Arts

Arts and culture

The Last Black Man in San Francisco is a film about how the California city has transformed in ways that have benefited the extremely wealthy and harmed its black residents. It's also a fairy tale about a deposed prince, and so, it requires a grand, fairy tale score.

One of the best ways to get know a country is by talking to its people.

NPR correspondent Frank Langfitt, who has covered China and other countries over a span of nearly two decades, proves this in latest book, The Shanghai Free Taxi: Journeys with the Hustlers and Rebels of the New China. The book is a master class on how to chronicle a changing country through the personal narratives of its citizens.

These 'Ties That Bind' Explore Life With Father

17 hours ago

In the fall of 2017, a dozen women in New York's Catskill Mountains came together for a craft project. Many of them were New York City transplants, and most were either retired or semi-retired; they needed something to occupy their minds and hands during the long, snowy Catskills winter.

Sometimes the greatest stories are forever out of reach. Such is the case with innumerable tales of the mocambos, communities of runaway slaves that took root in the jungles of Brazil in the 1600s. And such is the case with the stories that make up Marcelo D'Salete's Angola Janga. In this massive graphic novel, D'Salete relates the history of the villages that provided havens for freedom-seeking runaways — and presented a perennial threat to the whole institution of slavery in Brazil.

There's a funny thing about late night TV, says Mindy Kaling. Watching these shows, "there's such a joie de vivre" — but it's at odds with the "ruthlessness and mercilessness" that goes into making the show behind the scenes. "I was obsessed with how all these people could be working so hard and be so competitive to make a product that is so entertaining and light," Kaling says.

Franco Zeffirelli once said that when the curtain comes up "you have to give the audience a big thing to look at."

The Italian filmmaker and opera director gave audiences plenty to look at — in his lavishly styled operas and his biblical and Shakespearean film adaptations.

Zeffirelli died Saturday in Rome after a long illness. His death was announced on the Foundation of Franco Zeffirelli website. He was 96.

A generation after Tales of the City brought a community that hadn't often been represented to mainstream television, the show is back.

The Strand Bookstore, a New York City icon that is home to 2.5 million books and 92 years of storefront history, was commemorated by the city and chosen as a historic city landmark this week. Nancy Bass Wyden, the store's third-generation owner, isn't taking it as a compliment.

"Some people have congratulated me, and I said, 'No, this is no congratulations. This is a punishment,' " Bass Wyden tells NPR's Scott Simon.

Bass Wyden feels that the designation is counterproductive.

Taffy Brodesser-Akner's parents got divorced when she was 6, but she didn't really think of her debut novel, Fleishman Is in Trouble, as "a divorce book."

"I don't like to think that a divorce haunted me ..." she says. "I'm intolerant of the people who use their parents' divorce into adulthood. I think, why can't you get over it? ... And, yet, look at me: This somehow became my art."

The summer I sprained my ankle to within an inch of its life, I'd been in the middle of a Grey's Anatomy rewatch binge. The friend who took me to the ER was highly amused at the coincidence. He prompted me to spout some random medical jargon, but the only thing in my mind was "STAT!" Days later, when the pain fog had lifted from my brain, I laughed out loud at the memory. "STAT!" was what Paris Geller once yelled in a hospital during an episode of Gilmore Girls because she was distraught and couldn't think of anything else to say.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Tessa Thompson is one of Hollywood's fastest rising stars. With big parts in Thor: Ragnarok, Creed, and Westworld, she's gone from that actress you know from somewhere to the kind you stop on the street.

"It also doesn't help currently that I'm on the side of a lot of buses," Thompson jokes.

The countdown has begun. It's T-minus a month or so until the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 — and humanity's first and famous steps on another world.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross, who's off this week. Today, we'll listen to the interview I recorded last year with cartoonist and essayist Tim Kreider. His collection of personal essays, called "I Wrote This Book Because I Love You," is now out in paperback.

The 17th season of Project Runway concluded Thursday night, handing the win to Sebastian Grey.

It was the show's first run without Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, who reigned while Runway ran on Bravo and then on Lifetime. Back on Bravo now, it features model Karlie Kloss in the host role and designer (and former Project Runway winner) Christian Siriano in the mentor role.

Get Your Cranium In The Game

Jun 14, 2019

In this multiple choice guessing game, host Ophira Eisenberg and house musician Jonathan Coulton offer clues about obscure body parts. #nophiltrum

Heard on Josh Gondelman And Catherine Cohen: Brooklyn Famous.

Pride Month

Jun 14, 2019

In this final round, every answer contains the letters L, G, B and T.

Heard on Josh Gondelman And Catherine Cohen: Brooklyn Famous.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Catherine Cohen: Queen Of Cabernet Cabaret

Jun 14, 2019

Catherine Cohen is still a relative newcomer in New York, but the comedian, actor, and singer has already made a name for herself in the world of cabaret comedy. In 2019, GQ magazine featured her as one of "The 7 Funny People Reshaping Comedy Right Now." Cohen welcomed her recent praise in a conversation with NPR's Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg at the Bell House in Brooklyn, New York: "I'm one of the only people on earth that doesn't suffer from imposter syndrome."

Disco-Y History

Jun 14, 2019

Contestants listen to parody songs of famous disco hits and guess what 1970s phenomenon the lyrics were rewritten to describe.

Heard on Josh Gondelman And Catherine Cohen: Brooklyn Famous.

Beach Reads

Jun 14, 2019

It's a mash-up of clues about authors' names and common beach objects. If Jay Gatsby put on sunscreen at the beach, he'd have S-P-F Scott Fitzgerald to thank.

Heard on Josh Gondelman And Catherine Cohen: Brooklyn Famous.

Josh Gondelman is often described as the "nicest man in comedy." His interview with NPR's Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg illuminated exactly how nice and enthusiastic he can be. In their conversation at the Bell House in Brooklyn, New York, Gondelman notes there have been moments in his life where he's been less than nice (or "snappy," as he put it) with strangers. But, he conceded that he's not good at being mean, admitting "it's so humiliating when I try to be unkind."

You Heard Wrong Right

Jun 14, 2019

Contestants listen to clips of songs that contain factual inaccuracies and buzz in to correct the artist's mistake.

Heard on Josh Gondelman And Catherine Cohen: Brooklyn Famous.

In 2012, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based photographer Dirk Anschütz became a father. The shift in his life was enormous.

Anschütz was raised by a single mother. "I had never met my father, which was never a big deal," he says. But after his son Ray's birth, Anschütz says he didn't have a male parenting role model.

This led to a curiosity about how other dads were raising their kids; curiosity that resulted in a six-year portrait project called Fathers and Sons.

A new TV show, set in Boston in the 1990s, centers on some action-packed armored-car robberies. A crime drama in Boston: You've heard this before.

But City on a Hill, which premieres Sunday on Showtime, is aiming for distinction. It stars actor Aldis Hodge as a straight-and-narrow assistant district attorney working within a crooked justice system. He's new in town, and determined to take on these robbery cases.

Which one of us hasn't imagined putting down on paper a narrative of our ancestors? It's a go-to premise for almost all newbie novelists, who are naturally certain their own family histories will prove enthralling to others. Deb Spera, a successful television producer, has deep roots in the very real town of Branchville, S.C., and draws on those roots in her first work of fiction, Call Your Daughter Home.

For several decades in the 20th century, the Los Angeles metropolitan area was known as the bank robbery capital of the world.

The area's abundance of freeways made it easy for robbers to quickly put distance between themselves and the banks they targeted, escaping into other jurisdictions before the police even knew what was happening.

City on a Hill is a period cop series about trying to change the system from within, and encountering resistance — sometimes deadly resistance — everywhere you turn. It's a bit like the 1973 biographical crime film Serpico, except set in '90s Boston instead of '70s New York, and starring Kevin Bacon in the Al Pacino role.

To clear up any potential confusion, let's specify right here that the new action comedy Shaft is a sequel to, not a remake of, John Singleton's 2000 film Shaft. Which was a sequel to, not a remake of, Gordon Parks' 1971 "blaxploitation" landmark Shaft, adapted from Ernest Tidyman's novel but made immortal by Isaac Hayes' Oscar-winning title song.

If Hollywood studios are content to cannibalize the vaults in search of new hits, the first thing they should remember is why the original films were hits in the first place. For all the bells and whistles that went along with the original 1997 Men in Black, with its cutting-edge alien effects, the reason it works is extremely old-fashioned, rooted in an effective cross-pollination between fish-out-of-water comedy and mismatched buddy comedy.

When Mindy Kaling, then a writer on The Office, first started appearing on camera as Kelly Kapoor, Kelly was a quiet, unassuming, frumpily dressed office drone like everybody else — another person for Michael Scott (Steve Carell) to mistreat. It was later that they realized what she should be: She should be awful. Kelly should be vain and insufferable and demanding, needy and greedy and self-obsessed. It made Kaling a star.

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