Audie Cornish

There's an old writing exercise that involves describing a color without naming it; it challenges the writer to evoke the emotional primacy of a concept we often take for granted.

In Hillary, a new four-part documentary on Hulu, director Nanette Burstein overlays the story of Hillary Clinton's career and marriage over the story of feminism and the culture wars of the 1990s and 2000s.

It's a dynamic that comes down to "Be Our Champion, Go Away," as one episode is titled.

There was a time when congressional Republicans railed against the budget deficit. In recent history, think of the Tea Party movement, whose members called for driving down debt, deficits and government spending.

"There are so many ways to get this right, they had to look for a way to get this wrong."

That's author L.L. McKinney's response to Barnes & Noble's "Diverse Editions" campaign. McKinney's most recent book, A Dream So Dark, is a sequel to A Blade So Black, a contemporary retelling of Alice in Wonderland with a black female lead.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NANCY PELOSI: We are here today to cross a very important threshold in American history.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

That's Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and the threshold she's referring to is the impeachment trial of President Trump.

The last decade of music saw major artists break many of the rules about how to release an album. Beyoncé and Drake popularized the "surprise release" — putting out albums with little to no roll-out at all. So in the era of surprise digital drops, and at the beginning of a new year of music, how do you make predictions about what's coming?

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's time to talk about "Cats."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JELLICLE SONGS FOR JELLICLE CATS")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTORS: (Singing) Jellicle songs for jellicle cats, jellicle songs for jellicle cats.

Why the Trump administration delayed nearly $400 millions of dollars in security aid to Ukraine is the question at the heart of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Democrats say the president tried to coerce an ally to help him take down a political opponent. Republicans argue it's a routine use of presidential power.

Interviews with current and former officials show how the Trump administration's hold-up of aid to Ukraine was irregular and likely violated U.S. law, and has far-reaching consequences at home and overseas.

The former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, testified in front of the House Intelligence Committee on Friday in the public phase of the impeachment inquiry. Click the audio link to listen to a special broadcast of NPR hosts and reporters offering analysis on the significant moments of the day.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

While Kelly Lytle Hernández was growing up in San Diego near the U.S.-Mexico border in the late 1980s and early '90s, she watched as people from her community, friends and neighbors, disappeared: Black youths disappeared into the prison system; Mexican immigrants disappeared through deportations.

These experiences affected her deeply.

"It was growing up in that environment that forced me to want to understand what was happening to us and why it seemed legitimate," Lytle Hernández tells All Things Considered. "And I wanted to disrupt that legitimacy."

Grief can feel like a new world emerging, swallowing up the reality you once knew and expanding into something entirely all-consuming. New York rapper Kemba used that monolithic feeling to create his major label debut album, Gilda, a record that pays tribute to his mother who passed away two years ago.

Kemba's mother raised him and his two brothers in The Bronx, N.Y., a place that gave him little choice but to be immersed in hip-hop

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Nailed It! is a competition show in which home bakers try to re-create elaborate cakes — and often fail spectacularly.

"Our show is truly like: As long as you don't kill people with your food, you might win!" says co-host Nicole Byer.

So when Byer learned the Netflix program was nominated for an Emmy, she was shocked.

"The call I got from Netflix, one of the execs on the show, she was like ... 'We were — nominated?' " Byer says. "Everybody was surprised."

When it comes to comedy, Aparna Nancherla's brand is anxiety. She turns the insecurities and questions inside her mind into a brand of commentary on modern life. Her style is light and gentle, but it's rooted in a place of pain and struggle.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus remembers drawing her first laugh. The joke was performed for the benefit of her mother.

"I stuck some raisins up my nose when I was 3," she says. "Classic. Classic! ... And then we promptly went to the emergency room because I sucked them up into my brain and had to have them extracted."

Fifty years ago this August, Miles Davis assembled a group of musicians to record the sprawling, groundbreaking album Bitches Brew. With the sounds of Jimi Hendrix, Sly & the Family Stone and James Brown in his head, Davis plugged in and brought these electric rock sensibilities to jazz.

As young men, the sons of the Villalobos family in rural Veracruz, Mexico embarked on separate paths — at least, geographically. One by one, the three violin-playing brothers left their hometown of Xalapa to study classical music abroad. Ernesto, the oldest of the three, went to study at the Manhattan School of Music. Alberto, the middle brother, went to the Royal Conservatory of Brussels and finally Luis, the youngest, went to the Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg, Germany.

The Internet has become a place where we cultivate relationships. Through quick messages that we type with our thumbs on our phones, we keep in touch with friends and family; we flirt and fall in love.

And the potential for miscommunication abounds. Who among us hasn't wondered whether a message in ALL CAPS meant it was especially urgent? Furious? Or just enthusiastic?

The linguist Gretchen McCulloch aims to clear some things up with her new book, Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language. The "new" rules, she says in an interview, are "emergent."

Since it dropped in April, Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" has been an inescapable hit. The song's massive blow-up is at least partially thanks to TikTok: the social media platform that launches viral stars 15 seconds at a time, and what writer Alyssa Bereznak called the "future of the music industry" in a recent article for The Ringer.

Editor's note: This interview discusses a movie where suicide is a plot element.

In the new movie Phil, the actor Greg Kinnear plays a dentist slogging through life. One day, he sees a patient who seems to have it all — a happy family, an interesting job.

Then he hears the patient has taken his own life. And Phil becomes obsessed with finding out why.

Here's something to think about on this Fourth of July: If you are born in the United States, citizenship is a birthright, but if you immigrate to this country, the work of the citizenship process culminates in the reciting of an oath.

The U.S. citizenship oath consists of 140 words. Some of those are more contemporary, others more archaic. That's because the idea of the citizenship oath is almost as old as the Constitution itself.

If Hannah Gadsby's name doesn't ring a bell from last year, the name Nanette should. The Netflix comedy special became a surprise hit in 2018 and made the Australian comedian a household name.

Nanette starts as conventional stand-up, with jokes about everyday indignities and hilarities growing up in Gadsby's native Tasmania as a queer woman. Then, without warning, she takes a dark turn.

In 2008, fire swept through a Universal Studios Hollywood backlot. The loss was thought to be a few movie sets and film duplicates. But earlier this week, The New York Times published a report revealing that the 2008 fire burned hundreds of thousands of master recordings of genre-spanning, legendary music from the late 1940s to the early '80s as well as digital formats and hard drives from the late '80s up through the early 2000s.

Facing the threat of a federal lawsuit, Alabama's Department of Corrections has unveiled a three-year plan to address its shortcomings and improve conditions for inmates and staff.

Sesame Street, the award-winning children's program turns 50 this year. As the iconic TV program has aged, it has managed to stay musically apace with its forever-young audience. It's not an easy task, but it's one that the show's creators prioritize for the sake of children's education. While Big Bird, Elmo & co.

Some music is so ingrained in our collective minds that it's easy to forget how game-changing it was. In the late 1960s, a marriage of rock and folk took place and much of the popular music from that union was being made in a single place — Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles.

Rashema Melson was among the more than 1,750 undergraduates who received diplomas from Georgetown University last weekend.

Before she attended college on a full scholarship, Melson graduated at the top of her class as the valedictorian of Anacostia High School in Washington, D.C.

She was also living with her mother and brothers at D.C. General, a family homeless shelter that shut down last year.

After months of watching entry videos — over 6,000 of them — the judges of the fifth annual Tiny Desk Contest have chosen a winner!

Vampire Weekend's last album, Modern Vampires of the City, helped vault it to festival headliner status, and topped year-end best-of lists when it was released. But that was six years ago — and a lot has happened in the time since. One of the main creative forces in the band, Rostam Batmanglij, left the group in early 2016.

Pages