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Arts/Life

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The In Crowd

Nov 17, 2017

If you want to win Ask Me Another, just channel the Arthur theme song and "Believe in Yourself." Case in point: We challenged our contestants to a final round in which every answer is a three-word phrase with the middle word "in."

Heard On Mozhan Marnò: Diaries, Screenplays, And Blacklists

Mystery Guest

Nov 17, 2017

We spoke to Chloe Swantner, who practices an unusual craft. Can you solve the mystery before Ophira and Jonathan figure it out?

Heard On Mozhan Marnò: Diaries, Screenplays, And Blacklists

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Sounds Like Teen Spirit

Nov 17, 2017

Finally, a game that combines the glitz of bromocriptine with the glamour of phosphocreatine! We rewrote Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" to be about other things that end with "teen."

Heard On Mozhan Marnò: Diaries, Screenplays, And Blacklists

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Simple Solutions

About Wendy Troxel's TED Talk

Sleep expert Wendy Troxel says teens are sleep-deprived because of early school start times that cater to adults. She says high schools should start classes at least an hour later.

About Wendy Troxel

We get a lot of movies about America's racist past, but Mudbound tackles a part of our history that its siblings tend to overlook: the Jim Crow South. Apart from The Color Purple, it can be tough to find a dramatic representation of black life from the time period. From a storytelling standpoint, Jim Crow was lacking in both the obvious visual shackles of slavery and the easy catharsis of Civil Rights victories, so you can see why filmmakers might not be so easily drawn to it: Mere bigotry, on its own, isn't "movie" enough.

A guy walks into an Alaska bar at night. The bar is called Chums, and his two pals are deep in heated discussion about an upcoming election and the fabulous age of business dominance to come in its wake. The dialogue is not played for winks at the audience, and Sweet Virginia is not, now or later, one of those jokey neo-noirs that keeps poking the genre in the ribs. Next thing you know, a stranger — young, good-looking, intense — comes in demanding the Early Bird Special.

At one point during Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond — Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton, a documentary about Jim Carrey and the making of Andy Kaufman biopic Man on the Moon, Carrey gets emotional when asked about his father. Carrey remembers his dad as the funniest person in the room and a brilliant saxophonist who gave up his musical ambitions in order to care for his family. Then he lost his job as an accountant at 51 and it broke him. He hadn't just failed to achieve his dreams. He failed at the compromise.

'Wonder': Why?

Nov 16, 2017

Life is hard for the Pullmans, the affluent Brooklyn family at the heart of the watchable but underachieving Wonder — or at least that's what this semi-comic weepie sets out to demonstrate. Yet the Pullmans' troubles, which stem from their youngest member's medical condition, turn out to be as superficial as the boy's disability.

'Justice League' Is Just OK

Nov 16, 2017

Howard Hawks, whose four-dozen-feature filmography didn't include a single superhero flick, had a formula for success: "Three great scenes and no bad ones." Justice League, the DC Comics movie-verse's inevitable all-star-charity-single-team-up catch-up movie, has at least three pretty good scenes and, um ... maybe we can just talk about those for a while. They're enough to average things out to roughly a C-grade B-movie wherein all involved fully satisfy their contractual obligations. Isn't that inspiring?

In 1963, Alfred Hitchcock had a huge amount of power in Hollywood. That's when he plucked actress Tippi Hedren from relative obscurity to star in his new movie, The Birds. It was a big break for Hedren.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Last night, someone spent the most money in history on a work of art at Christie's auction house in New York.

JUSSI PYLKKANEN: Four-hundred million.

(CHEERING, APPLAUSE)

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ELISE HU, HOST:

Actress Greta Gerwig has made a career starring in movies about quirky women. She played a driftless dancer in Frances Ha and a punk photographer in 20th Century Women. Now she's written and directed her first film, an exploration of mother-daughter relationships called Lady Bird.

"I don't know any woman who has a simple relationship with their mother or with their daughter," Gerwig says. "It has a tremendous amount of love — and a tremendous amount of angst."

A swaggering vampire, a ghost detective with an existential crisis, and various members from a particularly deadpan subset of the animal kingdom share snapshots of their lives in cartoonist Reza Farazmand's latest collection, Comics for a Strange World.

"I'm sure there's a proportional response of weirdness [in the comics] to the weirdness that's going on in the world," Farazmand told NPR.

The Troublesome Universe Of 'Valiant Dust'

Nov 16, 2017

They say that all science fiction stories are tales of today, dolled up with ray guns and spaceships to make them more palatable. That they're all muddled messes of our modern politics and current fears, our hopes for distant sweet endings cut with the arsenic cynicism of actually living in the present moment.

Chris Scott spent 13 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit.

Before his time in jail, he led a quiet, domestic life with his two sons and his girlfriend.

Then his life became a nightmare. Scott constantly worried for his safety. He learned to cope in prison, but he knew he had to stay out of trouble, because if his innocence was proved, he wanted to be able to walk free.

A portrait of Christ by Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci has shattered all previous records for artworks sold at auction or privately, fetching a whopping $450.3 million on Wednesday at Christie's in New York.

Salvator Mundi (Savior of the World) is one of only a score of Leonardo's works still in existence and the only one held privately.

Updated at 11:05 p.m. ET

At a glitzy gala in New York City on Wednesday night, four writers emerged with one of the world's most illustrious literary prizes, the National Book Award: Jesmyn Ward's Sing, Unburied, Sing, won for fiction; Masha Gessen's The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia, for nonfiction; Frank Bidart's Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016, for poetry; and Robin Benway's Far from the Tree, for young people's literature.

On Oct. 5, The New York Times published an article detailing alleged sexual misconduct by film executive Harvey Weinstein that dated back nearly three decades.

The article featured evidence and interviews describing a pattern in which the film producer would invite young women to a business meeting, sometimes in his hotel room, and then sexually assault or harass them.

Jeff Stevens decided to give up alcohol when he was 24.

He's 50 now — and he's had no regrets about going sober for the sake of his health. Except for one thing: He has really missed good beer.

"If you're drinking, you have an infinite amount of things you can drink," Stevens says. Shelves are full of craft IPAs, stouts and bitters. "Whereas only about half the bars I've been to have a non-alcoholic beer. And if they do, it's usually just one choice."

Andy Weir's debut novel, The Martian, was an unrepeatable success story, largely because its path to the bestseller lists was so unconventional. Weir posted it as a free serial on his website, then self-published it as a 99-cent e-novel. His Kindle sales led Podium Publishing to create an audiobook version before a physical edition existed.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Before I finally picked up and read Louise Erdrich's new novel, called Future Home of the Living God, there was a mighty obstacle that had to be faced — an obstacle called The Handmaid's Tale. After Margaret Atwood's magisterial achievement, is there really room for another dystopian feminist novel about the overthrow of democracy by a Christian fundamentalist regime that enslaves fertile women and reduces them to simple vessels of procreation?

The somewhat unsettling answer is "Sure!"

Growing up, twin brothers Ross and Matt Duffer loved movies — especially Tim Burton's Batman. In fact, the creators of the Netflix series Stranger Things 2 credit Burton — and his over-the-top style — with inspiring them to try their hands at filmmaking.

"Tim Burton — he's not exactly a subtle filmmaker," Ross Duffer says. "I mean that in a good way. ... I remember as a kid even you can go, 'Someone is behind all of this. It's the same person who is doing Beetlejuice, who's doing Batman.'"

The provocative title is hard to ignore, and so is the book's cover. Seen from afar, it appears to be called Why I'm No Longer Talking About Race, which is intriguing enough on its own. You have to look closer to see To White People hiding underneath it in debossed letters. It's a striking visual representation of white people's blindness to everyday, structural racism — one of the central ideas that British journalist and feminist Reni Eddo-Lodge presents in her debut collection of essays.

Louise Erdrich is, without a doubt, one of America's greatest novelists. Her genius was evident early in her career — her 1984 debut novel, Love Medicine, drew considerable critical acclaim and earned her a National Book Critics Circle Award. In the following years, she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for The Plague of Doves, and won a National Book Award for The Round House.

Jeff Melton is an unabashed fan of professional wrestling.

As part of Morning Edition's exploration of how fandoms help shape identity, our producers spent a night amid the smoke, strobes, spandex and screaming fans at a pro wrestling match with Melton, 40, and his friend Adrian Rohr, 42, who had traveled four hours from Charlotte, N.C., to Atlanta.

It hit him one day riding his bicycle on the hard sand at the beach during a family vacation. He had taken this ride plenty of times before.

But this time was different for Joe Biden.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Becoming a fan of something often means becoming a part of a community. And finding that group of like-minded people can feel like finding a place you truly belong. Other times, that community isn't all that welcoming.

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