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Arts and Culture

No more sitcom characters standing around a cake, singing "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow." No more Applebee's servers clapping along to "Happy happy birthday, from Applebee's to you!"

Well, they can if they want, but not because they'd have to pay the copyright holders of the popular "Happy Birthday To You" song. A federal judge in Los Angeles has ruled that Warner/Chappell Music's claim to the rights, which earned them an estimated $2 million a year, is not valid.

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And now it's time to play the music.

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It's time to light the lights.

SHAPIRO: It's time to meet the Muppets...

MCEVERS: ...On "The Muppet Show" tonight.

Six African-American women leap and run across scuffed wooden floors in a drab Broadway dance studio. They're creating complicated patterns, reshaping the air under harsh fluorescent lights. These are the women of Camille A. Brown and Dancers.

Brown, the company's 35-year-old founder, wears bright red athletic shorts and swings Raggedy Ann-colored braids. She spends more than two hours running through the same single minute of the show, over and over, until the dancers nail it.

Kevin Henkes was just a teenager when he decided he wanted to write picture books. He landed his first book contract when he was still in college.

"People used to assume that I had kids long before I did," he tells NPR's Kelly McEvers. He eventually had children of his own, but that didn't change his writing process the way one might have expected.

written and read by Carol Schranz; music by Bill Frisell and Lee Konitz (Kind of Gentle from Selected Recordings)

The Jan Brandt Gallery in Bloomington celebrates National Hispanic Heritage month by displaying works by Mexican-American artists.  During the installation of some of those works, Laura Kennedy spoke with an artist whose prints and sculptures have been inspired by recent tragic events in Mexico...

We're welcoming an unseen guest to our Jewish holiday celebrations this fall: My mother-in-law, Jan Dale, who died in 2005.

Since her passing, I've tried to keep Jan a presence at our festive meals with my attempts to bake some of her favorite recipes. For instance, to mark the start of Yom Kippur Tuesday night, I've made a batch of Jan's crumbly, cinnamon-scented mandelbread — that's Yiddish for "almond bread," a twice-baked cookie that's the Jewish version of biscotti.

But getting here has taken a bit of detective work.

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As a surgeon who specializes in the care and treatment of patients with breast cancer, Elisa Port says one of the hardest parts of her job is delivering bad news to patients.

"I wish I could say it got easier as it goes along, but it certainly doesn't. ... It affects me every single time," Port tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

Actress Viola Davis took home an Emmy on Sunday night for her role as defense lawyer Annalise Keating on ABC's How to Get Away with Murder. The moment marked the first time in the Emmys' 67-year history that the award for Best Actress in a Drama went to a black woman.

If you stand just past High School Hill on Route 9 in Irvington, N.Y., and look west toward the Hudson River, you'll see a beautiful white house with lots of columns and terra cotta tiles that evoke a Mediterranean elegance. It is one of many mansions nestled on these leafy green streets; memories carved in stone from a time when this suburban town was the jewel of the "Hudson Riviera." Kykuit, Shadowbrook, and Nuits, Sunnyside, Hillside, and Strawberry Hill — these were the homes of robber barons and writers, judges and doctors, the 1 percent of the Gilded Age and the early 20th century.

What's most striking about the first two episodes of ABC's new The Muppets, premiering Tuesday night, is that the live celebrities seem to have a better idea of what a Muppet-centered show should feel like than the Muppet characters do.

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One of the most painful ironies of the TV business is the way short term business needs force action that makes no sense in the long run.

Consider this week's start of the fall TV season. There's a heap of brand new programs coming to the networks just as broadcasters face more competition than ever from shows on cable and online. This means there's never been a greater need for ambitious, groundbreaking material to prove the broadcast networks haven't become the buggy whips of the media business.

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America's favorite fictional cub reporter has died.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW "THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN")

JACK LARSON: (As Jimmy Olsen) Look, my name is Olsen, Jim Olsen. I'm a reporter for The Planet. There's my identification.

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(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: And the Emmy goes to "Olive Kitteridge."

(APPLAUSE)

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The hard numbers on Sunday night's Primetime Emmy Awards told a story that could look a little dull to the glancing eye.

Marriage for same-sex couples is now the law of the land. While it took effect in Illinois in 2014, the United States Supreme Court made it available across the country earlier this year. So what's next in the push for rights in the LGBT community? That's a question I posed at a recent conference in Springfield:

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Last night, history was made at the Emmy Awards. Viola Davis became the first black woman to win an Emmy as outstanding lead actress in a drama series. Here she is accepting that award.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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Viola Davis made history at Sunday night's Emmy Awards when she won for best actress in a drama for How to Get Away With Murder: It's the first time that award has gone to a black woman.

When Davis' award was announced, Taraji P. Henson — nominated for the same award for her work on Empire — gave Davis a fierce hug and a one-woman standing ovation.

Writer Percival Everett is a man of the West: the region, for him, is a place of calm and comfort, danger and extremes. His new collection of short stories, Half an Inch of Water, is set largely in Wyoming, where Everett lived for a time and which he says might be his favorite state. ("It's so sparsely populated," he says as praise.)

But the prolific author wrote his new book far away from that iconic landscape.

"I wrote these while I was in Paris," Everett tells NPR's Arun Rath. "I was living in Paris, and for some reason I started writing ranch stories.

For those who have never seen the show American Ninja Warrior: Imagine an Army obstacle course, redesigned by Dr. Seuss and a team of rock-climbing acrobats. Competitors have to thread their way through the daunting obstacles, completing a number of stages before they can hope to finish the whole thing.

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Life With A Comedian Isn't Always Funny

Sep 20, 2015

Kelly Carlin, George Carlin's daughter, released a new memoir called A Carlin Home Companion, about growing up as the only daughter of one of the greatest comedians of all time. (This encore piece first aired on All Things Considered on Sept. 15.)

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