Arts

Arts and culture

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The competitors in the 2016 Oscars race were announced Thursday, in an event that was live-streamed from California. The winners will be announced on Feb. 28.

British actor Alan Rickman, a veteran of dozens of films, has died at age 69. Recently, Rickman was most well-known for portraying the complicated villain Severus Snape in the films based on J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books.

"Rickman had been suffering from cancer," The Guardian reports.

Too bad there are more than 340 shopping days till Christmas, because if it were just around the corner, I'd be urging you to buy Helen Ellis' off-the-wall stories for anyone on your list who loves satirical humor as twisted as screw-top bottles — and more effervescent than the stuff that pours out of them. Since it's January, let me just assure you that American Housewife is a better cure for winter blahs than hot chocolate, Ellis' hyper-housewife's "gateway drug to reading."

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Okay, Okay, I'll Show You

Jan 13, 2016

Were you one of those people who went around yelling, "Show me the money!" in the 90s? If so, then this game is right up your alley. Contestants respond to questions with clues to words or phrases that start with the "muh" sound. As Jerry Maguire might yell, show me the Munchkins!

Heard in Taran Killam: The Day Before Sunday In Real Time

Famous Sons

Jan 13, 2016

From Jackie Robinson to Emma Watson, there are a lot of famous "sons" out there. In this final round, every answer is the name of a real or fictional person whose last name ends with the letters S-O-N.

Heard in Taran Killam: The Day Before Sunday In Real Time

Be Positive

Jan 13, 2016

Ever notice that "inscrutable" is a word, but "scrutable" is not? This game is about words that exist in a negative form without a common positive partner.

Heard in Taran Killam: The Day Before Sunday In Real Time

The Day Before Sunday in Real Time

Jan 13, 2016

Taran Killam was a fan of Saturday Night Live years before he joined the ensemble cast in 2010. Since then, he has graced the famous Studio 8H as 18th-century newspaper critic Jebidiah Atkinson, Matthew McConaughey and Robyn, among others.

The Rites Of Springfield

Jan 13, 2016

There are more than 35 places named Springfield in America, all of them wonderful in their own unique way. But the most famous Springfield is the fictional one where The Simpsons is set. In this game, we imagine that Simpsons characters have moved to a real Springfield somewhere in the United States. Contestants tell us which U.S state we're talking about.

Heard in Taran Killam: The Day Before Sunday In Real Time

Breakfast With Rom-Coms

Jan 13, 2016

Put on your Discman and jam out to one of the greatest '90s songs, "Breakfast at Tiffany's," which, like all great '90s songs, was based on a romantic comedy from 1961. Naturally, we changed the lyrics to be about other rom-coms.

Heard in Taran Killam: The Day Before Sunday In Real Time

Is the quotation "death is an experience best shared" a an old Yiddish proverb, an old Klingon proverb, or a Bob Marley lyric? In this installment of This, That or The Other, contestants must determine the origin of some unusual phrases.

Heard in Taran Killam: The Day Before Sunday In Real Time

Great Expectations: Dickens And The Powerball

Jan 13, 2016

The Powerball bonanza, which has touched an unprecedented $1.5 billion, may be the largest jackpot in human history, but the frenzied ticket buying and wild hopes attending it are hardly new. Ask Charles Dickens.

Lego says it is changing its guidelines for the purchase of large amounts of its iconic toy bricks, a policy that had generated a social media firestorm when used to block sales to Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.

The company said in a statement that it will no longer ask people who want to buy the bricks in bulk what they're using them for:

Jeremy Arambulo, a Filipino-American comic artist who lives in Los Angeles, says he basically came out of the womb knowing the legend of Bruce Lee, the kung fu king. "He's like our Elvis," says Arambulo. "If we didn't have him, geez, who would we have? Charlie Chan? I don't know. Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's?"

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

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

The Pritzker Architecture Prize is often called the Nobel for architects, and this year's winner is 48-year-old Chilean designer Alejandro Aravena. His prestige projects include the headquarters of a pharmaceutical company in China and a dormitory at St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas.

Simplicity And Restraint Make 'Lucy Barton' Shine

Jan 13, 2016

"Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress," goes the first line of Middlemarch. Simplicity is a brave choice in a novel as well as in a dress: it means there are no forgiving distractions and no flattering cuts. In My Name is Lucy Barton, there are no plot twists to distract or verbal acrobatics to charm: the story must rest instead on its bare emotional truth. The result is a novel of gorgeous simplicity and restraint.

Ask James Franco why a movie star might want to work in TV, and he won't mention a television show. He'll talk about a book.

Turns out, like a lot of TV nerds, Franco geeked out over the book Difficult Men, a detailed look at how the creators and showrunners of classic "quality TV" series like The Sopranos, Breaking Bad and The Wire shaped the shows that built the foundation for modern TV drama.

There was a time when actor Ray Liotta would never have considered taking a role on television. "When I first started, television was kind of like the wasteland," Liotta tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "It [was] like, 'Well, things are over now. Now you do television.' "

But the Goodfellas and Field of Dreams actor acknowledges that times — and TV — have changed. "Now television is very respected and people consider that when they're casting for movies. ... I thought, well maybe doing a show, a 13-episode type show, would be a smart move to make."

On Nov. 30, 1999, tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered in downtown Seattle to protest the World Trade Organization conference being held at the city's convention center. It didn't take long for the situation to deteriorate; after some protesters started smashing windows and occupying intersections, police officers began to use tear gas and pepper spray in an effort to disperse the crowd.

Many Americans know Dame Maggie Smith as the elegant and formidable Dowager Countess of Grantham. But at 81, Smith is now starring in a role that's a long way from Downton Abbey. In The Lady in the Van, Smith is Mary Shepherd — a homeless woman who lived in a derelict van parked in playwright Alan Bennett's driveway for 15 years.

"She was quite happy on the street," Smith tells NPR's Renee Montagne. "But I think Alan was so distressed watching her outside his window all the time that he thought he just had to help."

In the middle of the desert in Kenya, there's a place with a population the size of Minneapolis, called Dadaab.

It's no ordinary city. This is the largest refugee camp in the world, home to nearly half a million people. Most came from Somalia, escaping the civil war that began in the early 1990s.

Ben Rawlence spent years working in the camp — first with Human Rights Watch, then as a journalist. He just published a book called City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World's Largest Refugee Camp.

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

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

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

David Bowie, who died Sunday at the age of 69, is best-known for his music — but he was also an actor of considerable gifts.

When he fell to Earth in 1976, an extraterrestrial seeking water for a dying planet, Bowie was persuasively otherworldly. One eye blue, the other green, hair a flaming auburn, his never-aging, British-accented alien was the first glimpse movie audiences got of a rock star who had already been a "Space Oddity," sung about a Starman, and become internationally recognized as the glammed-up Ziggy Stardust.

The most prestigious prizes in American children's books were given out this morning: the John Newbery Medal for literature and the Randolph Caldecott Medal for illustration.

Matt de la Peña becomes the first Hispanic author to win the Newbery, for his book Last Stop on Market Street, illustrated by Christian Robinson. It's the story of a young boy riding the city bus with his grandmother, and wondering why their family doesn't have a car.

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