Arts/Life

Theater
2:34 am
Wed April 23, 2014

As Shakespeare Turns 450, 'Hamlet' Tour Makes The World A Stage

The theater troupe is kicking off its Hamlet tour with three performances at Shakespeare's Globe Theater in London.
Alastair Grant AP

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 3:23 am

No one knows the exact date of William Shakespeare's birth, but devotees have adopted April 23 as the day to celebrate — and this year, the man from Stratford turns 450.

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Book Reviews
2:16 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Book Review: 'In Praise Of Hatred'

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 4:38 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

In Syria, the 1980s were marked by a bloody civil war between the Sunni majority and the minority Alawite Muslim government. That's now the setting for a novel titled "In Praise of Hatred." It's by Syrian writer Khaled Khalifa. It's now available in the United States and a translation by Larry Price. And Alan Cheuse has our review.

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Television
2:06 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

'Inside Amy Schumer,' Some Surprising Commentary

Inside Amy Schumer showcases the work of Schumer, here with Deborah Rush.
Matt Peyton Comedy Central

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 4:38 pm

No one can send up sexism with a punch line quite like Amy Schumer.

"A lot of the women's magazines are supposed to, like, be confidence building, but they really just scare ... you so you buy the products in them," she says in one stand-up routine. "Like, they all will put Jessica Alba or somebody like that on the cover. And she's supersexualized no matter what magazine. ... And you're like, 'Good Housekeeping?' "

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Author Interviews
1:51 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

'Forcing The Spring' Tells One Chapter In Story Of Marriage Equality

In her new book, Forcing the Spring, investigative reporter Jo Becker goes behind the scenes in the fight for marriage equality. Above, Eric Breese of Rochester, N.Y., joins hundreds of others to rally outside the Supreme Court during oral arguments in a case challenging the Defense of Marriage Act on March 27, 2013.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 3:34 pm

In her new book, Forcing the Spring, investigative reporter Jo Becker tells the behind-the-scenes story of an important chapter in the fight for marriage equality. She embedded with the team that challenged Proposition 8 — the 2008 anti-gay-marriage California ballot initiative that called for amending the state constitution to say that the state would only recognize marriage between a man and a woman.

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Music
10:36 am
Tue April 22, 2014

'Cuddly Toy' On Nonstop Rotation For Margaret Cho

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And now, the regular feature we call In Your Ear. That's where we invite some of our guest to tell us about the songs on their playlists. We caught up with entertainer Margaret Cho during her latest comedy tour. And she gave us a few of her favorite tunes.

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#TMMPoetry: Muses and Metaphor
10:36 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Waxing Poetic About Politics And Jimmy Choos

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And now it's time for Muses and Metaphor. That's our ode to National Poetry Month. All through April we are featuring original tweet-length poems, 140 characters or less, delivered by Twitter and written by NPR listeners and, new this year, some of our regular contributors.

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The Two-Way
6:21 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Book News: Ex-Supreme Court Justice Wants 6 Changes To Constitution

Former Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, pictured in 2013, has a laundry list of legal changes he'd like to see and thinks "ultimately each will be adopted."
Chip Somodevilla 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 22, 2014

'Chameleon Club' Takes On Too Many Colors

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 12:10 pm

The narrators of Francine Prose's novel Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 are not to be trusted. In describing the life of Lou Villars, French racecar driver, cross dresser and Gestapo torturer, Prose tells a complex story about the malleability of truth when everybody is a collaborator.

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Book News & Features
5:01 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Exclusive First Read: Colson Whitehead's 'The Noble Hustle'

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 9:22 am

In the annals of great first lines, The Noble Hustle's ranks near the top: "I have a good poker face," Colson Whitehead writes, "because I am half dead inside." Hustle is a gritty, grimly funny — and seriously self-deprecating — account of Whitehead's adventures in poker, from home games to seedy $2 tables in Atlantic City and finally a trip to Las Vegas to play in the World Series of Poker — with a few detours for beef jerky, and a discourse on Anhedonia, his gloomy spiritual homeland.

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Book Reviews
4:02 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

The Tawdry Ballad Of A Man, A Casino And A Game Of Chance

Courtesy of Hogarth

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 5:26 pm

Millionaire Chinese gamblers, high-class Mongolian escorts, drunken Englishmen — these are the kind of characters who populate Lawrence Osborne's hypnotic new novel, The Ballad of a Small Player. Set in the hotels and casinos of Macau, a former Portuguese colony where ostentatious 21st century glamour meets the faded charms of old Asia, the novel traces the trajectory of a compulsive gambler, the self-styled "Lord" Doyle, a man who seems addicted to failure. "Everyone knows that you are not a real player until you secretly prefer losing," he asserts at the beginning of the novel.

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Pop Culture
12:14 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

For Comic Hari Kondabolu, Explaining The Joke IS The Joke

he says. "You were a minority when you came to this country. Things seemed to have worked out for you."" href="/post/comic-hari-kondabolu-explaining-joke-joke" class="noexit lightbox">
Comic Hari Kondabolu's album Waiting for 2042 is a reference to the year the Census Bureau projects whites will be the minority in the U.S. "Don't worry, white people," he says. "You were a minority when you came to this country. Things seemed to have worked out for you."
Kyle Johnson

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 2:23 pm

At first, Hari Kondabolu's comedy was mostly about catharsis: "I was doing some work in detention centers and meeting families who had family members who were going to be deported," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "It was really powerful work ... but it was incredibly hard and performing at night was a relief. It was cathartic. It was just a way to get things out."

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Music
10:27 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Library Of Congress, How Could You Forget Run-DMC?

Rap group Run-DMC at the second annual MTV Video Music Awards. Does the group belong in the Library of Congress?
Suriani AP

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 3:53 pm

Rap and hip-hop have been around for decades and have become one of America's most successful cultural exports.

But when the Library of Congress added new recordings to its national registry this year, none of them were hip-hop.

Tell Me More guest host Celeste Headlee discusses that with William Boone, professor in the English and African-American studies department at Winston-Salem State University. He says that hip-hop artists are used to being overlooked by the powers that be.

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Monkey See
7:22 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Shirley, This Is The Dawn Of A New 'Mad Men'

Teyonah Parris as Dawn Chambers, whose future changed quite a bit on Sunday night's Mad Men.
Jordin Althaus AMC

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 8:33 am

[This post discusses the plot of Sunday night's episode.]

Once Mad Men moved into the early-middle part of the 1960s, people began to ask an increasingly urgent question: Where was the civil rights movement? Where were the black people? Was Sterling Cooper (Draper Pryce) (And Partners) really so sheltered that race barely touched its tiny world?

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The Two-Way
5:34 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Book News: 'Rabbit-Proof Fence' Author Doris Pilkington Garimara Dies

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

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Author Interviews
3:00 pm
Sun April 20, 2014

Far From 'Infinitesimal': A Mathematical Paradox's Role In History

The 17th-century rivalry between English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, left, and English mathematician John Wallis lasted decades.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Sun April 20, 2014 4:43 pm

Here's a stumper: How many parts can you divide a line into?

It seems like a simple question. You can cut it in half. Then you can cut those lines in half, then cut those lines in half again. Just how many parts can you make? A hundred? A billion? Why not more?

You can keep on dividing forever, so every line has an infinite amount of parts. But how long are those parts? If they're anything greater than zero, then the line would seem to be infinitely long. And if they're zero, well, then no matter how many parts there are, the length of the line would still be zero.

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Monkey See
11:11 am
Sun April 20, 2014

From 'Field Of Dreams' To 'Draft Day': Who Cares About The Front Office?

Kevin Costner warms up to pitch in the 1989 film Field Of Dreams.
The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 9:23 am

Sports movies were powerful once. In the '80s and '90s, there were hits about football, baseball, basketball, hockey, boxing, karate – and they were movies about teams and players and coaches, not scouts and executives.

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Food
6:07 am
Sun April 20, 2014

Soup to Nuts, Restaurants Smoke It All

Originally published on Sun April 20, 2014 9:53 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

So you thought smoking in restaurants was out. Well, you are right, of course. Smoking cigarettes in restaurants and bars is definitely taboo, but another kind of smoking is pretty popular in the culinary scene these days. WEEKEND EDITION food commentator Bonny Wolf tells us more.

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Author Interviews
6:07 am
Sun April 20, 2014

BBC Icon Finds Children's Adventure In An Element Hunter

Originally published on Sun April 20, 2014 9:53 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

In the UK, Simon Mayo is a household name. Countless people grew up listening to him as the breakfast show host of BBC Radio One and BBC Radio 5 Live, where he was on air during 9/11. He still broadcasts a daily show for the B, but has in the last few years turned his hand to writing. The second book in his children's series is called "Itch Rocks." It is out now in the United States. And he joins us from our studios in London. Mr. Mayo, thanks so much for being with us.

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Movie Reviews
6:07 am
Sun April 20, 2014

Woody Allen's 'Fading Gigolo' Full Of Loneliness And Longing

Originally published on Sun April 20, 2014 9:53 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Actor John Turturro is known for his work in films like "Quiz Show" and "The Big Lebowski." With his long face and hang-dog look, he's probably not what you'd call a matinee idol. But he went ahead and cast himself as the title character in his new movie, "Fading Gigolo." And he cast Woody Allen as his pimp. Critic Bob Mondello says it's easy to imagine ways this concept might go terribly wrong, but it doesn't.

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Book News & Features
6:07 am
Sun April 20, 2014

'Traveling Pants' Author Tries Traveling In Time

Author Ann Brashares became a young adult superstar more than a decade ago with the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, a feel-good series of books about the adventures of four best friends and a really great pair of jeans. It was eventually made into a couple of movies.

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Author Interviews
6:07 am
Sun April 20, 2014

Exploring The Secret History Of The Cubicle

Originally published on Sun April 20, 2014 9:53 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now to a topic you may be intimately familiar with, the office - the paperwork, the cubicles, the potentially awkward social dynamic. It is an almost universal experience that's been baked into our pop-culture, like in the movie "Office Space."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "OFFICE SPACE")

GARY COLE: (As Bill Lumbergh) Hello, Peter. What's happening? Uh, we have sort of a problem here. Yeah, you apparently didn't put one of the new cover sheets on your TPS reports.

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Three Books...
3:11 am
Sun April 20, 2014

All Grown Up? Three Books About The Mystery Of Coming Of Age

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 12:42 pm

Some books have a subject so timeless as to be almost mythic — it's as though these stories are reinvented each time a new book appears, since the subject is right at the heart of what it means to be human. Coming of age books, if they are any good, have this mythic quality. Here are three that are at the top of the scale.

What does it mean to grow up? And why are adults so fascinated by this transition from the innocent to the knowledgeable?

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Author Interviews
3:09 pm
Sat April 19, 2014

Writing The Wicked Ways Of The 'Worst. Person. Ever.'

Courtesy of Penguin

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 11:26 am

Douglas Coupland's latest book, Worst. Person. Ever., is a profane, shocking novel that centers around an awful guy named Raymond Gunt.

"Imagine there's this really bitter English guy who has Tourette's and swore all the time, except he doesn't have Tourette's, he just swears a lot. Like, a lot — to the point where it almost becomes like performance art," Coupland tells NPR's Arun Rath.

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:03 am
Sat April 19, 2014

So This Is How They Do It! Zebras Getting Stripes

Ricardo Solis

Originally published on Sat April 19, 2014 10:42 am

How did it happen? How'd the zebra get its stripes?

In Rudyard Kipling's version, a gray, horsey-looking beast went into "a great forest 'sclusively full of trees and bushes and stripy, speckly, patchy-batchy shadows," stayed there awhile, and after a "long time"... got stripy.

OK. Not bad.

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Author Interviews
6:12 am
Sat April 19, 2014

How A Music Writer Learned Trust Is The Ultimate Backstage Pass

Lisa Robinson interviews a young Michael Jackson at his family's house in Encino, Calif., in October 1972.
Andrew Kent Courtesy of Riverhead Books

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 6:00 am

Lisa Robinson has done just about every kind of music writing there is.

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Movie Reviews
6:12 am
Sat April 19, 2014

'Say Anything,' Still Full Of Guileless Affection

Originally published on Sat April 19, 2014 9:40 am

Transcript

WADE GOODWYN, HOST:

You're listening to WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Twenty-five years ago, Lloyd Dobler raised a boombox over his head and changed the world of movie boyfriends forever.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "IN YOUR EYES")

PETER GABRIEL: (Singing) All my instincts, they return.

GOODWYN: Linda Holmes of our pop culture blog "Monkey See" was a teenager when she first saw the film "Say Anything..." She says all these years later, she has a new appreciation of it.

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Theater
3:20 am
Sat April 19, 2014

For Chris O'Dowd, 'Of Mice And Men' Is More Than An American Story

Of Mice and Men. Leighton Meester plays the wife of Curley, the son of Lennie's boss." href="/post/chris-odowd-mice-and-men-more-american-story" class="noexit lightbox">
"Any time you're playing someone with a cognitive disability of any kind it's dangerous territory," says Chris O'Dowd, of playing Lennie, in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. Leighton Meester plays the wife of Curley, the son of Lennie's boss.
Richard Phibbs Polk and Co.

Originally published on Sat April 19, 2014 9:40 am

John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men — about George and Lennie, two laborers and unlikely friends during the Great Depression — may seem like a quintessentially American story. But Irish actor Chris O'Dowd, who plays Lennie in a new Broadway production the novella, says Steinbeck is "quite oddly" very popular in Ireland.

There's something about Of Mice and Men that appeals to the Irish people, O'Dowd tells NPR's Wade Goodwyn. "All of us have chased the American dream so there's something very universal about it," he says.

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This Week's Must Read
4:50 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

A Love Letter To Literature: Reading Gabo In 'The Paris Review'

Writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who won the Nobel Prize in 1982, died Thursday at 87.
Paco Junquera Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 5:13 pm

Everyone has a favorite Gabriel Garcia Marquez book, and mine is Love in the Time of Cholera. It's the story of a romance that lasts decades, unwinding through the pages of the book. It's verbose, vibrant and full of love.

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Code Switch
2:58 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Playwright Phillip Hayes Dean Dies At 83

Courtesy of Craig Schwartz Photography

Playwright Phillip Hayes Dean died earlier this week. His family says the 83 year-old died in Los Angeles of a heart condition. He was in the midst of overseeing a production of his most famous play, "Paul Robeson."

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Politics
2:41 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Hey, Superheroes On The National Mall: Any Advice For Congress?

People arrive on the National Mall Friday dressed as comic book characters during the kickoff of Awesome Con 2014 in Washington, D.C.
Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 5:13 pm

Hundreds of people gathered on the National Mall Friday to see if they could break the Guinness World Record for the largest group dressed as comic book characters ever assembled.

It was the kickoff to Awesome Con 2014, a comic book convention that will take place in Washington, D.C., this weekend. In the end, the group came up short by several hundred people to break the world record.

But with so much superhero power concentrated next to the U.S. Capitol, NPR had to ask: Did the caped figures have any advice for Congress?

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