Arts & Life

Shades Of Gray Turn Sumptuous In 'Chain Letter'

39 minutes ago

It's nice to see Farel Dalrymple flying again. Pop Gun War, the serial comic he wrote back in the early 2000s, revolved around Sinclair, a young boy who got a pair of wings that let him soar through an urban dreamscape — a city known only as "The City." Though grungy and often sad, The City was full of quirky possibilities. A dwarf in a tux and top hat grew taller than the skyscrapers. A large, floating, bespectacled goldfish hung around. A lonely man labeled everything in his apartment, even his own pants, "because people don't always know what things are."

A sinewy, grayish, vaguely human thing sits on the ice cap somewhere in the Arctic, before plunging into the water below. That's when a very unfortunate whaling vessel arrives and harpoons a whale, setting the thing on a rampage. It won't take long for readers put the pieces together: The creature is the Monster — as in Frankenstein's monster — and his encounter with the whaling ship sets him on a mission to destroy, pitting him against the humanity that rejected him centuries ago.

This story includes content some readers may find disturbing.

Who killed Sister Cathy Cesnik? The Baltimore nun and school teacher was murdered in 1969, and in the Netflix documentary series The Keepers, her students tell a troubling story of abuse by priests, alleged police complicity and a possible cover-up by the Catholic Church.

NPR's Audie Cornish talks with David Tamarkin, editor of the website Epicurious, about his recent project compiling a list of "The 100 Greatest Home Cooks of All Time."

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Several years ago, when Garrett Graff was working at Washingtonian magazine, a coworker brought him a lost ID badge that he'd found on the floor of a parking garage.

"It was a government ID for someone from the intelligence community, and he gave it to me since I write about that subject, and he's like, "I figure you can get this back to this guy,' " Graff recalls.

Contains spoilers for both Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad.

Two shows, two slow, inexorable descents into moral bankruptcy.

Over five seasons, from 2008 to 2013, Breaking Bad showed us feckless chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston) transforming — coalescing, really — into the coldly brutal drug-lord known as Heisenberg.

Scott McClanahan has built his career on defying expectations and blurring genres. The West Virginia author has been an indie-lit favorite for years, earning fans who admired his bizarre and often funny short fiction. In 2013, he gained something of a national profile following the publication of Crapalachia, a memoir, and Hill William, a novel. Though the genres were different, both critically acclaimed books drew from McClanahan's own sometimes troubled life.

Before we can talk about Eddie Izzard's new memoir, Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death and Jazz Chickens, we have to talk about the jazz chickens. Because of course, cows go "moo," sheep go "baa," and a chicken will cock-a-doodle-doo — unless you get tired of the racket and jam a trumpet over its head.

On his first day in the seventh grade, Sherman Alexie opened up his school-assigned math book and found his mother's maiden name written in it. "I was looking at a 30-year-old math book," he says — and that was the moment he knew that he needed to leave his home.

Mary Jekyll has never been more alone. Her father, Dr. Henry Jekyll, died 14 years ago, and her mother Ernestine has just passed away after going mad. Living in London in the 1890s, she's subject to the era's discrimination against women, which she confronts while trying to get her family's affairs in order. She soon realizes she's destitute — but her mother has left her clues to a bank account that lead to a girl named Diana Hyde.

President Trump has often accused the news media of not covering terrorist attacks adequately. In a speech in February he said, "Radical Islamic terrorists are determined to strike our homeland as they did on 9/11, as they did from Boston to Orlando to San Bernardino [...] It's gotten to a point where it's not even being reported."

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There's no rain in her clouds, no gray in her shadows; Maud Lewis' small paintings are bright with sunshine, and filled with blue skies, crystal snow and calm waters. Now, a new movie tells the true story of a painter from Nova Scotia whose joyful works hardly hint at the difficult life she led.

Maudie is the largely true story of a Canadian painter whose work was so exuberant, you'd never guess at the difficult life she lived. In her 30s when we meet her, Maud is tiny, bent of frame, fingers crippled by juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

As played by a plucky Sally Hawkins, she has been treated all her life as if she were a child. Which is precisely what her brother does, when he tells her she's going to have to stay with their Aunt Ida, now that he's sold their house out from under her.

"I'd look after it," she tells him.

Roxane Gay has finally written the book that she "wanted to write the least."

The author of Bad Feminist and Difficult Women says the moment she realized that she would "never want to write about fatness" was the same moment she knew this was the book she needed to write. The result is Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body.

One of the most glamorous creatures ever to grace the silver screen is back in pictures at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. A dazzling new exhibition features dozens of photographs of the seductive, German-born movie star Marlene Dietrich.

Actor Ben Falcone learned a lot about being a dad from his own father, Steve Falcone. For a while, Ben's mother worked and Steve was a stay-at-home dad. (He eventually landed a job at a local community college.)

"In that interim, it was tough," Steve says. "Of course it was tough. My wife was a genius at making do, feeding us beautifully with very little money."

It's a depressing question to ask on a Father's Day weekend: What does it mean that a superstar comic and philanthropist once "America's Dad" just saw his prosecution on sexual assault charges end in a mistrial?

The trial against Bill Cosby ended Saturday, when a deadlocked jury was unable to reach a verdict on three counts of aggravated indecent assault after several days of deliberations. Until and unless the jurors speak, we won't know if just one or two of them declined to convict or if there was more widespread disagreement.

Conservatives won't have Julius Caesar to kick around anymore.

The latest production in the Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park series is closing Sunday — presumably bringing an end to demonstrations outside of the Delacorte Theater but unlikely to quell the raging debates over exactly whom is entitled to free speech, under what circumstances and over the limits of artistic expression. Those debates are not likely to subside, especially as the appetite for creative works tackling an array of political themes continues to grow.

Obscuring census data to give "conservative districts more than their fair share of representation." Preventing access to the vote.

When we are facing a challenge in life, we're often encouraged to talk about it with a confidante, a family member or to seek professional counsel like a therapist. But some people find more comfort in silence.

In her new memoir, Sit, Walk, Don't Talk, Jennifer Howd takes readers into the world of silent meditation retreats, where, as you may imagine, there's scarcely any talking.

Howd says the practice of mediation is a viable option for pretty much anyone seeking an escape from our sometimes too-noisy world.

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We recorded our show in Detroit this week, so we've invited Andrew Farah, chief technological officer at General Motors, to play our quiz.

We'll play a game called "See the USA, in an Aging Comedian." Sure, Farah knows a lot about Chevys, but what does he know about Chevy Chase?

Click the listen link above to find out.

Buzbeto [Flickr]

There are a few tips if you want to take your dog to work.  First make sure that it's okay with your boss, and that none of your coworkers have pet allergies.  Your pet should be healthy and up to date on all its shots, and well behaved.  And puppy-proof your work area so your furry buddy doesn't have access to  electrical cords or poisonous substances (like plants).    

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John Avildsen, the man behind the camera for a string of beloved blockbusters in the 1970s and '80s, died Friday at age 81. The Oscar-winning director of Rocky and The Karate Kid died of pancreatic cancer in Los Angeles, his son Anthony told The Los Angeles Times.

Ignorance is Strength, War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Big Brother is Watching: 1984 has come to Broadway. George Orwell's dystopian novel tells the story of a man who works at the Ministry of Truth creating fake news for a totalitarian regime. The stage adaptation opens in New York on Friday.

After a recent performance of 1984, Dorit Friedman, a doctor from Great Neck, N.Y., says she was stuck by how contemporary the story feels. "Big Brother is watching us, that's for sure ..." she says. "Little did we know that that was going to be reality."

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