Culturetopia: Tricknology Of Life Edition

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On this week's podcast of NPR's best arts and cultural stories, New Orleans funk legend Dr. John reveals his lack of ambition to do what he does so well.

"Frontmen had big egos and was always crazy and aggravating," he told reporter David C. Barnett in this Morning Edition piece. That Dr. John, born Malcolm John Michael Creaux Rebennack Jr., ended up as a famous lead vocalist is, he said, the tricknology of life.

Tricknology, however, seems to have done in the CD. Remember that shiny, quaint format you could hold in your hand? Joel Rose examines how the remarkable innovations of the CD essentially caused the form to eat itself. And director Cary Fukunaga discusses flirting with horror in his cinematic retelling of Jane Eyre. He welcomed the chance to tell a love story— and inject it with a measure of fear.

Ava DuVernay, on NPR's Tell Me More, says the major movie studios have released exactly one film so far this year starring a black woman. "And it was Big Momma's House,'" she says. Which pretty much tells you why she started an organization working to get more films by and about African-Americans into theaters.

And finally a piece about an artist determined to challenge the stiff, unsmiling, iconic images of Native American taken by photographer Edward Sheriff Curtis in the early 1900s. Ryan Red Corn put a short video on YouTube called "Smiling Indians." It's exactly what it sounds like. "All the Indians I know are smiling Indians," he said on All Things Considered.

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