Arts & Culture

Interviews and stories about art, culture, music, books, food / dining and sports.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli, editor of the website TV Worth Watching, sitting in for Terry Gross.

(SOUNDBITE OF "OVERTURE/AND ALL THAT JAZZ")

When PWR BTTM takes the stage, it doesn't take long to figure out what you're going to get. From the first glitter-smeared seconds of the set-opening "Silly," the band came to shred and swagger with infectious joy, complete with backbends and solos and spangly outfits — at least one of which wouldn't survive the band's set at Stubb's BBQ in Austin, Texas, recorded live for NPR Music Wednesday night.

If you've only heard Lizzo's hit "Good As Hell" — and if you haven't, listen now, I'll wait — you might think the Twin Cities singer is a funny and ingratiating but fairly straightforward purveyor of self-affirmation and charismatic confidence. But as her joyful and explosive live show unfolded, complete with the arrival of the ecstatic backup dancers she calls "The Big Girls," it became clear that Lizzo has something more powerful going on.

"I'm ready for the world," Alynda Lee Segarra sings in the chorus of the rousing "Hungry Ghost" — and her band's set told that simple truth again and again. In the past seven or eight years, Hurray For The Riff Raff has blossomed slowly but fully, transforming its sound from intense-but-delicate one-woman bedroom recordings to the rip-roaring full-band jams that dominated the group's set at Stubb's BBQ in Austin, Texas, recorded live for NPR Music Wednesday night.

Bernd Thaller / Flickr

Since the Master Singers of Milwaukee was founded more than four decades ago, the group has been committed to highlighting vocal artistry through diverse choral arrangements.

At a ceremony in New York on Thursday, one of America's most celebrated writers had a new reason to celebrate. Louise Erdrich won the 2017 National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction for her novel LaRose, the story of an accidental shooting — and the fraught tale of family and reparation that follows.

On Friday, the streaming service Netflix unveils the entire first season — all 13 episodes — of its newest children's series, called Julie's Greenroom. It stars Julie Andrews, who also is its executive producer along with her daughter, children's book author Emma Walton Hamilton.

Literal Songs

Mar 17, 2017

Jonathan Coulton makes songs with one-word titles even more straightforward, by changing their lyrics so that each song is quite literally about the title. Contestants buzz in to identify the song.

Heard on Judy Gold: Very Special Episodes

This, That Or The Other

Mar 17, 2017

In this week's edition of This, That or the Other, contestants are given the title of a book and must guess if it was written by an FBI agent, an Olympic athlete, or a participant on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette.

Heard on Judy Gold: Very Special Episodes

Toy Joy

Mar 17, 2017

Did Twister ever give you a blister? Or chess give you stress? In this game, every answer is a toy or game paired with a word that rhymes with that toy. So if we asked, "What's the game where the first player to get rid of their cards wins a trip to the capital of Alaska?" the correct answer would be "Juneau Uno."

Heard on Judy Gold: Very Special Episodes

Judy Gold: Very Special Episodes

Mar 17, 2017

For comedian Judy Gold, having older parents meant that feedback in her household was often quite negative. "I remember the first time I did the Tonight Show. My mother leaves me a message, 'So...I...watched...and there are so many commercials! I mean, I waited and waited...' I'm like, 'Hello! Are your other kids doing the Tonight Show?'" she told host Ophira Eisenberg. "But you don't appreciate it until you're old...and they're dead."

Mr. Shouty

Mar 17, 2017

Hollywood's most famous yeller, Samuel L. Jackson, finally stars in his own game! Contestants must identify movies starring Mr. Jackson just from clips of him shouting.

Heard on Judy Gold: Very Special Episodes

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

Mystery Guest

Mar 17, 2017

This episode's Mystery Guest, Autumn Stanford, just started an interesting late-night business. Can you figure out what it is before Ophira and Jonathan?

Heard on Judy Gold: Very Special Episodes

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

Zero G

Mar 17, 2017

In this final round, every answer is a two-word phrase where the first word ends in "I-N-G" and the second word sounds like the first word, with the last G removed. But don't worry, it's not as complicated as it seems! For example, the answer to "Brushing dirt off of the actor Hoffman" is "Dusting Dustin."

Heard on Judy Gold: Very Special Episodes

Whether it's vinyl records, disposable cameras or magnetic tapes, the present resurgence in outdated media use is worth reflection. What makes these imprecise, expensive recording devices superior to the ever-improving resolutions of their digital counterparts? According to the experimental German label PAN, the answer lies in the Japanese term mono no aware: the transience of things.

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