Arts

Arts and culture

Whether boosting or buffeting the careers of the Beatles, the Doors and the Stooges, Danny Fields was the man behind the curtain. He remains so in Danny Says, a candid yet unrevealing documentary named for a song the Ramones wrote about Fields.

The angry old gent at the heart of the Swedish film A Man Called Ove is the kind of man who puts on a suit and tie every time he tries to kill himself, which believe me is more than twice. He's also the kind of man you're likely to find in films submitted to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. So even though Ove, who's played with firmly compressed lips by Rolf Lassgard, is a royal pain in the butt, the suicides are played for gentle laughs and it's pretty clear from the get-go that things will pan out, in their deadpan Scandinavian way.

When it was announced that Oliver Stone would be making a film about Sept. 11, the news alone felt like a startling provocation: Hollywood's most political director, a man known for upending assumptions about America's history and institutions, would be commenting on the formative tragedy of the early 21st century. Perhaps Stone would indulge in the type of leftist conspiracy theory that informed his JFK or, at a minimum, seize the opportunity to critique the drastic changes in domestic and foreign policy precipitated by the attacks.

When did our expectations for Tim Burton movies sink so precipitously? We ought to be able to forgive the guy who made Ed Wood and Sleepy Hollow a Planet of the Apes now and then. Or even an Alice in Wonderland, so long as he keeps balancing mega-grossing mediocrities like that with heartfelt stuff like Frankenweenie, his delightful stop-motion ode to his dog. Any director who averages a studio feature every other year for three decades will have a stinker or two on his resume.

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

The main characters of the FXX series You're the Worst don't follow the rules of polite society. They are narcissists who talk in movie theaters, think everyone else is annoying and are frequently mean to the people they encounter. They also happen to be in love with each other.

Series executive producer Stephen Falk tells Fresh Air's Ann Marie Baldonado that the characters, Jimmy and Gretchen, are "stand-ins for the dark parts of all of us that are still deserving of love at the end of the day."

I have a friend in London who's at war with her car's GPS. Although she nearly always puts it on, she's driven mad by its voice, which is female, and refuses to follow its directions. She spends whole trips arguing with, barking at, and sometimes cursing this imaginary woman. She'd never be this rude to an actual human being. But, of course, a GPS doesn't have feelings.

But what if it did? That's one of the many timely questions raised by Westworld, the darkly exciting new series that's HBO's biggest gamble since Game of Thrones.

Every book can't be War and Peace. Readers may approach a doorstop novel of some 700-plus pages with a mixture of hope and dread: hope that the tome will offer a tale to relish, dread from being betrayed one too many times. By Gaslight, the second novel by award-winning Canadian poet Steven Price, proves engrossing enough to warrant its forest-depleting bulk. I found myself returning to passages not only because I occasionally lost the thread of this historical mystery's manifold plots, sub-plots and asides, but because I wanted to revisit the somber music of the telling.

Carli Lloyd doesn't "do fake."

"I'm loyal, I'm real, I'm not afraid to say what I'm thinking," she tells NPR's David Greene.

In her new memoir, When Nobody Was Watching, Lloyd describes the journey that led her to become one of the world's best soccer players.

Her victories have been hard-fought — Lloyd's training began in the small, working class town of Delran, N.J.

"I used to kick the ball up against the curb for hours upon hours," she recalls. She'd gather all the soccer balls she could find, head over to the field, and work on her shot.

As protests over police shootings of black men top the news, Netflix debuts a show on Friday about a bulletproof black man. It's called Marvel's Luke Cage, and it's based on one of Marvel Comics' first black superheroes.

Step into executive producer and showrunner Cheo Coker's cramped office in Hollywood, and you face a wall plastered with comic books from the 1970s and '80s. "That's where my love of comics started." he says. "Because when I read those I mean I was, what, sixth grade?"

In the summer of 1936, a plain and sturdy farm woman from southern Minnesota traveled to New York to meet the mayor, stay at the Waldorf, dine at the Stork Club and make headlines in every major newspaper.

That woman was Susan Eisele, my grandmother, who Country Home magazine selected — out of 4,000 entrants — as its "Rural Correspondent of the Year."

The award came with a $200 prize and a two-week trip to New York and Washington.

Soap opera pioneer Agnes Nixon, who created All My Children and One Life to Live, has died at the age of 93. She is known for highlighting challenging and taboo social issues through daytime television.

Her son Bob Nixon told The Associated Press that she died at a physical rehabilitation facility in Haverford, Pa.

Riccardo Fregoso, executive creative director of McCann Paris, discusses the firm's Clio Award-winning ad called "The Girls of Paradise," which draws potential johns in for a rude surprise.

The campaign starts with a website that looks like many your could find on the Internet, a page that promised a gallery of potential escorts for one to choose from. But it's a fake: As soon as the visitor clicks through enough times, the website tells the visitor about the fate of the woman he has chosen — death, usually by violence.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Christopher Rouse's Symphony No. 3, which appears on his latest album, contains many levels of meaning. It's an homage to the Russian composer Sergey Prokofiev, whose Second Symphony serves as a structural model for the piece. It's an encoded musical portrait of Rouse's wife. And it's an engaging piece of music even for a listener who possesses none of this background knowledge.

Curious George famously managed all sorts of escapes — from policemen, firemen, zookeepers and plenty other humans who didn't like his mischief. But many readers don't know that the husband-wife team who created the inquisitive little monkey — who is celebrating his 75th birthday this year — had the most harrowing escape of all.

The 18-year-old Jane Jacobs picked a lousy time to leave her hometown of Scranton, Pa., and move to New York City.

It was the fall of 1934 and New York was dragging itself through The Great Depression. During that first year in the city, Jacobs, who'd gone to secretarial school, scrounged for work, riding the subway from the Brooklyn apartment she shared with her older sister, Betty, into Manhattan.

Herschell Gordon Lewis, who died earlier this week at the age of 87, wore several hats over the course of his life: advertising copywriter. Self-styled direct-marketing guru. And, most famously, director of exploitation films of various stripes (nudie, splatter, nudie-splatter).

From the ground, flying is a wonderfully loose metaphor — for freedom and speed and ambition, for superhuman ease and laborless achievement. But Fran Wilde's Bone Universe series makes flying a fatal and real technical science. It isn't magic, but a controlled harnessing of something terrifyingly strong: the wind. The taut violence of flight — catching gusts, snapping wings, shaving the air — is the best and most real part of the novels. Not a broomstick whoosh or the effortless flutter of a superhero's cape, but groaning joints, deadly winds, an awful void below.

There are two "firsts" in the list of highest-paid comedians that was put out by Forbes on Tuesday: For the first time in a decade, someone other than Jerry Seinfeld tops the rankings; and a woman is in the top 10 for the first time, according to Forbes' tally.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It's a big day for Bruce Springsteen fans. The rock star has just released a memoir, one of the most anticipated of the year. It follows a compilation album featuring some Springsteen's earliest recordings and some victory lap concerts with his E Street Band.

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

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Salisbury University's Cultural Calendar week of October 3rd , 2016

When The Three-Body Problem, the first installment of Cixin Liu's Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy, won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2015, it drove home a big point: Science fiction from other countries has been overlooked too long here in the U.S., and it's to everyone's benefit to fix that.

It's well-known that Dear Leader was crazy about movies. What's less known — at least in the West — is that infamous North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il was so crazy about them that he kidnapped a South Korean actress and a movie director in 1978 and forced them to work for him for years. That story is the subject of a new documentary called The Lovers and the Despot.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

As we mourn the golf great Arnold Palmer, we acknowledge another contribution he made to our culture: the tasty and refreshing iced tea and lemonade beverage that carries his name.

A pointy-headed professor. A hand-painted heron. A steel fist rising in the air. These are all works of American art, of a sort — but you can't go to a museum to see them. You go to your local bar or craft brewery.

They're examples of beer tap handles, a business that's expanded in tandem with the explosion of growth in the craft beer industry. As craft brewers try to make their brews stand out in an increasingly crowded field, they're driving the expansion of a singular business: custom-made snazzy beer taps.

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

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross.

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