Arts & Life

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Robert Cenedella, the titular painter in the briskly entertaining new documentary Art Bastard, is a New York artist who has spent years battling the New York art establishment. To be clear, he is a bastard, in that he was born to parents who weren't married. But also in that he's an inveterate troublemaker — a mocker of other artists — who can be a thorn in the side of even people who are trying to help him.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has become a cultural force — her face emblazoned on T-shirts and tattoos, her iconic status solidified with the hip-hop-inspired moniker Notorious RBG. But, she's also developed a bit of a reputation for snoozing away during annual State of the Union addresses.

Ginsburg says there's a perfectly valid reason: alcohol.

Make It So

Jun 3, 2016

This game is an homage to the most inspirational figure of the 24th century: Captain Jean Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise. Each answer is a play off of his famous command, "Make it so." If we said, "Captain, what large upholstered piece of furniture should go in your living room, right in front of the flat screen TV?" you'd say, "Make it sofa."

Heard on Bob Boilen And Gaelynn Lea: What's In Your Tiny Desk?

In honor of our guests, this final round is music-themed. We've taken the names of bands from the Recording Industry Association of America's list of the 300 best-selling artists of all time, and have replaced them with rough antonyms. For example, if we said "Videofeet," you would answer, "Radiohead."

Heard on Bob Boilen And Gaelynn Lea: What's In Your Tiny Desk?

The Price Was Right

Jun 3, 2016

How much did it cost to build the Titanic? In this game, we describe a piece of historical merchandise. Contestants each guess how much the item cost to buy or build...back then. Whoever comes closest to the historical price without going over gets the point.

Heard on Bob Boilen And Gaelynn Lea: What's In Your Tiny Desk?

The Rest Of The Tiger

Jun 3, 2016

Tigers have plenty of body parts worth singing about, but since 1982, all we've been hearing about is their darn eyes! So we've rewritten Survivor's classic workout montage song, "Eye of the Tiger," to be about other tiger body parts.

Heard on Bob Boilen And Gaelynn Lea: What's In Your Tiny Desk?

Where In The Mall Is Carmen Sandiego?

Jun 3, 2016

In this game, we're shrinking criminal mastermind Carmen Sandiego's world to the mall. We imagine incoming theft reports from ACME CrimeNet for contestants to identify what store Carmen stole something from.

Heard on Bob Boilen And Gaelynn Lea: What's In Your Tiny Desk?

What's In Your Tiny Desk?

Jun 3, 2016

Bob Boilen had never heard anything quite like The Beatles' "A Day In The Life" when it first came out. As Boilen relates in his book "Your Song Changed My Life," he listened to parts of that song every day for years, and it inspired him to seek a life in music. In the late 70s he worked at record stores and began writing music, ultimately forming a New Wave band called Tiny Desk Unit.

This, That, Or The Other

Jun 3, 2016

It's time for one of our favorite games, "This, That, or the Other," where we ask contestants to guess which of three categories things belong to. Today's categories are: Endangered Species, Kung Fu Movies, and politicians' Secret Service Code Names.

Heard on Bob Boilen And Gaelynn Lea: What's In Your Tiny Desk?

The Lonely Island comedy trio — Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone, and Andy Samberg — have been writing and performing together since 2000, but they didn't reach national prominence until 2005, when their Saturday Night Live digital short "Lazy Sunday" went viral. "Lazy Sunday" crystallized the troupe's winning musical formula: Ferocious, chest-thumping rap braggadocio in service of silly and self-deprecating lyrics, like eating cupcakes and seeing a matinee of The Chronicles of Narnia.

Before we had the Internet to blame for everything, news of the brutal murder of 28-year-old bar manager Kitty Genovese went wide as a parable of urban indifference. Genovese was far from the only New Yorker to die on the street in 1964. Nor was she the only woman Winston Moseley, a married father of two, admitted killing. By his own chilling account, Moseley drew no distinction between murder and the routine burglary by which he supplemented his income.

Blood-spattered thriller The Wailing is, in part, a two-and-half-hour sit-down at Korea's spiritual smorgasbord. The exuberantly desolate movie opens with a verse from the Gospel of Luke, and the characters include a traditional shaman, a Christian deacon, and a mysterious Japanese newcomer who's reputed to be either a Buddhist monk or a demonic ghost.

This is a big weekend for Alexi Pappas. Tracktown — the feature film she co-wrote, co-directed and stars in — is premiering at the Los Angeles Film Festival. The film follows a young runner named Plumb Marigold as she chases her dream of qualifying for the Olympics.

Pappas tells NPR's Ari Shapiro that there have been some problems ahead of the premiere. "I may have actually slept through the opening night red carpet," she says.

What is it with poets and birds? Edgar Allan Poe had his raven. Ted Hughes had his crow. Wallace Stevens his blackbird. Keats his nightingale. Helen MacDonald her hawk. For Emily Dickinson, hope was the thing with feathers.

Three kids meet in junior high, grow up skateboarding, doing graffitti and shooting stuff on home-video cameras, then eventually get jobs together on Saturday Night Live. It sounds like an adolescent fantasy, but for former SNL cast member Andy Samberg and former SNL writers Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer, it actually happened.

"We were not ambitious," Schaffer tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "We were just kids who liked comedy, and we liked music, and we were nerds about that stuff."

Raise A Glass To Perry, Craft Cider's Pear Cousin

Jun 1, 2016

It was a cool morning in the spring of 2004 when Charles McGonegal, owner of AEppeltreow Winery in Burlington, Wis., bit into his first "perry" pear. Crunching into the tough, tannin-suffused fruit, he was smacked with such astringency that he instantly spit it out, letting the juice dribble down his chin. "Later that day, my lips were peeling and my throat was sore," he recalls. "There's a reason why medieval folks thought perry pears were poisonous — they're full of acids and tannins. They are not for eating.

NBC hyped its new Maya & Marty variety series, starring Maya Rudolph and Martin Short, as a sort of whimsical variety show. What actually emerged Tuesday night, on the other hand, was a slack Saturday Night Live imitator for the prime-time summer nights where reruns used to live.

'Possession' Charts The Tangled Paths Of Art And Antiquities

Jun 1, 2016

"Antiquities have rough afterlives."

The Koh i Noor diamond is back in the news this spring, including a telling quote about it from 2010, when Prime Minister David Cameron explained his decision not to return the diamond: "If you say yes to one you suddenly find the British Museum would be empty."

Science writer Mary Roach is not easily repulsed. While researching her latest book, Grunt, Roach learned all about the medicinal use of maggots in World War I. She also purposely sniffed a putrid scent known as "Who me?" that was developed as an experimental weapon during World War II.

For Roach, it's all in the name of research. "I'm kind of the bottom-feeder of science writing," Roach jokes to Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I'm just someone who is OK with being very out there with my curiosity."

At long last — the first episode of the Code Switch podcast! We decided to start off with a question we've been fixated on over the past few months: Why is it so hard to talk about whiteness?

Neil Gaiman is best-known for his fictional creations, but he's no slouch in the nonfiction department. Barely a week goes by without the appearance of a foreword to a reissued book, an introduction to an album, an essay about genre fiction, a speech about the state of literature, a keynote address to one event or another, or a eulogy for a fallen writer that's been penned by him.

How does an artist know when a work is finished? Sometimes it's a deliberate decision. Other times, the decision is made by fate or circumstance. Now, an extensive exhibition at The Met Breuer Museum in Manhattan is exploring great works of unfinished art.

The Unfinished show has an intriguing subtitle: "Thoughts Left Visible." The exhibit showcases works made over some 600 years, which offer glimpses into the creative process and sometimes reveal artists' anger or despair.

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

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

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

From the moment you hear Laurence Fishburne's mesmerizing opening narration, intoned over sweeping visuals of a lush African forest, it's obvious History's new Roots miniseries has spared no expense to reinvent a TV classic.

But that also begs the question: Why do this at all? Why does the world need a new version of Roots?

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

You could call it the parenting trap. Being a parent comes part and parcel with being judged by other parents. And parents aren't always shy about giving their opinions on others' parenting style — be it on parenting blogs, articles, books or at the playground.

Last year the major controversy was over "free-range parenting." This year, two parenting writers are offering new, and sometimes opposing, ideas.

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

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