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.

Hollywood film and TV productions could soon shut down if contract negotiations aren't resolved. Production staff in the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, or IATSE, voted to authorize a strike Monday over disputes with studio producers about their schedules, pay and work conditions. The threat of an actual strike could be leverage during any future negotiations, which could happen this week as the two sides sit down again for talks.

Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki is renowned for creating enchanting worlds in his animated films.

For the first time outside of Japan, his work is being featured in a major retrospective at the brand-new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles. This week, the organization that hosts the Oscars unveiled the museum devoted to cinema.

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A judge suspended Jamie Spears' conservatorship of his daughter's estate yesterday. And outside of the LA courtroom, Britney's fans cheered. NPR's Mandalit del Barco was there.

(CHEERING)

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Updated September 29, 2021 at 9:06 PM ET

Pop star Britney Spears has been living under a legal conservatorship that has controlled every aspect of her life since 2008. For much of that time, all decisions about her personal, medical and financial affairs have been completely controlled by her father, Jamie Spears, who initiated the conservatorship 13 years ago — and whom the singer has accused of exploiting her.

Updated September 28, 2021 at 7:26 PM ET

Alex Rivera and Cristina Ibarra share an whimsical, avant-garde sensibility to filmmaking. Individually and as a power couple, they've created fresh, experimental cinema. And this year, they are each getting their own MacArthur fellowships, otherwise known as "genius grants," making them the first married couple to each win the prestigious award at the same time.

Social justice, anti-racism and joy: These are the themes of a collection of original songs written by family musicians Dan and Claudia Zanes. Smithsonian Folkways has just released their first duo album, Let Love Be Your Guide. It's filled with uplifting messages.

"It's an anthem of love and joy and possibility and community," Claudia says, speaking from their home in Baltimore.

For years, people of color have struggled to break into Hollywood. One reason? The film industry is built on relationships, and many of those relationships often begin in film school, where the right connections can open important doors. Now, the country's top film schools are trying to foster those connections for people of color by creating a pipeline to the industry for filmmakers whose work remains underrepresented.

Comedian Norm Macdonald, a beloved Saturday Night Live cast member in the 1990s, has died. His management company confirmed that the 61-year-old had battled cancer for nine years.

Nearly 40 years since they last made music together, the members of ABBA are back. The Swedish pop group has announced an upcoming "hologram" concert in London and its first studio album in four decades.

"We took a break in the spring of 1982, and now we've decided it's time to end it," the band announced in a news release. "They say it's foolhardy to wait more than 40 years between albums, so we've recorded a follow-up to The Visitors."

This week at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Hollywood studios debuted their upcoming fall releases to theater owners and industry press. The three-day convention known as CinemaCon, offered a sneak peak of upcoming fall and Christmas blockbusters in waiting, like the new superhero movie, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Matrix 4: Resurrections.

Tina Tchen has resigned from her position as president and CEO of Time's Up, an organization whose mission is to protect women from harassment. It was the latest fallout from charges that Times' Up leaders privately consulted with then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has denied accusations by 11 women that he sexually harassed them.

After 17 days of competition at the Tokyo Olympics, the United States finished with the most medals won overall and the most gold medals, with its 39 golds just barely beating out China, which won 38.

On the last day of the Games, the U.S. women's volleyball team secured the 39th gold medal, beating out Brazil to win the country's first gold in the sport.

TOKYO — They were called the "COVID Olympics." The "pandemic Olympics." The "anger Olympics." Many Japanese people were upset to host such a huge and risky event in the middle of the pandemic, and many outside observers were surprised it happened at all.

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The new film CODA premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews and a

TOKYO — The ancient martial art of Karate made its debut at the Summer Olympics in Japan this week. The sport was added as a nod to the country where it developed 700 years ago.

There are two types of karate at these Olympics: kata, and kumite.

Kata is performed solo, with an imaginary rival. The hand and leg movements are slow and precise. But Kumite is sparring; kicking and punching at an opponent.

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The ancient martial art of karate made its debut at the Tokyo Summer Olympics this week. The sport was added as a nod to the country where it developed 700 years ago. NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports from Tokyo.

TOKYO — Outside the Tokyo 2020 media press center and Olympic venues, amateur photographers are snapping pictures. Not of the people, but the hundreds of buses shuttling foreign journalists, athletes and officials.

You can spot the bus spotters snapping shots of the vehicles labeled with funny names in English, like "Ina Bus," and "Hiya, Tokyo." Lots of them are labeled with the Japanese word "kanko," meaning sightseeing.

Yuki Sato spends hours on one street corner, taking pictures of all the buses that pass him. Why? I ask.

"Hobby, hobby," he says. It's his hobby.

TOKYO — Young athletes from Japan are dominating in the skateboarding competitions at the Tokyo Olympics. So far, they've won all three gold medals in the skateboarding competitions that debuted during these Games. The latest winner is Sakura Yosozumi, who claimed gold on Wednesday in the park skateboarding final.

The competitors skated around a course built for the Games, doing midair tricks and soaring through the valleys and grinding on and soaring over the lip of the curved concrete walls.

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TOKYO — In the year leading up to the delayed Summer Olympics, public opinion polls in Japan showed people overwhelmingly against holding the Games in the country. Some feared it would spread the coronavirus. Others complained about the high costs. There are still some small occasional protests. But now that Olympics are underway and Team Japan is doing well, people here seem excited.

TOKYO — The U.S. women's basketball team has still got it. The squad defeated Japan 86-69 in preliminary play at the Tokyo Olympics and it is the team's 51st straight win dating back to the 1992 Games in Barcelona.

On Friday, the U.S. tangled with host country Japan at Saitama Super Arena, outside Tokyo. The U.S. pulled away at the end but for a while, it was a bit of a nail biter.

Organizers at the Tokyo Summer Olympics have reported one of the highest daily increases of coronavirus cases since they started keeping records on July 1.

Since Wednesday, 24 people linked to the Games have tested positive — including three athletes. That brings the total of Olympic-related officials to catch the virus to 193 people, including 20 athletes.

Star gymnast Simone Biles cited her mental health concerns for withdrawing from the individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympics. "It's been a long Olympic process, it's been a long year," she told reporters after she stopped competing in the team event. "And I think we're just a little bit too stressed out."

Biles' teammates applauded her decision to take care of her mental well-being. But she's not the only athlete who has talked about the pressures of performing at the Games.

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U.S. surfer Carissa Moore is the first woman to ever win a gold medal in her sport at the Olympics.

Surfing made its Olympic debut during three days of competition at Tsurigasaki Beach, in Chiba province, 40 miles from Tokyo. Brazilian Italo Ferreira took gold in the men's event.

Surfing has deep roots, but for the first time, surfers are competing for medals at the Summer Olympics. At Tsurigasaki beach, 40 miles from Tokyo, they're also riding big waves ahead of a tropical storm.

"The incoming tide push over the afternoon does look to provide a lot of fun waves," reports Kurt Korte, the official surf forecaster for the Tokyo Olympics. He works for Surfline, a company based in Huntington Beach, Calif. He says while it might rain at Tsurigasaki beach, it should be a great day for the surfing finals at the Olympics.

TOKYO — In the neighborhood where he grew up skateboarding, 22-year-old Yuto Horigome won the first ever Olympic Gold medal for skateboarding.

In the street skate competition, Horigome expertly flipped his board in the air, sailed over staircases and glided on rails. On the fourth trick of the final he accomplished a most difficult one: a "nollie 270 noseslide." After taking off, he flipped his board, then slid it down the rail on its nose.

Skateboarding is ready for its time to shine at the Tokyo Olympics. Competitors will show off the skills they developed in the streets and skateparks around the world, and the hope is that they attract younger fans to watch the Games.

It's been an interesting ride for the sport that has rebel roots in southern California.

The skatepark on the beach in Venice, Calif., is a mecca for the sport. For decades, the area was known as "Dogtown," with skateboarders coming there to show off their skills, doing acrobatic flips and tricks.

TOKYO — The COVID-delayed Tokyo Summer Olympics officially begins with a parade of athletes (more than 200 of them from Team USA), waving flags and marching inside a mostly-empty stadium. It's not clear yet what else will happen during the opening ceremony which is usually a chance to showcase the host country and inspire pride from countries throughout the world.

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