Audie Cornish

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.

Though Pete Seeger, the heralded folk singer, songwriter and social activist died in 2014, his voice has left a lasting impression on American music. May 3, 2019 would have been Seeger's 100th birthday and to mark the centennial, Smithsonian Folkways is set to release a six-CD collection titled Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection.

Kanye West has been rapping about God from early in his career, hearkening back to one of his first hits, "Jesus Walks" off his debut album, 2004's The College Dropout.

During World War II, with thousands of men shipping off to war, half a dozen all-female, instrumental big bands toured around America. It was a rarity in a musical world dominated by men and, for the most part, their stories have been erased or minimized in jazz history.

Valerie Jarrett, longtime personal adviser to the Obamas, said in an interview with NPR's Audie Cornish airing Tuesday that former Vice President Joe Biden — who is considering a run for president — "got it right over the weekend when he said it's important that men listen" in response to a recent allegation against him of inappropriate contact.

Maren Morris' life has been a whirlwind these last few years. Following the success of her major label debut album, 2016's Hero, and last year's dance-pop hit "The Middle," the country-pop singer-songwriter is back with more experiences, more confidence and her latest album, Girl, out March 8.

David Means is an enthusiast, and a defender, of the short story. As he once said, "We don't tell novels at the kitchen table."

"Of course, that's sort of a sales pitch for the short story form," Means says in an interview. "But I really believe that they're really usually, at the core, relatively simple. You know: This happened, and then this happened."

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.

The movie The Wife opens with a phone call.

A husband and wife rush out of bed to pick up the phone in different rooms. The husband is euphoric: He's just been informed that he's won the Nobel Prize in literature. His wife's face — Glenn Close's face — reveals something very different. [Note: Spoilers follow.]

For decades, she's been doing more than proofreading her husband's books: She's been writing them herself. And that lifelong buried secret is conveyed in a stark close-up shot.

Create and star in a blockbuster hip-hop musical, and you get to do pretty much anything you want. For Lin-Manuel Miranda, the playwright and composer behind Hamilton and In the Heights, that means starring in the sequel to a hallowed Disney classic.

Today, there's a playbook for surviving a political sex scandal.

"In a campaign when something like this happens, you 'apologize,' I say with airquotes," says Jay Carson, a former Democratic political operative. "Because you're sorry that you got caught — you're not really sorry."

Carson has worked on three presidential campaigns.

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Andre Leon Talley is best known for his time as a fashion editor for Vogue and for what he wears on his 6'6" frame.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

The new film Widows is an action-packed heist thriller — with a major twist.

Masked men break into a Chicago vault. Very quickly, it goes very wrong. Within the first few minutes of the movie, the men are dead. Their wives — now widows — are left to finish the job.

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

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

1988 was a colossal year for hip-hop. Soon-to-be-classic albums from Public Enemy, N.W.A., Run-D.M.C, Boogie Down Productions and more solidified the artform birthed from the Bronx as a viable and music industry-funded endeavor. Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Garcia, who host NPR's What's Good podcast, remember the hip-hop revolution circa 1988.

Forty years ago, horror fans were introduced to the masked killer Michael Myers, stalker of babysitters in a small Illinois town. The film was, of course, Halloween. And it was the debut of Jamie Lee Curtis, who played the bookish babysitter, Laurie Strode — the original "final girl" character who narrowly escapes the slaughter. Curtis appeared in three more sequels and even died in one. She thought she'd left that character behind.

Jarrett J. Krosoczka is a kids' book writer and he loves to make his readers laugh, in silly picture books like Naptastrophe and Punk Farm and his action-packed Lunch Lady graphic novel series featuring a crime-fighting, apron-wearing lunch lady who's always ready to do battle to protect her students.

Cardi B's Billboard No. 1 song "I Like It" samples Pete Rodriguez's 1967 boogaloo hit "I Like It Like That." Just as the song's chart-topping success is emblematic of hip-hop's current absorption of reggaeton, the 1967 hit capitalized on a moment in New York history created by Latin voices.

When you open the new novel Housegirl, you'll find a glossary on the first pages — dozens of words and phrases in Twi, a Ghanaian dialect. Author Michael Donkor was born in London to Ghanaian parents and the glossary hints at the push and pull between two worlds.

Take, for example, the term for second-hand clothes: "Oburoni wawu literally means 'the white man is dead,' " Donkor explains. "The idea is that when the white man dies, his family sends over his second-hand clothes to Africa, to be sold in the market."

There was a time when journalist April Ryan was just another face in the crowd of the White House press briefing room.

She started covering the White House for American Urban Radio Networks more than 20 years ago. In an interview with NPR, she looks back at how nervous she was the first time she raised her hand to ask a question.

This summer, All Things Considered is on the hunt for great reading recommendations. In our third installment — you can find the first here and the second here — children's book author Jon Scieszka shares some kid-friendly selections with NPR's Audie Cornish. Click the audio link above to find out what Scieszka loves about these books:

Between the blockbuster tours of the biggest pop stars and the crush of music festivals, competition to capture the attention of music lovers is fierce. One festival has employed a controversial approach to ensuring that theirs is the hottest ticket of the year: Coachella. Documents show that live music presenter Goldenvoice demands that artists who want to play at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, held in Palm Springs, Calif. every April, are not allowed to perform at any other festival for months preceding the big show.

On March 6, 1963, John Coltrane and his quartet arrived at Van Gelder Studios in New Jersey to record an album. It was a busy time for the group, which featured pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Elvin Jones.

Pages