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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

There's an unforgettable scene in the Netflix documentary Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold. Filmmaker Griffin Dunne asks Didion about the legendary moment when, while reporting a piece on the counter-culture in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, she came across a 5-year-old girl tripping on LSD.

"What was that like?" Dunne wonders. Didion pauses, and replies, "It was gold." Which is to say that the little girl was great material.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The 40th Annual Kennedy Center Honors were a chance to celebrate among others a dancer, a rapper and a TV-sitcom pioneer. Here's NPR's Elizabeth Blair.

It's that time of year — Sugar Plum fairies dancing in delight, the Mouse King, a gorgeous Christmas party, a prince, and that instantly recognizable music.

The Nutcracker ballet is a beloved holiday perennial, but Wicked author Gregory Maguire's new novel Hiddensee — which is based on the Nutcracker tale — is not exactly meant for the kiddos. It tells the backstory of the powerful toymaker, Herr Drosselmeier, who gives the Nutcracker to Clara.

If you're reading this through some kind of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi gadget, here's an interesting fact: Some ideas behind that technology can be traced back to a famous actress from the 1930s. Her name was Hedy Lamarr.

In the late 1980s, a friend gave me a T-shirt emblazoned with the words "BLACK BY POPULAR DEMAND." That gift came during a time when strong expressions and affirmations of black identity enjoyed a surge of popularity not seen since the 1960s. I've been thinking a lot about that catch phrase in the context of the recent, vibrant discussions about the place of African-Americans in today's national food scene.

Girl Meets Frog Monster In 'Mrs. Caliban'

Dec 3, 2017

This season's secret weapon in literary cocktail banter will be Mrs. Caliban, a peculiar but wonderful and long-overlooked novella by Rachel Ingalls. Originally published in 1983 and seemingly doomed to a dead end ride on the oblivion express, Mrs. Caliban was briefly rescued by an unlikely deus ex machina: The British Book Marketing Council, which in 1986 named it "one of the 20 greatest American novels since World War II." Its 15 minutes in the public eye ended quickly enough, and this strange, unlikely fable once again sank into obscurity.

In the 17th century, the poet John Dryden satirized the deep anxiety around letting women learn the Classics:

But of all Plagues, the greatest is untold;

The Book-Learn'd Wife in Greek and Latin bold.

The Critick-Dame, who at her Table sits:

Homer and Virgil quotes, and weighs their Wits;

Angry Orchard, Strongbow, Woodchuck — these are some of the biggest national cider brands. (By the way, they're all owned by major beer companies.) But those big brands weren't what people came to drink at this fall's Rock the Core cider festival in Washington, D.C.

Greta Gerwig was already an acclaimed actor and screenwriter, famous for movies like Frances Ha. But now she's written and directed Lady Bird, already a huge hit and the best-reviewed film ever on Rotten Tomatoes. The whole awkward outsider thing is going to be a challenge to keep up after winning an Oscar.

Her new film is about a fierce young woman who calls herself "Lady Bird," so we thought we'd ask her about actual female birds.

Click the audio link above to see how she does.

Copyright 2017 WBUR. To see more, visit WBUR.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The campaign season has begun for Hollywood awards. Wind River is a widely-praised film that hinges on a murder mystery, but it's also a pointed and poignant story about the violence endured by many Native American women. The Weinstein Company had the rights to distribute Wind River, but following efforts by the filmmakers and the film's stars, the Weinstein name has been removed.

"[His name is] beyond, I think, toxic," says actress Elizabeth Olsen, who stars in the movie. "It's completely against all the reasons we made this film."

Fiona Mozley is one of the literary sensations of 2017. The part-time clerk at the Little Apple Bookshop in York, England was named a finalist for this year's Man Booker Prize with her first novel Elmet.

When does a comic first realize that he — or she — can make people laugh?

For 1950s housewife Miriam Maisel, perhaps it comes when she gives a toast at her own wedding. But in the new Amazon series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, it takes the breakup of her marriage to get her to venture, desperately, on stage.

With virtual reality rigs like the Oculus finally finding their way into people's homes, it's a perfect time to look back on the birth of a technology that almost didn't exist. Dawn of the New Everything is techie guru Jaron Lanier's attempt to explain the origins of VR, both technically and philosophically. He's the perfect person to tell this story, too: Lanier founded a company called VPL Research in the 1980s that sold the first VR development kits to scientists, government contractors, and Hollywood studios.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

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

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

American novelist Christopher Bollen has been awarded this year's "Bad Sex in Fiction" award, in recognition of a sex scene from his novel The Destroyers that read in part: "The skin along her arms and shoulders are different shades of tan like water stains in a bathtub."

The following sentence is a little spicy for NPR, but suffice to say that the narrator compares his own anatomy to a "billiard rack."

Wisdom Of The Crowd

Dec 1, 2017

Can you guess how many people follow the most-followed raccoon on Instagram? We challenged house musician Jonathan Coulton and the hive mind of our audience to a guesstimation game.

Heard On Jason Mraz: Choco-mole And Pie

Cop To It

Dec 1, 2017

Get ready for the ultimate Sting operation: We rewrote songs by The Police to be about famous cop shows.

Heard On Jason Mraz: Choco-mole And Pie

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This, That, Or The Other

Dec 1, 2017

Contestants guess whether phrases are spooky urban legends, nicknames of old-timey Hall of Fame baseball players, or a phrase following "The Adventure of" in the title of a Sherlock Holmes story.

Heard On Jason Mraz: Choco-mole And Pie

Jason Mraz: Choco-mole And Pie

Dec 1, 2017

Like many aspiring performers, Jason Mraz graduated from high school and moved to New York to study musical theatre. But, just a year later, he realized he wanted to follow a different path.

"I knew I wanted to drop out of school and pursue original music," Mraz told host Ophira Eisenberg, "so I needed to find somebody who agreed with me."

Start Me Up

Dec 1, 2017

DING! That imaginary bell means it's time for an audio quiz about the sounds you hear when events, movies, and video games begin.

Heard On Jason Mraz: Choco-mole And Pie

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OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Hanks For Nothin'

Dec 1, 2017

Break out your multiple Oscars for a game that mashes up Tom Hanks movie titles! It's his best work since Apollo 13 Going On 30.

Heard On Jason Mraz: Choco-mole And Pie

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

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Transparency.

About David Burkus's TED Talk

How much money you make is a taboo subject. But business writer David Burkus says you should know how much your coworkers are paid. It can improve your job satisfaction--even reduce pay inequality.

About David Burkus

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Transparency.

About Leilani Schweitzer's TED Talk

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Transparency.

About Trevor Timm's TED Talk

Whistleblowers who expose government wrongdoing often risk prosecution. Journalist Trevor Timm says the press can't truly act in the public interest if sources fear speaking out.

About Trevor Timm

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Transparency.

About Ray Dalio's TED Talk

Entrepreneur Ray Dalio would want somebody to tell him if he's about to make a mistake. So in his company, even the most junior employees are expected to give him--the boss--critical, honest feedback.

About Ray Dalio

Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro is known for blurring the line between fantasy and reality. He directed the 2006 dark fantasy Pan's Labyrinth, and in his latest film, The Shape of Water, he once again mixes realistic sets with mysterious monsters.

The Shape of Water is set near Washington, D.C., inside a Cold War government lab. In the midst of the space race with Russia, American authorities capture an amphibian sea creature. They plan to dissect it and see if it can withstand being shot into space.

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