Arts & Life

Arts and lifestyle coverage from around the globe and Illinois.

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The Suitcase Junket official show poster
David Landis / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

“Not everyone can pull off the one-man-band gambit without lapsing into schtick, but Amherst’s Matt Lorenz has it all down to an art. the songs are what you remember.”
-The Boston Globe 

When Morning Edition host David Greene spoke to DJ Khaled recently, there was simply too much good stuff to fit all of it on the radio. Fortunately, the show passed along to us an extended version of the interview, which opens with David explaining why this was the second time they set up an interview with the musician, producer, and social media super-super-superstar.

You should listen to the whole thing for yourself, because none of this sounds as intriguing in print as it does when DJ Khaled says it, but here are a few of the things you'll hear.

Transit, the second installment of Rachel Cusk's cumulatively affecting post-divorce trilogy that began with Outline, is a reading journey you wish didn't have to end — so it's a good thing there's a third volume on the itinerary. This isn't to say these subdued, meandering novels are a joyride, at least not in the usual sense. They offer little in the way of plot thrills.

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A Wanderluster And A Wandering Eye

Jan 15, 2017

Dear Sugar Radio is a weekly podcast from member station WBUR. Hosts Steve Almond and Cheryl Strayed offer "radical empathy" and advice on everything from relationships and parenthood to dealing with drug problems or anxiety.

How To Tell A Story Through Emails

Jan 15, 2017

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After its nearly century and a half run, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus plans to shut down "The Greatest Show On Earth."

The historic American spectacle will deliver its final show in May, says Kenneth Feld, the chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, the producer of Ringling.

Feld announced the news on the company website Saturday night, citing declining ticket sales — which dipped even lower as the company retired its touring elephants.

For This Relationship, It's Judgment Day

Jan 14, 2017

Dear Sugar Radio is a weekly podcast from member station WBUR. Hosts Steve Almond and Cheryl Strayed offer "radical empathy" and advice on everything from relationships and parenthood to dealing with drug problems or anxiety.

Just one day after Jennifer Holliday told the media she planned to sing at a welcome concert for President-elect Donald Trump, the Tony Award-winning singer says she has reconsidered. Holliday will not be performing at the inauguration-related event.

She announced the turnabout in a letter provided to The Wrap. She wrote, in part:

Zhou Youguang, the inventor of a system to convert Chinese characters into words with the Roman alphabet, died Saturday at the age of 111. Since his system was introduced nearly six decades ago, few innovations have done more to boost literacy rates in China and bridge the divide between the country and the West.

Veronica Roth became best-selling author when she was just 23 years old. Her Divergent trilogy for young adults was instantly popular and it was made into similarly popular films. Roth has now written her first new series since Divergent. The first novel is called Carve the Mark, and it takes place in a world where everyone comes into a gift when they reach adolescence.

Henry Morgenthau III was in his 90s when he started to write poetry.

Morgenthau has had an extraordinarily full life. He's produced award-winning television documentaries, raised children, written a memoir — and yes, his father was the Henry Morgenthau Jr. who was Franklin D. Roosevelt's Treasury Secretary.

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In 'Cold Eye,' A Small Story That Packs A Big Punch

Jan 14, 2017

When you live in the West, you come to expect the big skies. You learn to navigate by the epic weight of mountains crowding the horizon. You know the snapping sharp transition between the close embrace of the woods and the openness of the high mountain clearing. Even in the cities, you live with the land close by — never being allowed to forget that you are in a wild place that will never be truly settled. In the East, nature is allowed to exist by man in controlled, manageable pockets, ever shrinking. In the West, nature allows you to exist. Or doesn't, according to its whims.

Every child wants to grow up to be independent — to leave their parents' home, find work, build a life of their own.

But that seemingly simple step into adulthood can be a monumental challenge for children with developmental disabilities like autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, or any of a range of other such disabilities that affect about one in six American children, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Novelist and filmmaker William Peter Blatty, a former Jesuit school valedictorian who conjured a tale of demonic possession and gave millions the fright of their lives with the best-selling novel and Oscar-winning movie "The Exorcist," has died. He was 89.

Blatty died Thursday at a hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, where he lived, his widow, Julie Alicia Blatty, told The Associated Press. The cause of death was multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer, she said.

A 1989 photograph of Donald Trump tossing a red apple was installed today at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. The museum is known for having one of two complete collections of presidential portraits, the other belonging to the White House. This portrait of President-elect Donald Trump, however, isn't one of those official presidential portraits.

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And now it's time for a last call on the Commercials for Nicer Living project, version 2017.

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Editor's Note: The photos in this story may be distressing to some viewers.

More than one year later, the photo that woke up the world to the Syrian refugee crisis remains indelible: three-year-old Aylan Kurdi lying face down on a sandy beach in Turkey. The Syrian boy's lifeless body had washed ashore after the rubber boat carrying him and his family — to what they had hoped would be new lives in Greece — capsized.

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(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS")

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I don't want to oversell this new version of A Series of Unfortunate Events, but I don't know how not to. Everything that the movie version got wrong, this TV adaptation gets right. And not just right, but brilliantly.

The difference is as stark, and as significant, as the difference between the movie and TV versions of Buffy the Vampire Slayer -- where the writer of that story, Joss Whedon, took the reins and made a television version much truer to his original vision.

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