WCBE

Arts + Life

Arts + Life

Herschell Gordon Lewis, who died earlier this week at the age of 87, wore several hats over the course of his life: advertising copywriter. Self-styled direct-marketing guru. And, most famously, director of exploitation films of various stripes (nudie, splatter, nudie-splatter). Many of those films have achieved the kind of cult status that often accretes to any cultural product made so cheaply, and with such a gleefully undisguised commitment to offend. A savvy marketer, Lewis knew that his...

There are two "firsts" in the list of highest-paid comedians that was put out by Forbes on Tuesday: For the first time in a decade, someone other than Jerry Seinfeld tops the rankings; and a woman is in the top 10 for the first time, according to Forbes' tally. Kevin Hart ended Seinfeld's decade of dominating the list of highest-paid comedians in decisive fashion, using his tour of huge venues to earn $87.5 million — roughly double the $43.5 million that Seinfeld, the next-most successful...

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. Over his long career, Palmer won seven majors, 62 PGA Tour events, the Masters, the U.S. Open and the British Open. However, it was his working-class background — Palmer's dad was a greenskeeper and golf pro — as well as his humble spirit that helped the now-iconic sports figure grow famous. So the nonalcoholic...

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. Zozobra, which takes its name comes from the Spanish word for pain or despair, "represents all of the...

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. And in two ceremonies that took...

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. Instead of indulging Whiskers' request for an early...

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...

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...

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. "There are more efficient ways of arranging the letters," Juma says. "It should have died a long time ago; it should have died in the ...

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." The Underground...

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. Blame automation. The population of the island has dropped from around 8,000 in the 1950s and 1960s to a little over 3,000 now. In Japan, this is...

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. With its colorful facade, arched windows, spires and rotunda, the A&I (as it's often...

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. Artistic, independent, rebellious, Rykiel embodied the intellectual chic and feminism of Paris in the late 1960s. She wanted women to look both powerful and sexy. Above all, she...

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. The painting in question is a desert landscape. There's blue sky at the top, red rocks and green cacti. It's owned by Robert Fletcher, a 62...

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. An American who lived in Paris, Brooks conveys loneliness, strength and vulnerability, says Joe Lucchesi, consulting curator of an exhibit of...

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." UC Davis and a man named Maynard Amerine are two central reasons for that turnaround. With a project called Label This , the UC Davis library is asking the...

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. Cameron Spencer, a Getty Images photographer from...

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. Hamilton moved with her husband deep into what she calls the "gumbo mud" of the Mississippi Delta, where she helped him run logging camps. Up at 4 a.m. every day, Hamilton fed upwards of a hundred...

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. (You can catch up on last two lists here and here .) Like House Of Cards ? You might also like ... The Manchurian Candidate (1962 movie) because they...

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. "What they say, psychologically, is you have control over a space," Lambert says, looking up...

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