July 24, 2011 |
During El Salvador's civil war in the 1980s, this town was at the heart of a perilous battle zone, washed over by government soldiers one day, leftist guerrillas the next. The upheaval made Suchitoto an unhappy emblem of the conflict and heightened its isolation in the countryside, where economic progress has been elusive. The war is long over, but not the languor. Yet a project is afoot to invigorate Suchitoto, pushed by an unlikely crowd: theater aficionados. These boosters see theater as a spark for growth and desperately needed jobs — altering the face of their town with a little more "Our Town.
July 20, 2011 |
Animal rights activists in Beijing are directing their attention away from fur farms, dog meat and zoos toward a less likely target in China: a rodeo. A coalition of 68 Chinese animal rights groups has called for the cancellation of Rodeo China, a Sino-U.S. cultural exchange event scheduled for October at the National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest. In a letter last month to the Chinese People's Assn. for Friendship With Foreign Countries, a government group teamed with the event's U.S. organizers, the rights groups condemned rodeo as a cruel sport that even Americans deem abusive and unpopular.
July 17, 2011 |
The green fields on the western outskirts of this vast metropolis are dotted with ripening ears of corn, trash and the skeletons of half-built villas abandoned by bankrupt developers. But Dvir Bar-Gal, an Israeli expatriate and photojournalist, saw none of these as he trudged toward a putrid creek, his eyes scouring the ground. Rather, he was looking for something far older: gravestones buried in the mud — the lost relics of this city's vanished Jews "When I go out to these villages filled with peasants it's almost like I've gone back to another era," he said.
July 10, 2011 |
François Bon knows about the hidden cemetery just behind the Grande Arche, a minimalist monument to modernity that looms over France's version of Wall Street, or La Défense . The decision to surround the office buildings in one of Europe's largest financial hubs with headstones was later viewed as distasteful, and trees were planted to cover them. Now, some employees says Bon, eat sandwiches while sitting on the tombs. Nearby, Bon also knows where to take an elevator that will leave a person lost in an endless expanse of deserted parking lots eight stories below ground.
June 26, 2011 |
Reporting from Jerusalem — The fast lane of the New York hip-hop scene doesn't normally merge with the winding side streets of orthodox Jerusalem, but sometimes life makes exceptions. Shot at 15, Jamal Michael Burrow looked to put gang-banging behind him and poured his anger into music. By the late 1990s, he turned a corner and became the rapper Shyne, the next big thing, protégé and comrade to Sean Combs. The makeover nearly complete, his former life caught up with him. A brawl broke out at Club New York, where he was hanging with Combs and Combs' then girlfriend, Jennifer Lopez.
June 19, 2011 |
Who better than a pair of Colombian writers whose books have spurred talk of an emerging "literature of conflict" to answer the country's perpetual riddle: Why is Colombia so violent? And will the four-decades-long bloodletting that has exacted tens of thousands of victims ever end? The question was first posed to Juan Gabriel Vasquez, a 38-year-old Bogotá native, who has just published his third novel, "The Sound of Things Falling," a taut yarn about a professor's chance and nearly fatal encounter with a drug trafficker.
June 12, 2011 |
Tracey Emin always sets out to provoke — her stock in trade is the outrageous and the obscene. But it wasn't just the array of used tampons, pregnancy tests and expletive appliqué tapestry that shocked audiences at her new exhibition "Love Is What You Want," which just opened at the Hayward Gallery on the South Bank. Instead of her usual outbursts of profanity and perversion, Emin used her limelight to do something perhaps more shocking — she pledged her support for Britain's Conservative-led government, opining that "The Tories are the only hope for the arts.
June 5, 2011 |
Bassem Youssef is barefoot, pacing around the dining room of his apartment in the tony Maadi neighborhood where he has assembled a crack team of twentysomething bloggers and activists. They are hunched over their laptops in Conan O'Brien and "Family Guy" T-shirts, plotting Egypt's comedy revolution. To Youssef, 37, the actual revolution was hilarious. Much of the January uprising that unseated Egypt's longtime president was fueled by online media: social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter , but also clips posted on YouTube — images of Tahrir Square, of protesters and security forces and former President Hosni Mubarak addressing the nation on state television.
May 22, 2011 |
For those willing to pay for it, some clinics offer therapy to solve a problem of filial distress. "They get some beautiful men to walk around naked beside you, or make you watch gay porn," says Zhang Beichuan, one of China's leading experts on homosexuality, describing a practice he doesn't advocate. "The man naturally will get an erection. When his erection reaches a certain level, the instrument emits an electrical discharge, which upsets him. They repeat the process until the man doesn't get excited anymore.
May 1, 2011 |
Art critic and painter Chen Danqing gave a speech in March excoriating the Culture Ministry for meddling in his affairs. "Don't you think this kind of pathetic, cowardly behavior is just like molesting yourselves?" he asked. A little later, the Communist Party arrested Ai Weiwei, artist, blogger, architect and big-hearted provocateur, the biggest catch in a crackdown that has snared dozens of activists. Now, Chen and others like him are left to reflect on what Ai's removal means for China and for them.