Arts & Life

Mystery Guest

Aug 26, 2016

Ophira and Jonathan become the contestants in a round of Mystery Guest. Rebecca McMackin works in Brooklyn, and she has hired some temporary workers to help her out with an interesting problem. Ophira and Jonathan must ask yes or no questions to figure out who these workers are, and what they do.

Heard on Naturi Naughton & Omari Hardwick: Power Puzzlers

Considering the many dramatic plot twists and turns, you'd think that actors Omari Hardwick and Naturi Naughton from the Starz show Power would race to the end of the script to make sure their characters make it through the episode alive. Hardwick plays Ghost, a nightclub owner leading a double life as a drug kingpin trying to go straight. Naughton plays his wife, Tasha, who is power hungry in her own right. But now that the show is in its third season, they are not as anxious to read the scripts. "Sometimes you don't wanna know that far ahead.

House Hunters Intergalactic

Aug 26, 2016

Andromeda Dunker, narrator of HGTV's House Hunters and House Hunters International, lends her voice to this game. For one day only, she'll be narrating House Hunters INTERGALACTIC. Andromeda reads a real estate ad and contestants identify what celestial body she's describing.

Heard on Naturi Naughton & Omari Hardwick: Power Puzzlers

Who You Gonna Call?

Aug 26, 2016

We attempt the most dangerous quiz ever on Ask Me Another — parody "Ghostbusters." We took the "Ghostbusters" theme song and rewrote it to be about other things that end with "busters," such as... gangbusters, or bunker busters.

Heard on Naturi Naughton & Omari Hardwick: Power Puzzlers

I'm A Business, Man

Aug 26, 2016

You've heard of "Beats by Dre," the "Oprah Winfrey Network," and Ophira Eisenberg's fragrance line, "Musty Top Notes, by Ophira." Put this knowledge to the test by mashing up the name of a famous person with the name of a company. If we said, "This California Gurls singer tries her hand at men's fashion," you'd answer, "Katy Perry Ellis."

Heard on Naturi Naughton & Omari Hardwick: Power Puzzlers

You Do Know Jack

Aug 26, 2016

For this final round, every correct answer contains the name "Jack." For example, if we said, "A person who cuts down trees," you'd answer, "He's a lumberjack," and be O.K.

Heard on Naturi Naughton & Omari Hardwick: Power Puzzlers

When Was The Last Time You Did Absolutely Nothing?

Aug 26, 2016

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Slowing Down

About Andy Puddicombe's TED Talk

Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe says one path to happiness is ten minutes, each day, to stop and enjoy the sensation of doing nothing.

About Andy Puddicombe

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Slowing Down

About Tim Urban's TED Talk

Blogger Tim Urban explains his process of extreme procrastination in which his brain wages war between instant gratification and the moment of pure panic just before a deadline.

About Tim Urban

Why Would Millions Tune Into 'Slow TV'?

Aug 26, 2016

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Slowing Down

About Thomas Hellum's TED Talk

Norwegian TV producer Thomas Hellum describes why his programs — which feature hours of train rides, fishing, and knitting — help viewers slow down and return to life in 'real time.'

About Thomas Hellum

Can Slow-Moving Art Disrupt Our Hectic Routines?

Aug 26, 2016

Part 6 of the TED Radio Hour episode Slowing Down

About Gabriel Barcia-Colombo's TED Talk

Early in his career, video artist Gabriel Barcia-Colombo noticed the way people breeze past works of art. He describes how his deliberate, slow-moving installations encourage people to stop and think.

About Gabriel Barcia-Colombo

What Can We Gain By Writing A Letter By Hand?

Aug 26, 2016

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Slowing Down

About Lakshmi Pratury's TED Talk

Lakshmi Pratury reflects on the dozens of letters she received from her father, while he was alive, and on the painstaking time it takes to pen a letter.

About Lakshmi Pratury

This week, we took ourselves to the Disney live-action film Pete's Dragon, currently riding high with (most) critics and answering the question, "Can you really put a line in a movie about capturing a dragon where a guy says, 'Follow that dragon!'?" We talk about how well the film's very sweet and optimistic tone worked on the various members of the panel, including NPR Music's Daoud Tyler-Ameen in the fourth chair. Can Glen make peace with this much earnest sweetness? Oh, he'll tell you.

If you've seen Sleeping Beauty, The Jungle Book or the Toy Story movies, you've seen the work of animator Floyd Norman; for decades, he has helped bring Disney and Pixar classics to life.

Now 81, Norman still works for Disney, where he has plied his trade, on and off, since he became the studio's first African-American animator in the 1950s.

In Japan, you sometimes hear the term "village on the edge." What it means is "village on the edge of extinction."

Japan's population is declining. And the signs of that are easiest to see in rural areas, like the mountainous interior of the southern island of Shikoku. For example, the village of Nagoro used to have around 300 residents. Now it has 30.

A man, a plan, a canal — Panama! The classic palindrome also doubles as tidy descriptor for Hands of Stone, a shoddy biopic about Roberto Durán, a legendary Panamanian boxer whose identity, according to the film, is tied closely to the fate of the Panama Canal.

If you could slough off the life you'd built every few years and reinvent yourself as a whole new person, would that be a great escape or evidence of severe psychic damage? It's a great premise to lift off from, and I only wish that the overwrought but undercooked new drama, Complete Unknown, stepped up with a sharper idea of what it wanted to talk to us about. Especially with the suitably inward Rachel Weisz and Michael Shannon on hand to deepen the enigma and then open it up.

Italian writer-director Nanni Moretti's Mia Madre (My Mother) is about an everyday drama in which nearly everyone eventually participates: the death of a parent. It begins not in a hospital but in the streets, where striking factory workers clash with police. It looks real enough, until the director yells, "cut!"

The ability to interlace reality and fantasy is one of cinema's strengths, and at times Mia Madre is as bewitchingly surreal as 8 1/2, Fellini's stream-of-consciousness classic. But Moretti's movie is less swaggering and more tender.

The First First Date Unfolds In 'Southside With You'

Aug 25, 2016

Two attractive young idealists named Barack and Michelle tour a Chicago full of hope together in Southside With You, a date movie about the First First Date. It's summer 1989, and neither of the future Obamas has any inkling what's in store for them (even though the script they're inhabiting does).

America's most famous drag queen, RuPaul, is finally mainstream, with two Emmy nominations for his reality show, RuPaul's Drag Race.

We visited set of Drag Race here in Los Angeles, where RuPaul and the gang are taping the show's ninth season. The show is a competition — contestants go through challenges to prove their drag skills: lip synching, runway walks and photo shoots. Then RuPaul and a panel of judges choose a winner.

Lace front, true believers!

RuPaul's Drag Race returns tonight.

Technically, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, wherein 10 drag queens who missed out on being crowned America's Next Drag Superstar over the show's eight previous seasons return to compete for a cash prize of $100,000 and induction into RuPaul's Drag Race Hall of Fame.

(This is the second All-Star season, and there were three seasons of the off-season offshoot RuPaul's Drag U, in which RuPaul did not appear in drag and about which we do not speak.)

If fashion is art, Sonia Rykiel is considered a master. Women's Wear Daily dubbed her the "queen of knitwear" — though she was the first to admit she didn't know how to knit — and her designs have been shown in museums. Rykiel, who had Parkinson's disease, died Thursday morning at her home in Paris. She was 86.

Who knew the most traditional-feeling romantic comedy this fall might show up on YouTube?

It's not that YouTube hasn't been making strides in original content; they've been pushing forward in that area for some time. But now that they've established YouTube Red, their premium streaming service, they seem to be getting a little bit more serious and direct about competing for a broader range of viewers with straight-up television, both on broadcast and cable and on services like Netflix and Amazon.

'The Couple Next Door' Ratchets Up Parenting Paranoia

Aug 25, 2016

Novels about missing children aren't, well, novel — but there's a special terror for anyone who has loved a baby when the missing child is an infant, unable to walk or climb or otherwise toddle into danger. Shari Lapena's The Couple Next Door examines the blind fear a couple in upstate New York experience when they return from a dinner party (yes, next door) and discover their beloved daughter is no longer in her crib.

There's no denying it: The architecture on the National Mall commands a kind of weighty reverence. From the neoclassical columns of the Capitol dome to the immense, white marble of the Lincoln Memorial, charm does not seem to have been the design goal for the nation's front lawn. Save for one standout: the Smithsonian's Arts and Industries Building, which, until this summer, had been chained shut for years.

Texas Bookseller Picks 3 Summer Reads

Aug 24, 2016

Julia Green of Front Street Books in Alpine, Texas, recommends Moonlight on Linoleum by Terry Helwig, City of Women by David R. Gillham and The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly.

It has been three years since The Office wrapped, and actor John Krasinski, who played Jim Halpert, is still feeling lucky. Landing a role on the NBC comedy series had been an unfathomably big break for the actor, whose previous work had been in a series of commercials and off-Broadway plays.

There was perhaps no movie more buzzed-about coming out of the Sundance Film Festival in January than Nate Parker's directorial debut, The Birth of A Nation, a retelling of Nat Turner's 19th century rebellion of enslaved people in Virginia.

In 2008, the investment bank Lehman Brothers filed for the largest bankruptcy in American history. It took just hours for the catastrophic effects of the company's failure to become apparent to ordinary people all across the world, even ones who had never before heard terms like "subprime mortgage" and "collateralized debt obligation."

Author Lawrence Wright was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, which meant he was required to do two years of what was called "alternative service." He ended up in Egypt, teaching at the American University in Cairo. And it was there that the man from Texas started his obsession with the Middle East.

Since then, Wright has written a lot about the region and about terrorism as a staff writer for The New Yorker. Now, he has compiled his many New Yorker essays into a new book called The Terror Years: From al-Qaeda to the Islamic State.

Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, is known for his outspoken personality and oversize public image, which he believes help build his brand name.

"Whether it's good press or bad press, it's getting your name out there," Washington Post investigative reporter Michael Kranish tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "Getting your name on the gossip pages and the front pages and even the sports pages, [is] all in the effort of building the name."

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