Arts

Arts and culture

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

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Mara Wilson says that the most complicated relationship she has ever had is with a fictional 6-year-old girl. That's because you probably know Wilson best as Matilda, from the 1996 film adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic.

"I wanted to be her so badly ... " Wilson tells NPR's Rachel Martin. "She's kind of like my big sister overshadowing me."

Wilson, now 29, was a successful child actress — you may also recognize her from her starring roles as Natalie Hillard in Mrs. Doubtfire, or as Susan Walker in Miracle on 34th Street.

Raina Telgemeier's new graphic novel Ghosts is about death. But it's written for children.

Telgemeier tells NPR's books editor Barrie Hardymon that stories serve as a way to begin difficult conversations. "Stories are such a powerful way of communicating ideas and in comforting people," she says.

When describing the cultural history of the Caribbean island of Grenada, it's the cooking pot rather than the melting pot that springs to mind. And there's no better culinary metaphor than "oil down," the peculiarly named national dish of Grenada, a mix of meats and vegetables.

Nearly every ingredient in this hearty stew has a unique origin and story to tell: For instance, callaloo, a leafy vegetable somewhat similar in taste to spinach, and the same plant's root, known as dasheen, are indigenous to the Caribbean and were cultivated by Grenada's earliest Amerindian inhabitants.

As you open Angel Catbird, Margaret Atwood's new comic book, your mind may wander through her previous works in search of comparisons and common themes. In her case, that's quite a trip. Though best-known for more than 40 books of fiction, poetry and essays, she's also a creator of comics.

Linda Holmes is filing dispatches from the Toronto International Film Festival. These movies will see wider release in the coming months.

Nocturnal Animals

Tom Ford (the fashion designer) surprised a fair number of folks with his very good first feature as a director, A Single Man, in 2009. It was gorgeous to look at, as one might expect, but it was also deeply felt, thanks in part to a strong central performance from Colin Firth.

Kristin Chenoweth has starred on Broadway in Wicked and on television in Pushing Daisies and The West Wing. We've invited Chenoweth, who is 4 feet 11 inches, to answer three questions about 6-foot-1 model and actress Brigitte Nielsen, who is perhaps most famous for her brief marriage to Sylvester Stallone. Click the audio link above to find out how she does.

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

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

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

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Once upon a time, there was a strange little woman who lived in an upside down house.

Her name was Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, and she was a combination of friend and therapist to all the kids who lived in her small town. Author Betty MacDonald began making up stories about Mrs. Piggle Wiggle for her family in the 1940s; those bedtime tales led to a series of classic children's books.

Now, MacDonald's great-granddaughter Annie Parnell has teamed up with Ann M. Martin — who created the Babysitter's Club books — to reboot the series for modern readers.

There's a moment in Peter Ho Davies' novel The Fortunes in which a Chinese immigrant to America, a teenage boy named Ling, experiences a painful epiphany. He's been working as a valet to Charles Crocker, the 19th-century business magnate who first began employing Chinese workers as railroad workers. (Crocker's colleagues initially thought him crazy; they believed the Chinese were ill-suited to such backbreaking labor.)

It's a pivotal moment in any young person's life — that point at which you turn from the home you've known all your life, breathe in deeply and leap into the vast unknown of the world beyond.

It's a moment that young adult authors know well, and not just because they write for these young readers. They've experienced it themselves, and they've come out the other side, pen in hand.

In 2008, Dana Walrath asked her mother Alice to move in with her. Alice's Alzheimer's disease had gotten worse, and even though she still had all her humor and graces, she could no longer take care of herself.

During the next two and-a-half years, Walrath and her mother connected through stories and memories, even though Alice didn't always recognize her daughter. Walrath, a medical anthropologist at the Vermont College of Medicine, in Burlington, Vt., looks back fondly on that time.

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

We all have unlived lives, says writer Margaret Atwood, and for her, that alternate life was becoming an illustrator.

"I started drawing comics as a child," she tells NPR's Audie Cornish.

Atwood grew up reading and enjoying comics and, around age 6, she started drawing a flying cat with wings. But, she says, "I wasn't good enough. I knew people who were good enough and I could tell the difference."

Now, nearly 70 years later, Atwood's cat flies again in a graphic novel called Angel Catbird.

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

You have to sympathize with the makers of Sully, director Clint Eastwood and screenwriter Todd Komarnicki. The focus of their story is Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger's aborted Jan. 15, 2009, flight, which lasted only 208 seconds. He flew out of New York's LaGuardia, hit a flock of geese, and made an unprecedented landing on the Hudson River, saving all 155 passengers and crew members.

Linda Holmes is filing dispatches from the Toronto International Film Festival. These movies will see wider release in the coming months.

Loving

Ghandi Or Jolie?

Sep 9, 2016

"I kinda wanted to be a vampire." Was that said by Nobel Peace Prize nominee Mahatma Gandhi, or Academy Award winner and star of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Angelina Jolie? This one's harder than you'd think.

Heard on Cameron Esposito & Craig Robinson: Every Action Movie Has An Equal Opposite Reaction Movie

Dude Stole My Invention

Sep 9, 2016

You know the old saying that behind every successful man, there's a woman who actually did the work but doesn't get any of the credit? We were inspired by true stories of men who took credit for a woman's invention or discovery, and wrote those accounts as if they appeared in a crime blotter.

Heard on Cameron Esposito & Craig Robinson: Every Action Movie Has An Equal Opposite Reaction Movie

Comedians often have a moment in childhood that, in hindsight, shapes them into a comic. For Cameron Esposito it may have been that, as a kid, she wore an eyepatch for eight years to correct her crossed eyes. "Yea, so it wasn't really a moment, as [it was] an entire childhood," she told host Ophira Eisenberg. "Just imagine a little sweetie Cammy Esposito: she's got an eye patch, she's got a bowl-cut, she's got glasses and braces. That's right--glasses on top of an eye patch!"

Hail To The Chief

Sep 9, 2016

In this final round, every answer contains the last name of a U.S. President. For example, if we said, "In the 1970s, this musical group featured Jermaine, Tito, Jackie, Marlon, and Michael" — you would say, "The Jackson Five."

Heard on Cameron Esposito & Craig Robinson: Every Action Movie Has An Equal Opposite Reaction Movie

Get The H Out Of Here

Sep 9, 2016

Shaver saver, tenth tent, hit it. We'll hint at two word phrases like these. Get the second word by removing the letter "H" from the first. That's it!

Heard on Cameron Esposito & Craig Robinson: Every Action Movie Has An Equal Opposite Reaction Movie

Craig Robinson: One For The Ladies

Sep 9, 2016

Comedian Craig Robinson, best known for films such as "Hot Tub Time Machine" and his role as Darrell on The Office, got his start in Chicago comedy clubs like Heckler's Heaven at The Q Club. After three minutes, a bell would ring. Three judges had rubber chickens and if you got all three chickens, you were booted off the stage. "The first time I went up I got two chickens and I quit before I got my third," he reminisced. These events inspired him to include music in his act. The next time he went on stage, Robinson brought his keyboard — "And no chickens."

BEFORE WE BEGIN: West Coast Party People! Tickets to the PCHH live shows in October, featuring amazing guests, are on sale now — but they're going fast. Here's where we stand, as of this morning:

Seattle feat. Audie Cornish: October 17

Portland feat. Audie Cornish: October 19

London Road is not the first musical to be made about a real-life serial killer. But it may be the first to draw its poetic life-blood from the testimony of residents of a rural English town where five prostitutes were found murdered in 2006. Aside from a wicked moment or two when a leering movie star known for playing unsavory fellows shows up to throw us off the scent, this is not about the murderer. It's about the undoing — and remaking — of a community in its own words, owing more to Shirley Jackson than Masterpiece Theater.

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

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

Good novels are like good parties: You get the right mix of people together, and you never quite know what will happen.

In Ann Patchett's new novel Commonwealth, a christening party takes a turn when one guest arrives with a bottle of gin. The gin leads to a wonderfully sloppy afternoon with cocktail mixing, a dancing priest, and two adulterous kisses.

The kisses lead to divorces, and a new blended family, six kids bouncing back and forth between Southern California and Virginia.

Pages