Arts & Culture

Arts & culture

Browsing through a weighty new anthology called The Annotated African American Folk Tales is a journey across space and time. In one chapter called "Defiance and Desire," there's a section devoted to flying Africans, where there's a lyric that I was familiar with from a song Paul Robeson recorded many years ago — "All God's Chillun Got Wings."

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DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOHN LAURENCE: What kind of fighting is it going to be?

Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET

After five female comics accused Louis C.K. of inappropriate behavior involving masturbation, the comedian has admitted that the "stories are true."

C.K. expressed remorse and said he used his power "irresponsibly." His statement, and other elements of this post, contain language some may find offensive.

In 2003, Adam Davidson and Jen Banbury were living in Baghdad, working as reporters covering the Iraq War. And they were falling in love.

They went on vacation to Aleppo. This was before the city became the symbol of the devastation of the Syrian civil war, back when you might actually go there on vacation.

A friend put them in touch with a local photographer named Issa Touma. And Issa said, "While you're here, you have to go to this sandwich shop."

Benjamin Zander: How Does Music Transform Us?

Nov 10, 2017

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode How Art Changes Us.

About Benjamin Zander's TED Talk

Years of conducting a world-famous orchestra have shown Benjamin Zander the power of classical music. He says music speaks to our emotions — and has the ability to reach everybody.

About Benjamin Zander

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode How Art Changes Us.

About Magda Sayeg's TED Talk

From door handles to double-decker buses, Magda Sayeg "yarn bombs" inanimate objects by wrapping them in handmade knitting. She wants her bright, fuzzy artwork to make the world a little friendlier.

About Magda Sayeg

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode How Art Changes Us.

About Titus Kaphar's TED Talk

Western art contains countless paintings and sculptures that reveal a painful history of racism. We can't erase that history, but artist Titus Kaphar has begun the long and hard work of amending it.

About Titus Kaphar

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode How Art Changes Us.

About Dre Urhahn's TED Talk

Artists Dre Urhahn and Jeroen Koolhaas strive to change perceptions of "bad neighborhoods" by arming locals with paintbrushes and a vision: to turn their neighborhoods into open-air art galleries.

About Dre Urhahn

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode How Art Changes Us.

About eL Seed's TED Talk

Using Arabic calligraphy, eL Seed paints messages of hope on the sides of buildings. He says the beauty of Arabic script — even if you can't read it — can change negative perceptions of Arab culture.

About eL Seed

Here's something that may surprise you: Thanksgiving is just around the corner.

I know what you're thinking: Where did 2017 go? Wasn't it just Labor Day?

I know. I know!

But there's no turning back. Thanksgiving is nearly upon us and there's nothing we can do about it. The question is, are you prepared? Do you have your plans nailed down? Do you know if you are hosting family or friends? Have you figured out what you're cooking, if anything?

We're scattered to the winds this week, so we thought we'd dig one of our favorite episodes from last year out of the vault — the one in which we took a first look at two then-new broadcast television shows that continue to impress: This is Us on NBC, and Speechless on ABC.

If you close your eyes and listen to Joe Ide, you might think you were talking to a black man, a brother who knows his way around the neighborhood. The slang, the inflection. It's all there.

But Joe Ide is 100% Japanese-American.

And he has a simple explanation for why he sounds the way he sounds:

"Most of our friends [growing up] were black," he says.

A Colorful South LA Childhood

Ide (pronounced "EEE-day") grew up in South Los Angeles, with his extended family.

Ivy Pochoda begins her new novel almost like she's trying to break up the ho-hum of an everyday morning: In the middle of downtown traffic, there's a man jogging, without a care, through Los Angeles' crazy maze of freeways. And, oh yeah, he's totally naked. "He's just completely antithetical to everything that I imagine a morning commuter is up against," Pochoda says. "He's free, he's bucking the rules, and he's moving."

Pochoda's novel is called Wonder Valley, and it follows several different characters who all connect back to that mystery man on the freeway.

ABC's Grey's Anatomy might be the best show on television that TV critics rarely talk about.

Updated at 5:10 a.m. ET on Friday

Louis C.K. masturbated in front of multiple female colleagues, to their shock and dismay, according to women who spoke on the record to The New York Times about their experiences.

"Can we please stop with the remakes of Murder on the Orient Express?" I ask upon exiting Kenneth Branagh's fatally tepid new reading of the Agatha Christie classic.

The protagonist of Thelma is immensely powerful. But does teenage Thelma (Eili Harboe) derive this mojo from her budding sexuality? Does the woman, just beginning college in Oslo, squeeze demonic juice from rejecting her parents' austere Christianity? Is the small-town naif's chandelier-shaking force a medical matter?

Or is Thelma just a fledgling filmmaker?

There's always been a special, red-stained place in our culture for the splatter film, which has the unique power to reveal society's, um, insides.

But the current state of the world is threatening to put the genre out of work. John Waters's Serial Mom and Bobcat Goldthwait's God Bless America were both about everyday people going on murder sprees over petty grievances, but one came out in 1994 and the other in 2011, and in-between the concept of the out-of-nowhere mass shooter morphed from a horrifying anomaly to a fact of American life.

It was the Year of Our Lord Nineteen Hundred and Ninety-Seven when Frances McDormand collected her Academy Award for playing Marge Gunderson, the lovable pregnant cop heroine of Fargo. At that same time, Martin McDonagh was fast establishing himself as the savant terrible of the Irish and English stage, a brash and brilliant playwright who was more Noel Gallagher than Noel Coward — and more like a long-lost Coen Brother than either. Four of McDonagh caustic tragicomedies, all set in rural Ireland, premiered in 1996-7.

Chris Forsyth On World Cafe

Nov 9, 2017

After many albums over the last two decades with many and varied lineups — the band Peeseye, solo, in duo, amongst many other configurations — Chris Forsyth has settled down some, playing and releasing with The Solar Motel Band for a few albums now. That includes his latest, from this year, Dreaming In The Non-Dream.

For this session, recorded during a WXPN Free At Noon Concert at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, Pa., Forsyth brought his three-piece band, with Matt Stein on bass and Ryan Jewell on drums. Hear the interview and performance in the player above.

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Whether you saw the movie five years ago or 50 years ago, it doesn't take much to evoke "The Graduate."

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WALTER BROOKE: (As Mr. McGuire) Just one word.

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Graphic journalist and illustrator Wendy MacNaughton was browsing an antiquarian book fair on a Saturday morning in San Francisco when one book caught her eye. "It was open to a spread of a painting of a bowl of bright pink borscht in this gorgeous mint scalloped bowl. It had hand-lettered calligraphy recipes and it was absolutely exquisite," she recalls.

In a career spanning three decades, Beck has remained one of music's most intriguing shapeshifters. From the warped folk of his earliest recordings to the chopped-up samples, hip-hop beats and lush orchestral arrangements of albums that followed, Beck has never lingered in one sonic world for long.

It was only a matter of time before Hamilton mania invaded Romancelandia. Hamilton's Battalion — a new anthology from romance authors Courtney Milan, Rose Lerner and Alyssa Cole — features three novellas connected by Eliza Hamilton and her project to collect the stories of the soldiers who served in her husband's battalion at Yorktown. In the spirit of the musical, these novellas reflect the diversity of America today, though they set their stories during Hamilton's era. But true to the genre, the focus is always on the romantic relationship and a happy ever after.

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