Richard Pryor occupies his own special category in comedy. He played Las Vegas and made popular movies, and performed routines that were almost short stories — searing, profane and moving.
Pryor grew up in his grandmother's brothel in Peoria, Ill.; she beat him, too. He was expelled from high school and enlisted in the U.S. Army, but spent much of his military stint in prison. And with a special fever of genius — torched by drugs, fueled by grief and enlivened by exhilaration — he created unforgettable depictions of what it's like to feel left out of American life.
In June 2012, Nik Wallenda — of the great Wallenda Family circus dynasty — walked across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. On June 23, he plans to cross the Grand Canyon the same way. Wallenda has also recently written a memoir called Balance: Christian Faith and Miraculous Results.
All this week on Code Switch and on air we've been digging into the findings of a survey of African-American views of their communities, finances and social lives. We conducted the poll with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.
Mention Judy Blume to almost any woman under a certain age and you're likely to get this reaction: Her face lights up, and she's transported back to her childhood self — curled up with a book she knows will speak directly to her anxieties about relationships, self-image and measuring up.
For today's All Things Considered story about people sharing their Netflix or Hulu Plus passwords, producer Sami Yenigun latched on to what could've been an ordinary entertainment-business story and front-loaded it with snippets of sound from Game of Thrones — attacking dragons, evil kings, treacherous harlots. He made it hilarious.
Actor and singer Cheyenne Jackson is equally at home on Broadway and in front of the camera. He made his Broadway debut as the understudy for both male leads in Thoroughly Modern Millie, and his cabaret debut, a one-man show titled Back to the Start, was a sold-out hit. His love of music comes from digging through vinyl at yard sales around his family farm in Idaho, and his love of Broadway comes from the time he saw a touring production of Les Miserables in Spokane, Wash., with his French teacher.
Host Paul Willistein covers all you need to know about the SouthSide Film Festival with his guests Glenn Koehler, the new SouthSide Film Festival director, Jeff Vaclavik, board president, and Benjamin Bertalan, board member. The Festival runs June 11-15. (Original air date June 3, 2013.)
Most health policy meetings are a dull gray snooze of business suits talking data. They seem a million miles removed from making sick people healthy. But this week in Washington, D.C., some of those meetings was enlivened by a sudden flash of color.
The back of one woman's suit jacket bore a painting, a Renoir-like portrait of a mother and child. A man's blazer showed him reborn after years of despair. Another woman's jacket portrayed a young man holding his organ donor card. A petite redhead's jacket blazed with a scarlet letter "A."
She found her brother's finger in the grass by the shed.
The grass glistened with the morning dew, but the finger did not.
She picked it up. She had seen it fall. He'd been running for the house, away from the toolshed, and he'd been holding onto the finger and onto the space where the finger had been, and despite his concentration, and in his haste, he had let go of the one to hold on tighter to the other.
The door slam is meant to be symbolic, I can tell, one last "take that!" in our roiling argument. But that door never did fit right in the frame, so it swings back open, revealing the heel of his departing shoe and the flick of his coat as he swings around the corner. I hear his footfalls stop, and imagine him pondering a return to slam the door, for real this time.