Arts & Life

It's a match made not in heaven, but the cellar: David Gaffney's tale of lonely Valerie, who preserves the memories of her disappointing exes in a cellar in her mind, would intrigue any illustrator. But it's hard to imagine one better suited to Gaffney's sensibility than fellow Britisher Dan Berry. Their graphic novel The Three Rooms in Valerie's Head is lightly balanced between writer and artist, each the right amount of crazy.

The Pop Culture Happy Hour team has been covering the nine films nominated for best picture since last March, when we talked about Get Out.

Filmmaker Thomas Lennon was not looking for a new film project when he went to dinner at a friend's house; he was just trying to make conversation with a fellow guest who was, in Lennon's words, "an odd duck." However, says Lennon, "I'm a filmmaker, so I ask people questions. What unfolded was this story — and you'd have to be deaf, dumb and blind to not know that there was potential there."

"Ghosts? Are you kidding me? I'm an American."

-- The Ghost Breaker, 1922

American Humane Association [Facebook]

In 1877, representatives from 27 humane organizations met in Cleveland, Ohio and started what would become the American Humane Association.  Go online to AmericanHumane.org and look at the history tab to see a year-by-year list of their accomplishments and activities!  It is a vivid picture of how the humane movement has evolved over the years!


Would your dog remember you after 10 years away?

Carly Suierveld thinks so. She just saw her dog Abby for the first time in a decade.

"It's quite a journey, it was so great seeing her again," Suierveld tells NPR's Scott Simon. "She barked at me at first, but now she's cuddling up and kind of seeming to remember who I am."

Abby, a female black Lab mix, was lost from the Suierveld family's home in Apollo, Pa., 10 years ago. Carly was 12 at the time.

Foxtrot is Israel's most celebrated film of the year — and its most controversial.

It tells the story of one family grappling with the loss of their son at war. But it's also a searing critique of a society stuck in perpetual war.

Writer Stephanie Wittels Wachs got a phone call from her loving and accomplished brother Harris just three days before her wedding, in which he shared some surprising news.

What was it? "He told me he was a drug addict," Wachs says. He died two years later, of an overdose. Harris Wittels was a hilarious and respected Hollywood comic writer, who had become co-executive producer of NBC's Parks and Recreation by the time he was 30, and worked on award-winning shows like Master of None.

Actor Doug Jones has had a long and prolific career in Hollywood, though many wouldn't recognize him on the street. That's because he's usually masked by latex, silicone and makeup, playing some of Hollywood's most recognizable monsters – including the so-called Amphibian Man in Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water. Underneath it all, Jones infuses his characters with real emotion, communicating not with words but with movement and touch.

If you're an American Winter Olympics fan, you probably follow the sports where Americans usually win — snowboarding, downhill skiing, different snowboarding. If you did, you may have missed the United States' Olympic gold in cross-country skiing. And of course, it was the women who did it — Skier Jessie Diggins charged from behind to win first place.

Diggins clearly knows how to ski, but does she know how to skee-ball? We asked her three questions about the classic arcade game.

Click the listen link above to see how she does.

I've been wary of Tess of the Road for some time. The ad copy —"You fell in love with Seraphina. Now meet Tess."— made me grumpy. I did, in fact, fall in love with Seraphina, the protagonist of Seraphina and Shadow Scale, two of the most beautiful fantasy novels I've ever read; I resented the implication that I'd therefore love Seraphina's sister Tess.

Human Trafficking Subject of Performace This Weekend

Mar 2, 2018

The Alabama School of Fine Arts will present its production of Innocent Flesh Friday and Saturday. The play centers on victims of human trafficking. 

The production stars five high school students. They are only a few years older than the characters they play.

Susan McCain is directing the play. She says Alabama’s interstate 20 is considered the superhighway of human trafficking and she hopes this show raises awareness.

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The Academy Awards are this Sunday, and that has got us thinking about movie performances that get absolutely no Oscar recognition.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM)

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Derek DelGaudio: Sleight Of Mind

Mar 2, 2018

When the acclaimed magician and performer Derek DelGaudio walked into a magic shop for the first time, he wasn't trying to learn any tricks. He was just a twelve-year-old who wanted to play a prank on his mom.

"I thought that was gonna be hilarious," he told host Ophira Eisenberg, "So I went in to get one ... and they didn't have them. Which was a bummer, but the guy behind the counter asked me if I wanted to see some magic." DelGaudio ended up walking out with a few books on card handling: "I had to do something with the twelve bucks I had to blow."

Isle Of Accents

Mar 2, 2018

It's time for a special audio edition of This, That or The Other. We'll play a clip of an actor attempting an English, Scottish, or Irish accent. Key word: attempting. Ring in to guess what the accent is, and, for a bonus point, guess the movie that the clip is from.

Heard On Derek DelGaudio: Sleight Of Mind

Artisanal Junk Food

Mar 2, 2018

Welcome to the Ask Me Another Grille, a high end gourmet restaurant...that only serves junk food. Based on our waiters' overly-fancy descriptions of items on the menu, can you guess what snack they're talking about?

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The Prime Directive

Mar 2, 2018

Our two finalists go head to head in this math-inspired final round. The catch? Each answer has a prime number in it.

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Mystery Guest

Mar 2, 2018

Amanda Brennan's job title is "Senior Content Insights Manager." Ophira and Jonathan ask yes-or-no questions to figure out what on earth she actually does.

Heard On Derek DelGaudio: Sleight Of Mind

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Pun-DMC

Mar 2, 2018

It's the ultimate musical challenge: we've changed artists' names by one letter and revised one of their famous songs to reflect that change. Based on Jonathan Coulton's performance of that new-and-maybe-improved song, can you figure out the artist's modified name? For example, if we played a Christmas-themed cover of "We Didn't Start the Fire," you'd answer "Billy Noel."

Heard On Derek DelGaudio: Sleight Of Mind

Superhero Sweep

Mar 2, 2018

Superheroes may hold the fate of the world in their hands, but that doesn't mean they don't still lose their keys. Ophira and Jonathan pretend to be superheroes trying to claim objects from a lost and found, and contestants ring in to guess who those superheroes are.

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Why are you reading this?

That's a serious question; I'm sincerely curious: Why are you sitting there, right now, reading a review of the movie Death Wish?

For my part, I can tell you that the reason I'm writing this review is because it's my job — but you? What's your excuse?

I mean: It's Death Wish.

You will either go to see it, because it's Death Wish, or you very, very won't, because it's Death Wish.

Less than a week after the Weinstein Co. seemed destined for bankruptcy, a deal emerged for an investment group to buy assets from the troubled firm in order to launch a new movie studio that will be led by women.

The deal, between the Weinstein Co. and a group backed by billionaire Ron Burkle and led by Maria Contreras-Sweet, who was in charge of the Small Business Administration under President Barack Obama, is said to be worth more than $500 million, according to Reuters.

We Americans have certain ... ideas about the rest of the world, informed by movies, news reports and/or good old-fashioned prejudice. But it's important to remember the rest of the world has ideas about us, too. For example, that we're all loudmouthed "Wassssap?"-ing deadbeats who violate each other's personal space on a regular basis.

Among his other abundant talents, Stanley Tucci gives great smirk.

Red Sparrow is the Black Widow origin movie the Walt Disney Company/Marvel Studios megalith will never, ever make: a sordid, nasty, rated-R-for-tRiggeR-waRning nailbiter about young Russian woman blackmailed into clandestine servitude that captures the existential misery of the espionage trade like no film since Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, despite some willfully opaque plotting.

This Sunday night, some nattily dressed Oscars presenter will read the names of this year's five nominees for best foreign-language film. The politically-charged Foxtrot — which received funding from the Israeli government as well as condemnation from Israel's culture minister (who boasts that she has not seen it) — won't be among them.

That's a shame.

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