Arts

Arts and culture

Margaret Trudeau married Pierre Trudeau, the 15th prime minister of Canada, when she was 22. He was 51. That marriage came apart — publicly, spectacularly — as she made public rounds with rockers, actors and other celebrities.

We've invited Laird Hamilton — legendary surfer, fitness model and lifestyle guru — to play a game called "Championship Channel Surfing." Three questions about terrible moments in television history.

Click the audio link above to find out how he does.

Josh Malerman's 2014 debut, Bird Box, remains one of the most surprising, electrifying books I've ever read, a chilling fable-cum-thriller about a young mother who must navigate herself and her two children to safety down a river while blindfolded.

Sunday April 28th at 8PM

"No amount of money ever bought a second of time," says Tony "Iron Man" Stark, patient zero of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, midway through the new Avengers: Endgame.

Entertainment Weekly once called Brian Regan "your favorite comedian's favorite comedian." Chris Rock has been quoted saying: "No comedian in the world says, 'Yeah, I want to follow Brian Regan.'" Bill Burr said on his podcast: "Brian basically goes out and, for 90 straight minutes, it sounds like a jet is landing, how hard this guy kills."

Feast Your Eyes is the name of a new book that tells the story of a young woman — Lillian Preston — who ventures to New York City in the 1950s, absolutely determined to be a photographer. The book is set up as if it's a catalogue accompanying her posthumous show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The supposed catalogue describes 118 photos — but we don't see a single one, because Lillian Preston is fictional, and entirely believable. She's the creation of author Myla Goldberg, who says that while Lillian is fictional, a lot of her photos are real.

Released in 1895, the Lumière brothers' "Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory in Lyon" is generally credited as the first motion picture ever made, and it's exactly what the title suggests: A 46-second static shot of workers leaving a factory. There have been claims of its significance as the basis for a realist or documentary tradition in cinema, but it was more simply a technical demonstration of what would evolve into the great art form of the 20th century and beyond. The development of film as a storytelling medium would take a little time.

The literary world was a more interesting place with JT LeRoy around, even though he never was, really. The pen name of author Laura Albert, "JT" was an androgynous former truck-stop sex worker who supposedly channeled his sordid upbringing into raw, autobiographical fictions that captivated hip circles in the late '90s and early 2000s. Albert played JT on the page and in phone calls with journalists and famous admirers, duping the public into believing the guise was real.

Gather round, my droogs. It's time for a story.

Not long after the 1971 release of the film adaptation of A Clockwork Orange, the novel's author, Anthony Burgess, received an offer from a publisher: Write a short follow-up to the novel, one that uses the word "Clockwork" in the title and brims with artwork, and we will make you a rich man.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. As you might've heard, this week marks the release of "Avengers: Endgame," which ties up the threads of the previous 21 films in this Marvel series. Like last year's "Avengers: Infinity War," this one was directed by brothers Joe and Anthony Russo and reunites a cast of actors led by Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson. Film critic Justin Chang has this review.

History books are often saddled — or blessed, depending on one's perspective — by the context in which they are written.

Kristin L. Hoganson's new book, The Heartland: An American History, is a product of its time — seeking to answer questions about the Midwest that have arisen since the election of Donald Trump.

Welcome to Delmarva Public Radio’s celebration of National Poetry Month featuring “Literary Biographies with Sue Ellen Thompson.”  I’m your host Harold Wilson.

Mark Medoff, whose Tony Award-winning play Children of a Lesser God opened the stage for deaf actresses, died Tuesday at his home in Las Cruces, N.M., at the age of 79.

He had been suffering from multiple myeloma and renal failure, The Associated Press reported, citing his daughter Jessica Bunchman.

Medoff wrote 30 plays and is best known for the groundbreaking Children of a Lesser God, the story of a young deaf woman and her love affair with her speech teacher.

Many years ago, I worked as an academic day laborer on Philadelphia's Main Line. For those unfamiliar with it, the Main Line — developed in the late 19th century along a railroad route west of the city — was, for decades, a quietly grand stretch of lavish estates, private schools, and cricket and golf clubs catering to Philadelphia's old money. The classic 1940 romantic comedy, The Philadelphia Story, starring Katharine Hepburn as a snooty socialite, was set on the Main Line.

After weeks of hand-wringing, vote-wrangling and even some stern finger-wagging from the Department of Justice, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has declined to pursue a controversial proposal to change the Oscars' eligibility rules.

Let's start with a bit of service journalism: Going into Avengers: Endgame, one would be well-advised to manage both one's expectations, and — given its three-hour-plus, intermissionless runtime — one's fluid intake.

Writing about Melinda Gates' philanthropic manifesto The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World poses a certain critical challenge. What are the terms on which to evaluate a book that is equal parts memoir and mission statement, inspirational slide deck and social critique? What is the book trying to achieve?

Shakespeare's King Lear is one of the most challenging and prestigious roles in theater — and one that's traditionally played by a man.

But now a new production of King Lear on Broadway stars Glenda Jackson in its title role. The British actor, who is 82, is fine with the gender bending casting.

"When we're born, we teach babies ... to be boys or girls," Jackson says. "As we get older, those absolute barriers that define gender begin to crack."

There are certain authors I read no matter what they write. Ian McEwan is one of them. Over the course of more than 40 years and some dozen and a half books — including Amsterdam, Atonement, and The Children Act — his generally realist, propulsive work reveals an abiding preoccupation with both the repercussions of deceit and how life can change in an instant.

We're recapping the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones; look for these recaps first thing on Monday mornings. Spoilers, of course, abound.

Here it is, folks, the Great Inward Breath.

Last week's season premiere was all about setting the table — reunions, recriminations and churning out great big meaty chunks of plot to get everyone up to speed. Now that the table's set, the series decided to take a step back to admire its handiwork — how well they lit the candles and folded the napkins into the shapes of swans or what have you.

Stories of first-generation Americans tend to stress the same struggles. How do you fit in with your peers when your parents aren't assimilating? How do you balance your instinct to rebel against your parents with your awareness of what they sacrificed to get here?

Journalist, novelist and polemicist Rose Wilder Lane may be the most controversial woman nobody's ever heard of. Today she's known primarily for her turbulent collaboration with her famous mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder, on the Little House on the Prairie books. But Lane's story doesn't end there — far from it. A fire-breathing libertarian, she denounced Social Security as a "Ponzi scheme" and grew her own food to protest World War II rationing.

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

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

HBO's new period drama, Gentleman Jack, is set in the 1830s and tells the extraordinary story of Anne Lister: landowner, businesswoman, mountaineer, and sometimes called "the first modern lesbian." Lister came from a wealthy family in Halifax, England, and began recording her love affairs with women in coded entries in her diary. Eventually she would live openly with her neighbor Ann Walker as a couple. Those explicit diaries remained a secret until the 1980s — and in 2011 they were named by UNESCO as a pivotal document in British history.

Small towns filled with secrets and an unlikely detective duo go together like an Aperol spritz before pasta – which is to say, very well. The small town in Illaria Tuti's Flowers Over the Inferno, translated by Ekin Oklap, is located in the northern Italian mountains and the duo in question are two cops sent to solve a startling, eye-gouging murder (I'm being literal here). How well these two investigators pair up is a matter of debate, though.

Since its founding, America has been fertile ground for conspiracy beliefs. While every generation produces rumor-mongers, today we anoint them with special powers through social media.

Anna Merlan, a journalist at Gizmodo Media Group, explores our contemporary fixation with conspiracy theories of all political stripes in Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power. Throughout the book, she reports from gatherings of people whose beliefs are both extreme and false.

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

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The Helvetica typeface is widely used around the world. Don't tell us you haven't noticed. But Helvetica is being refreshed after 36 years - even a new name, Helvetica Now. But like many changes, some people are skeptical.

Merce Cunningham in 1988.
AP

The choreographer Merce Cunningham would have turned 100 years old this week.

Duanwad Pimwana is one of Thailand's preeminent female writers. She's beloved for her writing across forms, but especially acclaimed for her short fiction, translated for the first time in the excellent 13-story sampler Arid Dreams. Pimwana's translator, Mui Poopoksakul, does a beautiful job with prose and selection alike, offering stories from the first two decades of Pimwana's literary career.

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