culture

Near the beginning of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, a big black monolith appears in an African desert, leaving a group of prehistoric ape-men standing there baffled. And that was pretty much the reaction that greeted the film itself when it premiered 50 years ago this week.

Nobody was quite sure what to make of it. The critics were harsh, with Variety dismissively saying flatly, "2001 is not a cinematic landmark." It's hard to imagine being more wrong.

There is a fundamental audacity to Jesus Christ Superstar, which was staged as a live "concert" performance on NBC on Sunday night. First released as a concept album in 1970, the work by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice not only imagines a very human story behind the final days in the life of Jesus, but it focuses on that story even when it involves ugliness, vanity, and conflict. It posits that Jesus felt not only frustration, but even resentment and ambivalence — not only about his faith, but about his own followers. On the one hand, it's kind of an obvious choice for Easter.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Working to protect a rare, endangered butterfly usually involves work in the field or the lab, or sometimes meetings and conference calls.

Now helping out the Bartram’s scrub-hairstreak butterfly can mean drinking a beer — or at least buying one.

Symone Titania Major

"The Unvoiced Community: Barbecue Men and Women of Goulds" is a photo exhibit that explores barbecue culture in the streets of South Miami-Dade County. The exhibit celebrates local entrepreneurs who set up in parking lots and street corners selling smoked meats late into the evening hours.

Terry Lewis has probably ridden every trail, gully and meadow you can find in the mountains around his boyhood home of Weed, N.M.

"It's harder to get to know our country, if you don't do it on horseback," Lewis says.

Lewis, 74, is bouncing along a dirt road in a worn pickup, certainly not his preferred mode of travel in this high altitude island of tree-covered mountains that towers over the harsh southern New Mexico desert. Lewis recalls a time when he'd cover two or three times as much ground on horseback, riding to his old summer ranges here.

The winners of the 2018 Whiting Awards don't have much of a track record. None on this list has the laundry list of accolades you may be accustomed to seeing for literary prize winners. Several don't even have a second book to their names.

But that's the idea here.

A construction crew from Detroit did something last week that might have been hard to imagine in a different era: board a plane to meet a team of Cuban architects and engineers outside Havana.

They gathered at a hillside home that overlooks the capital city, and worked together on a project to protect literary artifacts and the personal belongings of a famous American writer.

In the balcony of the Marquis Theatre on Broadway, Jimmy Buffett watches the final rehearsal for his new musical, Escape to Margaritaville. Down below, technicians inflate beach balls, which, in true Buffett fashion, are to be dropped on theater-goers' heads at the end of the show.

Junot Díaz wanted to write a children's book for more than 20 years. In the meantime, he wrote several grown-up books, including The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 2008. He also won a MacArthur "Genius" Grant, among other accolades.

Now he has finished that children's book. Islandborn is about a curious, Afro-Caribbean girl named Lola.

Rachel Neville / Dance Theatre of Harlem

Long before I considered journalism as a career, I was an aspiring ballet dancer.

And although I started training in ballet late for the dance world—I was 14 when I took my first ballet class at the Thomas Armour Youth Ballet in South Miami— I was a quick study.

I was in my second year in the dance magnet program at Miami Northwestern High School when Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) came to Miami - not to perform but to audition dancers for its summer intensive program in New York,

There is a part of a filmgoer who is exhausted by an avalanche of stuff — much of it forgettable, much of it created by committee, much of it branded within an inch of its life and all of it subject to commercial expectations that are either indifferent or hostile to art — that says, "I cannot get on board with a film that delivers wisdom through a giant, glowing Oprah."

Bal Krishna is the name sometimes given to the young Hindu god Krishna. Balkrishna Doshi was named for him, when he was born in 1927.

"They wanted me to remain young," the 90-year-old architect explains, as he bursts into peals of laughter.

Doshi is the newest winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, known as the Nobel for architects.

Paul Kolnik

Seeing Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for the first time is a rite of passage for anyone who loves dance (and for plenty of people who didn't know they did). Jamar Roberts first saw the company perform in Fort Lauderdale when he was a kid growing up in South Dade.

The first Bible I ever purchased was a New International Version Student Life Bible; it was black with neon pink and green lettering. I picked it up from the bookstore of a church I was invited to in my late teens. This "expanded" version featured maps, reading plans, and questionnaires geared toward teenagers who wanted to learn how to effectively apply biblical principles to their daily lives. In other words, how to learn to be the "salt of the earth."

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