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Arts/Life

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Conservation photographer Paul Nicklen has spent more than two decades documenting the ice and wildlife in some of the most inhospitable places on Earth — the Arctic and the Antarctic.

Years ago, when my mother-in-law was fighting what would turn out to be a losing battle with breast cancer, she was riding in a golf cart with my two small children when her wig blew off, briefly exposing her head, as bald as a golf ball. My daughter's eyes grew wide with alarm, but my mother-in-law quickly defused the moment with extraordinary aplomb: "Bet you can't do that with your hair, can you?"

Photography documents life — and food, whether in the fore or background, seems to always be in the picture. The two intersect in a new book, Feast for the Eyes, written by photography curator Susan Bright and published by Aperture.

Here's a classic scene from a telenovela.

It's the funeral of a very rich man whose heirs are battling over his fortune. An indignant woman says to a female guest: "You are disrupting the service. Who else would you be saving this seat for other than Richard Juma's second wife?"

Wonder Woman was a box office smash on its opening weekend, raking in more than $100 million domestically — a new record for a movie directed by a woman.

Deadline reported Monday that the final tally for the film was $103.1 million, even higher than the initial Sunday estimates.

That handily defeats the previous record for a movie directed by a woman — $85.1 million for Sam Taylor-Johnson's Fifty Shades of Grey.

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Alan Alda's father wanted him to become a doctor, but it wasn't meant to be. "I failed chemistry really disastrously ... " Alda says. "I really didn't want to be a doctor; I wanted to be a writer and an actor."

Which is exactly what happened, but Alda didn't leave science behind entirely. His new book, If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?, is all about communication — and miscommunication — between scientists and civilians.

The idea of reading a stranger's diary is thrilling, clandestine, a promise — that their inner life will roll out before you like a carpet, that you'll finally find out if other people feel the way you do.

And I love to read the journals of writers — Virginia Woolf's melancholy and precise pages, or George Eliot's nonchalant lists of Greek texts she'd read like other people read the newspaper.

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Typically, India's Bollywood film industry depicts older women as maternal and virtuous. Younger ones often are eye candy, propping up male leads. But a recent crop of films is showing more complex female characters, training a spotlight exclusively on the lives of women — and, even more unusually, on their sexuality.

This is the story of a 61-foot-tall duck that is being called a counterfeit of a different giant duck, which itself is a replica of a beloved bath toy.

Got that? Here we go.

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A mother leaves her 9-year-old son locked in an airless apartment for a week with no food, water or light. He breaks out through a window, and police find him weak and bleeding; they also find his mother passed out in a nearby crack house.

Objects in the Mirror, a new play from American playwright Charles Smith, seems ripped from the headlines. It's about a young man who escapes war-torn Liberia only to confront new dangers and an identity crisis in Australia, the country where he found shelter.

It begins the way all great stories should: with a boy, a girl, a shotgun and a cheap motel room. 300 lightning bolt pages later, it ends the same way — a girl, a boy and a gun.

And in between White Fur, the new novel from Jardine Libaire, is ... I don't know what it is. Not so much a story as a fable. A fairy tale of love and class and money and death and New York City in the 1980's, as seen through eyes so new and so young that everything seems like magic all the time.

One taco is good, but two tacos are better. By that reasoning, hundreds of tacos should be incredible.

And Mike Sutter, food critic for the San Antonio Express-News, is now about halfway through his "365 Days of Tacos" quest to eat at a different taco joint every day for a year. So far, he's consumed about 700 tacos.

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Hayao Miyazaki's many fans worldwide just got an unexpected gift.

Studio Ghibli, the animation firm co-founded by the beloved anime director, plans to build a theme park dedicated to one of his most famous creations: My Neighbor Totoro. Hideaki Omura — governor of Japan's Aichi Prefecture, where the park is scheduled to open in 2020 — announced the plan at a news conference Thursday.

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In the dense megacities of East Asia, millions of people dwell in high-rises with very little green space. This isn't an ideal setting to raise big dogs or more unusual pets. Cramped quarters aren't great for domesticated pets in general.

If you were just passing by Sam Durant's huge wooden structure in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, you could easily mistake it for a two-story high jungle gym. Indeed, it's designed to be climbed and explored.

"Maybe you are not sure quite what it is, but it looks interesting, it looks playful," Durant explained in a 2014 video. "It's something that kids might think of as, yeah, a big jungle gym kind of thing."

Anna (Zoe Lister-Jones) and Ben (Adam Pally) are fighting. The young Los Angeles couple bickers long and loud in unprintable expletives about dirty dishes, interfering mothers, his laziness, her incessant judgments and, of course, sex (not enough) in their shaky 10-year marriage. Band Aid is a comedy, and though the jokes are out-there funny on and off (a toddler named Isis has a cameo), half an hour in you may wish this quarrelsome pair would take it outside.

You know what a performative utterance is, even if you've never heard the term before. "I now pronounce you" at a wedding is one; "I christen this ship" is another. Performative utterance carries a particular power — it's the thing you want to make true.

And performative utterance is at the heart of Brittney C. Cooper's Beyond Respectability, which profiles several black feminist intellectuals who not only fought against the idea of "respectability" as a prerequisite for being heard, but against the tendency of white feminists and black men to erase their contributions.

Princess Diana of Themyscira was sculpted from clay by her mother, Queen Hippolyta, brought to life by Aphrodite and bequeathed her superhuman powers by the Greek gods. Over the 75 years she has been kept off the big screen, her fitful appearances on the small screen, most notably in the Lynda Carter TV series and on animated shows like Super Friends and Justice League, have made it easy to forget that Wonder Woman is not one of us.

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The poet Tess Taylor left her home in California last winter to spend this semester teaching in Northern Ireland. She says she's felt poetry come to life and is learning about the value of place.

On a sidewalk in the Village in downtown Manhattan, an African-American woman leans on her elbows and knees, wearing only black underpants. Scrawled in black marker all over her body are the words "Ain't I a Woman?"

Across the street, another woman lies face down, sunbathing on a large sheet of tinfoil. The sentence "White Supremacy Is Terrorism" is inked across her white skin, which is turning pink under the hot sun.

Nearby, a young, black man is kneeling. His body is wrapped in duct tape inscribed with the phrase "Black People Die in Public."

It all started when a director and producer from a tiny theater in Portland, Ore., posted a message on Facebook; he was outraged that the Edward Albee estate wouldn't grant him rights to produce Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? because he'd cast a black actor in one of the roles. His post went viral, and a firestorm ensued.

Humorist David Sedaris admits that his latest work, Theft by Finding, isn't exactly the book he set out to publish. It was originally meant to be a collection of funny diary entries, but then Sedaris' editor had a suggestion that changed its course.

"My editor said, 'Why don't you go back to the very beginning and find things that aren't necessarily funny and put those in as well?' " Sedaris says. "Soon those [entries] outweighed the funny ones, and the funny ones seemed almost over-produced, so I got rid of a lot of them."

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