Mandalit del Barco | WYPR

Mandalit del Barco

As an arts correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco reports and produces stories about film, television, music, visual arts, dance and other topics. Over the years, she has also covered everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR, as well as the Sundance Film Festival and other events. Her news reports, feature stories and photos, filed from Los Angeles and abroad, can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Alt.latino, and npr.org.

del Barco's reporting has taken her throughout the United States, including Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco and Miami. Reporting further afield as well, del Barco traveled to Haiti to report on the aftermath of the devastating earthquake. She has chronicled street gangs exported from the U.S. to El Salvador and Honduras, and in Mexico, she reported about immigrant smugglers, musicians, filmmakers and artists. In Argentina, del Barco profiled tango legend Carlos Gardel, and in the Philippines, she reported a feature on balikbayan boxes. From China, del Barco contributed to NPR's coverage of the United Nations' Women's Conference. She also spent a year in her birthplace, Peru, working on a documentary and teaching radio journalism as a Fulbright Fellow and on a fellowship with the Knight International Center For Journalists.

In addition to reporting daily stories, del Barco produced half-hour radio documentaries about gangs in Central America, Latino hip hop, L.A. Homegirls, artist Frida Kahlo, New York's Palladium ballroom and Puerto Rican "Casitas."

Before moving to Los Angeles, del Barco was a reporter for NPR Member station WNYC in New York City. She started her radio career on the production staff of NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday with Scott Simon. However her first taste for radio came as a teenager, when she and her brother won an award for an NPR children's radio contest.

del Barco's reporting experience extends into newspaper and magazines. She served on the staffs of The Miami Herald and The Village Voice, and has done freelance reporting. She has written articles for Latina magazine and reported for the weekly radio show Latino USA.

Stories written by del Barco have appeared in several books including Las Christmas: Favorite Latino Authors Share their Holiday Memories (Vintage Books) and Las Mamis: Favorite Latino Authors Remember their Mothers (Vintage Books). del Barco contributed to an anthology on rap music and hip hop culture in the book, Droppin' Science (Temple University Press).

Peruvian writer Julio Villanueva Chang profiled del Barco's life and career for the book Se Habla Espanol: Voces Latinas en USA (Alfaguara Press).

She mentors young journalists through NPR's "Next Generation", Global Girl, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and on her own, throughout the U.S. and Latin America.

A fourth generation journalist, del Barco was born in Lima, Peru, to a Peruvian father and Mexican-American mother. She grew up in Baldwin, Kansas, and in Oakland, California, and has lived in Manhattan, Madrid, Miami, Lima and Los Angeles. She began her journalism career as a reporter, columnist and editor for the Daily Californian while studying anthropology and rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. She earned a Master's degree in journalism from Columbia University with her thesis, "Breakdancers: Who are they, and why are they spinning on their heads?"

For those who are curious where her name comes from, "Mandalit" is the name of a woman in a song from Carmina Burana, a musical work from the 13th century put to music in the 20th century by composer Carl Orff.

In 1949, Charles and Ray Eames designed and built their home on a bluff overlooking the ocean in the Pacific Palisades. Features of their house and studio are now ubiquitous, but 70 years ago, they were revolutionary.

Charles was an architect; his wife, Ray, a painter. From their Los Angeles studio, they designed molded plywood office and lounge chairs that are now considered classics. The couple devised toys and made innovative films about math and computers for clients such as IBM and Boeing.

Fun fact: The 17-year-old voice actor who plays the beloved cartoon character Peppa Pig actually lives on a farm and has her own pigs who are (of course) named Peppa and George. "They're very cheeky," says Harley Bird. "There was one time when I went in to feed them in the morning and they started eating my Wellies whilst I was still wearing them."

Bird and her family live in Tring, a village about 40 miles northeast of London. She travels to the city to record the award-winning British cartoon, then returns home to feed the chickens.

What's a Mexican restaurant without guacamole? What's a hipster cafe without avocado toast? Some restaurateurs may be contemplating these questions this summer as the price of avocados has spiked to almost double the price a year ago.

In Los Angeles' Boyle Heights neighborhood, El Tepeyac Cafe uses loads of avocados for its delicious homemade guacamole. In fact, it goes through about 50 boxes of the fruit every week. Operations manager Bernadette Thom says the restaurant has no choice but to pay more.

For decades, animated children's stories included negative stereotypes of Indigenous people.

There was Disney's Pocahontas, which presented the daughter of a Powhatan chief in a romantic love story with Captain John Smith. Crystal Echo Hawk, CEO of the media watchdog group IllumiNative, says it was a false narrative about a girl who in reality was "taken by force and sexually assaulted."

"La Cocina" means "the kitchen" in Spanish. It's also the name of a business incubator based in San Francisco's Mission District. Since it began in 2005, it's been helping local food entrepreneurs, many of whom are low-income immigrant women, develop their small businesses.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco is a film inspired by the real-life story of Jimmie Fails. He tries to reclaim the Victorian-style house where his family once lived, in the now-gentrified Fillmore District. Through the movie, he dreams of what it could be again.

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The hit TV show The Big Bang Theory is signing off after a 12 season run – and the show's writers and creators aren't quite ready to say goodbye. For more than a decade, the writers have pitched storylines and traded jabs from their creative space at Warner Bros. studios.

On their long conference table you'll find Star Wars toys, e-mail about the structure of DNA, and the collected work of physicist Richard Feynman. There are Star Trek screensavers on the TV monitors.

Less than two weeks after John Singleton suffered a massive stroke, the trailblazing filmmaker has died in Los Angeles at the age of 51. The director, who made history with 1991's Boyz n the Hood as the youngest person and first African American ever nominated for a best director Oscar, died Monday at Cedars-Sinai Hospital after his family took him off life support.

In the classic 1940 novel Native Son, 20-year-old Bigger Thomas dreams of a life beyond his impoverished Chicago neighborhood.

As in the book, the new Native Son movie begins with Bigger killing a huge rat in his house, where he lives with his siblings and their single mother. His troubles accelerate after he gets hired as a driver for the Daltons, a wealthy white family.

The Creature from the Black Lagoon has reemerged from the deep, deep waters of history.

The terrifying movie monster could both swim (in his lagoon) and walk on land. He had long claws, webbed hands and feet, scales and a dorsal fin. His round, fishy head had bulging eyes and layers of wavy gills.

Marvel's Black Panther is up for seven Academy Awards this Sunday.

It could be the first superhero movie to win for best picture. Its costume designer Ruth Carter is an Oscar nominee. The film is nominated for best original score and best original song.

Here's what's up with docs: They're doing great at the box office.

At last month's Sundance Film Festival, Knock Down the House broke the festival's documentary sales record: reportedly $10 million to Netflix. The film follows the 2018 campaigns of four female congressional candidates, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

In Destroyer, Nicole Kidman looks like a hot mess.

In the opening scene, her character, Los Angeles police detective Erin Bell, lumbers out of the car she slept in all night. She's got puffy, red eyes; dull, disheveled hair; no makeup.

Weather-beaten, she hobbles like a wounded animal to a crime scene along the concrete bank of the LA River. The raspy-voiced cop in a black leather jacket peers at a corpse with tattoos.

"What about if I know who did this?" her character asks.

In his new film, Alfonso Cuarón brings back to life the middle-class neighborhood where he grew up — the street vendors, the barking dogs, the occasional parade. It lends the film its title: Roma.

He also chronicles the daily rituals of the woman who cleaned house and helped care for him and his three siblings. Roma focuses on Cleo, a character based on Cuarón's real-life nanny and housekeeper: Liboria Rodríguez, known as "Libo."

After dark on a recent Wednesday, well-known guerilla street artist Robbie Conal and two of his artist friends spent a few hours of political mischief on the streets of Los Angeles.

In the parking lot of Wendy's Donuts in Marina Del Rey, they spot their first target: a traffic light control box, perfectly sized for one of his new posters lampooning President Trump and his inner circle.

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George Rodriguez, now 80, still doesn't go anywhere without taking pictures.

"People don't recognize me without my camera," he says. "I like to document everything that's goin' on."

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Photographer George Rodriguez chronicled Los Angeles for nearly six decades from Hollywood to the Chicano movement to hip-hop and beyond. As NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports, his work is now being celebrated in a new book and his first gallery retrospective.

Outlaws. That's what they were considered when they spray-painted walls and bombed subway cars with modern-day hieroglyphics. They worked in alleys and train yards, bridges and tunnels. Now, many of them are being celebrated in a massive warehouse near Los Angeles' Chinatown.

Kevin Feige runs the Marvel Cinematic Universe from his corner office at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, Calif. There, the president of Marvel Studios is surrounded by toys: Iron Man action figures (signed by director Jon Favreau) line the windows, Captain America's shield is framed on the wall and Thor's hammer rests on the coffee table.

Armando Iannucci has created some of the most biting political satire of the past 25 years, on the radio, TV and on movie screens. His latest is a political spoof about the demise of dictator Joseph Stalin in 1953; The Death of Stalin hits theaters this weekend.

To create the fantastical, otherworldly story in A Wrinkle In Time, the cast and crew traveled to the mountains of New Zealand and to a sequoia forest in Northern California. They also created elaborate sets on a soundstage in Santa Clarita, north of Los Angeles, which is where director Ava DuVernay was behind the camera over a year ago.

The global box office success of Black Panther is no surprise to UCLA sociologist Darnell Hunt. His annual report on Hollywood diversity argues that movies and TV shows with diverse casts and creators pay off for the industry's bottom line.

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Filmmaker Ridley Scott began shooting his thriller All the Money in the World on May 29. By September, Sony released the first trailer, with Kevin Spacey in the role of oil tycoon John Paul Getty. Then, on Oct. 29, just weeks before the movie was set to be released, Buzzfeed published a story about Spacey in which another actor accused him of sexual misconduct.

The Last Jedi — the newest chapter in the Star Wars saga — marks the return of actors Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver and the late Carrie Fisher to their Force Awakens characters. The space opera was written and directed by Rian Johnson, who's also set to work on the next Star Wars trilogy.

Johnson has been a Star Wars fan since he was a little boy in Denver, playing with his action figures.

A chair is just a chair, unless it's designed as a sound-insulated "isolation sphere": a space-age, egg-shaped pod that was created by a French architect in 1971. It's the kind of unique object you can find at this year's Design Miami.

The fair features everything from vintage furniture to contemporary ceramics to handcrafted jewelry — all collectible objects from the 20th and 21st century. Rodman Primack is chief creative officer of the marketplace, where potential buyers can find unique, limited edition pieces and prototypes commissioned by 34 galleries from around the world.

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