The Boston Citgo sign, all 3,600 square LED feet of which has served as the backdrop to Red Sox games since 1965, is now officially a "pending landmark."

Spanish Surrealist Salvador Dalí spent much of the 1940s in the U.S., avoiding World War II and its aftermath. He was a well-known fixture on the art scene in Monterey, Calif. — and that's where the largest collection of Dalí's work on the West Coast is now open to the public.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

The middle of summer is when the surprises in publishing turn up. I'm talking about those quietly commanding books that publishers tend to put out now, because fall and winter are focused on big books by established authors. Which brings us to The Dream Life of Astronauts, by Patrick Ryan, a very funny and touching collection of nine short stories that take place in the 1960s and '70s around Cape Canaveral, Fla.

When the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union last month, the seaside town of Port Talbot in Wales eagerly went along with the move. Brexit was approved by some 57 percent of the town's residents.

Now some of them are wondering if they made the wrong decision.

The June 23 Brexit vote has raised questions about the fate of the troubled Port Talbot Works, Britain's largest surviving steel plant — a huge, steam-belching facility that has long been the town's biggest employer.

Solar Impulse 2 has landed in Cairo, completing the penultimate leg of its attempt to circumnavigate the globe using only the power of the sun.

The trip over the Mediterranean included a breathtaking flyover of the Pyramids. Check it out:

President Obama is challenging Americans to have an honest and open-hearted conversation about race and law enforcement. But even as he sits down at the White House with police and civil rights activists, Obama is mindful of the limits of that approach.

"I've seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change," the president said Tuesday at a memorial service for five law officers killed last week in Dallas. "I've seen how inadequate my own words have been."

Mice watching Orson Welles movies may help scientists explain human consciousness.

At least that's one premise of the Allen Brain Observatory, which launched Wednesday and lets anyone with an Internet connection study a mouse brain as it responds to visual information.

The FBI says it is giving up on the D.B. Cooper investigation, 45 years after the mysterious hijacker parachuted into the night with $200,000 in a briefcase, becoming an instant folk figure.

"Following one of the longest and most exhaustive investigations in our history," the FBI's Ayn Dietrich-Williams said in a statement, "the FBI redirected resources allocated to the D.B. Cooper case in order to focus on other investigative priorities."

This is the first in a series of essays concerning our collective future. The goal is to bring forth some of the main issues humanity faces today, as we move forward to uncertain times. In an effort to be as thorough as possible, we will consider two kinds of threats: those due to natural disasters and those that are man-made. The idea is to expose some of the dangers and possible mechanisms that have been proposed to deal with these issues. My intention is not to offer a detailed analysis for each threat — but to invite reflection and, hopefully, action.


Spoiler Alert: 'John Dies,' But The Rest? Who Can Tell?

Jan 24, 2013
Originally published on January 29, 2013 12:11 pm

There's a fine line between a genre filmmaker with an offbeat sensibility and a maker of prefab cult movies — someone who appeals too aggressively to a cult audience that doesn't yet exist. Don Coscarelli's career has inched too far across that line.

The creator of the Phantasm series, which developed a dense and satisfying (if fan-oriented) mythology, and the prime fantasy cheese The Beastmaster, Coscarelli has lately been a cult alchemist, mixing up quirky elements aimed at winning a following that his previous films won effortlessly.

Coscarelli's last film, the 2002 horror-comedy Bubba Ho-Tep, cast Evil Dead icon Bruce Campbell as rock 'n roll icon Elvis Presley, and tried — with limited success — to put the still-living King through a scenario so convoluted that it seemed like an exercise in free association. His latest, John Dies at the End, doubles down on the calculated insanity, piling flashbacks on top of flashbacks on top of parallel universes, portals, space bugs, ESP, a talking dog — you name it. It creates a world without rules, where anything is possible — and that, surprisingly, is a large part of the problem.

Based on the online web serial by Jason Pargin — who later published it under the pseudonym David Wong — John Dies at the End seeks to keep viewers disoriented from the start, but doesn't do enough to reorient them by the finish. It begins near the end, with the hero, also named David Wong (Chase Williamson), relaying his exploits to a reporter (Paul Giamatti) at a Chinese restaurant.

David immediately unnerves the reporter by reading his thoughts, and explains that the source of this and other supernatural powers is a jet-black, sentient designer drug called "soy sauce." Under the sauce, David can not only read minds, but anticipate the future, visit far-out places and blast open the doors of perception.

But all drugs have their unfortunate side effects, and for David and his buddy John (Rob Mayes), that means confronting the terrible beasties that stroll through those doors of perception and threaten to destroy the planet. They're like a scruffier version of the buddy team in Men in Black, but entirely without agency and forced to improvise on the fly. Despite their extrasensory abilities, they don't seem to have any better idea of where this story is going than the audience does.

John Dies at the End gets off to a thrilling start, as David's stories to the reporter turn into self-contained tall tales — like the time he and John confronted a monster composed entirely of frozen meat products. (A monster that is eventually destroyed by merely listening to a popular TV psychic on a cell phone, because why not?)

But once the colorful anecdotes sprawl out into an actual narrative, the film gets convoluted and loud, amplifying the weirdness without doing much to clarify it.

The anything-goes nature of John Dies at the End does result in moments of wit, like John talking to David through a cell phone while also sitting straight across the table from him ("Say hello to me") or the two relaying psychic messages to each other through a $3 bratwurst.

But Coscarelli slacks off in setting up the guard rails for his hallucinatory universe: Even mind-benders like this one have to operate on some internal logic. Otherwise they're all noise, no signal.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit