Originally published on Fri August 7, 2015 8:40 am
Of all the colors in the brilliant paintbox that is Alice Hoffman's latest novel, The Marriage of Opposites, "haint blue" is the most important. Yes, the landscapes and the house interiors and the clothing brim with creams and reds, emeralds and silvers, and blues of every shade prevail. But haint blue alone has the power to ensure there will be "no ghosts, no demons, no sorrow, no separations, no thievery, no witchery, no abductions, no spirits of any kind." It is the color of protection.
Originally published on Thu August 6, 2015 8:54 am
By Sarah D. Bunting
The Lufthansa heist — a pre-dawn raid on a currency vault at Lufthansa's Kennedy Airport hangar on December 11th, 1978, which netted its perpetrators close to $6 million in untraceable bills and jewelry — has all the elements of a classic true-crime book. It's a robbery caper, complete with code names and chase cars (the vehicle that acts as a buffer between the "real" getaway car and law-enforcement pursuers). It's a Mob story. It's an unsolved mystery, witnesses' memories fading after close to 40 years ...
The denouement of a 35-year drama takes place Thursday at the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan. And I trust that my father, virtuoso violinist Roman Totenberg, who died three years ago, will be watching from somewhere.
For decades he played his beloved Stradivarius violin all over the world. And then one day, he turned around and it was gone. Stolen.
While he was greeting well-wishers after a concert, it was snatched from his office at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Mass.
It's blazingly hot outside and five summer fellows from the Tulane City Center are standing in a playground at a youth center in New Orleans. The architecture students diplomatically describe the playground's design as "unintentional": There's no grass, trees or even much shade, and it's surrounded by a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire. The students, both graduate and undergraduate, are there to make the playground a little nicer.
"Right now, it feels like a prison," says Maggie Hansen, the center's interim director.
Originally published on Wed August 5, 2015 3:47 pm
By Jessie Rack
Looking at the painting above, it's easy to imagine the artist spent days, weeks maybe, observing the rain forest to get the details right. Off to the right, a large bird perches on a branch. Turtles and fish swim in the river. Several species of trees reach upward, vying for light through the forest canopy.
The artist painted it all by memory.
But, I am told, he doesn't consider himself an artist.
Tuesday's Television Critics Association press tour presentations from ABC wrapped up with a panel devoted to the network's scripted ace in the hole: Shonda Rhimes, who created Grey's Anatomy and Scandal and is an executive producer of How To Get Away With Murder.
My perennial quest for smart, fun summer reads landed me on Two Across, Jeff Bartsch's debut romantic comedy about a brainy couple whose on-again-off-again relationship begins at age 15, when they tie in the 1960 National Spelling Bee. During their recurrent off periods, they send hidden messages to each other in the clever crossword puzzles they compose for major newspapers.
Originally published on Wed August 19, 2015 6:17 pm
Listen to the Story
I don't want to say a single thing about this book — about Black Chalk,the debut novel from Christopher Yates, who writes like he has 30 books behind him; like he's been doing this so long that lit games and deviltry come to him as natural as breathing.
Weddings and baby showers are real-life milestones to spend with your actual loved ones. True, but in South Korea, a cottage industry exists to help real people find fake friends to fill seats at such life rituals.
At a recent wedding in June, Kim Seyeon showed up as a guest even though she is a total stranger to the bride and groom. She makes about $20 per wedding she attends as a pretend friend.
"When it's the peak wedding season in Korea, sometimes I do two or three acts a day, every weekend," Kim says.