Arts

Arts and culture

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In her delightful first book, Between You and Me, a personable fusion of grammar guide and memoir, Mary Norris, longtime "Comma Queen" of The New Yorker's copy editing department, parsed some of the fine points of her vocation. In Greek to Me, she excavates her avocation — a multidecades passion for all things Greek.

While there's some lovely overlap — a fascination with words and usage — we discover that there was much more on her mind during her years on the copy desk than serial commas and the objective case.

Nell Freudenberger excels at one of fiction's singular strengths — imaginative empathy without borders. Her heralded 2003 debut story collection, Lucky Girls, and her first two novels explored the rub between American and Asian culture. In The Newlyweds (2012) she proved herself to be an adept cultural mime, channeling a Bangladeshi bride's uncomfortable adaptation to life in America.

Social scientist Arthur Brooks says you should really think twice before calling someone a liar.

"When you're talking to somebody else, you're not positioned to say that that person is a pathological liar," he says. "What you know, or what you believe, is that person is saying something is untrue — and that's what you should take on."

Brooks' new book is called Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt. It aims to guide people on different sides of the political divide to have constructive conversations.

Old stuff spoiler alert: This piece discusses the plot of Jordan Peele's Get Out and the plots of a handful of old Twilight Zone episodes, but doesn't spoil episodes from the new run that debuts Monday.

What is the scariest thing you can imagine?

On his 2014 album, Afropolitan Dreams, hip-hop artist Samuel Bazawule, also known as "Blitz the Ambassador," vividly describes his journey from wide-eyed immigrant to multinational success story. In one song he declares: "I think I'm relocating back to Ghana for good."

And, he did.

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One Fan's Game To Find The Throne In Sweden

Mar 31, 2019

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Tips For Spring Travel

Mar 31, 2019

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Tyler and Larry have never met. Larry is a conservative living on the East Coast. Tyler is a liberal in Indiana. If for some reason they crossed paths on the street, they wouldn't recognize each other.

But for the last few months, they've been getting into constant fights on Twitter.

Before I could interview them, I had to agree not to use their real names. The online circle where they spend much of their time can get aggressive. One of them says he's even gotten death threats.

Editor's note: This story concerns sexual violence

Miriam Toews' new book Women Talking is based on a ghastly true story — here's the opening sentence: "Between 2005 and 2009, in a remote Mennonite colony in Bolivia, many girls and women would wake in the morning feeling drowsy and in pain, having been attacked in the night."

The new NBC comedy Abby's is set in a bar. It's a real neighborhood joint — it's run out of one woman's backyard in San Diego.

It stars Natalie Morales as Abby, a former Marine who runs the bar.

At the high school theater auditions of my youth, 29 out of 30 girls were guaranteed to stand up on the stage and warble "On my owwwwwwn, pretending he's beside me." What teenage girl doesn't identify with Éponine, the girl who does all the work and has all the brains but is overlooked by her crush because he only has eyes for the gorgeous bimbo who can sing the high notes? I'm not sure if today's teenagers are inclined to obsess over Les Mis the musical the way that my generation did, but I do know that bittersweet love triangles are timeless.

Actor Andrew Rannells starred as Elder Price in The Book of Mormon ... but how much does he know about Ethel Merman? We'll give him three chances to prove himself in a game called The Book of ... Merman.

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PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Leanne Shapton is an artist of the mundane. Her books mix writing, prose collage, photography and watercolor to imbue familiar objects and dull routines with mystery and emotional weight. In her 2012 memoir Swimming Studies, Shapton transformed pools and swimsuits into representations of her past selves. In 2014's Women in Clothes, she and co-editors Heidi Julavits and Sheila Heti turned hundreds of interviews and images into a monumental reflection on self-presentation. Her latest project, Guestbook, borrows techniques from both.

Actor and playwright Heidi Schreck says her new play — What the Constitution Means to Me — is a love letter to her mother.

The Broadway play — part personal memoir, part civics town hall — recreates the constitutional debate contests Schreck attended in high school. It's an attempt, she explains, to trace her evolving understanding of the U.S. Constitution and how it relates to her life, her family, and the women in her family in particular.

Carve out some reading time before you pick up Laila Lalami's new novel The Other Americans. You won't want to get up from your chair for some time, maybe even until you've reached the last page. You're in the hands of a maestra of literary fiction, someone who has combined a riveting police procedural with a sensitive examination of contemporary life in California's Mojave Desert region.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

French film director Agnès Varda, who was a pioneer during the new-wave revolution of the 1950s and '60s and who kept making important films for the next five decades, has died at age 90.

A representative of Varda's family confirmed the news of her death to NPR Friday. In a statement, her film company says the filmmaker and artist "died from a cancer at her home in the night of March 29, 2019, surrounded by her family and friends."

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Confronting Racism.

About Brittney Cooper's TED Talk

Brittney Cooper reflects on racism, the history of time—and who owns it. She argues that for people of color, time has been stolen. In order to move forward, we must first acknowledge the past.

About Brittney Cooper

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Confronting Racism.

About Travis Jones's TED Talk

Travis Jones examines the "codes of whiteness" that keep many people from engaging in conversations on race. He says white people need to take a more active role in confronting racism.

About Travis Jones

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Confronting Racism.

About Howard Stevenson's TED Talk

What does racial literacy look like in today's social climate? Howard Stevenson talks about navigating racially stressful encounters, and how it's actually an acquired skill-set.

About Howard Stevenson

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Confronting Racism.

About Pat Ferrucci's TED Talk

Sports is supposed to be "the great equalizer," but Pat Ferrucci says the language sports journalists use often stereotypes athletes by race. He says acknowledging this is one step toward changing it.

About Pat Ferrucci

Patrick Ferrucci is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Confronting Racism.

About Monique Morris's TED Talk

Black girls are disproportionately punished more often in schools. Monique Morris says schools should be a place for healing rather than punishment to help black girls reach their full potential.

About Monique Morris

"Would you rather be able to fly or turn invisible?" It's the archetypal party question. It was already popular way back in 2001, when This American Life addressed it, and the years haven't lessened its appeal. As recently as 2015, Forbes posed the question to 7,065 "business and professional leaders ... across the globe" and Vulture brought it up with the stars of Ant-Man.

It's been 20 years since Carolyn DeFord, a member of the Puyallup tribe, last saw her mother, Leona Kinsey in La Grande, Ore.

DeFord was raised by Kinsey in a trailer park in La Grande. She remembers her mother as independent and self-sufficient, working odd jobs to scrape by.

The 2011 art-house actioner Hanna was one odd duck of a flick: part thriller, part coming-of-age tale, studded with propulsive, well-staged fight scenes, standout performances from a coolly evil Cate Blanchett and a then-sixteen-year-old Saoirse Ronan, a driving Chemical Brothers score (remember 2011 you guys?), a febrile color scheme and a fondness for fairy-tale imagery. Ronan played a young woman who'd been raised as the perfect assassin by her ex-intelligence officer father (Eric Bana) deep in some Nordic forest.

Norma Carlisle, the 1920s Wichita wife and mother played by Elizabeth McGovern in The Chaperone, is literally tight-laced. When the movie opens, she always wears a corset. No prizes for guessing that, before the story ends, Norma will shed the constricting metaphorical garment.

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