SPECIAL FROM Next Avenue
"The Great Gatsby"
Nearly 40 years have passed since Robert Redford wooed Mia Farrow in the cinematic adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s epic novel. (Francis Ford Coppola penned the screenplay.) Now, this generation’s Redford, Leonardo DiCaprio, is taking his turn as the love-struck millionaire in one of the year's most anticipated films. With a $125 million budget in the hands of director Baz Luhrmann ("Moulin Rouge!") -- whose own aesthetics are as opulent as his hero’s -- this Gatsby is sure to be a stunning visual feast.
"Polygamy USA," Nat Geo, May 7, 9 p.m. Eastern time
Anyone who has ever struggled to make a relationship work -- and let’s face it, that’s pretty much everyone -- will be fascinated to see what it’s like to try juggling three of them. This new National Geographic series takes viewers to Centennial Park, Ariz., the home of a burgeoning Mormon sect, for an unprecedented, behind-the-scenes look at the day-to-day lives of polygamists, like Michael, his three wives and -- yikes! -- 18 kids.
"Mother," Natalie Maines
No one has ever accused Natalie Maines of being shy; the former Dixie Chick belts out her opinions as boldly as her hits. Still there’s something particularly audacious about taking on -- and nailing -- Jeff Buckley’s "Lover You Should’ve Come Over" as she does here on her first solo effort since eschewing her country roots five years ago. With a mix of original material and covers (the title track is a Pink Floyd song) the record is more likely to lure new fans than Dixie Chick followers. “I like winning people over,” Maines says.
"The Flame Throwers," Rachel Kushner
The second novel by acclaimed writer Rachel Kushner straddles the squatter colonization of Manhattan's SoHo in the '70s and the simultaneous rise of Italy's radical left. Its narrator is Reno, a young, motorcycle-obsessed artist who flees to New York and finds herself steeped in a dangerous underground world of radicals. Readers who came of age during the era will be impressed by the author’s spot-on look at the time. NPR calls Flame Throwers “an uncannily perceptive portrait of our culture -- psychologically and philosophically astute, candid about class, art, sex and the position of women -- with a deadly accuracy that recalls the young Joan Didion.”
WORTH THE TRIP
Chagall: Beyond Color, Dallas Museum of Art, through May 26
The Dallas Museum of Art is one of only two museums in the world presenting this Chagall exhibition -- the other is in France (La Piscine Museum in Roubaix) -- that offers a new perspective on the Russian modernist’s work by presenting his distinctively vivid paintings alongside his sculpture, ceramics and collage. But perhaps the show’s biggest treat is a display of ballet costumes the artist designed, along with sets, for the Ballet Theatre of New York in 1942 -- they stole the show. Called to the stage amid the dancers during 19 curtain calls, Chagall was deemed by the press, “the hero of the evening.”
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