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Jay Z: The Fresh Air Interview

Jun 16, 2017

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

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

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

On The DL

Jun 16, 2017

We're benched this final round, where every answer has the initials D.L. For example, if we asked, "Who hosted his final episode of 'Late Show' in May, 2015," the answer would be "David Letterman."

Heard on Annabelle Gurwitch: 'Don't Treat Me Like Family'

Mystery Guest

Jun 16, 2017

Mystery Guest Jen Glantz stops by the Bell House to tell us about her unique business. Ophira Eisenberg and Jonathan Coulton ask her yes-or-no questions to figure out what it is.

Heard on Annabelle Gurwitch: 'Don't Treat Me Like Family'

Mall And Oates

Jun 16, 2017

Say it isn't so...we rewrote hit Hall and Oates songs to be about stores in the mall. We understand if you can't go for that.

Heard on Annabelle Gurwitch: 'Don't Treat Me Like Family'

Reverse Reality

Jun 16, 2017

Ever wanted to return to a simpler time? We mean back when The Simple Life was still on TV, of course. In lieu of actual time travel, we describe reality television shows as if they were playing in reverse, and contestants tell us which show we're talking about.

Heard on Annabelle Gurwitch: 'Don't Treat Me Like Family'

Actor and author Annabelle Gurwitch has had almost every job in entertainment. In high school, she started writing copy for the straight-to-VHS soft-core videos her father distributed. "I never actually saw these movies, I just saw the artwork," she told host Ophira Eisenberg. Writing descriptions of something you've never seen — how much does that pay? "Not enough for that kind of creativity."

Name That Sound

Jun 16, 2017

KLAXON, KLAXON, KLAXON. That's the name for the classic horn "awooga" sound. Contestants guess the official names of common sound effects and production music in this audio quiz.

Heard on Annabelle Gurwitch: 'Don't Treat Me Like Family'

I Rest My Case

Jun 16, 2017

"The plaintiff wears pinstripe. The defendant wears herringbone. The future of boxy luggage is at stake." This excerpt comes from the back of one of our new paperback legal thrillers: The Suit Case. Every answer in this game is a word or phrase ending in the word "case."

Heard on Annabelle Gurwitch: 'Don't Treat Me Like Family'

The music of Penguin Cafe is like no other. Its origins date back to the early '70s, within fever dreams Simon Jeffes had that were brought on by food poisoning. In those dreams he imagined a dispassionate world "where everyone lived in big concrete blocks and spent their lives looking into screens. In one room, there was a couple making love lovelessly. In another there was a musician sat at a vast array of equipment, but with headphones on, so there was no actual music in the room." Eerily accurate.

This week, now that more of you have had a chance to see it, we're finally getting around to talking about the critical and commercial success that is Wonder Woman. Petra Mayer of NPR Books joins us to talk about Diana, her island of fighters, her romance, the inevitable Great Big Ending, representation that does and doesn't exist in this movie, and more.

LeeAnn Ledgerwood On Piano Jazz

Jun 16, 2017

Pianist LeeAnn Ledgerwood studied at the Berklee College of Music alongside Branford Marsalis and Terence Blanchard. She became a protégée of Marian McPartland, who encouraged her to pursue a career in jazz. She was McPartland's guest on Piano Jazz in 1990.

"[Bob] Seger's absence from digital services, combined with the gradual disappearance of even physical copies of half his catalog, suggest a rare level of indifference to his legacy," Tim Quirk wrote for NPR Music in late March in his feature, "Where Have All The Bob Seger Albums Gone?"

The French indie-pop band Phoenix joined us on the release date for Ti Amo, which has been described as its most romantic record yet. The band sings in four languages, and many of the songs were inspired by a fantasized version of Italy. Its live performances are as engaging as ever, as you'll see in this studio performance of "Fior Di Latte."

SET LIST

  • "Fior Di Latte"

Photo: Larry Hirshowitz/KCRW.

Three-course dinner chewing gum.

Fizzy lifting drinks.

Everlasting gobstoppers.

These, of course, are the creations of Willy Wonka, who himself is the creation of author Roald Dahl.

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

So 30 years ago this summer, video games made their orchestral debut. It was a performance in Tokyo. It was the first time that music from a videogame was performed live, was from the Japanese game "Dragon Quest." And this trend has carried on ever since.

You're in a New York apartment, alone on a warm night, hearing the sounds of the city drift up from the streets. Or you're in Paris and part of the noise, moving through the crowded streets and sidewalks, both feeling the weight of the world and a being a part of that weight. Or maybe you've never even seen a large city, and mistake the glowing lights from afar for a mysterious fire.

Journalist Tom Ricks used to write about the present. His reports on the U.S. military won him two Pulitzer Prizes, and his 2006 book, Fiasco, was basically a takedown of U.S. policies in Iraq.

But Ricks says the wars following Sept. 11 wore him down; so he left daily journalism, moved to an island off the coast of Maine and wrote a history called Churchill and Orwell — as in the British prime minister and the author of 1984.

Japanese toilets have come a long way from the early 20th century, when many people in Japan still used "squatters," which were built into the floor.

Western toilets became popular after World War II. And today, signature Japanese toilets offer the world's most futuristic and automated technology when nature calls.

Nearly 2,000 years after he held sway over ancient Rome, a notorious emperor is again causing outrage. The reason: Italian authorities approved construction of a massive stage amid the ruins over the Roman Forum for a rock opera about Nero, who ruled from 54 to 68 A.D.

Archaeologists and art historians are up in arms, denouncing what they see as the commercialization of the country's heritage.

A Look Back At Monterey Pop, 50 Years Later

Jun 15, 2017

In the 21st century, destination music festivals seem like a dime a dozen. But just 50 years ago, there was only one: the Monterey International Pop Festival, which featured more than 30 artists and bands playing over the course of three days in the summer of 1967.

Monterey Pop set the template for all the huge rock festivals that would follow — Woodstock, Coachella, Bonnaroo and all the rest — and its influence would spread even further via a documentary, Monterey Pop, that was helmed by D.A. Pennebaker and would set a gold standard for concert films.

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The multi-billion-dollar success of Pixar's Cars series can be chalked up to a great many things, but don't discount the little vroom-vroom frowns the cars make with their dashboard eyes when they want to go fast. When Lightning McQueen, the Owen Wilson-voiced stock car with the bright flames decal, guns for pole position, he squints so much that any human who might be driving him wouldn't be able to see the road.

Partisans on either side of Northern Ireland's "Troubles" will naturally gravitate to one of The Journey's two principals: Republican Martin McGuinness or Unionist Ian Paisley. But for those watching at a certain distance — from across the Atlantic, say — the movie is as much a clash of acting styles as a political debate.

Playing McGuinness, Colm Meaney emphasizes warmth, humor, and naturalness. As the older and chillier Paisley, Timothy Spall is more mannered, relying on such gear as false teeth that make his occasional grin even more menacing than his frequent scowl.

Kate McKinnon plays an Australian in Rough Night, a shrewd gender-reversal of sloppy-drunk bro comedies like Bachelor Party, Very Bad Things, and The Hangover. There's no particular reason for her to play an Australian, beyond a thin running joke about cultural insensitivity of failing to distinguish between Aussies and Kiwis. And yet it's funny. McKinnon merrily swishes her dialogue around the accent and makes her character's jet lag and fish-out-of-water misunderstanding to keep her a beat behind the action, like the caboose of the comedy train.

For more than half a decade Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have been an inseparable creative duo, racking up record sales and Grammy awards. But the premiere of "Glorious" — the first single from Macklemore's new, unnamed album — comes today with news that the Seattle rapper's next release will be a solo effort.

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