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Arts Life

Morning Edition

Clone Drama 'Orphan Black' Returns, As Complex And Complicated As Ever

Friday, April 17, 2015

The BBC America series returns for a third season on Saturday. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says the show's dense stories are immensely absorbing, but can make it hard to follow for casual viewers.

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Morning Edition

Deaths Of Unarmed Black Men Revive 'Anti-Lynching Plays'

Friday, April 17, 2015

The recent killings of unarmed black men by police have inspired a Brooklyn theater company to stage new readings of dramas written in the early 1900s about the lynching of African-Americans.

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The Internet Of Spooky Things Is Alive In 'Unfriended'

Thursday, April 16, 2015

It's a tradition for horror films to find teenagers where they live, so it makes sense that Unfriended would find them saying nasty things to and about each other online.

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Two Unmoored Souls Too Gloomily Drawn In 'Felix And Meira'

Thursday, April 16, 2015

To its credit, this story of an Orthodox Jewish woman struggling with her faith doesn't shortchange all it offers. But her encounter with a man who might offer a different future doesn't satisfy.

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'Monkey Kingdom' Is Best When It's All Monkeys All The Time

Thursday, April 16, 2015

There's some too-cute narration and some suspiciously convenient footage in this sort-of documentary from Disneynature, but when the monkeys are at their best, they're quite charming.

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All Things Considered

Broadway Passes The Bechdel Test With 'Fun Home'

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Alison Bechdel's bestselling graphic novel memoir about growing up gay with a closeted father doesn't seem like an obvious choice for a musical, but it's coming to Broadway. NPR's Neda Ulaby reports.

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Yoda? Is It Thou? Figure In 14th-Century Manuscript Looks Familiar

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A long time ago, in a place far away, a manuscript was created with an enigmatic figure who looks a great deal like a certain little โ€” and yet powerful โ€” green guy from the Star Wars films.

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The Chinese-Mexican Cuisine Born Of U.S. Prejudice

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Fried yellow chilis. Baja-style fish. Not the typical Chinese restaurant fare, unless you're near the U.S.-Mexico border. The reasons why go back to an 1882 law enacted to keep Chinese out of the U.S.

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'Natural Born Heroes' Is Self-Help The Special Operations Way

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Writer Christopher McDougall digs into the exploits of Britain's legendary World War II commandos to form a new definition of heroism: It's a skill you can learn, if you push your body to the limit.

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Is There Anything Left To Say About 'Saturday Night Live'?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Tribeca Film Festival opened Wednesday with a documentary that faces a massive challenge: Trying to find a new angle on one of the most thoroughly documented institutions we have.

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Fresh Air

'Justified' Ends With An Unpredictable, Poetic And Memorable Finale

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

After six seasons on the FX network, Justified ended Tuesday. "What a triumph," says critic David Bianculli who adds that he loved the finale's "touches of grace" and "emphasis on character and tone."

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Fresh Air

Billy Crystal And Josh Gad: Separated By A Generation But United By Laughs

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The two play satirical versions of themselves on the new FX show The Comedians. But in real life they share "a lot of commonalities," says Crystal.

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'All The Rage' Has All The Despair, And All The Confusion, Too

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Courtney Summers' new YA novel centers on a girl who was raped at a party, and the community that mostly doesn't believe her. Critic Tasha Robinson says the book's portrait of trauma packs a punch.

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'The Fishermen' Ventures Into Dark Waters

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Chigozie Obioma's novel follows a group of young boys who disobey their elders to spend afternoons fishing on the banks of an unlucky river, and the terrible consequences that flow from that choice.

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Morning Edition

From Horses To High-Rises: An Insider 'Unmasks' China's Economic Rise

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Over the past 25 years, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson watched China turn into the world's second largest economy. He explains what could halt the country's massive growth.

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How AeroPress Fans Are Hacking Their Way To A Better Cup Of Coffee

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Coffee aficionados say the simple, syringe-like device makes exceptional espresso and allows for countless variations on the perfect cup. Not surprising, given that its inventor is a serial tinkerer.

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All Things Considered

More Fear Of Human Intelligence Than Artificial Intelligence In 'Ex Machina'

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

"The anxiety in this film is much more directed at the humans," director Alex Garland tells NPR's Audie Cornish. "It was more in defense of artificial intelligence."

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Tea Tuesdays: The Evolution Of Tea Sets From Ancient Legend To Modern Biometrics

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Legend has it that a Chinese emperor first discovered tea more than 4,700 years ago. As the culture surrounding tea has changed through the centuries, so, too, have the tools we use to drink it.

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Fresh Air

Forget Right And Wrong: 'House Of Cards' Is About Pragmatism And Power

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Kevin Spacey strangles a dog in the pilot, which creator Beau Willimon says producers balked at because they'd lose viewers. But "why not provide that litmus test right at the beginning?" he says.

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Fresh Air

'The Children's Crusade': A Heavily Plotted Family Saga To Dive Into And Savor

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Ann Packer's latest is about a young Navy doctor who, after the Korean War, builds a house south of San Francisco. Fifty years later, his four adult children argue over the property.

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