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.


A Poignant Voyage On 'The Pirogue'

Jan 22, 2013

The journey from Senegal and poverty to Europe and supposed prosperity takes seven days by fishing boat. The Pirogue spends only about an hour on open water, but that's enough to convey the risks that make the trip foolish, and the desperation that makes it inevitable.

The movie, the third fiction feature by Senegalese director Moussa Toure, doesn't offer many surprises. What distinguishes it is not the depiction of danger and loss at sea, but a deep understanding of West African culture. Unlike such glib Hollywood issue pictures as Blood Diamond, The Pirogue is rich with authentic details.

That's established by the vivid opening sequence, a wrestling match whose rituals are as complex as those of Japanese sumo. This prologue introduces skilled fisherman Baye Laye (Souleymane Seye Ndiaye) and his close friend, Kaba (Babacar Oualy), who also fishes but dreams of soccer stardom. When Baye Laye returns home, he encounters his slacker brother, spiky-haired Abou (Malamine Drame), an aspiring musician who has no interest in the sort of work available in Senegal.

A local "emigration facilitator" offers Baye Laye the helm of a flat-bottomed pirogue, a large-ish but clearly not ocean-worthy craft, that's headed to Spain. At first he declines, preferring to stay with his wife and child. But he reconsiders when he learns that both Kaba and Abou are planning to make the voyage. Baye Laye's sailing skills just might preserve their lives.

Counting the captain and the trip's supervisor, Lansana (Laity Fall), there will be 30 men aboard. Some have never seen the Atlantic before, and many can't swim. They are of two different nationalities and speak three different languages, and while most are Muslim, they practice their faith differently. Adding to the discord is a stowaway who's discovered after the boat begins its passage: Nafy (Mame Astou Diallo) is a woman, which unsettles some of the more superstitious passengers.

What transpires during the rest of the trip, however, can't be attributed to bad luck. It's just a typically hazardous struggle to make a crossing that — an end note estimates — has doomed 5,000 of the 30,000 Africans who've attempted it.

A few characters are sketched in simple but moving strokes. A first-time ocean traveler, terrified, howls and clutches his pet chicken. A man who lost his leg in a boat collision wants nothing more from Europe than a prosthesis.

With 31 souls on the pirogue, Toure can't distinguish them all. But he, like a savvy silent-film director, cast for distinctive faces. In widescreen digital video, the film evocatively contrasts open sea (shot mostly in a broad section of river Toure calls "my 'natural studio' ") with close-ups. "Faces never lie," he says.

Cinematography, often a limitation of African cinema, is not one of The Pirogue's weaknesses. Less surprisingly, neither is the score. Prince Ibrahima Ndour's compositions are soulful, versatile and, of course, rhythmic. Like that wrestling scene, Ndour's music is a pungent reminder of what the emigrants will lose, even if they win their bout with the sea.

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