A panel from part one of<em> Insufferable</em>, the first title offered by the comics website <a href="http://Thrillbent.com">Thrillbent.com</a>. The site's creator, comic-book writer Mark Waid, hopes it will redefine comics in the era of smartphones and tablets.
He wouldn't make the claim himself, but when it comes to comic-book writers, Mark Waid is one of the greats.
"I've pretty much hit all of the pop culture bases," Waid says, surrounded by comic-book memorabilia in his Los Angeles home. Batman, Spider-Man and even The Incredibles have all had adventures dreamed up by Waid.
"Jan. 26, 1979, was the most important day of my life," Waid says. "Because that's the day that I saw Superman: The Movie. I came out of it knowing that no matter what the rest of my life was going to be like, it had to involve Superman somehow."
Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) reluctantly agrees to go to couples therapy with his wife, Kay (Meryl Streep), in <em>Hope Springs</em>. The film, directed by <em>The Devil Wears</em> <em>Prada</em>'s David Frankel, is a refreshingly subdued take on marital conflict.
Credit Barry Wetcher / Sony Pictures
Steve Carell plays Dr. Bernard Feld, Kay and Arnold's marriage counselor. The therapy scenes between the three go on for longer than expected and play like chamber pieces for the theater.
The act of sharing decades of your life with one person lends itself to repetition. If you aren't careful, repetition becomes routine, routines become ruts, and then, for the terminally uncommunicative, ruts dig themselves so deep that they become the sort of soul-sucking bottomless trench in which Kay and Arnold, the married couple played by Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones in Hope Springs, find themselves.
The Festival Theater in Stratford, Ontario, is the main venue for the town's annual Stratford Shakespeare Festival. The town lies on the Avon River — just like Shakespeare's British birthplace — and had schools named after Romeo and Juliet before the festival started in 1953.
Credit Richard Bain / Stratford Shakespeare Festival
This summer, NPR's Destination Art series is going off the beaten path to visit small to midsize North American cities that have cultivated lively arts scenes. We want to hear from you! Where's your favorite art hot spot? What makes it unique? <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=156306412"><strong>Tell us about it.</strong></a>
Credit Brian Santa Maria / iStockphoto.com
Cara Ricketts plays Innogen in <em>Cymbeline</em>, one of three Shakepeare plays produced for this year's festival.
Credit David Hou / Stratford Shakespeare Festival
For the first Stratford Shakespeare Festival in 1953, a circus tent was brought from Chicago and raised on a hillside.
Credit Peter Smith / Stratford Shakespeare Festival
Mike Shara (left) as Cornelius Hackl and Josh Epstein as Barnaby Tucker in <em>The Matchmaker</em>, a play Thornton Wilder rewrote into its current form 50 years ago in Stratford<em> .</em>
Credit Cylla von Tiedemann / Stratford Shakespeare Festival
Most theaters let audiences know the show is about to start by blinking the lights. Stratford's Festival Theater in Stratford, Ontario, is a bit more festive. Four burgundy-uniformed buglers and a drummer quicken the pace of hundreds of theatergoers who've been ambling up the hill from the banks of the Avon River. When curtain time arrives, a cannon will boom.
Step, if you will, into my bedroom at night. (Don't worry, this is a PG-rated invitation.) At first, all is tranquil: My husband and I, exhausted by our day's labors, slumber, comatose, in our double bed. But, somewhere around 2 a.m., things begin to go bump in the night. My husband's body starts twitching, like Frankenstein's monster receiving his first animating shocks of electricity. Thrashing about, he'll kick me and steal the covers. In his dreams, he's always fighting or being chased; one night he said he dreamt Dick Cheney was gaining on him.