Arts

Arts and culture

Donald Glover's new TV show Atlanta has been described as having "dreamy and weird" moments, of mixing "hyper-realism ... with brief moments of surrealism ...

Chris Thile asked his parents for a mandolin when he was 2 years old. In the decades since, Thile has fronted the bands Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers and, while he was at it, won a MacArthur "genius" grant and sold millions of records. Next month, he will take over as the new host of A Prairie Home Companion.

We've invited Thile, frontman for Nickel Creek, to answer three questions about Nickelback, the Canadian band that some have called the worst rock 'n' roll band of all time.

William Patrick Kinsella, the Canadian author whose award-winning book Shoeless Joe was adapted into the beloved film Field of Dreams, had died at the age of 81.

His literary agent Carolyn Swayze issued a statement Friday confirming his death, calling him "a unique, creative and outrageously opinionated man."

And as NPR's Rose Friedman tells our Newscast unit, the most famous line he ever wrote was whispered – "If you build it, he will come," in 1982's Shoeless Joe.

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Finally today, we want to spend a few minutes with a multi-talented performer whose versatility is continuing to astonish. His name is Donald Glover. Fans of the hit NBC sitcom "Community" came to love him as the goofy Troy Barnes.

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Finally today, we want to spend a few minutes with a multi-talented performer whose versatility is continuing to astonish. His name is Donald Glover. Fans of the hit NBC sitcom "Community" came to love him as the goofy Troy Barnes.

Chekhov is supposed to have said that if you show a loaded gun on stage, it has to go off. Ann Patchett's new novel, Commonwealth, is full of guns that don't fire.

In India, A Rich Food Culture Vanishes From The Train Tracks

Sep 17, 2016

Much like armies, train travelers in India march on their stomachs. And this was certainly true when I was a child, growing up in the 1980s, in the southern city of Chennai. My most vivid memories of summer vacations are of overnight train journeys to Hyderabad, to visit my maternal grandparents. The trips were defined by food.

Edward Albee, the three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? among many others, died Friday at the age of 88 following a short illness, according to his longtime personal assistant.

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[In case you haven't heard, Pop Culture Happy Hour is embarking on a West Coast tour! San Francisco and Los Angeles are already sold out — though we've just added an appearance (with Guy Branum!) at the Now Hear This podcast festival in Anaheim on Oct. 29 — but we'll also be in Seattle on Oct. 17 and Portland on Oct.

If Hari Kondabolu cracks you up, you may actually have his mother to thank — he says she's the one who taught him to be funny. Uma Kondabolu was a doctor in India who "left everything behind," her son explains. "That's difficult, and yet she laughed her way through it."

It was only recently that he began to appreciate that his mom's life outlook was at the root of his own comedy. His dark sense of humor and his ability to transform negative things into positive? "That comes from her," he tells NPR's David Greene.

Seventeen years and at least as many parodies have passed since the release of The Blair Witch Project, the nanobudget horror hoaxumentary that did blockbuster numbers and landed the three unknown actors who comprised its main cast on the cover of Newsweek.

Conspiracy theories never go out of style in the Internet age, but the one about the moon landing has proven more resilient than most — especially this year, which sees two releases built around the idea of renegade filmmakers staging a fake landing (both with help from Stanley Kubrick) in the event NASA has to deceive the American people.

When a nuclear bomb is in danger of accidental detonation, established procedures are carefully followed, and cooperation takes precedence over assigning blame. Or so the hopeful viewer might think before seeing Command and Control, a PBS American Experience documentary now in limited theatrical release before its broadcast debut.

After the disaster that was 2004's Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, Bridget's hot mess of a life lands safely back in the spry hands of Sharon Maguire. Maguire, reportedly the model for Bridget's fizzy friend Shazzer, directs this new sequel with the same antic flair she brought to Bridget Jones's Diary when the novel-based franchise began in 2001. That film earned many detractors on many grounds, and Bridget Jones's Baby will too.

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Every year, libraries around the country observe Banned Books Week, to remind the public that even well known and much loved books can be the targets of censorship. This year, Washington, D.C.'s public library came up with a clever idea to focus attention on the issue: a banned books scavenger hunt.

Museum-goers, prepare yourselves for "unprecedented intimacy with a work of art."

Starting Friday, visitors to the Guggenheim are encouraged to relieve themselves in a fully functional toilet cast in 18-karat gold called America, which will be on display indefinitely. The installation by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan replaced the toilet in a small, single-unit museum restroom with a far flashier model.

Jack Daniel's is a historic brand built on stories and legend. To this day, all of the whiskey is made in the hills of little Lynchburg, Tenn. And as part of its 150th anniversary, the company is highlighting a lesser-known part of its story: how a former slave played a key role in its founding.

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The building rises — bronze and "brooding," in the words of architect David Adjaye — floating in a sea of white marble and limestone on the sprawling National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Talk to nearly any classical music critic about heroes of the trade and one name usually comes up: Virgil Thomson. Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times advises: "Every practicing and aspiring critic today should read Thomson's exhilarating writings."

And so the opening salvo of the National Book Awards has been launched ... gradually.

Over the past four days, the National Book Foundation has been rolling out the lists of nominees for its prestigious literary prize in waves — beginning the week by revealing the nominees for its young people's literature, nonfiction and poetry prizes. On Thursday, the foundation capped the multiday rollout with the release of its longlist of 10 nominees for the fiction prize.

Are you a different person when you speak a foreign language? That's just one of the questions New Yorker writer and native North Carolinian Lauren Collins explores in this engaging and surprisingly meaty memoir, about her strenuous efforts to master French after marrying a Frenchman whose name — Olivier — she couldn't even pronounce properly.

This is it, the Big Book to end all Big Books. The one you may have heard of — Jesusalem — written by that guy who also writes the comics or whatever? (Alan Moore, the groundbreaking, hairy genius behind V For Vendetta and Watchmen.) The one that took him a decade to peck out, clocks in at something like 1300 pages, and weighs as much as a small, dense cat?

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