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Arts and culture

Mystery Guest

Mar 2, 2018

Amanda Brennan's job title is "Senior Content Insights Manager." Ophira and Jonathan ask yes-or-no questions to figure out what on earth she actually does.

Heard On Derek DelGaudio: Sleight Of Mind

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


Mar 2, 2018

It's the ultimate musical challenge: we've changed artists' names by one letter and revised one of their famous songs to reflect that change. Based on Jonathan Coulton's performance of that new-and-maybe-improved song, can you figure out the artist's modified name? For example, if we played a Christmas-themed cover of "We Didn't Start the Fire," you'd answer "Billy Noel."

Heard On Derek DelGaudio: Sleight Of Mind

Superhero Sweep

Mar 2, 2018

Superheroes may hold the fate of the world in their hands, but that doesn't mean they don't still lose their keys. Ophira and Jonathan pretend to be superheroes trying to claim objects from a lost and found, and contestants ring in to guess who those superheroes are.

Heard On Derek DelGaudio: Sleight Of Mind

Derek DelGaudio: Sleight Of Mind

Mar 2, 2018

When the acclaimed magician and performer Derek DelGaudio walked into a magic shop for the first time, he wasn't trying to learn any tricks. He was just a twelve-year-old who wanted to play a prank on his mom.

"I thought that was gonna be hilarious," he told host Ophira Eisenberg, "So I went in to get one ... and they didn't have them. Which was a bummer, but the guy behind the counter asked me if I wanted to see some magic." DelGaudio ended up walking out with a few books on card handling: "I had to do something with the twelve bucks I had to blow."

Isle Of Accents

Mar 2, 2018

It's time for a special audio edition of This, That or The Other. We'll play a clip of an actor attempting an English, Scottish, or Irish accent. Key word: attempting. Ring in to guess what the accent is, and, for a bonus point, guess the movie that the clip is from.

Heard On Derek DelGaudio: Sleight Of Mind

Artisanal Junk Food

Mar 2, 2018

Welcome to the Ask Me Another Grille, a high end gourmet restaurant...that only serves junk food. Based on our waiters' overly-fancy descriptions of items on the menu, can you guess what snack they're talking about?

Heard On Derek DelGaudio: Sleight Of Mind

Why are you reading this?

That's a serious question; I'm sincerely curious: Why are you sitting there, right now, reading a review of the movie Death Wish?

For my part, I can tell you that the reason I'm writing this review is because it's my job — but you? What's your excuse?

I mean: It's Death Wish.

You will either go to see it, because it's Death Wish, or you very, very won't, because it's Death Wish.

Less than a week after the Weinstein Co. seemed destined for bankruptcy, a deal emerged for an investment group to buy assets from the troubled firm in order to launch a new movie studio that will be led by women.

The deal, between the Weinstein Co. and a group backed by billionaire Ron Burkle and led by Maria Contreras-Sweet, who was in charge of the Small Business Administration under President Barack Obama, is said to be worth more than $500 million, according to Reuters.

This Sunday night, some nattily dressed Oscars presenter will read the names of this year's five nominees for best foreign-language film. The politically-charged Foxtrot — which received funding from the Israeli government as well as condemnation from Israel's culture minister (who boasts that she has not seen it) — won't be among them.

That's a shame.

We Americans have certain ... ideas about the rest of the world, informed by movies, news reports and/or good old-fashioned prejudice. But it's important to remember the rest of the world has ideas about us, too. For example, that we're all loudmouthed "Wassssap?"-ing deadbeats who violate each other's personal space on a regular basis.

Among his other abundant talents, Stanley Tucci gives great smirk.

Red Sparrow is the Black Widow origin movie the Walt Disney Company/Marvel Studios megalith will never, ever make: a sordid, nasty, rated-R-for-tRiggeR-waRning nailbiter about young Russian woman blackmailed into clandestine servitude that captures the existential misery of the espionage trade like no film since Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, despite some willfully opaque plotting.

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


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

The Library of Congress hosted a very special guest at story time this week:

Dolly Parton.

The country music legend is also a champion of early childhood literacy, through her Imagination Library. Every month, the nonprofit program mails a free book to more than a million children — from infants to preschoolers.

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


Thirty-something comic actors Nick Kroll and John Mulaney are well beyond adolescence, but they still remember the indignities, hormone rushes and confusion of puberty — and they channel it all in their animated comedy Netflix series, Big Mouth.

The show centers on a group of junior high kids whose bodies are in flux. Mulaney describes his character, Andrew, as a boy in "rapid puberty mode. ... There's a lot of body hair appearing. There's a lot of compulsions appearing."

Siblings On A Strange Journey In 'Monster Portraits'

Mar 1, 2018

One day I called my brother on the phone. He didn't pick up, so I left a message saying we should tell our lives through monsters, as the ancient Egyptians told the year through the myth of Osiris. A mirror becomes architecture when you pass to the other side: this is what we had understood as children. I wanted to find that depth again, to plumb a vertical field. "Our world is another," I managed to say before my brother's phone cut me off.

Let's call it #OscarsSoOld: Three of this year's Academy Award nominees are among the oldest ever. And we're not talking about honorary Oscars --these octogenarians are up for competitive Academy Awards for their recent work.

At 88 years old, Christopher Plummer is the oldest nominee ever for best supporting actor — for the second time. At age 82, he was nominated (and won) for the movie Beginners. You can watch his adorably wry acceptance speech here.

Rachel Morrison is the first woman ever nominated for an Oscar in cinematography.

"I can't believe I am the first," she says. "It's really kind of crazy!"

It was her lensing on Mudbound that earned her this recognition, but Morrison also served as director of photography for the massive blockbuster Black Panther. Being a DP means you're in charge of all the cameras, everyone who operates them, the electricity on set and the look of the entire film.

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


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


Some crime novelists are famously prolific, publishing a novel every year to the delight of fans who can't get enough of their favorite crime-fighting heroes. And then there's Kent Anderson. The New Mexico author burst onto the literary scene in 1987 with Sympathy for the Devil, a Vietnam War novel that drew praise and controversy for its unflinching depiction of savage violence. A decade later, Anderson followed up with Night Dogs, which found Hanson, the antihero of his first book, working as a police officer in Portland, Ore.

When director Travis Wilkerson first premiered his documentary, Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?, at the Sundance Film Festival and True/False last year, it was a unique piece of performance art. Seated next to the screen with a desk, a laptop, and a microphone, Wilkerson narrated the film in his deep, booming voice, leading the audience through a semi-experimental assemblage of home movies, snapshots, musical interstitials, and original footage of his travels to Alabama, where he went to investigate a shameful chapter in his family history. His great-grandfather S.E.

Antidepressants and medications for bipolar disorder can be life-changing and even lifesaving, but journalist Lauren Slater warns that the long-term side effects of these drugs are "cloaked in mystery."

"As a nation, we're consuming them; we're gobbling them down," she says. "And we don't really know what we're taking into our bodies."

Can Nuclear Power Plants Generate Artistic Inspiration?

Feb 27, 2018

Vincent Ialenti is a MacArthur Nuclear Waste Solutions Fellow at George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs. He holds a PhD in anthropology from Cornell University and an MSc in Law, Anthropology & Society from the London School of Economics.

John Banville, the notoriously self-critical Irish writer known for his elegant precision and icicle-sharp wit, has reached the age of nostalgia and redress. In Time Pieces, a lovely quasi-memoir and multi-leveled portrait of Dublin, Banville makes up for the short shrift he feels he's given his adopted city in his novels, which include The Sea, Ancient Light, and Mrs. Osmond, his recent sequel to Henry James' Portrait of a Lady.

In the heart of Charleston, S.C., on a melting pot street of shops, eateries and residents from all walks of life, stands Cannon Green, a soaring, skylight-lit Mediterranean restaurant and wedding venue. The staff of 70 runs two kitchens, which would not be unusual, except for the fact that it is 80 percent female.

One hundred years ago, the most powerful woman in Hollywood was a producer, a studio head and a major force onscreen.