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Mississippi Debuts Grammy Museum

Mar 6, 2016

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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

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On-air challenge:

In a series of categories, name something in the category starting with each of the letters W-I-N-D-S. Any answer that works is fine, and you can give the answers in any order.

For example: Two-Syllable Girls' Names --> Wilma, Ingrid, Nancy, Donna, and Suzanne.

Last week's challenge: What two eight-letter terms in math are anagrams of each other? One word is from geometry, and the other is from calculus. What words are they?

Answer: Triangle, integral.

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Forget all that stiff-upper-lip stuff. If you're looking for evidence that the British have a big, beating heart underneath their reputation for reserve and restraint, look no further than Sunday's finale of their popular TV export, Downton Abbey.

"Furo Wariboko awoke this morning to find that dreams can lose their way and turn up on the wrong side of sleep." That's the first sentence of Blackass, the debut novel from Nigerian author A. Igoni Barrett, and if it sounds familiar, there's a good reason for that. The book is a long, bizarre riff on Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis, in which a salesman wakes up to find he's become an insect.

Late Thursday evening, Kendrick Lamar crept back into our lives like a thief in the night. With his new album untitled unmastered., Lamar and his label Top Dawg Entertainment offer us a look at the steps it took to get to his fully formed magnum opus — 2015's To Pimp A Butterfly — and show us that they can stop the world when they feel like it.

Barbershop: Chris Rock, Nina And Kendrick

Mar 5, 2016

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Perhaps you first heard the name Esperanza Spalding in 2011, when an award that many were calling an easy win for Justin Bieber instead went to an eclectic young bass player, singer and composer.

Democrat Cory Booker, formerly the mayor of Newark, is now a senator and a frequent entry on "Washington's Most Eligible Bachelors" lists. We've invited him to play a game called "New Jersey? I prefer Old Jersey!" Three questions about old sports jerseys.

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What would the United States be without its immigrants? Imagine no pizza, no New York City Ballet, no Saul Bellow — and no new waves of talented émigré authors helping us to see American culture from fresh angles. With his first novel, A Replacement Life, Boris Fishman (who came to the United States from Belarus in 1988 when he was nine) staked himself a spot in the impressive lineup of immigrant writers born in the former Soviet Union.

From M'Lynn Eatenton in Steel Magnolias to Mary Todd in Lincoln, Academy Award-winning actress Sally Field doesn't shy away from taking on emotionally charged and challenging roles.

All of these characters become a part of her in a sense. "They stay in me and they have always changed me in some way," Field tells NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro.

Now, playing a woman in her late 60s with some borderline personality issues for her latest film, Hello, My Name Is Doris, part of Doris is already in Field.

Kevork Djansezian / AP Photo

I’ve never tried playing the game of imagining the guests I’d most like to invite to a dinner party at my house. But I do know that one of the seats would be saved for Cokie Roberts. I’ve interviewed her a number of times over the years, and in each case she displays great skills as a completely engaging conversationalist. She’s warm and funny, always enthusiastic about the topic at hand, and oh so smart. Cokie always makes me feel that she’s glad I asked each question I’ve thrown her way, and I’m sure she does the same for the others who talk to her, too.

Last week it was all about the #OscarsSoWhite controversy. That was about racism.

This week, social media erupted over something that has long been an issue within the black community. Colorism — the idea that your skin tone and not only your race determines your opportunities.

Actress Zoe Saldana faced a firestorm over her portrayal of music and civil rights icon Nina Simone.

BJ The Chicago Kid has sung backup for Usher, written songs for Mary J. Blige and been sampled by Kanye West. But on his new album, In My Mind, his own voice and lyrics are the main attraction.

Ever wondered what to do with that special memento from a past relationship, that token that's just too challenging to toss, not feasible to return, but yet too painful to hold on to?

And no, we're not talking about your broken heart, although we would all relish a quick fix for such.

While emotional fallout might be the thing we most often wish to be rid of after a relationship has ended, the tangibles — the bits and pieces of a life built together – can also make it challenging to let go and move on.

Author Pat Conroy Dies At 70

Mar 5, 2016

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Pat Conroy, adopted son of the South Carolina low country has died. The novelist who wrote nearly a dozen books, including "The Prince Of Tides" and "The Great Santini," was 70. Just last month, he announced he had pancreatic cancer.

The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye feels like Singapore between two covers. The pressure-cooker country — tiny and polyglot, globally competitive and politically repressive — seems to have been poured into this dense book. As if to make it an even more authentic representation of its homeland, Charlie Chan Hock Chye has met with governmental opposition: Singapore's National Arts Council withdrew a grant from author Sonny Liew because of the book's "sensitive content."

It seems George Orwell's Big Brother never gets old — and he's still watching us. Right now, he's in Cambridge, Mass., where a theatrical adaptation of Orwell's novel 1984 is on stage at the American Repertory Theatre. The production was a sold-out hit in London.

Last week, Morning Edition's David Greene asked 11-year-old Marley Dias about her quest to find more children's books about black girls.

Her campaign to collect #1000blackgirlbooks has been a big success: Marley now has more than 4,000 books in her library.

Our readers suggested many more titles to add to her list.

Novelist Pat Conroy, who announced last month that he was suffering from pancreatic cancer, has died, according to a statement from his publisher. Conroy was 70.

He announced his diagnosis on Facebook almost three weeks ago, saying "I intend to fight it hard."

Today's statement from Todd Doughty, executive director of publicity at Doubleday included comments from Conroy's wife and his longtime editor:

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(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "ZOOTOPIA")

NATE TORRENCE: (As Clawhauser) You are even cuter than I thought you'd be.

GINNIFER GOODWIN: (As Judy Hopps) You probably didn't know, but, a bunny can call another bunny cute, but when other animals do it it's a little...

One of Turkey's few remaining opposition media outlets will soon be managed by court-appointed trustees, a move that has heightened concerns over press freedom in a country dominated by pro-government newspapers and TV channels, The Associated Press notes.

On Friday, a court in Istanbul ordered the Zaman newspaper to replace its editorial board and top management with court appointees. It's part of a government crackdown on a U.S.-based Islamic scholar, NPR's Peter Kenyon reports:

As one of the judges for this year's Tiny Desk Contest, I was so inspired by all the incredible entries we received — the level of thought, creativity and care that went into producing them and, of course, the music people made. But I'd be lying if I said that the judging process wasn't, at least sometimes, mind-numbing. After the first 100 or so videos (out of more than six thousand submitted), your eyes and ears start to glaze over.

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Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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NICK BRIGGS / CARNIVAL FILM & TELEVISION LIMITED 2015 FOR MASTERPIECE

It's always a good week when Audie Cornish or Barrie Hardymon sit in, but this week, with Stephen off finishing the Austin 100 (which is now available for your ears!), they both stepped into the studio with me and Glen Weldon to talk about the end of Downton Abbey, which ends its run on PBS Sunday night — and which, of course, ended its UK run at Christmas.

A moment of silence, please, for the many fictional lives lost and nonfictional careers sullied in London Has Fallen. It's the sequel to Olympus Has Fallen, the gnarlier and less funny of 2013's two (!) Die Hard rip-offs set inside the White House. Olympus was the 36th-highest-grossing film in America that year, but its visible penny-pinching and its modest success abroad have been factored in to make a follow-up as inevitable as Zoolander 2 or Fuller House.

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