Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 8:29 pm
Credit Adam Beckman / IFC Films
Mike Birbiglia's autobiographical comedy Sleepwalk with Me is about at least three things, in ascending order of significance: the lead character's fear of commitment, his wayward efforts to launch a career as a standup comedian, and his strange proclivity for getting out of bed in the middle of the night and making loud, nonsensical proclamations like, "There's a jackal in the room!"
Credit Linda Goldstein Knowlton / Long Shot Factory
Of the roughly 80,000 Chinese children adopted in the United States since 1979, almost all are girls, abandoned at birth by their parents because of China's one-child policy, coupled with inheritance laws that favor boys.
Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 8:09 pm
Credit Samuel Goldwyn Films/Stage 6 Films
Many science-fiction storytellers worry about robots becoming self-aware and destroying us. The moment the artificial beings attain real intelligence, these tales posit, they'll realize we made them too smart and too strong for our own good, and they'll wonder why the superior beings should be relegated to working assembly lines and doing mundane repetitive tasks when they could be ruling the planet.
We're gonna take a global look stroll now, looking at street art, everything from a mural of creepy pink bunnies in San Francisco to a sculpture of a brick train engine stuck in the ground in New Zealand to a street light covered with knitting in Bristol, England. It's all collected on a website and a mobile app that will launch at the end of the month. It's called Big Art Mob and it's the creation of Alfie Dennen, who joins me from London to talk about it.
During the next two weeks, the major political parties will assemble their faithful in Tampa, Fla., and Charlotte, N.C., to officially nominate their presidential tickets. These conventions were once places of high political drama. But over the decades, as the primary system has determined the candidates well in advance, conventions have become political theater. With that in mind, there's much to be said on staging in politics — not substance, but style.
Paul Auster doesn't take living for granted. At 65, the author has had several "near misses," from sliding face-first into a jutting nail as a child to a traumatic car accident that almost killed him, his wife and his daughter.
Auster's new memoir, Winter Journal, is a series of meditations on his life, aging and mortality — including his mother's death.
Amanda Coplin grew up in the apple-growing Wenatchee Valley, on the sunny side of Washington state's Cascade range, surrounded by her grandfather's orchards. Her glorious first novel, inspired by family history, takes you back to the days when you could buy what are now considered heirloom apples — Arkansas Blacks and Rhode Island Greenings — from the man who grew them, from bushel baskets lugged into town by mule-drawn wagon. Seattle and Tacoma were mere villages, and train travel was the new-tech way to go.