Arts

Arts and culture

Journalist Anne Garrels was covering Russia years ago for NPR and she wanted to understand what was happening beyond the swiftly changing capital city of Moscow.

So she took out a map, and chose a city at random.

"It could be anywhere and I basically just threw a pencil at the map and it hit Chelyabinsk and I've been going there ever since," she tells NPR's Morning Edition.

The Many Masks Of Batman In 'Caped Crusade'

Mar 23, 2016

This week Batman and Superman do battle on movie screens around the country in the much ballyhooed Batman vs. Superman. Superman is basically the same Superman he's always been. An all-American Golden Boy — albeit from the planet Krypton — fighting for Truth, Justice, you know the rest.

So, maybe your Instagram pics of #delicious #foodporn never look nearly as scrumptious as the real thing.

Don't despair — it's not you. It's just that your food is too real.

Helen Oyeyemi is one of literature's weird sisters. She's kin to the uncanny likes of Angela Carter, Shirley Jackson and Jeanette Winterson, whose names trail down the back covers of her books like a pagan invocation.

'Caped Crusade' Peeks Under Batman's Iconic Cowl

Mar 23, 2016

Batman has two identities: his costumed, crime-fighting persona and his everyday identity as billionaire Bruce Wayne. Right? Or maybe it's not quite that simple — as Glen Weldon compellingly puts forth in The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture. The follow-up to his 2013 book Superman: The Unauthorized Biography, this new superhero overview peeks under the iconic cowl to unveil the many faces of Batman — as well as the many faces of his millions of fans — since the character's creation 77 years ago.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Tens of millions of Americans have been tuning in to March Madness, the NCAA basketball tournament.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Oh, what a save. And Lindsey with the finish.

Later this month, British newspaper the Independent will stop printing physical copies — it's going online-only. You might not be familiar with the Independent, but if it weren't for the paper, the world might never have gotten to meet Bridget Jones.

That character, immortalized on film by Renee Zellweger, was born out of a series of columns that author Helen Fielding wrote in the Independent in the 1990s. Fielding tells NPR's David Greene that when she started there, the newspaper was "the cool place to work."

Bubble Tea Is Back — With A Vengeance

Mar 22, 2016

Whether you call it "boba" or "bubble" tea, the Taiwanese beverage that allows you to chew your drink is back with a vengeance. It first got its start in the 1980s, after an inventor thought to pour tapioca pearls into a glass of iced, sweet tea. Though Asian communities have been drinking boba tea in the United States for many years, the texturally exciting drink is finally reaching a wider audience.

And boba isn't just back — it's playing ambassador to a whole host of other foods and trends.

The heated debate between the FBI and Apple over the encryption of the iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the two people who massacred 14 people in San Bernardino in December, took an unexpected turn Monday when the FBI announced that a third party had come forward with a way to possibly unlock the phone without Apple's involvement.

Salisbury University's Cultural Calendar week of March 28th, 2016

True Love And Time Travel In 'Patience'

Mar 22, 2016

Daniel Clowes may be one of the most notable comic artists of our era, a pillar of the '80s-'90s scene who's continued to do great work up to the present day, but he does tend to fixate. His recent books have focused, laserlike, on a human type that's shown up repeatedly in his comics over the last 20 years: a lonely, self-hating man living in his own head, desperate for connection, yet sabotaging it when the chance comes.

So you walk into the new Korean joint around the corner and discover that (gasp) the head chef is a white guy from Des Moines. What's your gut reaction? Do you want to walk out? Why?

The question of who gets to cook other people's food can be squishy — just like the question of who gets to tell other people's stories. (See: the whole controversy over the casting of the new Nina Simone biopic.)

Take a look at the next box of strawberries you find in the store. Depending on where in the country you happen to be, it may have come from Florida. But it won't for much longer.

Why?

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

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Consider something we use every day but don't think about unless, of course, we lose them: keys. They lock doors, turn on cars, keep valuables safe. More poetically, they can open minds and hearts.

Writer Helen Oyeyemi has been thinking a lot about keys. In fact, she's written an entire book about them, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours — nine short stories (she says she could have written 900) about the power of keys.

Alone In Berlin stars Brendan Gleeson and Emma Thompson as an ordinary middle-aged working class couple, Otto and Anna Quangel, just trying to keep their heads down in 1940s Berlin. But when their son is killed on the battlefield, grief sparks them into defiance. They begin writing anti-fascist postcards bearing small truths like "Mothers, Hitler Will Kill Your Son Too" and leaving them in public places.

They hope others will follow their lead.

During its original run from 1999 to 2006, The West Wing was critically acclaimed, racking up 26 Emmy wins. The drama created by Aaron Sorkin frequently appears on lists of the best television shows of all time.

A Love Story Rudely Interrupted By History

Mar 20, 2016

Historical novels make time travelers of all of us. Not just in the obvious way of riding on some character's shoulder through the streets of pre-war London or 1920's Berlin. In the best cases, it's more like a terrible, permanent deja-vu. Great historical novels give us a god's omnipotence, an all-knowing sense of what is coming and what has gone before. They don't coddle, but burden us with the sure knowledge that we can do nothing to alter the flow of time. That bad things are coming, and all we can do is watch.

On this Palm Sunday, Fox will air a show called The Passion. It's the latest in a string of live musical TV events, and this time network executives are taking a chance on the Bible.

The Passion is the story of the last hours of Jesus Christ, and Sunday's production will take place on location in New Orleans. Some of the scenes were taped in advance, but others will be live, including a procession of 1,000 people carrying a cross through the streets.

Actor Andre Royo was so good at playing an addict on HBO's The Wire that actual users on the street used to offer him drugs. Now that he's playing a lawyer on Fox's Empire, we assume people walk up to him and offer him $300 an hour, right?

Anyway. Since Royo starred in The Wire — a TV show more beloved to NPR listeners than their own children — we've invited him to play a game called "I keep my Wire DVD set right next to my Neko Case albums." Three questions about three other things NPR listeners won't shut up about.

Lots of people are fuming about Nina, an upcoming biopic about legendary singer Nina Simone. According to its critics, the filmmakers butcher important parts of Simone's biography (in part, by attributing much of her success to the men in her life), but that their larger sin was casting actress Zoe Saldana, who plays the lead role with the help of skin-darkening makeup and a prosthetic nose.

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the #NPRreads hashtag. Each weekend, we highlight some of the best stories.

Katie Roiphe's preoccupation with death goes back to her childhood, when she contracted virulent pneumonia at the age of 12. She was sick for a year and thought she was going to die.

Her terror of death was reignited many years later when her father died. It was then that Riophe found herself turning to great minds to see how they confronted mortality.

Dana Spiotta's fearless, ambitious new novel is the fourth in a remarkable series of deep dives into our culture's obsession with fame and technological change. Like her 2001 debut, Lightning Field, its main characters are shaped by Los Angeles, where the primary influence is film. Like Stone Arabia (2011) in which a woman watches her beloved brother, a never-famous rocker, document a faux career, Innocents and Others emphasizes the fragility of human connection in a world saturated with media and digital illusion.

In 1973, when journalist David Kushner was 4 years old, his brother Jon left for a short bike ride through the woods. He was going to buy some candy at a convenience store — but Jon never came home. A week after he disappeared, his body was found buried in a shallow grave. He was 11 years old.

Humor And Heart Fill 'The Nest'

Mar 18, 2016

Trillions of dollars will be passed from one generation to the other in the form of inheritance over the next few decades. In her funny debut novel, Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney explores the idea of how one possible inheritance affects the four adult siblings of the Plumb family.

Sink Or Swim: Poems On The Existential Terror Of Everyday Life

Mar 18, 2016

John Koethe is not a hip new poet writing about hip new things, but, at 70, he's deeply worth reading. His tenth collection takes its title—and the title of one of its best poems—from the seminal John Cheever story about a suburban man who decides to get home one day by swimming through his neighborhood pools, which he imagines as a river. Koethe reads the story as "A reimagining/Of a life from the perspective of disillusionment and age," and that is essentially what Koethe's book is, too.

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