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When choreographer Garth Fagan was growing up in Jamaica, he dreamed of a far off place where he could pursue his art and teach dance to others. And he found that paradise ... in Rochester, N.Y., where he founded the Garth Fagan Dance company. Fagan choreographed The Lion King on Broadway, so we've decided to quiz him on lying kings — three questions about really deceitful people. Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. PETER SAGAL, HOST: And now the game where...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. PETER SAGAL, HOST: And now the game where we like to celebrate someone's lifetime of achievement by asking them to achieve just one more thing. When acclaimed choreographer Garth Fagan was growing up in Jamaica, he dreamed of a far off place where he could pursue his art and create his company and teach dance to others. And 40 years ago, he first found that paradise when he came to Rochester, N.Y. (APPLAUSE) SAGAL: The founder of the...

The Grand, Unfinished Task Of Chronicling How America Eats

Oct 22, 2016

It's Dec. 13, 1938, and Arnie Manoff, 24-year-old starving writer, has been sent by the government to interview the man who created the Reuben sandwich. The sandwich man is big, bawdy Arnold Reuben — he loves to regale audiences with the origin story of his sandwich nearly as much as he loves to name drop the B-list celebrities that frequent the booths of his restaurant. Sometimes, he tells Manoff, in a spitty voice brimming with pride, he even names a special after them. "I'm not...

'Thrill Me' Gets Personal About Life And Writing

Oct 22, 2016

"Books were portals meant for escapism," Benjamin Percy says in "Thrill Me," the titular essay in his new nonfiction collection. He's speaking of his childhood in rural Oregon, where he found new realities in the imaginative works of authors like Ian Fleming, Louis L'Amour, and Stephen King. "Pop lit" is what he calls it, although it's more generally known as genre fiction: thrillers, mysteries, Westerns, horror, fantasy, and science fiction. Percy knows the terrain. His own acclaimed novels,...

Stars Hollow, the picturesque setting of the TV show The Gilmore Girls is practically a character of its own. Close-knit (sometimes to a fault), the fictional New England town is filled with lovable oddballs who gossip over coffee, bicker at town meetings, and make viewers wonder if there's anything remotely like it in the real world. The answer is ... sort of. Stars Hollow is based on a real New England town — Washington, Conn. — where show creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, hatched...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: The highly-praised movie "Moonlight" opens today in select cities. It's a drama about a black man's coming of age in South Florida, a story of trouble, trauma and unexpected grace. In a moment, we'll hear with actor Mahershala Ali, who provides some of that grace. But first, critic Bob Mondello reviews "Moonlight." BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: Chiron is a skinny 10-year-old hiding out from bullies who want to beat him...

Updated 7 p.m. ET with the replacement head being removed The CBC reports that an odd-looking substitute for a stolen head of Jesus has itself now been removed from a statue. The church's priest said the replacement had to go because it was damaging the original statue. But while the temporary head was in place, it inspired lots of joy on the Internet. Our original post: In this one, very particular, instance, maybe baby Jesus was better off headless. A statue at a...

To director Ti West and actor James Ransone, no amount of money can overshadow integrity. HBO veteran Ransone ("The Wire", "Treme") is adamant he will "back an artist over the money any day." And when triple threat writer-director-editor West is asked which of those three stages of production he would give up if he had unlimited funds, he says he "won't do it! ...That's the price of integrity." In fact, it was during a conversation about integrity during the pair's first meeting that sparked...

Home Improvement

Oct 21, 2016

In this final round, every answer contains an object you'd find in a hardware store. So if we said, "He's the rapper who was '2 Legit 2 Quit,'" the answer would be "M-C Hammer." Heard on Ti West and James Ransone: In A Valley Of Trivia Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: The highly-praised movie "Moonlight" opens today in select cities. It's a drama about a black man's coming of age in South Florida, a story of trouble, trauma and...

One-Named Wonders

Oct 21, 2016

This game contains a bunch of words that have something in common: they're all one-word titles of songs performed by a one-named musician. For example, if we said, "This Brit's daydreamer voice would be a good remedy should the skyfall ," you'd answer, "Adele." Heard on Ti West and James Ransone: In A Valley Of Trivia Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: The highly-praised movie "Moonlight" opens today in select...

Let's Turn It On

Oct 21, 2016

In this music game, Jonathan Coulton revamps the sensual Marvin Gaye song "Let's Get It On" to be about famous people who invented or discovered something. Heard on Ti West and James Ransone: In A Valley Of Trivia Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: The highly-praised movie "Moonlight" opens today in select cities. It's a drama about a black man's coming of age in South Florida, a story of trouble, trauma and unexpected grace. In a...

Mystery Guest

Oct 21, 2016

Ophira and Jonathan become the contestants in this round of Mystery Guest! Marie Carter has a job that takes her all over New York City, and Ophira and Jonathan try to figure out what it is by asking yes-or-no questions. Heard on Ti West and James Ransone: In A Valley Of Trivia Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: The highly-praised movie "Moonlight" opens today in select cities. It's a drama about a black man's coming of age in South...

In this installment of This, That, or the Other, contestants must figure out: is it a Star Trek alien species, an energy drink, or a product sold on a television infomercial? Heard on Ti West and James Ransone: In A Valley Of Trivia Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: The highly-praised movie "Moonlight" opens today in select cities. It's a drama about a black man's coming of age in South Florida, a story of trouble, trauma and...

Brush Up Your Shakespeare

Oct 21, 2016

This game was written by someone who studied Shakespeare's plays a long time ago, but has since forgotten almost everything about them. For example, the clue, "I think this play was about some guys with the same first name...and their last names were Hudson, Thoreau, Ford, Kissinger...and then Cavill came along," would be about Henry V . Heard on Ti West and James Ransone: In A Valley Of Trivia Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. ROBERT SIEGEL,...

While political Washington is in a tizzy about the election and what it portends for the Supreme Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is prepping for her operatic debut in Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti's " The Daughter of the Regiment ." For one night in November, the diminutive legal diva will play the nonsinging role of the Duchess of Krakenthorp, a character akin to the dowagers in Marx Brothers movies. It's no cameo. According to the Washington National Opera, while this opera is "best...

It's tough to find a more bubbly, positive person than Lacie Pound. She always has a kind word for the baristas and café workers who serve her morning coffee. She drinks a smoothie offered by a co-worker even when it doesn't taste so good. And she's determined to give an award-winning toast as the maid of honor at her oldest friend's wedding. Lacie, played by Jurassic World co-star Bryce Dallas Howard, is the central character in "Nosedive" — a new episode in the third season of the...

Beneath Gothic arches and metal walkways, a place of torment has been reclaimed as a place of creative ferment. In 1895, celebrated writer Oscar Wilde — author of The Importance of Being Earnest and The Picture of Dorian Gray -- was convicted of homosexual activity and sentenced to two years in the infamous Reading Gaol. The British prison, which was operational until 2013, has just reopened for an unusual art exhibition; "Inside" features installations and texts inspired...

The landscape is all too familiar: Junkies, dealers, prostitution, poverty, and, here and there, spasms of violence. But Moonlight , an incandescent second feature from Barry Jenkins ( Medicine for Melancholy ), is a "black" movie more by way of Charles Burnett than John Singleton ( Boyz n the Hood ) or the Hughes brothers ( Menace II Society ). Adapted by Jenkins from a story by playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney and set in the down-at-heel Miami...

It's hard to find an edge in mainstream comedy, and harder still to keep it once you do. Most of the people who made Keeping Up with the Joneses surely know this. They were hired to make this baby-formula "spies in the suburbs" laffer because they have known success, and they found that success because their past work, for the most part, had edge. They could make you gasp or squirm or think just as easily as laugh, and that's distinguished, say, Zach Galifianakis from every bearded...

There are 21 novels in British author Lee Child's ongoing Jack Reacher series and they habitually take care to describe their hero as a blond-haired, blue-eyed hulk of an itinerant ex-Army cop, standing 6'5" with a 50-inch chest. Dolph Lundgren might've perfect for the part, or maybe Anita Ekberg. But producer Tom Cruise was the guy who, after attempts by others, got the Reacher movie franchise going. For the starring role, there was only one name on his list. It was an inspired choice,...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: In 1895, Oscar Wilde, one of the most celebrated writers of his time, was convicted of homosexual activity and sentenced to two years in jail. Now the author of "The Importance Of Being Earnest" and "The Picture Of Dorian Gray" might be pardoned. The British Ministry of Justice said today it would posthumously pardon people convicted of sexual acts that are no longer illegal. ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: Wilde spent his...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. If you've ever been a victim of malware, been shamed on Twitter, tried to secretly watch online pornography or just worried about the unintended consequences of the Internet, social media and artificial intelligence, well, the British series "Black Mirror" is for you. It's a dystopian anthology series inspired by shows like "The Twilight Zone," but set in the digital era. My guest...

The Rocky Horror Show began as a stage musical in London in the early 1970s, starring Tim Curry as the outrageously dressed outer-space alien Frank N. Furter, self-described as a "sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania." Richard O'Brien, the composer of the play and its music, played Frank's hunchbacked assistant, Riff Raff — and the two of them repeated their roles in a 1975 movie, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The film flopped, originally, but got new life in...

Dorothy's ruby slippers could use a little more magic these days — or at least some preservationist TLC. The famous shoes from The Wizard of Oz are among the most popular items on display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. But they're showing their age, and the museum is asking the public to pitch in to help keep the shoes intact for decades to come. The Smithsonian launched a Kickstarter campaign seeking $300,000 in donations to fund preservation work,...

In 'IQ,' A Sherlock For South Central

Oct 20, 2016

We have so many Sherlocks these days. Books, multiple TV shows, movies — the world (particularly the modern world) is so rich with touchy, cold, brilliant consulting detectives that it's a wonder there are any crimes left for the police to solve. I mean, with such a profusion of Holmeses running around, why would anyone bother calling 911? And yet the character model polished to such a high and perfect gloss by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle more than a hundred years ago is so deep and so elastic...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: If you want to scare a kid - like, see them actually shiver - just say these two words - middle school. There is something about those years - the changes, the betweenness, not a child, not a teenager - that makes middle school pretty dreadful for a lot of kids. That's what Booki Vivat has tapped into for her first book. It's a graphic novel for kids. It's called "Frazzled: Everyday Disasters And Impending Doom."...

Filmmaker Barry Jenkins and playwright Tarell McCraney grew up just blocks away from each other in the same housing project in Miami's Liberty City neighborhood. They went to the same elementary school at the same time, but they did not meet until they were adults, when Jenkins contacted McCraney about adapting his play, In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, to the screen. Jenkins tells Fresh Air 's Terry Gross that he was drawn to McCraney's main character, a young African...

You think you've read every permutation of a World War II novel possible — then along comes a Venetian fisherman and his unlikely first mate, a beautiful Jewish teenaged girl on the run from the last few Nazis occupying Italy. Venerable author Martin Cruz Smith has chosen, in The Girl from Venice , to put aside his usual spy stories (e.g. Gorky Park and Three Stations ) for a straightforward wartime chase-cum-romance, a slice of La Serenissima life so...

I need a moment away from unceasing word drip of debates about the election, about whether Elena Ferrante has the right to privacy , about whether Bob Dylan writes "Literature." I need a moment, more than a moment, in the steady and profound company of Mary Oliver and I think you might need one too. Oliver's latest book is a collection of essays called Upstream . Most of these pieces have been published elsewhere, but reshuffled here they form a kind of sporadic spiritual...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. In the era of the freak show when people paid to gawk at people who look different, two albino African-American brothers whose condition left them with white skin and light-colored hair were exhibited as rarities. They were billed in several ways Eko and Iko, the sheep-headed cannibals, two Ecuadorean white savages, ambassadors from Mars. One spiel about them said the brothers were...

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