Arts/Life

Parallels
3:26 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

After Father's Death, A Writer Learns How 'The Japanese Say Goodbye'

Marie Mutsuki Mockett says the Japanese tradition of Tōrō nagashi β€” lighting floating paper lanterns in honor of loved ones β€” reminded her that she was not alone in her grief.
Alberto Carrasco Casado Flickr

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 4:30 pm

Several years ago, when her father died unexpectedly, writer Marie Mutsuki Mockett became unmoored. Lost in a deep depression, Mockett turned to Japan's rituals of mourning for a way forward.

Mockett's mother's family owns and runs a temple just 25 miles from the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The plant melted down after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Mockett begged her cousin, the temple's priest, to leave, but he refused β€” he said he needed to stay to care for the souls of the ancestors.

Read more
The Salt
2:25 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Watch 'Bob's Burgers'? Now You Can Eat Them, Too

Bob Belcher, titular hero of Bob's Burgers, bites into one of his creations. Each episode features daily burger specials with chuckle-inducing names. The burgers were born in the show writers' imagination and brought to life in Cole Bowden's kitchen.
Fox via Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 3:34 pm

The animated Fox series Bob's Burgers centers on the Belcher family, who is trying to run a halfway successful restaurant. A cult favorite, the show is full of pathos and humor β€” including the daily burger specials with chuckle-inducing names featured in each episode.

Read more
Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue January 27, 2015

'Mr. Mac' Paints Flowers In A Darkening World

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 11:53 am

Reading Esther Freud's eighth novel β€” about an English boy's unlikely but life-expanding friendship with Scottish architect and artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh β€” is a bit like watching a watercolor painting take shape. Mr. Mac and Me begins with delicate dabs of color, as 13-year-old Thomas Maggs, the only surviving son of an abusive alcoholic pub proprietor and his long-suffering wife, paints a plaintive picture of life at the aptly named Blue Anchor, in the Sussex village of Walberswick.

Read more
Movies
1:39 am
Tue January 27, 2015

'Stronger Than Ever' Sundance Docs Tackle Scientology, Campus Rape

Alex Gibney's Going Clear is based on a book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright.
Sam Painter Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 9:27 am

Over in Park City, Utah, the Sundance Film Festival is in full swing. Critic Kenneth Turan tells NPR's Renee Montagne about some of the festival's must-see films, including documentaries about Scientology, rape on college campuses and Nina Simone, and a romantic drama based on a novel by Colm TΓ³ibΓ­n.


Interview Highlights

On the festival's stand-out documentaries

Read more
Movies
2:01 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

New Technology Immerses Audiences At Sundance Film Festival

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 10:13 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Read more
Movies
2:01 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

It'd Be No 'Folly' To Remake This Musical Classic

Bob Mondello brought in his own personal copy of the original Follies cast album β€” intern Patrick Fort added the starburst.
Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 7:00 am

Read more
Television
1:24 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Intended For Millennials, Dish's Sling TV Is A Cord Cutter's Dream

Joe Clayton, president and CEO of Dish Network, introduces the Sling TV earlier this month at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 4:57 pm

A few days ago, I entertained myself for a few minutes watching ESPN's Stephen A. Smith lose his cool β€” this time, over an "incompetent" NFL for not interviewing Patriots quarterback Tom Brady regarding the team's deflated-football controversy.

But what made this moment noteworthy, was where I was watching Smith: not on a TV connected to a cable box, but on my iPad. Thanks to Sling TV.

Read more
Author Interviews
11:17 am
Mon January 26, 2015

'Ghettoside' Explores Why Murders Are Invisible In Los Angeles

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Read more
Book Reviews
11:17 am
Mon January 26, 2015

These 13 'Almost Famous Women' Stirred Up Trouble, Or Trouble Found Them

One of Megan Mayhew Bergman's short stories is based on the life of dancer and actress Butterfly McQueen.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 12:17 pm

Almost Famous Women is the kind of "high concept" short-story collection that invites skepticism. These stories are about 13 historical women whose names you mostly might sort-of recognize. Beryl Markham, Butterfly McQueen and Shirley Jackson are slam-dunks, but Romaine Brooks and Joe Carstairs are a bit blurrier. While the family names of Allegra Byron, Dolly Wilde and Norma Millay betray their relation to important figures, we don't know what they did. And who the heck was Hazel Eaton or Tiny Davis?

Read more
My Big Break
3:24 pm
Sun January 25, 2015

How'd A Cartoonist Sell His First Drawing? It Only Took 610 Tries

After moving back home, Tom Toro didn't know what to do with his life. But a stack of magazines at a used book sale gave him an idea. "There they were," Toro says. "Cartoons in among the articles."
Courtesy of Tom Toro

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 7:43 am

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

Tom Toro didn't always dream of becoming a cartoonist at The New Yorker. Sure, he drew cartoons in college, but he didn't see that as a career path. Instead, he went to film school at NYU.

Then he came to the sudden realization that he was in the wrong field β€” and he had no idea what he was going to do.

Read more
Author Interviews
3:24 pm
Sun January 25, 2015

In 'Fatherland,' A Daughter Outlines Her Dad's Radicalization

Courtesy of Liveright Publishing

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 10:12 am

How's this for a sweet post-World War II love story?

A man, far from his home country, places a personal ad in a newspaper back home for a pen pal. A pretty girl starts writing back. They fall in love. She moves overseas to be with him. They have three beautiful children and a charming house in Canada.

Then she finds out he's part of a Serbian nationalist terrorist organization preparing to bomb targets around North America.

Read more
Sunday Puzzle
6:00 am
Sun January 25, 2015

A Puzzle Full Of Air

Sunday Puzzle
NPR

Originally published on Sun January 25, 2015 7:59 am

On-air challenge: Every answer today is a word starting with the letters A-R, which you will identify from its anagram. For example, given AR plus ROB, the answer would be "arbor."

Last week's challenge: Name two animals, both mammals, one of them domestic, the other wild. Put their letters together, and rearrange the result to name another mammal, this one wild, and not seen naturally around North America. What mammal is it?

Answer: dog + gnu = dugong

Winner: Michael Kurh, Geneva, Ill.

Read more
Movie Interviews
6:00 am
Sun January 25, 2015

At Its Core, Warped Family Drama 'Mommy' Is 'A Story Of Love'

Antoine-Olivier Pilon plays 15-year-old Steve in Xavier Dolan's Mommy.
Shayne Laverdière Roadside Attractions

Originally published on Sun January 25, 2015 7:59 am

French-Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan's new film, Mommy, won the Jury Prize at last year's Cannes Film Festival β€” an achievement for any director, let alone one who's just 25 years old.

The "mommy" in the movie is the fast-talking, hard-drinking widow Diane, or "Die" for short. She's trying to get back on her feet when her teenage son, Steve, is kicked out of yet another psychiatric institution. He moves back home, leaving both Die and the audience on edge, waiting for his next uncontrollable β€” and usually violent β€” emotional eruption.

Read more
Time Machine
5:03 am
Sun January 25, 2015

For A Taste Of Grimdark, Visit The 'Land Fit For Heroes'

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 1:01 pm

"Well, irony really does better unelaborated, but if you insist."

Read more
Book News & Features
5:03 am
Sun January 25, 2015

In Winter, Keeping Warm With Beloved Books

iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 7:36 am

For many of us, winter is a time for turning inward, for quelling fears, for resolving to stay warm and alive, or just for remembering that there is so much ahead to wonder over. And though at times it can just feel bleak and bloody awful, the season can be an invitation of sorts, a call to take heart.

Read more
Poetry
4:29 am
Sun January 25, 2015

In 'Dear Father,' A Poet Disrupts The 'Cycle Of Pain'

Atria Books

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 7:56 am

Read more
Around the Nation
3:20 pm
Sat January 24, 2015

By Dimming Its Lights, Museum Opens Doors For Kids With Autism

One Saturday each month, the Pacific Science Center of Seattle opens early for people with autism spectrum disorders.
John Keatley Pacific Science Center

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 6:18 am

On a Saturday at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, Wash., life-size robotic dinosaurs roar. A giant video monitor shows a person sneezing as a spray of mist shoots down from the ceiling. Nearby, naked mole rats scurry blindly through a maze of tunnels.

And since it's all mud and rain outside, the place is packed with curious children and adults trying to keep up with them.

Loud noises, bright lights, crowded spaces: This is exactly the situation Mike Hiner tries to avoid with his 20-year-old son Steven, who is autistic.

Read more
Author Interviews
3:20 pm
Sat January 24, 2015

Huckabee Serves Up 'God, Guns' And A Dose Of Controversy

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was a Republican presidential hopeful in the 2008 election. He writes that he wants his book God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy to introduce Americans to life in "flyover country."
Justin Sullivan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 24, 2015 8:41 pm

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is currently considering jumping into the race for the Republican presidential nomination. But if you're looking for a clear sign of his intentions, you won't find it in his new book, God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy.

Read more
Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
9:08 am
Sat January 24, 2015

Not My Job: We Quiz Funk Legend George Clinton On The British Parliament

Tony Dejak AP

Originally published on Sat January 24, 2015 11:42 pm

George Clinton, the founding father of funk, is the creator of the bands Parliament and Funkadelic. We'll ask him three questions about another kind of parliament β€” namely, the British Parliament.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Read more
Author Interviews
6:42 am
Sat January 24, 2015

Why A Black Man's Murder Often Goes Unpunished In Los Angeles

Originally published on Sat January 24, 2015 10:15 am

In the State of the Union this week, President Obama noted that crime in America is down. "For the first time in 40 years," he said, "the crime rate and the incarceration rate have come down together."

Read more
Author Interviews
5:59 am
Sat January 24, 2015

Two Outcasts Form An Artistic Bond In 'Mr. Mac And Me'

Esther Freud is the author of Hideous Kinky, The Sea House, and other novels.
Courtesy of Bloomsbury Publishing

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 9:49 am

Thomas Maggs is a lonely little boy. When Esther Freud's new novel Mr. Mac And Me opens, he is 13 years old. His brothers have died, his father, who runs a bar, drinks too much of his own stock and beats his son. Thomas dreams of sailing away – and then World War I descends on his small English sea coast town. Tours stop coming, blackout curtains go up, village boys enlist and go off to war.

Read more
Code Switch
5:56 am
Sat January 24, 2015

A Japanese Singing Competition Blooms In Colorado

Two performers rehearse a traditional Japanese dance for Denver's 2015 Kohaku Uta Gassen.
Chloe Veltman KCFR

Originally published on Sat January 24, 2015 10:00 am

At a Buddhist temple in downtown Denver, Junko Higdon is rehearsing a traditional song for one of the local Japanese community's biggest annual events.

Higdon is one of 30 amateur singers competing in two teams at this year's Kohaku Uta Gassen, which means, "red and white singing battle."

"White is for the men, red is for the women and whoever gets the most points out the teams wins the trophy," she says.

Read more
Book Reviews
5:03 am
Sat January 24, 2015

Do You Have To Read 'Frog'? No, But You Might Want To

Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2012.
Yin Li

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 9:35 am

There are books you read because you want to read them and there are books you read because you have to read them. The former category can include anything that tickles your particular fancies β€” teenage wizards, goopy aliens, hunky Scotsmen, shark attack survivors, the history of Vladislav's Wallachia, whatever Malcolms your Cowley.

Read more
Movies
3:06 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Sundance A Lab For Changing Models In Film, TV

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 4:18 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Read more
Movies
3:06 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

'American Sniper' Exposes Unresolved Issues About The Iraq War

Bradley Cooper stars in American Sniper, based on the life of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle.
Warner Bros.

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 4:18 pm

The movie American Sniper is a surprise box-office hit, but it has also become a lightning rod. Some critics say the film, based on the life of the late Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, glorifies war. Others say it doesn't accurately portray the real Kyle. Still others say the movie β€” and the reactions to it β€” are an example of the deep disconnect between civilians and the military.

The vitriol has been ugly, the story complicated. There is no one truth. But when it comes to war, the most credible sources are often people who've experienced it firsthand.

Read more
Author Interviews
2:36 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

When Pop Broke Up With Jazz

Frank Sinatra captured by photographer William "PoPsie" Randolph during a 1943 concert. Author Ben Yagoda points to Sinatra as one of the interpreters who helped revive the Great American Songbook.
William "PoPsie" Randolph Courtesy of Riverhead

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 4:18 pm

Writer Ben Yagoda has set out to explain a shift in American popular culture, one that happened in the early 1950s. Before then, songwriters like Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin and Jerome Kern wrote popular songs that achieved a notable artistry, both in lyrics and music.

Read more
It's All Politics
1:02 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

5 Surprises From President Obama's YouTube Interviews

President Obama poses for a selfie after being interviewed by YouTube stars GloZell Green (left), Hank Green and Bethany Mota.
YouTube

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 4:06 pm

The White House has been hitting it especially hard on social media these days β€” it rolled out several previews ahead of President Obama's State of the Union address and an enhanced "river of content" during the speech as well.

Read more
Monkey See
7:32 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Broad City' And Required Reading

NPR

On this week's Pop Culture Happy Hour, we're joined from Boston by PCHH's official enthusiastic librarian, Margaret Willison. We begin with a conversation about Broad City, the Comedy Central show that recently kicked off its second season (you can see the event Stephen talks about right here). We talk about some of the show's influences, some of what makes it special, and some of the ways it pushes against the boundaries of typical television.

Read more
TED Radio Hour
7:31 am
Fri January 23, 2015

What's Your Coming Out Story?

Ash Beckham speaking at TEDxBoulder about how we all have our own closets.
Courtesy of Kit Chalberg TEDxBoulder

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 10:35 am

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Keeping Secrets

About Ash Beckham's TED Talk

Equality advocate Ash Beckham offers a fresh story about empathy and openness β€” and it involves pancakes.

About Ash Beckham

Read more
TED Radio Hour
7:31 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Why Would You Share A Secret With A Stranger?

Since November 2004, PostSecret founder Frank Warren has received more than 500,000 postcards with secrets written on them.
James Duncan Davidson TED

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 10:34 am

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Keeping Secrets

About Frank Warren's TED Talk

"Secrets ... can be shocking, or silly, or soulful," says Frank Warren, the founder of PostSecret. He shares a few of the half-million secrets that strangers have sent him on postcards.

About Frank Warren

Read more

Pages