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.

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Author Interviews
2:16 pm
Sat May 31, 2014

In Hollywood, 50 Is The New 80: What Happens When 'It Girls' Get Old

Originally published on Sat May 31, 2014 8:56 pm

There's no shortage of "it girls" in Hollywood — there's 31-year-old Lupita Nyongo, 24-year-old Jennifer Lawrence, 21-year-old Shailene Woodley, and even 16-year-old Elle Fanning. But what will become of their careers when they're older?

The industry is notoriously young; acting roles for women often dry up by the time they're 40. And in her new book I See You Made an Effort, Annabelle Gurwitch shares "compliments, indiginities, and survival stories" from the other side of 50.

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Book News & Features
3:25 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Authors Angered Over Amazon's Dispute With Publisher Hachette

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 7:37 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We've reached a moment that probably shouldn't surprise us when it comes to the modern publishing industry. A lot of people are addicted to buying books online using Amazon. But Amazon is now in a pricing dispute with the publisher Hachette. The online giant is refusing to accept orders for upcoming books from Hachette, which has a heavy-hitting roster of authors. NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO: Some authors are furious at Amazon.

NINA LADEN: They don't really care. It's all about money.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:35 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

How Do You Get Latino Kids Into Classical Music? Bring The Parents

The 85 musicians in the Santa Cecilia Orchestra are paid professionals who play with other symphonies and in Hollywood studios.
Courtesy of the Santa Cecilia Orchestra

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 7:53 am

Outside the concert hall at Occidental College, in Los Angeles' Eagle Rock neighborhood, children are invited to test out the instruments the Santa Cecilia Orchestra will play later. Alexa Media Rodriguez, 8, says she and her family have never before been to an orchestra concert. She heard about the orchestra when some of the musicians visited her school.

"I brought my dad, my stepmom," she says, "my sister, my brother and my sister's cousin ..."

That's the thing about this orchestra, says conductor Sonia Marie De Leon De Vega: The children are bringing the parents.

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Business
3:21 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Calif. Gov. Brown Urged To Expand Tax Credits For Movie Industry

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 7:28 am

The state Assembly passed a bill to offer tax incentives to film and TV production companies. Big city mayors signed a letter in support, but it's not clear Gov. Jerry Brown will sign on.

Around the Nation
3:11 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Hollywood Protests Against Owners Of Beverly Hills Hotel

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 1:26 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A landmark hotel in Hollywood has become the focus of protest. The hotel is part of an international chain. The hotel chain is owned by the Sultan of Brunei. He's the ruler of a tiny Southeast Asian country that recently introduced a strict form of Islamic Sharia laws. Celebrities who once stayed in that Hollywood hotel say they cannot accept the politics of its owner.

NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC, "HOTEL CALIFORNIA")

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Book News & Features
2:02 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

A Film And Fashion Icon On Aging, And The Power Of Turtlenecks

Diane Keaton lives with her daughter and son in Los Angeles.
Ruven Afanador Courtesy of Random House

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 6:07 pm

Actress Diane Keaton remains an icon, decades after her Oscar-winning performance in Annie Hall. At 68, she's a single mother of two, once romantically linked to some of Hollywood's biggest heartthrobs and still starring in films. And she still rocks her trademark look: a bowler hat, tinted glasses, oversized clothes, scarves, gloves, long sleeves and boots — "Clothing that actually hides the body," she says. "There's a lot to hide in my case. I'm the only remaining person on earth with this particular look."

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Remembrances
3:26 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Who Gave Voice To Latin America, Dies

Admirers ask Gabriel Garcia Marquez --€” seated alongside his wife, Mercedes Barcha €-- to sign books in Santa Marta, Colombia, in 2007.
Alejandra Vega AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 6:06 pm

Latin American author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1982, died Thursday. He was 87. Garcia Marquez, the master of a style known as magic realism, was and remains Latin America's best-known writer.

His novels were filled with miraculous and enchanting events and characters; love and madness; wars, politics, dreams and death. And everything he had written, Garcia Marquez once said, he knew or heard before he was 8 years old.

A Writer Shaped By His Beginnings

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Business
3:01 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Sony Pictures To Lay Off Interactive Group

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 8:28 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with Hollywood layoffs.

Sony has notified California's Labor Board that come June it will lay off more than 200 employees at its movie and television studios.

NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports this is happening in a film industry that's facing across the board cost cutting.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Sony Pictures Entertainment will reportedly lay off its entire interactive marketing team responsible for online movie promos like this.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE PROMO)

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Code Switch
3:59 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

New Academy President Pushes For More Diverse Voting Members

Cheryl Boone Isaacs is the first black president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and only the third female president.
Chris Pizzello AP

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 5:57 pm

For the first time, this year's best director Oscar could go to a Mexican (Alfonso Cuaron, for Gravity) or a black Brit (Steve McQueen, for 12 Years a Slave). That film's lead actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor, is also in the running for an award; so is his Kenyan co-star Lupita Nyong'o, who was born in Mexico. This year's nominees are diverse, but the people who vote for the Oscars are not.

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Around the Nation
2:20 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Alice Herz-Sommer, Pianist And Holocaust Survivor, Dies At 110

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 6:02 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Business
2:51 am
Fri January 17, 2014

DirecTV: Customers Balked At Weather Channel's Reality Shows

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 2:36 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

This next story began as pretty much your standard contract dispute. The Weather Channel wanted more money for its programming, and DirectTV wanted to pay less.

So, at 12:01 Tuesday morning, the satellite service dropped the Weather Channel and replaced it with a smaller producer of weather programming, which raises the question: How much do TV viewers really want or need weather information when they can get it from other sources?

NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports.

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Around the Nation
12:57 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Sunday Assembly: A Church For The Godless Picks Up Steam

Ian Dodd (center), co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Sunday Assembly, sings with other attendees. Chapters of the godless church, founded by British comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans, have been spreading since launching in London in January 2013.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 1:41 pm

It sometimes feels like church in the auditorium of the Professional Musicians union in Hollywood. It's a Sunday morning, and hundreds of people are gathered to meditate, sing and listen to inspirational poetry and stories.

But then the live band starts up — performing songs by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Jerry Lee Lewis. And instead of a sermon, there's a lecture by experimental psychologist and neuroscientist Jessica Cail about the biology of gender identification and sexual orientation.

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Television
3:37 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Fielder Offers Absurd Marketing Advice On Comedy Central

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 12:01 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Let's hear now about a new reality show featuring a mild-mannered Canadian who gives outlandish advice to companies looking to up their game. It's called "Nathan for You." And as NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports, it's become an unlikely hit for Comedy Central.

(SOUNDBITE OF A BARKING DOG)

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: On a sunny winter day in North Hollywood, Nathan Fielding is directing his latest quirky marketing ploy, this one for a new housecleaning service.

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Code Switch
3:55 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

How 'Black Nativity' Made Its Way To The Big Screen

Black Nativity is an adaptation of Langston Hughes' play of the same name.
Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 9:57 am

This season, Fox Searchlight has served audiences a three-course menu of movies with African-American casts and themes.

First, it served an appetizer in September, with the romantic comedy Baggage Claim, starring Paula Patton as a flight attendant looking for a husband in a hurry.

Then, in October, the studio set out a substantial main course with 12 Years A Slave. The sweeping epic by director Steve McQueen is already an Academy Award shoo-in.

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A Blog Supreme
3:07 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Drummer Chico Hamilton, West Coast Jazz Pioneer, Dies

Chico Hamilton.
Todd Boebel Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 5:17 pm

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Music News
12:03 am
Tue November 26, 2013

AK-47s, Accordions And Angels Of Death: Narcocorridos Hit The Big Screen

Edgar Quintero of the band Los Bukanas de Culiacan likens what he does in the narcocorrido genre to gangster rap.
Shaul Schwarz Cinedigm

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 11:28 am

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Television
1:08 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Comcast Deal Puts New Minority-Run Channels In Play

El Rey, which will be targeting a young Latino audience, is being spearheaded by filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, shown at the premiere of his recent film Machete Kills in October.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Rapper and producer Sean "Diddy" Combs, director Robert Rodriguez, and basketball legend Magic Johnson each now has his own new cable TV networks. Their channels were part of a merger deal Comcast made with the FCC to give a shot to new networks owned by African Americans, Latinos and others.

Last month, Combs threw on his classic Puff Daddy alias to welcome millennial viewers to his new music network, Revolt.

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Business
3:06 am
Thu September 26, 2013

1 In 7 American Adults Don't Go Online

Fifteen percent of Americans don't use the Internet, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center. Most of these "offline adults" are 65 years old or older, many live in rural areas and have incomes lower than $30,000 a year.

Code Switch
3:05 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

East LA Homegirl Goes Hollywood

Evangeline Ordaz (center) stands with teens from Legacy LA who were her script consultants and extras for East Los High. From left: Rebecca Hernandez, Brenda Flores, Ordaz, Wesley Michua, Marlene Arazo.
Mandalit del Barco NPR

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 4:04 pm

Evangeline Ordaz is no ordinary Hollywood show runner. When she's not teaching constitutional law or rehabbing historic buildings, she's writing for a racy soap opera about Latino teens in East Los Angeles. East Los High was a big summer success for the TV-on-demand website Hulu, and much of the credit for keeping the show real goes to its multitalented main writer.

Ordaz was born and bred in East Los Angeles — East Los, as it's known. She still lives there, and you can hear the neighborhood cadence in her voice.

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Remembrances
2:58 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Sound Pioneer Ray Dolby Dies At 80

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 6:26 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Ray Dolby, whose inventions revolutionized the way audiences listen to entertainment, has died. He was 80 years old.

NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports the sound pioneer - whose name became synonymous with sound - died at home in San Francisco.

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Media
11:36 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Tina Brown To Leave The Daily Beast

The Daily Beast editor-in-chief Tina Brown plans to leave the website to produce live forums on news topics.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 7:41 am

Celebrity editor Tina Brown announced Wednesday that she's leaving The Daily Beast to launch her own media company. She has been a regular guest on Morning Edition. Brown, 59, plans to produce live forums on news topics.

Brown has edited some of the most prestigious publications: Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and Tattler. Five years ago, she helped found The Daily Beast — a news and opinion website. Now, the editor-in-chief says she's leaving to do what she calls "theatrical journalism" before live audiences.

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Around the Nation
4:05 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

New HIV Cases Spotlight Adult Film Industry's Testing System

Michael Weinstein of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (left) at a press conference in February to introduce AB 332, a statewide bill to require condom use by adult film performers.
Bret Hartman AP

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 5:49 pm

Adult film production in California is now suspended after a number of performers tested positive for HIV. Four cases have been reported in the past few months, including one on Monday.

If ever there was an "I told you so moment" for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, it's now. The organization has been campaigning for condoms to be mandatory during porn shoots. Last year, it sponsored a measure in Los Angeles County to that effect, which voters approved.

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Television
3:45 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Time Warner Cable Customers Miss Out On CBS

Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 4:34 am

For two weeks, customers with Time Warner Cable in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas have been unable to watch CBS with their cable box. Time Warner and CBS disagree over how much the cable company should be paying the television network for transmitting its shows.

Crime In The City
12:58 am
Thu August 15, 2013

In 'Alphabet' Mysteries, 'S' Is Really For Santa Barbara

The Santa Barbara County Courthouse, a Spanish-Moorish landmark, was built in 1929.
Anna Fox (harshlight) Flickr

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 7:27 am

Novelist Sue Grafton is a real hoot. She's just as likely to talk, in that native Kentucky drawl of hers, about her prized silver-coin mint julep cups as about a juicy murder mystery. But she does have a crime writer's imagination.

"I always say to people, 'Don't cross me, OK? Because you will be so sorry,'" she says. "'I have ways to kill you you ain't even thought of yet.'"

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Monkey See
1:53 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

Karen Black, Strange And Lovely, And Always Game

Karen Black and Kris Kristofferson were photographed together in 1972, when they co-starred in Cisco Pike, a saga of drug-ruined rockers and crooked cops.
John Springer Collection/CORBIS

Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 11:26 am

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Race
1:01 am
Tue July 23, 2013

In The Summer, Univision Is Numero Uno

Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez recently performed on Univision's Premios Juventud.
Rodrigo Varela Univision

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 7:32 am

For three consecutive weeks this summer, Spanish-language TV network Univision won the prime-time ratings among young adult viewers. The network is bragging about its prime-time ratings domination with full-page ads in the LA Times, New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Its English-language video exclaims: "For the first time ever, Univision is now the number one network in any language."

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Code Switch
2:05 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Does Disney's Tonto Reinforce Stereotypes Or Overcome Them?

Johnny Depp says that with his portrayal of Tonto in The Lone Ranger, he tried to "right the wrongs of what had been done with regards to the representation of Native Americans in cinema."
Disney

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 11:00 am

The Lone Ranger has long been a fictional hero, taming the Wild West with his trusty Indian guide, Tonto. The faithful companion helps the white man fight bad guys, and does so speaking in pidgin English.

Tonto made his first appearance on the radio in the 1930s, voiced by a non-Native American actor, John Todd. In the series, Western settlers face down what they call "redskins" and "savages." And trusty Tonto is always on hand to interpret the smoke signals.

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Monkey See
6:00 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Telemundo's 'La Voz' Hands Latino Kids The Mic

Paola Guanche debuted with Adele's "Turning Tables."
Courtesy Telemundo

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 3:34 am

NBC's singing competition The Voice dominated the ratings game this spring and last fall. Now, the Spanish kids' version has become the top-rated show for NBC's sister network, Telemundo. The show, taped before an audience in Miami, features Latino children from the U.S. competing for a scholarship and a recording contract.

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Music News
1:16 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Spotlighting Background Singers In 'Twenty Feet From Stardom'

Darlene Love, one of the background singers featured in Twenty Feet From Stardom, didn't receive credit for singing hits in the 1950s and '60s and says her career was derailed by legendary producer Phil Spector.
Radius/TWC

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 8:22 am

Twenty Feet from Stardom, filmmaker Morgan Neville's new documentary, is a reminder that most of pop music's catchiest hooks, riffs and refrains were sung by voices harmonizing in the background. Neville says he wanted to put backup singers — black, female and honed in church — front and center.

"I was really more interested in people who were voices for hire," he says, "who were able to walk into sessions never knowing what they had to do and could bring it."

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The Record
1:15 am
Tue May 21, 2013

The Doors' Keyboard Counterpoint Goes Silent: Remembering Ray Manzarek

Ray Manzarek (far right) stands with fellow members of The Doors Jim Morrison (from right), Robby Krieger and John Densmore in 1968. Manzarek died Monday in Germany. He was 74.
Express Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 21, 2013 11:43 am

Ray Manzarek, the founding keyboardist of the Los Angeles rock band The Doors, died in a clinic in Germany on Monday after a lengthy battle with bile duct cancer, according to his publicist. He was 74.

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