Arts and Culture

And ... action! A century ago, in the days when Hollywood was still Hollywoodland, audiences sat in darkened theaters to watch silent "flickers" featuring anonymous actresses and actors who were called "movies," their roles written by "scenarists." The whole idea of a movie star had yet to be invented, until a Canadian-born gamine named Mary Pickford charmed her way into the public's consciousness.

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DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Peter Morgan, creator of the Netflix series The Crown, has an unusual take on Britain's royals. He says, "Let's just stop thinking about them as a royal family for just a second and think about them as just a regular family."

Like any family, Morgan says, the House of Windsor has its share of shame, regret and "misdemeanors of the past;" and, of course, "no family is complete without an embarrassing uncle." In the case of the Windsors, the uncle in question was King Edward VIII, who abdicated the throne 1936, paving the way for Elizabeth to become queen in 1952.

And now, once again, I bid my hideous progeny go forth and prosper.

The promotional campaign for American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, which premieres Wednesday, January 17, on FX, is all gowns and glamour: The camera lingers over a head of Medusa, the designer's internationally recognized logo. We see flashbulbs, red carpets, bold prints, glasses of champagne.

Who can say why some gimmicks take off and others flop? But the Google Arts & Culture app tapped into the zeitgeist over the weekend, until it seemed like just about everyone with access to a camera phone and a social media account was seeking and sharing their famous painting doppelganger.

Sometimes children's books tell you everything you need to know. Matt de la Peña starts his new book, Love, with these words:

In the beginning there is light
and two wide-eyed figures standing
near the foot of your bed,
and the sound of their voices is love.

Love is filled with drawings by Loren Long of the good and the bad of everyday life. It reminds readers that, if you're lucky, you know what love is before you can even say the word; it's around you all the time if you just pay attention.

Can something as simple as saying "I'm sorry" stop a looming war in the Middle East?

That's the premise of a new film called The Insult — it's Lebanon's entry to the Oscars. In it, a neighborhood spat pushes the city of Beirut to the brink of chaos.

Filmmaker Ziad Doueiri says he was inspired by a real-life incident. He was watering his plants on the balcony of his home in Beirut, when the water spilled out onto a construction worker below.

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DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

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