Arts & Culture

Arts & culture

Novelist Dina Nayeri always remembers something a professor told her: "You can either have roots or wings, but if you try to have both, you're probably going to fail."

Nayeri says her father, who is from a small town in Iran, is all roots. "He has his habits and his comforts ... " she says. "He feels deeply secure in his life and his place in the world."

For generations of children, the Eloise book series is a favorite. It tells the story of a 6-year old troublemaker who lives at New York's Plaza Hotel. Now "Eloise at the Museum," an exhibition at the New York Historical Society, looks at the creators of the series: author Kay Thompson, who died in 1998, and illustrator Hilary Knight, who's now 90.

Television's most famous amphibian is set to get a new voice.

Steve Whitmire, the puppeteer who for 27 years has performed as Kermit the Frog, is no longer voicing the green lead of the various Muppets TV programs and films, a spokesperson for The Muppets Studio confirmed to NPR. He will be replaced by longtime show veteran Matt Vogel.

The spokesperson did not immediately comment on the reason for the switch.

Long, long ago, when the Earth was new and ichthyosaurs swam the turbid seas, Iron Man 2 arrived in theaters. [Ed. Note — Simmer down. It was 2010.]

It was, most agreed, a disappointment, compared with its predecessor, despite a fun and deeply, deeply squirrelly Sam Rockwell performance. (Remember how he had bronzer on his palms? And no one mentioned it. It was just a character thing? Remember that? That was cool.)

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I didn't drop my laptop, or download malware from a sketchy pop-up window or spill Diet Coke on my keyboard. It just stopped working. One minute, my computer was fine; the next it was like, New hard drive, who dis?

I tried everything I could; I rebooted in different modes, used external disk repair programs — nothing worked. So I gave in, decided to wipe the drive clean and reinstall all my data.

In his new memoir, actor Curtis Armstrong excerpts passages from a diary he kept while filming the 1983 film Risky Business.

July 1

Tom's an interesting character. Can't really make him out. He would appear to be on the brink of a great career.

The "Tom" mentioned in that section above is, of course, the film's star: Tom Cruise.

Armstrong the young diarist proved insightful about two things: 1. Cruise was indeed about to become a megastar, and 2. He was, and remains ... kinda squirrely.

Back in May, we asked you to tell us about your favorite comics and graphic novels — and you rose to the challenge. We got more than 7,000 nominations, so while you all are lolling around in the frosty air conditioning (or outside in the sun ... weirdos) we've been working away to whittle those thousands of nominations down to an awesome list of 100. Also, OK, I read a lot of Elfquest. For work! Really!

There's no shortage of myths about Henry David Thoreau, even in this American literary superhero's hometown of Concord, Mass. In fact, my informal poll of locals reveals that it's the rare person who knows what the 19th-century naturalist grew at Walden Pond, let alone how he survived.

Apparently, even as the town celebrates Thoreau's bicentennial birthday bash, the truth about his diet is as elusive as any celebrity's.

Jack Shaheen, a researcher and writer who spent his life battling stereotypes of Arab-Americans and Muslims in pop culture, died Sunday in South Carolina. He was 81.

One of Shaheen's notable victories came in 1993, when he helped persuade Disney to change some original song lyrics in the movie Aladdin, on the grounds that they were insensitive.

One of the main characters on HBO's hit series, Game of Thrones, is paralyzed. Another has lost his right hand. We've met an important character with a severe skin disorder and another with an intellectual disability.

We'll give it to you straight: If President Trump slaps a tariff on steel, the U.S. bourbon industry might be left reeling.

Trump has long vowed to impose tariffs on some imports, and his administration has recently focused on the steel industry. A blanket tariff on steel wouldn't just hurt China, the frequent target of Trump's trademark trade tirades. It would also deal a blow to allies such as Germany.

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This spring was strange in Oregon's Lane County.

"It rained every day. I'm exaggerating, but only by two days," says farmer Jason Hunton.

When Mother Nature rears her ugly head, Hunton watches his fields. He farms both organic and conventional land in Junction City, Ore.

"We're struggling. We've got a couple of [organic] fields that have some real thistle problems. I want to get some tarps and solarize it — cover it up and see if we can get that to cook itself in some of the thicker areas," Hunton says.

Bob Marley: Versions Of The Truth

Jul 10, 2017

Reggae historian Roger Steffens has written that “there are no facts in Jamaica, just versions” of the truth. That’s certainly the case with the star of Steffens’ latest book: Bob Marley.

In 2013, acclaimed ballerina Wendy Whelan underwent reconstructive surgery that left her hobbled, both physically and emotionally. For Whelan, it wasn't just her career with the New York City Ballet that was at stake; it was also her artistic voice.

Ever since Peter Minuit bought Manhattan Island from the Native Americans, New York City's character has been defined by money and con artistry. So it is that classic New York stories are always populated by a grifter or two.

In the epicurean world, Northern California is famous for two intoxicants — wine and weed. With recreational marijuana about to be legal in the Golden State, some cannabis entrepreneurs are looking to the wine industry as a model.

On the elegant terrace of a winery overlooking the vineyard-covered hills of Sonoma County, north of San Francisco, a dozen invited guests are sipping pinot noir, nibbling hors d'oeuvres and taking hits off a water pipe.

We'll be releasing the results of this year's Summer Reader Poll on Comics and Graphic Novels later this week — and it's a varied and deeply idiosyncratic list, trust us. Y'all have some fascinating favorite comics.

Not to spoil anything, but the final list skews heavily toward recent offerings, which makes sense: The stuff that's been around a long time may earn people's respect, but new discoveries spark excitement. And that's what any survey that asks folks to name their favorites will naturally turn up.

Octavia Butler used to say she remembers exactly when she decided to become a science fiction writer. She was 9 years old and saw a 1954 B-movie called Devil Girl from Mars, and two things struck her. First: "Geez, I can write a better story than that!" And second: "Somebody got paid for writing that story!" If they could, she decided, then she could, too.

Like to party? Meet Sweet Spirit, a punchy, powerful party band that features up to nine members onstage at any given time. The group's infectious live shows caught the eye of fellow Austinite Britt Daniel from Spoon, who invited Sweet Spirit to open at a bunch of his concerts and championed its full-length debut album, Cokomo, in 2015.

Could I summon the resolve to eat a grasshopper?

That was the question.

It's certainly a good idea to think about eating insects. Food specialists would like people around the world to think about eating insects — an excellent source of protein.

Not everyone is a fan of the idea, for the obvious reasons.

But in northeastern Nigeria, deep-fried grasshoppers, spiced with powdered chili, are a local favorite.

Ado Garba told me that he loves eating grasshoppers. I could tell, admiringly, that he is a hopper connoisseur.

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It can be hard to grow up in an ultra-religious household. I was raised in a strict Pentecostal family, and I remember not being allowed to go trick-or-treating or have any sign of Santa Claus because both were deemed to be inspired by Satan. When you're a little kid, you don't question it — that's just how it is. It takes getting older to realize you're different from everyone else.

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On-air challenge:

I'm going to give you clues for some 5-letter words. Switch the 2nd and 4th letters to make a new word that answers the second clue.

'Tropic Of Kansas' Rips Dystopia From The Headlines

Jul 9, 2017

In the vast galaxy of science fiction, it is always three minutes 'til doomsday.

There is always some monster, some alien warlord, some catastrophe so imminent that no one has time to pee. Lives are always on the brink. More than ray guns, more than starships, this is the defining characteristic of sci-fi literature. Disaster, within and without.

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