Arts & Culture

Ways to Connect

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.

The wild and furry landscape of Zootopia, Disney's new self-contained world of talking animals, is a remarkable place. In this land, mammals have evolved beyond their traditional predator/prey relationship to form a fully functioning society. Their capital city, Zootropolis, is an intricate network of a dozen ecosystems, from a rainforest to a frozen tundra, and residents of all sizes and species are integrated into daily life. This, as our intrepid bunny hero Officer Judy Hopps constantly asserts, is a place "where anyone can be anything."

Based on The Taliban Shuffle, a 2011 memoir by Chicago Tribune reporter Kim Barker, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot opens many fronts on the war in Afghanistan: It's a fish-out-of-water comedy, with 30 Rock's Tina Fey fumbling through a different brand of chaos; a satirical riff on the absurdities of America's military presence in the Middle East; a feminist statement on the marginalization of women in journalism and fundamentalist pockets of Afghanistan; a love story in the heightened arena of Kabul (called "the Kabubble"); and a scathing critique of American comm

In Cemetery of Splendor, a new film by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, an older Thai woman, Jen, is led around the grounds of a ramshackle building in provincial Thailand by an ecstatic young psychic named Keng. As they move about, we see only piles of dead leaves and old or broken statues, the detritus of a hospital that was once a school attended by the older woman, which she remembers fondly. The psychic, however, sees a former palace that, it seems, is buried beneath the building. She describes it in such opulent detail that even her somewhat skeptical companion is won over.

Enigmatic writer-director Terrence Malick has made what is essentially the same movie three times in a row: Tree of Life, To the Wonder, and now Knight of Cups. It's time to ask if he knows what he's doing.

Zootopia is both an animated charmer and a theme-park ready world that's precisely what it sounds like: an anthropomorphic utopia where animals have overcome the predator/prey divide to live in near-perfect harmony, in ecologically distinct districts. Disney animators have conjured up in gratifyingly intricate detail a Tundra Town, Sahara Square, even a hamster-sized village for mice and moles.

Crimson sand dunes, cracked desert floors, big open skies and landscapes that look like paintings — it's no wonder why Namibia was name-checked four times at the Academy Awards for helping Mad Max: Fury Road take home six Oscars — the biggest haul of the night.

Monsieur Periné hails from Colombia, a country known for its Afro-Colombian cumbia, as well as New York-style salsa. Instead, however, the band has embraced 1920s-era, guitar-driven jazz from the U.S. The unlikely inspiration has resulted in a large and international following, as well as a Latin Grammy not too long ago: Monsieur Periné was named 2015's Best New Artist.

Words don't do this band justice. Play the video and discover Monsieur Periné's magic for yourself.

What Makes An Idea Go Viral?

Mar 4, 2016

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode How Things Spread

About Seth Godin's TED Talk

Entrepreneur and blogger Seth Godin describes how the marketing of ideas has changed since the invention of sliced bread, as well as the type of ideas that stick in consumer's minds.

About Seth Godin

Loretta Lynn's career in country music has spanned decades. She's recorded more than 200 songs, and more than 50 albums. Her latest, out today, is Full Circle — and it's a fitting title, considering that the self-dubbed "coal miner's daughter" has lived more in her 83 years than many might live in two lifetimes.

In 1933, an effervescent comedy called Design for Living gave us two men and a woman living cozily together as roommates, no sex. But when that boundary starts to break down, the woman, played by Miriam Hopkins, points out an inequity:

"A man can meet two, three or even four women and fall in love with all of them; and then by a process of interesting elimination, he's able to decide which one he prefers. But a woman must decide purely on instinct — guess work – if she wants to be considered nice."

I can't say I ever expected to be writing about Donald Trump, Republican frontrunner, back when I was writing about Donald Trump, reality-show guy.

First, it's not really black. It's not even a color or a pigment. "Vantablack" is a "material," according to Surrey NanoSystems, the British company that created it.

Flint, Mich., isn't the only American city with a lead problem. Though the health crisis in Flint has highlighted the use of lead in water pipes, author David Rosner tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that lead, which is a neurotoxin, can be found throughout the U.S. on walls, in soil and in the air.

"The problem with lead is that it's now really everywhere, and we've created a terribly toxic environment in all sorts of ways," he says.

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

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

You Can't Please Everyone

Mar 3, 2016

This game is about that old timey antique known as a book. You must identify the classic book we are talking about, from an actual one-star review found on Amazon.com.

Heard on Sketchfest 2016: Phil Johnston, Steve Sansweet and Mo Willems

It's Like Uber

Mar 3, 2016

We're going to pitch some app ideas! Each of them is a word or phrase combined with the word "Uber." So something that's like Uber, but for the plant that pandas love to eat, would be a "Bamboo-ber."


Heard on Sketchfest 2016: Phil Johnston, Steve Sansweet and Mo Willems

Disruptive Spelling

Mar 3, 2016

Hulu — can you use that in a sentence please? Our spelling-bee-style final round is an actual spelling bee! We ask our contestants to spell the names of notable app and tech companies.

Heard on Sketchfest 2016: Phil Johnston, Steve Sansweet and Mo Willems

After working as a regional weatherman at a northern Midwest station for nine years, Phil Johnston concluded that he didn't know a single thing about the weather. Rather, his forecast read "film school." Johnston took a chance and pursued his passions by enrolling at University of Columbia's MFA film program. Today, you've seen his work in Cedar Rapids, Disney's Wreck-it Ralph and Zootopia, and in Sacha Baron Cohen's The Brothers Grimsby.

The Rainbow Connection

Mar 3, 2016

Inspired by the rainbow flag, this game features answers that are a mashup of two things, connected by a color, such as the fictional Oprah Winfrey/Prince film, "The Color Purple Rain."

Heard on Sketchfest 2016: Phil Johnston, Steve Sansweet and Mo Willems

Steve Sansweet: The Force Is Right

Mar 3, 2016

Our Meet the Expert has been called the ultimate Star Wars fanboy! Steve Sansweet was a Wall Street Journal reporter when he began his collection of Star Wars relics by fishing out the film's marketing booklet from his colleague's trash. From that fateful dumpster diving display, Sansweet has since worked as Head of Relations at LucasFilms, authored 17 books on Star Wars, and now hosts the largest collection of Star Wars memorabilia.

We Built This City

Mar 3, 2016

While in S.F., we enjoyed the local culture...like a little band called Starship and its hit song, "We Built This City." But we rewrote the lyrics to be about different cities from around the world.

Heard on Sketchfest 2016: Phil Johnston, Steve Sansweet and Mo Willems

Davenport House Museum

Marcia Banes, events editor for South Magazine, and Molly Swagler, vice president of the Tourism Leadership Council, offer up some ways to have fun in Savannah this weekend.

Molly's picks: 

-In the market for a boat, or just a fan? Check out the Savannah Boat Show at the convention center. The event features Capt. Paul Herbert of National Geographic's "Wicked Tuna." Friday, 12-6 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; $10 adults, $5 children, military, seniors.

The crumpled brown paper bag looked like trash.

But luckily for baseball card enthusiasts, a family in a rural Southern town that was sifting through its great-grandparent's possessions took a closer look.

The family, who wishes to remain anonymous, found seven identical baseball cards of famed Detroit Tigers outfielder Ty Cobb dating from a printing in 1909-1911. Previously, only 15 of this particular card were known to exist.

Jamie Woon took four years to release Making Time, the follow-up to his debut album, and it was worth the wait. He recently performed a stunning, soulful set with a phenomenal backing band to make his U.S. live radio debut on KCRW. "Sharpness" is a sexy standout from Making Time.

Set List

  • "Sharpness"

Watch Jamie Woon's full performance on KCRW.com.

Paul Goldberg's audacious first novel begins at 2:37 a.m. on Feb. 24, 1953, when a Black Maria, a car used to transport prisoners through the night, leaves the "improbably tall, castle-like gates" of Lubyanka, Moscow's KGB headquarters and prison. Three men — a state security officer and two young soldiers — are inside, on their way to arrest a Red Army veteran and onetime Moscow State Jewish Theater actor named Solomon Shimonovich Levinson.

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

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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