Arts

Arts and culture

Chuckanut Writers Conference, an annual celebration of writing in Bellingham, June 23-24, with Washington State Poet Laureate Tod Marshall, Kathleen Dean Moore, Daniel James Brown, Ijeoma Oluo, and more.

The cars were piled on top of each other and bleeding onto the curb of the highway as they inched west and north towards the Lake Ann Park parking lot, each blasting their favorite from the windows; families walked down the trail and under the tunnel beneath the highway they'd just come from, holding the strings of the purple balloons floating just behind them; families walking back to their cars had no balloons and little expression. Altars of brown paper lanterns, unlit during the overcast day, peppered the path towards the off-white, square-paneled compound.

In California, an extremely wet winter put an end to the state's record-breaking drought. Heavy rainfall also produced welcome spring scenes — like replenished reservoirs and fields in bloom.

"It's a completely different look," says Justin Sullivan, a Getty Images photographer who took before-and-after style photos of drought-stricken areas. "It's just like a velvety green, lush landscape now — compared to just dry, brown, almost like a moonscape before."

When Prince first signed with Warner Bros. Records, he didn't want to be categorized as a black musician. This was the late 1970s, before music by black artists was widely marketed to multiracial audiences; before kids in every household in America were glued to their screens watching "Thriller" on MTV.

Before Comedy Central's celebrity roasts, before American Idol's Simon Cowell, before Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, one man abused people on TV and in clubs like no other — as one emcee introduced him, "the Sultan of Insults, the Merchant of Venom, the pussy cat with claws, Mr. Don Rickles!"

Rickles died of kidney failure Thursday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 90.

The new animated movie, Boss Baby, was No. 1 at the box office last weekend. But before it was a full-length film, starring the voice of Alec Baldwin, it was a 32-page picture book written by award-winning author and illustrator Marla Frazee.

Frazee is a big name for young readers and their parents — the imagination behind Seven Silly Eaters and All the World. Her illustrations have earned two Caldecott Honors.

NPR Ed spoke with Frazee about the book and the new animated hit it inspired. The story of the Boss Baby is simple, she says:

In 1997 Talvin Singh, a British musician of Indian origin finished putting together a 12-track record with the help of his friend Sam Zaman, better known as the performer State of Bengal. Along with a few of their own compositions, the tracks were produced by musicians who were British nationals from families that had emigrated from South Asian countries such as Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Gary Austin, who created and led one of improvisational theater's most influential troupes, the Groundlings, died Saturday at the age of 75 of cancer.

Austin was a writer, director, and musical performer whose students comprised a virtual Who's Who of modern comedy, including many cast members of Saturday Night Live.

As Deadline Hollywood reported,

Filmmaker Maysaloun Hamoud does not like being typecast.

"The Israelis say, you don't look Arab or Palestinian," she says, rolling her eyes. "Huh? If I wear a dress or outfit that [doesn't look] religious, I cannot be a Palestinian? I have to be, like, exactly how you design me?"

Hamoud is 35, wearing a long skirt, tank top and rose-tinted sunglasses. The title of her acclaimed and controversial film Bar Bahar — or In Between in English — is tattooed in Arabic and English on her right forearm.

Kayla Roberts

Necessity drove more women to the workplace in the 20th century. Ambition - and just being good at their jobs - kept them there. But women were held to different standards, and this is especially obvious in dress codes throughout the early and mid-1900s.

Alice Miller has been collecting women’s work uniforms for 20 years. She has more than 150 outfits dating from 1909 to 2014.

Designers are rolling out their spring lines and the runways are looking more diverse than ever. But the comparative abundance of models who are people of color didn't happen overnight.

There was the occasional — very occasional — model who wasn't white in the 50s and early 60s on runways. But African-American models put American couture on the map in 1973 when they walked the runway in France in what's become known as The Battle of Versailles.

On a bitterly cold day in February 1846, the French writer Victor Hugo was on his way to work when he saw something that affected him profoundly.

A thin young man with a loaf of bread under his arm was being led away by police. Bystanders said he was being arrested for stealing the loaf. He was dressed in mud-spattered clothes, his bare feet thrust into clogs, his ankles wrapped in bloodied rags in lieu of stockings.

"It made me think," wrote Hugo. "The man was no longer a man in my eyes but the specter of la misère, of poverty."

Chuck Berry, the legendary musician who was one of the founders of rock and roll, died Saturday night at age 90. Almost immediately, the tributes started rolling in from some of the most famous names in music.

Derek Walcott's work explored the beauty of his Caribbean homeland and its brutal colonial history. The prolific, Nobel Prize-winning poet and playwright died Friday at his home in St. Lucia. He was 87.

Walcott wrote dozens of books of poetry and plays, among them his epic poem Omeros and his Obie-winning drama, Dream on Monkey Mountain.

Artist Carolyn Sherer stands in front of the portrait she made of Lucy, a 15-year-old girl who identifies as trans. The portrait is part of a National Portrait Gallery exhibition touring the country, on display at the Tacoma Art Museum through May 14.
Ed Ronco / KNKX

Carolyn Sherer wants you to meet Lucy.

Lucy is a 15-year-old girl who self-identifies as trans. She’s wearing a dress of white and tan stripes with a darker print on top. And she’s not actually here in person. Lucy is the subject of a photograph Sherer made. And at the moment, Lucy is at the Tacoma Art Museum.

What inspired realpolitik bare-knuckler Niccolo Machiavelli to compose his 16th century masterwork, The Prince? The real question might not be what, but whom? Cesare Borgia stands as the best candidate, at least according to In the Name of the Family, historical novelist Sarah Dunant's second work (after Blood and Beauty) devoted to the tightly knit Borgia clan. The family dominated the military, political and religious affairs of the period.

We watched more than 6,000 videos. Ten judges weighed in. Now, the 2017 Tiny Desk Contest has a winner.

Updated at 4:10 p.m. ET

A literary treasure buried for more than a century has been unearthed by Zachary Turpin, a grad student at the University of Houston.

Larry Coryell, the jazz guitarist known as the "Godfather of Fusion," died Sunday night at a hotel in New York City, according to his publicist. He was 73.

Coryell was still performing more than 50 years after his first recordings. He played at New York jazz club Iridium on Friday and Saturday nights, and had plans for a summer tour with his fusion group The Eleventh House.

Updated at 3 p.m. ET

Al Jarreau, a versatile vocalist who defied categorization for decades, died Sunday morning at the age of 76. Earlier this week, Jarreau had been hospitalized in Los Angeles "due to exhaustion," according to his official Facebook page.

Seattle Symphony

The Seattle Symphony put on a concert celebrating immigrants. The performance, which took less than a week to assemble, was called "Music Beyond Borders: Voices From The Seven."

The title refers to President Donald Trump's executive order temporarily banning travel from seven majority-Muslim countries. The concert sold out, and more than a million and a half people watched it online. 

Seattle Symphony President and CEO Simon Woods talked about the concert with knkx on the phone.

Mary Tyler Moore played the girl who could turn the world on with her smile. The actress is beloved for two TV roles: the single young professional Mary Richards on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and before that, the earnest homemaker Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show.

Moore died Wednesday at the age of 80, her longtime representative told NPR.

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When the nominees for the 2017 Academy Awards were announced this morning, La La Land racked up 14 nods, tying records held by Titanic and All About Eve.

With no shortage of material to work with, Saturday Night Live satirized a packed week in American politics, reiterating themes imparted by critics for months.

The episode kicked off by lampooning Russia's role in influencing the U.S. election.

Buzzed-about projects like the musical film La La Land and FX's TV comedy Atlanta won big at Sunday's Golden Globe awards. But the most powerful moment of the night belonged to Meryl Streep, who used her acceptance speech for the honorary Cecil B. deMille Award of the 2017 Golden Globes, to deliver a harsh rebuke of President-elect Donald Trump and to advocate for press freedom.

Lara Lavi stands in the atrium of the Columbia City Theater, celebrating its centennial in 2017. She's co-owned and managed this space for about a year.
Ed Ronco / knkx

The Columbia City Theater, in Seattle, turns 100 years old this year. At various times throughout its history it's been part of Seattle's booming 1940s jazz scene, a neighborhood movie theater, a home for the punk movement, and an art commune. 

It closed.

It reopened in 2010.

Today, it's a music venue and bar. Its owners plan to celebrate its centennial throughout the year.

Early in the New Year, when most people are trying to stick to their resolutions, bakers are finalizing plans for gingerbread house contests nearly 12 months away. There are recipes to tinker with—a choice between "construction grade" gingerbread and the more delicious, softer variety—blueprints to create, and often hundreds of hours of work before houses are ready to be entered in a contest.

Amy Harris / Invision/AP

The late rapper Tupac Shakur and Seattle-based rockers Pearl Jam lead a class of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees that also include folkie Joan Baez and 1970s favorites Journey, Yes and Electric Light Orchestra.

The rock hall also said Tuesday it would give a special award to Nile Rodgers, whose disco-era band Chic failed again to make the cut after its 11th time nominated.

Baez will be inducted only months after her 1960s paramour, Bob Dylan, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Updated at 11:41 p.m. ET

Zsa Zsa Gabor — the woman who probably inspired the term "famous for being famous" — died on Sunday, according to multiple media outlets. She was 99 years old, just two months shy of her 100th birthday.

NPR confirmed Gabor's death with her publicist, Edward Lozzi, who issued the following statement:

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