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In 1979, a young East German named Micha Horschig made a prediction: The fall of his country's socialist government, the German Democratic Republic (GDR), would take 10 years.

On Nov. 9, 1989, the Berlin wall fell.

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

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Even in the middle of the day, in middle of the week, the theater was completely packed.

Hundreds had come to watch Rafiki, a movie about two young Kenyan women who are full of life, joy and wonder. Kena is a great student; she plays football and hangs out with the guys. And Ziki is the free spirit — cotton candy dreads and a smile full of mischief.

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Building Humane Cities.

About Drew Philp's TED Talk

In 2009, Drew Philp bought an abandoned house in Detroit and worked with neighbors to fix it up. He discovered the power of 'radical neighborliness' to rebuild his struggling neighborhood.

About Drew Philp

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Building Humane Cities.

About Richard Berry's TED Talk

As Albuquerque's mayor, Richard Berry tried a new approach to addressing panhandling: offering work and connecting homeless with city services. He says it's a more humane option more cities can try.

About Richard Berry

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Building Humane Cities.

About Vishaan Chakrabarti's TED Talk

Architect Vishaan Chakrabarti says many modern cities feel cold, austere, and anonymous. He advocates for designing more vibrant and inclusive cities that are reminiscent of the scale of older cities.

About Vishaan Chakrabarti

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Building Humane Cities.

About OluTimehin Adegbeye's TED Talk

OluTimehin Adegbeye says that in the world's megacities, the most vulnerable get left behind — including in her city, Lagos. But it's these people, she says, that most deserve space in modern cities.

About OluTimehin Adegbeye

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Building Humane Cities.

About Liz Ogbu's TED Talk

Architect Liz Ogbu has seen the pain gentrification creates for displaced communities. She wonders how we can create ways for longtime residents to stay and reap the benefits of gentrification.

About Liz Ogbu

Last year, the British critic and memoirist Olivia Laing wrote in a review of After Kathy Acker that Acker's punk novels, her body of work, were impossible to imitate. "Radical and uncanny," Laing wrote, "entirely inimitable, a smash and grab on the history of literature." The review came out in The Guardian last August, when Laing was in the middle of writing her exceptional first novel Crudo, a what-I-did-last-summer in Kathy Acker's voice.

Goodness feels so freaking quaint sometimes.

But goodness is indeed what The Good Place, which returned for its third season Thursday night on NBC, is about. It is about people trying to be good — and it's also one of the silliest, cleverest, smartest comedies on TV.

[This is where I tell you that "spoilers," so to speak, abound, in that we're going to talk here about the things that have already happened on this show up to and including the third-season premiere.]

The central event of Monsters and Men is clearly based on the 2014 slaying of Eric Garner by NYPD officers on Staten Island, although writer-director Reinaldo Marcus Green has altered both the location and the cause of death. Yet the killing of loose-cigarette peddler Big D (Samel Edwards) takes place literally in the background. This evocative drama is most concerned about the aftermath, viewed from three different angles.

Like many in the stand-up world, Nina Geld (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a comedian whom we meet working the edgier comedy clubs of New York City, is angry. When she's not riffing on menstrual blood and other female troubles nobody else wants to talk about, her potty-mouthed monologues are studded with the case against men, which earns her appreciative laughs from young audiences both male and female. Nina is poised, articulate, funny and unsparing — none of which prevents her from throwing up after every performance.

Let's get the cheap lazy jokes out of the way at the top:

It's Catch Me if You Can on Geritol.

It's The Great Train Robbery (Seniors Discount Fare).

It's The (All-You-Can Eat) Italian (Pasta-Buffet) Job. Okay. Enough.

What writer/director David Lowery's The Old Man & the Gun actually turns out to be, of course, is exactly what it looks like: a defiantly unhurried and genially old-fashioned cops-and-robbers yarn, built around a wry, wistful central performance from Robert Redford.

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

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Gather Around The Fall Fires With These 4 YA Novels

Sep 27, 2018

Fall has come at last, which means it's time to gather around the fire and tell tall tales about girls who survive, girls who fight, and girls who, if given the chance, may prove to be heroes.

Caitlyn Paxson is a writer and performer. She is a regular reviewer for NPR Books and Quill & Quire.

Wartime Sins And Secrets Haunt 'Transcription'

Sep 27, 2018

Juliet Armstrong was a spy.

Is a spy, will forever be a spy. During the war, in London, 1940, she worked as a typist for MI5, was lifted out of the obscurity of the secretarial pool to be the audio transcriptionist for an operation meant to ensnare British fifth columnists itching for the day that the Wehrmacht marched down the streets of London, then put into the field to infiltrate their anti-Semitic ranks in person.

When Murphy Brown premiered in 1988, Murphy's personality, full as it was of stubbornness, ego, brilliance, defiance, independence and a lack of concern with being liked, was a revelation. Her existence, her very presence on television as a recovering alcoholic who had stopped drinking but had no desire to stop being what other people considered "difficult," was inspiring. She was confident, and she was loved. She was impolite, and she was great at her job. She was loud, and she was the hero.

Aimé Mpane remembers when he first saw the old statues.

It was 1994, and the Congolese visual artist had just moved to Belgium, which once ruled his country. Growing up in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mpane says he had been taught in school that the Congolese were descended from the Gauls — "that they were our kings."

"In our schoolbooks, it was as if the Congolese did not exist without Belgian colonialists," says Mpane, 50. His work explores the memory of colonialism in Congo and Belgium. "I wanted to know what [the Belgians] knew about us."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

ElfQuest is something unique in the world of comics: It's one of the longest-running fantasy series ever — and it's been the passion project of just two people for its whole life.

There were few comics shops, fewer conventions, and not a lot of women were making comics when creators Wendy and Richard Pini began their epic quest in 1978. But now that quest is over, and they're on a farewell tour called Forty Years of Pointed Ears.

Editor's note: This review includes a brief account of a character's suicide attempt.

You probably thought that the existing Coldplay version of the Coldplay song "Fix You" — which, by the way, I love — was maudlin enough for any montage-accompaniment needs you could possibly have.

This is because you have not seen NBC's New Amsterdam, which premieres Tuesday night.

Updated at 11 p.m. ET

It took British artist Jason deCaires Taylor nine months to develop his latest work: a 20-foot-tall stainless steel cube decorated with life-size human statues and semi-submerged in a coral lagoon in crystal blue waters off the Maldives islands.

But it took the Maldivian police just a few hours to wreck it.

Fashion company Michael Kors is buying Versace, the Italian luxury brand founded by Gianni Versace in 1978, for $2.12 billion. The two fashion houses made the announcement Tuesday, one day after speculation spread about a potential deal.

Donatella Versace, the artistic director of the Milan-based fashion house who helped lead the company after her brother's death in 1997, said it's the perfect time for the company to join with Michael Kors.

The Colombian novelist Juan Gabriel Vásquez resembles nobody more in his work than Philip Roth. Mid-career Roth, especially. The two share a vast array of stylistic and thematic preoccupations, and no small number of compulsions. The need to de-mythologize, for example. The desire to pick apart every impulse toward tribalism they see. The constant mining of their personal histories for the political, or the reverse. Both Roth and Vásquez like making themselves into characters, if only to trick the reader. Both like tricking readers. Most of all, they both like conspiracies.

Elliot Ackerman served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. He's now a journalist and author, sometimes drawing on his own experiences as a U.S. Marine to inspire his fiction.

His new novel, Waiting for Eden, explores the point where life is no longer worth living. Its main character, Eden, is a soldier who has been hospitalized, severely burned and unconscious, for three years. For the first time in those three years, his wife, Mary, leaves his side to spend Christmas with their young daughter, and that departure causes Eden to suffer a stroke.

About 20 years ago, to mark her 60th birthday, Jane Fonda asked for her daughter's help in creating a very short video about her life. Her daughter suggested, "Why don't you just get a chameleon to crawl across the screen?"

"Ouch," Fonda says, recalling the conversation. "She knew what buttons to push and she wasn't wrong."

Fonda has lived many lives. From starlet, to fitness guru, to Vietnam protester — now 80, she's a comedic actress, securing roles at an age when many in Hollywood would have left the screen.

As the son of a grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, Derek Black was once the heir apparent of the white nationalist movement.

Growing up, he made speeches, hosted a radio show and started the website KidsStormfront — which acted as a companion to Stormfront, the white nationalist website his father, Don Black, created.

Two of the country's oldest and most venerated music institutions, the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera, are beginning their seasons with a change in artistic leadership. Both organizations are grappling with 21st century issues of bringing new audiences in and convincing them that centuries-old music forms are central to their lives today.

Television and film set in dreams and hallucinations struggle with the fundamental limitations of the rational mind. Too often, what people experience as visions in TV and movies aren't strange enough. They're slightly bent, but not as off-balance as real dreams and hallucinations tend to be.

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