Arts and culture

If you feel like Internet ads are more pervasive and invasive than ever before, you're not alone. Author Tim Wu tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that the Web has gotten worse over the years, not better — and unrelenting ads are to blame.

"I think you spend 50 percent of your mental energy trying to defeat ad systems," Wu says. "It's amazing that we've got this great scientific invention, the Web and the Internet, and then it has come to the point where using it reminds me of swatting mosquitoes."

salisbury university website

Salisbury University's Cultural Calendar week of October 24th , 2016

One late December day in 1950, Max Beckmann was standing on a street corner near Central Park in New York City. The German expressionist painter had been on his way to see an exhibition featuring his work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Called "American Painting Today," the show was displaying his Self-Portrait in Blue Jacket.

It would turn out to be his last self-portrait.

"Do you know how many words there are in 80 minutes?" asks actress Kathleen Turner. "My god!"

Turner is referring to The Year of Magical Thinking, a play based on Joan Didion's 2005 memoir. The book was written while Didion's daughter was in a deep coma, and after her husband of 40 years suffered a fatal heart attack. In her role as Didion, Turner is the only one on stage. "It's very lonely," she says.

"No man is an island, entire of itself," John Donne famously reassured us in 1623, the same year Shakespeare's The Tempest was published in the First Folio. But "isolate" and "island" come from the same Latin root, and the truth is that we make our own islands where we daily maroon ourselves.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit


Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit


In Philip Roth's acclaimed novel American Pastoral, Miss New Jersey and Mr. Former High School Football star get married, have a beautiful daughter, a lovely house in the country, and a peaceful, blessed, life. But then the 1960's strike, and their little girl, outraged by the war in Vietnam, becomes a bomber.

Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature this week. His selection was surprising. He is the first artist to receive the award for a body of work that is almost entirely songs. But while there were critics, there was also a lot of acclaim, even from outstanding longtime novelists, including Joyce Carol Oates, Stephen King, and Salman Rushdie, who called Mr. Dylan, "the brilliant inheritor of the Bardic tradition."

Remember for a moment the days of your youth. Before you were a reader of Serious Literature. Before you cared about the big questions and thematic duality, Pynchon's latest or the spectacular weirdness of China Mieville. Bring to mind a simpler time when books existed either as pure, picture-heavy entertainment or (depending on your age) as a vehicle for Dick and Jane to teach you about manners or Ninja Turtles to school you on good oral hygiene.

The tragedy was local, yet seemed to speak to the whole of journalism: On July 15, 1974, reporter Christine Chubbuck pulled out a revolver during a live evening newscast in Sarasota Florida, and as her coworkers looking on in horror, shot herself in the head.

The what was simple, the why hard to fathom, and that's no less true in Antonio Campos' compelling retelling of the tale in his biopic Christine.

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I Just Play One On Television

Oct 14, 2016

In this final round, Puzzle Guru Art Chung asks the final contestants to identify the occupations of famous TV characters. For example, "Tony Soprano, from The Sopranos," would be "mob boss."

Heard on Javier Muñoz & David Harbour: The World Turned Upside Down

David Harbour: 20-Sided Quiz

Oct 14, 2016

Actor David Harbour has had a long career. From theater (The Rainmaker, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), to TV (Law & Order, The Newsroom) and film (The Equalizer, Brokeback Mountain)--he's done it all. But he's never received the attention he's had since playing Police Chief Jim Hopper in the Netflix series Stranger Things. "God yeah, I've really done so much work and no one's cared," Harbour told host Ophira Eisenberg.

To All The Ghouls I've Loved Before

Oct 14, 2016

Jonathan Coulton parodies game the kinda creepy Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias song "To All the Girls I've Loved Before" to be about famous monsters.

Heard on Javier Muñoz & David Harbour: The World Turned Upside Down

Even though Javier Muñoz was Lin Manuel Miranda's alternate in Miranda's first Broadway musical, In the Heights, he still had to audition for Hamilton. Twice. Flash forward to Muñoz's first performance as Alexander Hamilton in the Broadway production, which President Obama attended. "No pressure!" he told host Ophira Eisenberg. "I was surprised that I just wasn't nervous. I was so excited to do it. It was one of the three times Lin got to see the show so that was the most important thing to me...I believe he was a row or two in front of the President."

Steel, Talking Heads, Or Wrestlemania?

Oct 14, 2016

In this edition of This, That, or the Other, contestants must decide: is it a Danielle Steel novel, a Talking Heads song, or a Wrestlemania tagline?

Heard on Javier Muñoz & David Harbour: The World Turned Upside Down

Knowledge By Nature

Oct 14, 2016

In honor of the song "O-P-P" by "Naughty By Nature" being over 25 years old, every answer is three letters that rhyme with O-P-P. For example, if we said, "You down with a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich?" you'd answer, "You down with B-L-T?" Yeah, you know us!

Heard on Javier Muñoz & David Harbour: The World Turned Upside Down

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


Tower is an animated documentary that tells the story of a massacre that happened 50 years ago and was a historic first: A man with no record of violence shot at people at random for no logical reason.

It was Aug. 1, 1966, in the middle of a 100-degree day at the University of Texas at Austin. The shots came from the clock tower at the center of the campus. A woman eight months pregnant was the first to fall, soon to be followed by her boyfriend and a boy delivering newspapers on his bicycle. It's not the usual subject for a cartoon.

The night ferry to Menorca departs Barcelona at 11:00 p.m., slips past the sail-shaped W Hotel outlined in lights, and heads southeast across the (usually calm) Mediterranean as passengers disappear into their cabins.

The regular Pop Culture Happy Hour team is gearing up for our west coast tour, which kicks off Monday, October 17 in Seattle, continues on October 19 in Portland (the only date with tickets still available), October 21 in San Francisco with Mallory Ortberg, and October 23 in Los Angeles with Kumail Nanjiani.

Teen pregnancy is often discussed in political rather than personal terms, says novelist Brit Bennett.

"We think often about teen pregnancies — or even think about abortion ... in this very politicized way," she tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. Bennett thinks people don't necessarily ask themselves: What would I do if I were in this situation?

So in her debut novel, The Mothers, she tells the story of Nadia Turner, a 17-year-old high schooler who becomes pregnant after dating the son of a local pastor.

Actress Taraji P. Henson has played a lot of characters in her 20-year career, but it only took one role to make her famous: Cookie Lyon, the matriarch of an ambitious, dysfunctional family on the hit TV show Empire.

Now Henson has a new memoir out called Around the Way Girl. Don't know what an "around the way girl" is? Henson explains: "Around the way is like saying from the neighborhood, like from the hood." Henson still proudly calls herself an around the way girl; she says the fame and the money haven't changed her.

If Astroboy creator Osamu Tezuka is the father of anime, its great-uncle is Edo-period artist Katsushika Hokusai. He's best known for The Great Wave off Kanagawa, the most-reproduced Japanese artwork ever, but his styles and subjects were impressively diverse. Among his most talented proteges was his daughter, known variously as O'Ei, Oi, or — in the English title of a new animated film — Miss Hokusai.

On July 15th, 1974, Christine Chubbuck, a field reporter for a small news station in Sarasota, Florida, requested and received a rare on-camera appearance during a live broadcast. She read a couple of stories, including a report about a shooting the previous day at a local restaurant, but the footage queued up for segment jammed, leaving Chubbuck to move on to the next page in the stack.

Amid the current clamor for strong women characters, the films of Kelly Reichardt can seem regressive if you're not paying close attention. From her terrific debut feature River of Grass through Meek's Cutoff and Wendy and Lucy, Reichardt has given us incomplete, quietly suffering women who feel their way into change. Her M.O. is to allow their unexpressed longings to hang quietly in the air so we can feel them too, and watch what happens when they try to act on them.

Check it, bro: What if Will Hunting and Jason Bourne were actually the same person?

That's the bar-napkin arithmetic behind The Accountant, an overplotted and amoral but admirably weird action drama that has, to its credit, escaped the hallways of a major studio with its rough edges intact.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit


When Bob Dylan won the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature this morning, he joined a lineage that includes Harold Pinter, Thomas Mann and Toni Morrison. NPR's Neda Ulaby looks at how Dylan fits into this group.

Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher had an idea for a show about two lesbian comics who get married and perform together. In other words, their real life.

"I Love Lucy, except we're both ... Lucy Loves Lucy," they joke to NPR's Ari Shapiro. "Also we're both Desi at the same time. It's a little bit of both." The pitch worked. Their show is called Take My Wife, and it's out now on the NBC-owned streaming channel Seeso.