Arts & Culture

Arts & culture

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

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

No matter what you listen to in your life right now, no matter how far your musical tastes have come, the music you grew up with will always be special. Today's guest, Boz Scaggs, can tell you that firsthand. He played with the Steve Miller Band in the '60s and became a household name in the '70s thanks to songs like "Lido Shuffle" and albums like Silk Degrees.

Fania Records has a singular place in music history, mostly because it practically gave birth to the genre that became known as salsa. The musicians, singers, composers and arrangers who made music for the label will tell you that the song forms already existed — guaracha, son, mambo, cha cha cha, merengue — but what they did was give it a 1970s New York City swagger.

Farmers face a growing dilemma. Specifically, a food-growing dilemma.

How do you feed an increasing number of people without harming the environment?

As it turns out, growing as much food as possible in a small area may be our best bet for sustainably feeding the world's population, according to new research.

It all comes down to how we manage greenhouse gases and climate change.

Amazon says it removed several items of racist propaganda from its store in response to questions from a Democratic lawmaker — though white supremacist literature and other propaganda items remain widely available on the site.

After criticism from advocacy groups and Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison about the availability of Nazi-themed toys and baby onesies with pictures of burning crosses on Amazon's website, the company said this week that it had removed several items and banned sellers who had violated its policies.

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

NOEL KING, HOST:

All right. So we made it. It's Friday. We can finally go home. And - ah, let's let Rihanna say it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CHEERS (DRINK TO THAT)")

RIHANNA: (Singing) Cheers to the freaking weekend. I drink to that, yeah, yeah.

One of the freshest reboots in the world of comic books is based on a kids show that debuted back in the '60s: The Flintstones. But this isn't the "modern Stone Age family" you might remember from your childhood.

Well, they've finally gone and done it. They've grown up Christopher Robin.

You of course remember the boy wonder from the Winnie the Pooh series, the eternal six-year-old who loved to romp around the Hundred Acre Wood getting into mischief with his stuffed bear and various other critter friends. He was writer A.A. Milne's own son, immortalized on the page with the original Pooh books in the 1920s, then on the screen in 50 years' worth of Disney cartoons. Does it feel momentous that he's now grown into a humorless, workaholic adult? It does if you're Pooh.


When Cameron Post, a Montana teenager with bee-stung lips and an air of quiet intransigence, is caught smoking weed and making out with a girlfriend on prom night, her evangelical guardians pack her off to God's Promise, a gay conversion therapy center whose inmates — no other word for it — are required to make and regularly revise drawings of the sinful roots of their sexual identities. At God's Promise the word homosexuality makes the authorities jumpy, and even the gingerly label "same-sex attraction" signals the downhill road to moral rot.

The most surprising thing about the action-comedy The Spy Who Dumped Me is that it racks up a higher body count in 117 minutes than the comparatively somber stunt spectacular Mission: Impossible — Fallout does in 147. It's one of a pitifully small number of movies this summer directed by a woman (feature film sophomore Susanna Fogel, who co-wrote and directed 2014's Life Partners); she and David Iserson wrote the script to this farce, which stars Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon as roommates drawn semi-willingly into an international conspiracy.

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

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

"Don't forget to see the babies!"

The barker's slogan echoed from Coney Island to Omaha, from the early 1900s until after World War II, enticing midway sightseers to approach a notorious sideshow.

The attractions: premature newborns in state-of-the-art incubators.

The man behind it? Well, that's trickier.

Rivaling Donna Tartt's celebrated debut, A Secret History, in its fevered treatment of American university life, R.O. Kwon's first novel The Incendiaries gives readers a juicy look at campus mores, though sometimes that juice is more bitter than sweet.

Cartoonist Thi Bui's Eisner Award-nominated graphic memoir is called The Best We Could Do; it's the story of her family in the years before, during and after the Vietnam War. The Eisners — mainstream comics' top award — are given out every year at San Diego Comic-Con, where Bui was one of this year's featured guests.

We think of whales as creatures of the sea, but scientists now believe that 40 million to 50 million years ago, whales had four legs and lived at least part of their lives on land.

"We can tell that they're whales based on key features of their anatomy — specifically parts of their skull," paleobiologist Nick Pyenson says. "But they were certainly not like the whales that you would see today."

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