KTEP - El Paso, Texas


Arts and culture

The alien dome they call "The Shimmer" stretches for several miles, radiating from a lighthouse in the middle of a national park. Its border is pulsating and translucent with shades of purple, like a soap bubble; it's so alive it seems to moan, or at the least to breathe. No messages from within can reach the outside world. Those who enter don't come back out, or not the same, anyway. And the first time one expedition sets up camp, they awake to find that they have already been there for days, with no memory of what transpired in-between.

The distinctions between human and animal, alive and dead, and even mobile and inert are fluid in November, an adult fairy tale that's as earthy as it is lyrical. The movie's central story, a tortured-love triangle, is slight. But the context is fascinating and the visual style bewitching.

The first characters to enter the silvery black-and-white landscape of the film are a wolf — later revealed to be a shape-shifting human — and a kratt, a creature constructed of farm implements and an animal skull and brought to life by a blood pact with the devil.

Mind-altering substances have inspired artists for centuries, but going sober isn't usually associated with flights of wild creativity. Perhaps only the legendary French artist Jean Giraud, a.k.a. Moebius, could be so tickled, dizzied and generally thrown for a loop by the experience of giving up marijuana. Inside Moebius is based on notebooks he kept after "weed[ing] himself out" in the early 2000s, but it reads more like the work of a teenager doing LSD for the first time. This is Moebius' brain off drugs. It's sobriety as you've never seen it before.

Journalist Ann Curry's parents met in Japan after World War II. Her American father was stationed there, and her mother was Japanese. But when her father asked the military for permission to marry, the military refused — at the time, servicemen weren't allowed to marry Japanese women.

Her father was quickly reassigned, and two years went by before Curry's parents reunited. Even then things weren't easy — her grandmother disapproved of the match, her mother contracted tuberculosis. But the pair managed to defeat the odds and start a family in the U.S.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


Updated at 4:05 p.m. ET

If the answer is, "This longtime Jeopardy! host has been chosen to moderate a Pennsylvania gubernatorial debate this fall," then the question is, "Who is Alex Trebek?"

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.


Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.


Another season of the darkly brilliant series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has come to an end, and now, as has happened twice before, it falls to me the doughty task of sorting its original songs — 25 of them, this year — into a clear-eyed, dispassionate, purely objective, precision-engineered ranking that gleams with the cold light of surgic

In any given episode of Rick Steves' Europe, the world's most unassuming man smiles his way through stunning cities. It's a deeply comforting formula. We admire skylines and busy streets; Steves putters around historical monuments; he nods along as locals explain sausage or glassblowing; he signs off with a folksy "Keep on travelin'!"

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


Over the long weekend, a lot of people saw "Black Panther."


LETITIA WRIGHT: (As Shuri) Hey, look at your suit. You've been taking bullets, charging it up with kinetic energy.

Zadie Smith is justly celebrated for her chameleon-like gifts as a writer. In novels like White Teeth and On Beauty she's ventured deeply into the lives of a multi-racial assortment of immigrants to Great Britain and the United States. Her characters run the gamut from aspirational working-class kids, self-important academics, pensioners, young dancers and, to date, one Chinese-Jewish Londoner with a fixation on Golden Age Hollywood.

Growing up in rural Idaho, Tara Westover had no birth certificate, never saw a doctor and didn't go to school. Her parents were religious fundamentalists who stockpiled food, mistrusted the government and believed in strict gender roles for their seven children.

As a girl, Westover says, "There wasn't ever any question about what my future would look like: I would get married when I was 17 or 18, and I would be given some corner of the farm and my husband would put a house on it and we would have kids."

'Decarcerating America' Is A Powerful Call For Reform

Feb 20, 2018

Criminalization is frequently America's answer to social issues.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


In more than three decades of work, Doug Jones has carved out a niche in the acting world by playing strange and otherworldly creatures. He was a demonic superhero in Hellboy and a monster with an appetite for children in Pan's Labyrinth.

But there was one storyline that proved elusive: Jones says, "I never saw romantic leading male [stories] coming with any creature roles."

Fifty years ago Monday, when Fred Rogers showed up on national public television as the host of what then was a brand new children's show called Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, TV was a lot different. PBS wasn't even a network then — not by that name, anyway — and aside from CBS, NBC and ABC, there were only a few independent local channels to watch, if that.

Margery Simkin is a casting director. Her job is to look at thousands of faces, and her gut reaction — how she feels about what she sees — can lead to movie and TV roles.

But for this story, she isn't looking at a headshot — she's looking at a painting. "This wouldn't be somebody that could be a bad guy," she says. "There's a softness. There's a kindness in his eyes."

In the wake of tragedy, confusing and conflicting feelings like fear and anger can be overwhelming. In her breakout novel, Rihannon Navin takes readers on the emotional journey that explores some of these feelings.

Only Child centers around a family reconciling with the aftermath of a mass shooting at an elementary school. It's told from the perspective of 6-year-old Zach, who survived the shooting in which his brother Andy died.

The first Bible I ever purchased was a New International Version Student Life Bible; it was black with neon pink and green lettering. I picked it up from the bookstore of a church I was invited to in my late teens. This "expanded" version featured maps, reading plans, and questionnaires geared toward teenagers who wanted to learn how to effectively apply biblical principles to their daily lives. In other words, how to learn to be the "salt of the earth."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


Fifteen years after his death, Fred Rogers is having a moment.


"Summer afternoon — summer afternoon." According to Henry James, these are "the two most beautiful words in the English language." But "summer camp — summer camp," that's a whole different story. Kim Fu's The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore presents a sleepaway sojourn that turns shattering for five adolescent girls. The weaponized world of contemporary fiction can make even an innocent object like a kayak resemble Chekhov's pistol, which must inevitably explode in the third act.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


Black Panther is a film that's not only hot but historic. It's based on the Marvel comic of the same name and is directed by Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed). According to Fandango, pre-sale tickets for the film have already surpassed that of any previous superhero movie ever.

There's a big, glittering musical in a classic key on Broadway again, where the townspeople of Yonkers sing and dance, the New York Central train toots steam and the audience starts standing in ovation from the moment the big-name star takes the stage.

Renée Watson's young adult novel Piecing Me Together tells the story of Jade, a Portland, Ore., high school student with "coal skin and hula-hoop hips." Jade has won a scholarship to St. Francis, a private school that's mostly white. She makes friends and does well, but she also feels the school sees her as some kind of project — and she doesn't like it.

A mentor named Maxine comes into her life with a program called Woman to Woman. Maxine is black too, and once lived in her neighborhood, but Jade wonders if Maxine just sees her as someone who needs to be saved.

Here's a serious pop culture conundrum. Why are we still so obsessed with zombies?

Maybe you've seen the movies World War Z and 28 Days Later and the TV series iZombie and Santa Clarita Diet. Or maybe you've read Zone One by Pulitzer-winning author Colson Whitehead or Pride And Prejudice And Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith. Haven't you had enough of zombies over the last decade?

Akwaeke Emezi's debut novel, Freshwater, is the lyrical, nonlinear story of a woman named Ada, born in Nigeria with, as she puts it, "one foot on the other side." Several "selves" exist inside of Ada, and they identify themselves as "we." When Ada comes to America for college, a traumatic event causes the "we" to take over, and Ada struggles to control her own body.

The author, who won the 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Africa, says she pulled from her own experiences.