Arts & Culture

Growing up, I always saw playing video games as a natural extension of my interest in reading. To me, the fantastical worlds I explored in games mirrored those of my favorite children's books like Where the Wild Things Are and The Lorax. Many of the games I played and the stories I read shared a similar sense of whimsy and adventure, and piqued my interest with intriguing art styles.

Playboy.

Glamour.

O.

Teen Vogue.

All these magazines have something in common.

They're no longer in print.

While these — and many other — publications have shifted to digital only in recent years, there's a print magazine bucking the trends and still going strong: Thrasher magazine. Created by skateboarders for skateboarders, Thrasher celebrates its 40th anniversary this month.

The annual Kennedy Center Honorees have been announced: choreographer, and actress Debbie Allen; singer-songwriter and activist Joan Baez; country singer-songwriter Garth Brooks; violinist Midori; and actor Dick Van Dyke.

The ground-breaking comic strip Doonesbury has been with us for a half-century. It was the first daily comic strip to win a Pulitzer Prize for tackling social issues, politics and war. It's also been censored for some of those same reasons.

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

If you didn't know what they were about, you'd be forgiven for confusing the striking new movies Promising Young Woman and Pieces of a Woman. They do have similarities that go beyond their titles: Each is an intense but uneven film about the lingering effects of trauma and tragedy. And each one centers on an American woman played by an English actor doing her strongest work in some time.

This is Emma Amos' moment. Her themes — gender and race — press on our minds now. For six decades Amos explored them in prints, paintings and fabrics. She died May 20, just months before a retrospective of her work, "Emma Amos: Color Odyssey," is to open at the Georgia Museum of Art, in Athens. Complications from Alzheimer's took her at age 83, but she knew the show was in the works.

That picture above is a self-portrait. Here's her photograph.

Nadia Owusu has lived many lives.

She's been the privileged child of a UN agency employee, ferried to school and back by chauffeurs while civil wars brewed outside walled compounds guarded by young men, where women called house girls cleaned and cooked for expats.

She's been a world traveler, experiencing life in Tanzania, England, Italy, Ethiopia, Uganda, and finally the United States, all before she turned 20.

She's witnessed and experienced the aftershocks of colonialism in several nations.

When young veterinarian James Herriot first opened his eyes and saw the richly green hills around Darrowby in the new adaptation of All Creatures Great And Small, I felt my shoulders drop. When he saw the village tucked — it must be said — adorably into the valley between them, I felt my breathing slow.

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Kevin Barry has never shied away from the dark side. In books like City of Bohane and Night Boat to Tangier, the Irish author has turned his eye to gangsters, drug smugglers and other assorted criminals, both petty and felonious. But he's never descended into hard-boiled cliché — while some of his characters boast a kind of tough-guy swagger, he's just as interested in the softer specimens of humanity, and you always get the feeling that there's a touch of the romantic hiding just beneath the surface of his fiction.

Inside a small, sunlit rehearsal space in the east of Paris, a brass quintet practices an original composition for an upcoming musical theater performance called Death Breath Orchestra. But the musical's opening has been pushed back yet again due to an upsurge in the virus. France, like its European neighbors, has been hit hard by a second wave of COVID-19 and officials warn of a possible third wave this winter.

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Iconoclastic humorist Fran Lebowitz used to be known as a writer. Back in the late 1970s and '80s, she released two popular collections of essays featuring her cutting observations and opinions about life. But that part of her career was cut short by a decades-long case of writer's block — now she's known for talking.

Glimmers Of Hope: A 2021 Poetry Preview, Part 1

Jan 11, 2021

It's been a sobering week. But it's a new year, we've got a new president, and, dare I say, there are glimmers of hope on the horizon despite the darkness of the past few days. With that hope in mind, it's time for not just a new poetry preview, but a new kind of poetry preview. Since 2012, I have had the great privilege of kicking off the year in poetry coverage for NPR with an article that looks ahead at the next 12 months of poetry books.

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