When a minivan becomes a music machine and the return of Chucky: the week in commented articles


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This weekend, listen to a collection of narrated articles from The New York Times, read aloud by the journalists who wrote them.

If you live in parts of New York City, you can hear the sounds of bachata, dembow, and típico merengue seep through city crevices on weekends until the cops try to cut the music. . This is Dominican car audio culture, where personalized audio systems are an art in their own right.

At meetups and shows, Dominican car enthusiasts – known as musicólogos – are like live DJs and engineers, selecting songs and mixing levels for maximum effect. Their vans are gathered in huge circles and equipped with towering rows of loudspeakers. Swarms of spectators gather inside the rings, and musicologists toss songs at their rivals, in the hope of drowning them. Some prefer clear sound, while others go for a volume that makes your eyeballs vibrate out of their sockets.

It is a culture born out of a love for sound, for community – a cradle of belonging in a country that is difficult to call your own.

Written and narrated by Hélène Stapinski

When guitarist and songwriter Stephen Ulrich saw a bass standing in a Jersey City pawnshop with the word “SMUTTY” written at the bottom in pink letters, he immediately knew who it was.

He remembers seeing this bass on stage on the Lower East Side in the early 1980s, when a band called the Rockats – and especially their bassist, Smutty Smiff – changed his life, prompting him to pursue a career in the music. “He was larger than life and was unlike anyone else I had ever seen,” Mr. Ulrich said of Smutty. “He kind of rearranged my molecules.”

Wondering why Smutty would have put on his big, beautiful bass, Mr. Ulrich posted a photo of it on Facebook. First of all, he was struck by hundreds of comments. Then Mr. Ulrich’s cell phone rang. “Smutty Smiff here,” said the voice on the other end of the phone, with a strong Cockney accent. “I heard you found my bass. “

Written by Dana goldstein and Jacey fortin | Reported by Dana Goldstein

A vast majority of the nation’s 50 million public school students have been in classrooms, full-time and mostly uninterrupted, this fall – whether students are masked or unmasked, whether teachers are vaccinated or not. .

Now schools are faced with the question of what comes next. In conservative areas like Wyoming, some schools want to find a way to encourage more people to get vaccinated. In parts of Georgia that have started demanding masks in schools, there is debate over how much help this will provide. And in liberal neighborhoods like Boston, where infection rates are low, some parents are starting to wonder how long masking will be needed.

These debates reflect a larger societal question: how should we live with Covid, since it seems to be here to stay?

Written and narrated by Erik Piepenburg

For Don Mancini, the gay man who created Chucky, the crass killer doll that first terrorized viewers in 1988, “Chucky” (premiering Tuesday in the US and Syfy) is more than the first foray into the world. franchise in episodic television. Its eight episodes pursue deeply personal themes that Mancini was unable to explore when “Child’s Play” hit theaters 33 years ago.

In the new show, Jake (Zackary Arthur), a 14-year-old boy who unknowingly buys Chucky at a garage sale, is upset that Chucky has read his diary entries about his crush on a classmate. That’s when Chucky talks to Jake about his own gay, fluid child.

While television is no stranger to gay teen characters in 2021, Mancini knows Jake’s sexuality might rock some horror fans. “But I am able to do it, so why not? Said Mancini. “The idea of ​​blowing up some people’s heads was catnip to me.”

Written and narrated by Korsha Wilson

Bryant Terry is a famous cookbook author, but lately he’s been looking beyond the food medium to figure out how to best preserve black food stories.

Mr. Terry runs a new label called 4 Color Books, which will market two to three titles written by color writers each year. The first, “Black Food”, will be released on October 19 and will attempt to showcase the extent of black culture to the world. It features a galaxy of dark voices sharing recipes, stories, and artwork, and analyzing their connection to food, drink, spirituality, culture, belonging, rest, and self-care. It’s more spiritually aligned with a gallery exhibit than a cookbook.

“I think the most impactful part of 4 Color will be modeling how we want the publishing world to be,” Mr. Terry said. “The informal slogan is: 4 colored people, 4 colors outside the lines” and, in a nod to black women and black culture, “4c hair. “



The Times narrated articles are written by Parin Behrooz, Claudine Ebeid, Carson Leigh Brown, Anna Diamond, Aaron Esposito, Elena Hecht, Elisheba Ittoop, Emma Kehlbeck, Marion Lozano, Anna Martin, Tracy Mumford, Tanya Perez, Margaret Willison, Kate Winslett and John Woo. Special thanks to Sam Dolnick, Ryan Wegner, Julia Simon and Desiree Ibekwe.

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