Arts

7:03am

Wed March 6, 2013
Book Reviews

No Ordinary 'Acrobat': An Unconventional History Of The Circus

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 9:05 am

Whenever I think of the circus (which, admittedly, is rarely), the first thing that comes to mind is Bruce Davidson's famous photograph of a forlorn clown smoking a cigarette and clutching a fistful of wilted flowers in the mud outside a ratty circus tent. Fittingly, I first saw this striking image on the cover of Heinrich Boll's 1963 novel, The Clown. The titular protagonist isn't the creepy backyard children's entertainer we've come to associate with the form. He's troubled and high-strung, and sees himself first and foremost as an artist — and something of a mystic, to boot.

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6:28am

Wed March 6, 2013
Book Reviews

Second-Person Narrator Tells Readers 'How To' Live, Love — And Get Filthy Rich

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 10:08 am

Getty Images

This is not the first time Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid has taken a risky approach to a novel. His The Reluctant Fundamentalist was written entirely in the second person. The bearded narrator of that book sits at a tea stall in Lahore, talking about his drift toward extremism while directly addressing "you," the reader, who is taken to be an increasingly jumpy and terrified American across the table.

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3:31am

Wed March 6, 2013
Author Interviews

In Sly Self-Help Novel, Selling Clean Water Gets You 'Filthy Rich'

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 11:18 am

iStockphoto.com

Mohsin Hamid's newest novel, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, takes its structure from the genre of self-help tutorials. Chapter 1: Move to the City. Chapter 2: Get an Education. Chapter 3: Don't Fall in Love (the book's nameless protagonist, who transforms from rural peasant to corporate tycoon, fails to follow this last directive). After all, the dogged pursuit of success doesn't happen in a vacuum.

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3:25am

Wed March 6, 2013
Kitchen Window

The Caraway Seed Is A Spice Worth Meeting

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 12:42 pm

Domenica Marchetti for NPR

I've always thought caraway to be an underappreciated spice. It holds none of the historical significance of cinnamon, cloves, pepper or other prized spices that for centuries drove commerce among Asia, Africa and Europe (and that ultimately led to the discovery of the Americas).

In flavor, it lacks the Mediterranean perfume of its cousin fennel or the allure of cumin, another close relative. Its aroma is sharp and slightly aggressive, and if you bite into a seed on its own, there is, at first, a certain soapiness to its flavor.

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6:02pm

Tue March 5, 2013
Movie Reviews

'Dead Man Down': A Gang-War Drama That's Practically D.O.A.

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 12:17 pm

Victor and Beatrice (Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace) are two central cogs in the multiethnic New York City revenge war that rages throughout Dead Man Down.
John Baer FilmDistrict

Dead Man Down is the first American film from Niels Arden Oplev, director of the original Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but it's not very American. This twisty existential thriller is set in a New York City that's as sun-deprived as Stockholm in January — and one in which nearly everyone speaks English as a second language.

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5:29pm

Tue March 5, 2013
Theater

For This Pair Of Clowns, 'Old Hats' Means New Laughs

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 7:14 pm

Nellie McKay, David Shiner and Bill Irwin use old-time comedy, newfangled tricks and zany music to score laughs in their new theatrical revue, Old Hats.
Joan Marcus

Twenty years ago, theatrical clowns Bill Irwin and David Shiner collaborated on a Broadway show called Fool Moon — a giddy mixture of slapstick, improv and audience participation that proved such a success that it came back to Broadway for two more runs and toured both the U.S. and Europe. Now Irwin and Shiner have put together a new show called Old Hats, and it's been receiving rave reviews off-Broadway.

Irwin and Shiner's rubber-faced, loose-bodied clowning hasn't gotten easier over two decades.

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2:14pm

Tue March 5, 2013
Author Interviews

'Out Of Order' At The Court: O'Connor On Being The First Female Justice

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 4:15 pm

Sandra Day O'Connor is sworn in as an associate justice by Chief Justice Warren Burger on Sept. 25, 1981. Holding two family Bibles is husband John Jay O'Connor.
Michael Evans AP

Sandra Day O'Connor wasn't expecting the call from President Reagan that would change her life that day in 1981.

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7:51am

Tue March 5, 2013
Book Reviews

The Devil To Pay In Oates' 'Accursed' America

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 11:49 am

Some months ago, a fellow writer told me that Joyce Carol Oates was writing a vampire book. It turns out there is some truth in this seemingly far-fetched statement, just as there are grains of truth sprinkled throughout The Accursed, a sprawling tale of terrible events afflicting Princeton high society between 1905 and 1906. Oates began drafting the novel in 1984, when she first moved to this best-known of New Jersey college towns and became interested in its history. She put the project aside for many years but returned to it — and completed it — in 2012.

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7:00am

Tue March 5, 2013
The Two-Way

Book News: Male Authors Still Get Far More Coverage, Survey Shows

Author Jennifer Weiner, who has been outspoken about gender bias in book coverage in the media, pictured in 2005.
Evan Agostini Getty Images

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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3:53am

Tue March 5, 2013
Author Interviews

To 'Sum It Up': A Legendary Basketball Coach Braves Alzheimer's

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 10:21 am

Pat Summitt celebrates the Lady Vols' first national championship, in 1987. Summitt says it took seven Final Four losses to learn how to win one.
J. Miles Cary Courtesy of the Knoxville News-Sentinel

The image of Pat Summitt for many fans is that of a madwoman, decked out in orange, yelling to her players from the sideline. In 38 years as the head coach of the University of Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team, Summitt shouted her team to more victories than any other coach in the history of college basketball — men's or women's.

Now the famously fierce coach is facing an opponent unlike any other: In 2011, she was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease.

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