Arts and culture

True crime enthusiasts have long known that there are serious flaws in the institutions meant to keep society safe and functional.

The latest season of the podcast Serial, for instance, exposes the many bureaucratic complexities, human errors and clear bias of the American justice system as seen through a year's coverage of a single courthouse in Cleveland.

As possible 2020 presidential candidates start announcing exploratory committees, there's talk that Sen. Kamala Harris may be on the verge of launching herself into the ring.

On Tuesday, her memoir The Truths We Hold hits shelves. In it, the California Democrat ticks through her résumé and credentials, while mixing in a look at her upbringing and family life.

Almost 10 years ago, journalist Hillary Frank was pregnant and planning to give birth without medication or surgery — but things didn't go according to her plan.

My taste doesn't naturally gravitate toward feminist dystopian fiction, but such stories are ubiquitous these days. Their influence seeps far beyond the classic novel and Hulu series of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, as well as the literary fiction it's inspired like Naomi Alderman's The Power and Leni Zumas' Red Clocks.

You'll find a lot of 2018 films more loved by critics than Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody, but both have found enthusiastic audiences. On Sunday night, they were the big winners in film at the Golden Globes, in a ceremony that dragged 20 minutes past its scheduled time and occasionally felt as if it was rushing through a list of awards and trying desperately to get winners to wrap it up.

Updated at 11:18 p.m. ET

The 76th Golden Globe Awards aired Sunday night on NBC. Here is the complete list of winners. (Winners are in bold italics.)


Best motion picture — drama

Black Panther


Bohemian Rhapsody

If Beale Street Could Talk

A Star Is Born

Best motion picture — musical or comedy

Crazy Rich Asians

Bows are tied, dresses are zipped, and the red carpet is rolled out. The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles glimmers with stars as the 76th Annual Golden Globes Awards ensues. The show, which airs live on NBC, is hosted Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh—the stars of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Killing Eve, respectively. Here's a glimpse of what some of the attendees are wearing tonight.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit


Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit


It's the beginning of a new year. And for many people, that means it's time to set their intentions. So we have Jessica Dore, a psychotherapist and a tarot card reader, here to help us with that. She joins us via Skype.

Thanks for talking with us.

Andrea Savage was tired of the roles she was being offered in Hollywood — there was the harried mom, the awful mom, the mom who hates her kids — and none of those roles felt real or complex.

"I was just like: This isn't my reality," Savage says. "Why does a funny female have to be relegated to this very two-dimensional role after she pops a kid out?"

'Amsterdam Noir' Finds Its Darkness Inside Us

Jan 6, 2019

When I heard that Akashic's Noir series was tackling Amsterdam, I was immediately curious. The series is known for giving crime fiction fans glimpses into the darkest corners of cities and countries all over the world. Some entries are unsurprising because the places are known hotspots for illegal activities, gangs, and violence (i.e. Haiti, Chicago, Lagos, Mexico City, Detroit), but others are unexpected — like Amsterdam.

Think Tarzan and the Golden Lion needed a different ending?

Perhaps you want to adapt Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet into a graphic novel.

Or maybe you want to have a go at incorporating Robert Frost's poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" into a virtual choir piece, as composer Eric Whitacre once did before encountering a copyright snag that killed the project.

As Hollywood continues to struggle with the underrepresentation of women behind the camera, most people have forgotten that 100 years ago, one woman ruled.

Her name was Lois Weber. Counting shorts and feature-length movies, she directed at least 138 films — all before 1940. She became the first American woman to direct a feature-length dramatic film with The Merchant of Venice in 1914.

I don't think Louis C.K. is funny. That's the worst that can be said about a comedian. Not that they're offensive or outrageous. Great comics can offend and outrage people. But a comic who dares to be offensive, but isn't funny, is just a lout.

Louis C.K., who has been on NPR many times, and often extolled as edgy and unafraid, apologized in late 2017 for sexual misconduct with women.

"There is nothing about this that I forgive myself for," he said then. "I will now step back and take a long time to listen."

Mesha Marin's novel Sugar Run opens as Jodi McCarty is getting turned out of prison on parole after serving 18 years for manslaughter.

She shot her girlfriend when she was 17, so Jodi has lived most of her life in prison, and now must make a new life in the real world that she has never known. Soon, she'll meet someone, and they'll try to make a life together in a small West Virginia town where they are outsiders in every way.

Chigozie Obioma's latest novel has an unusual narrator.

Chinonso raises chickens and is profoundly alone in life — until he helps sees a young woman about to hurl herself from a bridge. She is Ndali, who is despondent from a broken engagement. She is drawn to his tenderness and protectiveness; he is drawn to her openness and vulnerability. They become involved.

What Fashion Trends To Watch In 2019

Jan 4, 2019

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Black directors had a "banner year" in 2018, according to the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. The organization, which tracks diversity in Hollywood, says there were 16 black directors with films among last year's 100 top-grossing scripted movies — a big leap from 2017, when there were only six.

The tally in 2018 is by far the most the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative has recorded in a single year, and it doubles the number found in 2007, the group's first year of data.

Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.


In the early-to-mid 2000s, mainstream horror was dominated by series like Saw, Hostel, and Final Destination, each telling stories of torture and mechanized death that mostly repulsed critics, but reflected the darkening mood of the country more than other studio films dared. Look past their can-you-top-this grisliness and they tap into the common fear that young people have no control over their own destiny, that they've given themselves over to some faceless, malevolent force that's really pulling the strings.

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Former Vice President Dick Cheney was the quintessential behind-the-scenes political power player. "He really has no signature speech — there's no great Dick Cheney moment where he was in front of a pulpit delivering a great line," says filmmaker Adam McKay. "He's always kind of just been in the background."

If you've always wondered what a sing-off between the Phillie Phanatic and Goofy from Disneyland would look like, The Masked Singer is about as close as you're going to get. It premiered on Fox on Wednesday night, and the network would love to see it burn brightly, even though the high (like, extremely high) concept suggests it might burn rather briefly.

Bob Einstein, the gravelly-voiced comedic actor who delighted viewers by playing inept stuntman Super Dave Osborne and, more recently, by vexing Larry David on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, died on Wednesday at age 76. He was recently diagnosed with cancer.

Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.


Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit


Why do artists paint so many self-portraits?

For starters, they're always available, says Kim Sajet, Director of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. "In the middle of the night when the urge strikes, you've got yourself."

Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.


Reading The Game: Red Dead Redemption 2

Jan 1, 2019

For years now, some of the best, wildest, most moving or revealing stories we've been telling ourselves have come not from books, movies or TV, but from video games. So we're running an occasional series, Reading The Game, in which we take a look at some of these games from a literary perspective.

In a particularly difficult season of depression, photography was one of the tools Tara Wray used to cope.

"Just forcing myself to get out of my head and using the camera to do that is, in a way, a therapeutic tool," says Wray, a photographer and filmmaker based in central Vermont. "It's like exercise: You don't want to do it, you have to make yourself do it, and you feel better after you do."