Arts

Arts and culture

Listen up, y'all: Perhaps even Yankees should start saying "y'all."

That's an argument put forth by Catherine Davies, a professor of linguistics at the University of Alabama, in a collection of essays titled Speaking of Alabama: The History, Diversity, Function, and Change of Language (edited by Thomas E. Nunnally). Davies' essay includes a section with the heading "A Southern Improvement to the Pronoun System."

"Well, I would say that Southern English is doing a great job," she says in an interview with Scott Simon on Weekend Edition.

British author Helen Oyeyemi wants you to know that you're never too old for fairy tales. She's made a career out of writing books that draw on the folklore that we all read as children — her 2011 novel Mr. Fox drew on the British fairy tale of the same name, while her 2014 book Boy, Snow, Bird found its inspiration in the story of Snow White.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli, editor of the website TV Worth Watching, sitting in for Terry Gross. This week marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Mario Puzo's "The Godfather." A new edition has just been released with an introduction by Francis Ford Coppola. Coppola and Puzo co-wrote the screenplays for all three "Godfather" films. This is from the opening scene of the first one.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE GODFATHER")

In An American Summer, the reader is asked to ponder this: "In a good year in Chicago, roughly 2,000 people get wounded by gun fire, or five people a day, give or take. Some years the number has risen to over 4,000, or roughly one person every two hours."

"He doesn't tell me anything."

That's something the burly, perpetually befuddled, improbably named bodyguard Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) says to ... someone ... in the second episode of American Gods' second season. (Not important to whom, for now — that'd be a spoiler.)

Julianne Moore isn't itching to play flashy, dramatic roles. "I find that the older I get, and the more experience I gather — as an actor and as a human being — the more I'm interested in things that are real ..." she says. "It's almost like behavior is way more interesting than acting."

It's generally accepted that, in order to achieve fame and fortune, one must be prepared to sell one's soul. But Elena Ferrante did it without giving up so much as her name.

All remakes arrive powered by a tacit challenge: outperform the original by some agreed-upon metrics, be they financial, technical, critical or artistic. For director Sebastián Lelio, who wrote and directed the Chilean film Gloria just six years ago, the impetus for Gloria Bell, its English-language remake, is particularly specific: the desire to work with Julianne Moore.

During the first eight years of a 20-year filmmaking ban imposed by the Iranian government, Jafar Panahi has been unable to leave the country, but he keeps pushing his creative limits, proving the adage that necessity is the mother of invention. His first film under the ban, cagily titled This is Not a Film, was produced under house arrest and smuggled to Cannes on a flash drive embedded in a birthday cake.

My grandfather was too young to serve in World War II. He watched from Bridgeport, Conn. as Hitler, then Stalin, murdered unspeakable numbers of Jews, including most of his family.

The helplessness and guilt he felt underpinned his lifelong Zionism. He believed, unshakably, that Jews needed a place of refuge. Stories like his are common, and easy to empathize with. I imagine that the Israeli Canadian writer Matti Friedman would empathize. Then he would say, without ceremony, that my grandfather's version of Zionism is done.

David Means is an enthusiast, and a defender, of the short story. As he once said, "We don't tell novels at the kitchen table."

"Of course, that's sort of a sales pitch for the short story form," Means says in an interview. "But I really believe that they're really usually, at the core, relatively simple. You know: This happened, and then this happened."

Modern Indigenous American history is a history of resistance. It's often assumed that Indigenous resistance to white settlers and enterprisers is often considered an act of self-defense, when it was — and is — also a battle between starkly different value systems.

For the Oceti Sakowin, or Sioux Nation, resistance is not just based on a claim to land that invaders have sought to usurp and exploit; it's also about what "land" means. In Our History Is The Future, Nick Estes poignantly describes an idea of what land means from an Indigenous perspective:

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. The new film "Never Look Away" is about an artist, a painter, who's first exposed to modern art as a child growing up in Nazi Germany. He's taken by his aunt to an exhibit of modern art that was curated by the Nazis to show what degenerate art looks like - the kind of art the Nazis are banning. By the time the boy is an art student, the Russian Communists have taken over East Germany, where the boy lives. And all art is expected to be propaganda, showing images of happy, working people.

'The Wolf And The Watchman' Has Some Serious Bite

Mar 6, 2019

What's better than an ornate period piece with style to spare? One that includes a murder mystery. Oh, and boy is it a riveting mystery.

Niklas Natt och Dag's The Wolf and the Watchman, translated from the Swedish by Ebba Segerberg, opens with a gruesome discovery: a hideously mutilated corpse floating in a filthy lake. The victim's eyes, tongue, teeth, arms and legs have all been systematically and slowly removed. What follows is a quest to discover both the identity of the victim and of the killer.

Even if it didn't happen to be about preteen girls turning into enormous, slavering, murderous panthers, Man-Eaters would still be a remarkable comic. Though writer Chelsea Cain starts out by telling a straightforward story, she's impatient with the trappings of conventional narrative. She and lead artist Kate Niemczyk are far more interested in making a feminist statement through other means. To flesh out Man-Eaters' world, a place where women are viewed as dangerous animals, Cain and Niemczyk create page upon page of fake ads, educational pamphlets and other propaganda.

Sometimes memoirs focusing on growing up, addiction, sexuality, and their attendant traumas end up with trajectories that lead to some sort of overcoming: At the end, the author ties them up neatly with the bright pink bow of recovery or healing.

Painter Robert Rauschenberg really loved his job. "My greatest joy is in working," he told PBS in 1998. "That's when I feel a wholeness and a celebration of a unity with everything about me."

So when Rauschenberg walked the quarter mile from his house to his studio in Captiva, Fla., that short commute was a journey toward joy.

"He talked a lot about working in that fertile, creative space between art and life," says Katia Zavistovski, an assistant curator at Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Perhaps you have read a book or seen a play or movie set in a prep school: say, The Catcher in the Rye, or The History Boys, or The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

The playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, who co-wrote the Oscar-winning screenplay for the film Moonlight, has made his Broadway debut with his own take on the setting, called Choir Boy. But instead of the WASP elite, the school in Choir Boy has an all-black student body. The Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys says it wants to raise strong, ethical black men.

The Nobel Foundation says it will award two Nobel Prizes in Literature this fall, after canceling last year's prize due to chaos from a scandal over sexual assault allegations against the husband of a Swedish Academy member. Last year, organizers said the academy had too few members and too many problems to anoint a winner.

The Nobel group said Tuesday that enough changes have been made to pick new winners with confidence, promising a rebound from 2018, when the literary prize was not awarded for the first time since World War II.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

By the time Albert Woodfox was 24 years old, he had already spent five years in and out of four prisons.

That was just the beginning. He would spend the next 40 years fighting a legal battle to clear his name of a murder he didn't commit. Throughout that process, he remained locked in solitary confinement, one of the longest stretches ever served by a prisoner.

The biggest challenge in describing Mitchell S. Jackson's Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family is whether to be appropriately effusive and risk seeming like I'm in his pay — or to be more tempered and risk underselling the brilliance of this memoir in essays. (It's probably clear where I landed.)

Arata Isozaki spent much of his childhood in the shadow of World War II. As a native of the city of Oita, the Japanese architect grew up just across a slim body of water from Hiroshima, where the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb — and he says he saw firsthand the ease with which proud human achievements could be leveled.

There are several moments in Captain Marvel — most of them intimate two-hander scenes between Agent Nick Fury (a digitally de-aged Samuel L. Jackson) and the main character (Brie Larson) — where the performances click, the comic chemistry catalyzes, the dialogue buzzes and everything in this latest million-dollar superhero blockbuster seems downright ... breezy.

'A Friend Is A Gift' For Crime Novel Fans

Mar 5, 2019

William Boyle's A Friend is a Gift You Give Yourself is a gem of idiomatic dialogue. Every character has a unique voice and every conversation is a polyrhythmic marvel of New York accents. Part Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas and part Mario Puzzo's La Mamma, A Friend is a Gift You Give Yourself is a funny, gritty, touching narrative about the strength of three New York women caught in a world of abusive men, broken families, and mob violence.

Elite colleges are making strides to diversify their student bodies, both racially and economically. In the past few years, we've seen most top schools commit to enrolling more low-income students through financial aid, recruiting efforts and programs for high school students aimed at expanding the pipeline.

But once those students arrive on campus, says Anthony Abraham Jack, they often find the experience isolating and foreign.

It feels wrong to be writing a remembrance of Luke Perry, who died Monday at only 52 following a stroke last week. It feels like it cannot be, like he was just here, like he was just narrowing his eyes into the California sun only weeks ago. Maybe months at most. But here we are.

Dr. Thomas Boyce, an emeritus professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, has treated children who seem to be completely unflappable and unfazed by their surroundings — as well as those who are extremely sensitive to their environments. Over the years, he began to liken these two types of children to two very different flowers: dandelions and orchids.

The CEO of British fashion retailer Ted Baker has resigned after allegations of misconduct, including complaints of "forced hugging."

The company said Monday that Ray Kelvin, who founded the firm more than 30 years ago, had resigned "with immediate effect." He will not be entitled to any salary or benefits payments in connection with the resignation, the company added.

It was a cold December night in 1972 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. A 38-year old widowed mother of 10 named Jean McConville was with her children in their apartment in the Divis Flats, a labyrinthine public housing project that one critic described a "slum in the sky."

There was a knock at the door and a gang of masked intruders burst in. They ordered Jean to put on her coat and began pulling her out of the apartment. The children went nuts, screaming and grabbing.

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