Arts & Culture

The collapse of President Trump's administration in its final fortnight will surely downgrade his already damaged standing in history. It may also make all previously published books about his one-term presidency seem truncated.

The horror of seeing extreme Trump backers barging past U.S. Capitol Police, driving out the Congress and disrupting completion of the 2020 election will darken what we remember of the Trump years in toto. More than a few manuscripts may come back to authors for additions and revisions.

Arts and culture make up a huge, $877 billion industry that generates more than five million jobs across the country. But the amount of federal funding for the arts is tiny when compared with smaller industries like agriculture — so what are arts organizations hoping for under the Biden administration?

Persephone Station is many things. It's a samurai story told in shades of horse opera space-western. It's a rough-and-tumble mercs-in-trouble story that tries (really hard) to give almost everyone a redeeming heart of gold. It's an overclocked action novel with a lot of pudge in the middle and a political novel wearing the shirt and pants of an old-fashioned pew-pew shoot-em-up. There are dogfights and bar fights, battle mechs and assassins.

Mario is an institution in the realm of gaming. As the instantly-recognizable star of massively popular titles like Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Odyssey, this Italian plumber is one of the most iconic video game characters of all time. As such, most of us are familiar with Mario's "body of work." We know he's the star of excellent platforming games, and occasionally stars in kart racing titles or parties down with other characters from the Mario series.

Talking to friends this past week, I've described Anna North's new novel, Outlawed, as The Handmaid's Tale meets Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. That's a glib tagline, but there's some justification for it.

'The Liar's Dictionary' Is A Delight From A To Z

Jan 6, 2021

Have you ever caught a Mountweazel? Before reading Eley Williams's beguiling first novel, I'd never heard of them. But Williams is an expert. She wrote her doctoral dissertation on them, and then she put her hard-earned knowledge to further good use in The Liar's Dictionary, which is to word lovers what potato chips are to my husband — minus the guilt.

2021 Grammy Awards Postponed Due To Coronavirus Concerns

Jan 5, 2021

The 2021 Grammy Awards ceremony has been postponed, due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. The Recording Academy announced on Tuesday that the ceremony will not take place on Jan. 31, as previously scheduled, but is instead being pushed off until March 14.

Security cameras and facial recognition technology are on the rise in China. In 2018, People's Daily, the media mouthpiece of China's ruling Communist Party, claimed on English-language Twitter that the country's facial recognition system was capable of scanning the faces of China's 1.4 billion citizens in just one second.

Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, the creators of NBC's new sitcom Mr. Mayor, were deep into the run of their hit 30 Rock when they came up with a promising idea for a spinoff. How about taking Jack Donaghy, the corporate executive played by Alec Baldwin, and have him run for mayor — and win?

Novelist Michael Farris Smith didn't really get The Great Gatsby when he first read it in high school. But when he read the novel again years later, he found himself identifying with the narrator, Nick Carraway; he was drawn to his detachment, his sense of hope.

How many steps do you walk each day?

If you live in the U.S. and can claim more than 4,774 steps daily, you're exceeding the average American's total. Comparable figures from England and Japan are 5,444 and 6,010 daily steps, respectively — with this info derived from cellphone data.

Interested in learning a new skill in the new year? CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta says that will also improve your brain health.

"The act of experiencing something new — or even doing something that's typical for you, but in a different way — can all generate these new brain cells," says Gupta, a practicing neurosurgeon and associate professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. "We want to constantly be using new paths and trails and roads within our brain."

The copyright on F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby expired on the first stroke of 2021 and the book entered the public domain.

Visual Arts Thrived In A Tumultuous 2020

Jan 2, 2021

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Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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