Arts & Life

The Fairhope Educational Enrichment Fund has worked for the past 20 years to enhance public schools in Fairhope and Baldwin County with a variety of science and art education and facilities. The organization was recently awarded a grant from the Les Paul Foundation to start a new guitar class focusing on the late musician and inventor.

I spoke with Cori Yonge about the organization and the recent grant. Ms. Yonge is the executive director of the Fairhope Educational Enrichment Fund, or…

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Beatrix Potter is famous for her charming tales of mice and rabbits, most notably Peter Rabbit, who was given this piece of sage advice.

(SOUNDBITE OF AUDIOBOOK, "THE TALE OF PETER RABBIT")

I remember being 14 years old and standing out in the cold at the stage door of Pippin, waiting to get actor Ben Vereen's autograph on my Playbill. More than 40 years later, I still have that program, and I thought about it a lot last weekend as I watched crowds of young people — many in elaborate costumes — geeking out over their shared love of theater.

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Abe Vigoda has died, finally. We'll explain that in a moment.

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A long-lost Beatrix Potter book, The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots, is set to be released this fall, 150 years after the beloved author's birth.

The tale about a sharply dressed feline has "all the hallmarks of Potter's best works," editor Jo Hanks, who stumbled upon the story, says in an interview with Penguin U.K., which will publish the book.

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While researching the book Cure, science writer Jo Marchant wanted to understand how distraction could be used to nullify pain, so she participated in a virtual reality experiment.

During the first part of the experiment, Marchant sat, without distraction, with her foot in a box of unbearably hot water. "It felt like a very intense burning pain on my foot when I just experienced it on its own," Marchant tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

As a master of the eccentric metaphor, the great Russian-American novelist Vladimir Nabokov used food to fine effect in his writing.

There was, for instance, that one word he used to capture the texture, tinge and luster of his watery green eyes — "oysterous." And that icky image in Lolita, of motel floors burnished with the "golden-brown glaze of fried-chicken bones," that somehow made those shiny floors complicit in the squalor of pedophilia.

But when it came to eating, he really couldn't be bothered.

'All The Birds' Overturns Sci-Fi And Fantasy, Gently

Jan 26, 2016

As a genre, science-fantasy is often as basic as it sounds: People with swords meet people with lasers. (In some cases, like Star Wars, the swords and lasers are even the same thing.) But there's so much more potential in the overlap between science fiction and fantasy, a fact that's not lost on Charlie Jane Anders.

Oscar-winning film producer Harvey Weinstein may be best-known for producing movies like Pulp Fiction, The English Patient and Shakespeare in Love. But the indie film mogul has also been busy producing TV. His latest project is a version of War and Peace, a co-production with the BBC and Lifetime.

The miniseries — which airs simultaneously on A+E, Lifetime and History — is an updated retelling of Leo Tolstoy's classic Russian novel. And it's a passion project for Weinstein.

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Last summer, cases of particular strain of Listeria started popping up in six states in the Northeast and Midwest U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says since July 2015, 12 people have been sickened and one person from Michigan has died in this outbreak. And the agency recently confirmed that five of the people who got sick reported eating packaged salad. Two of them specified that they ate Dole brand packaged salad.

The free-speech organization PEN American Center says it is giving its 2016 PEN/Allen award to author J.K. Rowling. The prize honors "a critically acclaimed author whose work embodies its mission to oppose repression in any form and to champion the best of humanity."

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Meet The Most Pampered Vegetables In America

Jan 25, 2016

There's a small corner of the restaurant world where food is art and the plate is just as exquisite as the mouthful.

In this world, chefs are constantly looking for new creative materials for the next stunning presentation.

The tiny community of farmers who grow vegetables for the elite chefs prize creativity, too, not just in what they grow but in how they grow it. They're seeking perfection, in vegetable form and flavor, like this tiny cucumber that looks like a watermelon — called a cucamelon.

A Conversation With The Creator Of #OscarsSoWhite

Jan 24, 2016

In recent weeks, as controversy has embroiled the Oscar nominations, one hashtag has surfaced again as a vehicle for those displeased with the lack of diversity among the academy's selections: #OscarsSoWhite.

In the middle of Johanna Sinisalo's novel The Core of the Sun, the reader is interrupted by an ad. It's for Fresh Scent, a personal fragrance available from the State Cosmetics Corporation of Finland. It's marketed to woman, although "marketed" is an understatement. In Sinisalo's nightmarish, alternate-reality vision of her homeland, a tyrannical patriarchy splits women into two classes — docile "eloi" and undesirable "morlocks," terms cheekily drawn from H. G.

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It's 1977 and an 11-year-old dancer named Mira is struggling to find her place in the competitive world of New York City ballet. Dance is her escape from her parents' failing marriage — but instead of a sanctuary, Mira finds the opposite: a dark threat intermingled with her dreams of being a star ballerina. Sari Wilson gives us a glimpse into this world in her new novel — it's called Girl Through Glass. Sari spent her own childhood dancing, like her protagonist, and she tells NPR's Rachel Martin that she found it exhilarating, in the beginning.

You arrive in England confident. Why shouldn't you be? You speak the language, you've seen Downton Abbey, and as a teenager you nurtured an inexplicable but ardent crush on Tony Blair. It will be like America, but quainter.

Pittsburgh is being lauded for its resurgence and livability, but not all of the city's neighborhoods are reaping the benefits of this revival. Homewood has the city's highest murder rate; it's an impoverished neighborhood, where a third of the houses are blighted. But there's also hope, in no small part because of artist Vanessa German.

It's a little hard to play Not My Job this week because technically Thomas Perez's job is all the jobs. Perez is the United States secretary of labor, and so we've invited him to play a game called "PUSH, honey, PUSH!" Three questions about the kind of labor where you get a baby at the end.

Testing Your Dog's DNA

Jan 23, 2016
Mindy Norton

Curiosity is not a bad thing when it comes to your pet's ancestry.  If you decide to test your dog's DNA, you can buy a testing kit from pet supply stores and chains, or online from websites like Amazon.  Discuss any concerns you may have with your veterinarian.

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Julia has a gift — or is it? Ingrid Betancourt's new novel, The Blue Line, is about a woman in 1970s Argentina who can see the world through the eyes of others. Usually what she sees are terrible events, and that makes her different from the millions of Argentines who say they don't know about the detentions, disappearances, tortures and murders by which Argentina's military government ruled and quashed dissent in what is known as The Dirty War.

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