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Arts and Culture

Mary McGrory became a columnist in a time when women in journalism were still called "doll." She wrote a nationally syndicated column for more than 50 years, first for The Washington Star and then for The Washington Post, and in 1975 she became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for commentary.

Whenever you read about book awards you hear they help boost sales. But what you might not know is just how much those sales need boosting. Two prestigious awards announced nominees this week; in the U.K. the Man Booker unveiled its short list and in the U.S. the National Book Awards announced its long lists.

September is about more than kids heading off to school, all bright shining faces and expensive new electronics. This month also kicks off a horrifying gauntlet of fear, tedium and aggravation (mostly aggravation) for a beleaguered species, the college professor.

You probably never will see most of Jason deCaires Taylor's public art projects firsthand — at least, not without goggles and fins.

Most of his sculptures stand at the bottom of the sea. His life-size statues — ghostly figures of men, women and children — seem to walk the ocean floor as they hold hands, huddle, even watch TV.

Wealthy art collectors often spend millions of dollars on trophy pieces by European masters, then keep them hidden from view. Not Sheikh Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi: He spends his fortune on artworks by living, Arab artists, then shows them to as many people as possible.

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There have been a number of movies about the War on Drugs and the latest, Sicario, takes the "war" part of that phrase very seriously.

Emily Blunt stars as an FBI agent recruited into a U.S. anti-drug operation. The operation works with Mexican security forces to take down drug cartel kingpins — and crosses physical and moral borders in the process.

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

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

NPR Bestsellers: Week Of September 17, 2015

Sep 18, 2015

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A double bill from someplace near Hell, Black Mass and Sicario both feature extreme violence, ethically unmoored lawmen, and abundant father-child trauma. What links these two gangster epics most closely, though, is their doleful music. Neither Tom Holkenborg's strings (Black Mass) nor Johann Johannson's synths (Sicario) ever let viewers forget that they're watching a funereal procession.

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/.

Transcript

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More young people will have the opportunity to show livestock at future Illinois state fairs. Fair officials say they plan to expand the age requirements for junior livestock shows beginning in 2016 to match requirements for nationally recognized events. The change applies to both the Illinois State Fair in Springfield and southern Illinois' DuQuoin State Fair. Currently, participants must be between 10 and 18 years old. Starting next year the age range will be 8 to 21.

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Screen Time - Part II

About Jon Ronson's TED Talk

Writer Jon Ronson says Internet commenters can behave like a mob — and believes it's time to rethink how we interact when we go online.

About Jon Ronson

On Sept. 8, Stephen Colbert made his debut in David Letterman's spot as host of CBS's Late Show, a role he took over after Letterman's retirement and the conclusion of his own nine-year run at the helm of Comedy Central's Colbert Report. This week's Pop Culture Happy Hour panel — Glen Weldon, Code Switch lead blogger Gene Demby, super-librarian Margaret H. Willison and me — is unanimous in its fondness for Colbert, but our feelings for The Late Show With Stephen Colbert are mixed.

Reviewing books of humor is a tricky business; whether a joke succeeds or fails is a profoundly individual matter, about as straightforward to analyze as a sneeze. For instance, for no reason either of us can entirely explain, my husband's favourite panel from a Kate Beaton comic is one of W. B. Yeats as a giant bird going "Craaa."

It's all in the delivery. And in the fact that Kate Beaton is a genius.

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Los Angeles is getting a new contemporary art museum, courtesy of billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad and his wife Edythe. Their free museum opens Sunday.

Surrounded by the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Music Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art, The Broad is already an architectural landmark, with its honeycomb-like exoskeleton.

"This shell of sorts, this light filter, this amazing sculptural structure ... enrobes the museum," says Joanne Heyler, the museum's director and chief curator.

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It has been difficult for Hillary Clinton to seem relaxed and at ease on the campaign trail, especially as questions about her use of a private email server as secretary of state have dominated.

Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber admits that she does not look — or act — like a typical church leader. Heavily tattooed and with a tendency to swear like a truck driver, Bolz-Weber was once a standup comic with a big drinking problem.

But she was drawn to Lutheran theology, and when a group of friends asked her to give a eulogy for another friend who had committed suicide, Bolz-Weber discovered her calling.

It's not often that you'll get the National Book Awards confused for that other NBA, but at least in this respect they're the same: They don't go picking their winners lightly — or quickly. Since 2013, in a bid to raise its profile, the prestigious literary prize has been unveiling and then whittling its lists of nominees over multiple rounds, over multiple months.

The first of these rounds wrapped up Thursday, as the National Book Foundation rolled out its long list of 10 nominees for the fiction prize.

Chris Holm can't leave well enough alone. His Collector trilogy — The Big Reap, The Wrong Goodbye, and Dead Harvest — might have worked fine as good ol' retro-noir. Instead he jabbed a dose of eerie urban fantasy into the series, resulting in a grim, imaginative take on the detective yarn.

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

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Walt Willey web site

Western legend Wild Bill Hickock was born in Troy Grove, Illinois about an hour and twenty minutes north of Bloomington-Normal. Actor Walt Willey grew up in nearby Ottawa, Illinois before making his career on the soap opera All My Children. Willey learned of the central Illinois connection to Hickok only later in life, and was entranced by James Butler Hickok when he was looking for a one man show to do.

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