Arts/Life

Movie Reviews
10:22 am
Wed May 27, 2015

A Critic Takes On Cannes: Highlights (And Lowlights) Of The 2015 Festival

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

Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed May 27, 2015

Fat Is Not A Four-Letter Word In 'Dietland'

Ariel Zambelich NPR

Originally published on Wed May 27, 2015 8:01 am

Editor's note: A Dietland quote in this review contains language some may find offensive.


In fiction, there are the Good Fats (Clara Peggotty, Mrs. Weasley and various other pillowy matrons) and the Bad Fats (Ursula, Augustus Gloop, assorted despicable characters whose fatness is shorthand for moral decay). Oh, and the Funny Fats. Don't forget the Funny Fats (Falstaff and his schlubby ilk). But complicated, dangerous, compelling Fats? These are rare.

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Book News & Features
3:04 am
Wed May 27, 2015

Author Margaret Atwood Contributes Manuscript To Future Library

Originally published on Wed May 27, 2015 5:54 am

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

The Salt
4:11 pm
Tue May 26, 2015

How Dorothea Lange Taught Us To See Hunger And Humanity

Carrot pullers from Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas and Mexico. "We come from all states and we can't make a dollar in this field noways. [sic] Working from seven in the morning until twelve noon, we earn an average of thirty-five cents." California, February 1937
Dorothea Lange Library of Congress

Documentary photographer Dorothea Lange had a favorite saying: "A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera."

And perhaps no one did more to reveal the human toll of the Great Depression than Lange, who was born on this day in 1895. Her photographs gave us an unflinching — but also deeply humanizing — look at the struggles of displaced farmers, migrant laborers, sharecroppers and others at the bottom of the American farm economy as it reeled through the 1930s.

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The Salt
4:03 pm
Tue May 26, 2015

Sip It Slowly, And Other Lessons From The Oldest Tea Book In The World

A range of Darjeeling tea at Goomtee Tea Estate in Darjeeling, India.
Jeff Koehler for NPR

At least 2,500 years ago, tea, as we know it, was born.

Back then, it was a medicinal concoction blended with herbs, seeds and forest leaves in the mountains of southwest China. Gradually, as manners of processing and drinking tea were refined, it became imbued with artistic, religious, and cultural notes. Under the Tang Dynasty (AD 618–907), the apogee of ancient Chinese prosperity, the drink involved ritual, etiquette and specific utensils. During this period of splendor, the first book dedicated solely to tea was written by Lu Yü.

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The Two-Way
2:00 pm
Tue May 26, 2015

Prolific Fantasy And Science-Fiction Writer Tanith Lee Has Died

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 5:35 pm

British science-fiction and fantasy writer Tanith Lee has died, according to her publisher. Lee, 67, was a prolific author who also worked in radio and television; her dozens of books include Don't Bite The Sun and Death's Master -- the latter of which was part of her popular Flat Earth series.

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Code Switch
10:39 am
Tue May 26, 2015

Lovely Illustrations From The Story Of A Black Boy Who Dreams Of Going To Mars

Courtesy of Myles Johnson and Kendrick Daye

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 3:48 pm

Like lots of little kids, Jeremiah Nebula — the main character of a children's book called Large Fears — has big dreams. He wants to go to Mars.

But Jeremiah is also pretty different from the characters that Myles Johnson, the author of the Kickstarter-backed book, met in the stories he read when he was growing up. Jeremiah is black, and he really, really likes the color pink.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue May 26, 2015

Learning To Love, And Forgive, In Brilliant 'Day'

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 3:52 pm

Warren Duffy is having a bad year. The comic book store he opened in Cardiff, Wales, has shut down, leaving him in debt to his angry ex-wife. He habris come home to Philadelphia to claim the inheritance left to him by his late father — a roofless, possibly haunted mansion that's only inhabitable in the most technical sense of the word. And he's basically broke, forced to make pocket money by drawing pictures at a comic book convention, where, because he's biracial, he's shunted into the "urban" section.

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Photography
1:43 am
Mon May 25, 2015

It's Not Rude: These Portraits Of Wounded Vets Are Meant To Be Stared At

Army Spc. Jerral Hancock sits for a portrait with his son Julius. It is believed that Hancock was trapped under the wreckage of his Army tank in Iraq for half an hour before he was rescued.
Courtesy of David Jay/Unknown Soldier

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 10:50 am

It's impolite to stare. But when it comes to severely injured soldiers, maybe we don't look enough; or maybe we'd rather not see wounded veterans at all.

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Arts & Life
5:58 pm
Sun May 24, 2015

Long-Time Actress And Comedian Anne Meara Dies

In this Nov. 6, 2003, file photo, Jerry Stiller and his wife Anne Meara pose on the set of The King of Queens, at Sony Studio in Culver City, Calif. Meara, whose comic work with Stiller helped launch a 60-year career in film and TV, has died. She was 85. Jerry Stiller and son Ben Stiller say Meara died Saturday, May 23, 2015.
Stefano Paltera Associated Press

Originally published on Sun May 24, 2015 10:54 pm

Anne Meara, the loopy, lovable comedian who launched a standup career with husband Jerry Stiller in the 1950s and found success as an actress in films, on TV and the stage, has died.

Jerry Stiller and son Ben Stiller say Meara died Saturday. No other details were provided.

The Stiller family released a statement to The Associated Press on Sunday describing Jerry Stiller as Meara's "husband and partner in life."

"The two were married for 61 years and worked together almost as long," the statement said.

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Author Interviews
4:54 pm
Sun May 24, 2015

Post-Ron Swanson, Nick Offerman Has The 'Gumption' To Be Himself

Courtesy of Dutton

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 8:46 am

TV recently lost its manliest man — a small-town government employee named Ron Swanson. Actor Nick Offerman's run on NBC's Parks and Recreation ended when the show went off the air in February. He's since shaved his mustache and gotten back to his normal self.

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My Big Break
3:42 pm
Sun May 24, 2015

How Running Away From Home Opened Doors In Hollywood

Kenneth Choi plays the role of Chester Ming in The Wolf Of Wall Street. He gained 20 pounds for the role.
Red Granite Pictures The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Sun May 24, 2015 4:54 pm

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.

In The Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort, played by Leonardo DeCaprio, forms a shady team of stockbrokers looking to get rich quick.

Among Belfort's team is the boisterous Chester Ming, played by Kenneth Choi.

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Arts/Life
11:38 am
Sun May 24, 2015

ARDK

Sunday Puzzle
5:31 am
Sun May 24, 2015

Single-Named Singers From The Present And Past

NPR

Originally published on Sun May 24, 2015 9:15 am

On-air challenge: Every answer today is the name of a famous, one-named singer like Madonna or Beyoncé. Identify each name from its anagram, to which one extra letter is added. The singers are a mix of past and present. For example, given "ADS" plus "E," the answer is "Sade."

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Code Switch
5:31 am
Sun May 24, 2015

Novelist Mat Johnson Explores The 'Optical Illusion' Of Being Biracial

Mat Johnson is the author of Pym, Drop, Hunting in Harlem and The Great Negro Plot as well as several graphic novels including Incognegro, Dark Rain and Right State.
Meera Bowman Johnson

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 7:34 am

Growing up in Philadelphia, Mat Johnson lived mostly with his mother in a black neighborhood. The son of an African-American mother and an Irish-American father, his skin was so light that he might have passed for white. But being biracial meant only one thing back in the '70s: "Um, it meant: black," Johnson says with a laugh. "There wasn't a lot of ambiguity there. I didn't hear the world biracial or didn't think of myself as biracial. And when I did hear that, I reacted to it defensively.

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Fine Art
5:31 am
Sun May 24, 2015

Online Art Sites Aim To Fill Gap Between Etsy And Sotheby's

Why does there seem to be such a vast space between Etsy and blue-chip virtual auction houses like Sotheby's? Where's the website where you can spend $200 or $2,000 on quality art online? New companies are trying to fill that gap.
Don Emmert AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 1:47 pm

Let's say you're not a millionaire but you're still interested in buying affordable art from the comfort of your living room. Where do you find something that is between craft-oriented websites like Etsy and high-end auction houses like Sotheby's? Now, new companies — like Paddle8, Ocula, Artline, Saatchi Art, Artsy, Amazon Art — are trying to fill the gap.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Sun May 24, 2015

Friendship, Magic And Danger Blossom In 'Uprooted'

Emily Bogle

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 8:46 am

I've read a staggering number of excellent books recently, and it has done things to my head. I'm not sure the human brain was meant to read so many brilliant books in such short order — even less sure that swinging my reading-pendulum from Hannu Rajaniemi's collected science fiction stories to Naomi Novik's sword-and-sorcery fantasy novel is at all wise. By all rights I should have tumbled into Uprooted feeling disoriented and confused, dissonant and harsh in my criticism — but no. Uprooted has leapt forward to claim the title of Best Book I've Read Yet This Year.

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Book News & Features
3:45 am
Sun May 24, 2015

This Weekend, Navigate The Changing World Of 'Vikram Lall'

Originally published on Sun May 24, 2015 9:15 am

It's the 1950s in Kenya, and young Vikram Lall is a third-generation Indian boy coming of age during a time of great political unrest, as a group of fighters known as the Mau-Mau try to break free of British rule.

The In-Between World of Vikram Lall is his story, told by the adult Vikram, who's living in exile, decades after his African childhood. He's reflecting on his life — a life in which friends were murdered and few could be trusted.

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Author Interviews
7:48 pm
Sat May 23, 2015

What If The Drought Doesn't End? 'The Water Knife' Is One Possibility

Ariel Zambelich NPR

What if the devastating drought in the western U.S. doesn't end? A few years ago, the science fiction writer Paolo Bacigalupi started exploring what could happen.

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Movie Interviews
4:01 pm
Sat May 23, 2015

'Sunshine Superman': A Love Story Against The Backdrop of BASE Jumping

Jean and Carl Boenish in jump down a ledge towards camera.
Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 3:40 pm

Two climbers died May 16 as they attempted a wing suit flight in Yosemite National Park. Dean Potter and Graham Hunt were BASE jumping, a sport that involves parachuting from a fixed structure.

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Author Interviews
6:23 am
Sat May 23, 2015

'Mislaid' Punctures Notions Of Gender And Race

Originally published on Sat May 23, 2015 7:48 pm

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

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Author Interviews
6:23 am
Sat May 23, 2015

'Dietland': A 'Fight Club' For Women That Reclaims The Word 'Fat'

Ariel Zambelich NPR

Originally published on Sat May 23, 2015 7:48 pm

There is something unique about the protagonist of Sarai Walker's new novel: She's fat, a word many try to avoid using to describe a person. But not Walker.

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The Salt
5:03 am
Sat May 23, 2015

Clean Your Grill, And Other Hot Holiday Tips From Alton Brown

Planning to grill this Memorial Day? Below, Food Network chef Alton Brown has some tips to keep your flavor from going up in smoke.
iStockphoto

Editor's note: A version of this story was originally published in May 2012.

If there's one grilling tip to remember this Memorial Day weekend, it should be this: Flame is bad.

"Flame does nasty things to food," food historian and science guy Alton Brown tells NPR's Scott Simon.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Sat May 23, 2015

The Fireworks Of 'Illusionarium' Never Quite Feel Real

Courtesy of Greenwillow Books / HarperCollins Publishers

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 11:44 am

Reading Heather Dixon's Illusionarium feels like riding a particularly rough roller coaster, and the first few hills are doozies. Dixon barely establishes the book's fantasy world — a hastily sketched British-derived steampunk setting, with the requisite airships and an alternate version of London called Arthurise — before she upends it.

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Fine Art
2:43 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

The Exquisite Dissonance Of Kehinde Wiley

Jason Wyche Courtesy of Sean Kelly/Copyright Kehinde Wiley

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 6:32 pm

This week, the Brooklyn Museum is wrapping up its mid-career retrospective of artist Kehinde Wiley — which means 14 years of work and something like 60 paintings.

It's been drawing a diverse and large crowd, partly because Wiley's work has been featured on the TV show Empire, and partly because he is a well-known and, in some ways, controversial figure in the art world. Wiley takes contemporary figures — oftentimes young black men and women — and places them in old European art traditions: Oil paintings, portraits, stained glass and even bronze sculpture.

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Movie Reviews
2:21 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

The Future Is Bright In The Time-And-Space Twisting 'Tomorrowland'

Casey (Britt Robertson) experiences a fantastic futuristic world in Tomorrowland.
Disney

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 3:34 pm

Much of Brad Bird's Disney sci-fi adventure Tomorrowland is terrific fun, but it's one of the strangest family movies I've seen: Bird's not just making a case for hope, he's making a furious, near-hysterical case against anti-hope.

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Interviews
2:20 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

How 'Gatsby' Went From A Moldering Flop To A Great American Novel

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

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

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Monkey See
10:54 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour: For 'Mad Men' And Letterman, A Week Of Goodbyes

Jon Hamm as Don Draper.
Michael Yarish AMC

This week's taping presented us with a few conundrums: Host Linda Holmes had already begun her vacation, while I know jack-all about the seven accumulated seasons of Mad Men, whose finale we were duty-bound to discuss. Our solution involved a pair of our most beloved guest panelists — Gene Demby and, from a studio in L.A., Barrie Hardymon — and a brief interregnum in poor Linda's vacation. (I stayed home and ate snacks.)

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TED Radio Hour
6:34 am
Fri May 22, 2015

What Are The Secrets of Centenarians?

National Geographic writer and explorer Dan Buettner studies the world's longest-lived peoples and their lifestyles.
Courtesy TEDxTC

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 11:45 am

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Fountain Of Youth

About Dan Buettner's TED Talk

To find the path to long life and health, Dan Buettner studies the world's "Blue Zones," communities whose elders live longer than anyone else on the planet.

About Dan Buettner

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TED Radio Hour
6:26 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Can Aging Be Cured?

"Things that only have a 50% chance of happening 20 years from now are supposed to sound like science fiction." - Aubrey de Grey
Robert Leslie TED

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 7:01 am

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Fountain Of Youth

About Aubrey de Grey's TED Talk

Cambridge researcher Aubrey de Grey argues that aging is merely a disease — and a curable one at that.

About Aubrey de Grey

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