Arts

Arts and culture

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In her new book, Good Booty, music critic Ann Powers embarks on a wide-ranging history of pop music in America. The title, she says, was inspired by Little Richard's 1955 hit "Tutti Frutti."

President Trump will skip the annual Kennedy Center Honors this year to allow the "artists to celebrate without any political distraction," the White House said Saturday.

Three of the five artists set to be honored had either expressed a specific intent to boycott the traditional White House reception before the event or were said to be considering it.

Ayobami Adebayo's debut novel, Stay with Me, begins in the midst of Nigeria's political turmoil in the 1980s.

"It's a period of time that I've always been interested in because I think it can help us understand Nigeria even right now," she says.

The book tells the story of Yejide and Akin, a couple who will do anything to have a child — including trying to find love with others.

"They live in a society where having children validates not just the individual but the marriage itself," Adebayo explains.

Marjorie Prime is a science fiction film — sort of. It opens with an elderly woman, played by Lois Smith, who is getting to know the lifelike hologram of her late husband, played by Jon Hamm. It's a low-key but highly intense drama that asks: If holograms can learn, carry memory and form personality, are they creations or are they us?

Brace yourselves, North America — we're about to get mooned. Or, more accurately, eclipsed.

In 'The Stone Sky,' Some Worlds Need To Burn

Aug 19, 2017

Amal El-Mohtar is the Hugo Award-winning author of The Honey Month and the editor of Goblin Fruit, an online poetry magazine.

Hell's Kitchen has long served as pop culture shorthand for New York City at its grittiest. Four popular Netflix series based on Marvel Comics heroes use this neighborhood as a backdrop. Now those characters — Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Iron Fist — will team up in one of this summer's most hotly anticipated TV shows, The Defenders. But does their version of Hell's Kitchen bear any resemblance to the real city?

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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Many of the images we associate with the plague actually depict leprosy or smallpox. In fact, there are very few images of the Black Death from the time of the scourge.

A few weeks ago, I reported a story about three cases of the plague in New Mexico. The bacterial illness pops up fairly regularly around the globe but is now easily treatable with antibiotics, if caught in time.

The most famous line from Girls, Lena Dunham's show that ran for six seasons, occurred in episode one of the first season. That's the moment when Dunham, in character as aspiring writer Hannah Horvath, makes this declaration to her parents: "I think that I may be the voice of my generation. Or at least a voice. Of a generation."

Salisbury University website

Salisbury University's Cultural Calendar week of August 28th

It's been a summer with a lot of good movies, to be quite honest. Wonder Woman, Dunkirk, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Girls Trip, The Big Sick. But you need a break from even the best movie binge, especially when some of them are ... you know, kind of sad and explode-y.

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The production notes for Patti Cake$ describe the movie's heroine as "plain and plus-sized." Plus-sized she may be, but neither Patti Dombrowski, an aspiring rapper in her 20s, nor Danielle Macdonald, the gifted non-rapper who plays her, is plain in any sense unless your definition of beauty begins and ends with Angelina Jolie.

The typewriter is a marvelous invention, because with proper care, a single unit can last decades. And if you're still using one now, it would have to: since the mass adoption of personal computers in the 1980s, let's just say the ink on these once-inescapable household items has run dry. The brilliant mechanics, the elegance of pressing a key and leaving an instant, permanent imprint on the page, became obsolete the minute humankind invented the "delete" key.

The wildly inventive Dave Made a Maze creates a fantastic universe on a tiny budget, using mostly cardboard. Yet although it's a scrappy indie, the movie has something in common with many platinum-plated CGI blockbusters: The visuals are as strong as the script is feeble.

The term "Ocean's 7-Eleven" — a throwaway gag in first-time screenwriter's Rebecca Blunt's script for Logan Lucky — could have been the elevator pitch for this shaggy, Southern-fried caper comedy that marks workaholic director/cinematographer/editor Steven Soderbergh's return to feature filmmaking. (During his four-year "retirement" — his word — he kicked back and directed 20 hours of the Showtime series The Knick, and produced several other small-screen series. It's possible he did some sailing and maybe hit a few golf balls, too. Who can say?)

When comic and cabaret performer Bridget Everett takes the stage, she really takes over. Everett, who is 6 feet tall and plus size, has been known to sit in audience members' laps and even coddle their heads between her breasts during her raunchy live act. "Somebody used to call me a cabaret hurricane," she says.

John Cho sometimes has a hard time taking life in Hollywood seriously. The actor was born in South Korea but grew up in the United States, and he says his experiences are vastly different from the deprivation his father saw as a child in what is now North Korea.

"My dad tried to eat [tree] bark, he was so hungry," Cho says. "Whenever I'm on my way to a premiere or something, I always have a good laugh in the car ... because it's all so absurd — I'm one generation removed from starvation."

Long before Transparent, for which she's now Emmy-nominated for her work as Shelly Pfefferman, Judith Light was a soap star when soaps were a much bigger deal than they are now. Playing Karen Wolek on One Life To Live, she won two Daytime Emmys and became known for a devastating performance in a courtroom scene in which Karen was forced to acknowledge publicly that although she was married to a doctor, she was secretly also a sex worker.

Jason Heller is a Hugo Award-winning editor and author of the forthcoming book Strange Stars (Melville House). Twitter: @jason_m_heller

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Tens of thousands of people attended a candlelight vigil in Memphis, Tenn., last night. But it wasn't an entirely somber event.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SAVED")

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3 Romances For Your August Escape

Aug 16, 2017

Maya Rodale is a best-selling romance author.

The lazy days of August call for some wonderfully escapist fiction, and here are three excellent romance novels that deliver. Whether in a small Southern town or a palace in China, these stories show couples discovering that true love is real — and closer than they might expect. All it takes is open eyes and an open heart to find the happily-ever-after waiting nearby.

Salisbury University's Cultural Calendar week of August 21st

Writers are drawn to oddballs and outsiders, in much the way that dogs out for a walk veer toward fellow canines. The endearing pre-adolescent narrator of Camille Bordas' novel, How To Behave in a Crowd, is the youngest of six siblings growing up in a small French village. He's the odd man out because he's the most normal of the lot: All of his older sisters and brothers have skipped multiple grades, and three of them earn PhDs during the course of this book.

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