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Playing Hanafuda With The Hand You're Dealt

Jun 23, 2018

At her home in Honolulu, our grandmother hovered above us, inspecting our cards: illustrations of wisteria, chrysanthemum, cherry and plum blossoms and, if we were lucky, a crane perched among pine branches. My cousins and I were playing a 200-year-old Japanese card game called hanafuda, which translates to "flower cards." She taught us the game when we were young, maybe so she could have a new crop of opponents to defeat.

Updated at 5:09 p.m. ET

In the image, a little girl wails in uncomprehending sadness and anxiety.

Her face flushed nearly as pink as her shirt and shoes, she stares up at her mother and a U.S. official, both too tall to be seen. The 2-year-old Honduran child's panic is so palpable, it's difficult for a viewer not to feel it, too.

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

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

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

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

ABC canceled its lucrative reboot of Roseanne in late May, after star Roseanne Barr published a tweet that compared Valerie Jarrett, a former aide to President Barack Obama, to an ape. ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey called the tweet "abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values." It looked like the network was willing to take a financial hit and part with a successful property in the name of, of all things, principle.

Not so fast.

Children are plagued by the occasional certainty that there's a monster in their basement, if not right under their bed, and they're almost always wrong. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the follow-up to 2015's mediocre but hugely successful revival of the Jurassic franchise, is the exception that proves the rule.

The following baseball terms apply to The Catcher Was a Spy, a modestly appointed biopic about Moe Berg, a major-league-catcher-turned-OSS-agent during World War II: "Down the middle," "a can of corn," "passed ball," "below the Mendoza line," "designated for assignment."

In other words, it's a consistent underachiever, as washed-out and terminally mediocre as Berg himself was at the end of his long stint in the majors. Or, to quote a favorite schoolyard taunt: We want a catcher, not a belly scratcher. And there's an abundance of belly scratching going on in this film.

"Not another Elvis movie," you scream at the heavens in the year 2018. "The man's been dead for four decades. Every part of him has been strip-mined for white-nostalgia money already. My parents just dragged me to the touring production of Million Dollar Quartet. Show some mercy, people."

First of all: point taken. Secondly: don't be cruel. You haven't seen The King yet. And you're going to want to. Oh, yes.

To rescue his kidnapped fiancee, an earnest dandy rides into the wilderness, accompanied by a fake preacher and a miniature horse. That's the setup for Damsel, a deadpan farce filmed on the rocky Utah turf of classic John Ford Westerns. David and Nathan Zellner are on another cinematic quest.

Much has been written about Donald Trump as a politician and as a businessman, but a new book by Vanity Fair journalist Emily Jane Fox looks at the president through a different lens: as the head of a family.

Fox's new book, Born Trump: Inside America's First Family, focuses on Trump's three marriages and five children — as well as on his relationship with son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner.

One summer's day a few years ago, my daughter and her friends piled into a car that one of them had recently gotten a license to drive. "Where are you going?" I asked with false calm. "We're driving up Wisconsin Avenue until it turns into Rockville Pike," my daughter said, naming some roads in and around Washington, D.C. "Then," she continued, "we're gonna keep on driving up Rockville Pike. We want to see what's at the end."

Voting in this year's Summer Reader Poll is closed — and you've given us more than 6,000 of your favorite horror novels and stories to sort through. So while my shambling hordes of undead minions (OK, the interns) get to sorting and tabulating the results, let's meet the expert panelists who've agreed to help us build the final list. (Really, running the Summer Poll is just an excuse for me to hang around with authors I admire, but shhhh ... don't tell anyone.)

Look, I know how these things are supposed to work.

Seattle librarian Nancy Pearl shares her under-the-radar reading recommendations with Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep. This year's picks include mysteries, nonfiction and a fantasy story for young readers.

(These recommendations have been edited for clarity and length.)

Danny Hajek and Shannon Rhoades produced and edited this segment for broadcast. Nicole Cohen adapted it for the Web.

"There are no second chances in life, except to feel remorse."

Spanish novelist Carlos Ruiz Zafón said that.

But what does he know.

After a month-long investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct and verbal abuse, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz has been cleared by MIT to continue teaching there next year.

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

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

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

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

The short version: I loved this book! I was also very confused by this book.

The longer version: I was intrigued by the title of Kate Evangelista's new book The Boyfriend Bracket. The tagline on the cover read like a movie poster, "8 Boys, 16 Dates, 1 Perfect Boyfriend."

Grab the tissues — the Fab Five are back with a second season of Netflix's Queer Eye.

For the uninitiated, Queer Eye is a makeover show where five gay men with different areas of expertise (fashion, food, grooming, interior design) have a week to help change the life of one person, who they refer to as a "hero."

We paused this week to bring you a bit of a respite from the news that's still often incisive, smart, and essential. In other words, we're talking stand-up comedy. You can listen to the show to hear all of the recommendations from me, Stephen Thompson, Glen Weldon, and our friend Mike Katzif — and to hear the performers in their own words — but here's the list if you're trying to track them down:

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

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

On the morning I read Jim Crace's superb new novel The Melody, I was in our living room when I heard them: bells. Chiming over and over again, from I knew not where. It felt as if the book itself had created an atmosphere around me, as if I'd entered its world involuntarily — and I wasn't surprised.

Here's the thing about There There, the debut novel by Native American author Tommy Orange: Even if the rest of its story were just so-so — and it's much more than that — the novel's prologue would make this book worth reading.

In 1841, small-town parish clerk William Hinton got his first look at an English locomotive in action. Writer Julian Young recorded Hinton's breathless reaction: "Well Sir, that was a sight to have seen; but one I never care to see again! How awful! I tremble to think of it! I don't know what to compare it to, unless it be to a messenger ... with a commission to spread desolation and destruction over this fair land! How much longer shall knowledge be allowed to go on increasing?"

Ken Jennings — yep, you got it: affable Jeopardy! champ/trivia doyen/comedy-adjacent media personality, that Ken Jennings — is worried.

Worried, not panicked. Not even distressed, really. No, what his book Planet Funny: How Comedy Took Over our Culture amounts to, really, is an extended, engaging, deeply knowledgeable, 275-page-long (312, if you count the endnotes) (come on, you knew there'd be endnotes) fret.

This Sunday, we're celebrating fathers for a lot of reasons: for their support and love, their jokes, and most importantly, their lessons.

Weekend Edition asked listeners to tell us about some of the best lessons you got from your fathers.

You gave us a lot.

High fashion, makeup, vogueing competitions. In the 1980s, New York City's drag balls were cultural events for the LGBTQ community, most of them black and Latino. But balls have largely been hidden from mainstream America.

Now, a new show on FX is putting them front and center. It's called Pose, and according to FX, it has largest cast of transgender actors in series regular roles.

'Where The Nightmares Go' Maps The Territory Of Fear

Jun 17, 2018

A radio spitting on an open channel. Phones that ring with no one on the other end. Doors that open onto plain white rooms and worlds made of nightmares. The chance meeting at the bar that's too good to be true — right up until it isn't.

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