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Arts + Life

Arts + Life

As we mourn the golf great Arnold Palmer, we acknowledge another contribution he made to our culture: the tasty and refreshing iced tea and lemonade beverage that carries his name.

For those of us who grew up in Santa Fe, N.M., there are few figures that loom larger than Zozobra. I mean that literally, as much as figuratively: The 50-foot-tall marionette is as familiar as Santa Claus — only, instead of stealing away with cookies and milk, Zozobra ends its holiday each year by being ritualistically burned to death before a crowd of tens of thousands of screaming people.

The 2016 Emmy Awards are 83 percent over.

Think about that next Sunday night, as some sudsy production number lumbers on or yet another powerfully unnecessary montage/tribute — "A Salute To: The Laugh Track!" — brings the proceedings to a lurching halt.

It will take host Jimmy Kimmel and company three hours and change to hand out 19 Emmy statues. If that sounds inefficient to you, consider this chilling fact: There are in fact 110 Emmy categories this year.

It's 3 a.m. and Whiskers has decided it's time for breakfast. He jumps up on your bed, gently paws at your eyelids and meows to be fed. Annoyed? Cat behavior specialist Sarah Ellis says you have only yourself to blame.

Ellis says that cat owners reinforce negative behaviors when they give in to them. "Cats are not necessarily born meowing and screaming at us for food, it's a behavior that they learned," Ellis tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

If you were alive in the 1980s, you've probably seen the art of Keith Haring. His graffiti-inspired images were everywhere: canvases and T-shirts, walls and subway stations.

Now one of Haring's lesser-known murals in New York is threatened. It's in the stairwell of a former convent called Grace House, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan — a pretty unlikely place, even for Haring. But here are Haring's familiar, cartoonish figures — the radiant baby, the barking dog — dancing up and down three flights of stairs.

Actress Pamela Adlon and comic Louis C.K. are no strangers to collaboration. They had already worked together on two different series — Lucky Louie and Louie — when C.K. suggested Adlon create her own show that she would star in. Initially, the single mother of three daughters balked.

"I was like, 'Are you crazy? I can't do that! I'm doing this and that, and I got the girls," Adlon tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. But gradually the idea grew on her, and she began to think of the ways in which her own experiences could be fodder for a series.

Last month, NPR asked listeners and readers and a Harvard professor what technologies have stuck around a little too long.

"The typewriter keyboard for me is the one that is most amazing," said Calestous Juma, author of Innovation and Its Enemies: Why People Resist New Technologies.

He's talking about the QWERTY layout — in use since the earliest typewriters.

It's a sweltering night in July and Los Angeles' Underground Museum is packed. "It's crowded and hot, but it feels really good," says vistor Jazzi McGilbert. Like much of the crowd, McGilbert is young, creative and African-American. She drove across town to this unassuming, bunkerlike storefront for an event that combines art and activism. The museum is one of her favorite spots in Los Angeles. "I like what it stands for," McGilbert says. "... And the art is incredible."

Art can enlighten, soothe, challenge and provoke. Sometimes it can transform a community.

Case in point: a 5.5-square-mile island called Naoshima in Japan's Seto Inland Sea.

Once upon a time, the biggest employer on Naoshima was a Mitsubishi metals processing plant. Actually, it's still the biggest employer, just not nearly as big as it once was.

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.

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.

Updated at 6 p.m. with judge's ruling

Usually when there's a question about who created a piece of art, the artist is dead and can't speak for himself — he can't say, "Hey, I made that," or "Nope, not mine." But this is a story about a living artist who went to court to prove that a painting in fact is not his. And on Tuesday, a judge in Chicago agreed.

Twentieth century painter Romaine Brooks introduces herself in a 1923 self-portrait: She wears a narrowly cut, long, black riding jacket with a white blouse. She has short cropped hair, and her eyes are shadowed by a black high hat. There's the slightest smudge of maybe pink on her lips — otherwise the whole portrait is black and various shades of gray.

Distilling The Story Of California Wine, One Label At A Time

Aug 17, 2016

For the first half of the 20th century, nobody would have ever compared the wines of California's Napa Valley to the great wines of France.

"It's amazing when you think about it," says Amy Azzarito, online strategist at the University of California, Davis, library. "California wines were a joke for a long time. And they're not anymore."

On Sunday, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt won the men's 100 meters in Rio, retaining his status as the fastest man in the world.

One photo from the day visually defines the career of this record-breaking athlete. It's from the semifinals.

In it, Bolt is leading the pack. He glances over his left shoulder, grinning, just before he crosses the finish line. His competitors are barely nipping at his heels. Everything below the waist is a blur.

What first grabs a reader about Mary Mann Hamilton's memoir, Trials of the Earth, is its backstory. Hamilton was born in Arkansas around 1866; her family ran a boarding house and at 18 she married one of the guests, an older Englishman named Frank Hamilton who claimed to have an aristocratic past.

Welcome to the third installment of Read, Watch, Binge! our summer recommendation series. As you may recall from our first list, we were tired of algorithms that only matched books to books or movies to movies. So this month, we've enlisted the help of real live humans to pair TV series with movies, musicals, books, comics, podcasts and more.

When Your Dream House Is A Dollhouse, No Space Is Too Small

Aug 10, 2016

When Bridget Sue Lambert was 5 years old, her grandfather built her a dollhouse.

It's a simple wooden structure, white with yellow shutters, a few handmade chairs and dressers scattered through its sparse rooms.

Decades later when Lambert was searching for artistic inspiration, she found out the dollhouse was still in her parents' house, gathering dust. Lambert's love of miniatures was sparked anew.

Sesame Street has been a constant presence in children's entertainment for nearly 50 years. In addition to Big Bird and Elmo and Oscar the Grouch, the program also has human characters who ground the show, teaching the muppets big life lessons and helping them on their zany adventures. But over the past few weeks, there have been some issues with the grown-ups of Sesame Street.

In honor of MTV's 35th birthday Monday, the network has launched MTV Classic, a new channel featuring programming from the '90s and '00s. On the same day, we also wish a happy birthday to NPR Music and Pop Culture Happy Hour's Stephen Thompson, who celebrates with an interview on All Things Considered about how MTV Classic is redefining which popular culture fits into the current environment for nostalgia.

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

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The Television Critics Association is ... okay, that's the easy part. It's an association of people who write about television, mostly as critics, although many function, either instead or in addition, as reporters. I'm in it, as is NPR's full-time TV critic Eric Deggans, as are a couple hundred other people. And twice a year — once in the summer and once in the winter — we gather in the L.A. area for what's referred to as either "press tour" or "TCA," so that we can hear about what's coming up on TV and get a chance to talk to the people who make it.

America's favorite Amazon princess turns 75 this year — Wonder Woman first swung her golden lasso in All-Star Comics #8 in December 1941, and she's still fighting for freedom and the rights of women.

DC Entertainment is celebrating the Amazon's birthday with a series of events at this year's San Diego Comic-Con; a street corner in the downtown Gaslamp District has been turned into a tribute to Wonder Woman's home on Paradise Island, complete with artists painting giant portraits of her, and a replica of her famous invisible jet.

"My name is Becki," says a young woman standing in a convention center turned comic book bazaar. Then she flips a mane of orange hair and launches into Scottish accent. "And today, I am Merida from Brave."

This year at San Diego Comic-Con, one of the biggest phenomena isn't just inside the convention center, it's all around. Yes, there are billboards and installations trumpeting things like Doctor Strange and Fear the Walking Dead. But the crowds of people here aren't looking up; they're mostly staring down at their phones, playing Pokémon Go.

On Wednesday night, the film Star Trek: Beyond held its red-carpet premiere at San Diego Comic-Con. They went all out – a live orchestra, fireworks, a laser show. Conan O'Brien hosted the gig. NPR's Nina Gregory reported on it for Morning Edition yesterday.

When You're A Nomad, You Need Portable Art

Jul 15, 2016

Think of it as art to go — and on the go.

The 2016 Emmy Award nominations were announced Thursday morning in Los Angeles. The full list of nominations is here.

Although HBO's hit Veep received the most comedy nominations, the ABC show Black-ish was nominated in three top categories, including best comedy series and best lead actor and actress in a comedy series.

Spanish Surrealist Salvador Dalí spent much of the 1940s in the U.S., avoiding World War II and its aftermath. He was a well-known fixture on the art scene in Monterey, Calif. — and that's where the largest collection of Dalí's work on the West Coast is now open to the public.

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