Arts & Life

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

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Zombies, I'll admit, bore me. Kitsch, dopey, stumping around all smelly, zombies lack the machinations, the stealth, and the whiff of sex that make other creatures of the night — vampires, say — appealing.

They are, however, pure body, and thus an apt choice for a fantasy novel that deals with the corporal realities: periods, sweat, masturbation, the trials of going to the bathroom in the woods, and the way thighs chafe in the heat when their owner hides out from flesh-eating corpses.

As families gather for home-cooked food this Thanksgiving, there's one acclaimed Los Angeles chef who expresses her gratitude for local flavors by getting out in nature.

'Allied' Revives The Old-Fashioned Wartime Thriller

Nov 23, 2016

They don't make 'em like they used to, except when they do.

You would be forgiven for getting so lost in the world of Moana that the story itself becomes merely a distant hum. Disney's newest animated extravaganza takes as its inspiration the crystal blue waves and lush green island mountains of Polynesia, making the landscape into a 3-D storybook. The computer animation, so much crisper and more vibrant than the all-white X-Y planes of Frozen, turns the film into a celebration of (bio)diversity. And not a moment too soon for a world that keeps needing to be reminded that this is all worth taking some effort to save.

For yuletide misanthropes nationwide, Bad Santa has become a kind of alternative holiday tradition, the shot of Wild Turkey spiking the eggnog. What's forgotten is that Terry Zwigoff's delectably nasty 2003 comedy was a hit despite a bitter post-production struggle between Zwigoff and the studio, Miramax, which decided the film needed "heart," did reshoots (some without Zwigoff's participation), and released the film as a parent might release a soiled diaper.

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

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Disney's latest movie, Moana, tells the story of a young girl living on an island in the South Pacific. She's the daughter of the chief, which means she's supposed to lead her people and stay on the island, but she finds herself drawn to the sea. When coconuts start rotting and fish start dying, she sails out to save herself and her people by finding the demigod named Maui.

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

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Whether you're counting votes, counting your blessings or counting olives for your martini, tomorrow is a big day.

(SOUNDBITE OF ALBUM, "BEYOND THE PALE")

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

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Almost a year ago, via a seemingly innocuous tweet, the very funny comedian and very funny actor Kumail Nanjiani and I discovered a shared enthusiasm for, and very deep feelings about, the romantic comedies of the 1990s. At our recent tour stop in Los Angeles at the Regent Theater, Kumail was in our fourth chair, and the topic was ... romantic comedies.

In most ways, Of Fire and Stars treads over very familiar ground. We find ourselves in a fantasy kingdom where magic is feared, and a princess must hide her powers in order to fulfill her destiny as a future king's bride. There are schemes and plots and romantic agonies aplenty, especially when the princess begins to fall in love with the wrong person. All of this would make an enjoyable enough read, but then Audrey Coulthurst elevates the story with a refreshing twist: The princess doesn't fall in love with a stable boy or the captain of the guard.

It's Thanksgiving, which means you'll be seeing Aunt Martha's sweet potato casserole encased in a marshmallow cloud that has drifted too close to the sun. Cousin Joe, who's just here for the game, will bring his famous can-shaped cranberry sauce that looks like it's been attacked by a Slinky. Then your sister will arrive with her sad concoction of green beans drowning in cream-of-mushroom soup, flecked with floating onion strings that have been flung like debris from the Titanic.

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

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

President-elect Trump lets it be known when he'd like something and when he doesn't. And he does not like the way Alec Baldwin plays him on "Saturday Night Live."

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE")

As the child of a black mother and a white father in apartheid-era South Africa, Daily Show host Trevor Noah was the living, breathing evidence that a crime had been committed.

Under apartheid, interracial couples who had engaged in sexual relations could be punished with years-long prison sentences, and biracial children like Noah could be taken away from their parents. As a result, Noah spent much of his early life in hiding.

Michael Chabon turns out more beautiful sentences in a single novel than some writers produce in a lifetime. But he is far more than just an elegant stylist: Chabon is an adventurous writer who wields his gorgeous — and occasionally over-the-top — prose in the service of lively narratives that channel various genres — comics, detective, picaresque, historical — often in combination, as in The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and The Yiddish Policeman's Union.

This is the story of a stolen book, a sense of national pride and some creative sleuthing. The book in question is a first edition copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. In 2015, it was stolen from a Bogota, Colombia, book fair. Many cases in that city go unsolved because of a lack of resources, but local law enforcement went all out to solve this crime.

The new TBS show Search Party isn't just an amateur detective story — it's also a millennial comedy.

"The setting is the fast-talking, young world of Brooklyn," co-creator Charles Rogers tells NPR's Audie Cornish. "Dory and her friends all have job titles that aren't exactly real jobs and everyone has a very strong identity."

On April 6, 2015, my mother arrived in my one-bedroom apartment after more than 24 hours of air travel and, after a quick nap, declared it was time for presents.

Out of her suitcase emerged an opaque industrial bag dotted with some austere cyrillics. Out of the bag tumbled a small pile of gruesome-looking metal parts. My trained Russian eye instantly summoned their reconstructed visual: My gift was a hand-crank meat grinder. Two-and-a-half pounds of aluminum, in a suitcase, flown overseas.

In a time of heated political differences, British novelist Zadie Smith says she enjoys talking to people with whom she disagrees. She tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that listening to conflicting viewpoints helps her find a place of connection with people whose beliefs are different from her own.

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

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Five centuries ago, Christians in Europe who hoped to go to heaven knew they might first have to spend a few thousand years in a fiery purgatory, where they would be purified of their outstanding sins.

It was not a pleasant thought, but the Catholic Church offered some hope: A cash offering to the local priest could buy an "indulgence" certificate, entitling the believer to a shorter purgatory sentence.

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

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

How Misspellings Caught A Spy

Nov 19, 2016
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

In February, country music superstar Trisha Yearwood came to play our quiz, and she mentioned we might want to talk to her husband, who we understand is something of a musician himself. Who can say no to Trisha Yearwood? So this week we welcome Garth Brooks to Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me!

There are a lot of other Garths out there, so we'll quiz him on three other notable Garths. Click the audio link above to see how he does.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence was presumably seeking a quiet night out at the theater, enjoying one of Broadway's hottest tickets with a Friday night performance of Hamilton: An American Musical.

What he got instead was a welcome of boos and cheers from the crowd and a pointed plea from the diverse cast and crew afterwards about what they believe really makes America great.

Pages