Home / World News / The Spectacle of Yoko Ono Disrupting the Beatles and the Variant Hunters: The Week in Narrated Articles

The Spectacle of Yoko Ono Disrupting the Beatles and the Variant Hunters: The Week in Narrated Articles

This weekend, listen to a collection of narrated articles from around The New York Times, read aloud by the reporters who wrote them.

Early in “The Beatles: Get Back,” Peter Jackson’s nearly eight-hour documentary about the making of the album “Let It Be,” the band forms a tight circle in the corner of a movie soundstage. Inexplicably, Yoko Ono is there.

When Paul McCartney starts to play “I’ve Got a Feeling,” Ono is there, stitching a furry object in her lap.

When the band starts into “Don’t Let Me Down,” Ono is there, reading a newspaper.

When George Harrison walks off, briefly quitting the band, there is Ono, wailing inchoately into his microphone.

“I was seeing intimate, long-lost footage of the world’s most famous band preparing for its final performance,” Amanda Hess writes, “and I couldn’t stop watching Yoko Ono sitting around, doing nothing.”

He cradled his infant grandchild for the first and final time. He picked at some food. He posed for family photographs that captured smiles as strained as the conversation. Then someone in charge said it was time.

The center of attention, Nathaniel Woods, assured his heavy-hearted father that everything would be all right.

It was late afternoon on March 5, 2020, the overcast day chosen by the State of Alabama to be Mr. Woods’s last. He had been convicted 15 years earlier in connection with the shooting deaths of three Birmingham police officers — and ever since had been rechristened Cop Killer Nathaniel Woods.

But Mr. Woods never killed anyone. He was unarmed when the officers were gunned down while rushing into a cramped drug house to execute a warrant for his arrest on a misdemeanor.

A few months ago, Sizakele Mathe, a community health worker in this sprawling hillside township on the edge of the city of Durban, South Africa, was notified by a clinic that a neighbor had stopped picking up her medication. It was a warning sign that she had likely stopped taking the antiretroviral tablet that suppresses her H.I.V. infection.

That was a threat to her own health — and, in the era of Covid-19, it might have posed a risk to everyone else’s. The clinic dispatched Ms. Mathe to try to get the woman back on the pills.

It’s half of a sophisticated South African effort to stanch the emergence of new variants of the coronavirus, like Omicron, which was identified there and shook the world.

The other half takes place at a state-of-the-art laboratory 25 miles down the road. At the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform in Durban, scientists sequence the genomes of thousands of coronavirus samples each week. The KRISP lab, as it is known, is part of a national network of virus researchers that identified both the Beta and Omicron variants, drawing on expertise developed here during the region’s decades-long fight with H.I.V.

This combination of high tech and grass roots represents one of the front lines in the world’s battle against the evolving coronavirus.

Written and narrated by Lindsay Zoladz

“Licorice Pizza,” a film by Paul Thomas Anderson, establishes Alana Haim — a first-time actor and one-third of Haim, the Grammy-nominated rock band — as a revelatory and magnetic screen presence, a unique amalgamation of daffy, Carole Lombard screwball, early Sissy Spacek fresh-faced guilelessness, and an offbeat cartoon character’s nervy, can-do energy.

Even when she’s sharing the frame with Sean Penn, Tom Waits or Bradley Cooper, it is her face — freckled, elastic, unpredictable — that commands the viewer’s attention.

Written and narrated by Ligaya Mishan

No artist has explored the contradictions of humanity as sympathetically and critically as Hayao Miyazaki, the Japanese animation legend behind “My Neighbor Totoro” (1988), the ecological epic “Princess Mononoke” (1997) and the phantasmagorical fable “Spirited Away” (2001).

Now, at 80, he’s coming out of retirement with another movie. Why? “Because I wanted to,” he said. Ligaya Mishan writes that he said this and grinned, “like a grizzled thief come back for one last heist.”

The Times’s narrated articles are made by Tally Abecassis, Parin Behrooz, Anna Diamond, Sarah Diamond, Jack D’Isidoro, Aaron Esposito, Elena Hecht, Adrienne Hurst, Elisheba Ittoop, Emma Kehlbeck, Marion Lozano, Tanya Pérez, Krish Seenivasan, Margaret H. Willison, Kate Winslett, John Woo and Tiana Young. Special thanks to Sam Dolnick, Ryan Wegner, Julia Simon and Desiree Ibekwe.

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