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Arts and culture

"I hope you don't mind me taking a liberty" are the first words spoken in Blade Runner 2049, an unlikely sequel to the oft-revised Ridley Scott sci-fi sleeper that has confounded and divided normals — and been an object of adoration for nerds — for 35 years.

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


Hugh Hefner died this week at age 91. And the Playboy founder managed, even in preparing for his death, to cultivate his celebrity and stoke controversy.

Over the years, Hefner mentioned to reporters where he planned to be buried: right next to Marilyn Monroe, at the Westwood Village Memorial Park cemetery.

Title IX is often credited with getting more girls involved in sports, but there's another, more intimate milestone in the women-in-sports story that deserves some recognition: This year, the Jogbra turns 40.

In 1977, Hinda Miller had just started working at the University of Vermont and had taken up jogging. But she found she had a problem: What to do with her breasts? "I used two bras," she says. "You know, everyone has their stories of what they did."

I loved watching Larry David last year in his recurring guest role on NBC's Saturday Night Live, where he provided a perfect impersonation of outspoken politician Bernie Sanders. But I'm even more excited to watch David, beginning this Sunday, on the return of HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, where he'll play an exaggerated version of himself in a role he last portrayed on TV six years ago.

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



Amy Seimetz: Based On The Hit Movie

Sep 29, 2017

A true multi-hyphenate, Amy Seimetz is a director, actor, producer, and writer, who Ice-T once called "freaky-deaky" on the set of Law and Order: SVU. As an actor, she's also appeared in Stranger Things, Alien: Covenant, and The Killing.

Untwisted Tongue Twisters

Sep 29, 2017

We threw a throng of common tongue twisters through a thesaurus to toss together this thrilling task. Can you guess the tongue-twisting phrase from its literal description?

Heard On Melissa Joan Hart And Amy Seimetz: Multi Multi-Hyphenates

This, That, Or The Other

Sep 29, 2017

Is "Sticky Icky" a discontinued frozen Slurpee flavor, a Yankee Candle scent, or an obstacle from the Nickelodeon game show 'Double Dare?' Those are the three categories in this very messy This, That, or the Other.

Heard On Melissa Joan Hart And Amy Seimetz: Multi Multi-Hyphenates

Does Not Compute

Sep 29, 2017

Our final two contestants get their heads out of the cloud to compete in this trivia game involving words associated with computing.

Heard On Melissa Joan Hart And Amy Seimetz: Multi Multi-Hyphenates

Mac Daddies

Sep 29, 2017

Contestants face off in a music parody challenge that combines two of the biggest icons of the 1970s: Fleetwood Mac and macramé. We rewrote Fleetwood Mac songs to be about things with "mac" in their names.

Heard On Melissa Joan Hart And Amy Seimetz: Multi Multi-Hyphenates

Slogan Erring

Sep 29, 2017

This word game will melt in your mouth, not your hands. We took famous corporate slogans and changed one letter to reflect a new demographic the brand is targeting. This Cud's for You!

Heard On Melissa Joan Hart And Amy Seimetz: Multi Multi-Hyphenates

Melissa Joan Hart: Multi Multi-Hyphenates

Sep 29, 2017

As a kid, Melissa Joan Hart was more than a little obsessed with the 1980 horror movie The Watcher in the Woods. "My family and I watched it over and over and over again," Hart said, and she dreamed of one day starring in a remake. She and her mother tried to secure the rights for seventeen years before they finally succeeded. After so many years of waiting, Hart had to make a slight adjustment to her childhood dream. "I was too old to play the teenage role, too young to play the older witch part," she said, "and I decided to take on the role of director."

Hoo boy.

What is it?

Marvel's Inhumans, premiering tonight at 8 ET on ABC.

What's it about?

... Uh.

Hello? Something wrong?

No. Oh, you mean wrong with this show? Then yes. Hoo boy. Lots of stuff. Yep.

[Sigh.] What. Is It. About?

In Marvel comics, Inhumans are a race of beings distinct from humans because their genetic makeup gives them special mutati-, um. Special abilities. For this reason, they're hated and feared by humanity.

So, mutants, then.


It started with a casual text conversation around Thanksgiving. Or maybe it was a Twitter poll about which zodiac sign to go on a date with that night. It depends who you ask.

Either way, New York City-based poets Dorothea Lasky and Alex Dimitrov — the voices behind the viral Twitter account "Astro Poets" — aim to change the way the Internet sees the zodiac.

What would happen if every woman on earth went to sleep ... and never woke up? Only men would be left to run the world.

If that's not the beginnings of a horror page-turner, we don't know what is. And it is — in fact — the premise of Stephen King's new book, Sleeping Beauties.

You'll discover the first twist right on the cover: King has a partner in crime, at least in this endeavor — his son, Owen King, who had the initial idea for the book.

It was a little bit James Bond, a little bit George Orwell, and — eventually — a whole lot of Franz Kafka.

"The goddamn punks are running the country!"

That outraged remark, delivered by the upright protagonist of Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House, might suggest to some viewers that the movie was made with one eye on the current White House. But that is an interpretation supported by only a few moments in the film, which wrapped production before the 2016 Republican National Convention.

The first time we meet Zach and Josh, two high-schoolers and best friends who gets tangled up in violence, guilt, and psychosis in Super Dark Times, they're hanging out in the basement, assessing photos of girls in the yearbook and watching softcore porn through the bars on a blocked cable channel. The year is 1995, but it's little details like this that make the time stamp unnecessary.

Not many people on this Earth get a movie made for them as eulogy. Harry Dean Stanton is lucky.

That last sentence appears in one of Stanton's final films, on its title screen in fact, under an image of the actor squinting into the desert sun in white undershirt, knee-length socks, and ten-gallon hat:

"Harry Dean Stanton IS Lucky."

Take Me To The Pilot: 'American Made' Soars

Sep 28, 2017

Slickness is a virtue in American Made, a cheerfully blistering yarn starring Tom Cruise as real-life-TWA-pilot-turned-CIA-stooge-turned-cocaine-smuggler Barry Seal. Piquant and picaresque, it's essentially a hybrid of Goodfellas and Air America. Those movies — one rightly revered, the other all but forgotten — were released about a month apart from one another back in 1990, a long-ago cinematic era when either one might nevertheless have starred... Tom Cruise.

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


Hugh Hefner was a man who played by his own rules.


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


Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy magazine, died Wednesday at his home, the Playboy Mansion. He was 91.

In 1999, Hefner told Fresh Air that his iconic magazine was inspired by his own repressive upbringing — he described his parents as typical "Midwestern Puritans."

"I saw things in growing up in my own home and in society around me that I felt were hurtful and hypocritical," he said. "... I believe and hope that Playboy [has] played some small part in changing the values — social and sexual — of our time."

This week Mark Twain has a new book out.

Yes, we know. He's been dead for more than a century, but that hasn't stopped him — or more accurately, his collaborators — from publishing a children's book, called The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine. It's based on 16 pages of notes, handwritten by Twain and discovered in an archive, in Berkeley, Calif.

Philip and Erin Stead took it from there; the Caldecott Award-winning author-illustrator duo picked up Twain's trail and finished the story.

In 'Dear Fahrenheit 451,' Loving Books Both Wisely And Well

Sep 28, 2017

The truest testament to the quality of Dear Fahrenheit 451, Annie Spence's ingratiating collection of love letters and breakup notes to the books in her life, is that my enjoyment of it was, in the end, great enough to outweigh my fury that someone other than me had written it.

Just as the original Will & Grace did in 1998, the new Will & Grace finds our two favorite roommates playing a party game. But while the original scene was more like $25,000 Pyramid ("Driftwood ... John Wayne ... your parents' marriage ..." "Things that are dead!"), this time, they're playing Celebrity — similar, but different. This time, it's a joke about Newt Gingrich looking like a lesbian, one about Melania Trump being a "rich hostage" (thus confused with Patty Hearst) and one about Caitlyn Jenner being hard to like.

Speaking to a foreign journalist is usually a stressful endeavor for a Uighur in China. Uighurs belong to a Muslim ethnic minority and speak a language closer to Turkish than Chinese. These differences from China's dominant ethnicity, the Han, have been at the root of a tense and sometimes violent relationship between Uighurs and China's government.

But there's another difference many Uighurs possess that the rest of China is attracted to: their appearance.

[This examination of the season premiere of This Is Us discusses, in detail, everything that has happened on the show up to and including the season premiere, and it also includes what I promise is baseless speculation on my part about what might be coming in the future. — LH]

Genevieve Valentine's latest novel is Icon.

"Not bad ... Not tea, but not bad."

Somehow, it's not a surprise that Ann Leckie's Ancillary series has made room for a cozy mystery.