Arts & Culture

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm David Greene. You know, when I'm at karaoke, I always hope someone will do Garth Brooks. I mean, I could listen to "Friends In Low Places" any time, even multiple times. A karaoke deejay in Seattle sang this over and over again...

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

"A thousand newspapers with the same front page" is how the Chinese have for decades described the enforced uniformity of the country's state-controlled media.

Now, one face increasingly dominates those front pages. It belongs to China's president, Xi Jinping, who has gone to extraordinary lengths to control the narrative about China.

"The party controls the media, and of course, that means it controls the message," says University of Hong Kong media expert David Bandurski. "And basically, Xi Jinping is the message."

Ambrose Akinmusire offers a litany of the dead as the penultimate track of Origami Harvest, his audacious, politically exigent, altogether astounding new album. The track is titled "Free, White and 21," and its lyrics consist of the names of African-American men and women (and, it must be said, boys) slain in recent years by members of law enforcement or the neighborhood watch.

There's a fascination with music-makers who go from creating behind the scenes to working in the spotlight, like Carole King, Bruno Mars, Chris Stapleton and so many others have. That strikes us as the natural progression for someone motivated by artistic vision, ego, ambition or any combination of the three.

One late night in the spring of 1984, a group of sauced drag queens leaving Pyramid Club in Manhattan came up with an idea: a Woodstock for drag performers.

Flash-forward a year: The first official Wigstock was born in Tompkins Square Park. Over the next 16 years, the performers kept coming and crowds kept swelling, sometimes into the tens of thousands.

Eventually, a combination of inclement weather and trouble getting permits finally nixed the outdoor festival for good around the turn of the millennium.

Dolly Parton, Devendra Banhart, Flor de Toloache and They Might Be Giants all contributed original songs to a new compilation called 27: The Most Perfect Album.

Fall has arrived, which means seasonal scents will start wafting across the United States. Dried leaves in the Northeast. The dusty Santa Ana winds of California. Pumpkin-spice everything at your local hipster hangout.

But residents in the American Southwest probably consider their aroma the best: the intoxicating, eye-watering eau de roasted chile.

Sarah Smarsh is a daughter of the white working class. Born in rural Kansas, Smarsh traces her lineage back through five generations of family farmers. She also traces herself back through generations of teenage pregnancies; Smarsh's mother was just 17 when she had her.

Geoff Emerick, an audio engineer best known for his work with The Beatles, died Tuesday at his home near Laurel Canyon, Calif., due to complications related to his pacemaker. Emerick's manager, William Zabaleta, confirmed his death to NPR. He was 72.

Emerick had been in the hospital two weeks prior after experiencing trouble walking, but was ruled to have been dehydrated.

Fans of St. Vincent's 2017 album Masseduction are about to hear its songs in a new light, starting with a stripped-down version of "Savior." Swapping synths for piano, "Savior" now showcases Annie Clark's vocal range while tapping into the original's darker, more plaintive undercurrents.

Writer and director Tamara Jenkins was in her early 40s and struggling with infertility when she and her husband began what she calls a "by any means necessary" campaign to have a child.

It was an emotionally draining time. They looked into international adoption and also began in vitro fertilization treatment. A friend in whom Jenkins confided encouraged her to write about her experiences, but Jenkins demurred.

"I was horrified and just repulsed," she says. "I would never write about this stuff."

Nicki Minaj Is The 21st Century's Insatiable Hip-Hop Monarch

Oct 3, 2018

There's never a shortage of memoirs by successful businessmen and, for the most part, they tend to play out the same way.

The cover often features a photo of the author in a suit, smiling, with his arms confidently folded across his chest. The book itself tells a rags-to-riches story, broken up with obvious aphorisms and bulletted lists detailing how you, too, can earn millions if you just put your mind to it, darn it. Words like "synergy," "impact" and "disruption" all get healthy workouts.

How can you remake a film like Suspiria? Dario Argento's 1977 surrealist horror truly has no peer — its weirdness is alluring, a fever dream of vibrant color and supernatural violence.

One Song Considered: Julia Jacklin's 'Body'

Oct 3, 2018

'Ink' Draws A Dark But Plausible Future

Oct 3, 2018

It's sometimes surprising to look at a book outlining a bleak future and see how startlingly accurate it's become — but it shouldn't be. The cruelty of the present echoes past cruelties that were never reckoned with; the history of so many countries is pockmarked with so many horrors that one need only look backwards to imagine the worst that lies ahead.

A native of Rathcoole, Ireland (just outside Dublin), singer-songwriter Dermot Kennedy began writing songs in his teens. The 2018 NPR Slingshot artist stopped by WGBH's Fraser Performance Studio on a blazing hot August afternoon to perform a powerfully intimate set featuring two songs on guitar and two on piano.

Fall is often the most intense movie season of all. Awards contenders begin to come into focus after the Toronto International Film Festival, while comedies and thrillers continue to hit screens. We got to see a lot of upcoming films at TIFF — below you'll find write-ups of 15 movies we really enjoyed and a heads-up about nearly 40 notable releases.

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The historian Hampton Sides has been exploring the origins of the U.S. conflict with North Korea. He's written a history of Americans in a brutal battle in the dead of winter, which happened when Americans tried to unify North and South Korea.

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot painted thousands of landscapes — he did them well, and he did well by them. By the 1850s he was regarded as "a seriously successful, nationally renowned landscape painter," says National Gallery of Art curator Mary Morton.

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

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

More than two years after Prince's death, his fans got their first album-length glimpse into the famed vault. Piano & a Microphone 1983 features nine songs Prince recorded solo on cassette in his home studio, spilling fascinating secrets about his approach to songwriting.

Orri Páll Dýrason, drummer for the popular Icelandic rock band Sigur Rós since 1999, has resigned from the group in the wake of allegations of rape made by a woman in Los Angeles named Meagan Boyd. In her accusation, made late last week via two Instagram posts that have since been deleted, Boyd alleges that the two met in January 2013 at a club where she worked at the time, and that he raped her at his apartment twice on the night they met.

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

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is an expert on just about everything.

You are not alone.

That’s been the message on social media as more and more people have come forward to share their stories and experiences with sexual assault and abuse.

The charge was ignited by Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. She told the committee that Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while she was in high school.

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