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Arts and culture

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

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

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Musical Guest: Aimee Mann

Oct 27, 2017

Musical guest Aimee Mann knows she has a bit of a reputation for writing sad songs. She decided to lean into the joke with her latest album, whose title, "Mental Illness," was suggested by none other than Jonathan Coulton. "He asked me what the record what about and I said, 'Ah, it's my usual songs about mental illness.' And he said, 'Oh, you should call it 'Mental Illness,' thinking he was being snide and hilarious." The name stuck, and she released her ninth solo album in March.

LA LA And

Oct 27, 2017

Paul Scheer and D'Arcy Carden finished their trivia triad with a musical quiz designed to make people from New York feel defensive. We rewrote famous songs about Los Angeles to be about things with the initials "L.A."

Heard On Los Angeles: Famepocalypse Part One

HIGHLIGHTS

D'Arcy Carden On The Nature Of Her Feelings About One Direction

Real Or Fake Self-Help Book?

Oct 27, 2017

Paul Scheer and D'Arcy Carden took a page out of How to Win Ask Me Another and Influence People for their next quiz, deciding whether self-help book descriptions were real or fake.

Heard On Los Angeles: Famepocalypse Part One

HIGHLIGHTS

Paul Scheer On The Early Days Of The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre

I remember doing a show for one person. And then we decided we would chase him out.

Parental Advisory Spoiler Alert

Oct 27, 2017

Actor and comedian Paul Scheer maintains an incredibly high standard for the roles he accepts — even when he doesn't have any idea who he's playing. Known for his work with the sketch comedy team Human Giant and his role on the FX sitcom The League, Scheer also co-hosts the podcast How Did This Get Made?, which celebrates (and eviscerates) some of the worst movies ever made. He recently had a recurring role on HBO's VEEP, one of his very favorite shows, and he spoke to host Ophira Eisenberg about the air of mystery that surrounds such a spoiler-free series.

Nobody Walks In L.A.

Oct 27, 2017

It's a total Misubishi Eclipse of the heart as we crown our celebrity Ask Me Another champion in a final round about literal descriptions of car model names.

Heard On Los Angeles: Famepocalypse Part One

Freeway Traffic Report

Oct 27, 2017

Brett Gelman and Missi Pyle completed their Ask Me Another trilogy contracts with a quiz in which every answer is also the number of a freeway in the Los Angeles area. Plus, singer-songwriter Aimee Mann also joined us for a performance of "Rollercoasters," a song from her recent album "Mental Illness."

Heard On Los Angeles: Famepocalypse Part One


HIGHLIGHTS

Missi Pyle On Her Driving Style

Holy Foley!

Oct 27, 2017

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's the sound of boots walking through a kiddie pool filled with glue! We tested Missi Pyle and Brett Gelman's knowledge of the magic of cinema with an audio quiz about the strange practices of foley artists, the audio technicians who create sound effects for film.

Heard On Los Angeles: Famepocalypse Part One


HIGHLIGHTS

Missi Pyle On Succumbing To Peer Pressure From Sigourney Weaver

Star Map

Oct 27, 2017

Missi Pyle isn't just the kind of actress you recognize from something—she's the kind of actress you recognize from everything. Pyle got her break when she landed a major role in the 1999 cult film Galaxy Quest. As Laliari, an extraterrestrial with a very severe haircut, Pyle's first big movie remains one of her favorites. "Galaxy Quest was such a beautiful, magical experience," she told host Ophira Eisenberg.

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Dialogue And Exchange.

About Robb Willer's TED Talk

Liberals and conservatives believe in different sets of moral values. That's why, social psychologist Robb Willer says, appealing to the other side's values — not your own — might change more minds.

About Robb Willer

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Dialogue And Exchange.

About Megan Phelps-Roper's TED Talk

Megan Phelps-Roper grew up in the Westboro Baptist Church, which preaches a message of hate and fear. But after engaging with her critics--on Twitter, no less--she decided to leave the church.

About Megan Phelps-Roper

Things are about to get even stranger in Hawkins, Ind.

That's the small town the Netflix series Stranger Things is set in. The second season of the instant cult classic set in the 1980s is released Friday, and it picks up about a year after the first adventure into the Upside Down, the defeat of the Demogorgon monster and Eleven's apparent disappearance.

Stranger Things is the brainchild of twin brothers Matt and Ross Duffer, who said that their tastes are very similar — but that they fight all the time. It's mostly about writing.

Before Hurricane Maria, Brian Gonzalez could sling 500 empanadillas, fried Puerto Rican empanadas, each day to tourists from cruise ships stopping at Old San Juan. On a recent day, he sold less than 50.

It's the story of many street vendors that depend on sightseers and visitors to San Juan's biggest attractions.

Before Hurricane Maria five weeks ago, there were dancers in the square, music in the street and hardly a parking space in sight. Power outages have since turned tourist hotspots like oceanfront Condado and Old San Juan into a dark and empty ghost town.

Once upon a time — about 40 years ago — there were few things as terrifyingly pulpy as the books at the supermarket checkout: fat paperbacks with crazy covers and titles like Eat Them Alive, The Face That Must Die and Crabs: The Human Sacrifice. This was lowbrow stuff, and Grady Hendrix, the author of Paperbacks from Hell, has read a lot of it.

Bethlehem be damned, Joan Didion is no slouch. Onscreen at age 82 in a new Netflix documentary about her life, the pioneering novelist and literary journalist is a flurry of activity in thick red lipstick, casting wide circles with her hands as she speaks. "I don't know what 'fall in love' means," she says near the beginning, in that precise diction. "It's not part of my ..." (gesturing toward something unseen) "... world."

'The Square' Is Edgy

Oct 26, 2017

Life does not imitate art in Swedish writer-director Ruben Östlund's The Square. No, something much worse happens: Life imitates conceptual art.

The Square is the first Swedish movie to win the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival since 1992's The Best Intentions. That's ironic, since Östlund's often startling satire is about a man with the best of intentions: a contemporary-art museum director tellingly named Christian (Claes Bang). He's handsome, successful, and, of course, as insensitive and self-centered as the rest of us.

When God's Own Country, a superb feature debut from British writer-director Francis Lee about a love affair between two male farmhands, drew wide acclaim at film festivals, it spawned comparisons with Brokeback Mountain. They're understandable but misleading, and not only because the time and place are different. God's Own Country is set in the West Yorkshire wilds where Lee grew up and still lives, and where sex is organic to the everyday flow of lives surrounded by animal activity.

Well, at least George Clooney can still claim to be the handsomest screenwriter/producer/director in Hollywood.

Sweden is often described as one of the world's most progressive and equal societies. In a new film called The Square, things aren't as perfectly Scandinavian as they seem.

It's a satire of Sweden's cultural elite set in a modern art museum. An early scene pits an American journalist against the museum's director, and the journalist reads him a confusing, academic-sounding passage he once wrote. Filmmaker Ruben Östlund says the museum director's language is real.

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

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Watch Out: This Halloween, Horror Is Back

Oct 26, 2017

Marshia Miller of Washington D.C. is looking through the back of Total Fright, a Halloween party store, for a costume for her 12-year-old son. Wispy ghosts with glowing green eyes hang from the ceiling. Towards the back of the shop, the ceilings are covered with bloody ski masks, evil clown faces, and zombie heads. Walls are lined in packaged costumes for serial killers, escaped inmates, and famous monsters from horror films.

Miller says her son usually "likes fighting crime and things of that nature." But for the first time this year "now he wants something scary."

It's easy to send thoughts and prayers and move on if you're not among those whose lives were altered by the storms. But natural disasters continue to destroy lives long after the damage is done. In his new book Ghosts of the Tsunami, author Richard Lloyd Parry considers the aftermath of the 2011 Japanese tsunami, which took thousands of lives, and which haunts its survivors to this day. It's a wrenching chronicle of a disaster that, six years later, still seems incomprehensible.

In 1880, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, age 41, wrote to a friend that he was in a riverside town near Paris painting oarsmen. He'd been "itching" to do it for a long time: "I'm not getting any younger," he wrote, "and didn't want to defer this little festivity." Now that painting, Luncheon of the Boating Party, is the star of a new exhibition at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.

On the coastal edge of Georgia sits a small, dwindling community known as the Gullah Geechee. The people in the community are direct descendants of enslaved West Africans who settled on the barrier islands there. The Gullah Geechee's unofficial historian and vocal advocate for the preservation of the community, Cornelia Walker Bailey, has died. She was 72.

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

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Candy is not a food known for its use of wholesome ingredients. In fact, it barely qualifies as a food at all. But Jami Curl, the confectioner behind Portland's Quin candy shop, is trying to change that.

If you're looking for a stylish, atmospheric mystery with a startling twist, look no further: The Disappearance of Adèle Bedeau by Graeme Macrae Burnet will be your cup of strong Continental coffee. Set in a very sleepy Alsatian town on the Gallic side of the Rhine, this novel titillates with its homage to Georges Simenon, that master of French suspense who never met a detail he didn't like.

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