Arts & Life

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

If you've seen the 1945 film noir Mildred Pierce or the 2011 HBO miniseries of the same name (both made from James M. Cain's novel), you know that story punishes Mildred for being a working mother: Her marriage breaks up, her younger daughter takes ill and dies and her elder daughter ,Vida, turns out to be a murderer — all because Mildred wasn't in the home 24/7 to oversee things.

“1865 Alabama: From Civil War to Uncivil Peace”

Author: Christopher Lyle McIlwain, Sr.   

Publisher: University of Alabama Press  

Pages: 276

Price: $59.95 (Cloth)

Christopher McIlwain, a practicing Tuscaloosa attorney, has been researching Alabama in the Civil War for over 25 years.

He has gone deeply into such primary sources as letters, diaries, drafts of legislation before the Alabama legislature and, especially, the editorial pages of the many Alabama newspapers during the years 1861-1865.

It has been 10 years of war.

In Pierce Brown's Red Rising universe, the rebellion begun by slaves three books ago, then carried into the stars by slaves become heroes, become gods, become myths, has nearly been won. Mars and Earth and Luna have been freed from the imperial control of the Gold ruling caste. The green fields of Mercury (just ... go with it) have been won at the cost of a million lives. Venus is all that remains now — stronghold of the Ash Lord, last vestige of the old order. Just one final epic battle, right? Then victory, sweet and eternal.

Right?

Kerri Lee Smith [Flickr]

Shelter workers and rescue groups make a major difference for animals every day.  Folks who make contributions  or volunteer allow them to continue helping pets.  Pitch in today to change the life of pets - you may find your own life has changed for the better, too!

**********************

At Boston's Mei Mei Street Kitchen, a small crew led by Ellie Tiglao rearranges tables, turning the Chinese-American restaurant into a pop-up Filipino banquet hall. About 30 people mill about, sticking with the groups in which they came. A line forms to buy beer.

Violent crime is down in America's big cities.

It may not seem so if you watch crime dramas like CSI, NCIS or Chicago P.D., but homicide, assault and rapes have decreased in big cities since the 1970s. Even Chicago had a 16 percent decline in murders last year, to 650. (In 1974, the city had 970 homicides.)

Take a little Hitchcock and a touch of Gone Girl. Add in a mysterious author and rumors of a very big price tag. Stir them all together and you come up with a rare bird: A debut novel that hits number one on the New York Times bestseller list in its first week on the market.

It's New York City in 1896. Young boys are being brutally murdered, and a team of outsiders assembles to hunt down the killer. On that team is a doctor with some unconventional views, a newspaper illustrator haunted by his past, and a police secretary who upsets the status quo: Miss Sara Howard, who's played by Dakota Fanning in the new television series, The Alienist.

Al Roker may be the most famous weatherman in the country, doing forecasts on the Today show since 1996, but he's much more than that — he's an author and game-show host and face of the Thanksgiving Day Parade. He even got the first interview with newly sworn-in President Barack Obama simply by yelling at him.

Winters in London can be damp and dreary. The British capital sits at 51.5 degrees latitude north – roughly equivalent to the Canadian city of Calgary – and in December, the British capital can descend into darkness by 4:30 p.m.

Nobody ever wrote like Denis Johnson. Nobody ever came close. The author of books like Jesus' Son and Tree of Smoke was a hardcore minimalist who could say in one sentence what other writers wouldn't be able to say in a whole chapter. His stories and novels embraced the dark, but reluctantly; he refused to shy away from the brutal, the violent and the desperate. He was the last of his breed, and it was a breed of one.

The death of rocker Tom Petty in October 2017 came as a result of an accidental drug overdose with a toxic mix of drugs taken for several ailments, including a fractured hip.

The results of an autopsy were released Friday by Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner Jonathan Lucas.

Petty died at 66 of "multisystem organ failure due to resuscitated cardiopulmonary arrest due to mixed drug toxicity," according to a brief statement.

The drugs listed included "fentanyl, oxycodone, temazepam, alprazolam, citalopram, acetylfentanyl, and despropionyl fentanyl."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

It's easiest to say what The Awl and The Hairpin were by describing what they weren't.

They weren't places you went for lazy listicles and clickbait quizzes — Which Character From 'The Greatest Showman' Are You?

You didn't go there to get yet another hot take on whatever it was that everyone on social media was buzzing about that day.

They didn't do takes — hot or cold. They weren't reactive.

Author Robert Harris' new novel Munich takes us back to 1938, to the days before World War II. Of course, we say now that it was before the war — but back then, people weren't at all sure another war was coming.

In September of that year, German leader Adolf Hitler demanded parts of neighboring Czechoslovakia. He threatened to invade, but at a meeting in Munich, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain negotiated what he famously called "peace for our time."

When The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel won two Golden Globes a few weekends back — one for Best Musical or Comedy TV Series and one for its star, Rachel Brosnahan — it helped transform a word-of-mouth sleeper hit into a something closer to a phenomenon. So it only made sense to discuss the show in depth.

There was a time when saying you lived in Portland, Ore., would get a response like, "That's above California, right?" Now, people not only know where the city is but also inevitably ask, "Is it just like the show?"

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

I spent a few minutes today doing something millions of Americans have done in recent days - trying out the Google Arts and Culture app.

The first half hour of The Final Year is as pointlessly hectic as one of those action movies that's all incidents and no plot. But gradually documentarian Greg Barker's look at Barack Obama's foreign policy team comes into focus, thanks in large part to the counterpoint played by the Trump campaign.

There's something unfair about comparing any policier to Michael Mann's Heat, even if you dissent from the popular — and one hundred percent correct — notion that Heat is the best cops-and-robbers movie ever made. For one thing, Heat is more like a movie-plus-expansion pack, a remake of a film Mann had written and directed for network television some years earlier, upgraded with a lavish budget and an A-list cast.

Based on a YA novel by Heidi McLaughlin, the endearingly old-fangled Forever My Girl is basically a stretched-out country music song with eye-catching Southern visuals and a familiar loop of lovelorn sorrow topped with uplift you can see coming from scene one.

Christian Picciolini was 14 years old when he attended the first gathering of what would become the Hammerskin Nation, a violent, white-power skinhead group. Looking back, he describes his introduction to the group as receiving a "lifeline of acceptance."

"I felt a sort of energy flow through me that I had never felt before — as if I was a part of something greater than myself," he says.

In 'Heartland,' Writer's Block Can Be Murder

Jan 18, 2018

Ana Simo's debut novel Heartland is at once manic, brash and unsettling. It's also nearly impossible to categorize without running the risk of coming up short. It straddles the line between pulp noir and slapstick; it carries the can't-look-away sensibility of a telenovela. Simo, a Cuba-born playwright who co-founded the first lesbian theater in New York, takes readers on an erratic — and sometimes erotic — journey through the mind of a jealous lover.

The new film Hostiles tells the story of a U.S. Army captain in the Old West circa 1892. He's spent decades fighting Native Americans and seeing his friends killed, and he's ordered to commit an act of humanitarian relief. The bitter veteran, played by Christian Bale, is tasked with escorting an old Cheyenne chief, played by Wes Studi, back to his home valley to die.

In the film, Studi only speaks a few words of English. His character's most powerful moments come when he conveys meaning with a gesture or expression.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Pages