KTEP - El Paso, Texas

Arts

Arts and culture

Jackson Pollock's painting Number 1, 1949, is a swirl of multi-colored, spaghettied paint, dripped, flung and slung across a 5-by-8-foot canvas. It's a textured work — including nails and a bee (we'll get to that later) — and in the nearly 70 years since its creation, it's attracted a fair bit of dust, dirt and grime.

It has to be said: The dude ... abrades.

For fans who have dreamed about the return of Captain Jean-Luc Picard to Star Trek, actor Patrick Stewart might as well borrow his character's classic catchphrase and say, "Make it so."

It's a role that he hasn't stepped into since 2002, and fans are elated.

There's a type of orchid that resembles a female wasp. And in rare occasions, it will attract a male wasp to pollinate the flower.

That's the image on the cover of Caoilinn Hughes' new book, Orchid and the Wasp. But the relationship represents something heavier in Hughes' novel.

"So I was using this as a way to explore the relationship between the exploited and the exploiter," Hughes says. "And ask the question is it really exploitation if the loser isn't aware of what they're losing?"

Cary Grant. Katharine Hepburn. Spencer Tracy.

They were movie stars immortalized by "the golden age" of Hollywood during the mid-20th century, representing fame and beauty.

Behind the glossy glamour, the stars were also connected by something else: a man named Scotty Bowers who worked at a small gas station at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Van Ness — the epicenter of Tinseltown's covert sexual underground.

Tom Lehrer famously said that satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize. And yet here we are, still struggling to exaggerate the follies of power until power can't get around us. Horror has much the same resilience. As terrifying as the world becomes, we still turn to imagined terrors to try and make sense of it.

If you missed the news on Monday, former President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were spotted dining out at a Washington D.C. cafe, rekindling their Oval Office "bromance" over sandwiches and fennel salad.

But there's also word of another meeting between the two former running mates, in which they team up to [checks notes] solve a murder.

Updated at 8:40 a.m. ET

Chinese authorities are razing one of the Beijing studios of dissident artist Ai Weiwei. He said that demolition crews showed up without advance warning, and have begun the process of tearing down the studio.

Ai has been a longtime critic of the government, and on Saturday, he began posting videos to his Instagram feed of the studio's destruction. "Farewell," Ai wrote. "They started to demolish my studio 'Zuoyuo' in Beijing with no precaution."

Uzo Aduba has won an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series and an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series — but what's really amazing is that she won those awards for the same role in the same show. She plays Suzanne Warren, an inmate better known as "Crazy Eyes" in the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black.

Since Aduba plays "Crazy Eyes" we've invited her to answer three questions about private eyes.

Click the audio link above to see how she does.

Writer and artist Emil Ferris won three Eisner Awards — the highest award in mainstream comics — for her graphic novel My Favorite Thing is Monsters. It's a huge tome, full of inky, scratchy drawings done in ballpoint pen, ranging from loose sketches to lovingly rendered covers of pulp horror magazines.

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:

Well, they've finally gone and done it. They've grown up Christopher Robin.

You of course remember the boy wonder from the Winnie the Pooh series, the eternal six-year-old who loved to romp around the Hundred Acre Wood getting into mischief with his stuffed bear and various other critter friends. He was writer A.A. Milne's own son, immortalized on the page with the original Pooh books in the 1920s, then on the screen in 50 years' worth of Disney cartoons. Does it feel momentous that he's now grown into a humorless, workaholic adult? It does if you're Pooh.


When Cameron Post, a Montana teenager with bee-stung lips and an air of quiet intransigence, is caught smoking weed and making out with a girlfriend on prom night, her evangelical guardians pack her off to God's Promise, a gay conversion therapy center whose inmates — no other word for it — are required to make and regularly revise drawings of the sinful roots of their sexual identities. At God's Promise the word homosexuality makes the authorities jumpy, and even the gingerly label "same-sex attraction" signals the downhill road to moral rot.

The most surprising thing about the action-comedy The Spy Who Dumped Me is that it racks up a higher body count in 117 minutes than the comparatively somber stunt spectacular Mission: Impossible — Fallout does in 147. It's one of a pitifully small number of movies this summer directed by a woman (feature film sophomore Susanna Fogel, who co-wrote and directed 2014's Life Partners); she and David Iserson wrote the script to this farce, which stars Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon as roommates drawn semi-willingly into an international conspiracy.

One of the freshest reboots in the world of comic books is based on a kids show that debuted back in the '60s: The Flintstones. But this isn't the "modern Stone Age family" you might remember from your childhood.

Mental Illness: [Enter Stage Right]

Aug 2, 2018

With guest host Celeste Headlee.

In “Dear Evan Hansen,” the hit Broadway musical, we see a main character who struggles with severe social anxiety. “Fun Home,” another Tony Award-winner, digs deep into paralyzing depression.

Musicals about mental illness are a lucrative artistic trend in theatre. And these productions are breaking new ground with their honest, entertaining portrayals of disorders that 1 in 5 Americans live with.

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

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Rivaling Donna Tartt's celebrated debut, A Secret History, in its fevered treatment of American university life, R.O. Kwon's first novel The Incendiaries gives readers a juicy look at campus mores, though sometimes that juice is more bitter than sweet.

Cartoonist Thi Bui's Eisner Award-nominated graphic memoir is called The Best We Could Do; it's the story of her family in the years before, during and after the Vietnam War. The Eisners — mainstream comics' top award — are given out every year at San Diego Comic-Con, where Bui was one of this year's featured guests.

We think of whales as creatures of the sea, but scientists now believe that 40 million to 50 million years ago, whales had four legs and lived at least part of their lives on land.

"We can tell that they're whales based on key features of their anatomy — specifically parts of their skull," paleobiologist Nick Pyenson says. "But they were certainly not like the whales that you would see today."

R. O. Kwon's pensive debut novel, The Incendiaries, arrives just in time to stoke up "back-to-school" anxieties, especially those of entering college students and their nervous parents.

'The Third Hotel' Will Get Under Your Skin

Aug 1, 2018

Most novels begin with mystery. A problem, or a warning. Foreboding, or such happiness that we know there's sadness coming. This is how Laura Van Den Berg started her acclaimed debut novel, Find Me. There was a strange disease, a search for the cure. In her follow-up, The Third Hotel, Van Den Berg flips the script: The first thing she does is tell the reader exactly what she's about to do.

"I'll be your mirror," intoned Nico in 1966, singing one of the many tunes given her by a lover. In retrospect, the line neatly captures the model-actress-singer's '60s persona: a thin, icily beautiful, dyed-blonde blankness, to be defined by Federico Fellini and Andy Warhol, Lou Reed (who wrote "I'll Be Your Mirror") and Bob Dylan.

Award-winning actor Alan Alda has revealed that he has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. "I'm not angry," he said.

"It hasn't stopped my life at all. I've had a richer life than I've had up until now," Alda said as he made the announcement Tuesday on CBS This Morning.

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

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

The 1A Movie Club Sees 'Blindspotting.'

Jul 31, 2018

‘Blindspotting’ resists genre. It’s not quite a comedy, and it’s not quite a tragedy. It’s the story of an Oakland, California, man, Collin (Daveed Diggs), who is spending his last couple of days on probation with a good friend, Miles (Rafael Casal), who can’t seem to get it together. And then he sees a white police officer shoot an unarmed black man.

Critics and the public alike have raved about the film. It has an enviable 93 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Gustavo, the Brazilian professor and narrator of Beatriz Bracher's I Didn't Talk, has found himself with a lot of time to think about stories. He's recently retired from his job, and as he goes through years of accumulated papers, he finds himself constantly being transported back in time, remembering his past. "Stories are the shape we gave things to pass the time in line at the bank, on the bus, at the bakery counter," he reflects.

Most of us remember the broad outlines of the story: 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was followed, shot and killed by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman in Sanford, Fla., on the night of Feb. 26, 2012.

More than six weeks later, Zimmerman was arrested and, eventually, tried for second-degree murder in a case that would be as racially polarizing as the O.J. Simpson trial had been nearly 20 years earlier.

'The Provocative Colette' Celebrates The Power of Beauty

Jul 31, 2018

Lusty, obstreperous and ambiguously liberated, Colette has always been a heroine for a certain kind of person: The kind who believes you can do anything if you do it beautifully. The grande dame of 20th-century French letters shocked fin de siècle Paris with her literary and theatrical excesses, and cycled through husbands and lovers almost as briskly as she churned out books. And for many years, she looked great doing it.

Pages