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Arts/Life

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Are you hosting for New Year's Eve? There's always a lot to juggle — food, decorations, friends, family and so much more. For Weekend Edition's holiday advice series, "Help, I'm Hosting," we want to hear your New Year's Eve hosting dilemmas and challenges. Or maybe you need a little encouragement? We may put your question to the queen of hosting, Martha Stewart, for an upcoming on-air segment.

Share your thoughts with us below or here. A producer may contact you to follow up. Thank you.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Trevor Paglen writes the kinds of books that get you into weird conversations with strangers. He takes the kinds of pictures that are slightly unnerving until you read the title card, and then it becomes a regular amount of unnerving.

He also just sent a giant inflatable mirror up into space.

That last one is just the latest art piece in a career all about being watched by things you can't see.

Thirty years after it first debuted in 1988, the sit-com Murphy Brown is back — and Candice Bergen is still in the title role. Bergen played Murphy Brown for a decade in the 1980s and '90s ... but how much does she know about Murphy's law? Three questions about the universal rule that anything can go wrong will go wrong.

Click the audio link above to hear how she does.

Anna and the Apocalypse is a [checks notes] Scottish zombie Christmas high school musical.

It drew raves in Great Britain, and has now been released in the United States. It's based on a short film by the writer-director Ryan McHenry, who died of bone cancer at age 27, and did not get to complete this feature-length production.

The Ferryman starts in a graffiti-covered back alley in Derry, Northern Ireland. A parish priest is questioned by an IRA captain — the body of a man who disappeared 10 years ago has been found in a bog.

The scene then shifts to the dead man's family and their farm. It's harvest time, 1981, and despite the joy and warmth abundantly on display, the first scene looms in the background.

Science fiction always perches on a tightrope of believability, and that tightrope is no fun place to stand. It's ill-defined (what makes something believable, anyway?), badly designed (it changes according to the perceptions of each individual reader, notoriously flaky though such perceptions may be) and invisible to the walker (who must intuit its arc from clues). And yet the penalty for a single stumble is horrifying: Beneath that wavering rope lies the quicksand of readerly scorn. It's a miracle, really, that any would-be worldbuilder ever places a trembling foot on the line.

As a teacher, father and children's book author, Jon Scieszka avoids books full of lessons. "Since the beginning of kids' books ... it was like: learn your alphabet, learn the colors, or learn morals, learn proper behavior," he says. But the author of the kids' classic The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales says books for small readers don't need big lessons.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli sitting in for Terry Gross.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MY BATHROOM IS A PRIVATE KIND OF PLACE")

Posters for the film Mary Queen of Scots label Mary Stuart "Born to Fight," and Elizabeth I "Born to Power." But this rivalry is so famous we already know those taglines are applied to the wrong queens.

Roma is being called director Alfonso Cuarón's masterpiece. Epic black-and-white shots, stunning performances, and an artful story line have led to speculation about Oscar nominations.

But behind the scenes, the film is part of a battle over who gets to premiere movies: streaming services like Netflix, or theaters?

It's an increasingly common question in the film industry, and the stakes are high.

Just days after Kevin Hart got the nod to host the 91st Academy Awards ceremony, declaring it "the opportunity of a life time," the comedian is relinquishing the microphone. Hart announced that he is stepping down, citing his series of years-old homophobic tweets that had recently resurfaced.

"That's what I love about pop music. I don't want people to think too hard. I just want them to feel good." – Celeste

Boy, there's something so comforting about those fairy tales in which an unknown talent is plucked from obscurity to live out a dream of being rich and famous. We got a big ol' tissue-grabber along those lines this year ... what was it, about a star being born? Nothing bad can happen during a birth, right?

When movies go wrong, it usually happens gradually, a slow devolution borne of a series of missteps or a conceit that couldn't be sustained over the long haul. With Ben is Back, the shift is remarkably sudden, like Wile E. Coyote speeding off the edge of a cliff, hovering for just a second, and then plummeting into the canyon below.

At my all-girls high school in England, history class was basically an ongoing roster of uncivil wars between the Tudors (English) and Stuarts (Scottish) over who would be king of which scept'red British isle. So I knew from bickering royals, though invariably it was all about the men, mostly rascally Henry VIII and his disposable wives, fondly known to us girls as Divorced-Beheaded-Died-Divorced-Beheaded-Survived.

The artist Banksy does not approve of a current exhibition of his work — but that hasn't deterred his fans from flocking to it. The unauthorized show, running in conjunction with Art Basel Miami Beach — the city's annual high-profile art market — features 80 of Banksy's works and is one of the fair's hottest tickets this year.

The company that represents Banksy says the show was organized by "unscrupulous profiteers."

The new movie If Beale Street Could Talk is based on a James Baldwin novel of the same title.

Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) adapted and directed the film. And in working with the Baldwin estate, he received a leather notebook filled with Baldwin's handwritten notes about how he would have approached a film version.

If you have friends or family members who insist they have "no time to read," poet Tess Taylor says you should consider giving them poetry for the holidays: "We are all busy, and poetry is short," Taylor explains. "So you can actually reroute your day productively in like five minutes with something that really captures your imagination, takes you to a different place, and then allows you to return a little altered — which is I think what we all want from reading."

Samin Nosrat was 19 and a cooking novice when she ended up as an apprentice in the kitchen at Chez Panisse, Alice Waters' award-winning restaurant in Berkeley, Calif. There she watched the cooks whip up dishes without looking at cookbooks or relying on timers and she was struck by how little she understood about cooking.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

At first, Stephen DiRado thought his dad was dealing with depression. Gene DiRado, then in his late 50s, had become more withdrawn, more forgetful. So Stephen processed his growing concern by doing what he'd done since the age of 12: taking photographs. It was the 1980s, and Stephen schlepped his 8x10 camera and tripod over to his parents' home in Marlborough, Mass., to check in on Gene and make portraits of him.

"I was running toward him with the sense of fear that something was wrong," Stephen says now about those years.

Are the Golden Globes an awards milestone that sometimes suggests where the season might be going? A genuine opportunity to recognize a fresher batch of shows and films than sometimes dominate the Emmys and Oscars? A boost that has legitimately helped some good but under-the-radar projects raise their profiles? A special chance to acknowledge talent that doesn't get recognized enough?

You can read a lot of police procedurals. You can read a lot of police procedurals set in the United Kingdom. You can read a lot of police procedurals set in the United Kingdom that feature female protagonists.

Surrealism Meets Sci-Fi In 'Parallel Lives'

Dec 6, 2018

It's cold and rejecting, with rigid compositions like some sort of third-world safety manual. It's giddy and uncontrolled, with blobby figures engaging wantonly in random acts of pleasure. It's schematic, with a mass-produced feel. It bubbles with images of sexuality, procreation and growth.

Ahead of the holidays, Lynn Neary stops in to chat with David Greene about some literary gift ideas. Her list includes:

The Overstory, by Richard Powers

Transcription, by Kate Atkinson

Updated at 5:56 a.m. ET

As December draws its darkest hours ever longer, inching moment by moment toward the shortest day of the year — in the northern hemisphere, at least — the Pantone Color Institute is striking a defiant tone. The global experts in hue have crowned "living coral" as their annual color of the year for 2019.

Italy's highest court has ruled that the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles must hand over an ancient Greek statue that was first discovered by Italian fisherman.

The Getty Museum argues that since the statue is Greek, not Italian, it "is not and has never been part of Italy's cultural heritage." The museum says it believes the court order violates U.S. and international law, and that it plans to "continue to defend our legal right to the statue."

Tayari Jones says there are two things to consider as a book matchmaker: "You have to match what you think your friend would like to read, with what you think your friend should read — and you have to make a Venn diagram of that," she says.

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