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We Have Always Been Bored — 'Yawn' Wonders Why

May 20, 2017

Boredom is a going concern, particularly in a Western culture over-saturated with things designed to make every moment count. Freelance researcher Mary Mann began writing Yawn: Adventures in Boredom because she was concerned with her own restlessness; was she succumbing to the depression that ran in her family? Was modern malaise taking hold? Was she fundamentally ungrateful for life, as her parents had always suggested about bored people? If she was broken, was there a cure? (And if you're already rolling your eyes at Mann, this is not going to be an easy read for you.)

In the northwest Indian village of Ajrakhpur, 37-year-old Sufiyan ­Khatri stirs several stinky vats: one of bubbling indigo, another simmering pomegranate skins and a third containing a black, gummy brew of rusty bicycle parts fermenting with sugar cane. The mixtures are used to dye textiles with a traditional block-print method called ajrakh.

Beginning at 7 p.m. ET on Friday, May 19, watch Benjamin Booker, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Robert Cray and more perform during the final night of public radio's Non-Comm 2017. The show streams live via VuHaus from World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.

Find Friday evening's full schedule below; all set times are shown in Eastern time and are subject to change.

Friday, May 19

7 p.m. — Holly Macve

7:30 p.m. — The Growlers

Dee Dee Bridgewater On Piano Jazz

May 19, 2017

Grammy Award-winning vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater began her career as the lead vocalist of a jazz band. She honed her talent and headed in 1975 to Broadway, where her performance in The Wiz was honored with a Tony Award.

On this episode of Piano Jazz from 2003, Bridgewater exhibits her knowledge and enthusiasm in her performances of "September Song" and "Beginning To See The Light."

Originally broadcast in the fall of 2003.

Set List

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

A painting of a skull by Jean-Michel Basquiat broke records at Sotheby's last night. The work sold for more than $110 million. As NPR's Elizabeth Blair reports, that is the most ever for an American artist's work at auction.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

We're going to turn now to the week in music news with NPR's Jacob Ganz. Hey there, Jacob.

JACOB GANZ, BYLINE: Hi, Audie.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

A Salute To 30 Years Of 'The Simpsons'

May 19, 2017

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Friday News Roundup - International

May 19, 2017

Turkey’s president comes to Washington, but it’s his bodyguards who leave a mark. Vladimir Putin says he can prove President Trump did not give secrets to Russia. And it’s a pilgrimage of sorts as Donald Trump prepares to visit Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican.

GUESTS

Edward Luce, Chief U.S. columnist and commentator, Financial Times; his latest book is “The Retreat of Western Liberalism”

Elise Labott, Global affairs correspondent, CNN

Mexico City is not known as one of the international jazz capitals of the world. New York, Tokyo — even Havana. But not CDMX (the new abbreviation of Ciudad de Mexico).

These days, in-flight meal service often consists of a packet of pretzels and a can of soda. It's a far cry from the days of the Hindenburg, where the sumptuous dining options included multi-course meals served in an opulent dining room.

Before it became a byword for disaster 80 years ago this month, the Hindenburg was the state-of-the-art in ultra-luxury flight: a giant passenger airship composed of durable aluminum alloy filled with highly flammable hydrogen. (That would prove its downfall.)

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has been entertaining audiences for a long time. Its history goes back 146 years — to about the time when professional baseball emerged and before Coca-Cola was invented.

If folk conjures an image in your head, Aldous Harding's Party is that image sieved, sifted and twisted, upended like a rock to show the fat, interesting bugs squiggling beneath it. A dark document of ambition and growth and heartbreak, it's a piece of work that, by design, demands patience.

Like her record, Harding speaks slowly, in deeply considered sentences. In the background as we spoke, birds sang and rain plip-plipped, her chin perched on books as she smoked a cigarette.

Jean-Michel Basquiat joined "joined the pantheon of great, great artists" Thursday night, when the late painter's 1982 work Untitled sold for a record-breaking $110.5 million at auction — the highest sum ever paid at auction for a U.S.-produced artwork.

That breathless assessment was offered after the sale by Oliver Barker, chairman of Sotheby's Europe. So you can imagine just how thrilled the buyer must have been.

Beginning Friday, May 19, at 12 p.m. ET, watch a live stream of the jazz-influenced British singer ALA.NI at noon, followed by former Late Show bandleader Paul Shaffer and his group, The World's Most Dangerous Band. They're performing as part of this year's Non-Comm convention, currently underway at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.

The show streams live via VuHaus; find approximate set times (in Eastern) below.

When John Luther Adams won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 2014 for his undulating orchestral piece Become Ocean, you'd be forgiven for thinking of him as something like the Jacques Cousteau of contemporary classical music.

Burial's been lurking in some subterranean realms lately.

Goldfrapp's new album, Silver Eye, is visceral dance music — an album you feel in your body before you process in your brain. The band is Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory, who've been musical partners for the better part of two decades. Their debut, Felt Mountain, came out in 2000. It's lush and well-loved, and it was a real breakout for the U.K. duo. In the years since, Goldfrapp has put out a handful of records, and each one sounds a little different.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

If our next guest's career had a soundtrack, it might go pretty much like this.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #1: Ortiz to right field, back goes Souza, looking up and it's gone.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Twenty-five years ago, television audiences watching the final episodes of "Twin Peaks" heard this.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "TWIN PEAKS")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: (As Laura Palmer, unintelligible).

First, let me remind you: we've still got tickets to see us live in L.A. on June 15, where our fourth chair will be Shereen Marisol Meraji. We've got lots of good fun planned, since we figure everybody can use a night of good fun, so join us!

We've been known to enjoy a mix of the sublime and the ridiculous, and it's a week that's a little bit like that as we take on one of the best shows we've covered in a while and one of the most vexing movies.

Oh, Code Switch fam: Has there ever been such a week? Because of the virtual smorgasbord of unfortunate news, you may have skipped putting these on your plate. Dig in. Keep a chaser of Pepto handy.

Of course it's a story about death and Seattle music.

I woke up this morning after bad dreams last night, only to find the real nightmare — that Chris Cornell of Soundgarden was dead. As with all these losses it seems surreal, untrue, unimaginable. But there it is.

PWR BTTM has responded at length and in detail to allegations of sexual misconduct directed towards Ben Hopkins, a member of the Brooklyn-based duo. In a statement released Thursday afternoon, Hopkins acknowledges a sexual relationship with a woman who accused the musician of rape in an anonymous interview posted on Jezebel last week, but reports a different version of events. "[T]he statements made about me by the anonymous source did not line up with any sexual experience I have ever had," Hopkins writes in the statement.

In 'The Commune,' Where We Live Is Who We Are

May 18, 2017

It's the 1970s, and a Copenhagen family has just inherited a very large, rambling mansion on the outskirts of town. What to do with it? The time is right for a group living experiment, and if the new Danish film The Commune were a different sort of movie, it would stage everything that follows — the group skinny-dips, house meetings about dishwashers, and Elton John songs — as warm, raunchy comedy.

'Alien: Covenant' Continues To Mine Old Ground

May 18, 2017

Almost 40 years ago, Alien was a B-movie with A+ production values and performances, and the scariest monster the movies ever gave us.

There's a whiff of John Cheever-ish unease in Wakefield, a quietly unsettling drama about a man who disappears from his suburban home, only to spy on his family's response from a house across the street. In fact, the movie is based on a 2008 New Yorker short story by E.L. Doctorow, which in turn was inspired by a Nathaniel Hawthorne tale with the same premise, written in 1837.

From the pages of sober financial journals to Hollywood's slapstick-econ adaptation of The Big Short, commentators often note that no American banks were indicted in the wake of the 2008 financial cave-in. Hoop Dreams director Steve James is here to say that's not true. In May 2012, New York's district attorney brought charges against Abacus Federal Savings Bank and 19 of its employees.

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