Some of today’s most interesting stories covered news deeply rooted in history, while other stories were, as usual, unsettlingly current (diet whiskey is now a thing). News of a new Mike Leigh movie is often good news, though it’s also often a reminder of some bleak historical (Vera Drake) moment, or an evocation of a bleak personal (Naked, Another Year) one. Today’s Mike Leigh-related news is no exception, as the director — who most recently made Mr. Turner — is now working on a film about the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester, during which troops attacked a crowd of 60,000 protesting for parliamentary reform in 1918. Given the director’s knack for highly personal storytelling created through a writing process founded in improvisation, it’s certain this won’t be your typical, point-by-point historical drama.
Similarly revitalizing the historical, Mesmeric Revelations of Edgar Allan Poe is an immersive theater piece that commingles Poe’s fiction with his personal history. The play, which is being performed for audiences of 25 per night, is reopening a historic Baltimore mansion after a decade of closure as “an adaptive, state-of-the-art education center.” Meanwhile, Slate’s history blog, The Vault, has exhumed a stunning wildflower map of America, a collaboration between two Philadelphians — one a botanist, the other an abstract expressionist painter — from 1955.
Outside of the historical is the science fictional present, as seen in this giant beehive for humans, or in news of three zebras that escaped a zoo in Belgium and are roaming the streets — leading to footage that highly resembles a scenario from Twelve Monkeys, or in NASA’s claim that private companies will need their help if they want to send humans to Mars. Should you find yourself craving a campier, less feasible form of futuristic news, tomorrow is Orphan Black‘s Season 3 premiere, and the Internet, in a seeming attempt to rival the multiplicity of all the Tatiana Maslanys on the show, is full of interviews with the star, such as this one, this one, and this one. Now, go, be free, like zebras… or articles about actors playing clones.