Commentary

You know what you don’t see much of these days? PG-rated movies. I looked it up: Only 16 percent of movies last year were rated PG. This isn’t actually anything new, it’s been going on for a while, but it’s for a reason—the perception is that PG movies don’t sell. PG-13 is where the big money is. In reality, PG does just fine financially, but that doesn’t matter—studio execs want PG-13, so that’s what they get.

The new comedy Uncle Drew is a prime example of this. It’s pretty much a PG movie that I guess does just enough to get a PG-13 rating.

visitwichita.com

The City of Wichita has released its vague budget-cutting plan and CityArts is presented as a prime target. In the plan, buried on page 41, is a simple paragraph, under the heading “Cultural Funding” which states that arts in Wichita have evolved since CityArts was originally opened. And that one option is to restructure CityArts operations. Estimated savings: $100,000 to $300,000.

My interpretation of the paragraph is that city government feels the arts in Wichita have evolved past a place like CityArts so it’s no longer needed, vital, or necessary.

Every once in a while there’s good live music on TV. The best shows are by smaller nonprofits: my favorite, Austin City Limits is on PBS, the BBC has Later… With Jools Holland, and of course NPR has video streams of Live From Here and Tiny Desk Concerts. But these are small, specialty programs aimed at the cognoscenti.

Katie Williams has three books under her publishing belt--two books written for young adults and now one that falls into the general fiction category. But don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing "general” about it.

Tell the Machine Goodnight is slightly futuristic, but I’d hesitate to categorize it as science fiction. The characters, too, fight generalization. Their voices are unique and so are their experiences. The character development, the dialog, the writing--well… everything works. 

variety.com

If you're a fan of jukebox musicals, it may interest you to know that a musical featuring the songs of Michael Jackson is currently in development, and is expected to hit the Broadway stage in 2020. Matching the talent in the music are two heavy hitters: Tony Award-winner Christopher Wheeldon, as director and choreographer, and the twice-winning Pulitzer Prize playwright Lynn Nottage, who is writing the book for the production. The musical, which is yet to be titled, is inspired by the life of Jackson, with the cooperation of the Michael Jackson Estate.

Netflix

Scientific concepts have long existed in hip hop music, sometimes expressed in the mathematics of Five Percenter ideology, or in more procedural ways, like referring to the recording studio as a laboratory, suggesting the crafting of music is akin to the creation of a science experiment. And while these themes are widespread, my guess is that if you ask a hip hop fan which emcee they most associate with science, 9 out of 10 of them will answer with the GZA of the Wu-Tang clan.

Justin Cary

Long before the world of prime time TV food competitions, the barbecue world was hosting contests to find out who made the best ribs, brisket and more.

We do not live in a kind world. You don’t need me to illustrate this point.

It’s difficult for me to know how to talk about Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, the new documentary on Mr. Rogers, because what I’m tempted to do is to recount all of the lessons he taught us throughout the years. That we’re all unique people who are worthy of love. That it’s OK to be scared sometimes, or to be angry sometimes, or not to know what to feel sometimes. But what can I say that Mr. Rogers hasn’t already said better?

fuxoft / Flickr

This commentary originally aired May 9, 2013.

Fairy tales are a part of our shared cultural knowledge – if you refer to Jack and the Beanstalk, the Three Little Pigs, or Goldilocks, almost everyone knows what you are talking about.

Stephanie Mitchell

Harvard political scientists Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt have spent more than 20 years studying the breakdown of democracies in Europe and Latin America. Donald Trump’s presidency has raised a question that many Americans never thought they would be asking: Is our democracy in danger? Levitsky and Ziblatt believe that the answer is yes. 

Pages