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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Broadway? No Way!

Jul 28, 2017

If you're eagerly awaiting the musical adaptation of Apocalypse Now...why? In this game, guest musician Julian Velard belts Broadway songs rewritten to be about movies that would make terrible musicals.

Heard On Janeane Garofalo & Lili Taylor: Returning To 'Marvin's Room'

Wisdom Of The Crowd

Jul 28, 2017

We put guest musician Julian Velard up to the test in this game, where he has to decide who is closer to the truth: the audience at the Bell House, or puzzle guru Cecil Baldwin!

Heard On Janeane Garofalo & Lili Taylor: Returning To 'Marvin's Room'

Bird's The Word

Jul 28, 2017

Spread your wings and fly to glory in this final round, where every answer contains the name of a bird!

Heard On Janeane Garofalo & Lili Taylor: Returning To 'Marvin's Room'

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

Celebrity Letter Swap

Jul 28, 2017

In this game, we change one letter in a celebrity's name... so goodbye, James Franco, and bonjour, James France.

Heard On Janeane Garofalo & Lili Taylor: Returning To 'Marvin's Room'

Despite their similar career trajectories, Janeane Garofalo and Lili Taylor had never worked together before starring in the Broadway revival of the play Marvin's Room. "But it felt like it," Lili Taylor said, turning to her co-star on stage at the Bell House. Standing next to each other, Garofalo and Taylor seemed like they really could be sisters.

Cecil Baldwin: On The Road

Jul 28, 2017

Puzzle Guru and honorary beat poet Cecil Baldwin has wandered all over this great big country of ours. And with the help of guest musician Julian Velard, he's going to give us the beat on a couple of 'burgs he's blown through.

Heard On Janeane Garofalo & Lili Taylor: Returning To 'Marvin's Room'

Element In The Room

Jul 28, 2017

Dust off that old laminated periodic table in your closet, because we've got a chemistry game! We've replaced two-letter terms with the name of an element with the same chemical symbol.

Heard On Janeane Garofalo & Lili Taylor: Returning To 'Marvin's Room'

When social interactions become racially charged, sometimes even the most woke among us are prone to faux pas. What do you do when your dad pretends not to speak English whenever your gringo boyfriend comes around? Why does your coworker scowl at you every time you drink Fanta? Should you automatically cut off contact with someone who doesn't like hip hop, or is there a way to compromise?

It has been 80 years since J.M. Barrie died. It has been even longer since Peter Pan's creator penned The Reconstruction of the Crime with humorist E.V. Lucas — and yet in all this time, editor Andrew Gulli says the brief play the pair pulled together never glimpsed the stage or even the printed page.

Linda Holmes hosts from L.A. again, joining regular panelists Stephen Thompson, Glen Weldon and our fourth chair this week, Slate's own Aisha Harris.

The topic: Luc Besson's gleefully schlocky, years-in-the-making science fiction ... epic? ... Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.

For an entire generation of writers, Michiko Kakutani acted at times as intrepid champion, hated villain or helping hand. But from her perch as chief book critic at The New York Times, the Pulitzer Prize winner rarely left one thing in doubt: her vast influence over the literary world she assessed.

On Thursday, after 38 years, Kakutani announced she is stepping down.

A close-up of ice melting in brilliant sunshine is the first thing you see in An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power. It's gorgeous — snow crystals glistening, moisture dripping from them into a pool of water so pure and clear it makes you thirsty.

'Brigsby Bear': Do Not Adjust Your (Mind) Set

Jul 27, 2017

If Barney the Dinosaur also played all five members of Voltron, he would look something like Brigsby Bear, a man in a giant teddy bear suit who stomps around against an outer-space backdrop blinking his animatronic eyes and learning lessons. Brigsby Bear Adventures has been on the air for some time, and the substance of those lessons has evolved from simple arithmetic to advanced scientific concepts, often accompanied by a telling refrain: "Curiosity is an unnatural emotion."

The British playwright Alan Bennett once remarked that people are more interesting when they are trying to be good than when they are being bad. That's certainly true of Menashe, a recently widowed Orthodox Jew struggling to raise his young son alone in a Hasidic enclave of Borough Park, Brooklyn. Though he can be a religious dogmatist when it comes to others, Menashe errs abundantly himself and complains routinely in Rodney Dangerfield mode, which sounds funnier in Yiddish.

"Why choose to be unhappy?"

Gabrielle (Marion Cotillard), the protagonist of From the Land of the Moon, addresses that question to the man who's agreed to marry her. But it might just as well be directed to Gabrielle herself, or to veteran French writer-director Nicole Garcia, because both sink into sorrow as if it were a feather bed.

Set in the days leading up to the fall of the Berlin Wall, Atomic Blonde takes place in an underworld where the Cold War is over but the conflict continues, like the throbbing of a vestigial limb. In that respect—and perhaps that respect only—it belongs to the tradition of post-war thrillers like Carol Reed's The Third Man or Andrzej Wajda's Ashes and Diamonds, where danger and intrigue exist where they shouldn't and the players involved are enmeshed in self-doubt and crippling mission drift.

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

There's a new film out called "Menashe" about a widower who's trying to regain custody of his son. It's set in New York City, specifically in Borough Park, Brooklyn. And you will probably need the subtitles to follow it. It's in Yiddish.

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

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

In Rwanda, a filmmaker who once told stories about genocide is now hoping to make romantic comedies and to build a film industry in the country. NPR's Eyder Peralta met him in the capital, Kigali.

It's hard to imagine how a scene of a mother buying her child crackers from a vending machine could be one of the more terrifying things in contemporary fiction. But that is the case with Gin Phillips' Fierce Kingdom, in which shooters take over a zoo at dusk, forcing those left behind to hide or be picked off along with the penned-in animals.

June Foray is gone, leaving an absence, an ache, a cloud of whirling bobby pins in her wake.

The voice of many beloved animated characters, including the plucky Rocky the Flying Squirrel, the sinister spy Natasha Fatale, the tow-headed moppet Cindy-Lou Who and — most delightfully, to my mind — the girlishly ghoulish Witch Hazel, Foray died Thursday at the age of 99.

It may be the most explosive response ever to a TV show that hasn't shot a frame, doesn't have a script, or even a plot written yet.

All we know is HBO's Confederate will be a TV show set in a modern America where the Confederacy never lost the Civil War and slavery still exists. After days at the center of the controversy, Executive Producer Nichelle Tramble Spellman says the experience has been like getting "a crash course in crazy."

Jason Heller is a senior writer at The A.V. Club, a Hugo Award-winning editor and author of the novel Taft 2012.

Los Angeles is the city of many great traditions — one of them being crime fiction. From the hardboiled classics of Raymond Chandler to the gritty noir of James Ellroy, numerous novels have used the tough streets and affluent hills of L.A. as a backdrop for some of literature's most thrilling tales of murder, lust, and justice.

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

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Most readers these days who know Chester Himes know him for his detective fiction, novels like The Real Cool Killers and Cotton Comes to Harlem, which were written late in his career during the 1950s and '60s. These hard-boiled stories — featuring black New York City police detectives Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson — are brutal and wildly surreal. But no more brutal and surreal, Himes may have said, than the situation of being black — even of being a prominent black writer — in mid-20th century America.

This week, our intrepid host Linda Holmes calls in from L.A., where she's attending the Television Critics' Association press tour, to host a discussion of the filthy, freewheeling and very, very funny Girls Trip. She's joined by regular panelist Stephen Thompson, Code Switch's Gene Demby, and special guest Aisha Harris from Slate.

Stretch & Bobbito On Race, Hip-Hop, And Belonging

Jul 26, 2017

For most of the 1990s, Adrian "Stretch" Bartos and Robert "Bobbito" Garcia hosted a famous weekly hip-hop radio show on Columbia University's campus radio station, WKCR. Their no-frills, four-hour show was broadcast during the wee hours of the morning — 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. on Friday mornings — on a low-strength signal that listeners had to be deliberate about searching out.

'Strange Practice:' The Doctor Is In

Jul 26, 2017

Jason Sheehan is currently the restaurant critic at Philadelphia magazine, but when no one is looking, he spends his time writing books about giant robots and ray guns. Tales From the Radiation Age is his latest book.

The Van Helsing family has a long history in the literature of monster-fighting – they've been stomping around the midnight moors and castles since at least 1897 when Professor Abraham Van Helsing first crossed paths with his biggest bad, Dracula.

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

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Many comics struggle for years before making it big, but Jessica Williams' lucky break came early. She was just 22 and still in college when she landed a gig as a correspondent on The Daily Show in 2012.

Despite her early success, Williams says that her career before that wasn't always smooth sailing: "I am a 6-foot tall black woman and I have been since I was about 13 years old. ... As a comedian and improviser and somebody who did a lot of sketch and was an actress, I got tons of rejection early on."

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