Arts & Life

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'Stars' Is A Sequel That Goes A Bit Askew

Jul 16, 2016

Remember when Star Wars Episode 1 came out, and it was pretty much all about trade negotiations and senate debates (with the occasional pod race or poop joke to liven things up)? Well if you were one of those people sitting in the theater on opening day, reading the introductory crawl and thinking to yourself, Yes! I've always wondered about monetary policy and the influence of the trade federation on the internal politics of the Republic! then boy do I have a book for you.

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Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

When You're A Nomad, You Need Portable Art

Jul 15, 2016

Think of it as art to go — and on the go.

Where Does Consciousness Come From?

Jul 15, 2016

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode What Makes Us ... Us

About John Searle's TED Talk

Philosopher John Searle argues that consciousness is what makes us human. He makes the case for studying consciousness and accepting it as a biological phenomenon.

About John Searle

John Searle has contributed to contemporary thinking about consciousness, language, artificial intelligence and rationality.

Are You Ready To Take The 'Human' Test?

Jul 15, 2016

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode What Makes Us ... Us

About Ze Frank's TED Talk

If you've ever wondered: Am I human? — humorist Ze Frank offers an idiosyncratic quiz that can help provide the answer.

About Ze Frank

In 2001, Humorist and web artist Ze Frank's party invite to 17 friends — "How To Dance Properly" — went viral.

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode What Makes Us ... Us

About Steven Pinker's TED Talk

Psychologist Steven Pinker describes how far we've come in understanding how both nature and nurture make us ... us.

About Steven Pinker

How Will 'Cut And Paste' Technology Rewrite Our DNA?

Jul 15, 2016

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode What Makes Us ... Us

About Sam Sternberg's TED Talk

Biochemist Sam Sternberg describes how recent developments in gene editing technology may help end many diseases and even control our own evolution.

About Sam Sternberg

Welcome to the second installment of Read, Watch, Binge! our summer recommendation series. As you may recall from last month's list, we were tired of algorithms that only matched books to books or movies to movies. So this month, we've enlisted the help of real live humans to pair books with movies, musicals, TV, comics, podcasts and more.

Tony Robbins is huge. Really: the life coach/motivational speaker/practical psychologist/whatever-you-want-to-call-him stands 6'7" in his socks. He's built an empire to match — one that includes an apparently vast global following and a raft of best-selling books on how to do almost anything. His packed seminars sell for $5,000 a pop to those with problems common enough, sensational enough, or devastating enough to merit a life-makeover from Robbins and his team.

Let's get the exposition dump out of the way first: In Drake Doremus' leaden sci-fi/romance Equals, an apocalyptic Great War has eradicated nearly all mankind and rendered 99.6% of the land uninhabitable. The surviving humans have colonized under the governing body called "The Collective," which has taken drastic steps to repopulate the species and eliminate the threat of another conflict wiping them out again.

In The Infiltrator's opening scene, Bob (Bryan Cranston) swaggers through a Florida bowling alley. He's just about to make a massive drug deal when he feels a burning pain in his chest. The cause is a ready-made metaphor: Bob is an undercover cop, and the microphone strapped to his torso has overheated, making his secret identity a searing liability.

We are haunted by the original Ghostbusters, but it is a mostly benevolent haunting: a Class III apparition, at best. Indelible moments from the film have caused little disturbances in pop-culture's memory hole over the last 32 years — the rad Ray Parker Jr. theme music, the Marshmallow Man, the library chase that's become a part of the fabric of New York itself.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This piece was inspired by NPR's summer recommendation series, Read, Watch, Binge!

Over the next two weeks, Republicans and Democrats will gather in Cleveland and Philadelphia for a ritual that has become almost entirely ceremonial: Each party will "select" pre-selected presidential candidates.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

The 2016 Emmy Award nominations were announced Thursday morning in Los Angeles. The full list of nominations is here.

Although HBO's hit Veep received the most comedy nominations, the ABC show Black-ish was nominated in three top categories, including best comedy series and best lead actor and actress in a comedy series.

QUIZ: How Much Do You Know About French Food?

Jul 14, 2016

To the familiar French national motto "Liberté, égalité, fraternité," one could well add "gastronomie!" The Fr

Time Catches Up With Us All In 'The Heavenly Table'

Jul 14, 2016

Donald Ray Pollock's newest novel, The Heavenly Table, is a book about time.

It's a book about the Jewett brothers, Cane (the smart one), Cob (the ox) and Chimney (the crazy one), who own two books, a Bible and a dime-store pulp, swollen and falling to pieces, called The Life And Times Of Bloody Bill Bucket, which they use as their guiding light into a life of crime.

It's a book about Ellsworth and Eula Fiddler and their drunk son Eddie who disappears one night, maybe to join the army, to fight the Huns in a country that none of them can find on a map.

For Jason Aaron Baca, a model from Los Gatos, Calif., his inspiration for romance cover modeling came randomly.

It sparked when he walked into a bookstore simply looking for something to read. There he saw a romance book cover.

"I said, 'You know what? This is something that I can actually do. This is something that, you know, it's going to take a lot of work to get a body like those guys on the cover," he tells NPR's Renee Montagne. "At that moment right there I kind of realized that this is something I am definitely going to go after."

Spanish Surrealist Salvador Dalí spent much of the 1940s in the U.S., avoiding World War II and its aftermath. He was a well-known fixture on the art scene in Monterey, Calif. — and that's where the largest collection of Dalí's work on the West Coast is now open to the public.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

The middle of summer is when the surprises in publishing turn up. I'm talking about those quietly commanding books that publishers tend to put out now, because fall and winter are focused on big books by established authors. Which brings us to The Dream Life of Astronauts, by Patrick Ryan, a very funny and touching collection of nine short stories that take place in the 1960s and '70s around Cape Canaveral, Fla.

My husband and I once took great pleasure in preparing meals from scratch. We made pizza dough and sauce. We baked bread. We churned ice cream.

Then we became parents.

Now there are some weeks when pre-chopped vegetables and a rotisserie chicken are the only things between us and five nights of Chipotle.

Parents are busy. For some of us, figuring out how to get dinner on the table is a daily struggle. So I reached out to food experts, parents and nutritionists for help. Here is some of their (and my) best advice for making weeknight meals happen.

The unassuming hero of Jonas Karlsson's clever, Kafkaesque parable is the opposite of a malcontent. Despite scant education, a limited social life, and no prospects for success as it is usually defined, he's that rarity, a most happy fella with an amazing ability to content himself with very little. But one day, returning to his barebones flat from his dead-end, part-time job at a video store, he finds an astronomical bill from an entity called W.R.D. He assumes it's a scam. Actually, it is more sinister-- and it forces him to take a good hard look at his life and values.

If you've stepped foot in a comic book store in the past few years, you'll have noticed a distinct shift. Superheroes, once almost entirely white men, have become more diverse.

There's been a biracial Spider-Man, a Muslim Ms. Marvel, and just last week, Marvel announced that the new Iron Man will be a teenage African-American girl.

Joining this lineup today is Kong Kenan, a Chinese boy who, as part of a reboot of the DC comics universe, is one of four characters taking up Superman's mantle.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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