Arts

Arts and culture

Geoff Nunberg (@GeoffNunberg) is a linguist who teaches at the School of Information at the University of California at Berkeley.

The title of literary historian Bill Goldstein's book refers to a familiar quote from writer Willa Cather. In a 1936 essay, sensing that the literary landscape had shifted under her feet and that her own work was passing out of fashion, she lamented,"The world broke in two in 1922 or thereabouts."

She was referring to the appearance, in that year, of three towering works of modernism: James Joyce's Ulysses, T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land, and the English publication of the first volume of Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time.

Don't bother trying to pigeonhole the music of Aaron Martin and Dag Rosenqvist, who record under the name From the Mouth of the Sun. If their mission in this instrumental miniature is nothing more than beauty itself, they have succeeded on a disproportionate scale.

The music in "Light Blooms In Hollow Space" summons exactly what its title suggests. A simple, two-note piano figure ticks like a clock while wheezy organ chords slowly emerge and a sprinkle of ukuleles falls from above. The space may be hollow, but it's painted with impressionistic detail.

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There's nothing like fandom to encourage innovation, and the devotees of the Broadway hit Hamilton: An American Musical are no exception — whether they've actually seen the show in person or have memorized every lyric of the 46 songs on the soundtrack album. So it was only a matter of time before enthusiastic fans were going to search out culinary tributes to their most treasured folk hero.

We're recapping Season 7 of HBO's Game of Thrones here on Monkey See. We'll try to turn them around overnight, so look for them first thing on Mondays. And of course: Spoilers abound.

There are some themes in Alisyn Camerota's new novel that may sound familiar: A young upstart reporter is trying to make it at a national news network run by a ratings-obsessed media mogul. And then there's a female senator, firmly rooted in the establishment, going up against a political newcomer, fresh from Hollywood. Camerota started writing this book many years ago, but the events of 2016 make Amanda Wakes Up feel particularly prescient.

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In Sam Kean's previous nonfiction books, The Disappearing Spoon and The Violinist's Thumb, the bestselling pop-science writer tackled the topics of the periodic table and DNA, respectively. His new book, Caesar's Last Breath, goes after something equally as essential. Subtitled Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us, it's a conversational and illuminating view of the history and inner workings of Earth's atmosphere — what comprises it, how we've harnessed it for better and for worse, and what it means to us going forward as a civilization.

The Detroit riots began 50 years ago Sunday, after a police raid on an unlicensed, after-hours club. They lasted five days, and by the time they stopped, 43 people were dead, hundreds were injured, thousands had been arrested and entire neighborhoods had burned to the ground.

The new film Detroit depicts the beginning of the riots and one of their most horrifying events: the Algiers Motel incident, in which three young black men were killed (some would say executed) by white police officers.

Bassem Youssef was a successful surgeon in Cairo when he was inspired — thanks to Jon Stewart and The Daily Show — to start his own satirical show on YouTube. Al-Bernameg was a hit, and Youssef received the highest honor in comedy: being forced to flee his country by a military dictatorship. He's now the subject of the documentary Tickling Giants.

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Any self-respecting comics fan cringes at the phrase "comics aren't just for kids anymore." But any self-respecting comics fan also has to admit there are some great kids' comics out there — especially right now.

Before I left for San Diego Comic-Con this week, I checked in with Lucy Strother, a fourth grade teacher in Philadelphia whose students just love comics. "We have like a comics and graphic novels bin in the library and it's perpetually empty because the kids are so obsessed with comics and graphic novels," she says.

Mark Campbell is one of the most prolific and celebrated librettists in contemporary American opera. But, as he recently told an audience at the Guggenheim Museum, not everyone thought his latest project was a good idea.

Okay, let's get this out of the way right from the start. The Island, the new book by Max Brooks (yeah, the guy who wrote World War Z, the very good zombie book that got turned into that not-very-good Brad Pitt movie) is about Minecraft. The video game Minecraft.

And not a nonfiction book about the creation of Minecraft and its impact on society. Not a guide to playing Minecraft (although, in a weird way, it kind of is). It's a novel, set in the Minecraft universe.

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On this program in 2014, Moziah Bridges told us about his dream.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

MOZIAH BRIDGES: I want to bring the bow tie back, and I want to make it look better than what it used to be.

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There are things I know I should be paying attention to. And then...

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "BATTLE OF THE NETWORK STARS")

JOE TESSITORE: As Bronson Pinchot and Nolan Gould will take it home...

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The remains of Salvador Dalí were exhumed Thursday night, pulled from their resting place by Spanish officials hoping to confirm whether the surrealist painter fathered a child in an affair. The closed procedure extracted some hair samples, nails, teeth and two long bones from the artist's embalmed body, the DNA of which might offer the conclusive answer to a high-profile paternity lawsuit long underway.

This episode brings NPR Music editor Daoud Tyler-Ameen into the studio to talk with us about Dunkirk, the World War II film from The Dark Night and Inception director Christopher Nolan. Starring a big cast that includes Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, and pop star Harry Styles, the film focuses on the drive for cornered men trapped on a beach to survive until they can be rescued.

During peach season, Georgia's roads are dotted with farm stands selling fresh peaches. Year-round, tourist traps sell mugs, hats, shirts and even snow globes with peaches on them. At the beginning of the Georgia peach boom, one of Atlanta's major roads was renamed Peachtree Street. But despite its associations with perfectly pink-orange peaches, "The Peach State" of Georgia is neither the biggest peach producing state (that honor goes to California) nor are peaches its biggest crop.

Kenneth Jay Lane turned designing "fake" jewelry into a global business. He didn't take himself too seriously — joking that his costume jewelry wasn't fake or junk. Instead, he would pronounce it "faque" and "junque."

Lane died in his sleep at his home in Manhattan, according to Chris Sheppard, executive vice president of Lane's company, who says it has not been determined whether he died Wednesday night or Thursday morning. Lane was 85.

Russian, American and French ballet dancers are gathering Thursday night for a bit of cultural diplomacy at New York City's Lincoln Center. They're celebrating the 50th anniversary of George Balanchine's masterpiece Jewels, considered the first full-length, nonnarrative ballet.

It's pink and fleshy, it's a giant mass of tentacles and it's just crash-landed in Mexico from outer space. What should humankind do with such a marvel?

How about The Nasty?

Among the four stars of Girls Trip — the third and funniest summer comedy about hard-partying women in trouble, following Snatched and Rough Night — Tiffany Haddish is the least well-known, having bounced around in minor roles on film and television before landing a spot as a series regular on The Carmichael Show. All that stands to change overnight. As Dina, a pleasure-seeker of unapologetic, bull-in-a-china-shop relentlessness, Haddish is so incandescently filthy that a new ratings system should be developed to accommodate her.

Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan's enveloping and prismatic World War II movie, is the prequel — historically speaking — to Battle of Britain. That film, a jolly, G-rated celebration of British pluck from 1969, features an all-star cast, some of whom still show up in Nolan movies to this day. It made the deadliest conflict in human history seem about as scary as a V-E Day Parade.

Although Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is visually overstuffed and sometimes cloaked in darkness, one thing is easy to see: how its principal setting, the sprawling space-station Alpha, parallels writer-director Luc Besson's utopian filmmaking vision.

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