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As a 5-year-old growing up in Monticello, Ga., Trisha Yearwood wrote Elvis Presley a letter, asking him to marry her. Elvis never responded. So instead, Yearwood became a record-setting country music superstar, a best-selling cookbook author and lifestyle guru, and ultimately, settled for marrying Garth Brooks. So, not the worst Plan B.

Yearwood had a hit song called "How Do I Live Without You," so we've invited her to play game called "How Do I Live With You?" Three questions about unhappily married couples.

Melissa Harris-Perry, host of an eponymous talk show on MSNBC, has accused executives at MSNBC of effectively silencing her show, and declined to host her show this weekend.

On Sunday, the network confirmed Perry was gone from MSNBC for good.

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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How 'Oscars' Screens The Salty Moments

Feb 27, 2016

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Artists shine given restrictions and limitations. Subtlety and nuance are more easily found in minimalism than excess. That's the beauty of Brushy One String, whose sound is made by one big fat E-string and a voice so rich and full, all it wants is a bit of rhythmic and melodic underpinning.

Madness and genius make a familiar literary couple whose success with readers, I suspect, depends on a certain amount of gratified vanity: who wouldn't like to imagine that their moods and eccentricities are down to brilliance? Ethan Canin's new novel is about the "the unremitting quarantine" of this type of genius — a genius transmitted from father to son like a curse — and about the fight to reject this dark inheritance.

Author Naomi Novik is a world builder. She writes books about dragons, witches and dark woods — and she's also designed computer games. "I'm an engineer and a writer," she says, "and I find that those two things are not uncomplimentary."

Novik's career as a writer and programmer started in the same place — her sophomore college dorm. "I ended up rooming in a dorm that was basically a solid wall of female scientists, and every Wednesday we would all watch Star Trek: The Next Generation."

Presidential campaigns may inspire people to vote, but they rarely inspire people to compose music. Jazz pianist Marcus Roberts takes up the challenge on a new EP called Race for the White House, which explores the personas of four different candidates from this year's election cycle.

One of those candidates is Donald Trump; you can hear the song Roberts wrote to represent him below. It features a whistle, which he says is meant to express a particular vision of Trump.

An animated film is up for best documentary short at the Oscars this year. It's only the second time an animated film has been in the running since the category was established in the 1940s. Last Day of Freedom is the story of Bill Babbitt, a man who turns his brother in for murder, hoping the police will help his brother get the care he needs for PTSD.

The Babbitts' story is told through more than 30,000 drawings, most of them in black and white. They were created by Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman, two Northern California-based artists.

Adam Cohen's new book tells the story of the 1927 Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell. The ruling permitted the state of Virginia to sterilize an "imbecile" — a scientific term of the day. Cohen discusses the decision, and its legacy, with NPR's Robert Siegel.

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At an estate sale in Rochester, N.Y., in 2009, a rare book seller came upon a curious literary artifact. As it turned out, it was a memoir written in the 1850s by Austin Reed, a black man who spent most of his life in prison. It's the earliest known prison memoir by an African-American writer, and it has now been published as The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict.

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It doesn't taste like chicken and it's definitely not a fish, but some people in St. Louis are eating beaver for Lent.

Many Catholics abstain from eating meat on Fridays in observance of Lent, the season of penance between Ash Wednesday and Easter. The church has made exceptions — at times, in some places — for aquatic mammals such as beavers, muskrats and capybara.

These days, it can be hard to ignore all the messages to eat less meat and more vegetables.

Last year, the World Health Organization used its megaphone to publicize the link between cancer and excessive red meat consumption.

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What was behind the decision not to invite the artists behind two tunes nominated for Best Original Song to perform on Sunday night's Academy Awards broadcast?

Photo courtesy Atlanta History Center

Crowd-sourcing isn’t a common way to curate a history exhibit but that's how the Atlanta History Center opted to put together a new show about Atlanta.

After all, Atlantans are the best experts on what represents their city.

Among the 300 public submissions were Coca Cola, WSB, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CNN, the Peachtree Road Race and, to the surprise of curators, “trees."

Below, you can hear my recent tour with curator Amy Wilson:

 

SOUND EFFECT: Woman's voice" "Welcome aboard the Plane Train." 

We're about 300 emails and one month in. We started with seven people and swelled to eight, though the composition of the group has changed a little bit.

Dexter Palmer does not do simple. His debut novel, 2011's The Dream of Perpetual Motion, was a complex, intricate mechanism of a book, a postmodern steampunk sprawl set in a dreamlike world. His second (and unrelated) novel, Version Control, is equally complex. But Palmer picks a far less fantastic setting for his latest reality-distorting vision: A fictional college town in New Jersey called Stratton, just a handful of years in the future.

Marley Dias is like a lot of 11-year-olds: She loves getting lost in a book.

But the books she was reading at school were starting to get on her nerves. She enjoyed Where The Red Fern Grows and the Shiloh series, but those classics, found in so many elementary school classrooms, were all about white boys or dogs ... or white boys and their dogs, Marley says.

Black girls, like Marley, were almost never the main character.

Eleven-year-old Neel Sethi is about to be kidnapped by monkeys. Rigged up to a harness in front of a blue screen, he prepares to run, leap and cavort — a live-action dance that will later be mixed with computer-generated animals.

Just days away from the Oscars, Hollywood continues to face down questions over its lack of diversity — particularly among the nominees for its top prize. The controversy has helped prompt a viral hashtag, #OscarsSoWhite, and has led the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to pledge to diversify in years to come.

At the end of a grueling Academy Awards race, we at Pop Culture Happy Hour like to unwind with a good, long talk we call our "Oscars Omnibus" — a roundup of our thoughts on all the Best Picture nominees, notable acting nominees, and issues and themes surrounding the prior year in movies. This year gave us plenty to chew on, as you can imagine, and as you can hear for yourself on this page.

All that glitters is not gold in the chintzy mythological adventure Gods of Egypt, but most of it is — a CGI jewel-box festooned with golden sands and towering spires, golden spears and diamond-spackled bracelets, and metallic wings that shimmer in the sun. Even the gods themselves, once shivved in battle, bleed out in resplendent puddles of liquid gold.

In Triple 9's beyond-shadowy opening, a group of reprobates discusses plans for a military-precision bank robbery. The illumination is so dim that a bit of Anthony Mackie's brow is about all that's visible. Subsequent scenes allow a little more light, yet this laughably nihilistic movie just gets darker and darker.

A 'Last Man' Imperfectly Remembered

Feb 25, 2016

Humans have an easier time remembering the first and last of things than we do the middles. The ends bulge out in our minds, becoming signifiers of the whole. So for someone raised in the United States, when you're asked to recall the men we've sent to the moon, your mind probably goes first to the originals: Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. You'll perhaps associate their names with the swelling up of pride the nation felt at seeing those boots hit the lunar turf for the first time.

This story was inspired by a question at an insanely hard Oscars trivia night in Los Angeles last year: Which family has the most Oscar nominations?

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