The Boston Citgo sign, all 3,600 square LED feet of which has served as the backdrop to Red Sox games since 1965, is now officially a "pending landmark."

Spanish Surrealist Salvador Dalí spent much of the 1940s in the U.S., avoiding World War II and its aftermath. He was a well-known fixture on the art scene in Monterey, Calif. — and that's where the largest collection of Dalí's work on the West Coast is now open to the public.

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The middle of summer is when the surprises in publishing turn up. I'm talking about those quietly commanding books that publishers tend to put out now, because fall and winter are focused on big books by established authors. Which brings us to The Dream Life of Astronauts, by Patrick Ryan, a very funny and touching collection of nine short stories that take place in the 1960s and '70s around Cape Canaveral, Fla.

When the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union last month, the seaside town of Port Talbot in Wales eagerly went along with the move. Brexit was approved by some 57 percent of the town's residents.

Now some of them are wondering if they made the wrong decision.

The June 23 Brexit vote has raised questions about the fate of the troubled Port Talbot Works, Britain's largest surviving steel plant — a huge, steam-belching facility that has long been the town's biggest employer.

Solar Impulse 2 has landed in Cairo, completing the penultimate leg of its attempt to circumnavigate the globe using only the power of the sun.

The trip over the Mediterranean included a breathtaking flyover of the Pyramids. Check it out:

President Obama is challenging Americans to have an honest and open-hearted conversation about race and law enforcement. But even as he sits down at the White House with police and civil rights activists, Obama is mindful of the limits of that approach.

"I've seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change," the president said Tuesday at a memorial service for five law officers killed last week in Dallas. "I've seen how inadequate my own words have been."

Mice watching Orson Welles movies may help scientists explain human consciousness.

At least that's one premise of the Allen Brain Observatory, which launched Wednesday and lets anyone with an Internet connection study a mouse brain as it responds to visual information.

The FBI says it is giving up on the D.B. Cooper investigation, 45 years after the mysterious hijacker parachuted into the night with $200,000 in a briefcase, becoming an instant folk figure.

"Following one of the longest and most exhaustive investigations in our history," the FBI's Ayn Dietrich-Williams said in a statement, "the FBI redirected resources allocated to the D.B. Cooper case in order to focus on other investigative priorities."

This is the first in a series of essays concerning our collective future. The goal is to bring forth some of the main issues humanity faces today, as we move forward to uncertain times. In an effort to be as thorough as possible, we will consider two kinds of threats: those due to natural disasters and those that are man-made. The idea is to expose some of the dangers and possible mechanisms that have been proposed to deal with these issues. My intention is not to offer a detailed analysis for each threat — but to invite reflection and, hopefully, action.


Adolescent Angst Turns Deadly In 'Stoker'

Feb 28, 2013

It's a mark of a great filmmaker when a movie is felt first and understood later, allowing audiences to intuit their way through a fog of mystery and sensuality before finally getting a clear view of the landscape. Best known for an operatic trio of revenge thrillers — the second, Oldboy, won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2004 and a fervent cult following — South Korean genre maestro Park Chan-wook expresses florid emotion in cool, impeccable, gothic language.

His images are arresting and often graphic, but they're cut together with a metronomic precision that has the effect of softening the shock while suggesting some hidden meaning. For a director whose most YouTubed sequence involves a man thwacking a gantlet of attackers with a hammer, his style is the furthest thing from blunt.

Working from a script by Wentworth Miller, the British-American actor who co-starred in the Fox show Prison Break, Park makes his English-language debut with Stoker, and has no trouble importing his aesthetic to foreign shores. With Alfred Hitchcock's classic Shadow of a Doubt serving as a template, Miller and Park weave a coming-of-age tale through a tangled, murderous thicket of family history. As in Hitchcock, the threat arrives in the form of a diabolical lost "uncle," but here the suspense comes from how the family will accommodate the darkness he represents, especially a teenager who isn't fully certain who she is.

Played with perfect opacity by Mia Wasikowska, India Stoker goes beyond the profile of a typical sullen high-schooler, in part because her beloved father (Dermot Mulroney) has just died in a car accident. Without her father to serve as a buffer, India's relationship with her frosty mother, Evelyn (Nicole Kidman), deteriorates further, and she's cocooned by feelings of grief and resentment. The arrival of her worldly Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode), a charming slickster she never knew existed, offers a sense of danger and possibility that's not entirely unwelcome to her.

Evelyn swoons shamelessly over her husband's brother before the body is even cold, but Charlie takes a keener interest in India, who responds to the attention even as it terrifies and repulses her. India and her mother enter into a twisted sexual rivalry as more information about Charlie's past comes to light and other people disappear under suspicious circumstances. Though revelations about Charlie inevitably follow, the true question is which way India's development will break. What kind of adult is she going to be?

Once revealed, the answers to this and other questions are disappointingly banal, leaving the thinness of Miller's script wholly exposed. There turns out to be a simple explanation for everyone's behavior, including that of India, whose final actions bear the unmistakable imprint of armchair psychology. But along the way, Stoker's ultimate wispiness makes Park's achievement all the more impressive: He's the magician pulling a deft sleight of hand, waiting until the very last moment to reveal that all is illusion.

For her part, Wasikowska makes a deft assistant, his partner in bewitching obfuscation. Horror thrillers can be great vehicles for coming-of-age storiesCarrie leaps immediately to mind — because that period of great emotional intensity can also manifest itself as fear and volatility. Stoker treats India's uncertainty as a simmer of warring passions, with the deep hurt and vulnerability of a child on one end, and the dark forces of incest and murder on the other. For as long as Park and Wasikowska keep it burbling, it's an intoxicating brew.

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