KTEP - El Paso, Texas

Arts

Arts and culture

On April 6, 1917, the U.S. declared war on Germany and formally entered World War I. By late June, American infantry troops began arriving in Europe. One thing they couldn't do without? Coffee.

"Coffee was as important as beef and bread," a high-ranking Army official concluded after the war. A postwar review of the military's coffee supply concurred, stating that it "restored courage and strength" and "kept up the morale."

To James Kochalka, when words and pictures are mixed, "some kind of magic alchemy happens."

That alchemy is the creation of cartoons, an art form that Kochalka worked to promote as Vermont's first cartoonist laureate.

Rich, Colorful 'Afar' Reimagines The Magical Girl

Apr 6, 2017

There are a lot of magical girls in both comics and young adult fiction, but the heroine of Leila del Duca's graphic novel Afar is different from all of them. Boetema is far more down-to-earth than the sprites who populate "magical girl"-themed Japanese manga, and her gift is more cryptic than those of such recent YA heroines as the winged Ava in 2014's The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender and Sarah Raughley's Effigies in last year's Fate of Flames.

The new animated movie, Boss Baby, was No. 1 at the box office last weekend. But before it was a full-length film, starring the voice of Alec Baldwin, it was a 32-page picture book written by award-winning author and illustrator Marla Frazee.

Frazee is a big name for young readers and their parents — the imagination behind Seven Silly Eaters and All the World. Her illustrations have earned two Caldecott Honors.

NPR Ed spoke with Frazee about the book and the new animated hit it inspired. The story of the Boss Baby is simple, she says:

In 1997 Talvin Singh, a British musician of Indian origin finished putting together a 12-track record with the help of his friend Sam Zaman, better known as the performer State of Bengal. Along with a few of their own compositions, the tracks were produced by musicians who were British nationals from families that had emigrated from South Asian countries such as Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This weekend, an impressive athletic entertainment career may have come to an end. For almost three decades, the pro wrestling icon The Undertaker has been a dominant presence with his 6-foot-10 frame and spooky, macabre character.

Gene and guest host Glen Weldon (our play cousin from Pop Culture Happy Hour) explore how comics are used as spaces for mapping race and identity. Gene visits Amalgam Comics and Coffeehouse in Philadelphia and chats with proprietor Ariell Johnson, who is reclaiming the comic book store, which once made her uneasy as a black fan. Meanwhile, C. Spike Trotman, another black woman, has made a name for herself as an online comics publisher of Iron Circus Comics in Chicago.

Alec Baldwin has been keeping busy lately. The star of the animated film The Boss Baby has a new memoir out and also keeps popping up on Saturday Night Live to play President Trump.

Baldwin tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that his impression of the president is purposefully exaggerated. "We're doing it live on a TV show at 11:30 at night in front of a live audience, so there's a kind of volume to it," he says. "It's kind of the Macy's Day Parade [version] of Trump — it's a very larger-than-life thing."

YouTube is launching a streaming TV service Wednesday. It's one of many — Sling, PlayStation Vue and local cable companies among them. But Google-owned YouTube TV offers several features the others don't.

They include a cloud-based DVR with no storage limits, allowing users to record as many shows as they want for later playback. Membership also gives access to original series and movies featured on its other subscription streaming service, YouTube Red. And customers can create up to six accounts on one membership, with up to three streams running at once.

The first short story in a collection functions the same way the first track on an album does — it sets the tone for what's to come, and works as a de facto introduction, displaying the range of tools the creator has decided to work with. That's not to say authors never deviate from the tone of the initial story; they usually do, and when they know what they're doing, the effect can be bracing, even shocking.

Gary Austin, who created and led one of improvisational theater's most influential troupes, the Groundlings, died Saturday at the age of 75 of cancer.

Austin was a writer, director, and musical performer whose students comprised a virtual Who's Who of modern comedy, including many cast members of Saturday Night Live.

As Deadline Hollywood reported,

Earlier this year, the Republican National Committee marked Abraham Lincoln's birthday by sharing a charming, if banal, aphorism attributed to Lincoln: "In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."

Dear dogs of America — sorry about bone broth. Since this well-marketed take on an ancient beverage started sweeping hip enclaves like New York, Austin and Los Angeles a few years ago, it's getting harder to find cheap bones. Unlike many food fads, bone broth seems to be here for the long simmer. As more people switch to sipping, there are fewer bones to go around.

Growing up, punk rocker Laura Jane Grace always felt conflicted about gender. She tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that she felt like two "twin souls" were warring inside of her, fighting for control. "I thought that I was quite possibly schizophrenic," she says.

It wasn't until Grace was 19 that she heard the term "transgender" and had a context for what she was feeling. In 2012, at the age of 31, she transitioned from male to female.

When Golden Girls actress Rue McClanahan, who played the man-hungry Blanche Devereaux, got her first regular paycheck starring as Vivian Harmon on the sitcom Maude, one of her first splurges was a cappuccino machine.

There's a saying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Apparently, so is history.

In the case of Poland's new Museum of the Second World War, the beholder is the nationalist government. Run by the populist Law and Justice Party, it has declared the museum an expensive mess that waters down Polish history and should be closed — or at a minimum, revamped. The museum opened March 23 in the northern port city of Gdansk, where World War II began when Germany invaded the city in 1939.

'Foxlowe' Is A Delicious Slice Of Darkness

Apr 4, 2017

Foxlowe, the debut novel by British author Eleanor Wasserberg, is not for the weak-stomached, fainthearted, or otherwise easily squeamish. From the first page, cruelty and violence — most often against children — is delivered in a gruesome fugue of agony and foreboding.

Mayte Garcia was just 9 years old when she shared a prediction with her mom: "'I'm going to marry Prince or Luis Miguel. One of the two.' And she started laughing," she says.

Garcia didn't end up marrying Luis Miguel, but she did nab the other guy. The little girl who adored Purple Rain, and watched the same MTV interview with her idol over and over growing up, would become Prince's pen pal, friend, collaborator and, ultimately, his wife. The two married in 1996, when she was 22 and he was 37.

At the height of the Cold War, in the 1960s and beyond, South Korean students were taught — and believed — some startling falsehoods about Communist North Koreans. One of these gained credence and lasted far longer than the Cold War itself.

Over the course of my reporting in Seoul, some interviews with North Korean defectors and older South Koreans have revealed a South Korean notion that North Koreans are really more like ... beasts.

If you've been around long enough, you've probably seen The Anarchist Cookbook: It has a black cover, blocky white letters and instructions for making your own explosives. The book was published in the early 1970s with this warning: "Read this book, but keep in mind that the topics written about here are illegal and constitutes a threat. Also, more importantly, almost all the recipes are dangerous, especially to the individual who plays around with them without knowing what he is doing. Use care, caution, and common sense. This book is not for children or morons."

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

YEVGENY YEVTUSHENKO: (Speaking Russian).

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

What do listening to music, hitting a baseball and solving a complex math problem have in common? They all activate less gray matter than drinking wine.

The campaign began under cover of darkness.

It opened with a skirmish or two in Bristol more than a decade ago — a superfluous apostrophe scratched off a street sign here, a possessive rendered plural with the stroke of some tape there.

But now, the battle between one mysterious man and the grammatical mistakes besieging the British city has spilled into the harsh light of international media.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

The Yiddish word schmaltz and its adverb cousin schmaltzy refer to two very divergent concepts: rendered chicken fat — that hard stuff on top of a cold homemade soup — and something that is overly sentimental. When it comes to the foods we love and cherish, there can be no shortage of either.

In comics and graphic novels, Native American characters aren't usually very prominent. They're often sidekicks — or worse. But a new publisher focused exclusively on Native writers and artists is changing that. Called Native Realities, the company just released the reboot of the first all-Native superhero comic.

Today's selections grapple with the existential crisis presented by string cheese, plus rapper Vince Staples shares a couple of his favorites from #NPRPoetry.

Hear Vince Staples' interview with Michel Martin.

It's 2075, and America has been beset by flooding linked to climate change. The President has banned the use of fossil fuels. The southern states have broken away, looking to protect the coal mining industry. A rabid civil war is taking place. A weakened America sees new empires in China and the Middle East meddling in its affairs — and Mexico has annexed most parts of the Southwest, from Texas to California.

War movies are generally told from male perspectives, says director Niki Caro — but that doesn't have to be the case.

Her new film, The Zookeeper's Wife is an adaptation of Diane Ackerman's 2007 book. It's based on the diaries of Antonina Żabińska, who, along with her husband Jan Żabiński, saved hundreds of Jews during World War II by sheltering them in the Warsaw Zoo.

"I saw in this material a new kind of Holocaust movie ..." Caro says, "Because it was a woman's perspective and about a woman's experience of war."

Pages