Arts

Arts and culture

Editor's note: This review contains language some may find offensive

In Paris, a really old dress has sold for more than $150,000. Now, if that sounds like an unreasonably high price tag, keep this in mind: The 1730s dress is in mint condition, it might have been worn at Versailles, and it was part of a fashion revolution.

Known as a robe volante — or flying dress — the long, luscious yellow brocade gown is patterned with silver thread. It's loose-cut, with soft pleats in the rear, a deep V in front and graceful flow-y sleeves.

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When author Colson Whitehead first heard about the Underground Railroad as a child he imagined a subway beneath the earth that escaped slaves could ride to freedom. He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that when he found out that it was not a literal train, he felt "a bit upset."

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In 1962, a Syrian-born Hollywood filmmaker named Moustapha Akkad watched the epic film Lawrence of Arabia, directed by David Lean. Akkad was riveted as he watched a scene in which actor Omar Sharif emerges from the sands like a wraith on horseback — an Arab screen hero.

With Hillary Clinton having made history last month by becoming the first female presidential nominee, could it be that today's gender roles are not as egalitarian as we think?

Irina Reyn's new novel, The Imperial Wife, raises such questions. The dual-narrative follows the marriages of two ambitious women immigrants: one, a rising Russian art expert in a high-end Manhattan auction house set in the present day; the other, a young Catherine the Great in imperial Russia.

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For most of us, a road trip is a fun summer adventure — a time away from work, gorging yourself on gas station junk food, listening to audiobooks and your favorite songs.

But the situation is different when being on the road isn't your vacation, but actually part of your livelihood. Subsisting on fast food and sleeping at hotels isn't healthy or economical when you're doing it more often than not.

Many musicians spend their lives on the road. And the ones who want to stay healthy and keep their wallets intact have developed some tricks of the trade.

Actor and comedian Keegan-Michael Key was a star performer with the improv comedy troupe Second City before he gained fame on MAD TV and then in the hit show Key & Peele. In 2015 he appeared alongside President Barack Obama at the White House Correspondents Dinner in the role of "Presidential Anger Translator." He's now starring in Don't Think Twice, Mike Birbiglia's new movie about the improv comedy scene.

This summer marks my 25th and final season as music director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, Calif. What an amazing adventure this has been, working with living composers and being at the center of so many new creations.

In September 1993 Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat shook hands on the White House lawn. It was an iconic moment — two mortal enemies had come to terms on a historic peace agreement.

That agreement was forged during months of secret back-channel talks in Norway. A new off-Broadway play, OSLO, looks at this little-known part of the peace process.

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Despair no more, fans of Lucille Ball.

A new statue of the queen of comedy will be unveiled this weekend in her a hometown in Celoron, N.Y., and unlike the old one, this one actually looks like the Lucy everyone loves.

The new life-size bronze statue was created by noted sculptor Carolyn Palmer who won a national competition (involving more than 65 sculptors) for the honor of crafting a statue that will be unveiled on Aug. 6. It would have been Ball's 105th birthday.

New York indie filmmaker Ira Sachs makes quietly observant relationship movies that are designed to get under an audience's skin in the gentlest of fashions, but to the most emotional of effects.

His last film, which dealt with the pressures the outside world exerted on a marriage, was called Love Is Strange. His latest is called Little Men, but might easily be subtitled "Friendship Is Strange."

Using specialized X-ray imaging, a team of researchers in Australia has revealed a striking painting of a woman's face hidden under French Impressionist Edgar Degas' Portrait of a Woman.

The researchers believe the auburn-haired woman in the hidden work — which they also attribute to Degas — is Emma Dobigny, who was reportedly one of Degas' favorite subjects and modeled for him in 1869 and 1870.

Friday Reads: Five Rings, Five Books For Rio

Aug 5, 2016

As the world turns its eyes toward Rio in preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games, people everywhere are immersing themselves in Brazil's cultural offerings—food, art, music, and, of course, literature. For decades, readers have taken to the poetry and fiction of Machado de Assis and Jorge Amado and the stories of experimental giants like Clarice Lispector and Hilda Hilst.

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Pity the person who tries to adapt Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince. The classic tale has been translated into more than 200 languages and has sold hundreds of millions of copies around the world. The story — about a pilot who meets a child from another planet — is almost sacred to its fans. Now, there's a new movie version (in theaters and on Netflix) by a director whose credits include Kung Fu Panda and The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. Those aren't exactly literary classics, but Mark Osborne knows all too well what he's up against.

Help Me, Google

Aug 5, 2016

People ask Google a lot of weird questions. And when you start typing those questions, you might notice that you get a lot of weird autocomplete suggestions. We give contestants the beginning of a question, and three possible options for how Google chose to autocomplete it for us. One choice is real, the other two were made up.

Heard on Gillian Jacobs And Kate Micucci: Your Brain Is Not Enough

I'm So Excited!

Aug 5, 2016

Each answer in this game contains everyone's favorite overused punctuation mark: the exclamation point! For an example, if we said, "This Best Picture Oscar winner was based on Charles Dickens' novel about a poor orphan," you'd answer, "Oliver!"

Heard on Gillian Jacobs And Kate Micucci: Your Brain Is Not Enough

Contents Under Pressure

Aug 5, 2016

For this high-stakes music parody game, we took Billy Joel's song "Pressure," and re-wrote it to be about things that react to pressure.

Heard on Gillian Jacobs And Kate Micucci: Your Brain Is Not Enough

Celebrity Sayings

Aug 5, 2016

We give contestants the first part of a common expression, and they give us the rest the expression. The twist? That common expression must end with a rhyming celebrity's name. For example, if we said, "Hey, Godfather of Soul! You know when you throw your cape in the air, 'What goes up...,'" you'd say, "must come James Brown."

Heard on Gillian Jacobs And Kate Micucci: Your Brain Is Not Enough

EZ Does It

Aug 5, 2016

Every answer in this final round contains the letters "E-Z." So if we said, "An involuntary expulsion of air from your nose," you would answer, "sneeze."

Heard on Gillian Jacobs And Kate Micucci: Your Brain Is Not Enough

No amount of experience makes an actor completely immune to stage fright. At least, that's what Gillian Jacobs and Kate Micucci say. Jacobs, who has been acting since she was very young, rose to fame when she landed the role of Britta in the acclaimed ensemble TV comedy Community. Since then, she has guest starred on Lena Dunham's Girls, and snagged a leading role in Judd Apatow's Netflix comedy series, Love.

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