Arts & Culture

Arts & culture

Mark Medoff, whose Tony Award-winning play Children of a Lesser God opened the stage for deaf actresses, died Tuesday at his home in Las Cruces, N.M., at the age of 79.

He had been suffering from multiple myeloma and renal failure, the Associated Press reported, citing his daughter Jessica Bunchman.

Medoff wrote 30 plays and is best known for the groundbreaking Children of a Lesser God, the story of a young deaf woman and her love affair with her speech teacher.

It's the stuff of a Hollywood blockbuster: Five hundred years ago, a son of Christopher Columbus assembled one of the greatest libraries the world has ever known. The volumes inside were mostly lost to history. Now, a precious book summarizing the contents of the library has turned up in a manuscript collection in Denmark.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

In Northern California, many survivors of the wildfire that destroyed the town of Paradise are now struggling with the psychological scars from everything they endured. Stephanie O'Neill has more.

STEPHANIE O'NEILL, BYLINE: For Carol Holcomb, last November 8 started as just another beautiful fall day in Paradise, Calif. And then she heard what sounded like raindrops hitting her roof, so she stepped outside to investigate.

Titanic Rising, Natalie Mering's latest album from her long-running project Weyes Blood, invites the listener in with a comforting, somewhat nostalgic sound. But beneath that warm, dream-pop bed of music is a flood of anxieties about climate change, finding love and a friend's suicide.

Many years ago, I worked as an academic day laborer on Philadelphia's Main Line. For those unfamiliar with it, the Main Line — developed in the late 19th century along a railroad route west of the city — was, for decades, a quietly grand stretch of lavish estates, private schools, and cricket and golf clubs catering to Philadelphia's old money. The classic 1940 romantic comedy, The Philadelphia Story, starring Katharine Hepburn as a snooty socialite, was set on the Main Line.

After weeks of hand-wringing, vote-wrangling and even some stern finger-wagging from the Department of Justice, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has declined to pursue a controversial proposal to change the Oscars' eligibility rules.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I often refer to my grandson as an ambulatory antidepressant, a vivacious antidote to a time of life that has included the loss of my parents and the constant lashing of worrisome news.

Anna Quindlen ascribes similar jolts of joy to her grandson in her latest book, Nanaville: Adventures in Grandparenting: "Sometimes Arthur sees me and yells 'Nana!' in the way some people might say 'ice cream!' and others say 'shoe sale!' No one else has sounded that happy to see me in many many years."

When Timothy Masters got his first chickens a decade ago, it was easy. He lives "way out in the country" in Pennsylvania, away from urban regulations about keeping chickens in backyards. He built a chicken coop and got three hens to provide eggs for him and his wife. "It was the perfect number for us," he says.

That's when the catalogs began to arrive.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Winter is finally over. And you know what season comes after winter?

KELLI WESSINGER, BYLINE: It's baseball season, baby. (Laughter).

Mourning Has Broken Them: 'Avengers: Endgame'

20 hours ago

Let's start with a bit of service journalism: Going into Avengers: Endgame, one would be well-advised to manage both one's expectations, and — given its three-hour-plus, intermissionless runtime — one's fluid intake.

At my baby's six-month appointment a few months back, I got a one-pager from the pediatrician titled "Starting Solid Foods."

"It is critical that the baby develop a taste for rice cereal at the beginning, to offset the loss of iron from formula or breast milk," it reads.

Sounds serious. Then come the all caps: "THE FIRST TWO WEEKS OF FEEDING GIVE RICE CEREAL ONLY." That is followed by advice to introduce pureed vegetables before fruits so the baby doesn't develop a sweet tooth.

I obediently went out and bought some sand-textured baby cereal. (Organic, of course.)

Writing about Melinda Gates' philanthropic manifesto The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World poses a certain critical challenge. What are the terms on which to evaluate a book that is equal parts memoir and mission statement, inspirational slide deck and social critique? What is the book trying to achieve?

Shakespeare's King Lear is one of the most challenging and prestigious roles in theater — and one that's traditionally played by a man.

But now a new production of King Lear on Broadway stars Glenda Jackson in its title role. The British actor, who is 82, is fine with the gender bending casting.

"When we're born, we teach babies ... to be boys or girls," Jackson says. "As we get older, those absolute barriers that define gender begin to crack."

We welcome back an influential and iconic musician to the punk and hardcore scene, Bob Mould. After blazing trails in the '80s with Hüsker Dü, and in the '90s with Sugar, Mould has had a successful solo career for the last 25 years. His latest album, Sunshine Rock, is an intentional look away from the politics of now and instead a look back to the albums he loved as a youth.

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