The Red-Baiting Of Lena Horne – And How She Overcame It


“Over the course of her long life, Lena Horne became a star of film, music, television, and stage, as well as a formidable force for civil rights. … Yet there was a brief period in the early 1950s when Horne’s career seemed to be over. … She continued to perform at nightclubs, but nobody in the TV or film industries would hire her.”

All The Stephen Colbert Stuff That Didn’t Make It Into The Time Cover Story


On why he had to leave The Colbert Report: “I still enjoyed it, but to model behavior, you have to consume that behavior on a regular basis. It became very hard to watch punditry of any kind, of whatever political stripe. … To change that expectation from an audience, or to change that need for me to be steeped in cable news and punditry, I had to actually leave. I had to change.” (includes plenty of video clips)

Reflecting On The Harry Potter Generation (Long After Harry Was Done)


“For an entire generation, Harry Potter is a core text; for many, it’s the core text, formative not only because of its content, but because of the collective experience of reading it. The long waits between books, the midnight release parties, the broad cross-cultural anticipation that was near-unprecedented in the book world at the time: for the massive number of people who read them as they were first published, these things are tied up in our memories of reading the books, and our lasting interpretations of their words.”

Why Marion True Should Definitely Write Her Memoir

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Christopher Knight: “Her hesitation is understandable, given the relentless, often inflammatory media glare that accompanied her unprecedented 2005 indictment by an Italian court on charges of being part of a stolen-art ring. … Settling history is more important. A central irony in the case remains unresolved.”

Quentin Tarantino Talks Casting, Barack Obama, And Cinematic Influence

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“I’m a legit filmmaker of my generation who’s leading the pack. Hitchcock saw his techniques done by other people, and that was all great. Spielberg saw his techniques copied – that just means you’re having an impact. … There’s a little part of me that thinks everything is influenced by me, but that’s just my own megalomania.”

Merl Reagle, Beloved Crossword Author, Dies Suddenly At 65

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“‘In the 1980s, a new group of puzzlemakers saw that crosswords were starting to remind them of their worst teachers from grade school,’ Mr. Reagle wrote in a 1997 article for The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Sunday magazine. ‘Wouldn’t it be more fun and attract more solvers if puzzles were a little more playful? Just a smidge trickier and a lot wittier?'”

A Man Who Brought Drumming Into The World’s Spotlight


}Over the years Mr. Rose appeared onstage or on the bill with Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, the Rolling Stones and Peter Gabriel, and he was among those named as ‘living human treasures’ by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. He made his American debut in 1988 with a 30-member version of his orchestra at the Beacon Theater in New York, a performance featuring exuberant dancers and vivid costuming as a complement to the orchestra’s pulsing rhythms.”

Anna Shapiro Running Steppenwolf Theatre: Year Zero


“Shapiro is a star of sorts, the company’s 35th ensemble member (and one of the few nonactors in that group), acclaimed for muscular, lyrical relationship studies, the kind where a chair or two gets thrown. She is a Tony Award winner whose production of ‘August: Osage County’ remains intrinsic to Steppenwolf’s identity. Advance ticket sales alone for ‘Fish in the Dark; ($14.5 million) were about the same as Steppenwolf’s annual operating budget. And for the past few years she has added to her reputation by becoming a Broadway insurance plan of sorts, celebrity-whispering famous actors until they become believable, bankable presences onstage.”

The Man Who Made Tanglewood Chorus Cool


Before John Oliver arrived, choral pieces at Tanglewood were sung by whoever could be corralled among students in all branches of what was then called the Berkshire Music Center, plus anyone regularly at the Berkshires estate and concert venue—including maintenance and cafeteria workers. Auditioning was rudimentary: “Can you carry a tune? Do you have any free time?”

Joseph Scafidi, 94, Longtime Executive Director Of San Francisco Symphony


“Over the course of his long career, the Symphony’s activities grew from an 18-week season to its current year-round schedule, and the annual budget grew from $200,000 to more than $4 million. [He] worked closely with no fewer than five music directors, beginning with the legendary French conductor Pierre Monteux in the 1940s and continuing with Enrique Jordá, Josef Krips, Seiji Ozawa and Edo de Waart.”

Whatever Happened To Marion True?


Within months, she would lose her job, her career and leave the country. Once a curator so coveted she turned down a plum offer from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, True vanished so completely that one former boss, Barry Munitz, admitted in an interview this summer that he had no idea “where she is or what she’s doing.”

Muslim Drag Queen Featured In Documentary Faces Death Threats

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“Asif Quaraishi, an activist for the so-called ‘Gaysian’ community who performs in clubs as the glamorous Asifa Lahore, has received death threats in the past and is concerned about the public reaction to Muslim Drag Queens when it airs [on Britain’s Channel Four] on Monday night.” (includes video)

Why Did The FBI Spy On James Baldwin? (And How Did They Get So Much Wrong?)


“[His] file contains 1,884 pages of documents, collected from 1960 until the early 1970s … [while] the FBI accumulated 276 pages on Richard Wright, 110 pages on Truman Capote, and just nine pages on Henry Miller. … [Yet] what is perhaps most interesting about the Baldwin dossier is that it reads like a long, poorly written novel itself – it is, in every sense, fiction produced by the state.”

Gore Vidal – A Life In Feuds

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Capote. Mailer. Buckley. Hitchens. “As he put it himself,” writes longtime friend Jay Parini, “‘I am at heart a propagandist, a tremendous hater, a tiresome nag, complacently positive that there is no human problem that could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise.’ That he was also a brilliant novelist and essayist was often beside the point.”

Luminato Loses Its Artistic Director


The announcement is brisk and matter of fact. But to me it brings on a rich array of unmentioned questions about timing, possible consequences and future changes in Luminato’s survival strategy.

Was Racism Really Why Nina Simone Wasn’t Admitted To Curtis?


“It’s one of those stories that has lodged in the minds of many for its injustice and irony. Nina Simone – before she was Nina Simone, when she was still an aspiring classical pianist named Eunice Waymon – auditioned for the Curtis Institute of Music and was rejected on grounds of her race.” Yet there is evidence to indicate that she simply didn’t make the cut at an extremely competitive school.

Is David Oyelowo Going To Play James Bond? Sort Of


“His performance will be heard rather than seen – in an audiobook. The announcement on Thursday follows long-standing rumours that Idris Elba is in line to replace Daniel Craig when the latter’s run playing James Bond on the big screen comes to an end, potentially in two movies’ time.”

Why We’re So Fascinated By Whether Shakespeare Smoked Weed


“It’s no wonder then that new claims about Shakespeare’s life draw so much attention. Take, for instance, the alleged discovery of Shakespeare’s dictionary by two New York booksellers, which prompted a piece in The New Yorker questioning the collective hunger for relics tied to the playwright. Articles from earlier this year reported on the claim that a likeness of Shakespeare had been discovered in a late-16th-century botanical book, and still others puzzled over several different portraits purported to depict the “real” Shakespeare. And that’s without even delving into articles about whether Shakespeare was a secret Catholic, or gay, or hey, did he even write any of those plays?”

Tenor Sings During His Own Brain Surgery


“Joined by a pianist in the operating room, Slovenian tenor Ambroz Bajec-Lapajne delivers the first and last couplets of Schubert’s ‘Gute Nacht’ (in major and minor) so doctors could monitor his ability to sing and recognize key changes” – making sure that they didn’t inadvertently damage his brain further during the operation. (video)