Arts

Arts and culture

Who Are America's 'Homegrown Terrorists'?

Feb 2, 2016
Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

It's the dead of winter in a small town in northern Michigan, and Carletta James is missing. Again. Her 16-year old daughter, Percy, isn't exactly surprised — it's not unusual for Carletta, a meth addict, to disappear for stretches of time, strung out and unconscious somewhere. But Percy's more worried than usual this time; there's a winter storm on the horizon that's threatening to bury Cutler County under a blanket of snow. "I missed her and I was tired of my waiting-around, worried-sick life," Percy thinks. "Carletta had to be got."

Like many — perhaps most — Americans, I've never been to Iowa. But I and much of my generation learned a lot about Iowans years ago from a classic American musical. I knew from the age of 8 that Iowans are stubborn. I learned that from the song "Iowa Stubborn" in Broadway's The Music Man. My folks had seen the show and told me how, when traveling salesman Harold Hill got to River City, Iowa, everybody followed him around because he was an outsider — but they were kind of weird and standoffish.

Farm subsidies don't lack for critics. Free-market conservatives and welfare state-defending liberals alike have called for deep cuts in these payments to farmers. After all, farmers, as a group, are wealthier than the average American. Why should they get tens of billions of dollars each year in federal aid?

Back in the early 1960s, Philip Roth wrote a famous essay declaring that modern American life had gotten so delirious that it dwarfed fiction's ability to match it. Never did his words seem truer than in 1994, when O.J. Simpson — football god, mediocre movie actor and amiable pitchman for Hertz — was charged with butchering his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman.

Last October, China ended its 35-year-old policy of restricting most urban families to one child. Commonly referred to as the "one-child" policy, the restrictions were actually a collection of rules that governed how many children married couples could have.

"The basic idea was to encourage everybody, by coercion if necessary, to keep to ... one child," journalist Mei Fong tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

The question of who is represented and who is left out is rocking the country these days, from Hollywood to politics. And, in Venice, Calif., representation is at the heart 19 dramatic portraits, now on display at the L.A. Louver.

The paintings are of talented female artists, all working right now in Los Angeles. Campbell felt women artists are over-looked, not getting shown in museums and galleries, becoming invisible.

To people who live in big cities, the sound of honking, the whir of traffic, the howl of street vendors and the clang of construction can just be background noise.

But for Nigerian sound and video artist Emeka Ogboh, the city is his palette — his symphony of sound. And his compositions can whisk the listener to another time and place.

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

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "GREASE")

JOHN TRAVOLTA: (As Danny Zuko, singing) Why, this car is automatic. It's systematic. It's hydromatic. Why, it's greased lightning.

As many know, parenting isn't an easy job. It can be hugely frustrating and even lonely trying to figure out what's best for your kid. Should you be a taskmaster or a best friend? Is there a middle ground? The pressures of full-time work and round-the-clock activities can make that question even more challenging to tackle.

Last week, a conversation on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday, about reading books with difficult material surrounding race and gender to your children, sparked a lot of criticism.

NPR's Rachel Martin spoke with editor Jeremy Adam Smith about the controversy over A Birthday Cake For George Washington, a children's book that portrays a slave chef and his daughter preparing the desert for the president.

North Korea is a mysterious place — even to South Koreans. Curiosity about life in the north has sparked a slew of new South Korean TV shows.

There is the Amazing Race-type program, in which North Korean women are paired up with South Korean men to take on various challenges, like trudging through mud carrying a bucket of water on their heads.

Was Andy Warhol a collector of beautiful and mundane things, or was he a full-blown hoarder? Did Abraham Lincoln suffer from melancholia, or was he clinically depressed? Did Albert Einstein have autism? These are the questions journalist Claudia Kalb seeks to answer in her new book, Andy Warhol Was A Hoarder: Inside The Minds Of History's Great Personalities.

Kalb tells NPR's Rachel Martin how she went about diagnosing the historic figures she talks about in her book.

In 1975 Richard Dreyfuss starred in what was then the highest-grossing movie of all time: JAWS. Now, he stars as the title character in the ABC miniseries Madoff -- and, unlike in JAWS — this time he's in the role of the shark.

Since Dreyfuss will be portraying Bernie Madoff, who ran a $65 billion Ponzi scheme, we'll quiz him on Fonzie's schemes — three questions about the life and times of Arthur Fonzarelli as portrayed by Henry Winkler on Happy Days.

Readers have waited almost 15 years for a second novel from the acclaimed Alexander Chee, following the highly-praised Edinburgh. The wait is over.

The Queen Of The Night is sprawling, soaring, bawdy and plotted like a fine embroidery. Lilliet Berne is the most famous soprano in the French opera. She is offered the role of a lifetime: an original part written for her. But then she sees that the opera must be based on a part of her life she's kept under wraps.

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

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

For decades, Diane Rehm has hosted her own daily talk show. The Peabody Award winner first took over as host of the midday show for NPR member station WAMU in 1979; only late last year, Rehm announced that she plans to retire sometime after the 2016 presidential election.

Imagine if you could kill God. Literally just roll right up on him and shoot him in the face.

Now imagine that it's gods, plural. And while putting them down isn't by any means easy, it is possible. You can kill them. All of them. And free the world from their dominion, their miracles, their slavery and oppression. Kill the gods and the world is re-set, sans divinity, sans magic. The playing field, once mountainous with privilege and lack, is now level. Just so long as those gods stay dead.

By now, you're probably tired of hearing about how virtual reality is the next big thing for movies and games. But here's one you may not have heard yet: that virtual reality could be the next big thing for culinary experiences.

Potentially, the technology could help us consume our favorite tastes while avoiding unwanted side effects – whether food allergens or just extra calories. As someone who has long had a fraught relationship with the rotation of wonders at my local doughnut shop (think seasonal confections like Pumpkin Fool), the idea holds an undeniable appeal.

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

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(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "HAIL, CAESAR!")

JOSH BROLIN: (As Eddie Mannix) Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Given the recent expression of anger about the lack of racial diversity in American cinema, it's nice to be able to tell you about Jay Dockendorf's very fine indie feature Naz & Maalik, in which the title characters are African-American teenage boys who also happen to be devout Muslims who also happen to be gay.

That's three outsider perspectives, which is a lot even for an indie. But the point is not representation for its own sake. The triple layer of alienation from mainstream culture makes for an excitingly fresh slant.

Carol Burnett: The 'Fresh Air' Interview

Jan 29, 2016
Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross.

(SOUNDBITE OF JOE HAMILTON SONG, "CAROL'S THEME")

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

What Do You Want To Do Before You Die?

Jan 29, 2016

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Rethinking Death

About Candy Chang's TED Talk

Artist Candy Chang turned an abandoned house into a giant chalkboard with a provocative prompt: "Before I die I want to ____." Her neighbors' answers grew into a kind of monument to the aspirations of the community.

About Candy Chang

How Can We Prepare For A Graceful Death?

Jan 29, 2016

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Rethinking Death

About BJ Miller's TED Talk

At the end of our lives, what do we most wish for? BJ Miller is a palliative care physician who thinks about how to create a dignified, graceful end of life for his patients.

About BJ Miller

Is Honesty The Best Policy When Someone Is Dying?

Jan 29, 2016

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Rethinking Death

About Matthew O'Reilly's TED Talk

As an emergency medical technician, Matthew O'Reilly was used to telling a white lie when patients asked if they were dying. O'Reilly describes what happened on one emergency call, when he decided to tell the truth.

About Matthew O'Reilly

Matthew O'Reilly is a veteran emergency medical technician on Long Island, N.Y.

Is There A Better Way To Be Buried?

Jan 29, 2016

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Rethinking Death

About Jae Rhim Lee's TED Talk

Can we commit our bodies to a cleaner, greener Earth, even after death? Jae Rhim Lee says it's possible by using a special burial suit seeded with pollution-gobbling mushrooms.

About Jae Rhim Lee

Do We Need A New Narrative For Death?

Jan 29, 2016

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Rethinking Death

About Amanda Bennett's TED Talk

Journalist Amanda Bennett explains why having hope while watching a loved one die shouldn't warrant a diagnosis of "denial." She calls for a more heroic narrative for death — to match the ones we have in life.

About Amanda Bennett

Pop Culture Happy Hour entered this week juggling a couple of problems. For one, a gigantic blizzard had just dumped roughly two feet of snow on the D.C. area, making transportation virtually impossible and, it turns out, stranding Glen Weldon in a Virginia cabin for much of the week. Getting the gang together would be no easy task.

Actor Richard Dreyfuss has played a variety of roles — from the bubbling teen in American Graffiti to a man lured by aliens in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Now, in a new ABC miniseries, he plays Bernie Madoff, the former Nasdaq chairman who orchestrated a Ponzi scheme considered to be one of the largest financial frauds in American history.

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