Arts & Culture

Omar Cruz / Estefan Enterprises

Miami is set to represent at Washington’s glittering 40th annual Kennedy Center Honors in December when singer-songwriter Gloria Estefan becomes the latest hometown icon to receive the prestigious award and the first Cuban-American to earn the distinction.

It's accurate, but not entirely helpful, when thinking about the business of music to imagine in your mind a tangled knot about the size of an elephant. The free ends, rope made up of different gauges and materials, trail out from its center, resembling an asterisk. Holding each is a representative from one of the industry's many stakeholders — record labels and publishing companies, legislators and record store owners, tech companies and non-profit advocates. Oh, and artists too.

It's a time-honored tradition for novelists to draw material from their own lives, and author Tom Perrotta is no exception. His 2004 book, Little Children, sprang from his experience as the parent of young kids. Three years later, he published The Abstinence Teacher, which was inspired, in part, by the junior-high and high-school sports his children played at the time.

Simon Cocks / Flickr

Florida takes its hits, from late-night TV jokes to, now, even a ranking as the worst state in the nation for a “staggeringly impressive” “awfulness resume,” according to the website Thrillist.

But for all the Flori-duh jokes (that we make, too, but we live here so it’s OK), this is an astonishingly large, diverse, beautiful, interesting and yeah, sometimes staggeringly awful place — and it has produced some remarkable works of literature.

For an entire generation of writers, Michiko Kakutani acted at times as intrepid champion, hated villain or helping hand. But from her perch as chief book critic at The New York Times, the Pulitzer Prize winner rarely left one thing in doubt: her vast influence over the literary world she assessed.

On Thursday, after 38 years, Kakutani announced she is stepping down.

Courtesy of ruthbehar.com

A few years after Ruth Behar and her family arrived in Queens, New York from Cuba in the early 1960's shortly after Fidel Castro took power, they were in an awful car accident that killed five teenage boys and left her in a full-body cast for most of the next year. She was nine years old, and spent her 10th birthday in that cast. 

We've had mangoes on our mind all month. (Stay tuned for an upcoming story about mango chutney!)

Then we remembered Miami Spice month starts Aug. 1. So, to prepare for deals on delicious meals in South Florida, we asked two writers and a chef about their favorite food books. 

A24 films / Courtesy

Film and TV productions will get some incentives to shoot in Miami-Dade County. A stop-gap county-based program hopes to plug some of the hole created by the state’s refusal to implement its own Florida-wide benefits.

In an essay on Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf observed, "Of all great writers she is the most difficult to catch in the act of greatness."

To that double-edged and astute assessment, one can add, she is also the most difficult to catch in the act of tea-time.

This observation might seem irksomely contrarian to the legions of Janeites in hats and bonnets gathered around tea and scones to pay fealty to the novelist on the bicentenary of her death, which falls today.

It’s Bastille Day! To celebrate the French national holiday, this week we asked some experts on France and the French language about their favorite books.

Share yours with us — or just tell us what you’re reading – by tweeting us @WLRN.

Travis Cohen, writer

FIU's Sixth-Annual SummerFest Attracts Thousands Of EDM Lovers

Jul 14, 2017
Adrianne Gonzalez / WLRN News

Colorful body paint, light-up styrofoam sticks and electronic dance music attracted thousands of students from all local colleges to Florida International University's sixth annual SummerFest celebration Thursday night.

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