Arts

Arts and culture

Five pages into A Decent Ride, Irvine Welsh's newest novel, he makes a mention of Sick Boy — one of the main characters from his popular 1993 debut Trainspotting. That doesn't mean A Decent Ride is a sequel to Trainspotting (Welsh already did that with 2002's Porno). Instead, it's yet another visit to Welsh's shared universe of unsavory characters, a universe that sprawls from novel to novel while remaining mostly contained within his hometown of Edinburgh, Scotland.

The Jordanian movie Theeb has been nominated for a best foreign language film Oscar. It's a beautiful, sweeping story set in 1916 in an area of western Saudi Arabia then known as the Hejaz. The film's director, Naji Abu Nowar, says Theeb covers a pivotal moment in the region's history.

"The First World War is kicking off ... and the war is coming toward this area of Hejaz," he tells NPR's Kelly McEvers. "The British are ... inciting the Arab tribes to revolt against the Ottoman imperialists. And so you're on the brink of a massive change."

The new movie, Rams, has absolutely nothing to do with Peyton Manning. It's a story from Iceland that involves sheep, snow, a herd-afflicting virus called scrapie, and sufficient sibling rivalry to power a Greek tragedy.

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Comedian Larry David has emerged this political season as a highlight of "Saturday Night Live" for his impersonation of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

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As you know if you are interacting with American commerce or popular entertainment at the moment, the Super Bowl is this weekend. Stephen Thompson, as he has explained for NPR in the past, has an annual Super Bowl party and chicken-eating contest called Chicken Bowl. This year will be Chicken Bowl XX — that is, Chicken Bowl 20, for those of you who are not Romans.

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