Arts

Arts and culture

The director John Woo, whose filmography contains an aggregate body count in the quadruple digits, has frequently observed that action movies and musicals are close cousins. He's right about that, and I offer into evidence Edgar Wright's intoxicating new chase flick Baby Driver as Exhibit A.

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The last film by documentary giant Albert Maysles gets a rare screening this week in New York. It's called In Transit, and it takes place entirely on the Empire Builder, a train that runs between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest over three days. Some passengers are heading toward new opportunities, while others are just trying to get away.

Tales from the American West are marked by heroism, romance and plenty of cruelty. Among those stories, the saga of the Donner Party stands alone — a band of pioneers set out in covered wagons for California, and eventually, stranded, snowbound and starving, resorted to cannibalism.

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If you've never heard of Alexander von Humboldt, a once world-renowned Prussian scientist who predicted man-made climate change in 1800 and was an adviser to President Thomas Jefferson, then a New Hampshire distillery is aiming to change that, one glass at a time.

The Nordic speculative-fiction scene has become increasingly prominent in the past few years, with authors such Leena Krohn and Johanna Sinisalo, both from Finland, garnering fresh attention and translations in the United States. In Sweden, one of the most promising authors of science fiction and fantasy in recent years has been Karin Tidbeck.

Behind the scenes at major art museums, conservators are hard at work, keeping masterpieces looking their best. Their methods are meticulous — and sometimes surprising.

The painting conservation studio at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., is filled with priceless works sitting on row after row of tall wooden easels, or lying on big, white-topped worktables.

In Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Titus Andromedon is a show-stealing character. Tituss Burgess plays the mostly out-of-work actor who's black, gay and an endearing friend to the very naive Kimmy Schmidt.

The first book of the Harry Potter series went on sale in the U.K. 20 years ago today. It offers a convenient excuse to reacquaint yourself with a world before anyone on this side of the Atlantic had heard of muggles, horcruxes or pensieves, before tourists would crowd into London's Kings Cross railway station simply to peer wistfully at the space between Platforms Nine and Ten.

Here's the first story NPR ever aired about Harry Potter — a wonderful piece by the late Margot Adler, from All Things Considered in 1998.

Some gems, from that bygone era:

On Friday night, a new American monarch rose to power beneath a cascade of rose petals, a cracked mask and the ballads of Whitney Houston.

In the novel The Windfall, a newly minted tech millionaire buys a big fancy house, a flashy car and leaves his middle-class life behind to rub elbows with the superrich. What follows is a delightful comedy of errors where he and his family navigate the unexpected pressures and pleasures of newfound wealth in modern India.

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Time now for The Call-In. It's wedding season. And today we're talking about love. We asked you for your stories, advice and questions.

JENNIFER INGHAM: Hi, NPR listeners. This is Jennifer Ingham.

An Ancient Curse Awakens In 'The Suffering Tree'

Jun 25, 2017

A family curse, a resurrection, and a vengeful witch form the Southern Gothic backbone of The Suffering Tree.

Tori's family fractured when her father died and left them financially adrift, so it seems like a miracle when she, her mother, and her brother inherit an old house in rural Maryland. But they soon discover that the sprawling Slaughter family owns all the land surrounding theirs, and they still believe they have the right to Tori's new home.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, tennis great John McEnroe triumphed three times at Wimbledon and four times at the U.S. Open. But all his achievements on the court did not prepare him for life off of it. After his professional career ended, he dabbled as a talk show host and as an art collector and appeared in movies and TV shows.

While she was a primary care doctor in Oakland, Calif., Dr. Vanessa Grubbs fell in love with a man who had been living with kidney disease since he was a teenager.

Comedian Eddie Izzard — who's done stand-up in more than 40 countries, in four different languages — has now written a new book called Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death and Jazz Chickens.

We've invited him to answer three questions about the Australian psychedelic rock band King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard.

Click the audio link above to see how he does.

In the seventh century B.C., the poet Semonides of Amorgos wrote a catalog of unmanageable women. First, there are the women who resemble pigs, "resting in filth and growing fat." Other women, he writes, are yapping dogs, who won't shut up even if you knock their teeth out. And then there are the lazy horses, slutty weasels and ugly apes with no necks. The only kind of woman he praises is the bee — industrious, devoted and, most importantly, fertile.

Berlin, 1940. A young Nazi officer is given a new mission: The Reich is sending him to Holland, to guard the exiled former German emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II. That's the premise of a new feature film, The Exception — it's a spy story, with steamy sex, intrigue and history rolled in.

"How do you cross the line? Step by step."

Internal monologue is a staple in cop books. There are rules, things you do and things you don't, and if the cop in your cop book can't talk to himself in his own head, how are the readers going to know that he's tortured? That he's a good man going bad (or a bad man going worse)? That he has hopes and dreams that extend beyond these streets and the barrel of this gun?

He brooded, as Lincoln.

He seduced in The Unbearable Lightness of Being. And he murdered, in There Will Be Blood.

This week, Daniel Day-Lewis — a three-time Oscar winner, and incomparable film chameleon — announced he is retiring from acting at 60.

A statement released by his spokeswoman gave no explanation, saying this is a private decision, and that Day-Lewis will have no further comment.

The actor has often taken lengthy sabbaticals between films, but this time it's apparently permanent.

So what will he be doing?

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On the surface, comedian Kumail Nanjiani's new movie, The Big Sick, sounds like a rom-com: He plays a struggling stand-up comedian, also named Kumail, who meets a cute girl, Emily, at one of his shows. Sparks fly and they start dating. But then she finds out he's been keeping her a secret from his Pakistani family; there's a huge fight and they break up. But that's just the beginning.

Until The Beguiled, Sofia Coppola had exclusively made movies about rich people. But that's not the same thing as exclusively making movies for rich people. Drawing on her own upbringing in the cradle of Hollywood, Coppola spent the last two decades turning out formally radical, narratively slight riffs on what life is like inside the cocoon of wealth and privilege. That core has remained constant, whether her subject matter was Marie Antoinette or the Bling Ring gang of pampered L.A. kids who stole from celebrities because they felt like it.

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Truth And Lies.

About Laura Galante's TED Talk

What makes us susceptible to fake news? Laura Galante says its our ability to choose what information to believe - something foreign governments can use for their own benefit.

About Laura Galante

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Truth And Lies.

About Stephanie Busari's TED Talk

Stephanie Busari discusses the flip-side of fake news: denying real news. She recounts the kidnapping of Nigeria's Chibok schoolgirls and how some Nigerians believed the news was a government hoax.

About Stephanie Busari

Stephanie Busari is CNN's digital and multimedia bureau head in Nigeria.

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Truth And Lies.

About Carrie Poppy's TED Talk

After visiting a bookstore, Carrie Poppy started feeling odd: pressure on her chest and auditory hallucinations. She thought it was a spirit – until she found another explanation for her symptoms.

About Carrie Poppy

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