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The directors of the documentary ‘Tomorrow We Disappear’ on India’s legendary Kathputli slum, the last home to magicians, acrobats, and puppeteers.

“But no, I must stop all this, and tell the story as simply as possible: while troops chased arrested dragged magicians from their ghetto…while bulldozers moved forwards into the slum, a door was slammed shut…but not all the magicians were captured; not all of them were carted off…and it said that the day after the bulldozing of the magicians’ ghetto, a new slum was reported in the heart of the city.”

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Joshua Cogan

It was these words in Salman Rushdie’s Booker Prize-winning Midnight’s Children that first brought us to New Delhi’s Kathputli Colony, the legendary slum of magicians, acrobats, and puppeteers. Midnight’s Children captured the first time the slum was destroyed, in the ‘70s during Indira Gandhi’s Emergency, but like a futile game of whack-a-mole between artists and the government, Kathputli popped up again just a few months later. 

#cloneclub

‘Orphan Black’s Stunning Heroine

The clone saga ‘Orphan Black’ is pulpy, adrenaline-fueled television at its finest. But how long can a show depend on the spellbinding performance of one actress?

Suburban soccer mom Alison tortures her husband with a hot glue gun, has sex with her friend’s husband in a minivan, and watches that friend choke to death after her scarf gets snagged in a garbage disposal. If she sounds like a character from a telenovela or Bollywood movie, that’s because she totally does.

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BBC America

This is the dark and often absurd humor that makes BBC America’s clone conspiracy saga Orphan Black so delightful. Alison is played by the marvelous Tatiana Maslany, an actress who hails from Regina, Saskatchewan. That’s the awkwardly pronounced capital of the prairie province and hometown of the late Leslie Nielson. That Maslany was able to rise from Regina to Hollywood stardom is remarkable; that the 28-year-old is able to play at least nine compelling characters in one television show is simply spellbinding.

Nostalgia

Why New York City Needs the Knicks

The documentary ‘When the Garden Was Eden,’ premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival, focuses on the ‘70s New York Knicks, and how the basketball team served as a refuge for a city plagued by crime.

Now here comes Willis... and the crowd is going wild!”

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New York Knicks Jerry Lucas, Walt "Clyde" Frazier, Willis Reed, and Phil Jackson celebrate after defeating the Knicks in Game 5 to win the NBA Championship at the LA Forum in Los Angeles, California. (George Kalinsky)

That was Marv Albert’s call on the radio for Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals, and even though New York City is seen as some kind of secularist’s utopia or dystopic hellscape depending on your point of view vis-à-vis organized religion, Reed’s entrance is practically a shibboleth for Gotham basketball fans; flash a few stills from the grainy TV footage, and the entire gloriously improbable tale comes spilling out in gushing, reverent tones, as if retelling the deeds of saints.

Scandalous

Hollywood’s Worst Medical Errors

From doctors doing surgery without masks on to Wolverine’s true love dying via diuretic, TV and film are full of medical errors.

Oh, “Scandal,” you frothy mess of a show. Between your increasingly despicable characters and your ludicrous, often contradictory plotlines, I don’t know why I watch you. (That is not technically true. I watch you because my husband makes me.) That finale had me rolling my eyes so hard I think I pulled a muscle.

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Hulu

[SPOILER ALERT: I will not only be discussing the big reveal of the “Scandal” season finale, I will also be giving away plot points of an old episode of “Sherlock” and a particularly silly “X-Men” movie, as well as grousing about “ER.” Some of those things are so old in pop culture terms they’re practically Pleistocene, but if you’re touchy about such matters, consider yourself fairly warned.]

PRETTY GROSS

Hollywood’s ‘Twink’ Pool Parties

As Bryan Singer contests allegations he sexually assaulted a 17-year-old teenager, one attendee of the Hollywood director’s infamous pool parties recalls wild nights of no clothes and lots of alcohol.

In gay company, use of the word “twink” is typically paired with a rolled eye and a condescending tone. At its most pejorative, the term describes a uniquely disposable kind of young gay man: Hairless, guileless, witless. The term’s namesake is Twinkie, a junk food containing shiny packaging, a sweet taste, and zero nutritional value.

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via Facebook

It’s a label that mitigates the need for names or personalities or agency:  “twinks” can be bussed into parties, thrown into pools, put into a tiny Speedo—or no tiny Speedo at all—and ornamentally placed around the water’s edge like living, breathing, giggling statuary.

Food Mystery

The Search for General Tso

A new documentary premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival explores how and why General Tso’s chicken became a cultural touchstone.

It’s a taste both foreign, and familiar. Chicken is diced into square inches, marinated, and deep-fried in a wok, followed by a quick toss in brown sauce. The sauce is a mélange of flavors—tangy, salty, and sweet—lathered on a crisp shell encasing the warm, tender meat.

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General Tso's Chicken (Ian Cheney)

General Tso’s Chicken has become a staple of American dining; a dish that, were it not for pizza, could be crowned the most popular ethnic food item in the country. And it’s a total cash cow. The dish is carried in most of the 50,000 Chinese restaurants in the United States, produced very cheaply, and sold for about $10 a pop, resulting in billions of dollars in tasty revenue.

Do Something

Millennials and the American City

Michael Tubbs, a 23-year-old councilmember in Stockton, California, and the star of the documentary ‘True Son,’ says that now is the time for young people to engineer social change.

“What are you going to do after you graduate?” was a question I grew to loathe during my senior at Stanford University. The pressure was immense as I was fully expected to add another prestigious institution to my resume, whether a high-profile company, a top graduate school, or a renowned fellowship.  For months, I struggled with the decision and after being rejected as a finalist from a fellowship I found myself at a crossroads.  Until that point, public service was the thread that tied my extracurricular and academic pursuits in college together, but it wasn’t something that I saw as a viable full-time pursuit. I struggled to make a decision, until I reflected on a traumatic experience from the year before.

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Stockton City Council District 6 Councilmember Michael Tubbs photographed at Stockton City Hall, April 24, 2013. (Robyn Twomey/Redux)

During the fall of my junior year, I interned in Intergovernmental Affairs in The White House with a focus on outreach to local elected officials. Although I hated the menial tasks the job required, it gave me a window into the power of local government.  During my internship, my cousin was murdered in Stockton, one of 50 homicides that year. In the midst of grieving, I began to feel that I had a special responsibility to use the resources I had been given to make the world a better place, although in which capacity was still unclear.  It wasn’t until a year later that I achieved clarity when I decided to run for city council in Stockton—with no money or political experience. The impetus behind this decision was a desire to change the odds for children like my cousin and me.

JUST FOR LAUGHS

The Brilliance of Billy Crystal

In his one-man show, ‘700 Sundays’, Crystal interweaves the bitter and sweet—growing up Jewish in Long Beach, being the token Munchkin on the school basketball team—and reminds us what great comedy is.

We were all born to tell the stories of our lives; the problem lies in scaring up an audience. Billy Crystal is one of an elite that can draw throngs just by talking, and he gets a chance to prove his story worth telling and worth hearing in 700 Sundays, the one-man show taped for HBO during its recent Broadway run. It premieres tomorrow night, and yes, Crystal’s life easily merits two hours of yours.

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Billy Crystal’s “700 Sundays,” one of the most-acclaimed and highest-grossing plays in Broadway history, comes to HBO. (Carol Rosegg/HBO)

This isn’t a “my greatest hits” revue in which Crystal reprises his best-known comic inspirations, although he does note in passing his immortal tribute to cockamamie castings of Hollywood: Edward G. Robinson as a disgruntled Israelite in The Ten Commandments, invoked by Crystal with a gangster-ish growl of “So, where is your Moses now?”  It is legendarily funny.

Writers’ Room

How TV’s Best Shows Get Written

The writers of ‘Scandal’ almost did what!? ‘Community’ star Jim Rash takes us inside ‘The Writers’ Room,’ a behind-the-scenes look at how TV’s best shows are created.

You couldn’t write a bit that good.

Just hours after the up-to-there slit on her red-carpet gown made “Angelina Jolie’s leg” an Internet meme at the 2012 Oscars, Jim Rash (along with co-writers Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon) win Best Adapted Screenplay for their work on The Descendants, rush to the stage to accept their trophies, and Rash juts out his hip and sticks out his leg, the perfect mimic of Jolie and the perfect Oscar moment.

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Jim Rash from the film "The Way Way Back" poses for a portrait during the 2013 Sundance Film Festival at the Fender Music Lodge, on Tuesday Jan. 22, 2013 in Park City, Utah. (Victoria Will/AP)

PIECE OF WORK

The World’s Master Art Forger

The Tribeca Film Fest flick ‘Art and Craft’ paints a crazy picture of a man obsessed with re-creating and donating famous works—and fooling many in the process.

As a self-proclaimed “philanthropist,” Father Arthur Scott has donated hundreds of notable artworks to museums all across the country. Institutions like the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., and the Philadelphia Museum of Art have accepted works by Paul Signac, Alfred Jacob Miller and Louis Valtat. Or have they?

Art and Craft

Sam Cullman/Oscilloscope Laboratories

Each museum registrar heard the same story: Father Arthur Scott’s mother has recently passed away and while his sister—still in Paris—settles the estate, he is there to facilitate her wish to bequest the institution with a piece from her collection.

Why the GOP Is Angry About Colbert

When Stephen Colbert was announced as David Letterman's successor, Rush Limbaugh and company both criticized and politicized the move. Keli Goff discusses whether they're actually mad.

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