for our whale readers: oooooo aaaawWWWOOOOOOOO blub blub blub OOOOOoooo.

Heard on Michelle Buteau: 'The Circle' And Van Halen.

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