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Across the United Kingdom, streets are lined with Union Jacks in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee — 60 years since she inherited the crown in 1952. But with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee only a decade behind them, a royal wedding last year, and the Olympics coming up this summer, are Britons up for yet another party?
Next, Nina Arianda is the it-girl on Broadway — she’s nominated for a Tony for her performance in David Ives’ comedy Venus In Fur. The show is a play within a play: a writer has adapted an erotic novel for the stage, and he’s having a hell of a time casting the lead. Enter Vanda: a sexy, sly actress who is by turns sultry and bombastic, and pretty much takes over the show.
Then, in Lorraine Hansberry’s 1959 play A Raisin in the Sun, a black family buys a house in an all-white neighborhood — and even before they move in, the neighbors are up in arms. Karl Lindner, a member of the Clybourne Park property owners association, visits the buyers, suggesting that “Negro families are happier when they live in their own communities.”
Following that, the San Antonio band Girl in a Coma formed over a junior high obsession over the tortured music of Morrissey. “I loved him so much it hurt,” says singer Nina Diaz, who was only 13 when she joined the band. “I turned vegetarian after that, started reading Oscar Wilde, eating yogurt and bagels and trying to be just like him.” Bassist Jenn Alva remembers, “We had posters all over the room, and we would talk to them.”
After that, according to the Entertainment Software Association, 72% of American households play videogames while, according to the Motion Picture Association of America, 67% of Americans went to the movies. If those figures are both correct, videogames might now be the great American pastime.
And finally, WNYC listener Julie Bayley grew up watching daytime talk shows to catch comics like Rodney Dangerfield. But there weren’t any comedians like her: female and black. Then Bayley saw Whoopi Goldberg in her one-woman show on Broadway (it ran for 156 sold-out performances in 1984-85). She transformed into a variety of characters — from a surfer chick to a caustic junkie — talking about everything from race to abortion to patriotism. “People around me were laughing and I couldn't even laugh," she remembers. "I couldn't even laugh because I was mesmerized. There was this woman who was unashamed of how she looked, and the way her hair looked, and who she was and she was up there not just saying funny things, but saying true things." [Broadcast Date: June 1, 2012]