Roughly three-quarters of South Africa's Jewish population are descendants of Lithuanian immigrants. Of these peasants, townspeople, tradesmen, shopkeepers and intellectuals who fled centuries of persecution and embarked on a passage to Africa, many dreamed of a new land and the promise of new beginnings. Kenneth Bonert's ancestors were part of this diaspora. In his debut novel, written in language as dense and varied as the South African landscape he describes, Bonert delivers a taut, visceral account of a young Jewish boy's African life.
The Fisk Jubilee Singers are known worldwide for their flawless voices and stellar performances of Negro spirituals. They're from Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., but they travel around the world to perform their music. Negro spirituals were originally sung by slaves and remain tightly linked to African-American culture. Paul Kwami, the choir's musical director, said singing these spirituals was a way for slaves to lament their servitude, along with the hope of being free one day.
Daisy (Saoirse Ronan) is just a typical teen struggling with boys, family and growing up — and also what might be the apocalypse.
Credit Nicola Dove / Magnolia Pictures
Because it serves up Armageddon with a side order of teen romance, How I Live Now is not always credible. But as a portrait of a surly 16-year-old whose internal crisis is overtaken by an external one, the movie is persuasive.
For that, credit goes partly to director Kevin Macdonald, but mostly to his star, Saoirse Ronan. Playing a neurotic urbanite who learns to survive in a war-ravaged landscape, the actress is, appropriately enough, a force of nature.
Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 2:22 pm
By Ian Buckwalter
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and his hammer are back for a supernatural sequel, battling the forces of evil again — this time without his fellow Avengers.
Credit Jay Maidment / Marvel
Audiences for Thor: The Dark World may initially be confused as to whether they accidentally wandered into a preview screening of the next installment in the Hobbit series.
The opening prologue — a solemn Anthony Hopkins narrates an epic tale of ancient wars between the forces of good and a race of evil elves — feels like pure Tolkien, and with good reason: the Norse mythologies that inspired the Lord of the Rings author also informed Marvel Comics' Stan Lee and Larry Lieber as they went about developing their godlike superhero.
For six decades, in her light-filled studio on top of New York's Carnegie Hall, portrait photographer Editta Sherman photographed celebrities from Leonard Bernstein to Yul Brynner to Joe DiMaggio. She was a legend — and she'd tell you that herself. Sherman died Friday at 101.
A note on her website reads: "Editta Sherman's vibrant sparkling life faded from this earth on November 1st, All Saints Day. She is at peace now and she is clothed in her ballerina dress with her diamond shoes dancing her way home to our hearts."
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is actually on her way to St. Louis Public Radio. Coming up, we'll take a look at the Arab Spring through street art, paintings and photographs. We'll hear from the curator and a featured artist from a new exhibit at the Arab American National Museum. But first, as I just mentioned, TELL ME MORE is taking the show to St. Louis tomorrow.
In the U.S., graffiti is often condemned as vandalism. But during the Arab Spring, artists say city walls were often the only places where they could talk back to tyrants.
Street art can be found across the Middle East and North Africa, and the Arab Spring protests inspired an artistic revolution. The "Creative Dissent" exhibit at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan is putting that art on display.