The Arts

Daphne Rubin-Vega played Mimi in Rent. "It was a lot of fun to actually be able to practically apply my research of partying ..." she says. "I knew these people. I knew this world." She's pictured above with Adam Pascal in New York Theatre Workshop's 1996 production of rent. CREDIT: Joan Marcus

13,140,000 Minutes: It’s Been 25 Years Since The First Performance Of ‘Rent’

On Jan. 25, 1996, a new rock musical by a little-known writer, Jonathan Larson, gave its first performance. Friends and family filed into a small off-Broadway theater to see Rent. The show was a retelling of La Boheme, set on the Lower East Side of New York, as people were dying of AIDS. It became an international phenomenon, winning the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award, among others, but the performance almost didn’t happen. Early that morning, Larson died of an aortic aneurysm. I spoke with some of the people who were there that night.

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Book cover - Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor

BOOK REVIEW: In ‘Remote Control,’ Drones Fly Over The Yam Fields Of A Near-Future Africa

At the start of the story, Fatima is a young Ghanian girl who has taken on the mantle of the Adopted Daughter of Death. Renamed Sankofa — an avian symbol of the West African Akan people, one that embodies the idea of harnessing the past to forge a better tomorrow — she wanders the land, inducing dread and awe in the towns she encounters, a living legend wielding the power of annihilation. The dead pile at her departing feet.

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