Arts & Culture

Ways to Connect

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

For a while Race, a handsomely mounted drama about a pivotal moment in the life of track star Jesse Owens, bowls along as a crisp, if conventional, account of a black athlete who triumphs over poverty and racism to get the gold. An unprecedented four gold medals to be precise, at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. But that's getting ahead of ourselves. In Cleveland, there are angry, red-faced bigots to get in the way, and the statutory tough-love coach, serviceably rendered by Jason Sudeikis, to smooth the path to glory.

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Harper Lee, the author of the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird, has died in her hometown of Monroeville, Ala. The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer was 89.

Monroeville city officials confirmed reports of Lee's death to Alabama Public Radio. Her publisher, HarperCollins, also confirmed the news to NPR.

Her famous novel about a young girl's experience of racial tensions in a small Southern town has sold tens of millions of copies and been translated into dozens of languages.

PCHH regular Stephen Thompson had the week off from the show, so I was joined by Glen Weldon as well as our pals Chris Klimek and Bob Mondello to talk about the Coen Brothers' Hail, Caesar!. Chris engagingly reviewed it for NPR, and Bob has covered the Coens plenty of times, so we've got lots to discuss.

On the campaign trail, the chief anchor of the Spanish-language network Univision, Jorge Ramos, chases three quarries: voters, viewers and relevance.

A self-described dinosaur who insists on mastering new tricks, Ramos and his team now reach an audience of millions who are watching not on television, but via video streams on Facebook, captured by an iPhone clutched in a selfie stick.

"You're able to take into account your perspective because your perspective is the same, it doesn't change ... and the world does change."

That's what WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told NPR's Morning Edition about his life in long-term confinement. "For example, let's say you're watching the boats in the river but you're sailing at the same time — it's hard to understand how much they're moving versus your moving."

On a visit to Argentina, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi decided he would honor that country's great poet Jorge Luis Borges.

On the surface, the setting for the new Broadway play The Humans couldn't be more ordinary: A young woman and her boyfriend have moved into a basement apartment in New York's Chinatown and invited her family for Thanksgiving dinner.

A Dive Into Jazz Slang (You Dig?)

Feb 18, 2016

"Shedding." "Chops." "Rataricious." Sometimes it seems like jazz cats have their own language. Of course, many times those words also end up in other people's mouths: Terms like "hipster," "crib" and "the man" all came from the jazz world more than 70 years ago. You dig?

Here, Jazz Night In America takes a brief look at where jazz slang came from, with lots of colorful language along the way.

In one of those funny quirks of the film business, it's been 20 years since the Sutherland boys have appeared in a movie together — and they've never done it as leads. With nearly 300 combined screen credits, you'd think they would have overlapped more than that without even realizing it. But maybe now elder statesman Donald, with that mane of white hair accumulated over decades of precisely calibrated stoic performances, and rugged Kiefer, who seems to growl even when he's happy, have some time on their hands since the endings of The Hunger Games and the 24 revival.

A river cruise is like a movie. The boat glides from scene to scene, the travelers get to know each other, and around the final curve awaits resolution, or perhaps revelation.

Along with recent sensations like The Babadook and It Follows, Robert Eggers' debut feature The Witch immediately joins the pantheon of great horror movies, with the caveat that it's just barely a horror movie at all. The three films, all rich in metaphor, are effective for their common association with primal fears: of motherhood (The Babadook), of sex (It Follows), and of a vengeful or possibly nonpresent God (The Witch). But of the trio, The Witch is the least inclined to play by the genre rules.

Growing up in South Africa with a white father and a black mother, Trevor Noah confronted prejudices on both sides. He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that both white people and black people would express fear and biases to him. Then, he says, "I'd have to explain to them, 'Hey, you can't think like that. You can't hold these views, because you're generalizing everybody.' "

L.A. singer Julia Holter has crafted a sound that's slightly experimental, but with a Brill Building-era pop sensibility at its core. Through compelling instrumentation and her remarkable voice, Holter demonstrates here why her latest album, Have You In My Wilderness, made so many Top 10 lists at the end of 2015.

Set List

  • "Sea Calls Me Home"

Who's The Boss

Feb 18, 2016

30 Rock's Liz Lemon. Who's her boss? In this final round, we name fictional employees and ask for the boss best associated with that characters.

Heard on Adrian Tomine: Cover Me

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

A Store By Any Other Name

Feb 18, 2016

We head to the mall with nothing but a debit card and a thesaurus. We read clues in which the name of a popular retailer is replaced with a synonym and asked our contestants for the real store name.

Heard on Adrian Tomine: Cover Me

This, In A Bottle

Feb 18, 2016

Shampoo, Wes Anderson and orange juice-- what do these things all have in common? Jonathan Coulton sings Jim Croce's "Time in a Bottle" with clues about stuff you find in bottles.

Heard on Adrian Tomine: Cover Me

Cover Me With Adrian Tomine

Feb 18, 2016

When he was sixteen, Adrian Tomine began self-publishing his acclaimed comic book series Optic Nerve in his bedroom at his parents' house. Characterized by distinct simplicity coupled with subtle emotion, his illustrations can be seen today in McSweeney's, Best American Comics, and in his beloved covers for The New Yorker.

Release The Catchphrase

Feb 18, 2016

The 2010 remake of Clash of the Titans wasn't that memorable, save for Liam Neeson's line, "Release the Kraken!" Contestants answer with phrases that start with the "cr" sound as Zeus himself.

Heard on Adrian Tomine: Cover Me

Pop Culture Court

Feb 18, 2016

Order in the court! In this game, we describe fictional Supreme Court cases that are actually the titles of movies, TV shows, and other things with the word "versus" in them.

Heard on Adrian Tomine: Cover Me

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

The Freedom 251 smartphone, which went on sale Thursday, has sparked intense interest in India and beyond. Priced at 251 rupees ($3.65), the 3G device is being called the cheapest smartphone in the world. But it's also sparking questions about how the phone works — and whether it's legal.

Eartheater, a.k.a. Alexandra Drewchin, makes psychedelic music that's at once familiar and mutated. On a pair of albums released last year — Metalepsis and RIP Chrysalis — Drewchin, with a penchant for pop subversion and vocal alterations, found folk music in synths and harsh noise, and vice versa.

An image of man passing a baby under a fence at the Hungarian-Serbian border has taken top honors at this year's World Press Photo of the Year.

The photo, titled "Hope for a New Life," was taken by Australian photographer Warren Richardson and shows a man with his eyes set on the horizon, passing the infant under coils of razor-wire into outstretched arms in the moonlight.

Lies We Tell Ourselves Propel 'The Widow'

Feb 18, 2016

Looking at crimes from a different angle has become something of a trope these days — The Girl on the Train, anyone?

However, clever though Paula Hawkins' novel was, modern writers did not invent the alternate perspective. Think Rear Window, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and Rebecca. Murder does make voyeurs of us all (as Hamlet didn't quite say).

'How To Be A Tudor': Not As Stinky As You Think

Feb 18, 2016

Sometimes you want your history close to home. It's a good thing, then, that Ruth Goodman seriously commits to her research. In How to Be a Tudor, billed as "a dawn-to-dusk guide to Tudor life," she recounts her experiences with lower- and middle-class daily habits, including Elizabethan hygiene regimens (not bad), rush-mat floors (quite nice), roasting meat on a spit (spectacular) and attempting to plow fields for planting (sad trombone).

Updated 12:25 p.m. ET, with the FCC's vote.

The Federal Communications Commission has begun a process that could lead to TV viewers being able to own their cable TV set-top boxes.

That's probably a problem most subscribers didn't know they had, but a congressional study found that cable subscribers pay an average of $231 a year to rent their cable boxes.

One of the most dramatic homes in Los Angeles has just been donated to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Designed in 1961 by John Lautner — an influential Southern California architect — the glass and concrete house clings to the side of a canyon. Its present owner, James Goldstein, has been revising and perfecting it for 35 years.

The artist and thinker, who just released a new album that's only one part of a larger multimedia conception, takes us from the drummers of Burundi to Adam Ant, Octavia Butler to David Bowie, Rakim to Young Thug. We also hit on ageism in rap, artistry for sale and how to work interviews.

ALI SHAHEED MUHAMMAD: Saul Williams in the house! What up?

FRANNIE KELLEY: Thank you for coming.

Pages