Arts & Life

On The Seventh Day, They Played Soccer

9 hours ago

Jim McKay used to walk into video stores back in the 1990s, where he'd see versions of himself: white males, in all kinds of movies. Then he tried to imagine being someone else.

"You'd go in these aisles, and you'd see box after box after box of VHSes," McKay says. "And you'd just realize, like, for [a] young woman [of color], there's nothing there. She's not there. You're really not visible."

Comic Bo Burnham was still in high school when the satirical songs he posted on the Internet went viral — making him one of YouTube's first stars. Now 27, he's taken a turn behind the camera with a new film, Eighth Grade, that looks at what it's like to grow up in the age of social media.

The film centers on a socially awkward 13-year-old girl named Kayla who's navigating the final year of middle school. Burnham says the character was inspired by a period in his early 20s when he was dealing with panic attacks onstage.

Marco Antonio Guerrero was different from a young age — "pensive, inventive, intrepid but also full of love."

He teaches himself anatomy from library books, is exhilarated by the challenge of learning how car engines work, and studies Arthurian legends, quantum mechanics, world wars. But after he loses control of the family business to a half-sister, he falls into a deep depression, slipping away from his young daughters.

I have this dog. His name is Brian, and he's a whippet, plus some other skinny-dog ingredients. He looks like this.

Nelson Mandela, who died in 2013, would have been 100 years old on Wednesday. A new book is out to mark the occasion, The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela.

These deeply personal letters, many to his wife, his children and his closest friends, have never previously been published.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

The genius of Megan Abbott's previous bestselling novels (You Will Know Me, The Fever, Bury Me Deep) lies in acknowledging that strong women cannot escape the web of patriarchy. And Abbott knows: Just because we currently push our girl children towards STEM classes and careers doesn't mean they are immune to the same cultural pressures to which they've always been subjected. A woman who is a scientist remains a female raised in our male-dominated society.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Growing up in North London in the 1960s and '70s, Viv Albertine never dreamed that one day she'd be a rock star. For one thing, she says, "There [were] just no role models ... I never heard of anyone, any female playing guitar."

Eventually she did learn of female rockers, including Suzi Quatro and The Runaways. But Albertine says she "was aware of how constructed they were by male managers."

More than three years after a white supremacist opened fire in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., killing nine worshippers, an architect has revealed a design for a memorial at the church.

The design by Michael Arad features two large and curving stone benches, a gentle fountain and a garden space "dedicated to life and resiliency."

Arad, along with landscape architect Peter Walker, designed the Sept. 11 memorial in New York City after he won an international design competition.

Grossed out by that maggot squirming in your apple?

Your ancestors weren't. In fact, they probably would have popped the offending creature into their mouths and relished its savory flavor.

At least, that's what Julie Lesnik thinks. Lesnik is an assistant professor of anthropology at Wayne State University. She studies how people (and their prehistoric relatives) have gathered, farmed, and cooked insects for food.

A new film about Robin Williams begins with his appearance on Inside the Actors Studio with James Lipton. Lipton says: "How do you explain the mental reflexes that you deploy with such awesome speed? Are you thinking faster than the rest of us? What the hell is going on?" Williams first makes a goggle-eyed face, but then he falls over sideways, like an embarrassed kid, curling up and cackling. And then, of course, he does precisely the thing Lipton is asking about: a flurry of movements, voices, bits, fragments of thoughts flying by — fragments riffing on his own thinking.

Sacha Baron Cohen has two basic shticks that he uses in his new Showtime show Who Is America?, which premiered Sunday night. One of them works well, and the other one doesn't. Unfortunately, of the four segments in the premiere, he uses the effective strategy once and the ineffective one three times.

Those unfamiliar with Cohen's past work in films like Borat and Bruno need only to know that what he does, in short, is interview (and interact with) people while inhabiting various absurd alter egos. It's a prank show, for all intents and purposes.

Ecological statistics pertaining to bees carry a sting: More than 75 percent of the world's 115 primary crops require pollination or thrive better through interaction with pollinators.

Bees are the primary pollinators in the animal kingdom, yet sudden and massive die-offs of these insects began in 2006 and continue now, with a 30 percent annual loss reported by North American beekeepers.

Suspense writer Megan Abbott has been busy lately. She's been writing for HBO's The Deuce, and adapting two of her own books for television.

This week, her most recent novel, Give Me Your Hand is out — it's the story of two young, brilliant, female scientists named Kit and Diane. The two women were friends in high school, but when Diane shares a dark secret, the friendship is torn apart.

Pictures Of The Motherland He Never Knew

Jul 15, 2018

For years, artist Mahtab Hussain struggled with how to describe himself. British. British-Pakistani. Kashmiri. British Asian. The 37-year-old was born in Glasgow and grew up mostly in the British city of Birmingham — but from a young age was told he didn't belong.

"Everyone used to say, like, Pakis go home," he says of the racism he faced as a child. "Or 'what did ET do that the Pakis didn't? Go home.'"

"It just made me really hate who I was and made me hate the color of my skin. It made me want to really reject my own culture," he adds.

I may be a writer and performer now, but I graduated from USC with a degree in chemistry — so when Meredith Goldstein's Chemistry Lessons popped up on my radar, I was immediately intrigued. Finally! A super nerdy female main character I can connect with! And a plot with a romantic twist? Fun! Sign me up!

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Pet Fire Safety

Jul 14, 2018
Dan4th (Dan4th Nicholas) [Flickr]

One of the best ways to keep your pet safe is to keep your home safe.  And often, one of the best ways to keep your home safe may be to keep your pet from dangerous situations that could cause a fire!

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For decades, people living in Zimbabwe have been taught that speaking their minds comes at a cost. Under former president Robert Mugabe, an authoritarian ruler who held power for more than 37 years, openly challenging the government meant risking arrest, beating or worse. There's still a law on the books that makes insulting the president a crime.

It's the summer of 2008, and Andrei Kaplan doesn't have a whole lot going for him in New York. Money's tight, his girlfriend dumped him, and, at 33, his academic career has stalled. So, at the urging of his brother, he returns to Russia, where he was born, to take care of his aging grandmother, Baba Seva.

In her first novel, Swallowing Geography, the English novelist and playwright Deborah Levy described a character becoming "many selves in order to survive. Through observation, study, and meditation she taught herself to change from one self to another, from one state to another." It's an early, tossed-off line, but it predicts Levy's whole body of work. Over and over, this is the story she tells: First a woman learns to change selves, and then she chooses, defiantly, to be the one self she likes best.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

“Land of Grace”

Author: Mike Burrell 

Publisher: Livingston Press

Pages: 253

Price: $23.95 (Hardcover)

Mike Burrell of Birmingham has had for years the itch to write fiction but practicing law was an impediment. Now retired, he has taken the MFA in writing from Queens University, published a handful of stories and now produced his debut novel, “Land of Grace.”

Darlene Love: From Background to Limelight

Jul 13, 2018

When the creators of the 2013 documentary 20 Feet From Stardom began envisioning a film focused on backup singers, one name kept coming up: Darlene Love. Among fans and musicians alike, Love had a sterling reputation as one of music's legendary, if still somewhat under-celebrated voices performing behind the biggest acts. So after speaking to Love, director Morgan Neville said he was finally convinced that he could make an entire movie on the topic, one that heavily showcased Love's long-winding career and countless behind-the-scenes stories.

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Why We Hate.

About Anand Giridharadas' TED Talk

Anand Giridharadas spent two years researching a man who committed a string of hate crimes after 9/11. Along the way, he uncovered a striking story of mercy from an unlikely source: the man's victim.

About Anand Giridharadas

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Why We Hate.

About Dylan Marron's TED Talk

Before starting his podcast, Dylan Marron thought the only way to fight hate was to shut down opposing viewpoints. But after calling several of his trolls, he realized conversation was much more effective.

About Dylan Marron

Sally Kohn: What Is The Opposite Of Hate?

Jul 13, 2018

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Why We Hate.

About Sally Kohn's TED Talk

Political commentator Sally Kohn wanted to understand why people hate. She traveled the world tracking down stories of hatred - but along the way, discovered an uncomfortable truth about her own past.

About Sally Kohn

Christian Picciolini: How Do You Unlearn Hatred?

Jul 13, 2018

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Why We Hate.

About Christian Picciolini's TED Talk

As a teenager, Christian Picciolini joined a violent neo-Nazi group. But he began to question his hateful beliefs when strangers offered him something unexpected: compassion.

About Christian Picciolini

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