By curious coincidence, two of the lovelier movies I’ve seen so far this summer — the family-friendly animated fable Luca and the German art-house fairy tale Undine — tell stories about mythic sea creatures making contact with the human world. That’s hardly a new concept, as we’ve seen in films as different as The Shape of Water , Aquaman and countless versions of The Little Mermaid . But as Luca and Undine demonstrate, there are still fresh stories to be dredged up from these watery depths. Arriving on Disney+ several months after the Oscar-winning afterlife comedy Soul , Luca is a lighter, mellower brand of Pixar confection. It also happens to be a better, more smartly realized movie. It takes place in and around a small Italian Riviera town whose residents live in fear of the sea monsters rumored to dwell in the surrounding waters. One of these fantastical creatures is Luca, a sweet young boy with blue fins, green scales and a long tail, who lives in an underwater grotto with his
For Tiny Desk Playlists, we ask musicians, creators and folks we admire to choose the Tiny Desk concerts they’ve come to love. To celebrate Black Music Month, we’ve asked Tiny Desk production team member and Production Assistant Gabrielle Pierre to curate some of her favorite Tiny Desks from African American musicians. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter declared June Black Music Month (also celebrated as African American Music Appreciation Month), an opportunity to celebrate the undeniable influence of African Americans on American popular music. Black music shapes the landscape of the industry and is the source of so much ingenuity, and it’s important to recognize the sources of inspiration for some of our favorite musicians. As I watch my favorite Tiny Desks by expressive Black artists, one theme has stood out to me: the way family brings strength and intergenerational music intelligence to these artists and inspires their innovation. Watching the performances in this playlist, I can’t
Saturday is Juneteenth — the day when enslaved people in Texas learned they were freed two years after President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation. It’s now a Federal holiday . Some have turned to books to deepen their understanding of Juneteenth and past social injustices — and their long term consequences. Author Kiese Laymon says that while he understands the demand in the last year for instructive books, he’s “more interested in incisive and innovative books.” Author Kiese Laymon signs copies of his book Long Division at Books and Books on July 11, 2013 in Coral Gables, Fla. Vallery Jean / FilmMagic He’s recommending Bird Uncaged, Thick, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, The Prophets, and Sing, Unburied, Sing . Laymon has just revised and reissued his own debut novel Long Division. “In the last year, I thought about what accountability means for narrators and for creators of narrators. And I just didn’t want that book to cause any harm,” he tells NPR. “If I
Let’s sing a song for freedom this Juneteenth. Let’s lift every voice. Let’s celebrate our freedom of will, of mind, of spirit — our freedom to march on. We know that this march isn’t over, this fight isn’t won. The past has taught us a thing or two about faith; the present has brought us, at last, some hope for tomorrow. For me, music offers freedom. Freedom of expression — my way to rejoice and to mourn, to offer comfort, to call for change. This past year, music freed me to connect and communicate, even in isolation. Music echoes back to me the sorrows and struggles of our ancestors, and also their triumphs — every battle won, every bridge crossed, every burden lifted. Music brings back my own memories: of riding high on my father’s shoulders at a freedom march; of my parents’ hope and faith, the work they did so I could do mine. Music inspires me to keep going, to meet this new day that’s just begun, to greet the sun rising out of the darkness. Here are some songs I’ve chosen to
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