Arts & Culture

Interviews and stories about art, culture, music, books, food / dining and sports.

To director Ti West and actor James Ransone, no amount of money can overshadow integrity. HBO veteran Ransone ("The Wire", "Treme") is adamant he will "back an artist over the money any day." And when triple threat writer-director-editor West is asked which of those three stages of production he would give up if he had unlimited funds, he says he "won't do it! ...That's the price of integrity." In fact, it was during a conversation about integrity during the pair's first meeting that sparked both a successful working relationship, and a friendship.

Home Improvement

Oct 21, 2016

In this final round, every answer contains an object you'd find in a hardware store. So if we said, "He's the rapper who was '2 Legit 2 Quit,'" the answer would be "M-C Hammer."

Heard on Ti West and James Ransone: In A Valley Of Trivia

One-Named Wonders

Oct 21, 2016

This game contains a bunch of words that have something in common: they're all one-word titles of songs performed by a one-named musician. For example, if we said, "This Brit's daydreamer voice would be a good remedy should the skyfall," you'd answer, "Adele."

Heard on Ti West and James Ransone: In A Valley Of Trivia

Let's Turn It On

Oct 21, 2016

In this music game, Jonathan Coulton revamps the sensual Marvin Gaye song "Let's Get It On" to be about famous people who invented or discovered something.

Heard on Ti West and James Ransone: In A Valley Of Trivia

Mystery Guest

Oct 21, 2016

Ophira and Jonathan become the contestants in this round of Mystery Guest! Marie Carter has a job that takes her all over New York City, and Ophira and Jonathan try to figure out what it is by asking yes-or-no questions.

Heard on Ti West and James Ransone: In A Valley Of Trivia

In this installment of This, That, or the Other, contestants must figure out: is it a Star Trek alien species, an energy drink, or a product sold on a television infomercial?

Heard on Ti West and James Ransone: In A Valley Of Trivia

Brush Up Your Shakespeare

Oct 21, 2016

This game was written by someone who studied Shakespeare's plays a long time ago, but has since forgotten almost everything about them. For example, the clue, "I think this play was about some guys with the same first name...and their last names were Hudson, Thoreau, Ford, Kissinger...and then Cavill came along," would be about Henry V.

Heard on Ti West and James Ransone: In A Valley Of Trivia

A group of teenage girls in school uniforms giggle as they share crepes topped with candy and chocolate sauce and oozing hazelnut Nutella. It's a Saturday afternoon and the girls are at the new Nutella shop in Jerusalem's Shuafat Palestinian refugee camp.

The scene is rare in this densely populated and impoverished urban camp. The potholed street outside the café is tense and crowded, as a group of little Palestinian schoolboys fight alongside zigzagging traffic.

It's tough to find a more bubbly, positive person than Lacie Pound.

She always has a kind word for the baristas and café workers who serve her morning coffee. She drinks a smoothie offered by a co-worker even when it doesn't taste so good. And she's determined to give an award-winning toast as the Maid of Honor at her oldest friend's wedding.

Lacie, played by Jurassic World co-star Bryce Dallas Howard, is the central character in "Nosedive" — a new episode in the third season of the British anthology drama, Black Mirror, which debuts on Netflix today.

It's easy to believe in a definitive American immigration story. So much of this country's mythos is built on that idea. ("Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free ...") It foretells a fairy tale ending where parents have worked hard, sacrificed much, and settled their children into the new country. The family has assimilated, and the life that came before is a distant memory.

But it's more complicated than that. The telling of immigration stories exposes a rich array of experiences: loss, longing, duality, triumph and contradiction.

Beneath Gothic arches and metal walkways, a place of torment has been reclaimed as a place of creative ferment. In 1895, celebrated writer Oscar Wilde — author of The Importance of Being Earnest and The Picture of Dorian Gray -- was convicted of homosexual activity and sentenced to two years in the infamous Reading Gaol.

The landscape is all too familiar: Junkies, dealers, prostitution, poverty, and, here and there, spasms of violence. But Moonlight, an incandescent second feature from Barry Jenkins (Medicine for Melancholy), is a "black" movie more by way of Charles Burnett than John Singleton (Boyz n the Hood) or the Hughes brothers (Menace II Society).

It's hard to find an edge in mainstream comedy, and harder still to keep it once you do. Most of the people who made Keeping Up with the Joneses surely know this. They were hired to make this baby-formula "spies in the suburbs" laffer because they have known success, and they found that success because their past work, for the most part, had edge.

There are 21 novels in British author Lee Child's ongoing Jack Reacher series and they habitually take care to describe their hero as a blond-haired, blue-eyed hulk of an itinerant ex-Army cop, standing 6'5" with a 50-inch chest. Dolph Lundgren might've perfect for the part, or maybe Anita Ekberg. But producer Tom Cruise was the guy who, after attempts by others, got the Reacher movie franchise going. For the starring role, there was only one name on his list.

Renaissance Theaterworks

The plot reads like something out of a tabloid. Over the course of three years, three women all marry the same man. Not at the same time, of course. But they befall the same fate - murdered for their trouble. The fact that this is a true story just adds to the intrigue.

Renaissance Theatreworks opens their season with The Drowning Girls, based on the true stories of "The Brides in the Bath" murders in England, during the early 1900s.