Arts & Life

When the "On Air" lights went dark in NBC's Studio 8H early on Sunday, May 21, Taran Killam didn't realize he had just performed on Saturday Night Live for the last time. Later that summer, after six seasons of his seven-year contract, NBC didn't ask him back.

"It wasn't super negative," he tells NPR's It's Been A Minute. "It was just kind of messy."

As part of NASA's twins study, astronaut Scott Kelly spent a year in space while his twin brother, astronaut Mark Kelly, stayed on Earth. That year on the space station makes Scott Kelly the American record holder for consecutive days in space. To get through that year, he had a routine.

Richard Wilbur, the former poet laureate and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner renowned for his elegant, exquisitely crafted formal poetry has died at the age of 96.

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The National Sleep Foundation recommends an average of eight hours of sleep per night for adults, but sleep scientist Matthew Walker says that too many people are falling short of the mark.

"Human beings are the only species that deliberately deprive themselves of sleep for no apparent gain," Walker says. "Many people walk through their lives in an underslept state, not realizing it."

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Amy Tan loves jazz and classical music. "I have a Steinway, which was my life's dream," she says, sitting at her grand piano in the middle of her New York living room. When Tan listens to a piece of music, she imagines stories to go with it, so she always listens when she writes.

Actor Tom Hanks has made us believe he can be anyone and do anything on the big screen.

Now he's taking us on a journey on the page: Tom Hanks has written a book.

It's a collection of short stories, with varied subjects: a World War II veteran on Christmas Eve in 1953, a California surfer kid who makes an unsettling discovery. There's time travel. In every story, Hanks sneaks in the machine he's so obsessed with — the typewriter.

It was an improbable story, and yet, it's true. Ron Chernow's 2005 biography of a Caribbean orphan who became a Revolutionary War hero, and then one of the nation's most consequential founding figures, became not just a bestseller but the catalyst for one of the most successful Broadway hits of all time — Hamilton.

In the early 1980s, the BBC approached novelist Kazuo Ishiguro — this year's Nobel laureate for literature – and asked if he would write a television screenplay. He agreed, quit his day job, and wrote The Gourmetan absurdist, gothic satire about hunger in its many dimensions: physical, spiritual and sensual. His exploration of what food means to different sections of society — bread for the poor, a circus for the rich — is as strikingly relevant today as it was 30 years ago.

When Sandra Daugherty's father died unexpectedly at 73, there was no plan. The only thing the family knew was what Grady Ross Daugherty didn't want.

"He was really freaked out about cement liners," said Sandra. "Like this Tupperware container that you get placed in, in the ground. He hated the idea of that. But other than that no wishes. He would say just surprise me. With a twinkle in his eye."

She decided not to choose a standard funeral.

'Skinful Of Shadows' Delights Without Reservation

Oct 15, 2017

Fans of Frances Hardinge's Costa Award-winning book, The Lie Tree, will be delighted by this new portrait of a unique corner of British history, seen through the eyes of a girl who is too smart for the comfort of her time and circumstances.

When Johnny Fox was a boy, all his friends were obsessed with superheroes.

"Friends of mine were reading comics about Superman and Batman and I thought, 'You know, this is cartoons and made-up stories,' " he says. "I want a real superhero. There's got to be real superheroes out there."

When he was 8 or 9, his parents took him to the Eastern States Exposition near Springfield, Mass. That's where he found those real superheroes.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is internationally recognized for his massive, often provocative art installations. And yet, he's spent most of the past decade under house arrest for his persistent defense of free expression.

But as soon as his passport was reissued by the Chinese government a couple of years ago, Ai embarked on possibly his most ambitious project yet: documenting the global refugee crisis. The result of his cinematic journey, Human Flow, is out this week.

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has decided to expel Harvey Weinstein after the producer was accused of sexually assaulting and harassing at least three dozen women in extensively-reported articles that have appeared in The New York Times and The New Yorker magazine over the past two weeks.

In the wake of an emergency meeting Saturday, the academy's 54-member Board of Governors issued a statement saying:

'Lady Killers:' Cherchez La Femme Fatale

Oct 14, 2017

If I were a cheerier feminist — an upbeat, jolly, devil-may-care sort of feminist — I believe I would fall in love with this book. Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History would take its place alongside works about other exceptional females on my bookshelf, gynocentric efforts about Calamity Jane, Queen Boadicea, or Lady Jane Grey, who lost her head after only nine days on the English throne.

ASPCA's Find Your Fido

Oct 14, 2017
daveparker [Flickr]

October is Adopt-A-Dog Month, the perfect time to find a new companion to keep you company.  You'll be a hero to your new friend by saving its life and giving it a loving home.  You may not change the world, but it can make a world of difference for one dog.

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APR

During today's University of Alabama homecoming, members of the 1992 championship football team will be recognized for the 25th anniversary of their victory over Miami. Not every reunion of the 92' team was to bask in past gridiron glory. Click here for this APR story from 2012. Pat D.

Not every lesson on the football field involves passing or blocking.

For October: 3 Romance Heroes Who Bare It All

Oct 14, 2017

There's one thing romance heroes have in common — whether a brooding duke, a workaholic billionaire or reality TV hunk: They look really good with their shirts off. (Oh, and of course they also move heaven and earth to be with the heroine, once they finally admit their love for her.) These three romances are no exception.

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The End

Oct 13, 2017

In this final round, contestants must endure an impending letter trend that portends the end: every answer contains the letters "E-N-D" in consecutive order.

Heard On Adam Conover: Adam Fixes Everything

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Mystery Guest

Oct 13, 2017

This episode's mystery guest, Steve Baldwin, leads an unusual tour through Brooklyn. Can you guess his secret before Jonathan and Ophira do?

Heard On Adam Conover: Adam Fixes Everything

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Monkee Business

Oct 13, 2017

This music parody quiz is exactly as fun as a barrel of Monkees! We rewrote Monkees songs to be about other zoo animals. Hey hey, we're the Giraffes!

Heard On Adam Conover: Adam Fixes Everything

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

Spelling Bee Style

Oct 13, 2017

Way less A-W-K-W-A-R-D than your average middle school spelling bee. In this quiz, contestants need to identify a fashion label and then correctly spell the brand name.

Heard On Adam Conover: Adam Fixes Everything

Adam Conover: Adam Fixes Everything

Oct 13, 2017

Against his better judgment, comedian Adam Conover takes a shower every morning. As part of his lifelong quest to uncover the truth behind everyday assumptions, Conover learned something surprising about his daily habit. "The idea that you must bathe every day," he told host Ophira Eisenberg, "is, to a certain extent, a manufacture on the part of the soap industry." Eager to sell more products, companies promote the notion that showering less than once a day makes people unclean and unhealthy—despite evidence to the contrary.

Caller ID

Oct 13, 2017

In this audio quiz, we open up the Ask Me Another hotline to phone calls from TV and movie characters and musicians. After the famous callers say hello, contestants must answer questions about them.

Heard On Adam Conover: Adam Fixes Everything

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