Arts

Arts and culture

It's two weeks before opening night and the cast is rehearsing for already sold out performances in a building on the Yale campus in downtown New Haven, Conn. The play is called, Voices From the Long War. And its cast is as unlikely as one could imagine — veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and refugees from those countries.

They're bringing their own personal experiences from during and after the war to life on the stage. They hope through these stories to dispel some misconceptions about who they are.

How do we remember our experiences when grief has consumed them? It seems like a heavy question for a book called The Square Root of Summer to tackle, and while this book does deliver on the title's promise of teenage vacation hijinks, romance, and mathematical equations, it also presents a heartrending quandary: How to move forward with a life that has been defined by loss.

Cyndi Lauper, that girl power icon of the eighties, has a new album. Her latest collection of songs takes a distinctly southern turn: It's an album of classic country covers.

"It could have spelled the end for us."

The real White House West Wing felt a bit like the fictional one at the center of the NBC television series The West Wing for a brief moment on Friday afternoon.

Posing as her character C.J. Cregg, who was the press secretary in the critically acclaimed show that ran from 1999 until 2006, actress Allison Janney took a surprise turn on the podium to the delight and surprise of the real White House press corps.

Watching Disney's remake of The Jungle Book, based on Rudyard Kipling's stories, took me straight back to my childhood in India, and to Sunday mornings spent watching an animated series of The Jungle Book in Hindi, on India's national television channel. (It was originally a Japanese series, dubbed in Hindi for an Indian audience.)

Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, the drummer and leader of The Tonight Show's house band The Roots, says he's obsessed with the creative process. His new book, somethingtofoodabout, is a collection of his interviews with chefs about how art and creativity apply to their preparation and presentation of food.

Beyonce's new visual album Lemonade is chock full of images begging to be unpacked, from the Yoruba face paint to the baseball bat named Hot Sauce to the brief shot of a kintsuji bowl.

So now we know who Beyonce's favorite poet is: 27-year-old Somali-Brit Warsan Shire.

The names James Brown and Apollo Theater have practically become synonymous; it's hard to think of one without the other. Beginning in 1963, Brown released three albums recorded there. But there was a fourth — recordings from Sept. 13 and 14, 1972 — that has been buried ever since. Now, Get Down with James Brown: Live At The Apollo Vol. 4 is finally out on vinyl, with a CD to follow this summer.

Prince's sister says that when the musician died suddenly last week, he left no known will. On Tuesday, she asked a Minnesota court to appoint a special administrator to oversee the estate, which may be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. But no matter who the heirs turn out to be, they will be facing some tough choices.

Prince always had an aura of mystery. His death at 57 has only added to the puzzle.

Ed Ronco / KPLU

Edvard Munch loved to paint outdoors.

“He actually left his paintings outside in all kinds of weather,” said Margaret Bullock, curator of collections at the Tacoma Art Museum. “There’s pictures of him painting in the snow, and pictures leaning up against the wall, in snowdrifts.”

They were exposed to salt air. Sand. Dirt. Bird droppings.

“He thought it was good for their character,” Bullock said.

Beyoncé has surprised the world yet again.

In case you missed it, she dropped her sixth studio album during her HBO special "Lemonade." Ahead of the release, she had released this cryptic trailer with such lines as, "The past and the present merge to meet us here / Why can't you see me?"

"Don't touch that!"

"Don't eat that!"

These phrases are well known to children of a certain age.

Little kids don't quite get why eating ice cream for breakfast five days a week is not a good idea. They may be confused about why, exactly, potatoes are food while rocks are, well, not something to put in your mouth. I mean, take a moment to consider that both come from the ground, both are covered in dirt, and both have a shape that could rightly be described as "potato-y."

Editor's note: This week, to mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death, we will be running a series of stories examining the links between food and the Bard. Oh, and in case the headline didn't clue you in, this post contains sexually explicit language.

In Everybody Wants Some!!, high school baseball star Jake arrives at college for his freshman year. He moves into the team house where there's a lot of sitting around, drinking and Ping-Pong.

For this group of guys, the first couple of days before the school year starts are all about meeting girls and figuring out who they're going to be for the rest of the year ... and maybe the rest of their lives. But, really it's about meeting girls.

Chicago's Jazz Record Mart attracts visitors from all over the world. At least, it used to: Last month, owner Bob Koester sold the store, saying he was just too old to run it any more.

Koester began selling used records when he was a teenager in Wichita, Kansas. After moving to Chicago, he opened his own store, as well as his own jazz and blues label, Delmark. But after more than 60 years in business, he decided this spring that it was time to pack it in.

One of the most iconic songs of the civil rights movement is now the subject of a lawsuit.

For Kafka, Even Beer Came With Baggage

Apr 11, 2016

Franz Kafka wrote powerful stories about the powerless — and to make them frightening, he made them funny. Many of his darkest comedies, including the famous one about a salesman metamorphosing into a bug, appear to be rooted in the cowering, but deeply farcical, relationship he had with his domineering father, Hermann.

But if there was a sparkling boyhood memory that Kafka cherished — and recalled as he lay dying of tuberculosis in a sanatarium near Vienna — it was one involving that primal bonding ritual between father and son: sharing a beer.

David Welton / Whidbey Life Magazine

As children, we all have big dreams of what we’ll do with our lives, maybe become a famous painter or an astronaut. But many of us wind up pursuing something more practical, and then it can take a lot of guts to resurrect those childhood dreams later on.

But that's exactly what 82-year-old Larry Shafer has done. After a long legal career as a trial lawyer and municipal court judge, the Whidbey Island resident has spent the past five years reconnecting with his love of music. 

Oh, American Idol. You were too good for this world.

OK, maybe not too good. Maybe too rooted in people voting via telephone calls.

The first teaser trailer for Rogue One -- this year's Star Wars film, slated for release in December — has arrived.

The movie, set between the end of the prequels and the beginning of the original series, is the first stand-alone film in the franchise and centers on the rebel fighters on a mission to steal the plans for the Death Star.

His career spanned the famous Bakersfield sound, the outlaw era, and 38 No. 1 hits on the country music charts. Now comes word that Merle Haggard has died Wednesday — his 79th birthday.

I first noticed it in a neighborhood of Boston aptly called the "Innovation District." On a crumbling corner of an old brick building, there was a gaping hole created by about 15 missing clay bricks, filled in with about 500 Lego blocks.

I was determined to find out who the artist was.

"I don't know!" I was told by folks working in the building. Their property manager had no clue, nor did the people at Lego. "If you hear, let us know," said brand relations manager Amanda Santoro.

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