Wiley, Sherald To Paint Obamas’ Portraits

The National Portrait Gallery (NPG) in Washington, DC has announced that Kehinde Wiley will paint the museum’s official portrait commission of President Barack Obama, while First Lady Michelle Obama will be painted by Amy Sherald, who came in first in the NPG’s 2016 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. The portraits—which will be part of the National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection—are due to be unveiled early next year, and President Obama’s will eventually hang with portraits of all 43 presidents before him in the NPG’s America’s Presidents Gallery

Eno + Cale = Euphoric

Pitchfork maintains: ‘Brian Eno and John Cale’s 1990 collaboration, “Wrong Way Up,” is an album of contention, contrasts, cycles, and pop songs so layered and euphoric it is one of the best albums either artist has ever made.’

Your Weekend: A Selective Guide

Movies: Jackie Chan in “The Foreigner” or Chadwick Boseman in “Marshall“? Hmm. TV/Streaming: Jonathan Groff stars in a straight role in the crime series “Mindhunter,” on Netflix. Why is PBS bringing back “The Durrells on Corfu” for a second season? Music: Not since William Shatner combined dramatic readings of Shakespeare with the Beatles has there been such a bizarre mixture as “New Worlds,” the collaboration between Bill Murray and classical cellist Jan Vogler: you haven’t lived until you’ve listened to Murray moan on to Vogler’s sawing of a Schubert piano trio — samples here. Books: I have to admit that even I learned a few things from David Yaffe’s “Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell.” Sports: Lifelong Yankee haters are surprising themselves by cheering for the team this year: how can you dislike Sir Didi? Finally: Break out your Halloween masks early: it’s Friday the 13th!

“Great News”: Tina Fey, Harvey, Etc.

The NBC sitcom “Great News” frequently builds its comedy around workplace issues and slides cutting jokes about public figures into its dialogue. But one of the best comedies on television really outdid itself Thursday night with “Honeypot!,” an episode about sexual harassment that happened to air in the midst of a snowballing Harvey Weinstein scandal. The internet has frequently bowed down before “30 Rock”’s ability to call out the misogynistic, abusive actions of male celebrities, including Bill Cosby and, yes, Harvey Weinstein, long before the media fully reported on them. This half-hour of “Great News” — a comedy created by former “30 Rock” writer Tracey Wigfield and executive-produced by 30 Rock vets Tina Fey, Robert Carlock, and David Miner — is a sharp reminder of just how much DNA these two shows share.

“Springsteen” Is Tremendously Engaging

Springsteen on Broadway” opened last night, and the suspected usuals — Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg — were in the audience. I had a chance to see this intimate, thoroughly engaging show last week, and I concur with the New York Times’s Jesse Green: ‘“Springsteen on Broadway” is a painful if thrilling summing-up at 68: a major statement about a life’s work, but also a major revision of it. As music acts go, it thus has more in common with Lena Horne’s revelatory “A Lady and Her Music” from 1981 than with a greatest-hits concert by the likes of Barry Manilow.’ Definitely more Lena than Barry.

“King” To Establish Court In London

I am beyond thrilled that my pals Kelli O’Hara and Ken Watanabe will reprise their lustrous performances next year in London in the Lincoln Center Theater revival of “West Side Story.” Plans call for a June bow in the West End. Bartlett Sher, after staging “My Fair Lady for Lincoln Center Theater earlier in the year,” will again direct.

Beyoncé Raps!


Whenever Beyoncé raps, she’s flexing. It isn’t just that verses are pure braggadocio, which they often are. The act itself is a display—a reminder that she can, that she’s great at another thing. When Jay-Z became the first rapper inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, he tweeted a list of all the rappers who inspired him and emphatically added, “B a rapper too!” B has been for some time now, too. But her recent remix of J Balvin and Willy William’s “Mi Gente,” surging this week to No. 3 on the Hot 100 chart, is the glorious culmination of all the rapping she’s ever done.