Arts + Life

Arts + Life
1:52 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

'Better Call Saul,' The Prequel To 'Breaking Bad,' Stands On Its Own

On Better Call Saul, Bob Odenkirk plays Jimmy McGill, a fast-talking, struggling public defender who decides to remake himself as Saul Goodman, a lawyer specializing in representing unabashed criminals.
Ben Leuner Courtesy of AMC

Originally published on Fri February 6, 2015 4:35 pm

I'm guessing that the first thing fans of Vince Gilligan's Breaking Bad want to know is whether its AMC prequel series, Better Call Saul, premiering Sunday and Monday, is anywhere near as good as the original β€” which was TV at its very best. And I'm also guessing that people who haven't yet worked their way through Breaking Bad -- and, really, by now, why haven't you? β€” are wondering whether they can enjoy this new series without having absorbed the old one.

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Arts + Life
8:24 am
Wed February 4, 2015

Beautiful Bird Exhibit Spotted At Smithsonian

Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Wendi Norris Smithsonian American Art Museum

Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 11:22 am

It's been a cold winter in Washington, D.C., but over at the Smithsonian's American Art Museum, there's a flutter of exotic real and imaginary birds, created by 12 contemporary artists, in an exhibit called "The Singing and the Silence: Birds in Contemporary Art."

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Missing Teen
11:31 am
Tue February 3, 2015

Update: Missing Transgender Teen Found Safe

UPDATE: 2/3/2015 4:4pm. Columbus Police have reported that Β Ashley Lane has been found safe in downtown Columbus. More details to come.

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Arts + Life
3:37 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

The Super Bowl, Shark Attacks And Monday Morning Quarterbacks

Katy Perry dances with a couple of sharks during the Super Bowl halftime show.
Christopher Polk Getty Images Sport

As longtime PCHH listeners know, Stephen Thompson hosts a Super Bowl party every year that keeps him hopping and keeps us from discussing the game in real time as we otherwise would. Therefore, we sat down Monday morning to catch up about the game, including the phenomenon of concluding you've witnessed an inexplicable play call from someone who knows much, much more about football than you do. We also talk about the Katy Perry halftime show, the surprisingly sentimental ads and lots more.

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Arts + Life
2:39 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

Oprah Winfrey And 'Selma' Director Ava DuVernay Team Up For A Series

Oprah Winfrey and director Ava DuVernay, seen here in November of last year, are collaborating on a new drama series for Winfrey's network, OWN.
Alberto E. Rodriguez Getty Images for AFI

The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) has yet to find its Mad Men or Transparent -- the show that will make it an instant player the way those shows did for AMC and Amazon. But today, they announced that later this year, production will begin on a scripted drama series inspired by the Natalie Baszile novel Queen Sugar, on which Oprah Winfrey will collaborate with Ava DuVernay, the director of Best Picture nominee Selma. The story is about a woman living in Los Angeles who moves to her father's 800-acre sugar cane farm in Louisiana after his death.

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Arts + Life
5:16 pm
Sun February 1, 2015

The Success Of Fox's 'Empire' Reveals A Few Do's And Don'ts For TV

Taraji P. Henson, left, and Terrence Howard star as Cookie and Lucious Lyon in the Fox TV show Empire.
Chuck Hodes Fox TV

Originally published on Mon February 2, 2015 11:12 am

The TV industry is scrambling to understand the runaway success of Fox's Empire, the story of a family-run hip-hop music company that has set ratings records in its four weeks on air.

The questions, as always, are simple: Why are people drawn to this show? And how can a TV network pull it off again?

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Story Corps
9:12 am
Fri January 30, 2015

African-American NASCAR Driver Raced Like 'A Great Artist'

Wendell Scott's son Frank Scott (left) and grandson Warrick Scott at StoryCorps in Danville, Va. Wendell Scott, who died in 1990, was one of the first African-American NASCAR drivers to win a race at the elite level.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 8:05 am

The NASCAR Hall of Fame inducts an African-American driver for the first time Friday night.

Wendell Scott drove during the Jim Crow era, and he was the first African-American to win a race at NASCAR's elite major league level. He died in 1990.

Scott's career began in 1952, and his racing team was his family. They would travel to races together from their home in Virginia, and his sons served as his pit crew.

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Arts + Life
8:54 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Songwriter, Poet Rod McKuen Dies At 81

Ezio Petersen UPI /Landov

The obituary in The Los Angeles Times describes Rod McKuen as "prolific" and that may well be an understatement considering the many compositions he churned out.

McKuen is credited with more than 200 albums and more than 30 collections of poetry.

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Arts + Life
5:21 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

The Arctic Circle's Coolest Accommodations Turn 25 Years Old

Icehotel is located 120 miles above the Arctic Circle. The temperature outside is well below zero, but inside the hotel β€” while still, of course, below freezing β€” it's much warmer, hovering in the low 20s.
Ari Shapiro NPR

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 10:07 am

On a recent winter's day in the village of JukkasjΓ€rvi, Sweden, it's 22 degrees below zero β€” or -30 Celsius. Whatever you call it, it's way below freezing.

Sculptor Jens Thoms Ivarsson stands over a block of ice with a razor-sharp chisel, turning a bare room into an ornate Spanish mosque made entirely of ice.

Here, 120 miles above the Arctic Circle, sits a frozen institution: Icehotel, the original.

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Arts + Life
5:20 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

NBC's 'Parenthood' Ends As A Family Drama Built On Small Moments

The stars of Parenthood include, left to right, Erika Christensen Peter Krause, Bonnie Bedelia, Craig T. Nelson, Lauren Graham and Dax Shepard.
NBC Justin Lubin/NBC

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 10:07 am

It happens at least once every episode: A scene in Parenthood carefully crafted to make you cry.

Like the moment when devoted parents Adam and Kristina Braverman try to console their son Max β€” who has Asperger's syndrome β€” after a school camping trip goes bad.

"Why do all the other kids hate me?" Max Braverman asks, voice wavering, just before telling his disbelieving parents a classmate relieved himself in his canteen during the trip. "Asperger's is supposed to make me smart. But if I'm smart then why ... why don't I get why they're laughing at me?"

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Arts + Life
6:02 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

In 'The Americans,' Art Imitates Real Life Lies

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 6:20 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Arts + Life
9:57 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Smithsonian In Talks Over London Outpost β€” Its First Overseas

The London 2012 Olympic Stadium at sunset at the Olympic Park in London. The Smithsonian Institution is working to establish its first international museum outpost in London as that city redevelops its Olympic park.
Alastair Grant AP

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 2:56 pm

Updated at 12:08 p.m. ET

Along with Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, London may soon be home to a Smithsonian outpost.

The institution's Board of Regents has authorized museum officials to explore the Smithsonian's first international gallery outpost. Its home: near the site of London's Olympic Park.

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Arts + Life
3:25 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Homeless Man Encourages Others On The Streets To 'Get Up'

Tony Simmons leads a group of Johns Hopkins University students on a "justice walk" in downtown Baltimore, during which they learn about public policy, providing services, and the connections between income inequality and health.
Gabriella Demczuk for NPR

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 3:33 pm

This story begins an occasional series about individuals who don't have much money or power but do have a big impact on their communities.

Sometimes, the people you'd least expect are those who do the most. People like Tony Simmons, a homeless man in Baltimore who helps others get off the street. Simmons says he does it as much for himself as for anyone else.

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Arts + Life
4:34 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

After Father's Death, A Writer Learns How 'The Japanese Say Goodbye'

Marie Mutsuki Mockett says the Japanese tradition of Tōrō nagashi β€” lighting floating paper lanterns in honor of loved ones β€” reminded her that she was not alone in her grief.
Alberto Carrasco Casado Flickr

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 6:30 pm

Several years ago, when her father died unexpectedly, writer Marie Mutsuki Mockett became unmoored. Lost in a deep depression, Mockett turned to Japan's rituals of mourning for a way forward.

Mockett's mother's family owns and runs a temple just 25 miles from the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The plant melted down after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Mockett begged her cousin, the temple's priest, to leave, but he refused β€” he said he needed to stay to care for the souls of the ancestors.

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Arts + Life
3:24 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Intended For Millennials, Dish's Sling TV Is A Cord Cutter's Dream

Joe Clayton, president and CEO of Dish Network, introduces the Sling TV earlier this month at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 6:57 pm

A few days ago, I entertained myself for a few minutes watching ESPN's Stephen A. Smith lose his cool β€” this time, over an "incompetent" NFL for not interviewing Patriots quarterback Tom Brady regarding the team's deflated-football controversy.

But what made this moment noteworthy, was where I was watching Smith: not on a TV connected to a cable box, but on my iPad. Thanks to Sling TV.

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Arts + Life
9:32 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Broad City' And Required Reading

NPR

On this week's Pop Culture Happy Hour, we're joined from Boston by PCHH's official enthusiastic librarian, Margaret Willison. We begin with a conversation about Broad City, the Comedy Central show that recently kicked off its second season (you can see the event Stephen talks about right here). We talk about some of the show's influences, some of what makes it special, and some of the ways it pushes against the boundaries of typical television.

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Arts + Life
12:06 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

'Parks And Recreation' Shows The Beating Heart Of Its Great Love Story

Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler play the platonic friends at the very beating heart of Parks And Recreation.
Ben Cohen NBC

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 8:56 am

The wedding of Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) and Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott) was one of Parks and Recreation's greatest moments. So was the wedding of April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza) and Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt). But Tuesday night, Parks spent the second half of its hourlong double episode on its greatest love story: the friendship of Leslie and Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman).

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Arts + Life
3:32 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Building Sponge City: Redesigning LA For Long-Term Drought

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 5:44 pm

For thousands of years, city planners have engineered water into submission β€” think aqueducts.

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Arts + Life
10:07 am
Wed January 21, 2015

An Uneven But Auspicious 'Nightly' Opener

Larry Wilmore brought The Nightly Show to Comedy Central on Monday night.
Stephen Lovekin Getty Images for Comedy Central

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 3:24 pm

It's perhaps not surprising that the strongest part of The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore on its debut Monday was the part that looked the most like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, with which it shares considerable DNA. Wilmore opened with an observation that the Oscar nominations are "so white a grand jury decided not to indict them," acknowledged Selma and said the words "Eric Garner" and "Ferguson" in the teaser before the show open even rolled. (What was on Colbert's show the "pre-eagle" moment.)

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Arts + Life
5:34 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

How Broadway Is Losing Its 'Middle Ground'

Side Show tells the true story of conjoined twins who go from a freak show to vaudeville and try, unsuccessfully, to find love along the way. "We just did not get enough bodies and butts in seats that translate into word of mouth," says Side Show producer Darren Bagert. Above (from left): Ryan Silverman, Emily Padgett, Erin Davie and Matthew Hydzik.
Joan Marcus O+M Co.

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 11:03 am

Broadway is New York's biggest tourist attraction and brought in $1.3 billion in ticket sales last season. But it's also a high-stakes gamble for producers, since only 1 in 4 Broadway shows turns a profit. This month, two of the fall's most highly anticipated musicals, a revival of Side Show and The Last Ship, with songs by Sting, have thrown in the towel β€” closing, having lost almost their entire investments.

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