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  • Posted 10/19/17 at 8:49 AM

Kirkus Editor-in-Chief Explains Why They Altered That American Heart Review

Around the time when diversity became the cause célèbre for young adult fiction’s most passionate activists, trade reviewer Kirkus implemented some unique rules to establish its bona fides at the forefront of the movement: characters were to be explicitly identified by race, religion, and sexual orientation in every YA book review moving forward; furthermore, the writers of those reviews would be selected according to their race, religion, and sexual orientation as well, critiquing texts for sensitivity in addition to entertainment value. A statement on the Kirkus website reads:

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  • Posted 10/18/17 at 4:02 PM

Springsteen Reportedly to Extend Broadway Run, Giving You More Chances to Miss Out on Tickets

Christmas is rapidly approaching, which means the Dad in your life will soon be in need of a gift. New Jersey’s patron saint Bruce Springsteen is here to lend a hand, as Variety reports that the Boss’s one-man show, Springsteen on Broadway, will have its run extended from the original end date of February 3 to an unknown later in the spring. (It may even run as late as June.) Vulture’s Craig Jenkins praised the show, calling Springsteen on Broadway  “a poignant reminder that in spite of the myth and legend, Bruce Springsteen is made of the same blood, muscle, and bone, and motivated by the same fears and desires, as the rest of us.” This would be the second extension of Springsteen’s shows at the Walter Kerr Theatre; the first run of shows sold out in just one day. At least the illusion of being able to score tickets will live on.

  • Posted 10/18/17 at 2:19 PM

The Price of Smiling for the Photos

Years ago, I won a literary prize. At the ceremony, I was nervous, trying hard to access any sliver of pride or happiness; I drank too much, my palms sweating. An older writer introduced himself. I imagined, for a moment, that maybe he saw me as a fellow writer. When someone gestured for us to stand together for a photograph, the writer put his hand on my back, then dropped it lower to grab my ass; how swiftly I was returned to my body, to the fact of my youth and gender. Whatever flush of pride or happiness I’d tended was immediately replaced, unwillingly, with sex. I smiled for the photo, though I could feel the strain in my face, the falsehood; it was more like a grimace.

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  • Posted 10/18/17 at 12:35 PM
  • Books

New Sam Shepard Novel, Completed Just Before His Death, to Be Published This December

In the months before his death, and while living with Lou Gehrig’s disease, Sam Shepard wrote a novel about a man with a debilitating medical condition reflecting on his past. According to the New York Times, Shepard started writing the novel, titled Spy of the First Person, by hand, and later dictated sections into a tape recorder. Patti Smith, a longtime friend, helped him edit it, and Shepard made final changes the week before he died. Shepard, a prolific actor and playwright, published another novel, The One Inside, earlier this year. Knopf will publish Spy of the First Person this December.

  • Posted 10/17/17 at 5:24 PM
  • Awards

George Saunders Wins the 2017 Man Booker Prize for Lincoln in the Bardo

Stop by your favorite local bookstore on the way home: George Saunders has been awarded this year’s Man Booker Prize for Lincoln in the Bardo. Saunders is the second American in a row to win the prize, which was opened to writers outside the British Commonwealth in 2014. “The form and style of this utterly original novel, reveals a witty, intelligent, and deeply moving narrative,” Baroness Lola Young, chair of the 2017 judging panel, wrote in the announcement. The book follows Abraham Lincoln just after the death of his 11-year-old son Willie, as Willie is trapped in the Bardo, a kind of transitional state between lives. “I never had any idea that I would write another book in a historical voice — that doesn’t interest me,” Saunders told Vulture earlier this year. “But I have a visceral feeling that I’ve learned a lot about form, and the juxtaposition of different voices. I got a little more confident in my ability to reside in an emotional moment without panicking.” Lincoln in the Bardo was up against five other books on the shortlist: 4321 by Paul Auster, History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund, Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, Elmet by Fiona Mozley, and Autumn by Ali Smith.

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  • Posted 10/17/17 at 9:48 AM

A Defense of Difficult Art at the Guggenheim’s Controversial Exhibition

At the end of the exhibition “Art and China After 1989: Theater of the World” there is a small room that sits at the top of the Guggenheim’s ramped white rotunda. The room is marked “Coda,” and visitors arrive to it after viewing artwork by artists spanning more than two decades of practice. There are only three works in the room: an installation by Gu Dexin, an ink painting by Yang Jiechang, and a video piece by the couple Sun Yuan and Peng Yu. Of the nearly 150 works included in the show, the last piece, titled Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other, has attracted by far the most attention. It seems possible that without the inclusion of this piece, the show might not have been the subject of significant public outrage.

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Theater Review: Burning Doors Is a Fiery Anti-Torture, Anti-Putin Scream

Here are some names you might not know: Oleg Sentsov. Petr Pavlensky. Maria Alyokhina. Here’s one you probably do know: Pussy Riot.

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Evans Hansen Ben Platt, Noah Galvin, and Taylor Trensch Made a Whole Disco Video Thing

Like the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future descending upon Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, stars of Dear Evan Hansen present, future, and the future after that Ben Platt, Noah Galvin, and Taylor Trensch have banded together to dance to Earth, Wind & Fire in a YouTube video. Maybe it will make you think about death and the meaning of Christmas and how to be a better person, maybe not. The point is, these Evan Hansens really committed to their 1970s looks and Noah Galvin is really trying to grow out a mustache. This has been video larks from Broadway stars, thank you for your time.

  • Posted 10/13/17 at 9:00 AM

Jo Nesbø’s 10 Favorite Books

Bookseller One Grand Books has asked literary celebrities to name the ten titles they’d take to a desert island, and they’ve shared the results with Vulture. Below is author Jo Nesbø’s list. The film adaption of his thriller
The Snowman is out next week.

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In the Heights Book Writer Asks the Weinstein Company to Release Film Rights

Quiara Alegría Hudes, co-author with Lin-Manuel Miranda of the musical In the Heights, which is currently being developed for film with the Weinstein Company, no longer wants to work with the studio after numerous women came forward to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and rape. “I hope the Weinstein Company has enough grace, in the wake of these revelations, to respect my stand as a woman, and to allow us to extricate In the Heights from them,” she said on Twitter. “In the Heights deserves a fresh start in a studio where I’ll feel safe (as will my actors and collaborators).”

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Theater Review: ERS’s Measure for Measure Plays a Losing Game

In the program for Measure for Measure, now playing at the Public Theater, John Collins, artistic director of Elevator Repair Service — the downtown theater company known for its exhilarating de- and re-constructions of classic novels, including the epic and acclaimed Gatz — says, “A few years ago, I conceded it was time for my experimental ensemble to meet William Shakespeare.”

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Theater Review: Eternal Return Feels Old in Time and the Conways

While watching the Roundabout Theatre Company production of J.B. Priestley’s drawing-room dramedy Time and the Conways, directed by Rebecca Taichman at the American Airlines Theatre, I thought about a lot of things. Chekhov, the Dying Aristocracy Play, how much I hate the Broadway tradition of celebrity entrance applause, how Gabriel Ebert is just a damn fine actor, how I’ve seen several plays recently that surround a white central family or figure with tertiary characters played by non-white actors (as if we won’t notice who’s at the center), how American actors speaking in British accents tend to chew through the language with un-British exaggeration and deliberateness, perhaps out of fear we won’t understand them … Chekhov again.

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  • Posted 10/8/17 at 8:18 PM

Police Told Ai Weiwei He’d Seen ‘Too Many Hollywood Movies’ While Discussing Rights

Days before his massive public art project, “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors,” opens citywide, Ai Weiwei reminisced about his time in New York in the ’80s while at The New Yorker Festival on Sunday night. Weiwei came to New York in 1981 and lived in the U.S. for over a decade. “I spent one or two summers painting mixed sketches, West 4th Street and Seventh Avenue,” he said. When asked how living in the city affected him, he said he learned his vices here. (Who hasn’t?)

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The Grey’s Anatomy Firefighter Spinoff Just Cast Some of Your Broadway Faves

Shondaland shows are full of actors who can sing — consider Audra McDonald in Private Practice, or Sara Ramirez in Grey’s Anatomy — and her latest project is keeping the grand tradition alive. Deadline reports that the latest Shondaland project, a Grey’s spinoff set in a Seattle firehouse, has cast Grey Damon, Okieriete Onaodowan, Danielle Savre, and Barrett Doss alongside Jaina Lee Ortiz and Jason George. Two of those actors are pretty big Broadway names, as Onaodowan was in Hamilton — and, briefly, The Great Comet of 1812, before being replaced with Mandy Patinkin — and Doss starred in Groundhog Day (where she sang one of the best songs of the season). Make the firefighters sing, Shonda!

  • Posted 10/6/17 at 10:13 AM

Here’s What Life on the Moon Looks Like in Artemis, Andy Weir’s Martian Follow-up

After the massive success of his debut book, The Martian, sci-fi author Andy Weir has written a crime caper, titled Artemis, with a heroine whom actress Rosario Dawson describes as “super MacGyver.” Dawson, who voices the protagonist, Jazz, in the audio version of Artemis, took part in a panel at New York Comic Con with Weir (via satellite), moderated by New York Magazine and Vulture contributing editor Jada Yuan. Both the audio and print version of the book will be available on November 14, but 20th Century Fox has already acquired the film rights and filmmakers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (21 Jump Street, The Lego Movie) were swiftly tapped to make the film after they exited the Star Wars Han Solo spinoff film. The story centers on Jasmine “Jazz” Bashara, a young Saudi Arabian porter and newbie smuggler trying to survive on the first city on the moon, Artemis. Read on for eight more things we learned from Weir and Dawson about the forthcoming book and film.

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Theater Review: Too Heavy for Your Pocket, Carried Off With Grace

Jiréh Breon Holder’s Too Heavy for Your Pocket — now under the brisk, elegant direction of Margot Bordelon at the Roundabout’s Black Box Theatre — takes place during the summer of 1961 in Nashville, Tennessee, but it made me think of my hometown.

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Lauren Ambrose — and, Oh My God, Also Diana Rigg — Will Be in Broadway’s My Fair Lady Revival

Yadda yadda yadda Lauren Ambrose will star as Eliza Doolittle in the upcoming revival of My Fair Lady directed by Bartlett Sher. Yadda yadda yadda Ambrose is famous for Six Feet Under, but has also worked with Sher before in 2006’s Awake and Sing! and in a production of Funny Girl that got scrapped in 2011 before coming to Broadway. Yadda yadda yadda British stage vet Harry Hadden-Paton will play the upper-class Henry Higgins, and Norbert Leo Butz (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the Catch Me If You Can musical) will play Alfred P. Doolittle. But wait, oh my God, Diana Rigg, the famed British stage actress and Game of Thrones’ late Olenna Tyrell, will play Henry’s mother, Mrs. Higgins. Rigg has played Mrs. Higgins, and also Eliza, before in West End productions of Pygmalion, also she won a Tony in 1994 for Medea, also she’s Diana Rigg.

Kazuo Ishiguro Wins Nobel Prize in Literature

British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature this year for novels that have “have uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world,” according to the Swedish Academy. Ishiguro’s two most famous works are The Remains of the Day, about an English butler grappling with love and loyalty to his employer, and the dystopian novel Never Let Me Go. Both received film adaptations, and The Remains of the Day won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 1989. “Ishiguro’s writings are marked by a carefully restrained mode of expression, independent of whatever events are taking place,” the prize committee wrote in a statement Thursday. “At the same time, his more recent fiction contains fantastic features.”

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Jeanette Winterson’s 10 Favorite Books

Bookseller One Grand Books has asked literary celebrities to name the ten titles they’d take to a desert island, and they’ve shared the results with Vulture. Below is writer Jeanette Winterson’s list. The paperback of her short-story collection Christmas Days will be available in November.

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8 Books You Need to Read This October

Each month, Boris Kachka offers nonfiction and fiction book recommendations. You should read as many of them as possible.

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