Mandalit del Barco

Nikkolas Smith calls himself an "artivist": an artist and an activist. For the past seven years, the Los Angeles-based concept artist has celebrated and mourned Black lives in his work. He says he's following the lead of the late singer Nina Simone, who advised it's the artist's duty to reflect the times.

"I'm always looking at what's going in the world and trying to reflect that," Smith says. "There are so many Black lives that have just been taken from this Earth. I've been trying to trying to process how that made me feel as a Black man."

Next year's Academy Awards ceremony will be postponed for two months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of February 28, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and ABC announced the televised ceremony will be held now on April 25.

"For over a century, movies have played an important role in comforting, inspiring, and entertaining us during the darkest of times. They certainly have this year," academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said in a statement.

The cameras are once again allowed to roll in Los Angeles starting Friday, months after the coronavirus pandemic shut down Hollywood. State and county officials gave the green light for film and TV productions to resume as long as they follow new health and safety protocols.

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Feature films will no longer be able to double dip from both the Oscars and the Emmys, says the Television Academy. In a statement, the academy said it supports a recent decision by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences board of governors. That board decided to relax its rules for the 2021 Oscars in response to movie theaters being closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

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There's really no deep meaning behind the songs on Go Banana Go!'s debut album, Hi-YA! Band member Brian Wecht says the songs were mostly written with the simple goal of helpi

Author Nguyen Phan Que Mai is a poet and world traveler whose first novel, The Mountains Sing, is about four generations of a Vietnamese family enduring many hardships — something she understands well.

The 47-year-old writer was born in North Vietnam, but grew up in a small village in the South, destitute, hungry and horrified by the ruins of war. "As a child, I saw so many people with missing limbs," she recalls. "I saw mothers without children, people committing suicide because their loved ones didn't come back."

With movie theaters closed around the world because of the coronavirus pandemic, Warner Brothers is postponing the openings of some of its big summer movies, including Wonder Woman 1984. It was originally set for June 5. Now, it will hit theaters on Aug. 14.

Before movie theaters went dark and Hollywood film and TV productions were shuttered because of the coronavirus pandemic, Amazon was shooting its new billion-dollar Lord of the Rings series in New Zealand. James Cameron was there working on four sequels to Avatar. In London, Disney was about to begin filming its new live-action version of The Little Mermaid. And Warner Brothers was in Europe shooting The Matrix 4 and The Batman.

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With movie theaters closed because of the coronavirus, Universal Pictures is letting homebound viewers rent its newest films online - films that otherwise would have been on the big screen. NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports.

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Here in Los Angeles yesterday, fans, friends and family of the late basketball star Kobe Bryant paid their respects at the Staples Center. NPR's Mandalit del Barco was at the memorial, and she filed this report.

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