Arts/Life

Book Reviews
3:45 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Book Review: 'Kinder Than Solitude'

Kinder Than Solitude is Yiyun Li's sixth book.
Roger Turesson Courtesy of Random House

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 6:20 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. Author Yiyun Li's latest novel begins with a death. Three friends are linked to the victim and the clues begin to pile up. But this isn't your typical whodunit. There's no famous detective helpfully vacationing nearby, no friendly sidekick or devious villain. Even the crime of poisoning occurred in the distant past.

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Art & Design
2:41 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Under The Streets Of Naples, A Way Out For Local Kids

In the restored San Gennaro catacombs, mosaics like this are lit with high-tech lighting paid for by grants from big corporations.
Courtesy of the San Gennaro Catacombs

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 6:20 pm

For decades, the streets of Naples have been menaced by the Camorra mafia — stroll the streets of Sanità, an inner-city neighborhood, and you'll overhear pop songs like O Panar e Drog, featuring a singer boasting about buying and using "a breadbasket full" of drugs off Sanità's streets.

But underneath those cobblestones lies a gem of early Christian art: The Catacombs of San Gennaro. Now, a local priest is trying to bring the mafia and the art together.

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Fine Art
2:41 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

New Deal Treasure: Government Searches For Long-Lost Art

Andrew Winter's Gulls at Monhegan was lost after it was given — wrongly — to an American ambassador to Costa Rica when he retired.
Courtesy of the U.S. GSA Fine Arts Program

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 6:20 pm

At the height of the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt enacted a raft of New Deal programs aimed at giving jobs to millions of unemployed Americans; programs for construction workers and farmers — and programs for writers and artists.

"Paintings and sculpture were produced, murals were produced and literally thousands of prints," says Virginia Mecklenburg, chief curator at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art.

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Book Reviews
1:33 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Exploring Life's Incurable Soiledness With The Father Of Italian Noir

Crime writer Giorgio Scerbanenco was born in Kiev in 1911, grew up in Rome and worked for decades as a journalist in Milan.
Olycom Melville House

Although there's no rigid dividing line, fans of the crime genre generally fall into two camps. There are those who prefer stories which, after titillating us with dark transgressions, end by restoring order — the show Law & Order is an aptly named example. And then there are those who prefer stories which, even after the mystery is solved, leave you swimming in the murk — think Chinatown. This is the male-dominated realm of noir.

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Monkey See
9:41 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Lusting For Spring In Our Hearts

A cherry blossom tree on the Potomac. Not bad, eh?
Mark Wilson Getty Images

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The Salt
7:01 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Tasting With Our Eyes: Why Bright Blue Chicken Looks So Strange

Does this blue chicken make you queasy? Scientists say there might be an evolutionary reason for that.
Courtesy of Lawrie Brown

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 10:45 am

There's something unsettling — freakish, even — about Lawrie Brown's photos of everyday meals.

In one photo, the California-based photographer has placed a shockingly blue raw chicken atop a bed of rice and peas. In another, pink cereal puffs float in a sea of yellow milk. And Brown slathers three hefty scoops of green ice cream with purple fudge in a third, with blood-red cherries as garnish. Other photos in her "Colored Food Series" feature green corn, blue crackers and green spaghetti.

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Monkey See
6:28 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Drag Is Raw: Wrestlers, Queens And Gender As Performance Art

RuPaul rules over RuPaul's Drag Race, a show with a lot of similarities to another Monday night show: WWE Raw.
Mathu Anderson Logo

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 7:58 pm

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The Two-Way
5:52 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Book News: J.K. Rowling Gives Glimpse Of Ginny Weasley As An Adult

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Author Interviews
1:39 am
Wed April 16, 2014

'Before India,' A Young Gandhi Found His Calling In South Africa

Mohandas Gandhi (center) sits with co-workers at his Johannesburg law office in 1902.
AP

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 9:08 am

In 1893, in the bustling seaside city of Durban, South Africa — then under British colonial rule — a young lawyer stepped off a ship from India, eager to try his professional luck far away from home. His name was Mohandas Gandhi, and he stayed in that country for more than 20 years before returning home, where he'd make a name for himself as an anti-colonial agitator and social reformer.

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Kitchen Window
10:18 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Sous Vide Makes Its Way To The Home Kitchen

A salmon fillet cooked sous vide, with miso-ginger glaze, gets a crisp finish under a broiler or torch flame.
T. Susan Chang for NPR

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 5:22 am

Sous vide. Not that long ago, it sounded so exotic — or, at least, so French. It was a phrase that belonged in restaurants, amid white tablecloths and flower arrangements and hushed conversations. Alternatively, it was a word that belonged to the modernist kitchens just beyond the swinging doors — kitchens filled with gleaming dehydrators and transglutaminase "meat glues" and spherification siphons and more.

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Arts/Life
9:33 am
Thu April 10, 2014

New Las Cruces Exhibit Features Local Artist

LAS CRUCES – A new exhibit in the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum’s Arts Corridors features the creative work of Doña Ana County artist Peter Goodman.

The exhibit, “Peter Goodman: Changing Landscapes,” opens on April 18 and will be on display through Aug. 3. An opening reception that is free to the public is scheduled for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on April 24.

Goodman’s photographic images celebrate the Southwest: Its natural beauty, and its vast, rough landscape. His creations also pay tribute to ranching, an important but endangered aspect of our culture and history.

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Television
12:06 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Edie Falco On Sobriety, The Sopranos, And Nurse Jackie's Self-Medication

Edie Falco plays ER nurse Jackie Peyton, who is competent at her high-stress job but struggles with addiction. The sixth season of Nurse Jackie starts Sunday on Showtime.
Ken Regan Showtime

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 3:03 pm

This interview discusses the plotline of Nurse Jackie through the end of season five and beginning of season six.

In Nurse Jackie, Edie Falco plays an ER nurse who does a lot of self-medicating. Addicted to pills, she finally got sober last season and started going to 12-step meetings. But she saved one pill, and right before going to the party celebrating one year of sobriety, she took it. In the sixth season, which starts Sunday on Showtime, Jackie is back on pills and back to hiding her addiction.

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All Tech Considered
10:28 am
Wed April 9, 2014

The New Age: Leaving Behind Everything, Or Nothing At All

After Susan Sontag died in 2004, the writer's estate sold her letters, computers and other materials to UCLA for a special collection. Her biographer says the wealth of information can be daunting — and a bit eerie.
Jens-Ulrich Koch AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 4:48 pm

Perhaps in your attic or basement there is a box of papers — letters, photographs, cards, maybe even journals — inherited from a grandparent or other relative who's passed on. Authors, archivists and researchers have long considered these treasures. The right box might contain a wealth of information about a key historical period or place or person.

But what if that box isn't a box at all? What if it's an ancient laptop? And if we are starting to leave behind an increasingly digital inheritance, will it die as soon as the hard drive does?

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Monkey See
8:14 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Silence And 'Godzilla'

Aaron Taylor-Johnson looks with dread at something. What is it? Well, the movie is called Godzilla, so that might be a hint.
Kimberley French Warner Brothers Pictures

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Code Switch
7:20 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Kima Jones, On Black Bodies And Being A Black Woman Who Writes

Kima Jones
Courtesy of Kima Jones

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 9:25 am

April is National Poetry Month — and at Code Switch, we like poems. We will be exploring a set of broad issues of race and ethnicity in modern poetry for the duration of the month.

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The Two-Way
5:18 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Book News: Archie Comics Is Going To Kill Off Archie

Say It Ain't So: Archie Andrews meets his maker in Archie Comics' upcoming issue of Life with Archie.
AP

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed April 9, 2014

'Astonish Me' Is An Artful, Elegant Dance

Maggie Shipstead is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the author of Seating Arrangements.
Alisha & Brook

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 7:46 am

"Etonnez-moi," Sergei Diaghilev, the founder of the Ballets Russes, used to say to his dancers. Astonish me. Maggie Shipstead's book of the same name does not astonish; rather, it charms. It is full of the kind of prose you want to curl up and nest in like a cat: seamless and full of small elegances.

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Food
10:18 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Some Appetizing Nibbles For Pre-Seder Snacking

A spread of Passover snacks
Deena Prichep for NPR

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 12:38 pm

The Passover Seder is usually described as a ceremonial meal: Participants sit down to a set of ritualized foods and tell the story of the exodus from Egypt. But more than just tell it, Jews are bidden to relive it. We engage in ritual and discussion and debate, until each of us feels that we've made a journey ourselves. It's a singular, time-stopping evening. But it can take a very long time.

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Author Interviews
3:25 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

In This 'Almanac,' Fiction Makes The Best Time Machine

Courtesy of Tor

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 3:24 am

From Back to the Future to The Twilight Zone and Doctor Who, the theme of time travel is timeless on the screen and on the page. What is it about time travel that's so darn appealing?

"We all have this idea in our heads that, if only I had said this, if only I had done that — we all want to go back and do something," says Ann VanderMeer. She and her husband Jeff are the editors of the new Time Traveler's Almanac, a giant compilation of time travel stories ranging from classic to very, very modern.

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Code Switch
12:45 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Coming Out In Basketball: How Brittney Griner Found 'A Place Of Peace'

Brittney Griner puts up a shot against Japan during a 2013 preseason WNBA game in Phoenix.
Christian Petersen Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 3:24 am

Brittney Griner is 23 years old, 6 feet 8 inches tall and one of the best female basketball players in the world. She was the WNBA top draft pick last year, and in college she set records for the most blocked shots in a season and the most career blocks in history — for male and female players. She's so good that the owner of a men's team — the Dallas Mavericks — has said he'd recruit her.

Now, Griner is also an author. She's co-written a new memoir, In My Skin, in which she describes being bullied and taunted as a kid for her height and athleticism.

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Television
12:06 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

'Parenthood' Is Hard, But NBC Gets This Family Drama Right

Family dramas have always been one of television's most difficult genres to do properly, without getting too sweet, too overwrought, or too predictable — but NBC's Parenthood finds the right balance. Above, Ray Romano as Hank, Mae Whitman as Amber, and Lauren Graham as Sarah.
Colleen Hayes NBC

Originally published on Tue April 8, 2014 2:41 pm

During a recent Fresh Air review of the CBS series The Good Wife, I referred to it as one of my "go-to" shows whenever anyone asks me to name a drama series on broadcast TV that's as good as the ones on cable these days. Ever since, I've wanted to give equal time to my other go-to choice. That show, now winding up its fifth season, is NBC's Parenthood.

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Author Interviews
11:38 am
Tue April 8, 2014

A Nonbeliever Tries To Make Sense Of The Visions She Had As A Teen

In her memoir Living With a Wild God, Barbara Ehrenreich describes the mystical visions she had as a teenager.
Courtesy of Twelve/Hachette Book Group

Originally published on Tue April 8, 2014 12:35 pm

Barbara Ehrenreich is known for her books and essays about politics, social welfare, class, women's health and other women's issues. Her best-seller Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America, explored the difficulties faced by low-wage workers. So fans of Ehrenreich's writing may be surprised at the subject of her new memoir — the mystical visions she had as a teenager.

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Code Switch
11:23 am
Tue April 8, 2014

For Poetry Month, We're Taking To Twitter — And We Want Your Help

According to iStockphoto, these floating letters "symbolize the idea of literature." Sure. We'll just roll with that.
iStockphoto

Help us make poetry!

April is National Poetry Month: 30 days set aside for the celebration of all things verse. Many of us here at Code Switch love poetry every month of the year, but we can't always make space for it in our coverage.

So this month, we're taking advantage of the national celebration and highlighting great poets and poems that address issues of race, ethnicity and culture.

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The Salt
11:01 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Why Chocolate Is A Bargaining Chip In The Ukraine-Russia Conflict

Roshen is a premium brand but some say it tastes "less refined" than Western European chocolate.
Bodo Flickr

Originally published on Tue April 8, 2014 2:21 pm

In the political battle between Ukraine and Russia, one of the biggest pawns is chocolate.

That's because the current front-runner in Ukraine's presidential race is Petro Poroshenko, known as "the Chocolate King." His billion-dollar empire was founded on candy factories.

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My Big Break
10:49 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Ken Jeong, Leaving Medicine For Movies

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

You might have heard that some of our listeners actually joined Twitter just to participate in our Twitter poetry series. You might call it their big break into poetry. Well, our colleagues at All Things Considered have been hearing stories from a number of people about the moment when their careers in other fields took off.

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#TMMPoetry: Muses and Metaphor
10:20 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Creating An Ecosystem In 140 Characters

Dennis Macdonald Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 12:36 pm

For Tell Me More's second week of Muses and Metpahor poet Holly Bass stopped by to talk about her teen writing initiative at a Washington, D.C. detention center. Bass has been working with her students to create poems that are 140-characters or less. She shared how she inspires them to navigate the sometimes difficult limitation.

"I tell them to just write a whole poem and then you can take one line or two lines from that poem and turn that into your Twitter poem" Bass told Tell Me More's Michel Martin.

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The Two-Way
5:39 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Book News: Donna Tartt, Jhumpa Lahiri On Baileys Prize Shortlist

Donna Tartt reads from her novel The Goldfinch at the world book launch in September 2013 in Amsterdam.
AFP/Getty Images

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue April 8, 2014

In 'Paradise,' Finding Understanding In The Ruins Of Horror

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 7:58 am

Over the course of his long and distinguished writing career, Peter Matthiessen — who died this past weekend at the age of 86 — chased numerous demons, from Florida outlaws to missionaries and mercenaries in South America. In his latest novel, which the ailing writer suggested would be his last, takes us back to a week-long conference held at Auschwitz in 1996. Here, as autumn shifts toward winter, Jews and Germans, Poles and Americans, rabbis, Buddhists, European nuns and slightly crazed survivors of Nazi genocide stand witness to the atrocities of some of the greatest demons of history.

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Theater
1:42 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Broadway Director Kenny Leon Opens Theater Doors To New Audiences

Ten years after first directing A Raisin in the Sun on Broadway, Kenny Leon is back with a new rendition of the play, starring Denzel Washington and Sophie Okonedo. (Also pictured, from left: David Cromer, Bryce Clyde Jenkins, LaTanya Richardson Jackson and Anika Noni Rose).
Courtesy of Rinaldi PR

Originally published on Tue April 8, 2014 6:09 am

Stage director Kenny Leon is one of the most sought-after creative talents on Broadway today, even if he isn't a household name. He's guided Denzel Washington and Viola Davis to Tony Awards in a Tony-winning revival of August Wilson's Fences, he directed Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett in The Mountaintop and he's got two Broadway shows opening within three months of each other.

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Remembrances
2:45 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Mickey Rooney, All-American Boy For More Than 90 Years, Dies

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 5:29 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Mickey Rooney, who lived a long life on stage and screen, died last night at his home in Los Angeles. He was 93. For a while, the star seem to have it all, but he ended up playing the comeback kid as our film critic Bob Mondello remembers.

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