Arts

Arts and culture

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The three-hour finale of "The Bachelor" premiere tomorrow night and fans of the reality show know that something unprecedented happened the other week that left us all deep confused.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE BACHELOR")

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

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, there is a bronze chest filled with gold and precious gems. The search for this hidden treasure has become a hobby for some, an obsession for others, and for one recent searcher — a fatal pursuit.

The man behind the treasure is Forrest Fenn, an 85-year-old millionaire, former Vietnam fighter pilot, self-taught archaeologist, and successful art dealer in Santa Fe, N.M.

"No one knows where that treasure chest is but me," Fenn says. "If I die tomorrow, the knowledge of that location goes in the coffin with me."

When most people want to play a game, the first thing they reach for is likely a smartphone or tablet. Actual pinball machines have become quaint curiosities, but a father-son duo in California is keeping these old-school games alive in a museum.

The Museum of Pinball is hidden away in an old industrial building, just off Interstate 10 and about 90 miles east of Los Angeles in Banning, Calif. It's pretty quiet when the rows upon rows of pinball machines are not turned on. But once the switch is flipped, it gets loud.

There is a righteous, deep-felt fury I sometimes experience when reading stupendously good work. How dare you, I shout at the author, dropping the book, pacing for a while, how dare you make me feel so much. I rant on Twitter. I joke about how the author must be stopped.

Danai Gurira often calls herself a "Zimerican." The actress and playwright — who you may know best as Michonne, the samurai sword-wielding zombie slayer on The Walking Dead -- was born in Iowa, to Zimbabwean parents, and the family moved back to Harare when she was just five. She returned to the U.S. for college and has stayed ever since.

"I was always in a hodgepodge of culture — there's no other identity I know, really," she says.

Josh Groban has one of those classic show-biz stories: Right before the 1999 Grammys, Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli gets sick. Who can fill in to rehearse a duet with Celine Dion? Well, how about this 17-year-old music student? Groban went out there an unknown, and came back a star. He's now one of the highest-selling artists in the music business.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Writer Tracy Chevalier spins fiction from history. Her best-selling novel Girl with a Pearl Earring was set in the 17th-century studio of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer; 2010's Remarkable Creatures focused on 19th-century English fossil hunters; and 2005's The Lady and the Unicorn told the stories of medieval tapestry weavers. Now, Chevalier's latest book looks at a pioneer family trying to scrape out a life in the swamps of Ohio.

Afghanistan Show Aims To Fix City Problems

Mar 12, 2016
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(SOUNDBITE OF RADIO SHOW, "CLEANING YOUR CITY")

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Singing in foreign language).

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

All around Afghanistan, morning drive time mean it's time for the popular radio call-in show "Safay Shaher," or "Cleaning Your City."

Bravery Among The Ruins In 'Noonday'

Mar 12, 2016

Horses with manes and tails aflame stampede through the streets of Blitz-era London. Luftwaffe bombers attack, "great clusters of them, like midges over a stagnant pond." These are among the myriad indelible images that haunt Noonday, Pat Barker's powerful, ambitious historical novel. Depicting the lives of a group of young men and women struggling to survive during the weeks that German bombs lacerated the United Kingdom, the book completes the trilogy Barker embarked upon with Life Class and Toby's Room.

Two valuable Indian sandstone sculptures dating back to the eighth century were seized by federal agents just days before they were scheduled to be sold at Christie's, a New York auction house.

NPR's Hansi Lo Wang reports that together, the statues are valued at almost a half-million dollars.

"One dates back to eighth-century India and is a rare depiction of a Hindu god and his entourage on horseback.

Sunny Balzano's modest watering-hole in Brooklyn was a throwback to another time. It was known simply as Sunny's, after the beloved bartender and raconteur who transformed a faded longshoremen's bar into a local institution. He died Thursday at the age of 81, just weeks after the publication of Sunny's Nights, a new book about his life and times.

Sunny was not a master of artisanal cocktails, as he was quick to admit. "I still don't know how to mix drinks, do I?," he joked during an interview at the bar last month. No one disagreed.

We here at The Salt like to bring you serious journalistic tails from the world of food. But hey, we like to unleash our silly side, too — and like the rest of the world, we've got a soft spot for man's (and woman's) best friend.

So of course, we're howling with delight at the latest food images charming the Internet: Meme-meister Karen Zack's clever Twitter photos highlighting the eerie resemblance between mutts and meals. In some cases, it takes dogged determination to separate the canines from the cuisine.

Genius and food have a lot in common. Both nurture, inspire and occasionally intimidate. Some appeal to almost everyone instantly. Others are acquired tastes. So perhaps it's not surprising that, scanning history's greatest minds, we find many were inspired by certain food or drink, repulsed by others —or had some very peculiar dining habits.

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

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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Imagine the worst opera singer ever. Now imagine that she's determined to perform in public. That's the premise of an award-winning French satire that's based on a true story. It's called Marguerite, and it follows a middle-aged socialite by the same name.

Marguerite has very little to do. While the roaring 1920s roar elsewhere and her husband spends all his time with a mistress, Marguerite sits in her Downton Abbey-style mansion outside Paris surrendering her soul to music.

If you follow Team PCHH on Twitter, you know that a week ago, we all trekked up to Manhattan and saw Hamilton, which we intended to talk about on this week's show. Unfortunately, I was struck down by the weirdest and most potent bout of laryngitis of my lifetime, and we had to postpone that show, which you'll get next week. In the meantime, fortunately, we have three conversations featuring awesome people who have never been on PCHH before. Fresh faces!

Mischa Berlinski's Haiti is a terrible place. His Haiti is a beautiful place. In his new novel, Peacekeeping, Haiti is either the best or the worst place, all depending on the day, the moment, the observer.

Helen Mirren says she hopes her new film "doesn't cause any divorces." That's because Eye in the Sky raises some very tricky moral questions. Mirren plays a U.K.-based colonel overseeing a secret drone operation in Kenya. Her mission is to capture a terrorist target, but when it becomes clear the target is assembling a suicide vest for an imminent attack, the question becomes whether to capture or kill.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The eccentric middle-aged cat lady has met the vintage-loving hipsters. Hello, My Name Is Doris stars Sally Field as a woman whose attraction to a much younger man leads her on a journey into young-adult circles, where she is celebrated for her "unique style" — at least until someone has the guts to tell her what ironic appreciation means.

[This is a film it's very hard to talk about at all without spoiling at least the premise and the basic setup, but this review does its level best not to go beyond that point.]

"What does this have to do with Cloverfield?"

Chances are, if you've seen a Kelly Reichardt film, it would be Wendy and Lucy, a small, languorous, utterly heartbreaking 2008 drama with a big star, Michelle Williams, as a young homeless woman trying to make her way to the Pacific Northwest with her beloved dog. Wendy and Lucy is an art film with a delirious sense of place, but it's also a road movie, and far from Reichardt's first. One way or another, every extreme indie she makes pays sly, ardent homage to genre.

In A War, a Danish commander whose troops are under attack by the Taliban calls in an air strike, and later has to answer for it in a courtroom. Eye in the Sky mashes those two narratives together. While a drone pilot in Nevada prepares to hit al-Shabaab terrorists in Nairobi, the morality of this potential action is debated by politicos in London.

In 1995, the televised trial of O.J. Simpson riveted the nation. Lead prosecutor Marcia Clark made the case against the hall-of-fame football player, who was accused of the brutal double homicide of his ex-wife and her friend.

Throughout the trial, Clark faced tremendous scrutiny. She was criticized for courtroom decisions as well as for her hairstyle, clothing and her personal life. Many ultimately blamed her for Simpson's acquittal.

The Forgotten History Of Fat Men's Clubs

Mar 10, 2016

In 1903, in a cheery local tavern tucked away in Wells River, Vt., one of America's most successful fat men's clubs was launched.

It's A Gas Gas Gas

Mar 10, 2016

We've rewritten the Rolling Stones classic "Jumpin' Jack Flash" to be about its original intention. That's right, gas gas gases!

Heard on Mark And Jay Duplass: 'They Give Us Blazers!'

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

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Moves To The End Of The Line

Mar 10, 2016

The answer to each clue is a two-word phrase. The first word always starts with "S." Move the "S" to the end of the first word, and you'll get the second word! Easy, right? Think: Smile Miles.

Heard on Mark And Jay Duplass: 'They Give Us Blazers!'

Go Fund Yourself

Mar 10, 2016

Cattysburg — like Gettysburg, but with cats! Is this a real project someone tried to get funded on Kickstarter, or something we made up? In this game, we describe outlandish Kickstarter projects and ask if they're real or fake.

Heard on Mark And Jay Duplass: 'They Give Us Blazers!'

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