True Love and Dementia: Revisiting ‘The Notebook’

If you’ve sobbed through The Notebook, we’d probably be friends. It’s true. A quick Facebook search reveals that dozens of my friends — of different ages, genders, hometowns, etc. — have liked the page for the movie, now a good 10 years since its premiere. Although I haven’t clicked like on the fan page, I do like The Notebook. It’s hard to resist the love story of Noah and Allie (Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams), as told by an older …

Are We Teaching Our Next Generation the Right Stuff?

I was on break from college, and proud to tell dad about my new major. “General Studies in the Humanities” sounded cool to me, but he was less impressed. “What the hell use will that be in world?” he wanted to know. “I’ll be a better human,” I snarked, stumped for a better answer. A report released today would have helped my case with dad. The Heart of the Matter comes from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Commission …

5 Movie Actors Who Were Late Bloomers

Besedka Johnson proved that it’s never too late to become a movie actor. She began at age 85, and won praise for last year’s Starlet, her first and only film. The Detroit native, who passed away on April 4 at age 87 in Glendale, Calif., moved to Los Angeles as a teenager to pursue a modeling career and then became a successful dressmaker. She took an acting class in her 30s, but never seriously considered striving for a Hollywood career. …

Bob Dylan Recognized by Stuffy American Academy of Arts and Letters

While the world was watching for white smoke from the Vatican chimney, the undisputed master of American songwriting in the post-Tin Pan Alley era was himself inducted into an exclusive club. Officials of the American Academy of Arts and Letters announced that Bob Dylan had been elected, the first rocker to make the cut for a stuffy Academy that may be trying to remake its image. (In fact, as the Associated Press pointed out in its story about Dylan’s election, …

Maurice Sendak: “Live Your Life, Live Your Life…”

Writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak, who died last year at the age of 83, loved his regular conversations with NPR host Terry Gross, who many consider the best interviewer in public radio. In late 2011, illustrator Christoph Nieman stumbled upon a discussion between the two that was, as they say in public radio, a “driveway moment” in which Sendak considered his mortality, while paying the highest compliments to Gross. The New York Times was smart enough to run Nieman’s drawings …

Marvin Hamlisch: Music for the Generations

Composer, conductor, pianist – Marvin Hamlisch was all those things. But he was, above all, a consummate showman.  His death at age 68 leaves a gap because he was one of the few musicians – folks like Wynton Marsalis and John Williams come to mind as his peers – whose musical vocabulary and knowledge were so broad and deep as to welcome new audiences into music in a way that underlined the universality of that unique art. As a pops …