How Obituaries Became Obituaries

“By the 1850s, newspaper stories about death were becoming more organized – and writers were striving to convey the reality of death without having to state the unpleasant truth that somebody had actually died. So readers learned of decedents who had been scathed by the wing of the destroying angel, or erased by the omnipotent author. What changed that? The Civil War.”

On New England Stages, Summer Fare Is Lighter, Leaner

“Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater has made a name for itself as a presenter of dark, edgy, groundbreaking theater.” This season, after losing half a million dollars last year and slashing its budget, the company’s offerings look different — which is to say, frothier and more mainstream. “But in moving from dark drama toward light farce, from the fringe toward the center, WHAT is hardly alone this year among New England’s summer theaters.”

High Line Revives The Romance Of Industrial Brawn

“The High Line emulates Paris’s Promenade Plantée, a magical arbor that runs nearly three miles atop a disused railway viaduct, from the Bastille Opera to the city’s edge. But for now, the New York version goes hardly anywhere. At 20th Street, it hits a chain-link fence separating the current park from its future extension. You can stroll the entire open length in less than ten minutes.”

Big-Name Directors Look To Small Films

“While this summer boasts a raft of de rigueur studio blockbusters, the “Angels & Demonses” and “Star Treks” of the world, it also features a crew of A-list directors pointedly departing from the kinds of films that made their reputations, often chucking the trappings of big-budget filmmaking in search of the high of flying by the seats of their pants.”

The Science Of Dance (Can You Tell?)

“Readers were asked to pick which of four scientific articles was being depicted in a dance (you can watch the performance again here). The good news is that 54 percent of Lab readers correctly guessed that the dance, which was professionally choreographed (by Jinn Liang Chaboud) and performed, was an interpretation of a study of DNA polymerase salt kinetics by Vince LiCata of Louisiana State University.”