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Arts and culture

"Why is a welder like a woman in love?"

I'm 7 years old, standing between the two dogwood trees in my backyard. It's autumn; there's a crispness in the golden, late afternoon air. I've taken the hood of my parka and thrown it over my head, but my arms are not in the sleeves. The coat falls over my narrow, bird-boned shoulders and down my back.

Like a cape, you see.

John T. Edge is a man who knows how spin a good yarn. Listening to him talk can feel like falling under the spell of your favorite college professor. He's wickedly smart, funny, warm and welcoming.

And for years, the tale he's been telling is all about Southern food: about its central role in Southern identity, and about what it owes to the African-American and immigrant cooks who have historically been left out of the standard narratives the South tells about itself.

The 71st annual Tony Awards, which recognizes achievements in Broadway productions, will be held Sunday at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Topping the list of nominees this year, with 12 nods, is the hit musical Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. It's somewhat based on Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace and has been lauded by critics for its diverse casting, wildly innovative set and fresh take on a classic story.

Updated at 1:04 p.m. ET

Adam West, the actor behind one of the most beloved and enduring renditions of Batman, died Friday night at age 88. West donned the black mask of the Caped Crusader in the 1960s, playing the role as a plucky, intrepid hero for television.

Relationship expert Esther Perel is the author of Mating in Captivity, and her new podcast Where Should We Begin, features real people talking about real problems.

Since Perel is an expert on couples and relationships, we've invited her to play a game called "No sex for you!" Three questions about monks and monasteries.

Summer is a time for unabashedly delighting in beach reads. Yes, they're engaging, yes, they go down easy — but regular readers of escapist fiction know they'll find powerful, universal themes and truths tucked within these tasty pages. Here are four books that provide an absorbing escape — they all make for excellent poolside reading — while also meditating on the power of love, duty and family.

Maya Rodale is a bestselling romance author.

The best kind of nature writing celebrates not the placidly, distantly picturesque — mountaintops and sunsets — but the near, dank, and teeming. The Essex Serpent, Sarah Perry's gloriously alive historical novel, squirms with bugs, moss and marsh.

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

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

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

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

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

There's a classic moment in the romantic thriller Charade, when Audrey Hepburn says to Cary Grant in exasperation, "Do you know what's the matter with you? ... Nothing."

For decades, the whole world felt the same. Grant's unrivaled blend of charm, good looks and silliness — he hadn't a shred of pomposity or elitism — made him a movie star everyone loved. Everyone, that is, except Archie Leach, the actor's real-life self who wrote that he'd spent years cautiously peering from behind the face of a man known as Cary Grant.

This week's show combines two segments from our fall tour that we haven't had a chance to share yet, because we've been so busy dealing with new things from week to week. First, from our Seattle show with Audie Cornish, we talk about when you hang in with culture until the very end and when you quit — or, as you might say, throw a book across the room. (Glen has strong feelings about this.) Shonda Rhimes, how to watch Law & Order, and lots more will go by the window as you travel through this segment.

Former Daily Show correspondent Jordan Klepper is branching out on his own this year. He'll be launching his own show on Comedy Central this fall in the coveted 10:30 p.m. slot — the same real estate Stephen Colbert and Larry Wilmore previously occupied — and his documentary Jordan Klepper Solves Guns airs on that same network Sunday night.

Every so often, brightly lit Hollywood comedies set in West Coast mansions will slip in five minutes of light-relief banter between a Latina housekeeper and her wealthy white liberal boss. Mild joshing ensues about the cluelessness or prejudice of the employer, perhaps with a good-natured roll of the maid's eyes thrown in. That done, everyone slips back into their assigned slots in the social pecking order. Point taken, but not really.

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

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Now let's take a few moments to remember actor Peter Sallis who died last week. He was 96.

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Manal al-Sharif's path to activism began simply enough: In 2011, the Saudi woman filmed herself driving a car, then uploaded the video to YouTube. Ordinarily such a video might not get much notice, but because it's not socially acceptable for women to drive in Saudi Arabia, where there is a de facto ban, Sharif's video went viral.

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

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During Ramadan, refraining from even a bite to eat is a challenge, but what about a month of daylight hours without anything to drink?

"After a long day — especially in summer — of fasting, one becomes more thirsty than hungry," says food blogger Amira Ibrahim. "So when it is time to break your fasting day, everybody rushes to the drinks."

It's tricky to nail down exactly what makes someone feel like a "racial impostor." For one Code Switch follower, it's the feeling she gets from whipping out "broken but strangely colloquial Arabic" in front of other Middle Easterners.

For another — a white-passing, Native American woman — it's being treated like "just another tourist" when she shows up at powwows. And one woman described watching her white, black and Korean-American toddler bump along to the new Kendrick and wondering, "Is this allowed?"

"Solve for X." That's the phrase invoked repeatedly by Charlotte "Charlie" St. Clair, the brainy college student at the center of Kate Quinn's exciting new novel, The Alice Network. In the aftermath of World War II, Charlie is thrown together with a veteran female spy from the previous war in a high-stakes journey to locate disappeared figures from the past.

In the annals of TV villains, actor Giancarlo Esposito's Breaking Bad character, Gus Fring, stands out. Gus was an upstanding, impeccably dressed, New Mexico businessman who spoke with an elegant Chilean accent — and also happened to be a vicious drug lord.

Esposito describes the character as resembling "someone who may live next door, who is successful and very caring, but who is also ruthless."

Who is Stephen Florida? It's a little hard to say. He's an orphan who maybe hasn't yet come to terms with the death of his parents in a car crash. He's an obsessive with poor impulse control. He's possibly the best college wrestler in the state of North Dakota. He's an unapologetic megalomaniac. Or maybe he's not really any of these things: "There is no real Stephen Florida," he says. "I am only a giant collection of gas and light and will."

Trying to be a film buff outside a major city before the internet was an awkward business. I haunted the non-Blockbuster video store, notes from Premiere in my hand for reference, carrying towers of VHS tapes to broaden my education. And for a long time, movies were a solitary act. When I fell in with other movie nerds, it became a singular standoff — trading your most beloved titles, with that weird ambivalent hope that someone will love the same things you love ... just not as well as you can.

H.P. Lovecraft, the early 1900s horror writer, is best known for his creation of the deity Cthulhu — a monster of great power who sleeps in the Pacific Ocean in the sunken city of R'lyeh.

Now, almost 100 years after its conception, Cthulhu is making a creepy comeback via a new crop of board games.

Last July, the country's attention was focused on Dallas after a peaceful protest against police shootings of black men turned violent.

A single gunman shot and killed five officers. He injured nine more, as well as two protesters. After he was killed and the incident was over, Dallas Police Chief David Brown commanded the nation's attention.

Conservation photographer Paul Nicklen has spent more than two decades documenting the ice and wildlife in some of the most inhospitable places on Earth — the Arctic and the Antarctic.

Years ago, when my mother-in-law was fighting what would turn out to be a losing battle with breast cancer, she was riding in a golf cart with my two small children when her wig blew off, briefly exposing her head, as bald as a golf ball. My daughter's eyes grew wide with alarm, but my mother-in-law quickly defused the moment with extraordinary aplomb: "Bet you can't do that with your hair, can you?"

Photography documents life — and food, whether in the fore or background, seems to always be in the picture. The two intersect in a new book, Feast for the Eyes, written by photography curator Susan Bright and published by Aperture.

Here's a classic scene from a telenovela.

It's the funeral of a very rich man whose heirs are battling over his fortune. An indignant woman says to a female guest: "You are disrupting the service. Who else would you be saving this seat for other than Richard Juma's second wife?"

Concert pianist Simone Dinnerstein has shared her love of classical music with children across America.

Now she’s working with a youth orchestra in Havana, after a highly unusual recording session.

What’s it like to play Mozart, after midnight? And could American-Cuban cultural exchanges like this continue

if the Trump Administration reinstates travel restrictions between America and Cuba? We’ll discuss.

GUESTS

Simone Dinnerstein, Concert pianist

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