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On Nov. 18, 1978, an itinerant preacher, faith healer and civil rights activist named the Rev. Jim Jones led more than 900 of his followers to kill themselves by drinking cyanide-laced Flavor Aid at their Jonestown settlement in the jungle of Guyana. Nearly 40 years later, questions still linger regarding the Jonestown massacre and the man who inspired it.

Journalist Jeff Guinn details how Jones captivated his followers in his new book, The Road to Jonestown. He calls Jones a "tremendous performer" who exhibited "the classic tendencies of the demagogue."

Cathy Malkasian creates fantastic worlds out of her proprietary blend of melancholy and dream-logic, and peoples them with characters who are all too dully, achingly human. Her landscapes and cityscapes, rendered in gorgeous colored pencils, can seem as chilly and remote as her facial expressions seem warm and intimate.

'Brimstone' Burns Brightly, Despite A Few Flaws

Apr 11, 2017

There are roughly as many ways of imagining witches as there are ways of imagining women — and if our ideas about witches have changed over time, it's chiefly because of who's been allowed to do the imagining. A witch, after all, is a woman with power — and whether you imagine her as a warty-nosed hag, sexy enchantress, or community organizer with a wicked pack of cards probably says something about how comfortable you are with that notion.

"Water is never only about water."

A few years ago, at one of Hoover Dam's scenic pull-offs, I stood beside a handful of strangers looking out over Lake Mead. The dam was impressive, but all I could see was the pale ring of bare rock that betrayed how low the water had fallen. Everyone around me was quiet; I thought they were bored until a woman whispered, "So that's it?" and I realized we were terrified.

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

For a centenarian, the Pulitzer Prize appears to be as spry as ever.

Now in its 101st year, the prestigious prize recognized writers, artists and musicians of nearly every bent — from breaking news and cartooning, to fiction and drama. At a New York City ceremony Monday, Pulitzer Prize Administrator Mike Pride announced the 21 winners of the 2017 award.

This story starts with a lost email.

Annie Hudson had spent weeks crafting the text. She was documenting tiny elements of a memory — events so ordinary that they would certainly be forgotten, yet so treasured that she wanted to keep hold.

She wanted the email to be perfect. Kept tinkering, revising. It lived in the "Drafts" folder on her iPhone.

Then, came a notice: "Software Update." Annie followed the prompts. Her phone got up-to-date fixes. The draft of the email disappeared.

You don't need to know all about Breaking Bad, and the meth-making, drug-dealing former schoolteacher Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston, to enjoy Better Call Saul. This spinoff series more than stands on its own — and, as TV spinoffs go, is the best in the business since Cheers begat Frasier.

To get you to buy a bottle of champagne, M. Cole Chilton, the face who was always behind the counter of my neighborhood wine store in Brooklyn, would send out emails with elaborate descriptions: "I taste like sunshine, and I tell of brighter days ahead. I will make you forget that three people cheated on you last year. I will make you forget that you didn't contribute anything to your 401(k). I will make you forget that dog sitting is not as easy as it sounds."

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

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Let's take a poetry break now with a few more of your Twitter poems. It's a beautiful day here in Washington, D.C., so a good time to hear a few reflections on springtime and nature, like this one from Mark Holoweiko in Michigan.

The CW's Jane the Virgin is both a send-up of and a love letter to Latin telenovelas. So, not surprisingly, its plot is a little complicated. In the first season, Jane (a virgin) becomes pregnant after being accidentally artificially inseminated with sperm from Rafael, a married businessman who starts to develop feelings for Jane. On top of that, Jane's father, telenovela star Rogelio De La Vega, is back in her life. From there, things only get more dramatic.

A few years ago Laura Kipnis — a tenured professor at Northwestern — published an essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education. In it she argued that the rules governing sexual relationships between students and professors had become draconian. The response was intense, eventually growing to include a Title IX investigation filed against Kipnis by two graduate students.

Reading The Game: Bioshock Infinite

Apr 9, 2017

For years now, some of the best, wildest, most moving or revealing stories we've been telling ourselves have come not from books, movies or TV, but from video games. So we're running an occasional series, Reading The Game, in which we take a look at some of these games from a literary perspective.

When Prince first signed with Warner Bros. Records, he didn't want to be categorized as a black musician. This was the late 1970s, before music by black artists was widely marketed to multiracial audiences; before kids in every household in America were glued to their screens watching "Thriller" on MTV.

It opens with a scene all too common in nightly news: A young man is dead in the street, shot by a police officer who thought he saw a weapon. It turns out there was no weapon.

But here's where the script breaks from the familiar: The officer is black and the victim is white.

That's the premise of Shots Fired, a provocative new TV drama on Fox, from co-creators Reggie Rock Bythewood and Gina Prince-Bythewood.

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

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Dear Sugar Radio is a weekly podcast from member station WBUR. Hosts Steve Almond and Cheryl Strayed offer "radical empathy" and advice on everything from relationships and parenthood to dealing with drug problems or anxiety.

Today the Sugars hear from two 34-year-old women in loving relationships. But they are in very different predicaments involving the desire to have children. The first writer says she strongly does not want kids, but her husband does.

John Hickenlooper came to Colorado to work for an energy company. But he promptly got laid off and needed something else to do — so he decided to open a brewpub. The beer must have been pretty good, because he was elected mayor of Denver and, in 2010, governor of the state.

We've invited Hickenlooper to play a game called "Somebody has plans for 2020." Three questions about exciting things scheduled for the year 2020, that definitely aren't the next U.S. presidential election.

Kinky Cakes: Inside The World Of Adult Bakeries

Apr 8, 2017

In the early 1980s, Niki Novak's sister bit into a cake shaped like a man's, um, member. It was disgusting. It wasn't the idea of the cake she found distasteful, mind you, but its actual flavor.

When Novak heard about the incident from her sister, she wondered: Why couldn't you make risqué cakes that tasted good, too?

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

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And now on to some Hollywood history. Carl and Rob Reiner, father and son, became the first father and son to leave their hand and footprints in front of Hollywood's famous Chinese Theater. NPR arts correspondent Mandalit del Barco reports.

It's a Wednesday at Fantom Comics in Washington, D.C., and the store is bustling.

Every Wednesday is New Comics Day — when subscribers come in to pick up the week's new titles, check in with each other, and talk comics. This Wednesday is no different.

Well. It's a little different.

I'm used to comics-shop chatter that revolves around things like which new books are worth checking out, what storylines have gone one way too long, and which hero could kick which other hero's butt.

Their Finest is a film within a film about making wartime movies in Britain. Bill Nighy stars as an aging matinee idol, unhappy that he's been cast in an older role. Gemma Arterton plays a young copywriter — the script department's secret weapon.

It's during the Blitz, and they're tasked with making a British drama that will lift spirits at home and warm hearts across the ocean — a challenge that real filmmakers faced as well.

Some books can sweep you away in the first sentence. Sarah Dooley's new book Ashes To Asheville begins with a riff that includes sisterhood, death, cute pets and saucy widows.

The last few years have seen a bumper crop of published works by and biographies of many mid-20th century female writers: Angela Carter, Shirley Jackson, Lucia Berlin, Clarice Lispector — all reaching new generations of readers. Now, one more joins that list: the Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington, whose Complete Stories has just been published, to coincide with the re-release of her memoir Down Below.

In the heart of an ever-gentrifying New York City neighborhood, the Nuyorican Poets Café was once called "the most integrated place on the planet" by none other than Beat poet Allen Ginsberg. Today it remains a wildly diverse venue still influenced by its mostly Puerto Rican founders who claimed it as a site of artistry and resistance in 1973.

Poet and founder Miguel Algarín and his artist friends just wanted a place to get together to create. By the 1990s, the Café was the epicenter of Slam Poetry in the country.

For the first two months of this year, the teen romance Your Name. (the period is part of the title) was the biggest box-office hit of 2017. Never heard of it? Well, it was bigger than Fifty Shades Darker; bigger than Lego Batman.

We're all back at the table this week, and we're joined by our library consultant, Boston pal, and wearer of colorful clothing, Margaret H. Willison. First up, we all listened to the new podcast S-Town, which has again raised the profile of narrative podcasts. This one, in seven parts, is about a man who wrote to This American Life to air his complaints about his small Alabama hometown — and that was only the very, very beginning of a complex story.

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

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Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Speaking Up.

About James Hansen's TED Talk

When climate scientist James Hansen spoke up about climate change in the 1980s, he risked the loss of his job & reputation. But, he says, it was worth it — because he could not be silent about something so important.

About James Hansen

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