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Mandalit del Barco

"It was the worst of times. It was the worst of times." Author Annabelle Gurwitch now scoffs at those opening lines of her new memoir — she had no idea just how bad it would get.

In You're Leaving When? Adventures in Downward Mobility, Gurwitch finds herself divorced after a 22-year marriage, an empty-nester with no retirement plan. After losing her union-sponsored health insurance, her payments balloon from $600 a year to $1,200 a month. Her parents have died. Then the pandemic hits. And her cat dies. But wait — there's more.

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The Sundance Film Festival begins today in Park City, Utah. And because of the pandemic, thousands of film lovers will go to premieres, panels and parties mostly online. NPR's Mandalit del Barco has this preview.

Mexican film directors have enjoyed success at the Academy Awards in recent years. Alfonso Cuarón won an Oscar for directing Gravity in 2014, and for Roma in 2019. Alejandro González Iñárritu won one in 2015 for directing Birdman and the following year for The Revenant. And Guillermo del Toro won his Oscar for directing The Shape of Water in 2018. Now, the "Tres Amigos," as they're known, may welcome uno más: up-and-coming filmmaker Fernando Frías de la Parra.

Three of the five acts nominated for the 2021 best children's album Grammy Award are saying "no thanks." They're upset that the contenders in their category are all white.

One of them is Alastair Moock, whose nominated album, Be a Pain, is about American heroes who stood up for their principles: The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Harvey Milk, Rosa Parks, the Parkland, Fla., shooting student protesters and others.

Pixar's new animated film Soul is the story of Joe Gardner, a middle school school music teacher with big dreams about performing jazz onstage. "Music is all I think about, from the moment I wake up in the morning to the moment I fall asleep at night," he says. "I was born to play."

It's been 50 years since José Feliciano came up with the seasonal earworm "Feliz Navidad." The song is just two phrases of holiday cheer, in Spanish and in English, repeated over and over for three minutes.

Las Musas, a collective of writers, held its first celebration of Latinx children's literature in December in a two-day, virtual festival featuring more than 140 authors and illustrators.

Organizers say they created the event to amplify their voices — and to help counter statistics: The Cooperative Children's Book Center found that only 479 of the 4,035 children's books published in 2019 were by or about Latinx people, who make up 18% of the country's population.

When she moved to the U.S. from Argentina in 1967, Elsa Calandrelli gave herself a stage name in Quechua, the indigenous language of the Andes: Suni Paz, which means "lasting peace." That's because, she says, lasting peace is what she wants for the world. The 85-year-old singer and songwriter has dedicated herself to singing for and about indigenous and working-class people, and children of all backgrounds.

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Big, live fashion shows are not happening in this time of COVID-19, and Gucci — whose influential creative director already wanted to curtail the madness of fashion's

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In the category of "Beloved Trivia Game Show Hosts," there is one very clear answer: Who is Alex Trebek? For 36 years, Trebek quizzed Jeopardy! contestants on history, geography, hip-hop lyrics, "Potent Potables" and "Potpourri."

Just like everything else this year, Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is different. One commemoration in East Los Angeles included a socially distanced car parade. Decked-out lowriders cruised down Whittier Boulevard in a caravan, past Evergreen Cemetery, all the way to Self Help Graphics & Art in Boyle Heights.

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In a new documentary, Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of "Hamilton," pays tribute to his father, Luis Miranda, who's a well-connected political consultant in New York City. It airs on HBO tonight. NPR's Mandalit del Barco talked to both Mirandas at Sundance, where the movie premiered. And this piece is an encore.

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The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, begins today. It's celebrated around Asia and also in the U.S. NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports on some celebrations of the harvest moon.

Children don't often get to read stories by or about Latinos. The American book publishing industry remains overwhelmingly white, according to the Cooperative Children's Book Center, which found only five percent of books published for young readers are by or about Latinx people. But several new groups of writers, editors and agents are trying to increase Latino representation in children's literature. They're working in different ways, and have their own stories to tell.

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Chadwick Boseman has died. The actor who played the Black Panther, Jackie Robinson and other heroes was 43 and died four years after being diagnosed with colon cancer.

NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports.

It's always been about timing with Tenet. Christopher Nolan's highly anticipated action thriller stars John David Washington as a secret agent who inverts time to try to save the world from an impending World War III.

The first new movie since the coronavirus pandemic shuttered movie theaters opens around the country on Friday. An audacious road rage movie, Unhinged stars Russell Crowe as a man who relentlessly hunts down an impatient woman after she honks and passes him at a traffic stop.

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The Walt Disney Company reported yesterday a loss of $4.7 billion in its third quarter. It also announced a surprise for its streaming service, Disney+. Here's NPR's Mandalit del Barco.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show is facing a new round of serious allegations, this time of sexual harassment and misconduct against three of the daily talk show's executive producers, as well as other forms of workplace misconduct. The allegations come from 36 former Ellen DeGeneres employees.

On Thursday, DeGeneres sent a note to her staff in which she apologized for the show's reputed toxic workplace environment and pledged to do better.

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The coronavirus pandemic has reigned on next year's Rose Parade. It normally marks the start of the new year. Here's NPR's Mandalit del Barco with some more.

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As Americans celebrate Independence Day, a group of artists and activists are flying pro-immigrant, anti-incarceration messages in the skies. They hired fleets of airplanes to sky-write their slogans over 80 locations, including immigration detention facilities, jails, courts and the U.S./Mexico border.

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