Arts & Life

Alongside the massive, rising death toll in territories controlled by the Islamic State, one of the major casualties has been a trove of ancient treasures that are part of the Middle East's cultural heritage.

Now, replicas of several masterpieces vandalized or destroyed in Syria and Iraq have been created in Italy and are part of a UNESCO-sponsored exhibit called "Rising from Destruction." The exhibit, which goes through Dec. 16, has been set up in the Colosseum, the most visited site in Rome, drawing 6.5 million tourists a year.

When she was growing up, Dina Gilio-Whitaker was constantly asked, "How much Indian blood do you have?" She could never figure out how to respond, which is not to say she didn't know who she was.

"I knew that I was Native, I knew that I was Colville, I knew my family up there on the reservation," she said recently. "But what I grew up with was a process of not being seen and not being recognized as being Native, because I was completely out of context.

In a lot of memoirs, it feels safe to assume that the author really knows what they're writing about. But here's an exception: Molly Brodak's new memoir is about her dad, a man she barely knew growing up. Her father is a gambling addict. And when Molly was in middle school, he robbed 11 banks outside of Detroit in 1994 to fuel his addiction — the FBI dubbed him the "Super Mario Brothers Bandit" because of his flat cap and fake mustache.

Look, the debut collection of poetry from Solmaz Sharif, opens with all the grace of an unpinned grenade: "It matters what you call a thing." But this comes as less a warning than a war cry.

Even if you knew nothing about Vijaya, her haunting portrait would likely give you pause. She peers out of the page, unsmiling, her silver hair pulled back and her eyes conveying an unspoken anguish. From the accompanying narrative, we learn that a few years ago, almost overnight, Vijaya became her granddaughter Anjali's primary caretaker. Her daughter, Gayathri, set out to find nutritious food for the family amidst heavy shelling, at the violent end of Sri Lanka's decades-long civil war, and never returned home.

You don't need us to tell you that backyard chickens have become an urban (and suburban) obsession.

But here's what you may not know: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has documented a record high number of salmonella infections linked to these domestic flocks.

"This year saw the largest number of illnesses linked to contact with backyard poultry ever recorded," the CDC writes in an investigation update.

Tourists to the Napa Valley may visit the exclusive wineries and fine-dining restaurants. But locals love a more humble dish called malfatti. It's a little spinach and cheese dumpling, shaped like a pinky finger, smothered in sauce and packed with local history.

Ragsby's Story

Oct 8, 2016
Eric Walker

October is Adopt-a-Dog Month, and Ragsby's story is a perfect illustration of the great dogs who just need the opportunity to show somebody what great pets and companions they can become, if only they are given the chance.  

If you're looking for a canine companion, visit your local shelter or rescue group.  You won't change the world by adopting a pet but you will change the world for your new furry friend - and you just might find your world is better, too.


Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.


There are few living theater directors who can convince audiences to stay up all night watching the staging of a Sanskrit poem. But 30 years ago, director Peter Brook did just that. He put on what came to be known as one of the great theater events of the 20th century: The Mahabharata. It was nine hours long, and it was epic.

James Beard award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson says it feels like he's been cooking his entire life. He has a soul food restaurant in Harlem and a new cookbook inspired by that restaurant called The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem.

Samuelsson was born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden so we suspect he's no doubt tired of hearing about the beloved Muppet character, The Swedish Chef. So we'll ask him three questions about other Muppets.

Rabih Alameddine's novel The Angel of History begins with a conversation between Satan and Death. The two are sitting in the home of Jacob, a poet in the midst of a mental breakdown; long after the death of his partner from AIDS, he's begun hearing voices (again), and is currently trying to check himself into a mental hospital.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

In theory, the two new movies dealing with America's racial history ought to describe a cinematic straight line: Nate Parker's provocatively titled drama The Birth of a Nation imagines the events leading up to an 1831 slave revolt, while Ava DuVernay's documentary, 13th, examines the legacy of the constitutional amendment that outlawed slavery. A matched set...yes?

In practice, the underlying social narrative is twisty, and the films intersect in complicated ways.

Sharon Horgan didn't let her intact marriage get in the way of creating her new HBO comedy series Divorce. "We made sure we had a couple of emotionally damaged, divorced people on the writing staff," she jokes with NPR's Kelly McEvers.

Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Haden Church play Frances and Robert, a middle aged couple whose relationship is crumbling. And Horgan says a lot of the frustrating moments in the show were inspired by real life.

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


Issa Rae knows she is committing a revolutionary act by simply creating a TV show centered on an average black woman's life.

And she can't believe it.

"Isn't it sad that it's revolutionary?" says Rae, whose new comedy Insecure, debuts on HBO Sunday night. "It's so basic ... but we don't get to do that. We don't get to just have a show about regular black people being basic."

Hooray! I'm so happy to be back this week after some time spent either traveling or under the weather kept me away from the show for a couple of weeks. Fortunately, we were able to get Bob Mondello, All Things Considered film critic, around the table with us to talk about the films he and I saw at the Toronto International Film Festival and to participate in our fall television pool.

You're The Only Ten I See

Oct 7, 2016

In honor of the classic pick-up line involving "Tennessee," the answer to every clue in this game is either more than ten or fewer than ten.

Connie Britton & Martina McBride: 'This One's For The Girls'

Double, Double

Oct 7, 2016

In this final round, every answer contains multiple sets of double letters, just like the state Tennessee. For example, if we said, "A Tennessee city associated with a 'choo choo' from an old big band song," you'd answer, "Chattanooga."

Connie Britton & Martina McBride: 'This One's For The Girls'

Connie Britton: TV Mothers' Day

Oct 7, 2016

Connie Britton is best known for playing iconic mothers. She starred in Friday Night Lights as alpha mom Tammi Taylor, and in Nashville as country music singer Rayna James. In fact, fans often tell Britton they wish she were their mother. And yes, it's just as awkward as it sounds. "Those are some uncomfortable moments, yeah--I think really for everyone involved," she told host Ophira Eisenberg. "Because I think the person asking doesn't feel great about it either. ...

Just Saying

Oct 7, 2016

There are some expressions we use all the time that don't seem to make a whole lot of sense. For example, the saying to "pull out all the stops" is actually a reference to pipe organs; stops control the flow of air through an organ's pipes, and when you pull out all the stops, you can play all the pipes at maximum volume. In this game, Jonathan and Ophira quiz contestants on the supposed origin story of commonly-used phrases.

Martina McBride: Happy Girls

Oct 7, 2016

Country music star Martina McBride has garnered over 15 major music awards, including four wins for Female Vocalist of the Year from the Country Music Association. Before all the fame and accolades, however, McBride had an interesting day job, which she shared with host Ophira Eisenberg at the War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville: selling T-shirts at Garth Brooks concerts. At the time, she and her husband were newlyweds, and he was often on the road as Brooks's production manager. So McBride sold merchandise in order to join him.

Band-ing Together

Oct 7, 2016

NPR Music correspondent Ann Powers had lived and reported everywhere from Seattle to Tuscaloosa before moving recently to Nashville. We asked Powers to explain her new hometown's importance in the music industry. "Nashville is, I truly believe, the best music city in the country, historically and especially now," she told host Ophira Eisenberg. "Anywhere you go you'll meet an amazing musician." Her dishwasher repairman had even played with George Jones! "That's Nashville in a nutshell," she said. A lover of all genres, Powers cares about expression.

The actress Sarah Paulson, who's having a very good year, can do pretty much anything. She turned herself into a racist plantation matron in 12 Years a Slave; Cate Blanchett's lesbian bestie in Carol; and there's her brilliant Emmy-winning turn as prosecutor Marcia Clark in this year's The People v. O.J. Simpson. To say nothing of her show-stopping turns as a witch, conjoined twins and other weirdnesses on American Horror Story.

Veteran French director André Téchiné usually employs ensemble casts and intricate narrative structures, but he downplays both in Quand on a 17 ons (Being 17). Shot mostly with handheld camera in a documentary-like style, the movie is uncharacteristically raw and linear. Still, it performs a few surprising twists before reaching an easily anticipated resolution.

Based on the Paula Hawkins' bestselling novel, The Girl on the Train is a whodunit constructed through an ornate latticework of multiple narrators, temporal jumps, blackouts, constant misdirection, and out-and-out red herrings. There are a good four or five possible suspects, each waved at the audience like a red cape in front of a bull, with the lance awaiting on the other side.

In 'Under The Shadow,' The Horror Is Housebound

Oct 6, 2016

If horror films played poker, Under the Shadow would see and raise The Babadook. The hands they're playing seem so similar: mother alone in her cavernous home with precocious tyke who ping-pongs between vulnerable and that special screaming-child brand of obnoxious; a fairy-tale beastie on the hunt; a blessed lack of gore; a larger sense that this monster may be the ugly truth of motherhood itself.

When you think of Chinese food in the U.S., fried rice, lo mein or General Tso's chicken may first come to mind.

But a new museum exhibition in New York City is trying to expand visitors' palates. It features stories of celebrity chefs like Martin Yan and home cooks whose food represents 18 different regional cooking styles of China.

When we finally get close enough to see the "Luke's" sign on the side of the building, a group behind me erupts into song. "Where you lead, I will follow," they belt out. The words to Carole King's 1971 single became an anthem for a whole new generation as the theme song to the Gilmore Girls.