Arts & Life

Linda Holmes is in Los Angeles, NPR's Stephen Thompson and I are in D.C., and we're joined by the fantastic Brittany Luse of the highly recommended The Nod podcast, among a great deal of other things.

HBO's Insecure is one of those shows we were surprised to learn we haven't already devoted a segment to. Several of us gave its first season some shout-outs in our What's-Making-Us-Happy segments last year, but we haven't ever sat down to unpack it as a team. This episode, we correct that.

In 4 Days in France, a mesmerizing road movie by first-time director Jerome Reybaud, a young gay Parisian named Pierre (Pascal Cervo) packs his bags at dawn and leaves his sleeping lover, Paul (Arthur Igual). Departing the capital for a radically unstructured odyssey around a rural France enchantingly free of glam movie-Frenchiness, Pierre is guided by his Grindr app, with Paul in irritable pursuit behind him.

Twenty-two years ago, Kathryn Bigelow made Strange Days — a paranoid thriller written and produced by her former spouse James Cameron, set in the then-future of 1999. Inspired in part by the 1992 Los Angeles riots — which were sparked by the acquittal of the LAPD officers who'd beaten Rodney King near to death — the movie's plot involved the murder of black hip-hop artist "Jeriko One" by a pair of white Los Angeles cops.

Imagine Lost In Translation set in a much sleepier metropolis than Tokyo. That's Columbus, which derives its title from its Indiana locale, a small city known for many buildings designed by notable modernist architects.

When Martin Scorsese directed the nervy black comedy After Hours in 1985, it was both a catharsis and a reckoning, a means to reenergize himself after The King of Comedy flopped and address the hang-ups with women that united many of his characters. Instead of the jealous brutes in Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, and Raging Bull, that film follows an ineffectual office drone, played by Griffin Dunne, as a hoped-for sexual liaison turns into a luckless, surreal night in New York City.

When you think of stained glass, the name Tiffany probably comes to mind — those luminescent lamp shades or a stained glass window in a church or cathedral. But Louis Comfort Tiffany and his studio of artisans did much more than that, and some of their lesser known works — glass mosaics — are now on display at the Corning Museum of Glass in Western New York.

A pierogi war has broken out between two communities. A suburban Chicago chamber of commerce wants the Edwardsville Pierogi Festival in Pennsylvania to drop its name like a hot potato, threatening a trademark infringement lawsuit. Lawyers for the Whiting Pierogi Fest in Whiting, Ind., recently sent a letter to the Edwardsville Hometown Committee demanding it stop using the trademarked name or pay royalties for its use.

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For three days now, a drama has been unfolding at HBO. They've been hacked. Company information was stolen...

(SOUNDBITE OF RAMIN DJAWADI'S "GAME OF THRONES THEME")

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In April, musician Jonathan Coulton released Solid State, a sci-fi concept album that represented a significant departure — both from Coulton's wry, bright, tuneful back catalog and from any conventional understanding of what a sci-fi concept album sounds like. Gone, for the most part, were the stripped-down but aggressively catchy hooks, and the lyrics riffing on the foibles of digital culture, that Coulton's built a career on.

Our Critic Doesn't Entirely

Aug 3, 2017

Jason Heller is a senior writer at The A.V. Club, a Hugo Award-winning editor and author of the novel Taft 2012.

Taylor Sheridan's tense, terse police procedural/Western, Wind River, begins with an icy, moonlit, Wyoming landscape. There's no one for miles, except a gasping, Native American teenage girl running in the snow, terrified and barefoot.

She falls. Screams. Gets up. Runs some more.

When was the last time you had a roll of film developed? For many, our digital devices are datebook, rolodex and camera all in one. But moments captured on film are finding a second life through a project based in Idaho, and it raises some questions about our digital future.

In his Boise basement darkroom, Levi Bettwieser deftly unspools, cuts and winds a roll of film into a canister. He rinses it in several chemicals, waits few minutes, then takes it out and holds it up to the light.

As a climate change activist, former Vice President Al Gore is used to speaking in front of both hostile and friendly audiences. But there is one individual he has all but given up on.

"I have no illusions about the possibility of changing Donald Trump's mind," Gore says. "I think he has made it abundantly clear that he's throwing his lot in with the climate deniers."

Etelka Lehoczky has written about books for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and Salon.com. She tweets at @EtelkaL.

Aunties, beware — Maria Qamar's got your number.

Linda Holmes hosts from Los Angeles, where she's still attending the Television Critics Association press tour. This week, she's joined by two regular panelists — me and NPR Music's Stephen Thompson — and in our fourth chair, PCHH's resident Poobah of Punching, Chris Klimek.

This episode: We talk Atomic Blonde, the spy thriller dripping with I Love the 80s style elements that's directed with a surprising amount of attention to the logistics of brawling — how it looks, how it feels, and how physically exhausting it is.

Madison Holleran ran track at the University of Pennsylvania. She was popular and beautiful — and raised in a big, supportive family in a New Jersey suburb. "By all accounts, Madison in high school was this young, happy, vibrant, wildly successful human being, who was destined — according to everyone around her — to do amazing things with her life," says sportswriter Kate Fagan.

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New Yorker staff writer Ariel Levy was five months pregnant when she went to Mongolia on assignment. Her doctor had cleared her for travel, and she was excited to pursue one last adventurous story before settling down with an infant.

But things didn't go as planned: Alone in her hotel room, Levy suffered a placental abruption; her baby boy lived for only 10 minutes. Afterward, Levy was haunted by the notion that she had caused her child's death:

"It's a terrible feeling ... that you made this life and failed to bring it through," she says.

"Life is not a novel. Or at least you would like to believe so." That's how Laurent Binet opens his audacious second novel, an intellectual romp about the many ways language exerts power, particularly in politics and fiction.

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The actor Kevin Hart is launching an all-digital streaming comedy service. The Laugh Out Loud Network is the latest entry in a crowded market. NPR's Elizabeth Blair reports.

One hundred years ago, the U.S. entered the first global war — an ugly, dirty, agonizing conflict that cost millions of lives and changed the world. Now, the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., is observing the centennial with art and artifacts in an exhibition called Artist Soldiers.

HBO says it has been hacked, and that the perpetrators have acquired some programming.

The premium cable channel won't confirm what materials were acquired in the cyber breach. But the alleged perpetrators claim to have acquired text related to the popular — and famously spoiler-plagued — Game of Thrones.

Entertainment Weekly broke the story:

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Actor and playwright Sam Shepard has died.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE RIGHT STUFF")

SAM SHEPARD: (As Chuck Yeager) I think I see a plane over here with my name on it.

It's a time-honored tradition for novelists to draw material from their own lives, and author Tom Perrotta is no exception. His 2004 book, Little Children, sprang from his experience as the parent of young kids. Three years later, he published The Abstinence Teacher, which was inspired, in part, by the junior-high and high-school sports his children played at the time.

Jeanne Moreau was an actress of the French new wave who broke the rules both on screen and off. She died Monday in Paris at the age of 89.

As a young woman, Moreau kept her acting a secret from her father, who disapproved. When he found out, he hit her and kicked her out of the house, and she never went back. In 1993, Moreau told Fresh Air, "It helped me that he reacted so violently. It gave me the drive to resist."

“Mockingbird Songs: My Friendship with Harper Lee”

Author: Wayne Flynt    

Publisher: HarperCollins

Pages: 240

Price: $25.99 (Hardcover)

Because the author of “To Kill a Mockingbird” was, to say the least, a very private person, her millions of fans are perpetually thirsty for biographical information. They are understandably curious. What was she really like?

She refused interviews after about 1964, and lived in Manhattan, only moving back to Alabama when her health required her to.

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