Arts/Life

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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The Salt
2:03 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Like Ham? There's A Festival For That In French Basque Country

Visitors look at Bayonne hams displayed on the first day of the yearly ham fair.
Gaizka Iroz AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 3:52 pm

In Bayonne, they take their ham very, very seriously.

This medieval fortress of a town is minutes from the French seaside ports of Barritz and St. Jean de Luz, and not far from Spain's St. Sebastian. It has reigned as a cultural and commercial center for a millennium, according to historian Mark Kurlansky in The Basque History of the World.

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Movie Reviews
1:09 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Loneliness And Longing — And Woody Allen — In 'Fading Gigolo'

John Turturro plays a gigolo — and Woody Allen is his pimp — in the new Fading Gigolo.
Millennium Entertainment

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

With his long face and hangdog appearance, actor John Turturro is no one's idea of a matinee idol — not even his own — so he raised a lot of eyebrows when he cast himself as the title character in Fading Gigolo. Even more when he cast Woody Allen as his pimp. So it may come as a relief when things don't go as wrong with what turns out to be a surprisingly sweet little dramedy as they might have.

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Movie Reviews
11:52 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Undead Hipsters And An Abstract Alien Star In Two Arty Horror Pics

In Under The Skin, Scarlett Johansson plays an alien who adopts an English accent and cruises Scotland enticing hitchhikers into a darkened building.
Film4

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 12:20 pm

Every so often a high-toned arthouse director dips a toe into the horror genre and the results are uplifting: You realize vampires and space aliens are subjects too rich to be the sole property of schlockmeisters. That's the case with two new arty genre pictures: Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin and Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive — both slow, expressionist, non-narrative, the kind of films that drive some people crazy with boredom and put others in their thrall.

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Television
10:48 am
Fri April 18, 2014

The Return Of The Many Shows They Call 'Orphan Black'

Tatiana Maslany plays many roles in BBC America's Orphan Black.
Steve Wilkie BBC America

When I saw the first episode of BBC America's Orphan Black last year, I was convinced it was a crappy Canadian police drama.

That's because the set-up seemed like the oddest sort of crime procedural nonsense. A street urchin-style grifter sees a middle class woman who looks just like her leap in front of a commuter train, nabs her purse and climbs into her life – only to find her doppelganger is a troubled police officer with problems of her own.

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Barbershop
9:58 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Should College Dropouts Be Honored By Their Alma Maters?

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 10:35 am

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

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Faith Matters
9:58 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Gefilte Fish Shortage: Best Thing Since The Parting Of The Red Sea?

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 10:35 am

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

Speaking of religion still, if there's one thing that goes hand-in-hand with faith, it is generally food. There have been a number of different food shortages in this country you may have heard about lately. We reported on this program about the shortage of limes. We've seen reports of rising beef prices as well. But right now, during Passover, gefilte fish is in short supply. Matt Chaban joins us now from member station WESA in Pittsburgh. He wrote about this for the New York Times. Matt, welcome.

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Monkey See
9:15 am
Fri April 18, 2014

So, 'Scandal' Writers, How Did You Write That Awful Wrist Thing?

Kerry Washington, Shonda Rhimes and Jim Rash chat about how Scandal is written on Sundance's The Writers' Room.
JC Dhien Sundance Channel

Sundance has been making strides in scripted television with series like Rectify and Top Of The Lake, but Friday night also brings back a charming little interview show they have — sort of a perfect Friday night show, actually.

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The Two-Way
5:40 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Book News: The Celebrity Of Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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 Thursday.
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
Fri April 18, 2014

'During The Reign,' A Dissolving Family Retells Its History

Joan Chase is the author of two novels and a collection of short stories.
Alexander Solomita Courtesy of Joan Chase

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 9:55 am

A meditation on the lives of one multigenerational family in rural 1950s Ohio, Joan Chase's 1983 debut During the Reign of the Queen of Persia — just reissued — opens up a typical pastoral story with the inventiveness of four young girls, the novel's narrators. Directed by sisters Anne and Katie, and their cousins Celia and Jenny, the narration traces the gradual dissolution of the Krauss family from their grandmother's childhood to the end of their own, after a lifetime on their Ohio farm.

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Author Interviews
2:15 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Sen. Elizabeth Warren Writes Of A Worldview Shaped In Youth

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 9:10 am

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren became an unlikely media star following the 2008 financial crisis.

She was a plainspoken law professor from Harvard who advocated on behalf of families and consumers affected by the Wall Street meltdown.

Warren was brought to Washington to help monitor the multibillion-dollar bank bailout package.

As part of that work, Warren helped to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — a watchdog agency that oversees and enforces consumer finance laws.

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Monkey See
1:36 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Tatiana Maslany On Looking Herself In The Eye

Tatiana Maslany plays Sarah, as well as some other characters, on BBC America's Orphan Black.
Steve Wilkie BBC America

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 9:10 am

Tatiana Maslany plays Sarah — and some other people — on BBC America's sci-fi show Orphan Black. On Friday's Morning Edition, she speaks to Kelly McEvers about how she manages to play all those different women from different cultural backgrounds, not to mention women with different mixes of malevolence and likability. Technically, it's no picnic: Just ask the tennis ball that sometimes plays her head.

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Monkey See
7:10 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Is 'Heaven' Real, Or Just A Place On Earth?

Colton Burpo (Connor Corum) tells Todd (Greg Kinnear) about heaven in Heaven Is for Real.
Allen Fraser Sony Pictures

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 6:20 am

Heaven Is for Real has an earnestness and an inertness that make it something of a bulletproof fish in a barrel. It's easy to take shots at because it's utterly artless and corny, but it's immune to criticism because it's not intended to be otherwise. It's simply intended to be affirming to people who go to church a lot, encouraging to people who go to church a little, and inoffensively irrelevant to people who don't go to church at all.

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The Salt
4:22 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Tabasco And Beer-Flavored: Not Your Easter Bunny's Jelly Beans

Jelly Belly says its most popular flavors include the savory-sweet Buttered Popcorn and Very Cherry.
Meg Vogel/NPR

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 11:11 am

This Easter, you can drown your sorrows in a glass of Jellybean milk — or with a pile of beer-flavored jelly beans.

The new twists are a sign that jelly beans are continuing their march to candyland domination. Americans buy 16 billion beans in the Easter season alone (mid-February until the actual holiday), according to the National Confectioners Association. The candy even has its own holiday on April 22.

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Remembrances
3:26 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Who Gave Voice To Latin America, Dies

Admirers ask Gabriel Garcia Marquez --€” seated alongside his wife, Mercedes Barcha €-- to sign books in Santa Marta, Colombia, in 2007.
Alejandra Vega AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 6:06 pm

Latin American author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1982, died Thursday. He was 87. Garcia Marquez, the master of a style known as magic realism, was and remains Latin America's best-known writer.

His novels were filled with miraculous and enchanting events and characters; love and madness; wars, politics, dreams and death. And everything he had written, Garcia Marquez once said, he knew or heard before he was 8 years old.

A Writer Shaped By His Beginnings

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Movies
3:26 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

A Story Of Torture And Forgiveness That Spans A Half-Century

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 6:06 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.

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Television
2:23 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Big Stars Don't Always Guide TV Shows To Success

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 6:06 pm

CBS is planning a one-hour season finale for Robin Williams' The Crazy Ones. It was one of three sitcoms built around big established stars this season, all three of which suffered in the ratings. It raises the question: Does television make stars, or is it the other way around?

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Television
2:11 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

'Silicon Valley' Asks: Is Your Startup Really Making The World Better?

Kumail Nanjiani (from left), Martin Starr, Thomas Middleditch, Zach Woods and T.J. Miller star in Silicon Valley, Mike Judge's new sitcom about young programmers trying to hit it rich.
Isabella Vosmikova HBO

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 4:45 pm

Mike Judge is no stranger to workplace comedy — back in 1999, he wrote and directed the cult classic Office Space, which poked fun at desk job-induced ennui in a 1990s software company.

Now, more than a decade later, Judge continues to find humor in the tech industry. In his new HBO sitcom, Silicon Valley, Judge explores what happens when young computer geeks become millionaires.

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Movies
2:02 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

The Rush Of A River; The Rise Of A Gondola

Glen Canyon Dam, on the Arizona/Utah border, is seen in a scene from DamNation.
Ben Knight Damnation Collection

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 5:21 pm

Although they take very different approaches to the eco-documentary, DamNation and Manakamana are both immersive experiences. In the former, one of the directors is the narrator and an onscreen character. In the latter, the directors stay off-camera (or behind the camera) as they turn a simple journey into a slowly unraveling ethnographic mystery.

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Book Reviews
12:49 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

'Bintel Brief' And 'Hellfighters': American Stories, Powerfully Illustrated

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 2:57 pm

A Bintel Brief and The Harlem Hellfighters are two New York Stories. That's why I'm combining them in this review; not because — as some purists still think — they're lesser works of literature because they're graphic novels. If Egyptian hieroglyphics, the Bayeux Tapestry, and Art Spiegelman's 1991 classic, Maus, haven't yet convinced the high-art holdouts of the value of stories told in visual sequence, nothing I say now about these two books is likely to.

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Monkey See
11:04 am
Thu April 17, 2014

God, Man And Lots Of Corridors In 'Transcendence'

Rebecca Hall plays Evelyn Caster, who makes a tough choice about her husband in Transcendence.
Peter Mountain Warner Brothers Pictures

Transcendence is a science fiction story, but it's very much about faith. Early on, a member of a "neo-Luddite" group confronts Will Caster (Johnny Depp) about his work. Caster is promising a future in which a massive artificial intelligence will contain more knowledge than the world has ever collectively possessed, and the man – played by Lukas Haas, whom many of us first saw as a tiny Amish child in Witness, where he was also counseled about the dangers of modernity and technology – accuses him of trying to create a god.

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Media
10:38 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Why Did Vanity Fair Give 'Belfies' A Stamp Of Approval?

"Selfie" may have been the 2013 word of the year. But "belfies," or "butt selfies" are now in the spotlight. We learn more about why they earned a fitness model a spread in Vanity Fair magazine.

Politics
9:41 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Ohio's Law Against Political Lying Heads To Supreme Court

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 10:38 am

Can a state law prevent political campaigns from doling out misinformation? Guest host Celeste Headlee learns more from The Plain Dealer's Sabrina Eaton.

Movies
9:26 am
Thu April 17, 2014

The Ambitious Drive To Do Too Much Too Fast, On Screen And Off

Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy, Rebecca Hall and the floating head of Johnny Depp in Transcendence.
Peter Mountain Warner Brothers Pictures

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 4:29 pm

Transcendence seems like the perfect film for Wally Pfister to kick off his career as a director. Pfister emerged as one of the best cinematographers in the business through his collaborations with Christopher Nolan (which also won him an Oscar, for Inception), and one of the hallmarks of that collaboration has been their dogged commitment to shooting on film rather than digitally, even as the industry has rapidly abandoned the 20th century technology.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Thu April 17, 2014

'Over Easy' Serves Up Savory Memories Of A Vintage Diner

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 7:30 am

They live among you. One of them may be your neighbor. One probably served you coffee this morning. One may even be writing this article. They are the Bohemians — or the Would-Be Bohemians. And whether you smile fondly upon their hipster specs or shudder at their footwear, they're an unbudgeable presence at the edges of the American scene.

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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 Thu April 17, 2014 7:30 am

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 American Art Museum.

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