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Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

John Hodgman is a notorious liar. In his previous three books, the most recent being 2011's That Is All, the humorist and former The Daily Show correspondent presented a parade of fake knowledge in almanac form. Hilarious on its surface, the trilogy also deeply satirized our country's drift toward a post-truth reality. On a less alarming level, those books underscored the remoteness that Hodgman has always cultivated as an entertainer. Quirky, nerdy, and cerebrally charming, his persona never felt very candid or intimate.

So, you're at your friend's elaborately decorated Halloween party. There are cobwebs hanging from the ceiling, bloody handprints on the wall, a frothing potion brewing on the stove. It's creepy! And scary! But is it ... spooky?

There is a moment about fifteen minutes into the premiere of the eight-episode Netflix series American Vandal when I knew it had its hooks in me.

It's a scene in which two student documentary filmmakers — Peter (Tyler Alvarez) and Sam (Griffin Gluck) — are examining evidence.

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

The ongoing wildfires in Northern California have reminded many Americans of the courage — the heroism — of the men and women who fight fires in forests and wilderness.

A new film called Only The Brave is based on the true story of the 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots who battled, and ultimately lost their lives, in Arizona's Yarnell Hill Fire during late June of 2013. Hotshots are the elite crews that attack and try to contain wildfires with chainsaws, shovels and flames of their own (to create firebreaks).

The world Philip Pullman created is back—in his hands, and now ours.

The His Dark Materials trilogy, which was introduced more than 20 years ago with a book called The Golden Compass, is set in a world ruled by theocratic overlords collectively known as the Magisterium, and in which children often disappear into the hands of people called the Gobblers. However, human souls — especially those of children — take shape outside their bodies as daemons: talking animal spirits who give humans aid, comfort and companionship.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

No One's Hands Are Clean In 'The Butchering Art'

Oct 21, 2017

To read The Butchering Art, you should have a stronger stomach than mine.

Myth-ed Connections: 'The Killing Of A Sacred Deer'

Oct 20, 2017

We need to talk about Keoghan.

If there's one constant throughout Steve Bannon's career, it's his ability to reinvent himself. His resume includes time in the U.S. Navy plus jobs working with Goldman Sachs; Biosphere 2; a Florida maker of nasal sprays; and a Hong Kong company that employed real people to earn virtual gold in the online video game World Of Warcraft.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Barry Blitt drew his first New Yorker cover back in 1992. Ever since, he has been skewering politicians of all stripes. In 2008, he drew Barack and Michelle Obama fist-bumping in the Oval Office, and in 2016, he drew Donald Trump in a tiara and a women's bathing suit.

"I have a sketchbook open and I'm just trying to make myself laugh," Blitt says.

His new book, simply titled Blitt, features some of the cartoonist's most memorable and merciless work.

A while ago, I heard a rumor that Tamara Keith — NPR White House correspondent and a core member of the NPR Politics Podcast team — enjoyed ABC's Shark Tank. This information was filed under "HUH," where I keep many interesting tidbits.

Actress Gabrielle Union started off playing teenagers on TV in the 1990s. Now, she stars in the BET show Being Mary Jane, as a powerful cable news anchor who's equally fierce in her personal life. She's also an advocate for rape survivors and an outspoken voice on many issues. And she's just written her first book, a collection of essays called We're Going to Need More Wine.

The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein after an Italian model-actress alleged that he raped her at her hotel in 2013.

As NPR's Mandalit Del Barco reports, "A spokesman for the LAPD says the department is interviewing a 'potential victim' of sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein in 2013."

The allegations of sexual assault are the first reported in Los Angeles. Police in New York and London are investigating allegations that Weinstein sexually assaulted five women in those cities.

Battle your way to dignity and force others to see your life-or-death struggle. This was the sole option available to the HIV-positive community in the '80s and '90s, when the deadly pandemic ravaged gay people and junkies, populations easy for governments to ignore. Today, with HIV/AIDS much more manageable and treatment options out in the open, it can be easy to think of our progression with the disease as inevitable.

Todd Haynes may not have been at the top of anyone's list of potential kiddie-movie directors before Wonderstruck, but the movie does dovetail with several of the filmmaker's previous projects.

Director Tomas Alfredson is in the ennui business. His films are heavy and portentous, often blanketed in the permafrost of his native Sweden and always just as chilly indoors. His 2008 breakthrough, Let the Right One In, reinvigorated the vampire myth by draining it of sensationalism and using it as an affecting metaphor for the eternal loneliness of adolescence.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Let me take you back to a day in July 2014 when a man named Eric Garner was stopped by two cops on the street in Staten Island.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

As someone who lives with obsessive-compulsive disorder, novelist John Green sometimes feels like his mind is spiraling uncontrollably.

"It starts out with one little thought, and then slowly that becomes the only thought that you're able to have," Green says. "It's like there's an invasive weed that just spreads out of control."

Olly olly oxen free!

All you young readers in New York City, hide no more: For one day and one day only, the city's three major public library systems are offering unconditional amnesty to everyone age 17 and under who has been charged with late fees. The libraries will also clear the fines of those who are still in high school and 18 or over, if they show up in person by Nov. 2. All money owed for overdue or lost books and DVDs is officially wiped clean for these kids and teens.

In 1620, the Rev. George Thorpe sent a letter from a plantation near Jamestown, Va., to England describing a "good drinke of Indian corne" that he and his fellow colonists had made. Historians have speculated that Thorpe was talking about unaged corn whiskey, and that his distillation efforts on the banks of Virginia's James River might have produced America's first whiskey.

Sometimes, when Philip Pullman is tired or anxious, a floating speck appears in his field of vision. "I first saw it when I was playing the piano and I couldn't read the music because there was a damn dot in the way," he says, as we sit in the pleasantly jumbled living room of his farmhouse in Oxfordshire.

The floating dot will expand into a flickering ring of light, like a miniature, personal aurora. It can happen when he's driving, and he'll pull over to wait it out, or sleep it off when he's at home.

Here's hoping that within 50 years or so, Kelly and Zach Weinersmith's book Soonish becomes hopelessly obsolete. As we lounge in our self-adjusting hammocks on the moon, reading our daily reports about which asteroids our robots are mining, our matter-printer might produce another round of fancy cocktails. Meanwhile, helpful nanobots will install our new 3-D printed livers to make sure all that drinking doesn't mess with our metabolisms. And we'll smile at each other and say, "Remember that book from 2017 that predicted all this?

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Whether you're running or watching the Baltimore Running Festival this weekend, you might want to put your feet up and read a book. Check out these recent book-related interviews on "The Weekly Reader" , "Midday" and "On the Record." 

On this edition of "The Weekly Reader," we feature two novels that capture the unique physical and emotional landscape of 'The Big Easy,' Margaret Wilkerson Sexton’s "A Kind of Freedom" and C. Morgan's "The Floating World." 

Jess and Angie are best friends. From the outside, they're everything best friends should be. Jess hangs out at the ice cream parlor where Angie works, and Angie reads every new page of Jess's graphic novel about a girl who fights evil mutants with the help of her reliable best friend. Neither of them talks about the fact that Jess is in love with Angie. It's a truth they won't even admit to themselves.

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