Arts and culture

There are lots of different ways to smoke a cigarette. Some of them are as potent as the tarry concoction inside each little white tube. Every drag was suffused with irony on the notoriously cigariffic Mad Men. In The Fault in Our Stars, Augustus Waters made a spectacle of almost-but-not-quite lighting up. On the new hacker drama Mr.

If superheroes are one of the ultimate expressions of individualism, what are we to make of Ant-Man, a Marvel Comics character based on one of the least individual, most collective creatures on the planet?

Ant-Man can shrink to the size of an ant — and, in the movie which opens this weekend, ants are his greatest allies. "The ants are loyal, brave and will be your partners on this job," explains the scientist who invented Ant-Man's supersuit.

On the quest for cottage cheese trivia this week for my story for Morning Edition, I asked our research department for help. Researcher Barclay Walsh sent me a photo that stopped me in my tracks.

Take a look. Notice the official White House emblem on the plate. The silver platter. The sculpted ball of cottage cheese encircled by slices of pineapple, perhaps canned. The glass of milk.

If there is one complaint which has dogged the Emmy awards year after year, it is the repetition of beloved series and performers, time and again, as nominees and winners.

But all that bad buzz went out the window when nominations for the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards were announced Thursday, revealing a roster of nominees with more new faces and new shows than the contest has featured in quite a long while.

For a man said to possess neither the appetite nor the skills required for human connection, Sherlock Holmes has, in most of his incarnations, enjoyed a solid support system, haters included. Well, forget that: The team and the haters are all gone in Bill Condon's bittersweetly revisionist Mr. Holmes. Watson appears only from the waist down — don't ask. Dear, departed Mrs. Hudson is succeeded by Mrs.

Almost three years ago, Joshua Oppenheimer unveiled The Act of Killing, a startling documentary about the 1965-66 mass killings in Indonesia. Its audacious ploy was to encourage unrepentant murderers to re-enact their deeds in the form of scenes from action flicks, a tactic that was extremely well-received by Western critics.

'Ant-Man': Not Just Small, But Downright Trifling

Jul 16, 2015

Maybe one day, if we're good boys and girls, we'll get to see the Edgar Wright cut of Ant-Man. Wright, a beloved cult filmmaker best known for his "Cornetto" trilogy of genre parodies, left the itty-bitty-superhero movie in a high-profile split with Marvel last year, after nearly a decade of work on the project. He was replaced by the decidedly less idiosyncratic Peyton Reed (Yes Man), though various parties have insisted the bones of the film remained in place, and Wright still has a co-writing and executive-producer credit.

Comedian Amy Schumer is — by her own admission — an oversharer. Whether she's talking about one-night stands or drinking habits, she has a tendency to bare all.

In 2011, Schumer's blend of honesty and humor caught the attention of director Judd Apatow, who heard her being interviewed on the radio by Howard Stern.

Since The Salt is diving deep into yogurt this week, let's take a moment to rewind all the way back to 10,000 BC when it all began.

During the Paleolithic, or "Old Stone Age," humans relied on hunting and gathering for food and, as a result, lived a nomadic lifestyle. With the advent of the Neolithic, or "New Stone Age," around 10,000 BC, humans began the process of domesticating plants and animals in what is today the Middle East.

Like most things mystical, tarot cards aren't given much mainstream credence in our Internet age. Rachel Pollack, however, knows the magic they still contain.

Besides being simply another multiple-award-winning fantasy author, Pollack is a world-renowned authority on tarot. It's no shock, then, that her new book richly overlaps these areas of interest. The Child Eater is Pollack's first novel in over a decade, and it mixes medieval high fantasy, contemporary supernatural horror, and the mystic practice of the tarot into a winning, deceptively simple whole.

Editor's note: spoilers ahead.

I don't remember how old I was when I read To Kill A Mockingbird for the first time. But I do know that I loved it — which is why I was thrilled in February at the news that another manuscript penned by Harper Lee, previously unknown to the larger public, existed and would be published this summer.

Men's fashion is having a huge moment: Higher sales, more designers, and now, the first-ever, stand-alone New York Fashion Week: Men's, which closes tonight.

Celebrated designer Thom Browne opened the week: "I do show my men's collection in Paris," he says. "But, it being the inaugural season for Men's Fashion Week here in New York, it was really important for me to be here and support men's fashion here in New York."

President Obama says there's "no precedent" to revoke the Presidential Medal of Freedom for comedian Bill Cosby, who has been accused by several women of sexually assaulting them.

"There's no precedent for revoking the medal," Obama said at a news conference today. "We don't have that mechanism."

Cosby was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002 for his contributions to television.

Here are Obama's full comments on the allegations against Cosby:

Novelist Don Winslow has spent 10 years immersed in the Mexican drug wars. He has studied all the players, from the lowly traffickers to the kingpins who head up the cartels. One of the characters in his new novel, The Cartel, is based on drug kingpin Joaquin Guzman, known as El Chapo, who escaped from a Mexican prison over the weekend.

"I tell it like it is." Chris Christie made this his campaign slogan. Donald Trump repeats it whenever he's challenged on something he has said. And Scott Walker, Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich and Rick Santorum have said the same thing. It's the conventional pledge of candor, or what passes for it in American public life.

To mark this week's release of Harper Lee's long-awaited second novel, Go Set a Watchman, why not try an old-fashioned cake from Alabama, featured prominently in Lee's classic first novel, To Kill a Mockingbird.

In it, Scout Finch's neighbor, Maudie Atkinson, is known for her Lane cakes and guards her recipe closely. She bakes one for Aunt Alexandra when she moves in with the Finch Family. Scout gets buzzed from the whiskey in it and comments, "Miss Maudie Atkinson baked a Lane cake so loaded with shinny it made me tight."

Our understanding of politics and history often bends toward simplicity — toward using particular figures, events or, in the case of books like Mark Kurlansky's Salt: A World History, elements that help us grasp a movement, time period or even the grand development of human civilization.

Roberto Saviano's ZeroZeroZero follows Salt's lead but switches up the white substance: The thesis of Saviano's sprawling, ultimately unwieldy book is that by understanding the global cocaine trade we can gain unparalleled knowledge of the world we live in.

The Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art in Washington will post a sign Wednesday telling visitors an exhibition that includes art owned by Bill Cosby and his wife, Camille, is "fundamentally about the artworks and the artists who created them, not Mr. Cosby," representatives for the Smithsonian Institution say.

As Dan Charles reported on Monday, yogurt has a way of igniting passions. In his story of arson, the flames were literal.

Once you start looking, it's really not hard to find people — even entire countries — deeply attached to this nourishing and calming food.

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Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



The new FX comedy Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll* stars Denis Leary as the decaying former singer of a briefly scorching New York band whose speedy self-immolation was brought about by debauchery and betrayal. The band was called The Heathens, because they were heathens. The singer is named Johnny Rock, apparently because it was a rock band and "John" is a popular name.

A year and a half ago, Dr. David Casarett did not take medical marijuana very seriously. "When I first started this project, I really thought of medical marijuana as a joke," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

At least no one can complain Ernest Cline wears his influences too lightly. Nerd culture pervades everything he does, from his screenplay for the movie Fanboys to his spoken-word routines.

Question: What do holiday shopping and staving off cognitive loss have in common?

Answer: Both are ordinarily earnest endeavors in which Patricia Marx has found unlikely sources of hilarity.

We talk a lot about nostalgia on Pop Culture Happy Hour — about the ways entertainment has shaped our youth and placed our memories in perspective — but in doing so, we've mostly discussed movies, TV shows, music, books, board games, that sort of thing.

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It takes about four cups of milk to make one cup of skyr, Iceland's super thick, high-protein version of yogurt.

Every drop of skyr made in Iceland comes from Icelandic cattle, the country's single breed.

But there's a problem: The average Icelandic cow can't supply much milk. And the hunger for skyr is stronger than ever now that people around the world are discovering its creamy delights.

Watson, IBM's Jeopardy!-winning supercomputer, boasts a pretty impressive resume when it comes to cooking.