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Benya Golden is a Jewish Cossack. Which is not the setup for a Mel Brooks movie, but the new novel Red Sky at Noon by Simon Sebag Montefiore. Golden is a prisoner in a Soviet gulag during World War II, and he ends up pressed into a kind of Dirty Dozen battalion of horse-riding Cossacks and convicts who detest Stalin — but revile the Nazis even more.

In the early 1970s, with a countercultural revolution in full swing, an unlikely figure became the No. 1 enemy of the state — Timothy Leary, the so called "High Priest of LSD." Leary was a former Harvard psychologist who left the ivory tower behind to spread the gospel of psychedelics. After breaking out of a California prison, he went on the run, sparking a madcap manhunt for a bumbling fugitive.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This low-budget enigma of a film, which follows two brothers (or, at least, two people who say they're brothers) on a road trip, during which they seem to be heading out to a cabin in the woods that neither of them is particularly thrilled about, uses what limited resources it has to conjure up a hazy, unsettling mood. And it mostly works. The characters may not have a clear destination, but this movie does: to put its co-directors Christopher Radcliff and Lauren Wolkstein, working off a short they made in 2011, on the indie-thriller map.

Alex Trebek, the face of the Jeopardy! franchise for more than three decades, will be taking time off from the syndicated game show while he recovers from brain surgery. He announced the hiatus in a video posted to the show's online accounts Thursday.

Action!

Jan 5, 2018

First up, a word game that reimagines a movie's plot based on its anagrammed title. Then, an audio quiz about sound designers' favorite effect— the Wilhelm Scream. Plus, a high stakes game about low stakes horror films, and a final round that will "Melt" your "Frozen" heart.

Heard on Movie Favorites

Camera!

Jan 5, 2018

We revisit our interview with actor-director brothers Jay and Mark Duplass. They talk about their journey from nerdy film kids to nerdy film adults. Then, a music parody game about unlikely movie-to-musical adaptations.

Heard on Movie Favorites

Lights!

Jan 5, 2018

First, you've heard of dinner and a movie, but what about dinner in a movie? Then, a James Bond themed parody game about other people named James.

Heard on Movie Favorites

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

On Jan. 6, many Christians around the world will celebrate Epiphany, or Three Kings Day — the day the three kings came to visit baby Jesus.

In parts of Latin America, a big part of the holiday tradition is the rosca de reyes, or Three Kings cake.

For nearly five decades, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has been technically free for all, the price of admission but a suggestion offered at the front door. All visitors could pay what they wished — or what they were able.

That 1970 policy is set to change later this year: Beginning March 1, adults who live outside New York state and who are out of school will have to pay $25 to enter the museum. Seniors will pay $17, and students outside the tri-state area — New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — will pay $12. Children under 12 will still enter for free.

In the desert outpost of Five Keys, New Mexico in 1953, the Rainier family lives so close to the federal penitentiary that all the lights in the house flicker from the surge of a nearby electric chair. While her little brother Christian greets the occasion with boyish enthusiasm ("You're on the Hades Express, mister!"), Elise quietly sketches a vision of the man in his final moments and recites certain facts about him, like how he chose a ribeye steak for his last meal and told the witnesses to "Go to hell!" before the executioner flipped the switch.

In Between, a bold, brassy and beautiful first feature about living while Arab and female in Israel, was made by a young Palestinian woman with Israeli funding. But that is not what earned writer-director Maysaloun Hamoud a fatwa from her own people.

In the most hopeful story recounted by In the Land of Pomegranates, a mother takes her young son from the Gaza Strip to an Israeli hospital for repair of a potentially fatal heart blockage. But no other hearts are mended in Hava Kohav Beller's documentary, whose centerpiece is an encounter session between 20-something Israelis and Palestinians in Germany, the historically fraught land of the director's birth.

The snow and severe cold of the "bomb cyclone" currently hitting the East Coast is no joke.

But for a TV nerd, a storm that shuts down work and school means more time for binge-watching!

It may be only a day or two, so viewing choices are crucial. Can't waste time with dramas that go nowhere or marginally funny sitcoms (yes, Twin Peaks and Curb Your Enthusiasm, I'm talking about you). I'm here to give you some suggestions tailored to your tastes. Hopefully, these shows will act like a hot bowl of chicken soup and a thick, warm blanket.

Some writers believe that they have to ease their readers into darkness. It's a popular gambit, and to an extent, it makes sense — you don't want to lose the reader by plunging them instantly into misery; there has to be some glimmer of hope at the beginning, even if you plan to extinguish it eventually.

Imagine having one of the worst days of your professional life play out in front of 5 million people.

ABC News anchor Dan Harris doesn't have to. In 2004, he had a panic attack on live TV after years of working in war zones and using drugs to cope with the stress. But that mortifying moment led him to take up meditation.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Visual artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby, 34, is having a moment. In 2017, she won a so-called MacArthur "genius" grant, and over the past few months her work has been shown in Baltimore, New Orleans and upstate New York.

In 2006, Derek Amato suffered a major concussion from diving into a shallow swimming pool. When he woke up in the hospital, he was different. He discovered he was really good a playing piano.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Jennifer Brea was a PhD candidate at Harvard University when flu-like symptoms and a high fever brought her down for more than five years.

After her condition stumped several doctors, the 28-year-old filmed herself on her iPhone, including an episode when she was unable to move or speak. She showed the footage to her doctor, and in 2012 – a year and a half after her initial fever – she was diagnosed with a condition called myalgic encephalomyelitis, or chronic fatigue syndrome.

The audio link above includes an excerpt of Terry Gross' 1989 conversation with Sue Grafton.

I think the last time I reviewed one of Sue Grafton's novels was in 2009. I wrote that U is for Undertow was so good, "it makes me wish there were more than 26 letters at her disposal." Now, of course, that line falls flat.

British neuroscientist Joseph Jebelli first set out to study Alzheimer's because of his grandfather, who developed the disease when Jebelli was 12.

In the years that followed, Jebelli watched as his grandfather's memory started to disappear. But Jebelli points out that although a certain amount of memory loss is a natural part of aging, what happened to his grandfather and to other Alzheimer's patients is different.

Setting off through the winter woods, I am wrapped like a Christmas package with seven layers of insulation between myself and the day. I'm wearing mittens an astronaut on the surface of the moon would envy.

This is one of those ice-box cold, double-digit below zero days and the snow has that super cold squeak. The air is just absolutely metal cold, but the cool part is that it is radiantly sunny outside and windless, so there's a blue sky and sun just cutting through these trees.

For more than four decades, Peter Martins helped to shape the New York City Ballet — first as a dancer and then as an artistic leader.

Late Monday he informed the company's board that he would be retiring effective immediately.

Martins had been on a leave of absence since last month amid an investigation looking into sexual misconduct claims.

Martins has also served as artistic director of the School of American Ballet. He is also retiring from his role at the school.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Thousands of party-goers are expected to see in the New Year at Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate where an official party and firework display are planned. As usual, security will be tight with road blocks and an increased police presence of some 1, 600 officers. But this year, female revelers attending the open air event will also be able to access a women-only safety zone staffed by the German Red Cross.

The measures are being introduced by the police for the first time in Berlin because of concerns about sexual assaults.

Dozens of new emojis are planned for 2018.

One of the most popular additions? Redheads.

"People felt like they were getting left out," says Jeremy Burge of the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee. It's part of the Unicode Consortium, which sets the international standards for emojis, among other things.

"Even though I don't have red hair myself, that was the number one request we got for the last two years running. So I felt like I should step up and try and make that happen," Burge tells NPR's Weekend All Things Considered.

When you hear the word quinceañera, the traditional rite of passage for 15-year-old Latina girls, you might think of poofy, pink dresses and big, boisterous family parties. A new HBO documentary series aims to add a little more depth to that perception.

15: A Quinceañera Story takes viewers inside the modern quinceañera. It profiles an East Los Angeles teen boxer, a transgender teen and two girls who perform in rodeo shows together.

It's 1992. Your hair is gelled up, you're sporting high-tops and maybe still listening to Run DMC on cassette.

That's the setting for Sam Graham-Felsen's Green, a new coming-of-age novel that's also a look at race in America. It follows a friendship between two adolescent boys in Boston — one black and one white.

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