Arts

Author Interviews
5:32 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

American Literature And The 'Mythos Of The Boozing Writer'

The title of Olivia Laing's new book was taken from Tennessee Williams' 1955 play, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.
John Lent AP

Originally published on Sun January 12, 2014 1:24 pm

There is a long history of alcoholism in American literature. The heavy drinking of writers like Ernest Hemingway and Hart Crane inspired a kind of myth of the American writer as a genius armed with a typewriter and a bottle of whiskey. The success of writers like Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald also gave rise to the belief that alcohol somehow stoked their creativity.

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Theater
5:32 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

Bringing 'Dead Authors' To Life For Book-Smart Comedy

The late science fiction author H. G. Wells, shown here in 1944, is the ostensible time-traveling host of the Dead Authors Podcast. Comedian Paul F. Tompkins plays the role at the Upright Citizens' Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles.
Erich Auerbach Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 6:40 pm

H.G. Wells looks remarkably good for having died in 1946.

That's because he's being played by comedian Paul F. Tompkins.

Tompkins assumes the role every month for a series called "Dead Authors" at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles.

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Movie Interviews
12:37 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

'Osage' Hits Close To Home For Writer Tracy Letts

From left, Meryl Streep, Julianne Nicholson and Juliette Lewis star in August: Osage County.
Claire Folger The Weinstein Company

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 12:53 pm

The movie August: Osage County has just opened, with its all-star cast.

Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch and more play various members of the Weston clan. They converge on their Oklahoma home when the patriarch, Beverly, who is a poet somewhat past his rhymes, goes missing.

His wife, Violet, gobbles pills, some of which are for the pain of mouth cancer and some of which are just because.

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Author Interviews
10:05 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Healing The Wounds Of Memory's 'Impossible Knife'

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 12:53 pm

Hayley Kincain is 15 years old and on the run — with her father, Andy.

He's come home from the war in Iraq, both honored for his service and haunted by it. He drinks and does drugs, can't hold a job, is unreliable behind the wheel of his big rig, and often seems to be the real adolescent in the family. Father and daughter try to stop running by moving back to Andy's hometown in upstate New York. But the war still goes on inside of him, and threatens to make Hayley one more casualty.

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Book Reviews
7:02 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Finding Flight In 'The Invention Of Wings'

Robyn Golding iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 1:32 pm

I don't remember how old I was when I discovered some of the more harrowing chapters of human history — the Holocaust and American slavery — but I do remember convincing my young self that I would have been brave had I lived in those times. I would have hidden my Jewish friend Anne Frank; I would have been a station on the Underground Railroad. I would have stood up for humanity and against injustice.

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Author Interviews
5:32 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Doctorow Ruminates On How A 'Brain' Becomes A Mind

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 1:55 pm

When does our brain become our mind? Our heart? How does it become us, whatever we are? And how do we live with memories when they begin to burst inside?

E.L. Doctorow's new novel is called Andrew's Brain, and it plunges inside the brain of a man who tells the story of trying to outrun the memories rattling around in there, of a disaster he blames on himself, a daughter he couldn't hold close, and an indelible crime that overwhelms his world.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
6:30 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Political Consultant Mary Matalin Plays Not My Job

George Long Photography

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 12:14 pm

In September we played the Not My Job game with James Carville, a laconic, Cajun from Louisiana and lifelong Democrat. And now we play the game with his exact opposite — a high-intensity Chicagoan and lifelong Republican named Mary Matalin. The best part is: they're married.

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This Week's Must Read
6:27 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

As Zamata Joins 'SNL,' A Look At — And Beyond — The Prism Of Race

iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 7:19 pm

This week the long-running comedy show Saturday Night Live hired Sasheer Zamata as a new cast member. The show had come under criticism for its lack of diversity, especially its lack of black women; Zamata will be the show's first female African-American cast member in six years.

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The Salt
5:09 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

American Beer Fans, Praise The Heavens: A Trappist Brewery In U.S.

Spencer Trappist Ale, made by the first official Trappist brewery outside Europe, will go on sale next week in Massachusetts.
Nick Hiller The Spencer Brewery

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 4:27 pm

The town of Spencer, in central Massachusetts, isn't well known for ... well, anything, really. But it's about to become internationally famous — at least in beer-drinking circles.

Spencer is home to St. Joseph's Abbey, where robed monks are busy brewing the first American Trappist beer. If all goes as planned, Spencer Trappist Ale will be available in Massachusetts retail stores by the middle of next week.

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Movie Interviews
5:09 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Cate Blanchett Finds Humor In The Painfully Absurd

Laugh Riot: Blanchett, pictured here at a Hollywood screening of Blue Jasmine on Jan. 9, tells NPR's Robert Siegel that she read the film as a black comedy. It wasn't until three weeks into filming that director Woody Allen told her it was meant to be a serious drama.
Valerie Macon Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 7:19 pm

The actress Cate Blanchett is in the States this week; it's summer vacation time for her kids in Australia, where she and her husband are artistic directors of the Sydney Theatre Company.

It's also awards season, and Blanchett makes a compelling claim for one: She plays the title role in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine, for which she's earned near-unanimous acclaim.

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