Arts

Arts and culture

This has been a tough year for celebrity deaths — and a sad week for fans of Prince, who died Thursday at age 57. But as flashes of purple filled my social media feeds from friends mourning Prince's death, I just felt numb — and like an outsider, watching a ritual I couldn't fully join.

April 23 is a big day in England: It's St. George's Day, a national holiday named for the country's patron saint, and it's also the day William Shakespeare is said to have been born and died. This April 23 marks the 400th anniversary of his death.

Fort Worth Opera director Darren K. Woods was looking for a Fort Worth story to mark the company's 70th anniversary. Someone mentioned that they thought President Kennedy spent his last night in the city.

"And I went, 'Everybody would know that if that happened,'" he says. "So we Googled it and boy: There it was."

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

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

As a Latina who married into a Jewish family, I've long lobbied my in-laws to include beans and rice on the Passover menu. The holiday is a time when Jews avoid leavened foods in commemoration of their biblical exodus from Egypt — when they had to flee so fast, they couldn't even let the bread rise.

But beans and rice aren't leavened, I've argued, so why not include them in the Seder meal? The answer I've long gotten from my mother-in-law: tradition.

Editor's note: This week, to mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death, we will be running a series of stories examining the links between food and the Bard.

In Shakespeare's time, England was a hungry and volatile nation.

'Maestra' Is Pure Pulp Madness

Apr 23, 2016

When boundaries are broken, they aren't always broken through high-brow means. Today, we all agree that some of the best writing can be found in mysteries and thrillers, but when the genre began, what sustained its development was pulp fiction — and L.S. Hilton's Maestra is pulp fiction for sure.

Following a national nomination process, the Bank of England has announced the new face of the £20 bill: famed painter Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851), known for his landscapes, seascapes and innovative depiction of light.

Turner will replace economist Adam Smith, the influential advocate of free market policies who came up with the notion of the "invisible hand."

We all love our mothers, right? Though sometimes they drive us crazy. From the title of Susan Sarandon's new comedy, The Meddler, you might guess that mix of fealty and frustration informs the worldview of filmmaker Lorene Scafaria, and you'd be right.

The film centers on Marnie (Sarandon), a widow who's moved to L.A. after her husband's death to be closer to Lori (Rose Byrne), her screenwriter daughter. And that's a good thing, as they're both still grieving — though Lori sometimes feels as smothered as she does mothered.

Let's call this the opposite of a spoiler alert: An acknowledgement that TV critics don't know much about Game of Thrones' sixth season, which starts Sunday.

That's because some knucklehead last year leaked new episodes of the fifth season online before they appeared on HBO. So producers of the show and HBO executives decided this season nobody — except, it seems President Obama — would get an early look at new episodes.

One hundred years ago, a musician was born who took the world by storm, both with his violin and with his warmhearted humanity. Yehudi Menuhin was born April 22, 1916, in the Bronx to Russian immigrants. He began his career as an astounding child prodigy in velvet knee pants. But two men who knew him well — documentary filmmaker Bruno Monsaingeon and violinist Daniel Hope — maintain that as Menuhin grew older, he turned out to be far more than just another virtuoso.

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

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

The Code Switch team was sitting in our daily team meeting when our editor looked up from Twitter and broke the news that Prince was gone.

Just as the winter holiday season seems to arrive sooner and sooner every year, so goes the season for summer movie blockbusters. When Batman V. Superman came out in late March, it felt like the equivalent of picking out your Halloween costumes at a store that's already hawking tinsel. A few years ago, the first weekend in May became the de facto launch of summer-movie season — itself a move up from Memorial Day Weekend a while back — but this year has been different.

How Can Tourism Promote Peace In The Middle East?

Apr 22, 2016

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Beyond Tolerance

About Aziz Abu Sarah's TED Talk

Social entrepreneur and educator Aziz Abu Sarah describes how he came to lead tours in which Jews, Muslims, and Christians cross contested borders to spend time in each others cultures.

About Aziz Abu Sarah

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Beyond Tolerance

About Aspen Baker's TED Talk

The strong emotions sparked by abortion leave little room for thoughtful debate. To cut through the tension, Aspen Baker says we should openly tell — and listen to — stories about women who had abortions or decided not to.

About Aspen Baker

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Beyond Tolerance

About Arthur Brook's TED Talk

Social scientist Arthur Brooks explains how conservatives and liberals can cooperate to overcome gridlock and build a better economy.

About Arthur Brooks

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Beyond Tolerance

About Vernā Myers' TED Talk

Diversity advocate Vernā Myers makes a powerful case for acknowledging our subconscious biases and assumptions about others.

About Vernā Myers

Editor's note: This week, to mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death, we will be running a series of stories examining the links between food and the Bard.

"Life ... consists of eating and drinking," quips Twelfth Night's over-indulging Sir Andrew Aguecheek. It seems that Shakespeare's audiences felt the same.

Between 1988 and 1990, when archaeologists excavated The Rose and The Globe theaters (where Shakespeare's plays were performed), they were able to learn as much about the audiences as the playhouses themselves.

Journalist Michael Kinsley — the founder of Slate and former editor of Harper's and The New Republic — says he's a "scout for his generation." Kinsley was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease when he was in his 40s. Now in his 60s, he writes that he had the opportunity to experience old age before the rest of his fellow baby boomers.

By 1970, some people worried that the United States had gone seriously off track. Two great American leaders were sure of it, and so a summit was arranged. Problem is, Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon didn't really agree on what needed to be done — or even what the problem was.

In Lorene Scafaria's The Meddler, Susan Sarandon plays Marnie Minervini, a recent widow who moves from the East Coast to Los Angeles to "be near" (read, boss around) her daughter Lori (a very good, if underused Rose Byrne), a depressed screenwriter who's just broken up with her boyfriend. We meet Marnie lying in bed gazing up at the ceiling, and that's more or less the last wordless time we spend with her.

A Snow White tale without Snow White is like an apple without its core. Yet here we are, four years after the minor financial success of the Kristen Stewart-led Snow White and the Huntsman, gazing into the mirror without the dark-haired beauty. The first film had somewhat grand ambitions in trying to reclaim Disneyfied fairy tales for older Grimm fans.

As someone with autism spectrum disorder, John Elder Robison knows what it's like to feel emotionally removed from situations. Robison tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that throughout his life people have told him, "There's this emotional language you're missing. There are stories in people's eyes. There are messages."

Robison didn't fully understand what they meant until he received transcranial magnetic stimulation, a noninvasive procedure in which areas of the brain are stimulated with electromagnetic fields to alter its circuitry.

This, That, Or The Other

Apr 21, 2016

In honor of Hamilton, an American hip-hop musical, this episode's categories are: the real names of famous rappers; delegates to the first 1774 Continental Congress; OR 1980s fictional teen villains. Can you tell the difference?

Heard on Leslie Odom Jr.: Aaron Burr, Sir

Celebrity Cross-Breeds

Apr 21, 2016

In this game we imagine what would happen if two famous people became close friends...and did that thing that all close friends do: combine their names. We're looking at you, Paul Ryan Gosling.

Heard on Leslie Odom Jr.: Aaron Burr, Sir

Leslie Odom Jr.: Aaron Burr, Sir

Apr 21, 2016

Every night, Leslie Odom Jr. kills Lin-Manuel Miranda. To be precise, Odom plays Aaron Burr opposite Miranda's Alexander Hamilton in the Broadway musical Hamilton. The Pulitzer Prize-winning musical has become a phenomenon by using hip-hop and a racially diverse cast of black and Hispanic actors to tell the story of the early Republic. And night after night, Odom laments the infamous duel between Burr and Hamilton. "I really do feel bad about killing him every night, I really do," he tells Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg at The Bell House in Brooklyn, NY.

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