Arts & Culture

Interviews and stories about art, culture, music, books, food / dining and sports.

Actor Tony Hale is really comfortable playing doormat characters. The two roles he's gotten the most attention for — Gary Walsh on HBO's Veep and Buster Bluth on Fox's Arrested Development — both fall squarely into that category.

"I guess I just do emasculated and meek very well," Hale tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

Robin Laananen

When Jessica Lea Mayfield began writing music at the age of eleven, she never would have guessed that in four short years, Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys would discover her. Her White Lies EP, released when she was fifteen, caught the attention of the indie rock veteran and he helped her develop the roots to an early career in music.

Kaleigh Gamache

Auditions. They are a necessary evil in the performing arts. Even in amateur productions, there are almost always too many people for not enough parts. So actors, dancers and singers quickly learn they have about three minutes on stage to make the director or casting agent choose them over the many others also auditioning.

Milwaukee Opera Theatre decided to commission a piece about that experience and the result is Thank You. NEXT? A Reality Opera.

Harper Collins/Katherine Tegen Books

Of all the classic literary detectives, the ones that are still alive and most vibrant in our collective consciousness are the obsessively deductive Sherlock Holmes – and his stalwart friend, biographer and quasi-assistant, John Watson.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote four novels and more than 50 short stories featuring the analytical Holmes, more than a century ago. But Doyle’s version was only the beginning. Holmes and Watson have been adapted for every time and nearly every place in the years since.

For this week's episode, I sat down with my Code Switch teammate Gene Demby to dig into one of our favorite topics: rep sweats. It's the feeling of anxiety that can come with watching TV shows or movies starring people who look like you, especially when People Who Look Like You tend not to get a lot of screen time.

Why do onions make us cry?

Many a poet has pondered. Is it because their beautiful, multilayered complexity moves us to weep? Are we mourning the majestic bulb as we cut it up and consume it?

Or are these tears induced by the tragic tedium of chopping, chopping, chopping?

Yes, yes. All of the above.

Things are not what they seem: That idea is the building block of thriller and horror novels. Paul Tremblay exploited uncertainty to its utmost in his breakthrough book, last year's Bram Stoker Award-winning A Head Full of Ghosts, in which a teenage girl shows all the telltale signs of demonic possession.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

There is a moment, a little ways into tonight's first episode of the Oprah Winfrey Network's new drama, Greenleaf, which sums up all the things that work — and don't — in this ambitious nighttime soap.

Merle Dandridge plays the show's heroine, Grace Greenleaf. Her father, Bishop James Greenleaf, and mother, Lady Mae Greenleaf, founded a powerful, predominantly black megachurch in Memphis, Tenn., where she preached as a child. After 20 years away from home, she has come back — for the funeral of her sister Faith, who killed herself.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

On June 23, the United Kingdom will vote on whether or not to split from the European Union.

Those on the Remain Team, led by Prime Minister David Cameron, say Britain will be richer, safer and stronger if it stays with Europe. Those who want Britain to exit — Team Brexit — argue that the British should be able to control their own destiny. We haven't fought two world wars, they sniff, to be pushed around by the bosses in Brussels and told what sort of bananas to eat. Yes, you read that right: bananas.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Mississippi officials are closing the investigation into the murder of three young civil rights workers by the Ku Klux Klan — more than 50 years after the men disappeared. The case had been closed for decades, then reopened after renewed public outcry. Now it's going cold again.

"It's just gotten to the point that it's 52 years later and we've done all we can do," Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said Monday.

Hot Dogs Against Conformity In 'Taste Test'

Jun 21, 2016

If you're a fan of the Hot Dog Princess, you're going to love Hot Dog Taste Test. Lisa Hanawalt's lushly illustrated, stream-of-consciousness diary reveals a soul cut from the same vibrant cloth as that of the 6-year-old who wore a hot dog costume to a princess-themed dance recital. Both the 6-year-old and the grownup diarist understand that there's only one option for a free spirit confronted by the forces of conformity: You've got to go completely orthogonal.

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