Arts/Life

Code Switch
6:16 am
Tue September 23, 2014

How Not To Handle A New Voice In TV

Shonda Rhimes, left, with Scandal star Kerry Washington at a 2012 press conference.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

This is what happens when voices that have normally been pushed to the background take center stage.

That's the reaction I usually offer these days whenever someone asks me about a race-based media firestorm – this time, in reference to the nuclear-sized backlash against New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley's bewildering commentary on Shonda Rhimes, one of the most successful showrunners in television history.

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The Two-Way
5:19 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Book News: Gabriel Garcia Marquez Books Go Digital

Nobel Prize-winning novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez appeared in public during a celebration marking his 87th birthday on March 6 in Mexico City. He died in April.
Yuri Cortez 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 September 23, 2014

'My Life' Asks: How Do You Leave A War Behind?

Brian Turner is director of Sierra Nevada College's MFA program and has previously written two books of poetry, Here, Bullet and Phantom Noise.
W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

With each new story we hear about PTSD, about the lasting price paid by those fortunate enough to have returned from war, our notion of a soldier's sacrifice expands: There are those who sacrifice their lives, those who sacrifice parts of their bodies, and those who — forever anguished by their experiences — sacrifice their minds.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue September 23, 2014

A Feisty Writer Spars With Her Young Protege

What a treat it is to read Brian Morton's latest novel, populated with the prickly, civic-minded liberal intellectuals we've come to expect from him. Florence Gordon, his fifth book, like Starting Out in the Evening, his best known, is set on Manhattan's Upper West Side and concerns a feisty older writer and a much younger admirer and would-be mentee. Both novels not only feature curmudgeonly characters who insist on living on their own terms but explore questions about what constitutes a successful life.

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Fine Art
1:32 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Now That's An Artifact: See Mary Cassatt's Pastels At The National Gallery

These pastel boxes originally owned by Mary Cassatt were acquired recently by the National Gallery of Art. Click here for a closer look.
National Gallery of Art

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 6:46 am

Imagine if you could see the pen Beethoven used to write his Symphony No. 5. Or the chisel Michelangelo used to sculpt his David. Art lovers find endless fascination in the materials of artists — a pen, a brush, even a rag can become sacred objects, humanizing a work of art.

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Author Interviews
1:26 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Remembering The 'Short And Tragic Life Of Robert Peace'

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 7:55 am

On a May night in 2011, a man was murdered — shot — in a basement just outside Newark, N.J. Cash and marijuana were found at the scene.

Given the circumstances, it might be easy to make assumptions about that man.

Reality, however, is more complex.

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Monkey See
3:04 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Mia Wasikowska On The Sounds Of Camels And The Lure Of Travel

Mia Wasikowska plays Robyn Davidson, a woman whose real-life journey across the Australian desert is depicted in Tracks.
Transmission Films

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 3:40 pm

Mia Wasikowska wants you to know that camels get kind of a bad rap.

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Book Reviews
2:58 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

An 'Epilogue' That Makes Sense Of The Chaos Of Memory

cover detail

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 3:40 pm

Will Boast's parents, Andrew and Nancy, met and married in Southampton, a port city on England's south coast. Fleeing the social and economic malaise that blighted the country in the late '70s — workers on strike, power outages and high inflation — and with ambitions for his young family, Boast Sr. moved them to Fontana, Wis., where he worked for a plastics company.

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The Salt
1:48 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Abe Lincoln

The Abe Lincoln
NPR

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 2:46 pm

Fourscore and 700 calories ago, I took my first few bites of the Abe Lincoln Sandwich from Skrine Chops in Chicago. In a tribute to our 16th president, they've stacked up sausages like Lincoln Logs, set them atop a bed of mashed potatoes and doused them in barbecue sauce, all on a hamburger bun.

Ian: How is this sandwich not the first thing on Lincoln's Wikipedia page?

Kelsie: The ONLY way to play Lincoln Logs is with sausages.

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The Salt
12:59 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Got Dessert? Slather On The Salted Caramel, Or Just Nibble Some

Salted caramel has arrived. Here it is at TGI Friday's, on cake, topped with a Ghirardelli salted caramel sauce.
Courtesy of TGI Friday's

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 7:27 am

The legendary American sweet tooth may be growing up. It's classier now; more sophisticated. It lusts after salt with its sweets.

Driven by an increasingly adventurous population of palates, now even mainstream retailers and restaurants are expanding their salty-sweet repertoire. Just 0.4 percent of U.S. restaurants offered salted caramel desserts on menus in 2010, according to food and beverage consultancy CCD Innovation. This year, 3.1 percent of them do.

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Television
12:18 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Fall TV Preview: 'Gotham,' 'Scorpion' And 'Black-ish'

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 12:39 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. For the major broadcast networks tonight is the official start of the new TV season. Our TV critic, David Bianculli, has a list of the new shows you should make an effort to sample. He says it is not a very long list.

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Author Interviews
12:18 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Ron Perlman On 'Sons Of Anarchy' And His Many On-Screen Transformations

Ron Perlman played Clay Morrow on FX's Sons of Anarchy.
Prashant Gupta FX

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 1:47 pm

[Editor's Note: This conversation discusses plot points from the sixth season of Sons of Anarchy.]

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Monkey See
8:33 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Deggans Picks 'Gotham,' 'Black-ish,' 'The Flash' Among Fall TV's Best

Ben McKenzie (front right) and Donal Logue (left) lead the cast of Fox's Batman prequel Gotham.
Fox TV

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 8:20 am

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Monkey See
7:33 am
Mon September 22, 2014

The Only One: A Talk With Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes speaks onstage at the How to Get Away with Murder panel during the Television Critics Association summer press tour.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 12:02 pm

I saw Shonda Rhimes at a panel presentation at the Television Critics Association press tour this summer where she helped introduce How to Get Away with Murder, the new ABC drama she helps produce but did not create. I found her pleasantly (and a little amusingly) transparent in not loving some of the questions she was asked (including one about whether she was worried that #HTGAWM, which was printed on the promotional cookies ABC handed out, was an unwieldy hashtag), and I thought, "She is an interview for which you would want to be on your toes."

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Mon September 22, 2014

'Sally Heathcote' Rescues Women's Suffrage From The Doldrums

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 8:36 am

It's the hats. In century-old photos of women's suffrage activists, there's something just plain dowdy about the headgear. Teetering atop laboriously pinned-up hair, groaning under the weight of improbable foliage, the hats can't help but make suffragists seem irredeemably stodgy to modern eyes.

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Author Interviews
3:29 pm
Sun September 21, 2014

A Poet Parses The Legacy Of War In 'My Life As A Foreign Country'

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 6:06 am

War is in Brian Turner's blood. His father served during the Cold War, his uncle fought in Vietnam, his grandfather fought in World War II and his great-grandfather in World War I. And the family's warrior tendencies went beyond deployments: Turner's dad built a martial arts studio in the garage, and the family mixed napalm and blew things up for fun.

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Children's Health
3:02 pm
Sun September 21, 2014

It May Be 'Perfectly Normal', But It's Also Frequently Banned

Michael Emberley's illustrations, like this one showing an egg traveling through a fallopian tube, make sexual health information accessible to an elementary and middle school audience. But elements of the art, including naked bodies, make some parents uncomfortable.
Candlewick Press

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 5:48 am

Banned Books Week kicks off Sunday: Each year, the American Library Association takes this week to sponsor events all over the country to talk about the books that shock, offend and generally make Americans uncomfortable.

Violence and curse words are two of the top three reasons books get banned in the U.S.

The third reason is sexual content. For example, the Fifty Shades of Grey series has been frequently banned from libraries for its explicit descriptions of intercourse.

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My Big Break
3:02 pm
Sun September 21, 2014

Mafia Wife, Getaway Driver, Stuntwoman: From The Underworld To Hollywood

In order to secure a career as a stuntwoman, Georgia Durante would show up on Hollywood film sets asking for work. At first, directors ignored her. Then they saw her drive.
Courtesy of Georgia Durante

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 9:20 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.

Georgia Durante's life has taken some unexpected turns. She was a model for Kodak — a "Kodak Girl" — who went on to do TV and commercial work as a stunt driver. In the '90s, she appeared in Chevrolet ads and was the stunt double for Cindy Crawford in a Pepsi commercial.

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Television
3:02 pm
Sun September 21, 2014

In 'Transparent', Transgender Issues Are A Family Affair

Amy Landecker and Jeffrey Tambor are two of the stars of Transparent, in which Tambor's character comes out as transgender to her three adult children.
Beth Dubber Amazon Studios

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 9:59 am

This fall, one of the more interesting and bold TV shows you'll see isn't being released by a major network — instead, it's coming out of Amazon Studios.

Transparent is a comedy-drama that centers on a family and their lives following the discovery that their father, whom they'd known as Mort (played by Jeffrey Tambor of Arrested Development fame) is a transgender woman named Maura.

"Are you saying you're going to start dressing up like a lady all of the time?" asks daughter Sarah (Amy Landecker).

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Movie Interviews
5:46 am
Sun September 21, 2014

Boys Puzzle Through Twists And Turns In 'Maze Runner'

Originally published on Sun September 21, 2014 9:15 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

WADE GOODWYN, HOST:

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Author Interviews
5:46 am
Sun September 21, 2014

Jargon-Free History Of The Universe Finds Beauty In Ordinary Words

Originally published on Sun September 21, 2014 9:15 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

WADE GOODWYN, HOST:

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Code Switch
5:46 am
Sun September 21, 2014

Adding Color To 'The Great White Way'

Sharp observations about race, class and gender plus pure passion for the theater: That's what get when you ask a distinguished panel of playwrights whether "The Great White Way" is still too white.
Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 21, 2014 9:15 am

Sharp observations about race, class and gender plus pure passion for the theater: That's what you get when you ask a distinguished panel of playwrights whether "The Great White Way" is still too white.

Award-winning dramatists David Henry Hwang, Lydia Diamond, Kristoffer Diaz and Bruce Norris are some of America's most critically acclaimed contemporary playwrights. Their work captures the tensions and aspirations of an increasingly diverse America, but they all acknowledged that it was a challenge to bring a more diverse audience to theaters.

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Book News & Features
5:46 am
Sun September 21, 2014

Finding A Voice — Again — In The Pages Of A Comic Book

Recall and Given recasts the story of David Rector and Roz Alexander-Kasparik as a superhero comic.
Roz Alexander-Kasparik

Originally published on Sun September 21, 2014 9:15 am

This is a story about love. It's a story about bad things happening to good people, about memory and perseverance — and comic books. But most of all, it's a story about a voice. A mellow, smooth voice, just right for late-night jazz.

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Book Reviews
3:31 am
Sun September 21, 2014

The Stories In 'Bright Shards' Glimmer With Empathetic Power

iStockphoto.com

Bright Shards of Someplace Else is Monica McFawn's first collection of short stories, and it's already won this year's Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction. Perhaps it was her idiosyncratic voice, or her flair for distinctive characters that the judges recognized. Or maybe it was her empathetic power. Either way, McFawn has talent. In these 11 stories she manages to range from fantastic to satiric to poignant.

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Author Interviews
2:56 pm
Sat September 20, 2014

'Passages' Author Reflects On Her Own Life Journey

Gail Sheehy's previous books include The Man Who Changed the World: The Lives of Mikhail S. Gorbachev, Hillary's Choice and Middletown, America: One Town's Passage from Trauma to Hope.
Yolanda Perez Harper Collins

Originally published on Sun September 21, 2014 12:23 am

Journalist and author Gail Sheehy has taken readers into the minds and hearts of countless important figures. Throughout her career, she's written in-depth character portraits of Hillary Clinton, Michael Gorbachev and Margaret Thatcher, among others.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
8:14 am
Sat September 20, 2014

Not My Job: Travel Guru Rick Steves Gets Quizzed On Steve Ricks

Courtesy of Rick Steves

Originally published on Sat September 20, 2014 9:40 am

Travel guru Rick Steves was born and raised in Seattle, where we're taping our show this week, but he didn't stay put for long. Steves spent most of his adult life traveling the world, writing a series of guidebooks, hosting a travel show for PBS and ruining some of Europe's most treasured cities with hordes of Americans following his advice.

Since we specialize in asking people things they know nothing about, we've decided to ask Rick Steves three questions about people out there in the world named Steve Ricks.

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Author Interviews
5:40 am
Sat September 20, 2014

Picasso, Nazis And A Daring Escape In 'My Grandfather's Gallery'

Originally published on Sat September 20, 2014 9:16 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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The Salt
5:03 am
Sat September 20, 2014

Beyond Charity: Turning The Soup Kitchen Upside Down

A cooking class at DC Central Kitchen on Aug. 29, 2013.
Courtesy of DC Central Kitchen

If you've ever volunteered in a soup kitchen, you know the feeling of having served others.

But what about those on the other side of the food line? Are they getting what they need most?

Robert Egger, the founder of DC Central Kitchen, didn't think so.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Sat September 20, 2014

Bolano's Newly Translated Novel Wrests Beauty From Despair

When Roberto Bolano died in 2003, he left behind a body of work that would later distinguish him as the most commanding writer to have emerged from Latin America in the last few decades. Although he gained international acclaim for epics like The Savage Detectives and 2666, his novellas and short stories have been equally provocative. Bolano managed to pack in all the angst, detail, and disillusionment that make his longer book such a permeating force into works of one or two hundred pages.

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Author Interviews
3:11 am
Sat September 20, 2014

Why Afghanistan's 'Underground Girls' Skirt Tradition To Live As Boys

Originally published on Sat September 20, 2014 9:16 am

In many families of Afghanistan, the birth of a girl is mourned. While boys are seen as blessings, girls are considered burdens and forced to live a strict life of limited options. They can't leave the house alone; they're not educated; and they're dressed in clothes that conceal them and literally restrict their view of the world.

But some young girls find a way to fight that for at least a few years.

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