In 2011, of the ten movies that sold the most tickets, eight were rated PG-13. Makes sense: PG-13 means any kid in America is allowed to walk in without an adult, and at the same time, the movie is "adult" enough that they might want to. A PG-13 rating maximizes a movie’s audience.
Then, Lena Dunham is the creator, director, and star of the new HBO series Girls, and, at 25, happy to be called a girl herself. The show follows four young women trying to carve out adult lives for themselves in New York City, struggling with independence, sex, and work. Comparisons to Sex and the City are inevitable, but Girls brings a level of realism rare to TV. The apartments are cramped, the clothes unfabulous, the sex awkward and unsatisfying.
After that, growing up in Evanston, Illinois, Rashid Johnson remembers school trips to visit The Art Institute of Chicago. On one visit, while horsing around trying to impress a girl, Johnson bumped into a painting. Chastened, he “decided that it was probably in my best interest to actually pay attention” to the docent’s remarks.
Following that, last month, we announced our Significant Objects story contest. We picked out three objects from a thrift store — a doll ($5), a thermos with the Marlboro logo ($5), and a wooden trinket ($1) — and asked you to perform creative alchemy, turning junk into treasure by giving it a backstory. We received nearly 300 submissions in the forms of short stories, letters, monologues, poems, even a haiku.
And finally, it’s rare that a musician comes along whose songs are both political and globally appealing. Nneka’s music is a mixture of Afrobeat, hip-hop, R&B, and folk. She's just released her second album in the US, Soul is Heavy, and plays acoustic versions of some of the songs in our studio. [Broadcast Date: April 14, 2012]
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