Arts & Culture

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

Sometimes, all you have to hear is a few notes, and you know that a voice has been lived in; you can hear a long life of ups and downs, a rich and weathered sound.

The Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra will have a guest conductor this week: Dennis Prager. He'll conduct Haydn's Symphony No. 51 at an orchestra fundraiser.

Martha Anne Toll is the Executive Director of the Butler Family Fund; her writing is at www.marthaannetoll.com.

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Summertime is peak season for moviegoers. Studios tend to release blockbusters, and market their films toward the younger audiences who are mostly out of school.

This summer saw the release of movies like Wonder Woman, Valerian, Dunkirk, Baby Driver, and Girls Trip. But as nationally syndicated radio host and resident film review Ryan Jay notes, some films worked better than others:
 

Kat Schleischer

The stories of our youth - they are the stories we tell sitting around campfires, or at dinner with old friends, and they often begin with, “Remember the time...?” These are some of our favorite stories from the Ex Fabula stage, and today we bring you two of the best.

In the 1980s, quarterback Joe Montana of the San Francisco 49ers was known as the premier passer in the game. But you wouldn't even know his name if there hadn't been someone on the other end to catch his passes. Most often, that was wide receiver Jerry Rice, and today we've invited the Football Hall of Famer to play a game called "Take a seat, Joe Montana! It's time for Hannah Montana." Three questions for Jerry Rice about that other great Montana — Hannah.

Click the audio link above to see how he does.

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(SOUNDBITE OF NOCTURNAL ANIMAL NOISES)

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Great scandals often begin in passion or ambition. But how do you explain France's l'affaire Bettencourt?

Liliane Bettencourt, one of the richest women in the world, is now locked off from the world by Alzheimer's disease. She is heir to the L'Oreal cosmetics fortune of nearly $40 billion. Why would she have given perhaps as much as a billion dollars in cash, real estate, and art to François-Marie Banier, an artist and photographer who is a quarter of a century younger and openly gay? Was it extravagant support for a friend — or the cruel swindle of a senior citizen?

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I am of that generation of Americans — Russians, too, I think — who grew up squatting under our school desks to practice how to survive a nuclear blast. "Duck and cover" was an actual jingle about Bert the Turtle, a cartoon character in a black and white civil defense film that was considered antique even by the time it was threaded up in our classroom. We'd squish ourselves below our desks, chortle, giggle, and wiggle our backsides.

Michael Angelakos founded the musical project Passion Pit as a college student in his dorm room at Emerson College. A decade and four albums later, Angelakos is more than just a musician: He has become an advocate for mental health, too.

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