Arts + Life

Arts + Life

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The smartphone has given us a whole new genre of cultural expression: the selfie.

If you're into selfies, it's safe to say you've probably taken one, and maybe wished you didn't have those dark circles under your eyes.

Now there are plenty of apps out there to fix that.

But whether you think your selfies can be elevated to art may depend on how much effort you are willing to put into them.

A Personal Brand Boost

As part of a series called My Big Break, All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

In December 1984, a war was raging in Afghanistan; millions of refugees were fleeing to Pakistan to escape the fighting.

National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry was there — stationed at the Afghanistan-Pakistan border to cover the crisis.

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ARUN RATH, HOST:

Caitlyn Jenner's new reality show, ”I Am Cait,” premieres on E! tonight.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "I AM CAIT")

CAITLYN JENNER: Isn't it great that maybe someday you'll be normal? Just blend into society.

Think of all the accessibility amenities you've gotten used to seeing since July 26, 1990, the day the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law: Wheelchair ramps leading into government buildings; Support rails in restroom stalls; ATM keypads and elevator buttons in Braille.

Despite these improvements, people with disabilities still struggle in many areas, including one you might not think much about: clothing.

Cute Canes, Like Eyeglass Frames

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DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

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DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Remember that Chris Farley character from "Saturday Night Live?" The motivational speaker who lived in van down by the river.

Well, visitors to New York can now spend the night in a van down by the East River.

A listing on AirBnB is offering bed space in several vans in Long Island City.... ranging in price from $22 to $99.

The vans lack almost all amenities. One guest commented that "not being able to shower was definitely a negative ... seeing as New York isn't very clean."

She dressed up in her mother's lace blouse and wore her jewels. She and her two sisters were going to get her picture taken at a studio in Benin, Nigeria. She struck a pose. The year was 1950 and she was 16 years old.

Flash forward 65 years. Stella Osarhiere Gbinigie is in Washington, D.C., this month. She is now 80. And she comes face-to-face with her youthful portrait, hanging on the walls of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art. She had never seen the original hand-colored portrait until just this past Tuesday.

Journalist Jessica Grose is no stranger to criticism of her voice. When she was co-hosting the Slate podcast, the DoubleX Gabfest, she would receive emails complaining about her "upspeak" — a tendency to raise her voice at the end of sentences. Once an older man she was interviewing for an article in Businessweek told her that she sounded like his granddaughter.

"That was the first moment I felt [my voice] was hurting my career beyond just irritating a couple listeners," Grose tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

What do Michael Jackson, Zac Efron, Bette Midler and Patrick Swayze have in common? They've all worked closely with choreographer Kenny Ortega — a veteran song and dance man who has inspired generations of performers.

On July 31, the Disney Channel premieres his new movie Descendants, starring a number of young, new actors as well as veterans like Kristin Chenoweth and Kathy Najimy.

It's a muggy summer day, and Joe Rubino is at the train station in Baltimore, taking pictures of a stranger and asking some deeply personal questions. Later, he'll post this portrait online, along with snippets from the conversation.

"I think that people are hungry for a more real, emotional connection to people," Rubino says.

His street photography project, Close Up Baltimore, was inspired by photographer Brandon Stanton's Humans of New York blog.

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

Garrison Keillor, creator and longtime host of the popular "A Prairie Home Companion" radio show, says he means it this time: He's retiring.

The Mattress Factory hasn't been an actual mattress factory for a while now. Built on a hillside in the Central Northside neighborhood of Pittsburgh, back at the turn of the last century, it was used as a warehouse and showroom for Stearns & Foster until the 1960s.

Today, it's one of the country's more unusual art museums. Filled not with paintings or sculptures — and certainly not with mattresses — it is now, four stories of ... well, of "stories" in a way. Installations that take you places you don't expect to go in an art museum.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Let's take a moment now to remember a Grammy-winning songwriter.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALWAYS ON MY MIND")

ELVIS PRESLEY: (Singing) Maybe I didn't love you.

For connoisseurs of wonderfully bad television, there is a fine line between stuff that's so bad it's great fun to watch and stuff that's just bad.

And Syfy's latest Sharknado movie — the third one based on tornadoes filled with killer sharks terrorizing America, if you can believe it — has finally, unfortunately, fallen into that last category.

Actor and musician Theodore Bikel, whose talents landed him memorable roles on the stage and screen, has died at age 91. His manager Robert Malcolm confirmed the news to NPR's Neda Ulaby, who says Bikel "died last night at a hospital in Los Angeles after a long illness."

Some of Bikel's most notable work took place on stage — starting with an early breakthrough in the London staging of A Streetcar Named Desire, in which he starred opposite Vivien Leigh.

Examining Hollywood's Pay Disparities

Jul 21, 2015
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ARUN RATH, HOST:

Actress Amanda Syefried caused a stir in Hollywood this past week for telling an interviewer with Britain's Sunday Times she had been paid just 10 percent of what her male co-star received for a movie made a few years ago, but she didn't say which movie.

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