Arts & Life

June Foray is gone, leaving an absence, an ache, a cloud of whirling bobby pins in her wake.

The voice of many beloved animated characters, including the plucky Rocky the Flying Squirrel, the sinister spy Natasha Fatale, the tow-headed moppet Cindy-Lou Who and — most delightfully, to my mind — the girlishly ghoulish Witch Hazel, Foray died Thursday at the age of 99.

It may be the most explosive response ever to a TV show that hasn't shot a frame, doesn't have a script, or even a plot written yet.

All we know is HBO's Confederate will be a TV show set in a modern America where the Confederacy never lost the Civil War and slavery still exists. After days at the center of the controversy, Executive Producer Nichelle Tramble Spellman says the experience has been like getting "a crash course in crazy."

Jason Heller is a senior writer at The A.V. Club, a Hugo Award-winning editor and author of the novel Taft 2012.

Los Angeles is the city of many great traditions — one of them being crime fiction. From the hardboiled classics of Raymond Chandler to the gritty noir of James Ellroy, numerous novels have used the tough streets and affluent hills of L.A. as a backdrop for some of literature's most thrilling tales of murder, lust, and justice.

Stan Ingold

If you ask residents of Illinois what product that state is best known for, the answer might be farm equipment. Illinois, after all, is the home of John Deere. Kentucky might point to Bourbon Whiskey, and Wisconsin is the headquarters of Harley Davidson motorcycles. The state of Alabama has a few homegrown products you might not know about.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Most readers these days who know Chester Himes know him for his detective fiction, novels like The Real Cool Killers and Cotton Comes to Harlem, which were written late in his career during the 1950s and '60s. These hard-boiled stories — featuring black New York City police detectives Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson — are brutal and wildly surreal. But no more brutal and surreal, Himes may have said, than the situation of being black — even of being a prominent black writer — in mid-20th century America.

This week, our intrepid host Linda Holmes calls in from L.A., where she's attending the Television Critics' Association press tour, to host a discussion of the filthy, freewheeling and very, very funny Girls Trip. She's joined by regular panelist Stephen Thompson, Code Switch's Gene Demby, and special guest Aisha Harris from Slate.

Stretch & Bobbito On Race, Hip-Hop, And Belonging

Jul 26, 2017

For most of the 1990s, Adrian "Stretch" Bartos and Robert "Bobbito" Garcia hosted a famous weekly hip-hop radio show on Columbia University's campus radio station, WKCR. Their no-frills, four-hour show was broadcast during the wee hours of the morning — 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. on Friday mornings — on a low-strength signal that listeners had to be deliberate about searching out.

'Strange Practice:' The Doctor Is In

Jul 26, 2017

Jason Sheehan is currently the restaurant critic at Philadelphia magazine, but when no one is looking, he spends his time writing books about giant robots and ray guns. Tales From the Radiation Age is his latest book.

The Van Helsing family has a long history in the literature of monster-fighting – they've been stomping around the midnight moors and castles since at least 1897 when Professor Abraham Van Helsing first crossed paths with his biggest bad, Dracula.

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Many comics struggle for years before making it big, but Jessica Williams' lucky break came early. She was just 22 and still in college when she landed a gig as a correspondent on The Daily Show in 2012.

Despite her early success, Williams says that her career before that wasn't always smooth sailing: "I am a 6-foot tall black woman and I have been since I was about 13 years old. ... As a comedian and improviser and somebody who did a lot of sketch and was an actress, I got tons of rejection early on."

Geoff Nunberg (@GeoffNunberg) is a linguist who teaches at the School of Information at the University of California at Berkeley.

The title of literary historian Bill Goldstein's book refers to a familiar quote from writer Willa Cather. In a 1936 essay, sensing that the literary landscape had shifted under her feet and that her own work was passing out of fashion, she lamented,"The world broke in two in 1922 or thereabouts."

She was referring to the appearance, in that year, of three towering works of modernism: James Joyce's Ulysses, T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land, and the English publication of the first volume of Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

There's nothing like fandom to encourage innovation, and the devotees of the Broadway hit Hamilton: An American Musical are no exception — whether they've actually seen the show in person or have memorized every lyric of the 46 songs on the soundtrack album. So it was only a matter of time before enthusiastic fans were going to search out culinary tributes to their most treasured folk hero.

"A Slice of Life: Life Stories" By: Thom Gossom Jr.

Jul 24, 2017

“A Slice of Life: Life Stories”

Author: Thom Gossom, Jr. 

Publisher: Aquarius Press

Pages: 106

Price: $19.95 (Paperback)

Thom Gossom, originally of the Rosalind Heights neighborhood in Birmingham, has already had success in several different fields.

Gossom played football at John Carroll High, then at Auburn where he was a freshman in 1970 and in 1975 became the first black athlete to graduate from that university.

We're recapping Season 7 of HBO's Game of Thrones here on Monkey See. We'll try to turn them around overnight, so look for them first thing on Mondays. And of course: Spoilers abound.

There are some themes in Alisyn Camerota's new novel that may sound familiar: A young upstart reporter is trying to make it at a national news network run by a ratings-obsessed media mogul. And then there's a female senator, firmly rooted in the establishment, going up against a political newcomer, fresh from Hollywood. Camerota started writing this book many years ago, but the events of 2016 make Amanda Wakes Up feel particularly prescient.

In Sam Kean's previous nonfiction books, The Disappearing Spoon and The Violinist's Thumb, the bestselling pop-science writer tackled the topics of the periodic table and DNA, respectively. His new book, Caesar's Last Breath, goes after something equally as essential. Subtitled Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us, it's a conversational and illuminating view of the history and inner workings of Earth's atmosphere — what comprises it, how we've harnessed it for better and for worse, and what it means to us going forward as a civilization.

The Detroit riots began 50 years ago Sunday, after a police raid on an unlicensed, after-hours club. They lasted five days, and by the time they stopped, 43 people were dead, hundreds were injured, thousands had been arrested and entire neighborhoods had burned to the ground.

The new film Detroit depicts the beginning of the riots and one of their most horrifying events: the Algiers Motel incident, in which three young black men were killed (some would say executed) by white police officers.

Bassem Youssef was a successful surgeon in Cairo when he was inspired — thanks to Jon Stewart and The Daily Show — to start his own satirical show on YouTube. Al-Bernameg was a hit, and Youssef received the highest honor in comedy: being forced to flee his country by a military dictatorship. He's now the subject of the documentary Tickling Giants.

nick@ [Flickr]

If your pet becomes overheated, you can put it in a tub of cool water; or use a garden hose or a small wading pool.  And take your furry buddy to the veterinarian to determine if there has been any damage to internal organs!  Heat stroke can cause brain swelling or kidney failure, even after you get your pet cooled down.  

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Any self-respecting comics fan cringes at the phrase "comics aren't just for kids anymore." But any self-respecting comics fan also has to admit there are some great kids' comics out there — especially right now.

Before I left for San Diego Comic-Con this week, I checked in with Lucy Strother, a fourth grade teacher in Philadelphia whose students just love comics. "We have like a comics and graphic novels bin in the library and it's perpetually empty because the kids are so obsessed with comics and graphic novels," she says.

Okay, let's get this out of the way right from the start. The Island, the new book by Max Brooks (yeah, the guy who wrote World War Z, the very good zombie book that got turned into that not-very-good Brad Pitt movie) is about Minecraft. The video game Minecraft.

And not a nonfiction book about the creation of Minecraft and its impact on society. Not a guide to playing Minecraft (although, in a weird way, it kind of is). It's a novel, set in the Minecraft universe.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

On this program in 2014, Moziah Bridges told us about his dream.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

MOZIAH BRIDGES: I want to bring the bow tie back, and I want to make it look better than what it used to be.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

There are things I know I should be paying attention to. And then...

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "BATTLE OF THE NETWORK STARS")

JOE TESSITORE: As Bronson Pinchot and Nolan Gould will take it home...

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

The remains of Salvador Dalí were exhumed Thursday night, pulled from their resting place by Spanish officials hoping to confirm whether the surrealist painter fathered a child in an affair. The closed procedure extracted some hair samples, nails, teeth and two long bones from the artist's embalmed body, the DNA of which might offer the conclusive answer to a high-profile paternity lawsuit long underway.

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