Arts and culture

Comedians often have a moment in childhood that, in hindsight, shapes them into a comic. For Cameron Esposito it may have been that, as a kid, she wore an eyepatch for eight years to correct her crossed eyes. "Yea, so it wasn't really a moment, as [it was] an entire childhood," she told host Ophira Eisenberg. "Just imagine a little sweetie Cammy Esposito: she's got an eye patch, she's got a bowl-cut, she's got glasses and braces. That's right--glasses on top of an eye patch!"

Hail To The Chief

Sep 9, 2016

In this final round, every answer contains the last name of a U.S. President. For example, if we said, "In the 1970s, this musical group featured Jermaine, Tito, Jackie, Marlon, and Michael" — you would say, "The Jackson Five."

Heard on Cameron Esposito & Craig Robinson: Every Action Movie Has An Equal Opposite Reaction Movie

Get The H Out Of Here

Sep 9, 2016

Shaver saver, tenth tent, hit it. We'll hint at two word phrases like these. Get the second word by removing the letter "H" from the first. That's it!

Heard on Cameron Esposito & Craig Robinson: Every Action Movie Has An Equal Opposite Reaction Movie

Craig Robinson: One For The Ladies

Sep 9, 2016

Comedian Craig Robinson, best known for films such as "Hot Tub Time Machine" and his role as Darrell on The Office, got his start in Chicago comedy clubs like Heckler's Heaven at The Q Club. After three minutes, a bell would ring. Three judges had rubber chickens and if you got all three chickens, you were booted off the stage. "The first time I went up I got two chickens and I quit before I got my third," he reminisced. These events inspired him to include music in his act. The next time he went on stage, Robinson brought his keyboard — "And no chickens."

BEFORE WE BEGIN: West Coast Party People! Tickets to the PCHH live shows in October, featuring amazing guests, are on sale now — but they're going fast. Here's where we stand, as of this morning:

Seattle feat. Audie Cornish: October 17

Portland feat. Audie Cornish: October 19

London Road is not the first musical to be made about a real-life serial killer. But it may be the first to draw its poetic life-blood from the testimony of residents of a rural English town where five prostitutes were found murdered in 2006. Aside from a wicked moment or two when a leering movie star known for playing unsavory fellows shows up to throw us off the scent, this is not about the murderer. It's about the undoing — and remaking — of a community in its own words, owing more to Shirley Jackson than Masterpiece Theater.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Good novels are like good parties: You get the right mix of people together, and you never quite know what will happen.

In Ann Patchett's new novel Commonwealth, a christening party takes a turn when one guest arrives with a bottle of gin. The gin leads to a wonderfully sloppy afternoon with cocktail mixing, a dancing priest, and two adulterous kisses.

The kisses lead to divorces, and a new blended family, six kids bouncing back and forth between Southern California and Virginia.

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


11:00 a.m. is bilingual story hour at the Aguilar branch of the New York Public Library. Dozens of kids — mostly children of immigrants from China, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico — have settled down to hear Perez y Martina, a story based on a Puerto Rican folktale.

A couple of months ago I was at Washington, D.C.'s Union Market, where dozens of food vendors sell their wares, when I spotted the word falooda at one of the small stalls. Falooda is a cold, textured dessert or snack that was a regular part of my childhood summers back in India. And this was the first time in America that I had seen a mention of this beloved dessert. I was thrilled and promptly joined the line to order some.

It would be easy to think abstractly about the state of TV comedy in 2016 and visualize a clear divide between Cool and Uncool, between safe, saccharine broadcast comedies and knife-sharp cable projects that take no prisoners and feel no feelings. But as with so many things, in the move from generality to specificity, divides get more complex. And fortunately, both the more traditionally conceived comedies and the more daring ones have their strengths, and scratch their itches when they're good.

With all due respect to Marco Rubio, Pitbull and Tim Tebow, the most famous export from the Sunshine State these days is Florida Man. He's not a real guy, of course, but the subject of a popular Twitter account that compiles news stories about the sometimes bizarre antics of certain assorted oddballs living in America's third-largest state.

For Star Trek's George Takei, it was one of the worst predictions he ever made, and one of the best strokes of luck in his life: Takei, known to fans worldwide as helmsman Hikaru Sulu, originally thought the show would last only one season.

"When we were shooting the pilot, Jimmy Doohan [who played engineer Montgomery "Scotty" Scott] said to me, 'Well, George, what do you think about this? What kind of run do you think we'll have?'" says Takei. "And I said, 'I smell quality. And that means we're in trouble.' "

It's a classic summertime treat, the kind you might get from an ice cream truck.

It's a sugar cone, in the shape of a taco, filled with light vanilla ice cream dipped in chocolate with nuts on top. It's the Choco Taco.

But where did this highly engineered dessert come from?

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Say you want to escape the doldrums of daily life — but you can't quite afford a trip to Hawaii. Why not to head to your local tiki bar for a sample of the South Seas?

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


'Everfair' Looks Into Steampunk's Dark Heart

Sep 7, 2016

I've been excited to read Everfair for the last six years.

If you were alive in the 1980s, you've probably seen the art of Keith Haring. His graffiti-inspired images were everywhere: canvases and T-shirts, walls and subway stations.

Now one of Haring's lesser-known murals in New York is threatened. It's in the stairwell of a former convent called Grace House, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan — a pretty unlikely place, even for Haring. But here are Haring's familiar, cartoonish figures — the radiant baby, the barking dog — dancing up and down three flights of stairs.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit


Jonathan Safran Foer's first novel, Everything is Illuminated, dug into his family's history with the Holocaust. His latest novel explores a different aspect of Judaism.

It's called Here I Am; the title comes from the Bible — the story where God calls on Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. This book is set in present-day Washington, D.C., where a Jewish family goes through a domestic crisis, while at the same time, a geopolitical crisis unfolds on the other side of the world.

What's Behind South Korea's Shake Shack Fever?

Sep 6, 2016

South Korea's got Shake Shack fever.

Since opening its first outlet in Seoul on July 22 — in the Gangnam District, known as the city's Beverly Hills — the popular American burger chain has attracted incredibly long lines of people. On its first day of business, about 1,500 people lined up for two to three hours before the store's 10 a.m. opening time to be the first to sample its burgers, according to The Korea Herald, a local newspaper; some had been there all night.

Actress Pamela Adlon and comic Louis C.K. are no strangers to collaboration. They had already worked together on two different series — Lucky Louie and Louie — when C.K. suggested Adlon create her own show that she would star in. Initially, the single mother of three daughters balked.

"I was like, 'Are you crazy? I can't do that! I'm doing this and that, and I got the girls," Adlon tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. But gradually the idea grew on her, and she began to think of the ways in which her own experiences could be fodder for a series.

Salisbury University's Cultural Calendar week of September 12th , 2016

Coming Soon: How I Built This

Sep 6, 2016

On September 12, NPR launches a new podcast, How I Built This, hosted by Guy Raz. The show features innovators, entrepreneurs, idealists, and the stories behind the movements they built.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

There are television shows — warm and tidy comedies, generic action shows, underbaked procedurals — that feel as if they are made by no one at all. They seem to have simply arisen naturally as a result of the environment in which they exist, like mushrooms growing on a wet log. You look up and they are simply there, being bad, being nothing, and then you look up again and they are gone and no one misses them.

Jonathan Safran Foer's doorstop of a third novel takes its title from Abraham's response when God tested him by commanding him to sacrifice his son Isaac on Mount Moriah. Here I Am — much of which is about fathers and sons — interprets these three words as indicative of "who we are wholly there for, and how that, more than anything else, defines our identity."