Sounds like Audible.com has a new customer base they should explore: the recently concussed. Quantico star Priyanka Chopra was briefly hospitalized last week, after slipping during an on-set stunt and striking her head on a car bumper. Having suffered a concussion, the actress was required to take three days off work and limit herself to an extremely restricted range of activities. Luckily, the curative medicine of Amy Schumer's speaking voice was there to heal her. "I was taken to the ER, and they did a CAT scan and they said it was a concussion, so I had to take three days off work,” Chopra recounted to Entertainment Tonight on Wednesday at the People's Choice Awards. "I just sat on my couch and literally just listened to audiobooks. I was, like, listening to Amy Schumer talk to me through the weekend. I was listening to her book because I couldn’t watch TV, I couldn’t read a book, so I just had Amy Schumer in my ears the whole weekend.” Coming soon: Get your medical-grade audiobooks wherever they are sold.
On October 20, 1981, six members of an organization called the Black Liberation Army robbed a Brink’s armored truck at the Nanuet Mall, killing a Brink’s guard and then two policemen who tried to block their escape. Driving one of the getaway vehicles was a 31-year-old single mother and former member of the Weather Underground named Judith Clark, who, after a chase, was caught and arrested. At trial, Clark refused representation, behaved belligerently, and expressed no remorse; she was convicted on three counts of felony murder, with a sentence of 75 years to life. She has served less than half of that sentence so far, or more than half, depending on how you look at it; she is now 67.
What if you were made to account for the books on your shelves, the way souls have to account for their sins? I’m not talking about some bogus social signaling when a date is brought home or people are over for dinner. How do you reckon with your younger, naïve self, the person you were before your tastes matured? You were better looking then, but those books you were reading, turn their spines away from the light. Better yet, put them on the curb. In my case I sold them all in 2010 — anything that didn’t have sentimental value as an object or couldn’t be easily replaced. That was how I first said good-bye to Paul Auster.
Lin-Manuel Miranda took to Twitter Tuesday to celebrate the presidential commutation of Oscar López Rivera, a 74-year-old Puerto Rican nationalist, activist, and member of the Marxist-Leninist group FALN, or Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional. FALN operated through the 1970s and '80s, working toward the goal of an independent Puerto Rico; the organization took responsibility for dozens of bombings of government and other buildings during that time. In 1981, López Rivera, considered a political prisoner and supported by many in the Puerto Rican community, received 55 years for seditious conspiracy, among other charges. Fifteen years were added to his sentence in 1988 for his involvement in a failed escape attempt. Following President Obama’s pardon yesterday, López Rivera will be released on May 17, 2017. When he is free, he will apparently find a very excited Lin-Manuel Miranda waiting, stockings and cravat at hand, ready to star in a production of Hamilton in Chicago just for him.
The finalists have been announced for this year’s National Book Critics Circle Awards. In the nonfiction category, last year’s National Book Award winner, Ibram X. Kendi, is recognized alongside Pulitzer Prize winner Viet Thanh Nguyen, and the fiction section is filled out with literary stars like Zadie Smith, Michael Chabon, and Ann Patchett, though Colson Whitehead, who won the National Book Award for The Underground Railroad, was notably absent from the list. Margaret Atwood will also be honored at the upcoming ceremony with the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award. Finalists are selected by a 24-person board within the organizing body, which is comprised of 1,000 literary critics and book review editors, and the winners will be announced on March 16.
The continental army could use a friend like the Marquis. James Monroe Iglehart, who won a Tony playing the Genie in the Broadway adaptation of Aladdin, is heading off to take the dual roles of the Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson in Hamilton. Seth Stewart currently plays both parts, which were originated by Tony winner Daveed Diggs. Iglehart, who is also known for playing Coriolanus Burt on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, will give his last Aladdin performance on February 19 and join the cast of Hamilton in mid-April — take that, Titus Andromedon!
Like us, President Obama has been considering the power of the novel under his presidency lately. And, as he told the New York Times, he's not worried. The president — who counts Marilynne Robinson as a pen pal and Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad as his most recent read — said that he isn't concerned about the survival of fiction because we're a "storytelling species." In classic star-seminar-student-who-actually-did-the-reading mode, Obama drew parallels between what's on his bookshelf and his day job: "Working that very analytical side of the brain all the time [as president] sometimes meant you lost track of not just the poetry of fiction, but also the depth of fiction," he said. "Fiction was useful as a reminder of the truths under the surface of what we argue about every day and was a way of seeing and hearing the voices, the multitudes of this country."
Obama also revealed the coming-of-age literature primers he shared with Malia. There's not a lot of Kerouac-style musings on the list, he explained, saying that he's never tapped into the "open-road, young kid on the make discovering stuff." He described his early reading and writing habits as focusing more on an inner, melancholy life. "I loved reading when I was a kid, partly because I was traveling so much, and there were times where I’d be displaced, I’d be the outsider," the president recalled. "The idea of having these worlds that were portable, that were yours, that you could enter into, was appealing to me." His picks for Malia: The Naked and the Dead, One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Golden Notebook, and, The Woman Warrior. Like everyone, Obama admits that he's not as plugged into young writers as he should be, but he promises to whittle down his list once he leaves the White House.
In a dank and grimy cottage in a small town in remote Connemara live the embittered fortyish spinster Maureen Folan and her spiteful mother, Mag, whose name rhymes with “hag” for good reason. Even in a local microculture defined by disappointment, vengefulness, lunacy, and complaint, they are egregious. Mag blithely empties her chamber pot in the kitchen sink every morning, despite constant instruction to the contrary and her well-publicized “urine infection.” Maureen seems even worse, at first, mechanically engaging in such pointless cruelties as refusing to stir the lumps out of her mother’s nutritional supplement. Nor is this an undeclared war. When Mag tuts over news of a man who “up and murdered the poor oul woman in Dublin, and he didn’t even know her” — making a strangling seem like a faux-pas — Maureen is unimpressed. “Sure, that sounds exactly the type of fella I would like to meet,” she says, “and then bring him home to meet you, if he likes murdering oul women.”
John Lewis is a National Book Award winner with an acclaimed graphic-novel trilogy and a memoir to his name, but no accolade on this Earth will boost book sales quite like getting publicly brandished by our esteemed president-elect. Amazon has sold out of both March, the congressman's graphic novel about the civil-rights movement, and Walking With the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement. The two works by the civil-rights leader currently claim the No. 1 and 2 spots on Amazon's best-sellers list, respectively, according to the Washington Post.
Hot off The Night Manager's raging success at this year's Golden Globes — Hugh Laurie! Olivia Colman! Tom Hiddleston's, uh, speech! — AMC and the BBC will be teaming up to once again bring a John le Carré novel to the small screen. This time around, the two networks will collaborate on a limited-series adaptation of le Carré's 1963 outing The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, which is set at the height of the Cold War and follows a vengeful British agent sent to East Germany to gather information on a powerful counterintelligence officer. Oscar winner Simon Beaufoy will write the entire series, while le Carré himself is "very excited" for the adaptation. Espionage, can't get enough of it.
Prepare yourselves, Blanchettheads, because your queen is going to show up 13 (!) different times throughout the course of her new film Manifesto. The film stems from German artist and filmmaker Julian Rosefeldt's multi-screen video exhibition shown at the New York Park Avenue Armory this past winter — for it, Blanchett portrayed 13 unique characters in their own vignettes who all deliver some form of profound manifesto. (You'll get to see her as a homeless man, a mob widow, a construction worker, and a news anchor, for instance. Hooray!) Her entire dialogue is specifically taken directly from famous art-world manifestos, and the reassembled film is described as "an homage to the 20th century's most impassioned artistic statements and innovators." It'll make its world premiere at Sundance later this month.
Jennifer Holliday Is ‘Very Disheartened’ That Word of Her Inauguration Performance Generated So Much HateBy Devon Ivie
Yesterday, Donald Trump's presidential-inauguration festivities got a boost of star power — country crooner Toby Keith, rockers 3 Doors Down, and Broadway songstress Jennifer Holliday all confirmed they would be performing at a pre-inauguration concert at the Lincoln Memorial on January 19. Though Holliday's publicist initially disputed her involvement, Holliday then herself offered a few words to her fans to confirm the news, telling the New York Times that she doesn't have "a dog in this fight" and that we should all "pray" on the success of America. Still, it appears Holliday's choice engendered some ill-will towards her, as she simultaneously defended her choice to perform during the inauguration and reprimanded her detractors to Billboard. "I was like, nobody knows that I'm alive and then I decide to sing a song and I wake up and they all hate me," the Hillary Clinton supporter explained. "I haven't even endorsed anything. I'm not singing for Donald Trump; I'm singing to welcome the people of America. He cannot be the only face that's gonna represent us. And just to have all white people up there singing is not going to be a fair representation either. So you're just saying don't go? Really? I'm just very disheartened by it that it would be so much hate."
Richard Prince Just Showed Artists a Way to Fight Trump. And May Have Cracked Open a New Contemporary Art Code Too.By Jerry Saltz
In 1987, a Syrian air-force pilot, Muhammed Ahmed Faris, became his country’s first astronaut — and a national hero — when he spent seven days in orbit aboard the Soviet space station Mir. He returned with a new, broader perspective: “When you have seen the whole world,” he said, “there is no us and them, no politics.” That is not the reality back on Earth, and after Syria’s government responded brutally to the Arab Spring protests in 2011, Faris, like millions of Syrians, fled to Turkey, explaining that he didn’t want to kill his own people. Artist Halil Altindere, who lives in Istanbul, persuaded Faris to star in a video installation titled Space Refugee, now at the Andrew Kreps Gallery. The video both tells Faris’s story and melds it — both surreally and movingly — with the notion that there needs to be somewhere for Syrian refugees to go, so why not Mars?
160 Children’s-Books Creators Sign Petition Objecting to Milo Yiannopoulos’s Simon & Schuster Book DealBy Karen Brill
Backlash against Milo Yiannopoulos's Simon & Schuster book deal is now coming from Simon & Schuster's own roster of authors and artists. The outrage concerns the infamous alt-right troll's acquisition of a $250,000 advance from Simon & Schuster's Threshold imprint for his work Dangerous. The book deal has already caught a lot of flak from those disgusted by his frequent harassment, including target Leslie Jones. Now, a letter and petition signed by 160 children's-books creators, most of whom are on Simon & Schuster's docket, condemns and protests the publication. In the letter, the book creators express their dismay that "Threshold has placed Simon & Schuster's considerable reputation and weight behind one of the most prominent faces of the newly repackaged white supremacist/white nationalist movement." The letter continues, "As Simon & Schuster authors and illustrators who are already published, with books in the release pipeline, with contracts in place, we do not have to quietly accept or assent to this 'Gleichschaltung,' this getting in line with fascism and making it mainstream." Signatories on the message include authors such as Cassandra Clare, Laurie Halse Anderson, Christian Robinson, and Arun Gandhi. The letter, which can be read in full on Publishers Weekly, ends with a plea for Simon & Schuster and CEO and president Carolyn Reidy to "take an irrefutable stand against hate." Yiannopoulos's Dangerous is set to hit stores March 14.
La La Land could be the gift that keeps on giving to Liongsgate, according to The Hollywood Reporter. After an enchanted festival run, a record-setting night at the Golden Globes, a viable path to top honors at the Oscars, and a ton of other award nominations, the co-president of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, Erik Feig, told investors on Tuesday, “If we want to do a stage show, we can do a stage show.” While not quite the prestige picture of Damien Chazelle's Hollywood darling, Feig cited the live adaptation of Step Up, which is currently active in Dubai, as a precedent for the possible business move. Of course, a screen musical moving to the stage is clearly not the most outlandish idea, but before you seize the impulse to roll your eyes or toss off another incarnation of La La Land as cashing in or a speeding train towards over-saturation, consider the casting possibilities. A broad complaint about the movie was its positioning of Ryan Gosling’s Sebastian as the hopeful “white savior” of jazz, but with the single stroke of not making Seb white a stage version could get started dancing on a less problematic foot. Look at that, La La Land 2.0 is already getting you excited for a better future.
Choke Back Your Tears While Watching Lin-Manuel Miranda and Christopher Jackson Perform ‘One Last Time’ at the White HouseBy Devon Ivie
As Inauguration Day approaches and President Barack Obama rounds out the rest of his farewell tour, the cast of Hamilton also wants to join in with their own heartfelt good-bye. The entire original Broadway cast visited the White House last year to perform some tunes and hang out, and although a few videos of songs from the performance have already been released — "Alexander Hamilton" and "My Shot" among them — it seems the musical purposely held off on showcasing one particular number until the perfect time came along. Now, behold Lin-Manuel Miranda and Christopher Jackson singing an emotional rendition of "One Last Time." No explanation necessary. Enjoy.
For seven decades, we’ve been studying American novels by talking about “postmodern” and “postwar,” the latter a category that has outlasted its usefulness, at least since the death of Norman Mailer. But in making finer distinctions about books, why wouldn’t presidencies serve as well as decades? You can match the heroes of John Updike’s Rabbit, Run, Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer, and Richard Yates’s Revolutionary Road with JFK; and you can trace Reaganite excess through Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City and Bret Easton Ellis’s Less Than Zero to its derangement during Bush I in American Psycho to the recovery narratives and Clintonian delirium in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest.
After receiving Grammy and Tony nominations for writing the music and lyrics for Broadway’s Waitress, Billboard reports that the singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles is now in final talks to play the lead role in the production. Waitress made its Broadway debut last year, and if the deal closes, Bareilles would be taking over the role of Jenna Hunterson from actress Jessie Mueller. This would be the pop star’s onstage Broadway debut.
Game of Thrones fans have been on the edge of their dragon saddles for a long time now waiting for Winds of Winter, the sixth book in George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. The TV show has already lapped the books, but HBO’s favorite fantasy author answered a fan comment on his blog today suggesting the long-awaited next installment of his epic fantasy saga could be on the way this year. Ice and Fire fan J Snow very politely reminded Martin that it’s been a long time since he updated fans on the release timeline, and asked for even the tiniest indicator of when Winds might finally hit bookstores, “Even if its as simple as, 'not done yet, but ive made progress (or not)', or 'it'll be out this year (or not)'. Anything (or not).” Martin replied:
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