Arts & Culture

Arts & culture

Melissa Faliveno exists in liminal spaces, but her debut essay collection Tomboyland opens and ends in the landscapes that shaped her: Mount Horeb, the small town (or, technically, village) that she grew up in — the stretch of hills called the Blue Mounds, and southwestern Wisconsin more broadly.

On the Beach, the 1959 film version of Nevil Shute's cataclysmic bestseller, kicks into gear with a newscast designed to transport 1950s movie audiences from the nuclear age into a post-nuclear age:

"Scientists disagree as to when radiation will reach Australia," intones the newscaster. "The atomic war has ended. But the prime minister reports no proof of survival of human life anywhere except here."

I'm a New Yorker. Trees in Manhattan grow with little metal fences around their bottoms. So I didn't learn about lying under trees until I had a backyard in Washington, D.C. That delay surely stunted my growth. But this tree, at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Neb., has recuperative powers for anything that ails you.

Click the video below and watch what happens when the tree moves. (Just watch. Turn off the sound. I'll tell you what the curator says after you ... just ... look.)

You know how sometimes people say, Oh, it's okay. You don't have to read the first book in this series to dive right into the second.

This is not that kind of book.

You know how sometimes people say, It's like everything you loved about the first book, only MORE.

This is not that kind of book.

"In a battle for facts, in a battle for truth, journalism is activism," says Philippine journalist Maria Ressa.

Ressa, who is internationally known and lauded for standing up to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's escalating attacks on the press, tells NPR that circumstances in the Philippines have forced her to evolve as a journalist.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All right. Time now for an espresso shot of musical endorphins.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: When the pandemic forced summer music festivals to cancel, banjo players felt particularly unstrung.

The prospect of spoofing Star Trek represents nothing new under the (binary) sun(s). The franchise has become an institution, and mocking institutions remains a thriving American cottage industry. Saturday Night Live started taking whacks at Trek way back in the '70s, as did MAD magazine, and the short-lived sitcom Quark.

Phil Elverum has built and battled entire universes. From 1996-2003, his band, The Microphones, was mostly just him alone in a studio, as friends from Olympia sang and banged on instruments as needed. With a bull-headed bravado that comes from a dreamer's naïveté, chests swelled to the size of the moon, the dead flew off as vultures and the dawn promised something new every morning.

STACEY VANEK SMITH, HOST:

It is early days, but so far, so good for the NHL in the pandemic. Hockey players returned to the ice on Saturday. Twenty-four teams are hunkering down in two separate bubbles - one in Edmonton and the other in Toronto. And after more than 7,000 COVID tests given, the league says there have been no positive cases. Earlier, I talked to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman about the state of play, and he first took us back to the start of hockey's shutdown.

Six months after the conclusion of President Trump's impeachment, CNN legal analyst and New Yorker staff writer Jeffrey Toobin says special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election was fundamentally flawed.

I've been thinking a lot about love lately. How the pandemic has forced us away from friends, families and significant others, forced us to make compromises in when and how we see each other. What does love mean under such perilous conditions? How does it actually work?

In thinking about love, I've also thought about Toni Morrison. As we mark a year since her death, I've thought about how that word defined her work above all else.

Legendary newspaperman and author Pete Hamill has died at the age of 85 in New York City, his hometown.

"He fell on Saturday and died this morning of heart and kidney failure," his longtime literary agent Esther Newberg told NPR in an email, adding, "One of a kind."

Things are very different in 2020, and maybe David Longstreth had a hunch when he started work on the new project from the Dirty Projectors, a band with a lineup that has consistently rotated around him over the last 20 years. They jettisoned the traditional album format for a series of five EPs.

Lauren Beukes' new Afterland takes place in a world that exists not long after our own — a very near future in which a terrible virus has wiped out almost all the men in the world, leaving a scant few million, mostly held in government research facilities.

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