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Arts and Culture

Actress Bonnie Milligan should be belting out songs in a production of Head Over Heels at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. But belting and smoke don't mix — and that's causing problems this year at one of the country's oldest and most respected theater festivals.

As part of a series called My Big Break, All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

After an action-packed chase through the dried-up LA River, The Terminator, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, rescues a kid named John Connor on his motorcycle. They're running from a cyborg dressed as a cop — an advanced prototype called the T-1000.

The wildly successful prime-time soap opera Empire is back: Season 2 kicks off next week.

The Season 1 finale brought in 17 million viewers — despite the conventional wisdom that the days of broadcast television drawing in audiences like that are over.

When Chinelo Okparanta started writing her novel Under the Udala Trees, she didn't have to look far for inspiration into her main character's tragic backstory.

"My mother watched her father die in the war, the same way my protagonist does," the Nigerian-American author tells NPR's Arun Rath. She's referring to the 1967 Biafran War in Nigeria — a civil war that was catastrophic for the Igbo people, who had tried to secede from Nigeria and form their own nation of Biafra.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

In a year when more than 400 series will air on various television-like platforms, why should anyone still care about Sunday night's Emmy Awards?

The short answer: It's still the biggest honor in TV, handed out by the very people who make all the stuff we're watching on our smartphones, tablets, laptops and big-screen monitors.

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Not My Job is the game where we quiz well-known people about things that they wouldn't have any reason to know anything about. So we've invited Tom Ricketts, owner of the Chicago Cubs, to answer three questions about celebratory parades.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Mary McGrory became a columnist in a time when women in journalism were still called "doll." She wrote a nationally syndicated column for more than 50 years, first for The Washington Star and then for The Washington Post, and in 1975 she became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for commentary.

Whenever you read about book awards you hear they help boost sales. But what you might not know is just how much those sales need boosting. Two prestigious awards announced nominees this week; in the U.K. the Man Booker unveiled its short list and in the U.S. the National Book Awards announced its long lists.

September is about more than kids heading off to school, all bright shining faces and expensive new electronics. This month also kicks off a horrifying gauntlet of fear, tedium and aggravation (mostly aggravation) for a beleaguered species, the college professor.

You probably never will see most of Jason deCaires Taylor's public art projects firsthand — at least, not without goggles and fins.

Most of his sculptures stand at the bottom of the sea. His life-size statues — ghostly figures of men, women and children — seem to walk the ocean floor as they hold hands, huddle, even watch TV.

Wealthy art collectors often spend millions of dollars on trophy pieces by European masters, then keep them hidden from view. Not Sheikh Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi: He spends his fortune on artworks by living, Arab artists, then shows them to as many people as possible.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

There have been a number of movies about the War on Drugs and the latest, Sicario, takes the "war" part of that phrase very seriously.

Emily Blunt stars as an FBI agent recruited into a U.S. anti-drug operation. The operation works with Mexican security forces to take down drug cartel kingpins — and crosses physical and moral borders in the process.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR Bestsellers: Week Of September 17, 2015

Sep 18, 2015

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A double bill from someplace near Hell, Black Mass and Sicario both feature extreme violence, ethically unmoored lawmen, and abundant father-child trauma. What links these two gangster epics most closely, though, is their doleful music. Neither Tom Holkenborg's strings (Black Mass) nor Johann Johannson's synths (Sicario) ever let viewers forget that they're watching a funereal procession.

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/.

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DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

More young people will have the opportunity to show livestock at future Illinois state fairs. Fair officials say they plan to expand the age requirements for junior livestock shows beginning in 2016 to match requirements for nationally recognized events. The change applies to both the Illinois State Fair in Springfield and southern Illinois' DuQuoin State Fair. Currently, participants must be between 10 and 18 years old. Starting next year the age range will be 8 to 21.

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Screen Time - Part II

About Jon Ronson's TED Talk

Writer Jon Ronson says Internet commenters can behave like a mob — and believes it's time to rethink how we interact when we go online.

About Jon Ronson

On Sept. 8, Stephen Colbert made his debut in David Letterman's spot as host of CBS's Late Show, a role he took over after Letterman's retirement and the conclusion of his own nine-year run at the helm of Comedy Central's Colbert Report. This week's Pop Culture Happy Hour panel — Glen Weldon, Code Switch lead blogger Gene Demby, super-librarian Margaret H. Willison and me — is unanimous in its fondness for Colbert, but our feelings for The Late Show With Stephen Colbert are mixed.

'Step Aside, Pops' Lampoons History With Humor And Wit

Sep 18, 2015

Reviewing books of humor is a tricky business; whether a joke succeeds or fails is a profoundly individual matter, about as straightforward to analyze as a sneeze. For instance, for no reason either of us can entirely explain, my husband's favourite panel from a Kate Beaton comic is one of W. B. Yeats as a giant bird going "Craaa."

It's all in the delivery. And in the fact that Kate Beaton is a genius.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Los Angeles is getting a new contemporary art museum, courtesy of billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad and his wife Edythe. Their free museum opens Sunday.

Surrounded by the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Music Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art, The Broad is already an architectural landmark, with its honeycomb-like exoskeleton.

"This shell of sorts, this light filter, this amazing sculptural structure ... enrobes the museum," says Joanne Heyler, the museum's director and chief curator.

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