Arts & Life

'The Big Sheep' Plays Hardboiled Sci-Fi To The Hilt

Jun 29, 2016

It's not hard to parse the two main influences on Robert Kroese's new novel The Big Sheep. The title itself mashes them up: Raymond Chandler's 1939 hardboiled masterpiece The Big Sleep and Philip K. Dick's 1968 post-apocalyptic classic Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (the basis of the film Blade Runner). The question is: Does Kroese's book transcend the obviousness of that literary portmanteau? Thankfully, yes.

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

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

The mosquito-borne Zika epidemic is headed for its first summer in the United States. New York Times reporter Donald G. McNeil Jr. tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that if the virus is ever going to hit hard in the U.S., 2016 will be the year.

"No one in the population has had the disease before, so nobody is immune to it, nobody has antibodies to it," McNeil says. "After this year, a fair number of people will be immune, and each year immunity will grow."

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

In Persona, Genevieve Valentine introduced us to a world in which diplomats are celebrities on the covers of glossy magazines, and in which paparazzi wage a guerilla war against the status quo by ruffling the smooth, sanctioned narratives of the International Assembly with candid shots obtained through illegal surveillance.

Georgia O'Keeffe, Edward Hopper and George Bellows were very different artists, but they did have at least one thing in common: They all studied with painter William Merritt Chase. Now, the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., is marking the centennial of the artist's death with a retrospective.

"You walk around these galleries and the paintings are gutsy and bold and scintillating and brilliant," says Dorothy Kosinski, director of the Phillips.

Sorry to disappoint Trekkies who still believe, but the actual USS Enterprise did not really take up much space.

That famous starship of Mr. Spock and Capt. James Tiberius Kirk in the original Star Trek TV series — which turns 50 this year — was a model. Quite a large one, to be fair: 11 feet long and about 200 pounds, made out of blow-molded plastic and wood. But not life-sized.

And for more than a decade, it hung in the gift shop of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space museum in Washington, D.C.

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

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

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

(Be warned, intrepid reader: This story contains loads of spoilers regarding every episode from this season's run of Game of Thrones, including Sunday's season finale.)

This was the season that Game of Thrones seriously changed its game.

Nowhere was that more evident than in Sunday's season finale, the last of 10 episodes that pulled together far-flung storylines and characters spread across the show's mythical seven kingdoms — and beyond.

The Toast — funny and literary feminist website, gleeful kneecapper of high culture, omphalos of cheerful misandry, and habitat of the rare courteous and informative comments section — is closing.

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

For the last couple of months, we've brought you our series, Hanging On, about the increasing pressure on the middle class in 2016.

Now, we bring you Hanging On: 2029.

Imaginary animals dance across the panels of artist Hieronymus Bosch's paintings: There are snails with human legs, fish with human arms and at least one spider-legged peacock. Since his death in 1516, Bosch has been called "the Devil's painter" and he's been hailed as a psychedelic seer born too soon. On this 500th anniversary year, two museums have dedicated major international exhibitions to the artist, and there's a massive scholarly revamp of all that is known and thought about him.

A Mystery Novel Is The Mystery At The Heart Of 'Blockbuster!'

Jun 26, 2016

In true Victorian style, you only need a few tantalizing details about Fergus Hume's The Mystery of a Hansom Cab to intrigue you. The 1886 murder mystery, part of an emerging genre of "shilling shockers," became a runaway hit in Australia. After Hume sold the copyright for a pittance, it was published in England to smash sales — even pirated in other languages. Over half a million copies of the novel were sold worldwide ... and Hume never saw a dime of it.

Legendary New York Times fashion photographer Bill Cunningham, beloved for his street-style images, has died at the age of 87. Cunningham's death was reported by The Times and confirmed by Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for the newspaper.

With A Zap, Scientists Create Low-Fat Chocolate

Jun 25, 2016

Physicists say they've discovered how to zap the fat out of chocolate.

The researchers, led by Rongjia Tao of Temple University, were able to remove up to 20 percent of fat by running liquid milk chocolate through an electrified sieve. And they say the chocolate tastes good, too.

Back in the 1990s, the Portland Trail Blazers were one of the most dominant teams in the NBA. They went to the finals twice (and might have won it all if hadn't been for that pesky Michael Jordan fellow.) Since we're in Portland this week, we've invited Terry Porter, one of the stars of the Trailblazers, to answer three questions about other people who've blazed their own trails.

Click the link above to listen.

A Cat's Age

Jun 25, 2016
Helena Jacoba [Flickr]

Unlike dogs that tend to turn gray around the face as they age, a cat's appearance may not change so much.  What you may notice is less muscle tone, drier skin and coat, maybe a little arthritis.   But even elderly cats still enjoy some play time and attention.


Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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

I like the cold drop. The hard plunge. The fast and reckless descent into alienness that can only be pulled off by a world-builder who inhabits their make-believe universe so completely that a first page entry, mise en scene, reads as natural and as jarring as waking up in someone else's body, upon a shore so distant and strange that no map for it yet exists.

An Emotional Ending

Jun 24, 2016

We're closing this show like any good TV show or movie — with "An Emotional Ending." Every answer in this round contains a word that is also a feeling or emotion. If we said, "It's an app where avians are flung across the screen at piggies," you'd answer, "Angry Birds."

Heard On Jeff Goldblum, Maika Monroe, 'Weird Al' Yankovic: 10 Out Of 10 Goldblums

This Is Our Administrative Assistant Day!

Jun 24, 2016

Actor Jeff Goldblum is a busy guy. From hunting down dinosaurs in Jurassic Park to fighting aliens in Independence Day, he has done it all. But, as he tells host Ophira Eisenberg, these days he is learning the ropes of a completely new role-- father to his one-year-old son, Charlie Ocean, who was born, believe it or not, on July 4th.

OMG VIP

Jun 24, 2016

We've mashed up the names of famous people with common text messaging abbreviations. If we said, "You'll be 'Laughing Out Loud' when you hang out with this rapper and 'N-C-I-S Los Angeles' actor," you'd answer, "L-O-L-L Cool J."

Heard On Jeff Goldblum, Maika Monroe, 'Weird Al' Yankovic: 10 Out Of 10 Goldblums

Starmen

Jun 24, 2016

When legendary song parody artist "Weird Al" Yankovic joined the IFC show Comedy Bang! Bang!, he hadn't had a regular day job in 20 years. "[Getting a W-2] is gonna be so much fun! I can't wait!" he told host Ophira Eisenberg. Following Reggie Watts and Kid Cudi as band leader on the comedy talk show hosted by comedian Scott Aukerman is a tall order. Said Yankovic, "I try to emulate, as much as I can, what they did and bring my own thing to it."

This, That, Or The Other?

Jun 24, 2016

Strut your stuff! For this Los Angeles themed edition of This, That, or The Other, contestants must guess which of three categories things belong to: Yoga Poses, Hair Styles, or Dance Moves.

Heard On Jeff Goldblum, Maika Monroe, 'Weird Al' Yankovic: 10 Out Of 10 Goldblums

Sightseething

Jun 24, 2016

From the La Brea Tar Pits to the Venice Boardwalk, Los Angeles is full of disappointing tourist attractions. And, according to the Internet, so is the rest of the world! Identify famous destinations based on some one-star Internet reviews.

Heard On Jeff Goldblum, Maika Monroe, 'Weird Al' Yankovic: 10 Out Of 10 Goldblums

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