Artist Claes Oldenburg, Maker of Huge Urban Sculptures, Dies

Pop artist Claes Oldenburg, who turned the mundane into the monumental through his outsized sculptures of a baseball bat, a clothespin and other objects, has died at age 93.  Oldenburg died Monday morning in Manhattan, according to his daughter, Maartje Oldenburg. He had been in poor health since falling and breaking his hip a month…

Jennifer Lopez, Ben Affleck wed in Las Vegas drive-through

U.S. actors Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck were wed Saturday in a late-night Las Vegas drive-through chapel, culminating a relationship that stretched over two decades in two separate romances and headlined countless tabloid covers. Lopez announced their marriage Sunday in her newsletter for fans with the heading “We did it.” Lopez initially made their engagement…

‘Raging Fire’ Wins Best Film at Hong Kong Film Awards

Action-packed police thriller “Raging Fire” won best film and three other awards at the Hong Kong Film Awards Sunday, beating out a crowd favorite film about late Cantopop singer Anita Mui. The 40th Hong Kong Film Awards took place Sunday, after it was postponed thrice from April following the city’s biggest COVID-19 outbreak. It was…

US Soprano, Offended by Blackface, Pulls Out of Italy Opera

Soprano Angel Blue says she won’t perform in an opera in Italy this month because blackface was used in the staging of a different work this summer on the same stage. The U.S. singer posted a note on her angeljoyblue Instagram page saying she will be bowing out of “La Traviata” at Verona’s Arena this…

Ukraine’s Cultural Heritage Under Attack, Official Says

Ukraine’s deputy minister of culture said Friday that her country’s heritage is under attack by Russia and must be protected. “The president of Russia, Mr. Putin, announced that Ukrainian culture and identity is a target of this war,” Kateryna Chueva, deputy minister of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine, reminded an informal meeting of the…

‘Succession’ Tops Emmy Nominations, ‘Squid Game’ Also Scores

“Succession” received a leading 25 Emmy nominations Tuesday, but the satirical drama about the rich and ruthless has a landmark rival in “Squid Game,” the first non-English language series to vie for television’s top honor. “Squid Game,” a South Korea-set drama in which the poor are fodder for brutal games, earned a best drama nomination…

Iran Arrests Third Outspoken Filmmaker in Escalating Crackdown

Iran has arrested an internationally renowned filmmaker, several newspapers reported Tuesday, the third Iranian director to be locked up in less than a week as the government escalates a crackdown on the country’s celebrated cinema industry. The arrest of award-winning director Jafar Panahi and wider pressure on filmmakers follows a wave of recent arrests as…

Mozambican Artist Who Paints With Feet Sees COVID as Crippling

Nicktar Benedito, an artist in south-central Mozambique, has physical disabilities that have limited the use of his hands but honed his determination and empathy. Andre Baptista reports from Chimoio, capital of Manica province, in this story narrated by Carol Guensburg. Camera: Andre Baptista …

In Spain, Culture Battle Rages over Store Signs

The red on beige sign outside La Torre shop advertises the kind of underwear earlier generations might have worn, mostly knickerbockers and girdles. The shop — known as The Tower in English — has been a standard in Barcelona for more than 120 years, preserving a glimpse into the city’s past. La Torre has withstood the relentless…

Colorado’s First Sober Bar Offers Alternatives to Alcohol

Public health officials say one of the effects of the coronavirus lockdowns was that more people drank alcohol more heavily, with the World Health Organization warning of exacerbated health concerns and an increase in risky behaviors. As more bars reopen, Svitlana Prystynska takes us to one with a novel approach to drinking. …

Iran’s Outdoor Painters Seek to Capture, Preserve Old Tehran

Tehran residents accustomed to seething at slow-moving traffic, sweltering in summer heat and suffocating in smog may be surprised to find a growing number of outdoor painters reveling in the Iranian capital’s historic charm. The overcrowded metropolis may be dusty and in need of beautification, but the honeycomb of alleyways that make up old Tehran…

‘Sopranos’ Actor Tony Sirico, ‘Paulie Walnuts,’ Dies at 79

Tony Sirico, who played the impeccably groomed mobster Paulie Walnuts in The Sopranos and brought his tough-guy swagger to films including Goodfellas, died Friday. He was 79. Sirico died at an assisted living facility in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said his manager, Bob McGowen. There was no immediate information on the cause of death. A statement…

Elena Rybakina Stuns Herself, Ons Jabeur to Win Wimbledon

Elena Rybakina dropped the first set but roared back to defeat No. 3 seed Ons Jabeur and win the women’s singles title at Wimbledon on Saturday.   Rybakina, the No. 17 seed who was born in Moscow but has represented Kazakhstan since 2018, triumphed 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 over the Tunisian at the All England Club…

Film on Hindu Goddess Sparks Anger in India

There is public outrage in India over the depiction of a Hindu goddess that critics say disparages the religious figure. The image appears in a poster promoting the new short film Kaali by Canadian-based Indian filmmaker Leena Manimekalai. The poster depicts Hindu goddess Kaali smoking a cigarette and holding an LGBTQ+ flag. After filmmaker Leena…

Brittney Griner Pleads Guilty in Russian Drug Trial

An American basketball player held in Russia since February for possession of cannabis oil pleaded guilty in a Russian court Thursday.   “I’d like to plead guilty, your honor. But there was no intent. I didn’t want to break the law,” Brittney Griner, 31, said, speaking English, which was then translated into Russian for the…

Canada Signs $15B Deal Over Indigenous Child Welfare Flaws

The Canadian government said Monday it had signed a $15.5 billion agreement to compensate First Nations children and families harmed by chronic underfunding of child welfare.  The Assembly of First Nations and plaintiffs in two class action lawsuits agreed to the deal.  Indigenous Services Canada, a government agency, said the settlement is the largest in…

Visionary British Theater Director Peter Brook Dies Aged 97

Peter Brook, one of the world’s most innovative theater directors who perfected the art of staging powerful drama in bizarre venues, has died aged 97, his publisher said Sunday. The British director used the world as his stage mounting productions ranging from challenging versions of Shakespeare through international opera to Hindu epic poems. Brook put…

London Pride Parade Marks 50 Years, Looks Back on Progress

London Saturday celebrated the 50th anniversary of its first Pride parade, marking half a century of progress in the fight for equality and tolerance but with warnings that more still needs to be done.  Several hundred people took part in the first march July 1, 1972, just five years after homosexuality was decriminalized in the…