Arts

Arts and culture

Mike Rowe: Public Radio Shopping Network

May 20, 2016

Before he became a go-to television host, Mike Rowe got a small part in the Baltimore Opera in hopes of joining the actor's union. "Okay, you can't fake your way into opera!" interjected Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg at the Bob Carr Theater in Orlando, Florida. "Sure you can," he responded. "You can fake your way into anything. I mean, look at us!" During a long break in a performance, Rowe grabbed a drink across the street. The bartender told him about a cattle-call audition for a home shopping network the very next day.

Decode The State

May 20, 2016

Try replacing a word that is also a postal code with the full name of the state. What vice president "lost" the 2000 election, but won an Oscar for "An Inconvenient Truth"? That's ALABAMA Gore, when you replace the postal code A-L with the full state name.

Heard on Mike Rowe And NASA Scientists: Dirty Jobs In Spaaace!

See You Later Alligator

May 20, 2016

Florida is home to about 1.5 million alligators, so we've crafted this game around the expression, "See you later, alligator!" Each answer contains a word that ends in ator. See you later, gladiator!

Heard on Mike Rowe And NASA Scientists: Dirty Jobs In Spaaace!

Fantasy Sports

May 20, 2016

We ask contestants to identify sports franchises that share their names with things found in fantasy literature. If we said, "This Florida basketball team is named for the supernatural art studied at Hogwarts," the answer would be "The Orlando Magic." Because this is public radio and sports are hard, they only have to know the fantasy word.

Heard on Mike Rowe And NASA Scientists: Dirty Jobs In Spaaace!

Spy Spy Spy

May 20, 2016

Orlando is the primordial soup from which many of the most successful boy bands emerged: The Backstreet Boys, O-Town, and, of course... N*SYNC. In recognition, we have rewritten N*SYNC's "Bye Bye Bye" to be about famous fictional spy spy spies.

Heard on Mike Rowe And NASA Scientists: Dirty Jobs In Spaaace!

If you were to ask our experts, "so are you a rocket scientist or something?" Gioia Massa and Melissa Jones would say, "well, yes!"

Gioia Massa is a NASA project scientist focused on growing lettuce on the International Space Station. The goal is to be able to grow food in space, rather than bring it from Earth, if we all move to Mars one day. And, as host Ophira Eisenberg points out, there isn't a Whole Foods on the way.

How Can We Design For A Better Experience?

May 20, 2016

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Power of Design

About Tony Fadell's TED Talk

The designer behind the iPod and the Nest thermostat explains why design is in the details, and why designers often get those details wrong.

About Tony Fadell

A new oil painting has just arrived in what may be the world's most clandestine art gallery — the fine arts collection at the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency.

This commissioned work isn't your typical still life; the tableau is a busy clutter of gear — photos, blueprints, weapons and ammunition.

There's a moment in Weiner, the documentary about the disgraced ex-congressman's disastrous run for mayor of New York, in which viewers may actually feel for the guy. Anthony Weiner is in a Jewish bakery when he is challenged by a yarmulke-wearing customer. The candidate reacts with a raw fury that's as politically self-destructive as his scandalous cellphone self-portraits.

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is likely the first college comedy to show a frat party from a woman's perspective, and it is scary. The young sorority pledges trudge reluctantly through a creepy house infected by unsupervised male id, trying to avoid the grabby hands and drink offerings of their leering hosts.

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

Mention the concept of food waste, and for many people, it's likely to conjure images of rotting fruit and vegetables or stale meals unfit for consumption.

But a lot of the food that gets tossed out in America — some $162 billion worth each year, enough to fill 44 skyscrapers — is fresh, nutritious and downright delicious: think plump eggplants, bright yellow squashes, giant, vibrant-orange carrots with a crisp bite. The kind of beautiful produce that would be perfectly at home in, say, this giant vegetable paella made by celebrity chef José Andrés and his team.

'Little Labors' Is No Small Feat

May 19, 2016

Little and minor are not the same, Rivka Galchen notes in her new book on motherhood. Little Labors is the length of my hand and width of my pinky, and many of the pages only have a few words on them. But in this slight and scattered book, Galchen lets her silences gestate.

Pamela Erens' new novel, Eleven Hours, is what traditionally would be called a "small story." It's less than 200 pages, features only two main characters and focuses primarily on events that take place over the span of, well, 11 hours. It's also a novel about the ultimate female adventure of childbirth.

The book is fierce and vivid in its depiction of the exhaustion of the spirit and the rending of the flesh during childbirth. So much so, that it makes that boy adventure aboard Herman Melville's Pequod almost seem like a Carnival cruise.

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

Kenya Barris, creator and showrunner of the ABC comedy series Black-ish, wasn't raised in the same privileged world as his own children. Instead, he grew up in a poor neighborhood in Los Angeles. But after his father was injured on the job, Barris' family received money through a legal settlement and they were able to move to a different part of town.

Devil and the Bluebird starts out as a folksy road trip with a girl Odysseus whose journey takes her along the roads of modern America. But it quickly becomes clear that Blue isn't trying to find her way home — she's trying to piece together a new one.

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

A young schoolteacher named Adina arrives at her apartment in an unnamed Romanian town. She immediately notices an odd detail: A fox-fur hearth rug she has owned for years has had its tail cut off. She next comes home to discover a hind leg severed from the pelt, and once more to find another leg removed. What in the world? In this particular world no detail is without meaning, and all meanings are potentially lethal. It is the late 1980s, in the Panopticon security state of Nicolae Ceausescu, and the mutilated rug convinces Adina that Big Brother is closing in on her.

Looking at art is the core museum experience. I remember, when I was a kid, seeing Van Gogh's Starry Night for the first time. I stood for what seemed like hours, staring at the thick paint and swirling colors in a quiet gallery at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

For connoisseurs of literary profiles, Joseph Mitchell's two New Yorker stories, "Professor Sea Gull" and "Joe Gould's Secret," set a gold standard. Joe Gould was an eccentric bohemian from an old New England family who bummed around Greenwich Village for decades and claimed to be writing the longest book ever, a monumental "Oral History of Our Time." When he died in a Long Island mental hospital in 1957, the manuscript of his magnum opus was nowhere to be found.

South Korean author Han Kang was awarded the Man Booker International Prize for fiction for her dark novel The Vegetarian at a London ceremony on Monday.

The novel, Han's first to be translated into English, is about a woman who decides to stop eating meat and wants to become a tree. Her decision has devastating consequences and raises concerns among family members that she is mentally ill.

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

In two of The New Yorker's most famous articles, writer Joseph Mitchell tried to answer one question: Who was Joe Gould?

Mitchell first introduced Gould in 1942: He was a quirky, possibly mentally ill Harvard dropout who wandered the streets of Greenwich Village and Harlem filling pages and pages of dime-store notebooks with everything people said to him. Gould said he was writing the longest book ever; he called it The Oral History of Our Time.

'People Want These Stories': Women Win Big At The Nebula Awards

May 16, 2016

The wave of conversation about diversity and representation in fiction is about to crest again: Women swept this year's Nebula Awards, handed out this past weekend in Chicago.

Every movie is set somewhere, yet most movies feel as if they're happening nowhere at all. They're set in a Manhattan so generic that the filming was actually done in Toronto, or in a Paris we only know is Paris because we get a shot of the Eiffel Tower, or in an imaginary small town from some unnamed state whose purpose is to be every small town. Such settings have no presence, no weight, no humidity, no purpose — they're background.

As researchers work to understand the human genome, many questions remain, including, perhaps, the most fundamental: Just how much of the human experience is determined before we are already born, by our genes, and how much is dependent upon external environmental factors?

Oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross the answer to that question is complicated. "Biology is not destiny," Mukherjee explains. "But some aspects of biology — and in fact some aspects of destiny — are commanded very strongly by genes."

On a recent March morning at his home in a New Jersey suburb, Anthony Mendez was on his living room couch with his 9-year-old daughter. He was watching the previous night's episode of Jane the Virgin, studying his own performance as the show's unseen narrator.

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

Pages