One of the highlights of the new China Art Palace in Shanghai is a giant digital rendering of a famous ancient scroll, "Along the River During Qingming Festival," which includes figures that walk and talk. The work was first presented at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.
Credit Frank Langfitt / NPR
The sprawling China Art Palace is housed in the former China pavilion at the site of the 2010 World Expo. It's about the size of the Museum of Modern Art in New York; admission is free.
Credit Frank Langfitt / NPR
Young museum-goers at the Power Station of Art check their smartphones. Engaging audiences is challenging in China, where there is no emphasis on art education in public schools.
Shanghai did something last fall that few other cities on the planet could have even considered. It opened two massive art museums right across the river from one another on the same day.
The grand openings put an exclamation point on China's staggering museum building boom. In recent years, about 100 museums have opened annually here, peaking at nearly 400 in 2011, according to the Chinese Society of Museums.
A pilgrim walks the Way of St. James outside Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, on July 21, 2010. The ancient religious pilgrimage is also attracting the nonreligious these days.
Credit Miguel Riopa / AFP/Getty Images
"I always wanted to do this pilgrimage for the adventure and spiritual growth," says Pascal Begin, a 55-year-old French parish priest. "But whether you're religious or not, everyone is looking for simplicity and getting to know themselves and meeting others. It's just human."
Credit Eleanor Beardsley / NPR
A pilgrim prays before a crucifix in Somport, France, along the Way of St. James. Last year, nearly 200,000 pilgrims walked the journey.
A 1,200-year old European pilgrimage route is experiencing a revival. Last year alone, some 200,000 followed in the footsteps of their medieval forebears on the Way of St. James, making their way some 750 miles from Paris across France to the Spanish coastal city of Santiago de Compostela, and the relics of the eponymous apostle.
Beth Lapides (with music director-producer Mitch Kaplan) is the founder and ringmaster at UnCabaret, a Los Angeles comedy institution that's marking its 25th anniversary this year.
Comedian and actress Margaret Cho is among the big-name performers who've taken a turn onstage at UnCabaret, where those who come to the stage are encouraged to try out material that might never make it on the comedy circuit or on TV.
When movie stars become unbankable, they're no longer a slam dunk at the box office. When investments become unbankable, they're relegated to the Wall Street's junk pile. For ordinary Americans deemed unbankable — those who don't have a traditional checking or savings account — it can be hard to simply pay bills.
And that absence of a bank account is about to become a big problem for those who also lack health coverage — and for the health insurance companies trying to sell them coverage. After all, how do you sell a product to a customer who has no easy way to pay you?
Iranians choose a new president next month, and one thing Iran's leaders are intent on avoiding is a repeat of the massive street protests that followed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's controversial re-election in 2009.
The sponsors of those protests, known as the Green Movement, have been effectively silenced inside Iran, but not online. The heroine of a graphic novel about the violent suppression of dissent in 2009 is now launching a virtual campaign of her own.