Arts & Culture

Arts & culture

Mark Hamill remembers the first time he learned about voice acting — he was watching a Walt Disney special about animation and he saw Clarence Nash "this guy in a suit and a microphone" doing the voice of Donald Duck. "I must have been five or six and a light bulb went off in my head ..." Hamill says. "Suddenly it occurred to me that somebody gets up in the morning, goes to work, and does Donald Duck for his job. I want that job!"

There are two sets of reptiles in Sadie Jones' new novel The Snakes — the slithering kind, and the human kind. Bea is a newly married psychologist and the daughter of a ruthless billionaire. She wants nothing to do with her dad's money.

"There are very few people who could have that much wealth and not be corrupted by it — and Bea is one of them," Jones says.

Arturo Castro moved to the U.S. from Guatemala just before he turned 20 but — before you make any assumptions — he doesn't like spicy food and he isn't good at salsa dancing. "I just have a weak stomach and weak ankles," he explains. He's never tried Ayahuasca. He's never met a shaman. ("I feel really left out — most white women in Beverly Hills have met way more shamans than I have," he says.)

Castro says he's "sort of an alternative version of a Latino," which brings us to the title of his Comedy Central series Alternatino — a play on the Spanish word for "alternate."

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Jack White of The White Stripes, Brendan Benson, Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler, known to fans as The Raconteurs, have carved out a spot as one of rock's most formidable supergroups. In 2006, the band's album Broken Boy Soldiers was nominated for a Grammy for best rock album. But what was once just a side project for everyone is back more than a decade later.

A faint tang of snobbery hangs about the term "beach read," as if, given the choice, we'd all prefer to sprawl out on a blanket in the Hamptons with War and Peace, say, or Infinite Jest (those might be properly termed littoral reads). But it takes more than sand to make a beach read: It needs a certain weightlessness, an ephemeral quality, with no heavy lifting required. Readers won't find themselves having to go back over particularly dense passages in order to keep up. Toes in the sand, sun in the sky, not a thought in our heads — that's a beach read.

On rare occasions as a kid, Renzin Yuthok and his family got to share a special breakfast. They'd gather around a table in their home in Bellevue, Wash., his dad would roll tsampa flour, butter and tea into balls called pa, and then he'd hand them out to his kids.

Before Bill Cosby was an inmate at a Pennsylvania state prison, he held a pristine reputation as one of Hollywood's most beloved entertainers.

So when Andrea Constand's sexual assault allegations against Cosby broke in 2005, Nicole Weisensee Egan, an investigative reporter at the Philadelphia Daily News at the time, was skeptical. She had grown up watching The Cosby Show, revering the show's family-friendly main character, Cliff Huxtable.

"I was like, 'Who is this woman?' Because they weren't releasing her name," Egan says.

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Evvie Drake is about to make a dramatic change in her life. She's planning to leave her husband, and then she gets a phone call: He's dead, and suddenly she's a widow who doesn't feel much grief.

Evvie winds up living alone in a big house in her small Maine town — until she gets a boarder. It's Dean Tenney, a former major league pitcher who can no longer throw the ball over the plate. The story of two fractured people trying to become whole is the heart of Linda Holmes' new novel, Evvie Drake Starts Over.

Louis Armstrong has served as the focus of many works of literature. Now, a few seconds of old film that appear to feature Armstrong as a teenage boy have captivated jazz journalist James Karst. If Karst's theory is correct, the clip from 1915 shows Armstrong at a turning point in his early life — years before he became famous and eventually legendary around the world.

Chanelle Benz On 'The Gone Dead'

Jun 22, 2019

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Quinn Christopherson may be the winner of the 2019 Tiny Desk Contest, but this year's 6,000-plus entries included many outstanding performances.

June 28 marks the 50th anniversary of an event that proved to be a catalyst for a simmering gay-rights movement. On that day in 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. Now a new opera, Stonewall, at the New York City Opera, dramatizes that historic moment.

Why We're Reading Beowulf In The Bathtub

Jun 22, 2019

A few days ago my friend Julie confessed she had never read Bridge to Terabithia. To quote Blanche Devereaux, "I am stunned! Just stunned! Stunned is the only way to describe how ... stunned I am!" I told her she had to read it immediately, but seeing as how I would never let my copy out of the house, she went and got her own that same day. Whew: Crisis averted.

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