Arts & Culture

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

Despite its ever-controversial sexism, The Taming of the Shrew remains one of Shakespeare's most popular comedies — in both the original and its many modern adaptations, including Cole Porter's Kiss Me Kate. And now Anne Tyler, as part of the Hogarth Shakespeare series of novels based on the major plays, has tamed the Bard's shrewish battle of the sexes into a far more politically correct screwball comedy of manners that actually channels Jane Austen more than Shakespeare. It's clear that she had fun with Vinegar Girl, and readers will too.

Terry McMillan's characters have grown along with her. So it's not surprising that her latest book — I Almost Forgot About You — is about middle age. Her protagonist, Georgia Young, is an optometrist. Dr. Georgia is attractive, successful and economically secure. But, McMillan says, Georgia's accumulation of fine things has left her wondering why she bothered.

I must admit I have dunked a tea bag into hot water and called it tea. I have even made Darjeeling tea, sometimes called the champagne of teas, from a tea bag.

For tea gurus like Anindyo Choudhury, that is sacrilege. "I wouldn't even touch it," he says.

Most tea-bag teas are chopped and cut by machine instead of being rolled and twisted, hand-plucked and hand-processed. The best Darjeeling tea is loose leaf, steeped for a couple of minutes in hot water — it's light and bright.

Courtesy of Algonquin Books

Of the many archetypes that exist in popular culture, the cowboy may be considered the most American.

From Hollywood movies to dimestore novels and the Marlboro Man, for many of us the image of the cowboy conjures up nostalgic ideas of old world charm and masculinity. Even today, people in other parts of the world sometimes stereotype American attitudes and personalities by using the metaphor of the cowboy.

Are Millennials Chocolate Chip-o-crites?

Jun 20, 2016

If you give a millennial a cookie, he'll ask for some organic milk to go with it. So goes the food industry's conventional wisdom, which has pegged millennial consumers as caring more than previous generations about the social and environmental implications of their food.

But give a millennial a chocolate bar, and he'll hold off on the questions, according to an April study in the journal Food Quality and Preference.

Universal Studios

In cinema history, there have been 37 video game adaptations. But yet, the only one has grasped at success -- Tomb Raider starring Angelina Jolie in 2001 with a box office record of $131 million.

In a time where a movie about LEGO is vastly successful, it is proven that a movie’s content based on toys or games will not alienate viewers. Yet, the video game to movie genre can’t seem to quite get the recipe right.

It's not every day that an actress has a television show written specifically for her, but that's exactly what happened with Ellie Kemper and the Netflix series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

"I still am not sure what in my face screams 'bunker-cult victim' to [show creators Robert Carlock and Tina Fey], but something did, so they went with that," Kemper jokes to Fresh Air's Ann Marie Baldonado.

Mitch Teich

Millions of Americans remember actress Vicki Lawrence for the many characters she played on The Carol Burnett Show, and the spin-off, Mama’s Family. They may also know her as a recording artist and the host of her own talk show back in the 1990s.

Now, Lawrence has become the public face of a campaign to bring attention and empathy for people suffering from a skin condition called Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria, or CIU.

When you think about fish, it's probably at dinnertime. Author Jonathan Balcombe, on the other hand, spends a lot of time pondering the emotional lives of fish. Balcombe, who serves as the director of animal sentience for the Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy, tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that humans are closer to understanding fish than ever before.

"Thanks to the breakthroughs in ethology, sociobiology, neurobiology and ecology, we can now better understand what the world looks like to fish," Balcombe says.

"Specificity is the soul of narrative" is a thing John Hodgman likes to say when he's hearing cases on the smart and funny Judge John Hodgman podcast, and it's applicable to documentary film, too. Documentaries devoted to a topic with heft do better if they can find a particular angle, a particular way into the question.

Think of Etha Robinson as the Johnny Appleseed of pastry. Her mission, rather than planting apple trees, is to plant the idea of reviving the tea cake, a little cookie that has a lot of historical significance packed into it.

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

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

Why My Mom Left Me Out Of Her Book

Jun 19, 2016

Frank and Lucky Get Schooled is a new children's book by author Lynne Rae Perkins. It's about a boy and a dog. And it's based on real life — her son Frank and their dog Lucky.

But there's another person in the family who got left out — her daughter Lucy. And Lucy Perkins happens to be a producer at NPR.

Lucy decided to ask her mom about the new book and why she got left out of the story.

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