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Arts + Life

Arts + Life

In a series of paintings as fascinating as they are disturbing, artist Alexis Rockman depicts his vision of the Great Lakes. The five major works in the new show “Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle” measure 6 feet by 12 feet, and include science-fiction-like representations of water, animals and man-made threats.

Leaving the foreign service — especially when a new president is elected and you are told to leave — can be a difficult transition.

But one Obama-era ambassador is actually enjoying some new steps.

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode How Art Changes Us.

About Titus Kaphar's TED Talk

Western art contains countless paintings and sculptures that reveal a painful history of racism. We can't erase that history, but artist Titus Kaphar has begun the long and hard work of amending it.

About Titus Kaphar

If you close your eyes and listen to Joe Ide, you might think you were talking to a black man, a brother who knows his way around the neighborhood. The slang, the inflection. It's all there.

But Joe Ide is 100% Japanese-American.

And he has a simple explanation for why he sounds the way he sounds:

"Most of our friends [growing up] were black," he says.

A Colorful South LA Childhood

Ide (pronounced "EEE-day") grew up in South Los Angeles, with his extended family.

Josh Stepakoff was 6 years old in 1999, when a white supremacist opened fire on his day camp at the North Valley Jewish Community Center in Los Angeles.

Josh was shot in his leg and hip. The gunman wounded four others, and shot and killed another man a few miles away. The shooting was ruled a federal hate crime, and the gunman is serving life in prison.

ABC's Grey's Anatomy might be the best show on television that TV critics rarely talk about.

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode How Art Changes Us.

About Dre Urhahn's TED Talk

Artists Dre Urhahn and Jeroen Koolhaas strive to change perceptions of "bad neighborhoods" by arming locals with paintbrushes and a vision: to turn their neighborhoods into open-air art galleries.

About Dre Urhahn

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode How Art Changes Us.

About eL Seed's TED Talk

Using Arabic calligraphy, eL Seed paints messages of hope on the sides of buildings. He says the beauty of Arabic script — even if you can't read it — can change negative perceptions of Arab culture.

About eL Seed

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode How Art Changes Us.

About Magda Sayeg's TED Talk

From door handles to double-decker buses, Magda Sayeg "yarn bombs" inanimate objects by wrapping them in handmade knitting. She wants her bright, fuzzy artwork to make the world a little friendlier.

About Magda Sayeg

For just one more night, the facade of Notre Dame de Paris will display a light show for the ages, designed to celebrate both the cathedral's enduring majesty and the centenary of World War I.

Note: This episode originally aired in 2015.

There are people with Birkin bags, and then there are the rest of us. This purse, made by the French luxury brand Hermès, averages $60,000. It's a little boxy. It comes in just about every color. Each bag is handmade, and Hermès staff apprentice for years before they can produce a Birkin.

There are more than 21 million military veterans in the country, according to a 2016 report from the Department of Veterans Affairs. About 2 million of those are women.

In commemoration of Veterans Day, NPR spoke with six women veterans living at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington, D.C., to find out what their service means to them. Here are their stories.

Rosebud Archer, Navy and Army

When songwriter David Yazbek, whose mother is Jewish and father Lebanese, decided to write a musical that fused his two cultural backgrounds, he knew he didn't want it to be about tribal conflict.

His new Broadway show, The Band's Visit, attempts to do something that seems almost unfashionable: look at two historically antagonistic cultures and tell a story about their commonality.

We're scattered to the winds this week, so we thought we'd dig one of our favorite episodes from last year out of the vault — the one in which we took a first look at two then-new broadcast television shows that continue to impress: This is Us on NBC, and Speechless on ABC.

If you only know Robert B. Reich as a former secretary of Labor, frequent TV commentator and author of numerous books on economic policy, you're missing out. Turns out, he's also got a remarkable knack for wielding a Sharpie.

Liz Smith, the longtime gossip columnist whose stories earned her a celebrity that rivaled many of the A-listers she covered, died on Sunday of natural causes, Smith's literary agent Joni Evans confirmed to the Associated Press. She was 94.

Smith started her own column, titled "Liz Smith" that ran in the New York Daily News from 1976 to 1991, and ultimately drew millions of readers when it was syndicated nationwide.

Life on the moon is no bed of roses. The coffee is weak (because water boils at a low temperature) and the food is rank (because it's hard to grow much more than algae).

The first human colony on the moon, Artemis, is essentially a small, frontier mining town and tourist trap. It's a place that attracts misfits who hope to strike it rich, including a young woman who grew up there named Jazz.

Becoming a fan of something often means becoming a part of a community. And finding that group of like-minded people can feel like finding a place you truly belong. Other times, that community isn't all that welcoming.

"I understand things visually, by finding them in paint. I don't know if my dyslexia causes me to be this way, but I have a feeling it does." — Rachel Deane, painter.

We know lots of facts about dyslexia: It's the most common reading disorder. It changes the way millions of people read and process information.

But we know much less about how it feels to people who have it. How it shapes your self-image, your confidence and how people see and react to you.

And so I reached out to some really creative people — artists who have dyslexia — to talk about this.

Apple, the company known for its devices, has plans to start making original movies and television programming, Hollywood insiders tell NPR. Hollywood seems to be happy to have Apple enter the game, but some say the company will face some challenges.

When producer Sid Ganis first heard that Apple wanted to make TV and movies, "I thought to myself, 'What? And why?' "

On-air challenge: Today I've brought a game of categories based on the word COMBS. You probably know how this works. I'm going to give you a series of categories. For each one, name something in it starting with each of the letters C-O-M-B-S.

For example, if the category were "Three-Syllable Boys' Names," you might say Christopher, Oliver, Mathias, Benjamin and Sebastian. Any answer that works is fine, and you can give the answers in any order.

1. Musical instruments

2. Cities in Florida

3. Wild mammals in America

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

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Gene Demby of NPR's Code Switch team is in our fourth chair this week as we start by trying to make sense of all our reactions to HBO's new drama The Young Pope. The cardinals! The intrigue! The smoking! The ... unexpected animal cameos! It's a really interesting show that has us a little perplexed in places, so please join us as we try to figure out whether we like it or not.

The movie Fences is in theaters across the U.S. right now and is a leading contender in the Academy Awards. It's based on a play by August Wilson — a play that got its start at the Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, Conn. This season, Yale Rep, as its known, marks its 50th anniversary as an incubator for not only Wilson, but also Athol Fugard, Christopher Durang, Sarah Ruhl and many of the leading playwrights working today.

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

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

After years of planning, negotiations and speculation, filmmaker George Lucas has chosen Los Angeles to be the home for his museum honoring visual storytelling. It will display his personal collection of fine and popular art, including Norman Rockwell paintings, Mad Magazine covers, photography, children's art, as well as Hollywood props and visual effects from his famous movie franchise Star Wars.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, TV shows didn't have a lot of love for mass transit — as Homer Simpson pronounced, "Public transportation is for jerks and lesbians."

In 1967, after graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Hartmut Lau deployed to Vietnam. During his deployment, he earned a bronze star, a silver star and a purple heart.

He describes his time in Vietnam matter-of-factly: "You perform the mission that you're given. You do your job and then you either perform well or you don't."

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