Arts & Culture

Arts & culture

We're lucky to have a lot of remarkably talented artists deliver impressive performances here at World Cafe (ok, humblebrag). But our whole team was pretty floored by Lizz Wright. The combination of Wright and her band (Bobby Ray Sparks on organ, Brannen Temple on drums and Chris McQueen on guitar) was effortless and elevated, in a way that's hard to articulate in words, but you can experience in a session here.

Protesting Through Poetry

Jan 15, 2018

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

What are the different ways that Americans protest? Our co-host Rachel Martin has been asking.

RACHEL MARTIN, BYLINE: Here's Martin Luther King Jr. in 1955 in Montgomery, Ala.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

It's just before Thanksgiving, and artist Christopher Marley is packing up items for a big exhibition outside Miami. Marley transforms poisonous snakes, tropical fish and exotic insects into works of art — and he just realized he forgot to frame a foot-long isopod that's still in the freezer.

In December 1955, after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Ala., bus to a white man, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other black ministers and community leaders organized a citywide bus boycott in protest. That part is well known.

Less well-known is the story of Georgia Gilmore, the Montgomery cook, midwife and activist whose secret kitchen fed the civil rights movement.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Kaveh Akbar Is Poetry's Biggest Cheerleader

Jan 14, 2018

Ever eavesdropped on two poets having a conversation at a coffee shop? Iranian-American poet Kaveh Akbar has created an online space that lets you do that without leaving your bed.

When it comes to tourism, Ireland punches well above its weight.

Leila Slimani's new book, The Perfect Nanny, begins with four haunting words: "The baby is dead."

It tells the story of a Parisian family and their nanny — who starts to unravel, and commits an unspeakable crime.

"I had the feeling that she was like a plate that you put every day on the table, and she breaks every day a little bit," Slimani says. "And one day you put it on the table and she breaks it into pieces."

Jillian Medoff's new novel is an office dramedy involving an elaborate coverup in a corporate HR department that has nothing to do with financial or sexual transgressions. In other words, it isn't ripped from the headlines. Set at a New York-based market research firm that's been cut to the bone by layoffs in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown, This Could Hurt is an ultimately heartwarming entertainment about the ways "the work/life firewall" breaks down when a formidable boss — a 64-year-old glass-ceiling-breaker who's both Hispanic and a woman — starts to slip.

Once poverty-stricken and reliant on international aid, India opened up its economy in the early 1990s and has since seen steady, sometimes remarkable, economic growth. Today, by most measures, India is one of the world's largest and fastest growing economies.

Leni Zumas' new novel, Red Clocks, imagines a time in which something called the Personhood Amendment has made abortion and in vitro fertilization a crime in the United States; Canada returns women who slip across the border to seek those services. The novel is set in an Oregon town and it invites inevitable comparison to Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale.

Is it also a parable for our time? Zumas says the story started out with "some personal anxiety and anguish of my own," but grew into something larger.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

A new year means it's time for new calendars. And a North Carolina man has created some of the most unusual you'll ever see.

In fact, they show scenes you once weren't supposed to see — official CIA paintings of past spy missions.

They include a depiction of a spy with a rifle shooting down an airplane from a helicopter, and images of two missions in which planes tried to snatch agents off the ground without landing.

Like most people, Rian Johnson was a huge Star Wars fan as a kid. Unlike most people, he grew up to make a Star Wars movie — he wrote and directed The Last Jedi.

The man behind the latest Star Wars feature film plays a game called Storage Wars -- about the reality show where people guess what's in repossessed storage lockers before they're auctioned off.

Click the listen link above to see how he does.

Christopher J. Yates begins his new novel, Grist Mill Road, with a crime in progress:

"I remember the gunshots made a wet sort of sound, phssh phssh phssh."

It is summer, 1982, and in a clearing in the woods outside the small town of Roseborn, N.Y., a 14-year-old boy shoots a 13-year-old girl over and over and over again with a BB gun while, close by, a 12-year-old boy stands and watches.

Camila Cabello got her start as one-fifth of Fifth Harmony, a group formed by music impresario Simon Cowell from girls who had auditioned for the music competition show The X Factor. The experience forced a teenage Cabello out of her shell and propelled her and her bandmates to pop stardom.

In the world of streaming workout videos, Shawn T is like Jay-Z or Mick Jagger. He's a superstar. Millions of people have done his workout programs. One is called "Insanity." Another, "Focus T25," aims to get you in shape in just 25 minutes a day without leaving your house.

In our ever more digital world there are all kinds of apps and other quick ways to fit fitness into your life. But you still have to do the exercise. And in his new book, T is for Transformation, Shaun T tells the story of his life and the lessons he's learned about finding that motivation.

Love can be hard to put into words. Poets have been trying for millennia.

For Valentine's Day, Morning Edition is offering a love poem request line. Tell us about a moment in your life regarding love or relationships, and NPR's Rachel Martin and author Kwame Alexander will find you a poem that captures that feeling.

Netflix usually presents its new shows one season at a time, with a dozen or so episodes available immediately, but its latest talk show is being unveiled at the unusual rate of one installment per month.

It's called My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman — and it's excellent. The program marks Letterman's return to the talk-show format and to series television, a journey he began in 1980 with his brief but brilliant daytime talk show, NBC's The David Letterman Show.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

In a narrow alley just behind a busy Queens street, Hernán's kitchen makes more than 4,000 churros each day for street vendors to sell across New York City. From 3 a.m., hours before nearby shop owners unlock their front gates, the kitchen fills with the sound of churro batter beating against the sides of large industrial mixers.

The kneaded dough is shaped by a long dispenser that drops it into sizzling hot oil. The churros — long, striated doughnuts — are finished with a sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon and stacked high on baking trays by Hernán's wife.

New Year's weight loss goals can apply to our pets as well as ourselves. Dr. Deborah Linder, who heads the Tufts Obesity Clinic for Animals at Tufts University, explores pet obesity in this post originally for The Conversation.

Mystery Guest

Jan 12, 2018

Amy Webb has an interesting job that incorporates data and advice. Can you guess what it is before Ophira and Jonathan?

Heard on Luka Kain: Pikachu, Strike A Pose

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Movie Sandwiches

Jan 12, 2018

If you tend to doze off in the middle of Movie Night, this game will be an extra challenge. In this final round, we took movies with three-word titles and removed the middle word. Contestants tell us what the missing word is.

Heard on Luka Kain: Pikachu, Strike A Pose

Stuck Singing "The Middle" With You

Jan 12, 2018

This one goes out to all you Jimmy Eat World superfans! We've rewritten their song "The Middle" to be about other things that are in the middle.

Heard on Luka Kain: Pikachu, Strike A Pose

Appiness Is A Warm Pun

Jan 12, 2018

Found a 5-star restaurant? Just tap this app to let out a loud, piercing cry that alerts other foodies to your exact location. Thanks, "Yelp." We redesigned popular smartphone applications to do exactly what their names suggest. Contestants guess the app based on its revised, more literal description.

Heard on Luka Kain: Pikachu, Strike A Pose

Luka Kain: Pikachu, Strike A Pose

Jan 12, 2018

Breakout star Luka Kain had never vogued before filming Saturday Church, an indie film about Ulysses, a genderqueer teen finding community in the New York City ballroom scene. "I had a one hour crash course, [...] I learned three moves, [...] and I worked those three moves to high heaven." What's the secret to this dance style that originated out of 1980s queer culture? "You gotta have good knees!" the 17-year-old told host Ophira Eisenberg. "And this sounds cheesy, but be yourself, cause voguing is a form of self-celebration."

Whistle While You Work

Jan 12, 2018

So what if whistling bothers your co-workers? In this audio quiz, it just might give you an edge. Contestants hear clips from popular songs that feature whistling and ring in with the name of the song or artist.

Heard on Luka Kain: Pikachu, Strike A Pose

For Your Amusement...Park

Jan 12, 2018

Is the Screamin' Gator Zip Line a real or fake amusement park attraction? We describe a park or attraction, and our contestants guess if it's real, or one we made up.

Heard on Luka Kain: Pikachu, Strike A Pose

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