Arts/Life

Arts and culture

'Sweetbitter' Sings With Innocence And Experience

1 hour ago

For Keats, joy was a grape bursting in the mouth: sudden, flooding, and sweet. And, of course, impermanent. Food and feeling are natural partners; this debut novel, set in a Manhattan restaurant, is a feast of both.

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Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

By the time his first memoir, Fresh Off The Boat, came out in 2013, Eddie Huang was really hitting his stride. His New York restaurant, Baohaus — which serves gua bao, or Taiwanese hamburgers — was doing really well. His TV show, Huang's World, was taking him all over the world.

So, this is happening: Some white supremacists have anointed Taylor Swift an "Aryan goddess," claiming that she secretly espouses far-right beliefs and is waiting for Donald Trump's ascension to the presidency to make her true views known.

There are six giant superhero movies out this year: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Captain America: Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse, Doctor Strange, Deadpool and Suicide Squad.

Now guess how many are directed by women.

If you guessed zero, you're correct!

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

In the opening scenes of Athina Rachel Tsangari's Chevalier, six well-heeled Greek men on a fishing trip pose with the massive bream they've just caught in a scenic cove off the Aegean sea. We see them help each other out of their wetsuits while amiably joshing about who has the biggest this, that and the other. Affability soon fades, and once the luxury boat weighs anchor and sets out on the return trip to Athens, the men will enter into a bizarre and increasingly hostile competition that will strip them of much more than their rubber gear.

X-Men: Apocalypse, the sixth X-movie in 16 years (give or take a couple of Wolverine solo flicks and the breakout spinoff Deadpool) begins and ends with wearying campaigns of computer-animated mayhem. Pyramids, then skyscrapers dissolve. The body count must be high, but the stakes feel low.

There's No Wonder Left For 'Alice'

May 26, 2016

We're not in Wonderland anymore, if indeed we ever were. Most likely, we'd already left it far behind with the 2010 Tim Burton reshuffling of Alice in Wonderland. That smash hit repurposed elements from both of Lewis Carroll's Alice books, including sequel Through the Looking-Glass, while setting the action around a 20-year-old Alice (brave soldier Mia Wasikowska) returning to the land of her childhood dreams.

Writer-director Hany Abu-Assad doesn't tell simple stories, even when he does. His latest, The Idol, is about a man who wins a talent contest, a narrative that's elementary enough for "reality" TV. But the singer is a Palestinian from the blockaded Gaza Strip, and his success is a triumph over his own culture as much as anything else.

The original Roots miniseries, based on the 1976 Alex Haley novel tracing his own family tree from African tribal life to American slavery and freedom, was a phenomenon.

ABC showed it over consecutive nights in January 1977, not because it was expected to earn huge ratings but because network executives were afraid it wouldn't. So they crammed the entire miniseries into an eight-day prime-time marathon, which aired, by coincidence, during a massive winter storm that snowed in much of the Northeast.

"Too Tough to Die." Those words are tattooed on Cass Neary, the antihero of Elizabeth Hand's crime-novel series that began with Generation Loss and continued with Available Dark and the new Hard Light. Where those words are inked — and why Cass chose to put them there — is one of the many jagged, tragic details that make the series so compelling: In the early '80s, at the age of 23, Cass was stabbed and raped. Her tattoo covers the scar she incurred that night — and in a perverse way, it also proudly tags it. (Not that she dwells on it.)

In the late 1980s, Moby was drawn to what he calls "the dirty mecca" of New York City. As a DJ and electronic musician, he was a staple of the rave scene: massive crowds dancing until dawn, probably under the influence of a substance or two, all moving as one to his songs.

Artist Georgia O'Keeffe didn't spend her entire career painting large, lavish flowers.

The curator of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, N.M., says that comes as a surprise to many people. Now, the museum has purchased The Barns, Lake George, a rarely seen 1926 abstract painting that makes the point and helps the institution tell more of her story.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

When Justin Cronin pitched his Passage trilogy — which began with The Passage in 2010, continued with The Twelve in 2012 and is now finishing with The City Of Mirrors — it must have been one of the easiest buys in the history of publishing. It's a post-apocalyptic sci-fi western with vampires is all he would've had to say. And then waited for the publishers to line up and throw money at him.

It was the tasting that revolutionized the wine world.

Forty years ago today, the crème de la crème of the French wine establishment sat in judgment for a blind tasting that pitted some of the finest wines in France against unknown California bottles. Only one journalist bothered to show up — the outcome was considered a foregone conclusion.

"Obviously, the French wines were going to win," says George Taber, who was then a correspondent for Time magazine in Paris. He says everyone thought "it's going to be a nonstory."

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Things are going well for Marc Maron. He has a new comedy special; he has interviewed both President Obama and Saturday Night Live's Lorne Michaels on his podcast, WTF; and his IFC show, Maron, is in its fourth season.

"The way kids speak today, I'm here to tell you." Over the course of history, every aging generation has made that complaint, and it has always turned out to be overblown. That's just as well. If the language really had been deteriorating all this time, we'd all be grunting like bears by now.

[Note: This is where a spoiler warning would usually go, but in this case, the warning is this: it's a post about The Bachelorette. You should only read it if you're interested in a post about The Bachelorette.

In his recent book, The Finest Traditions of My Calling, Dr. Abraham Nussbaum, 41, makes the case that doctors and patients alike are being shortchanged by current medical practices that emphasize population-based standards of care rather than individual patient needs and experiences.

Nussbaum, a psychiatrist, is the chief education officer at Denver Health Medical Center and works on the adult inpatient psychiatric unit there. I recently spoke with him, and this is an edited transcript of our conversation.

'Smoke' Is A Gloriously Murky Vision Of The Past

May 24, 2016

"There's no more hateful smell in the world than the smell of Smoke," writes Dan Vyleta in his compelling new novel, Smoke. "Smoke" is capitalized for a reason — and a sinister one at that. In Vyleta's grim, deliriously imagined vision of early-20th-century England, living human bodies produce Smoke (and Soot) according to their guilt.

There are over 3 million people of Filipino heritage living in the U.S., and many say they relate better to Latino Americans than other Asian American groups. In part, that can be traced to the history of the Philippines, which was ruled by Spain for more than 300 years. That colonial relationship created a cultural bond that persists to this day.

It's the topic of the book The Latinos of Asia: How Filipino Americans Break the Rules of Race. Author Anthony Ocampo spoke about the book with Morning Edition's Renee Montagne.

Susan Silverman, the older sister of the irreverent comic Sarah Silverman, grew up with a crippling fear of losing people she loved. Her fear wasn't completely unfounded: When she was 2, her infant brother Jeffrey died inexplicably in his crib.

Give the man credit: Congressman Anthony Weiner, having inspired countless headline puns a few years back when he was caught texting crotch shots, put himself out there when most people would've run for cover.

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