Arts & Culture

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Disney's new live action version of "Beauty And The Beast" opened this weekend. NPR's Lynn Neary wanted to know just how far back that story really goes.

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We continue our remembrance of rock and roll legend Chuck Berry. He died on Saturday at the age of 90. And to talk more about his influence on American music, we turn now to music historian Chuck Granata. He joins us on the line. Good morning.

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We continue our remembrance of rock and roll legend Chuck Berry. He died on Saturday at the age of 90. And to talk more about his influence on American music, we turn now to music historian Chuck Granata. He joins us on the line. Good morning.

A Moment Of Chuck Berry's Music

Mar 19, 2017

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On-air challenge: Take two four-letter words. Rearrange the letters in each of them to make two new words that are opposites.

For example: PEON THUS --> OPEN & SHUT

  1. NAME CINE
  2. VOLE HEAT
  3. FLIT PROD
  4. BUYS LIED
  5. ACME NEWT
  6. OWLS FATS
  7. VEIL DADE
  8. PEEK SOTS
  9. SEAT STEW
  10. AGIN SOLE
  11. HEIR RIFE
  12. WHOS HIED
  13. REAM DUST
  14. SEAN STUN

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(SOUNDBITE OF TRIBECA'S "GET LARGE")

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There's a big college sports tournament underway.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPORTS COMMENTATORS)

UNIDENTIFIED COMMENTATOR #1: Team Liquid (unintelligible).

In '2140,' New York May Be Underwater, But It's Still Home

Mar 19, 2017

Early in New York 2140, two boys jump into their inflatable boat to begin the day's business, scavenging through the canals of a half-drowned New York. Since the weight of the engine threatens to sink the stern, the older boy sits up front to balance it out.

In an industry full of surprises, Drake premiered his new LP the old-fashioned way. In fact, the biggest surprise surrounding More Life — the studio album he's calling a "playlist" — is that it finally came out as predicted. After months of teasing fans with rumored tracklists, a string of potential singles and cryptic Instagram posts hinting at release dates that came and went, the 6 God debuted his seventh solo LP on OVO Sound Radio Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET, and it appeared on streaming services at 8:30 p.m.

Ashamed, Confused And In The Closet

Mar 18, 2017

Dear Sugar Radio is a weekly podcast from member station WBUR. Hosts Steve Almond and Cheryl Strayed offer "radical empathy" and advice on everything from relationships and parenthood to dealing with drug problems or anxiety.

Today the Sugars hear from a man who is married to a woman and thinks he's gay. He says his marriage to his wife is fulfilling in every way except for their sex life. Now he doesn't know what to do. What should his next step be?

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Tameca Jones has become known as the "Queen of Austin Soul." She got her start more than a decade ago, when she decided to forgo her dream of going to law school in order to focus on raising her twins. At that point, music became both her creative outlet and a way to support her family — and since then, her soulful covers of rock songs have made her a beloved fixture of the music scene in Austin, Texas.

Jones says that, while she feels she's been welcomed into the city's musical community, establishing herself as a soul singer hasn't always been easy.

For more than 40 years, Paul Shaffer has been providing the soundtrack for late night TV. He was on the first generation of Saturday Night Live and appeared for 30 years with David Letterman. He was the band leader who could play any song and would laugh at any joke. He's just released an album called Paul Shaffer & The World's Most Dangerous Band.

We're well past the halfway point of the music portion of South by Southwest, and things are starting to wind down in Austin. But the indefatigable All Songs Considered team (well, mostly Bob Boilen) is still raring to go. Bob, Robin Hilton, Stephen Thompson and Colorado Public Radio's Jessi Whitten convened on an Austin street corner Friday night to recap what they'd seen that day.

Our guest today on “Two Way Street” is George Saunders. We’re going to talk about his new book “Lincoln in the Bardo,” which has been one of the most eagerly anticipated works of fiction in a long time.

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Jo Lampert is leading a new rock opera based on Joan of Arc. It's written by David Byrne of Talking Heads. It is Jo Lampert's biggest role yet. And as NPR's Elizabeth Blair reports, she seems born to play the part.

'Teletubbies' Turns 20

Mar 18, 2017

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Here's a song that might take you back.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "TELETUBBIES")

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (As character) Tinky-Winky.

MARK HEENEHAN: (As Tinky-Winky) Tinky-Winky.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (As character) Dipsy.

JOHN SIMMIT: (As Dipsy) Dipsy.

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The 1970s was an incredibly diverse decade for recorded music: from hippie folk at the start to disco, punk, the rise of reggae and the very first stirrings of hip-hop. At the beginning of the decade, Frank Sinatra had a song on the charts for 122 weeks. There was soft rock, metal and country. Album sales and progressive radio were huge.

All this is true. That's why it is so fascinating to look at the songs that ended up at the very top of Billboard's pop chart for each year of the decade — they certainly don't always represent all the change that was going on.

The St. Patrick's parade is over and the Irish (and honorary Irish) have gone home to sleep off their annual bout of intemperance, but the multi-generational marchers of the Italian-American St. Joseph Society in New Orleans are only just dusting off their tuxedos and straightening their bow ties. Once the shamrocks and shenanigans have vanished from the narrow streets of the French Quarter, and the keg of green beer is empty, another parade — in honor of an entirely different saint — is beginning to gear up.

Elif Batuman is on record as disliking "crisp" fiction, fiction that streamlines, that asks to be compared to apples, or whips. "Write long novels, pointless novels," she urges in an essay for n+1. And she has. The Idiot is a long wander, a vague rummage, "as simultaneously absorbing and off-putting as someone else's incredibly long dream," as her narrator, Selin, says of Bleak House.

If you've been out of loop on the American contemporary art scene, the Whitney Biennial is here to catch you up. This year's show opened Friday, and features 63 different artists and many new works that have never been shown before. Some artists are responding to the most pressing issues of our time, while others are tackling mammoth projects on a tight deadline. Photographer An-My Lê and artist Raúl de Nieves represent the range of this year's contributors.

For Big Thief, fragility and power come inextricably intertwined. Singer and guitarist Adrianne Lenker may let her songs sit and seethe for long stretches, but those slow builds only maximize the catharsis of the big, loud, high-volume bursts of force that follow.

The annual South by Southwest conference is in full swing in Austin, Texas, where thousands of musicians go in hopes of making the right connections for their big break. The number of bands from Latin America and from Latino communities has increased so much that organizers have created a mini-conference within the larger festival. It's called SXAmericas and Felix Contreras — the host of Alt-Latino, NPR Music's weekly podcast about Latino arts and culture — spoke with NPR's Audie Cornish about a trend he's spotted there.

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