Arts

Arts and culture

Michael Ian Black has appeared in movies and TV series for more than two decades, but he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that he still has a hard time looking at himself onscreen.

"When I'm acting, I always imagine myself as looking totally different than the person that appears onscreen," Black says. "And then when I see that person appearing onscreen, I'm inevitably disappointed. I'm always like, 'Oh no! Not that guy! That's not the guy at all that I had pictured.' "

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

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Wyatt Cenac: Pop Culture Fights

Mar 24, 2016

As a teenager, Wyatt Cenac started his career in comedy by writing a letter. And another. And about four more until Saturday Night Live finally gave the 19-year-old an internship. From those humble beginnings, the comedian has continued his craft, writing for King of the Hill and The Daily Show, where he was also a correspondent for four years.

The Produce Section

Mar 24, 2016

In this final round, each answer contains an item that you might find in your supermarket's produce section. For example, "This satirical newspaper's motto is Latin for 'you are dumb,'" is "The Onion."

Heard on Wyatt Cenac: Pop Culture Fights

Horror Minus Horror

Mar 24, 2016

Horror movies are designed to scare the pants off of you...but we think the real world is scary enough already. We've rewritten the plots of horror movies and REMOVED all the horror elements.

Heard on Wyatt Cenac: Pop Culture Fights

Meet The Expert: Hailey Gates

Mar 24, 2016

Our expert Hailey Gates is a writer, producer, and host of the Viceland TV series "States of Undress," where she covers fashion weeks in some unlikely places. Traveling around the world to locales such as Pakistan, the Gaza Strip, and the Republic of Congo, Gates found that there are familiar aspects to fashion weeks everywhere. "It's kind of a beacon of hope," Gates tells Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg at The Bell House in Brooklyn, NY. "Fashion weeks tend to be places of refuge for outsiders."

Not About That Bass

Mar 24, 2016

We all know Meghan Trainor is "All About That Bass," but we here at Ask Me Another aren't so narrow-minded. We've rewritten the song to be all about OTHER musical instruments.

Heard on Wyatt Cenac: Pop Culture Fights

This, That Or The Other

Mar 24, 2016

Barnevelder. Is it a craft beer, type of facial hair...or a chicken? Find out on our latest installment of This, That, or The Other.

Heard on Wyatt Cenac: Pop Culture Fights

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

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Dis Course Is Pass Fail

Mar 24, 2016

How would a Brooklynite react to a GROSS sudden burst of wind? With disgust. That's "this gust," pronounced with a classic Brooklyn accent. Every answer is a combination of "dis" and another word.

Heard on Wyatt Cenac: Pop Culture Fights

Charm is an elusive elixir in literature. Character, dialogue and setting all must be carefully calibrated, but above all everything has to look easy. When it works, it can be ragingly successful, as with Helen Simonson's debut novel Major Pettigrew's Last Stand. With its delicate, witty portrayal of the English countryside, that international bestseller left its readers clamoring for more.

Journalist Anne Garrels was covering Russia years ago for NPR and she wanted to understand what was happening beyond the swiftly changing capital city of Moscow.

So she took out a map, and chose a city at random.

"It could be anywhere and I basically just threw a pencil at the map and it hit Chelyabinsk and I've been going there ever since," she tells NPR's Morning Edition.

The Many Masks Of Batman In 'Caped Crusade'

Mar 23, 2016

This week Batman and Superman do battle on movie screens around the country in the much ballyhooed Batman vs. Superman. Superman is basically the same Superman he's always been. An all-American Golden Boy — albeit from the planet Krypton — fighting for Truth, Justice, you know the rest.

So, maybe your Instagram pics of #delicious #foodporn never look nearly as scrumptious as the real thing.

Don't despair — it's not you. It's just that your food is too real.

Helen Oyeyemi is one of literature's weird sisters. She's kin to the uncanny likes of Angela Carter, Shirley Jackson and Jeanette Winterson, whose names trail down the back covers of her books like a pagan invocation.

'Caped Crusade' Peeks Under Batman's Iconic Cowl

Mar 23, 2016

Batman has two identities: his costumed, crime-fighting persona and his everyday identity as billionaire Bruce Wayne. Right? Or maybe it's not quite that simple — as Glen Weldon compellingly puts forth in The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture. The follow-up to his 2013 book Superman: The Unauthorized Biography, this new superhero overview peeks under the iconic cowl to unveil the many faces of Batman — as well as the many faces of his millions of fans — since the character's creation 77 years ago.

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

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Tens of millions of Americans have been tuning in to March Madness, the NCAA basketball tournament.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Oh, what a save. And Lindsey with the finish.

Later this month, British newspaper the Independent will stop printing physical copies — it's going online-only. You might not be familiar with the Independent, but if it weren't for the paper, the world might never have gotten to meet Bridget Jones.

That character, immortalized on film by Renee Zellweger, was born out of a series of columns that author Helen Fielding wrote in the Independent in the 1990s. Fielding tells NPR's David Greene that when she started there, the newspaper was "the cool place to work."

Bubble Tea Is Back — With A Vengeance

Mar 22, 2016

Whether you call it "boba" or "bubble" tea, the Taiwanese beverage that allows you to chew your drink is back with a vengeance. It first got its start in the 1980s, after an inventor thought to pour tapioca pearls into a glass of iced, sweet tea. Though Asian communities have been drinking boba tea in the United States for many years, the texturally exciting drink is finally reaching a wider audience.

And boba isn't just back — it's playing ambassador to a whole host of other foods and trends.

The heated debate between the FBI and Apple over the encryption of the iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the two people who massacred 14 people in San Bernardino in December, took an unexpected turn Monday when the FBI announced that a third party had come forward with a way to possibly unlock the phone without Apple's involvement.

True Love And Time Travel In 'Patience'

Mar 22, 2016

Daniel Clowes may be one of the most notable comic artists of our era, a pillar of the '80s-'90s scene who's continued to do great work up to the present day, but he does tend to fixate. His recent books have focused, laserlike, on a human type that's shown up repeatedly in his comics over the last 20 years: a lonely, self-hating man living in his own head, desperate for connection, yet sabotaging it when the chance comes.

So you walk into the new Korean joint around the corner and discover that (gasp) the head chef is a white guy from Des Moines. What's your gut reaction? Do you want to walk out? Why?

The question of who gets to cook other people's food can be squishy — just like the question of who gets to tell other people's stories. (See: the whole controversy over the casting of the new Nina Simone biopic.)

Take a look at the next box of strawberries you find in the store. Depending on where in the country you happen to be, it may have come from Florida. But it won't for much longer.

Why?

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

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Consider something we use every day but don't think about unless, of course, we lose them: keys. They lock doors, turn on cars, keep valuables safe. More poetically, they can open minds and hearts.

Writer Helen Oyeyemi has been thinking a lot about keys. In fact, she's written an entire book about them, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours — nine short stories (she says she could have written 900) about the power of keys.

A version of this story first ran in March 2014.

The first day of spring is cause for a celebration, especially after the winter many of us have been having. But it's hard to top the 13-day festivities of the Persian New Year, Nowruz.

Nowruz, or "new day" in Persian, is an ancient festival that marks the beginning of spring and celebrates the rebirth of nature. And naturally, it has a lot to do with fresh, green foods just beginning to poke out of the ground that remind us winter is not, in fact, eternal.

Alone In Berlin stars Brendan Gleeson and Emma Thompson as an ordinary middle-aged working class couple, Otto and Anna Quangel, just trying to keep their heads down in 1940s Berlin. But when their son is killed on the battlefield, grief sparks them into defiance. They begin writing anti-fascist postcards bearing small truths like "Mothers, Hitler Will Kill Your Son Too" and leaving them in public places.

They hope others will follow their lead.

During its original run from 1999 to 2006, The West Wing was critically acclaimed, racking up 26 Emmy wins. The drama created by Aaron Sorkin frequently appears on lists of the best television shows of all time.

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